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Vincent Sweeney

Sony's new cameras: F5 and F55 4K and 2K internal or RAW output, Elc. global shutter etc.

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They look terrific, everything I love about the Alexa and the Epic squeezed into an elegant, streamlined package (and almost half the weight of the Alexa!). The F55 really does sound like the camera to somewhat halt the cycle of constantly updating and replacing cameras every 1.5-2 years.

 

I've said it once, I'll say it again - it's a bloody exciting time to be making motion pictures for a living.

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You know, I really don't want to call this all "exciting." it's almost a bit of a pain in the ass. With the turn arounds on these systems; as soon as you start to get proficient in one camera and set up for one main workflow, familiar enough with it to start pushing it towards interesting limits-- there's a new crazy, a new camera, and your back to square on. And while I'm all for choices, I feel it was almost easier when systems weren't to radically changed so quickly-- where you could know something like the "back of your hand."

 

That all said, these cameras do look rather nice on paper-- and hopefully what will come out next from _____ will fix whatever is missing. I would love, honestly, for there to be a more standardized type of "format." which all cameras can just record to-- one simple file format we can all get our heads 'round, and our post up to snuff on.

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You know, I really don't want to call this all "exciting." it's almost a bit of a pain in the ass. With the turn arounds on these systems; as soon as you start to get proficient in one camera and set up for one main workflow, familiar enough with it to start pushing it towards interesting limits-- there's a new crazy, a new camera, and your back to square on. And while I'm all for choices, I feel it was almost easier when systems weren't to radically changed so quickly-- where you could know something like the "back of your hand."

 

That all said, these cameras do look rather nice on paper-- and hopefully what will come out next from _____ will fix whatever is missing. I would love, honestly, for there to be a more standardized type of "format." which all cameras can just record to-- one simple file format we can all get our heads 'round, and our post up to snuff on.

Yeah I do love having choices for projects, but I find that it takes me a few shoots to get into a camera and start to find its groove and what works best with it. With these upgrades constantly happening it's a longer process and I don't shoot as much as I'd like to, so just like you said as you're getting used to it, something 'superior' comes along. It would be an absolute nightmare to invest heavily in the gear and not long later you have something practically obsolete on your hands.

 

I'm also constantly factoring in post-production when choosing and how to go about doing it, sometimes it's easier and cheaper to go a certain route because of a file format even though it might not be best for the job. I think some sort of standard format would work great, I think that's the way the technology has to head.

 

Anyway, I do love the sound of this Sony F55 and the F5, would love to try them both out. It doesn't look like there's any windowing crap in 2K either, so it'd be a good slow-mo option.

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Well, I guess that explains the new Epic marketing strategy. :rolleyes:

If I read it correctly, one option is on-board recording of 4K MPEG-2. I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense, in that it takes somewhat less computer power to encode and decode MPEG2 than it does say, MPEG-4, which means that more modest PC systems will be able to process the data without choking. Twice the data to be sure, but in this era of $40 64GB flash drives, probably not such an issue any more.

 

Clearly the Sony tail is not going to try to wag the industry dog. I guess they're finally making up for the D-1 format :P

 

 

I wonder if Avidemux 2.6 can handle 4K MPEG-2 :D

 

Correction: No, it just records 1920 x 1080 HD in MPEG-2...

 

HOWEVER:

Real-time 4K output and other vital connections

The camera offers powerful connections, including real-time 4K output, up to 60p, to a compatible

monitor. It’s made possible by four 3G-SDI outputs. There’s also HDMI®, USB, DC in connection, a removable

XLR audio module and a removable time code/genlock module. The XLR inputs accept balanced analog

signals, provide 48-Volt phantom power and will accept four channels of AES/EBU digital audio with an

expected firmware upgrade.

Edited by Keith Walters

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You know, I really don't want to call this all "exciting." it's almost a bit of a pain in the ass.

Wholeheartedly agreed, and I've said as much in published articles.

We have long since passed the point where there's anything terribly wrong with the available camera systems, at least to the extent that current camera systems aren't really contributing to anyone being a horrible filmmaker. Back in the 90s, you could probably claim with some justification that the performance of the average S-VHS or Hi8 cameras were often poor enough to be genuinely distracting. These days, though, if you're struggling to produce worthwhile material on an FS100, you need more help than an F55 is going to give you.

