Sony launches ILME-FR7 PTZ camera combining a full-frame image sensor, lens interchangeability and remote shooting functionality

Sony has added to its Cinema Line with the ILME-FR7, an E-mount interchangeable lens camera with a full-frame image sensor and built-in pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality.

A high-performance full-frame image sensor and the scope of Sony’s E-mount lens lineup work with remote pan/tilt/zoom control, high flexibility in zoom capability and wide angle shooting to break through location and space limitations, according to Sony.

Norbert Paquet, head of live production, Sony Europe, commented: “The cinematic look and feel is fast becoming the norm in broadcasting and live production as it opens up new ways to tell a narrative. In parallel, especially in the last two years, we’ve seen a steep rise in content created remotely or in small locations where access is difficult. This new camera, the FR7, will answer both these trends in the market with its PTZ and cinematic features.”

The FR7 features a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame CMOS image sensor, Exmor R, with approximately 10.3 effective megapixels and wide 15+ stop latitude in a PTZ camera for the first time. In addition to wide dynamic range, low noise and cinematic full frame bokeh, this sensor also delivers high sensitivity that allows ISO to be expanded up to 409600 when shooting in low light.

A number of Cinema Line features are built into the camera to deliver a cinematic look and feel. For example, a number of preset scene files are included, such as S-Cinetone for natural mid-tones that are essential to healthy-looking skin colour, plus soft colours and gorgeous highlights. Since the target look can be created while shooting, time can be saved in post-production. In the Cine EI mode, base sensitivity can be set to either ISO 800 or ISO 12800 to match lighting conditions and to minimise noise while maintaining a consistent look. This mode is said to be ideal for post-production, as it allows the use of Sony’s original S-Log3 gamma, wide S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine colour spaces. Shooting in up to 4K 120p slow-motion is also possible.

With a new dedicated web application, pan, tilt, zoom, focus, record, playback and all camera settings can be intuitively controlled from a tablet or computer web browser. Multiple people can monitor FR7 footage remotely at the same time. Multi camera monitoring is also enabled, allowing multiple cameras to be viewed remotely on one device. With its integrated remotely controllable pan/tilt mechanism, the FR7 can be mounted on a tripod, on a ceiling with the dedicated CIB-PCM1, or in other locations with limited access so that subjects can be unobtrusively followed and recorded from unique viewpoints.

It is also compatible with Sony’s RM-IP500 remote controller for multi-camera production, expanding creative potential while reducing the need for dedicated staff in production studios and other shooting situations. A single RM-IP500 unit can remotely control up to 100 PTZ cameras and provide joystick-controlled pan, tilt and zoom operation. The supplied infrared remote controller will also support the FR7’s simple operation.

Pan and tilt speed can be continuously varied from 0.02 degrees per second to 60 degrees per second, supporting a wide range of stable and smooth camera movements. The pan angle range is from -170° to +170°, and the tilt angle range is from -30° to +195°.

The built-in web application and optional RM-IP500 remote controller allow up to 100 camera position presets to be recalled. Presets include camera direction, zoom and focus, and can be recalled at the touch of a button. The FR7 will also support S700 protocol via Ethernet, enabling control of this product from Sony’s Remote Control Panel (RCP) and Master Setup Unit (MSU) with a firmware update.

Fast Hybrid AF and pan/tilt/zoom functionalities combine to focus on static or fast-moving subjects precisely and smoothly over a wide area to avoid blurred images, even when a shallow depth of field is used. The integrated Bionz XR engine realises detection performance for pinpoint eye focus even when subjects are looking at steep angles, allowing the operator to concentrate on composing the best shot. Touch Focus can be used to initiate focusing with real-time tracking on the desired subject when using the FR7’s web application, with Real-time Eye AF if an eye is detected.

The built-in electronic variable ND filter allows seamless ND adjustment. An Auto ND function keeps exposure constant by automatically adjusting the ND filter to match changing light. Remote control is also possible, allowing exposure control at a distance from the camera.

The FR7 is built to integrate and adapt to many workflow scenarios, from simple plug and play to more complex high-end productions, thanks to a comprehensive selection of video inputs and outputs, IP streaming, power supply and synchronisation with other devices.

A rare feature in a PTZ camera, the FR7 also features dual media slots that support CFexpress Type A and SDXC memory cards. The ability to record high-quality XAVC-I footage with metadata makes the FR7 suitable for a wide variety of video production applications. The SDI output can deliver a 16-bit RAW signal to a compatible external recorder (sold separately).

HDMI Type A and 12G-SDI connectors are provided for video output as well as optical output for long transmission. The Audio In (XLR type 5-pin) connector will receive signal from an external microphone or audio device. Audio Ch-1 and Ch-2 use a single connector.

Camera control, video and audio transfer, and power supply can also be carried out via a single LAN cable, simplifying cabling requirements. The FR7 LAN (network) connector supports a variety of streaming protocols, including RTSP, SRT and NDI|HX,, for working in an IP-based environment.

The FR7 can be powered from an external PoE++ device via a standard network cable, eliminating the need for separate power supply cabling.

Finally, the Timecode In connector receives timecode for synchronisation with an external device, while the genlock receives synchronisation signals in multi-camera setups. Additionally, red/green tally lights are provided on the camera’s side panels, allowing performers and staff to easily identify the on-air and preview cameras in multi camera setups in studio or on location.


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