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Friday, 30 November 2012 10:43

Sony Introduces Two New 4K Cameras

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img_2301Sony Electronics Inc. recently held a pleasurable event to celebrate the future of 4K and the launch of the company’s newest 4K cameras. Held at Sony Pictures Studios, the event welcomed filmmakers and other production professionals that are interested in a 4K workflow. The attendees were among the first to see Sony’s new 84-inch TV that will allow consumers to view 4K resolution. Sony Electronics President/COO Phil Molyneux first witnessed 4K technology in Japan. “[I] saw the future there right in front of me,” he reported. “When [consumers] see 4K content on our 4K TVs, they will be stunned.”

Alex Shapiro, President of  Sony Professional Solutions of America, believes that the company’s new PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K cameras will fill the gap between the F3 and F65 models. Ideal for accomplished HD shooters, the F5 and F55 are perfect for primetime television content, where Sony has played a central role. Both the F5 and F55 use a new type ofimg_2343 Super 35mm Sony CMOS imager with a resolution of 4096×2160 and 14 stops of exposure latitude — and the cameras’ 4K RAW capabilities had event attendees in awe.

Cinematographer Dana Christiaansen recently used the F55 on the Stargate Studios short film Mohout. “Fourteen stops of latitude is an incredible way to work,” Christiaansen enthused. “The resolution, the latitude and the color space on the camera are fantastic and gave us a lot of leeway to work quickly.” Mohout was filmed on location in Sri Lanka with Sony engineers in attendance to study the process. Christiaansen and other crewmembers, including Director/Cinematographer Sam Nicholson, ASC, shared their experiences at the Sony event. “The engineers are not only getting notes from users, they are out there in the field with us,” said Nicholson. “They’re really getting hands on and living through it with us.”

img_2326Sony demonstrated the capabilities of the F5 and F55, and the company sent cameras to various filmmakers to put the new gear to the test. The filmmakers discussed their findings while showcasing their work in a packed theater. Cinematographer Daryn Okada, ASC showed clips from the TV series “Made in Jersey,” and Tribeca Enterprises Co-Directors Paul Pope and Sridhar Reddy screened their short film 7x6x2, which was shot in the Mohave Desert with the F55 and F65. And the School of Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California (USC) had two recent projects shot with the F5 camera. All of the participating filmmakers seemed to share one steadfast discovery after their shoots: the new Sony cameras perform exceptionally well in low-light situations.

While both cameras can record 2K and 4K RAW to an external recorder, only the F55 can record 4K internally to SxS cards. img_2319Combination recording is also obtainable, which allows for the recording of 50 Mbps 4:2:2 XDCAM internally to SxS cards while simultaneously writing 4K RAW to an AXSM memory card in the R5 onboard recorder. “The modular concept of it with the 4K RAW module just clicking onto the back of the camera is a great thing for people that want to record multiple formats,” said Christiaansen. “It’s well designed [and] everything is accessible.” The F55 uses the same color-filter array as the F65, allowing it to capture the deep shades of violet that live outside DCI color space, while the F5 has a more conventional color triangle. And only the F55 boasts a new electronic global shutter designed to eliminate rolling-shutter and img_2333flash-band artifacts. As far as appearance, the identical cameras’ only difference is the lens locking ring, which is silver on the F55 and black on the F5. Both cameras use a BP-FL75 Olivine battery and BC-L90 quick charger. The battery charges twice as fast as older batteries and supports 150 consecutive minutes of shooting. The cameras are designed with Sony’s native FZ mount but they also come with a PL-mount adapter. The F5 retails for $19,400 and the F55 retails for $34,900.

Nicholson believes that working in 4K is a professional game changer, especially for cinematographers that can bring their expertise to postproduction. “You can really perfect 4K in post,” he said. “It gives you a tremendous amount of options in post, [including the ability] to reframe, retime [and] recolor. It’s a whole new area of cinematography.”

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