There are two problems in this vein specifically associated with these new cameras, which is that they involve yet another new codec, which Sony call XAVC, and yet another new flash card format they call AXS. It's difficult to see the technical necessity for either of these, as XAVC is just yet another riff on the h.264/MPEG-4 stuff, and AXS joins a lineup of no less than five preexisting memory card formats that Sony either promote, produce or deploy in their various products. It's hard to see why they couldn't simply have made cheaper SR Memory cards to accommodate 4K raw from the F55 in the same way they've produced faster SxS Pro cards to accommodate the onboard, debayered 4K modes.

Sony will of course claim that the F5 and 55 both support MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 modes already, and SxS cards, which should allow them to fit directly into established workflows. In a way it's hard not to see this as a desperate attempt to solve a problem that people like Sony caused in the first place, and are actually exacerbating with the spec of these new cameras by introducing yet more formats and hardware. Claims at yesterday's press conference that they've already got a lot of postproduction companies on board to provide support ring a little hollow when you realise that if they'd just used previously standardised formats, they'd already be compatible with everything, with no work or effort required. I had this exact discussion (well, shouted argument) with Panasonic when they dreamed up an entirely new way to put DV material on P2 cards which wasn't compatible with anything.

I guess I'm trying to address two issues here:

First is the tendency of the filmmaking community, particularly the trade press, to treat every new cameras as if it's a game-changer, which sorry but these aren't, much as I like them. Neither was Red or the DVX-100 or the DV tape format in and of itself. They don't really change the way film and TV work is done, and the introduction of new standards is genuinely a pain in the neck.

Second is the tendency of manufacturers to repeatedly try to achieve vendor lockin by producing lots of new standards. This is particularly irksome when it involves cameras like these which probably have a two year shelf life and probably require twice their own cost in flash cards to be usable.

 

I like the new Sony cameras, in general. They're nice. But I'm past the point where new cameras are in any way exciting, for these and other reasons.

 

P

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Lots of people are getting really tired of negative shi* you two f**ks keep spewing out. Too bad that only people working in film or genuine students of film-making aren't the only ones that post here. No wonder this whole forum is fading out. The real DP's and occasional director here rarely ever bother to post. Why is that, I wonder?

 

Taking a long break, again... (and likely buying an F55 for actual use when it comes out)

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There are two problems in this vein specifically associated with these new cameras, which is that they involve yet another new codec, which Sony call XAVC, and yet another new flash card format they call AXS. It's difficult to see the technical necessity for either of these, as XAVC is just yet another riff on the h.264/MPEG-4 stuff, and AXS joins a lineup of no less than five preexisting memory card formats that Sony either promote, produce or deploy in their various products. It's hard to see why they couldn't simply have made cheaper SR Memory cards to accommodate 4K raw from the F55 in the same way they've produced faster SxS Pro cards to accommodate the onboard, debayered 4K modes.

 

THIS! It's completely ridiculous that Sony have created yet another minor variation on MPEG-4. It's tiresome and pointless. In the case of Sony it's especially bad as they already have great codecs that are fairly standard at this point. (I'm thinking of XDCam here) Why are they trying to make things difficult for us and why are they not supporting the standards they have already created? Most other companies would be happy to control such a prevailing standard. Seems daft.

 

 

discussion (well, shouted argument) with Panasonic when they dreamed up an entirely new way to put DV material on P2 cards which wasn't compatible with anything.[/color][/size]

 

*giggle* You actually shouted at them??!!!??

 

First is the tendency of the filmmaking community, particularly the trade press, to treat every new cameras as if it's a game-changer, which sorry but these aren't, much as I like them. Neither was Red or the DVX-100 or the DV tape format in and of itself. They don't really change the way film and TV work is done, and the introduction of new standards is genuinely a pain in the neck.

 

I don't know about the phrase "game-changer" which seems kind of inherently silly, however the DV format really was a revolutionary format that still gets plenty of use now because it is so straightforward and universal. I can't understand why this has been thrown away for just random codecs and standards that change every week. I believe it's a big part of the appeal of outboard recorders at the moment that they just work with fairly standard codecs like prores and DNXHD, probably this is also a major selling point of the Alexa.

