Sony NXCAM Super35

What can we say about Sony’s new NEX-FS100U NXCAM Super35? How about “best design of a digital camera this year in a tiny package under $7,000?”

It fits in the palm of your hand, feels like a Hasselblad, has the same 35mm sensor as the F3, and accepts almost any lens in the universe with its Sony E mount. It looks like a Sony clamshell DSR-V10 recorder sprouting a lens mount. Some will say it looks like a Mamiya 645 Super or a miniature Red Epic. This is the camcorder that takes the DSLR evolution to the next level.

Production models of Sony’s NXCAM S35 will be shown at NAB. The official product name is NEX-FS100. The first mock-ups were shown in New York and LA on November 17, 2010—but they were red herrings without flip-up monitor, eyepeice extender or handgrip.

The team behind Sony’s NXCAM S35 camcorder gets our praise for the refreshingly well-executed design and thoughtful features. The base of the camera has four threaded tripod mounts: two 3/8-16 and two 1/4-20, with lots of anti-twist locating holes.   Baseplate manufacturers, DPs and 3D stereographers will love this.  Camera assistants and grips will applaud the extra 1/4-20 mounting sockets on the camera right side and top. A handgrip attaches to the camera right side.

The 3.5” flip-up LCD monitor on the top of the camera articulates to almost any shooting position. A removable eyepiece extender with cheek-hugging rubber eyecup, similar to the EX3, snaps onto the LCD monitor. It’s comfortable when shooting on a tripod. Because the camera is so lightweight, the eyepiece extender works nicely handheld at shoulder level and aimed up for low angle shots.  A removable handle attaches on top with a shotgun mike.  Imagine a Hasselblad style digital motion picture camera with good audio.

As we’ve belabored before, the NXCAM Super35 uses a single Super35 CMOS sensor—the same one as the Sony F3. The NXCAM S35 inserts Time Code and 3:2 Pull Down markers on the HDMI private data (allows simple 24p extraction by external outboard recorders or NLE, since HDMI does not support native 24p signals).  Major third party companies are expected to announce support of this by NAB (AJA, Convergent Design, Cine Deck, Black Magic, etc).

Interchangeable lenses attach to the camera’s E-mount. This is the same mount as Sony’s NEX-3 and NEX-5 still cameras, and NEX-VG10 consumer camcorder. The very short (18 mm) flange focal depth lets you mount, with adaptors, most 35mm still and motion picture lenses on the planet. Adaptors are available from Sony, MTF, Novoflex, and many others–for PL, Leica M, Sony A (Alpha), Canon, Nikon, etc.

The NEX-FS100UK lens kit model comes supplied with the E18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS zoom Lens which gives users optical SteadyShot and auto focus. The SEL18200 lens supplied with the NEX-FS100UK enables shooting in illumination as low as 1.5 lux when using a fixed shutter speed of 1/30, auto gain and auto iris.

There will be an E-mount option for ZEISS Compact Prime CP.2 lenses. There were sightings of ZEISS Alpha zoom lenses attached with an Alpha to E-mount adaptor, in addition to Sony E-mount zooms and primes.

Images are recorded in AVCHD full HD 1080p (60p / 30p / 24p or 50p / 25p) MPEG4 AVC/H.264. Slow and quick (over and undercranked) is available.

Price will be under $7000. Shipping probably between April-June.


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