Sony grows large sensor camera family with new 4K camera systems
New PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 camera models, plus new RAW recorder, PL lenses, viewfinders, battery and
recording media expand Sony’s line of end-to-end 4K acquisition solutions
Sydney, 30 October 2012 – Sony is unveiling two new CineAlta™ 4K cameras, complemented by a full line of accessories. The new cameras - models PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 - have a modular and compact design for easy configuration, and each features a new type of 4K Super 35mm image sensor with a 4096 x 2160 resolution (11.6M total pixels).
“These two new models join a family of Sony large-sensor cameras that complement each other and deliver powerful new capabilities to cinematographers working at every level of production,” said Nick Buchner, Senior Product Manager, Content Creation with Sony Australia and New Zealand. “They fill a critical gap in large-sensor acquisition between Sony’s PMW-F3 camcorder and F65 digital motion picture camera, and give content creators new levels of flexibility and creative options for shooting in HD, 2K, 4K and beyond. The total line-up, with our new accessories, further underscores Sony’s commitment to supporting every aspect of the highest-quality professional workflows.”
New F65 features and future upgrades
The 20 megapixel F65 remains the flagship of Sony’s large sensor acquisition technology. The 8K sensor-equipped F65 continues to evolve, with new features designed to keep it at the high end of professional digital imaging. The most recent feature update (Ver2.0) includes a new high frame rate mode for 8K 16-bit Linear RAW recording at 120P to deliver stunning 4K images with super smooth slow motion capabilities, as well as the SR codec updated to 12-bit. The Ver2.0 upgrade was also released for Sony’s SR-R4 recorder, as well as the SR-PC4 transfer station to enable 1.5 times faster than real-time transfer speed of 8K 16-bit linear RAW files. Future upgrades to the F65 will deliver higher than 4K RGB resolution, paint and remote control, and interfacing with the new OLED viewfinder, among other features strongly desired by the production community.
New F55 and F5 Cameras
The new CineAlta 4K cameras deliver unprecedented creative options for HD/2K*/QFHD*/4K (F55) and 2K*/HD (F5) production. Both offer multi-codec support: the new XAVC MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format, the SR codec (MPEG4 SStP), and the well-established XDCAM 50Mbps 4:2:2 codec. In-camera recording uses Sony’s latest SxS media, “SxS PRO+” (Plus) - on the F55 for 4K:60p:422 10-bit XAVC and HD:422 10-bit XAVC high frame rate shooting, and on the F5 for HD XAVC and HD high frame rate.
Both cameras are further distinguished by wide (14 stops) exposure latitude, high sensitivity and low noise. The F55 adds a global shutter to eliminate rolling shutter skew and flash banding, and uses the same colour filter with ultra-wide colour gamut as the F65, for highly accurate colour reproduction.
In conjunction with the new RAW recorder AXS-R5, high frame rate capability allows cinematographers to capture super slow-motion imagery in up to 4K RAW file on newly developed AXS memory -- up to 240fps** with the F55 and up to 120 fps** with the F5.
The F55 can further be connected to the new 4K 30-inch LCD monitor, PVM-X300 using four 3G-SDI interfaces for 4096 x 2160 up to 60p live monitoring while recording XAVC 4K and for playback of XAVC 4K images. Similarly, it is also possible to connect directly to Sony’s new 84” BRAVIA 4K LED TV for large-screen monitoring of the camera’s 4K 60P images (at resized horizontal resolution of 3860 pixels).
PL lens system – the second generation
The F55 and F5 cameras continue Sony’s efforts to offer the most flexible lens options. PL-mount prime cine lens technology lets users choose cine optics from Angénieux, ARRI, Canon, Carl Zeiss, Cooke, FUJIFILM and Leica.
Representing Sony’s second generation of cost-effective PL mount prime lenses, each is specified for 4K capture, while minimising geometric distortion, vignetting and breathing. A 9-blade iris delivers beautiful bokeh and the focus rings rotate 240°. The new lens series includes focal lengths of 20, 25, 35, 50, 85 and 135mm. For easy lens changes, each has the same T2.0 aperture, the same external diameter, matte box diameter, and gear locations for follow focus and aperture. All are the same height except for the 135mm.
Cinematographers can also use lenses originally designed for still photography, by removing the supplied PL-mount adaptor to reveal the cameras’ native FZ mount. This makes it easy to accept commercially available adaptors for third-party lenses, including Canon® EF, Canon FD, Nikon® DX, Nikon G, Leica® M and even 2/3-inch broadcast B4 lenses. A third option is the use of Sony FZ-Mount lenses with auto focus servo zoom such as Sony’s 18~252mm SCL-Z18X140.
Using a new digital interface, F5 and F55 users can take advantage of a new series of high-quality OLED and LCD viewfinders. The DVF-EL100 measures 0.7-inches with 1280 x 720 HD resolution, superb brightness, contrast and response. The DVF-L350 3.5-inch LCD viewfinder offers 10 times the contrast of previous Sony LCD viewfinders, with a flip-up eyepiece for direct monitoring. A third option is the Full HD DVF-L700. This compact 7-inch LCD viewfinder enables high resolution when shooting in 2K and 4K, with pixel- to-pixel 1920 x 1080 representation of HD images.
New in-camera recording media
SxS PRO+ (PLUS) Recording Media
Both new cameras support Sony’s new high-speed, enhanced versions of its SxS PRO memory cards: the “SxS PRO+” (PLUS) series - in 128 and 64 GB capacities, models SBP-128B and SBP-64B. Based on the format long established in Sony’s XDCAM EX camcorders, the cards support XAVC 4K and XAVC HD high frame rate recording, and can be directly inserted into the cameras.
New RAW Recording System
Sony is also unveiling the AXSM™ Access Memory System for 2K*/4K RAW recording, based on Sony’s unique recording technology. Optimised for this new platform is the AXSM memory card (512GB capacity, model AXS-512S24), using the generic file system exFAT. Users can record 4K RAW data up to 60 fps and 2K RAW up to 240 fps**, with a 300MB/s (2.4Gbps) sustained recording speed. PC-friendly operation is enabled through use of the AXS-CR1 card reader, offering a USB 3.0 interface for high speed transfer.
Additionally, the new AXS-R5 RAW recorder directly docks onto the F5 and F55, for an extremely elegant and compact recording solution for 2K** and 4K RAW recording.
New Battery and Charger
The F5 and F55 cameras take advantage of Sony’s new BP-FL75 battery pack, which uses Olivine—Lithium Iron Phosphate—instead of conventional Lithium Ion cathodes. The result is a substantial increase in charge-discharge cycles, compared to previous Sony batteries. The Olivine battery works with Sony’s new BC-L90 quick charger. The new battery supports outstanding mobility for field shooting, enabling two times higher speed charge than current charger and up to 150 minutes consecutive shooting.
The F5 and F55 cameras are also compatible with Sony’s BP-L80S, L60S, GL95A and GL65A batteries, which use the BC-L70 and L160 chargers.
Delivering advances in ergonomics specifically requested by working cinematographers, the F5 and F55 can optionally be fitted with Sony’s newest shoulder rig for extra stability and comfort in shoulder-mount applications. The rig is sturdy, lightweight and uses industry-standard rosettes on both sides for quick and easy attachment of third-party hand grips and other accessories.
Pricing and availability
The new cameras are planned to be available in Australia and New Zealand from February 2013, with suggested list pricing to be announced.
* 2K/QFHD for F55 and 2K for F5 will be available with firmware version up.
**High frame rate higher than 60fps will be available with firmware version up.