 

The DVX100 was also a preety special camera. It introduced progressive images and new gamma curves and it had higher quality audio support than some high end cameras that are available now! I think it did create the standard for digital cinema cameras that we take for granted now. Oddly Panasonic have never been able to re-create the "mojo" in the DVX100 that people still talk about today, in fact their cameras seem to have had progressively less "mojo" from the HVX200 onwards which makes you wonder if it was all in some way accidental.

 

I don't know what to say about the RED. Ironically I think the real change it bought about was the shift to so called "RAW" images, which will have far more of an impact than the 4k thing.

The race for "k's" was inevitable anyway I think. It is very impressive how much RED have achieved in terms of marketing and brand awareness etc, to the extent that Arri and RED are now talked about in the same breath and are seen as the leading lights in the digital cinema world even above that of Sony and definitely above the likes of Panasonic (who seem to have dropped the ball in that regard) and canon and JVC!

 

I would also argue that all of these technologies really are changing the way that film work is done, and have already changed the way TV work is done. It is a direct effect from the "DV" revolution that has bought about the whole "self-shooting, casting, editing, producer" in TV and the likes of RED are pushing more of the cinematography work into post as well. I expect that the end result will be cheaper and lower quality productions and less of a concern with such things as cinematography which is already very much a dying art, at least here in the UK.

 

love

 

Freya

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Dry your eyes - I'm much nicer about it here.

"As regards the pictures, the details of my non-gentle, non-forgiving opinion will have to wait until we've had one on test and looked at it both objectively and subjectively."

 

Mr Rhodes!!!

It's hardly surprising you're upsetting the Red afficionados with outrageous notions like that!!! It's ... like a slap in the face with a wet Skipjack Tuna....

Real cinematographers just ... know....

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Lots of people are getting really tired of negative shi* you two f**ks keep spewing out. Too bad that only people working in film or genuine students of film-making aren't the only ones that post here. No wonder this whole forum is fading out. The real DP's and occasional director here rarely ever bother to post. Why is that, I wonder?

 

I think it's a combination of being busy and the fact that a lot of people joined the RED revolution. It's very busy on RED user these days.

 

I also think the very ideas behind cinematography are in decline.

 

Taking a long break, again... (and likely buying an F55 for actual use when it comes out)

 

Definitely would like to hear about your experiences with it if you get one!!

 

Also VERY surprised there has been no discussion here about the global shutter here so far??

 

love

 

Freya

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It's very busy on RED user these days.

 

Freya

Only for the last couple of weeks, because Jim has been posting again. Reduser has been fairly quiet for some time too. While there is a higher post count than here, most of it is not terribly interesting.

I think there's a fair bit of what Phil said going on here: All the "Barstool Producers" are simply running out of excuses :P

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You know, I really don't want to call this all "exciting." it's almost a bit of a pain in the ass. With the turn arounds on these systems; as soon as you start to get proficient in one camera and set up for one main workflow, familiar enough with it to start pushing it towards interesting limits-- there's a new crazy, a new camera, and your back to square on. And while I'm all for choices, I feel it was almost easier when systems weren't to radically changed so quickly-- where you could know something like the "back of your hand."

 

It's fast moving but in a way that is a good thing!

Theres also definitely cameras that are out there that are fairly stable standards that have been around for a while. The Sony EX1/3 springs to mind, it's quite old now but still a respectable camera that gets plenty of use. The Arri Alexa is another I would think! I think the Alexa as a platform is going to be around for a while. The canon EOS cameras.

 

I think the trouble with things like the FS100/FS700 and even F3 to some extent, is that they are kind of a bit cobbled together. The FS700 for example has these little burst modes instead of being able to actually record at the high speeds. Sonys 4k cameras don't seem to really have a recording standard so far, when Sony can decide on a standard technology for that we will be getting somewhere.

 

The workflow mess has been ongoing for some time tho. I note the new version of Sony Vegas has finally decided to support Panasonics P2 format from how long ago?

 

love

 

Freya

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Only for the last couple of weeks, because Jim has been posting again. Reduser has been fairly quiet for some time too. While there is a higher post count than here, most of it is not terribly interesting.

