Sony HDR-FX7

It’s hard to keep up with SONY’s new cams for one very good reason – they are skipping numbers! I thought the successor to the very successful Sony FX1 will be called FX2. Or, perhaps, FX3.

When it comes to the product name, Sony isn’t content with incremental improvements. We’re now straight to number 7. Not so when it comes to the product itself. Maybe, Sony felt that neither Canon XL H1 nor Panasonic HVX200 changed anything in the market, so why bother.

Many reviewers have likened the FX7 release to the release of the VX2100 model, hot on the steps of VX2000 (I’m a proud owner of the latter). The VX2100 offered some minor improvements in light sensitivity and a variety of interface features that made things a bit easier for the prosumer shooter.

Let’s look at Sony FX7 and see what advantages it offers.

  • Affordable (Canon XL H1’s price is almost 3 times higher)
  • Real HD 1080 support (unlike FX1‘s 1440×1080 chip)
  • Good video with low light capabilities (though admittedly worse than FX1 because of the CMOS)
  • Long battery life
  • Standard HDV (using MiniDV cassettes)

On the negative side we’ve got:

  • Fixed lens (though it has been bumped to 20x zoom)
  • No XLR inputs for audio
  • No true 24p

If you look at Sony FX1′s advantages from last year, you’ll see the camera has the same things going for it with a few notable differences.

To me, the biggest difference is the sensor. In the last year, SONY has introduced a several of his low-end HD cams with CMOS sensors (e.g. Sony HC1 and Sony HC3). Is CMOS good enough for $3,000 cam though?

Harry Haruna, Manager of Camcorder Product Planning for Sony USA, had this to say:

As for resolution, because you have the CMOS technology the FX7, resolution is much higher than the FX1 in decent light conditions. On the contrary, under low light conditions the FX1 is better than the FX7, since the FX1 has a larger CCD sensor.

Sony HDR-FX7Hmm, I thought FX7 was an upgrade. It looks like it’s something of a sidegrade: if you have an FX1, keep it. If you don’t, you can either get the FX1 if you need a cam with a better sensor and bigger lens or go for the new FX7 with its smaller form factor and “full” HD 1080.

Still, if I was into wedding videography or guerrilla filmmaking, the FX7 could be quite tempting.

Then again, Canon has recently introduced more affordable versions of its $9,000 monster, the Canon XL H1. At just $500 more than the FX7, it introduces some much needed competition. If I can get FX1 for less than $2000 (Apple store had an offer like that), I’d be the happiest person … for the next 6 months or so.

I’m considering switching from my web cam to this baby. Here’s a short guide on how to select a web cam.

7 thoughts on “Sony HDR-FX7

  1. Jeff

    I bought the HDR-FX7 on Feb 1 07 and since then have recorded 9 hours of solid video.
    Last night June 16 07 I tried to review the video footage from the days shootings and all I get is a blue screen on the vcr playback mode on the camera. Following page 31 and 96 in the manual resulted in still no image during play back. I swapped out the dvc cassette for one that I knew was good and no footage was able to be played back either. Reset camera back to factory default, took the battery off and used the power supply… nothing.
    I went to sony’s site and reviewed the warrantee and repair page and found that if I was to ship it out to sony for them to fix the bench cost is a flat fee of $249.00 right off. They stated that this is mainly for labor.

    The camera is fantastic but not when hardware dies from 9 hours of footage.
    Any dark areas is a horror show with out lighting, and to get proper lighting for dark scenes really takes to long to setup and then shoot.

    Just my 2 sence, and feeling had right now!

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  5. Fan

    I just bought the old HDR FX7 for 2000$ Cdn. It still looks new and I love it. Still learning how to use all the functions and buttons.

    Any trick on how to shoot a beautiful and special scenes?
    Do those irs, gain, shutter speed work well?

    Any comments or warning would be greatly appreciated



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