Sony Officially Announces F5 and F55 Cameras

New Sony cameras (click for larger)

Cameras Take a Page from RED Modular Design

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Yesterday, Sony confirmed rumors by announcing the F55 and F5 Digital Cameras.  The PMW-F5 and PMW F55 aren’t like Sony’s previous digital offerings, though.  Sony has borrowed a page from RED’s and ARRI’s decision to go with a modular design and have created a system which can interchange sensor recorders, lenses, and additional accessories to create a custom rig that’s finely tuned to the project at hand.  And some are saying that with these two designs, Sony has gotten it right.

The package: modular.   But most of all – the specs.  They’re dead on.  – Vince LaForet

As to those specs, Sony breaks them down as follows:

SONY F5:

Frame rates:

  • 60 fps out of the box (XAVC HD).
  • 120 fps with a planned upgrade (XAVC 2K/HD) with no crop factor.
  • 120 fps 2K RAW, with the optional AXS-R5 outboard recorder and a planned upgrade, achieves high frame rates with 16-bit image quality, beyond what the human eye can see.

SONY F55:

Frame rates:

  • 60 fps out of the box (XAVC HD at launch; XAVC 4K, QFHD and 2K with a planned upgrade)
  • 180 fps with a planned upgrade (XAVC 2K/HD) and again, with no crop factor.
  • 240 fps 2K RAW, with the optional AXS-R5 outboard recorder and a planned upgrade, achieves the highest frame rates and up to 16-bit image quality.

Both cameras are exceptionally small, light and modular, letting you build up the right configuration for each job—or each shot. For example, you can add the optional AXS-R5 RAW recorder whenever you need it. Or go with internal HD recording whenever size and weight are the highest priority. The time code/genlock connections and XLR audio inputs are built into two modules you can add or remove as needed. Small size is particularly welcome in stereoscopic 3D shooting. The chassis is only slightly wider than a typical PL mount prime lens, perfect for both mirror rigs and side-by-side configurations.” – Sony Press Release

Both cameras are also capable of 4K/2K RAW recording via the AXS-R5 external recorder.   Those rates are as follows:

SONY F5:

  • - 4K/2K RAW + XAVC 2K*/HD
  • - 4K/2K RAW + MPEG-2 HD422

SONY F55:

  • - 4K/2K RAW + XAVC 2K*/HD 
  • - 4K/2K RAW + MPEG-2 HD422
  • - 2K RAW + XAVC 2K*

According to LaForet’s blog, Sony is using 16-bit recording, which will provide as much as 16 times the detail and color saturation as 12-bit RAW cameras, and 64 times as many tones per channel as 10-bit rigs.   In addition, both cameras can use their on board SxS drive and the 4K AXS-R5 external recorder in tandem for simultaneous recording.

No word on how much either rig will retail for, but according to Philip Bloom, the F5 will list for $18K while the F55 could be in the ballpark of $50K (body only).  That puts it right in the ballpark to go head to head against both the RED Epic, the Arri Alexa, and the Canon C500, and also the Canon 1D-C when you add the 4K recorder. Check out the official Sony F5 page and Sony F55 page for more.

 

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.

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