 

Well it's probably going to be less interesting for you as AFAIK you havn't committed to a RED workflow or anything? Although to be fair there is a high whine factor on there right now. I would argue tho that it may not be interesting to you because you are more interested in cinematography that the latest r3d workflows and discussions about RED add-ons and camera rental options etc.

 

 

I think there's a fair bit of what Phil said going on here: All the "Barstool Producers" are simply running out of excuses :P

 

I think that may also be a factor, and the fact that people may not have the luxury in the present economy of making little tiny personal productions either.

 

I think the shift to digital cinema and all that entails is a bigger factor tho.

 

love

 

Freya

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It's not so much a question, Freya, of whether the cameras still work and make "sense," from our standpoint. But I feel ever since the DVX/HVX the choice of camera system on most productions has a lot more to do with hype -v- what actually logically makes sense to shoot on. And of course, this isn't 100% true, but it's true enough to be annoying. I had to sell off my own EX1 awhile ago because sadly no one wanted to use it anymore (thanks DSLR) despite the fact it still made amazing images. Alas, though, I know I can't change the way camera companies release product.

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It's not so much a question, Freya, of whether the cameras still work and make "sense," from our standpoint. But I feel ever since the DVX/HVX the choice of camera system on most productions has a lot more to do with hype -v- what actually logically makes sense to shoot on. And of course, this isn't 100% true, but it's true enough to be annoying. I had to sell off my own EX1 awhile ago because sadly no one wanted to use it anymore (thanks DSLR) despite the fact it still made amazing images. Alas, though, I know I can't change the way camera companies release product.

 

That's a shame, the EX1/EX3 is still somewhat popular over here although it's been eclipsed largely by the canon XF305 which has become the standard thing. You are of course right about the camera hype thing and it probably is something that really came about with the DVX to a great extent although there were the beginnings of it even as far back as the sony VX1000 and even before that to a lesser extent the whole Ikegami thing. I think it's the internet that has managed to magnify this effect over time however.

 

I really can't understand the DSLR thing tho so I very much sympathise. It seems like you are hobbling your production with few real plus points beyond shallow depth of field. I heard recently that small companies were hiring DSLR's to shoot interviews and the like, although I guess that makes more sense than shooting drama on the thing.

 

I'm afraid I think things will very much continue in this way until we reach 8k cameras, and even then there will probably be the new trendy camera. It's the nature of digital technology to change rapidly. You are lucky to be stateside where film is still a straightforward do-able option! Make the most of it!

 

love

 

Freya

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Oh I do my dear. I'm thrilled that so far I've had chance and demand enough to run through some 35 and 16mm along with the vast swaths of DSLR stuff. I can understand DSLR for some projects-- it's fits in where that whole lens adapter thing left off (talk about a business just decimated) low budget stuff, BYOG (bring your own gear) type shoots, as well as those situations where you need a disposable camera system-- quite literally.

I do think it was the internet which exacerbated the problem. Not only in the marketing, in the quick fetching of "information," and I use that term loosely, but also inasmuch as many of the evaluations we (and producers) are making of camera systems is now down second hand off of images we see on vimeo, or youtube or the like. I can't really recall the last time a producer has had a conversation with me where they didn't already have a camera in mind and this is not due to any type of experience they may have had with it, but rather what they have read online.

 

And now, I am so far afield on this topic, I should stop now, and get back to these cameras.

I would love to see prices on this stuff, as well a some more info on their batts. Especially how many cycles they're good for. I know from my macbook that Lion batts can be a bit of a pain. Also, I am curious how these new formats are going to interface not just in the newer NLEs but in my homely FCP 6 and Avid systems here. I really wish everyone could just give me a DNXHD internal option, or ProRes, but I know I'm just a dreamer who sometimes hates "RAW" as much as he relies upon it.

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I agree with Vince, all that matters is you can shoot with it and tell a good story. Cinematographers and directors didn't quarrel over the release of a new film camera or stock in the old days, they got on with the job and started shooting with what worked best. If they couldn't afford the best camera, so be it, they shot with whatever they could afford. They still told fantastic stories, there's a huge list of films shot on cheaper, far less affordable gear. There's also plenty shot on the best gear around that aren't worth the time of day.

