Brighton surf in all its angry glory.
Download original to view with less compression & crank the volume up! :)
N.B. I added some grain and it's heavily graded.

I went to Brighton yesterday for a couple of hours at dusk as I wanted to test out the Sony FS700 firmware update in a more practical way. I shot my first music video in Brighton and it seems to get a lot of love for filming so I wanted to approach it a little differently, the aim was to use long lenses to get slightly abstract, mostly nature shots. When I say long I mean very long! I was using a Canon 100-400 with the Metabones adapter and a 1.4x and 2x coupled together, giving me an effective (FF) focal length of 420mm-1680mm, which I was handholding or sitting down with it on my lap for all the shots. I hate tripods! Fortunately, along with IS, shooting everything at 240fps makes the impossibility of hand-holding 1700mm possible. Is it too soft to use with stacked teleconverters? - not at 1080p. Many will notice I also shot with an anamorphic lens too, my iscorama, I did want to sneak in a few wide angle shots and wanted to try the combo with SLOG2, it was on a Nikon 50mmF1.8 pancake with Metabones Speed Booster.

Despite mostly pointing my camera in the direction of the setting sun a lot of the shots had low dynamic range. Shooting through lots of air and sea mist you get a very desaturated image. Add a log image, recorded internally in 8 bit colour depth in 24mbit bitrate and it sounds like a recipe for trouble. Fortunately I found it was useable even when I had to put a crazy s-curve on it. I personally like the look of log-ish looking mid tones (in between proper darks and highlights) and often desaturate my footage slightly too so I found the image I got grading log to be really good. If you prefer a punchier, contrasty look to your graded images you should probably shoot closer to that to start with and not use log.

I uploaded a quick DR test of SLOG2 recently comparing it with normal Cinegamma4 and the 5D mark3 in H264 and raw and came up with SLOG2 having 1-2 more stops of DR than the others, I'd probably put it closer to 2 but my test wasn't rigorous enough to be sure. That puts it at around 13.5 stops of DR which is pretty incredible, right up there with cameras like the F5 (which may have the same sensor) and Alexa. Does that mean you can shoot in SLOG2 all the time like you can with them? No, probably not. As you're still limited to 8 bit internally and externally (I really wish it had been 10 bit out like the F3!) you should be careful of skin tones and anything with important colour. If you're in controlled conditions, you should compose your image on the screen to look a lot like the image you want after grading, that's just how life is in 8 bit world. Skin tones look weird when you push or pull them a lot, whatever log or profile you use so you should aim to not have to push or pull them much, if you like non contrasty skin tones for a close up, S-LOG2 miiiight be a good choice for you in those situations, maybe.

An added bonus! I didn't really know about this but the new firmware increases the sensitivity of the image, which means the lowest ISO you can use is ISO2000, which is pretty damned high, the thing is the noise at ISO2000 is basically the same as pre firmware ISO640 which is crazy. It goes all the way up to the bonkers ISO64,000 (which isn't really useable), but ISO20,000 definitely is. When you add this to the fact you can use the Metabones Speed Booster (which is brilliant) then you have a low light monster of a camera. The old FS700 noise isn't pretty I think but it's now finer and much nicer, I have no idea why. I would love to see a side by side comparison of the new FS700 with SB vs a Canon C300 or 1DC at ISO20,000. For a case of real world use, I was mostly shooting at 1700mm at f8.0 with a setting sun for light at 1000th/s of a second, that in itelf is quite a camera achievement but some of those shots also had the full ND wheel engaged at ND1/64. It means you can realistically film high speed in less light or with less noise, which is awesome if you use the slow motion feature.

So, in summary, it's a really interesting update coming for FS700 owners or those sitting on the fence to buy one. There should hopefully be some more footage coming soon from others using it and I think the actual release should be soon too (it's a paid upgrade at £500 in the UK). Also remember the firmware adds 2k/4k raw output, I couldn't test that unfortunately as didn't have the right card reader but that's a whole new kettle of fish, even if you aren't planning on using it the upgrade will give you that future option. Is the price worth it? Completely up to you!I think it's a reasonable value update but don't make your decision based on my tests, look at the other stuff that's starting to trickle out there.
If anyone wants an slog shot I can probably upload one somewhere, maybe pick a shot?

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