 

They didn't have to keep up with a new system every two years, but digital is a fast evolving technology and it continues to advance itself, so that's the price we have to pay. Besides that, there's very little to complain about, this looks like the camera that takes the best of a lot of worlds and puts it into one package.

 

These formats will not stop us from getting a story out for people to see, we can always take the footage to intermediates. And no one's forcing you to use the camera or the format, if you don't like it, then don't use it. There's plenty of other options out there.

 

Cameras allow us to be creative, we owe back to shoot something worthwhile instead of worry about the spec sheets.

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I agree with Vince, all that matters is you can shoot with it and tell a good story.

 

Not everything is about some narrative. That's a bit of a tired meme.

 

Cinematographers and directors didn't quarrel over the release of a new film camera or stock in the old days, they got on with the job and started shooting with what worked best. If they couldn't afford the best camera, so be it, they shot with whatever they could afford. They still told fantastic stories, there's a huge list of films shot on cheaper, far less affordable gear. There's also plenty shot on the best gear around that aren't worth the time of day.

 

I don't think anyone is having a quarrel over the matter, in fact there seems to be much agreement on it all really. People are just discussing what they like or don't like about it which I think is a good thing.

 

The cost of the equipment hasn't really come into the discussion much so far, so whether someone can afford it or not has not really been an issue.

 

Cameras allow us to be creative, we owe back to shoot something worthwhile instead of worry about the spec sheets.

 

 

I don't think people are worrying about the spec sheets, they are more concerned with staying on top of the technology or what choices to make. Large changes in workflow are important because they affect peoples ability to continue to work and changes they might have to make, so for some people these are important considerations.

 

There's actually been little talk of the cameras specs (I already mentioned theres been no discussion about the global shutter on the F55), most of the discussion here has been about workflow.

 

I wonder if you were thinking of another thread or something?

 

love

 

Freya

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Oh I do my dear. I'm thrilled that so far I've had chance and demand enough to run through some 35 and 16mm along with the vast swaths of DSLR stuff. I can understand DSLR for some projects-- it's fits in where that whole lens adapter thing left off (talk about a business just decimated) low budget stuff, BYOG (bring your own gear) type shoots, as well as those situations where you need a disposable camera system-- quite literally.

 

...and low budget music videos, where most of the problems that DSLR's face are not as big of an issue! :)

 

love

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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Not everything is about some narrative. That's a bit of a tired meme.

 

 

 

I don't think anyone is having a quarrel over the matter, in fact there seems to be much agreement on it all really. People are just discussing what they like or don't like about it which I think is a good thing.

 

The cost of the equipment hasn't really come into the discussion much so far, so whether someone can afford it or not has not really been an issue.

 

 

 

 

I don't think people are worrying about the spec sheets, they are more concerned with staying on top of the technology or what choices to make. Large changes in workflow are important because they affect peoples ability to continue to work and changes they might have to make, so for some people these are important considerations.

 

There's actually been little talk of the cameras specs (I already mentioned theres been no discussion about the global shutter on the F55), most of the discussion here has been about workflow.

 

I wonder if you were thinking of another thread or something?

 

love

 

Freya

I'm talking about the format specs which we are discussing, not the camera specs itself, but it gets me on the current crop of 'web filmmakers' that complain and whine about the choices of gear that we have more than they actually go out and get something done with it. We currently have some of the cheapest and most affordable gear around and yet people are still complaining? It's always about something not being good enough rather than actually making something.

 

Why whine about a format that is completely untested and we don't fully understand? All the digital formats we currently have are not the be all and end all, but that doesn't really mean you can't go out and start shooting with them which is the point of what I'm saying. I don't think preservation is much of a big deal for a lot of us here because most of us aren't making cinematic history.

 

And the story is everything, it's not a tired meme, everything comes back to the narrative, even if it's a broken one or pretty pictures, you're still trying to tell someone something and that's what it's all about. That's why we choose particular formats because perhaps sometimes a super crisp 4K image isn't what the story needs.

 

All I'm saying is there's little reason to get into this much complaint when you can simply make something and see how the camera fares. It's just all theoretical until so.

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Some people will complain about anything. They even complain when it's free, which does happen with the free version of Lightworks; all they have to do is transcode using free converter software in that case. There are more options around now than there has ever been, unfortunately, the hard bit is actually making the films, not the gear.

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And the story is everything, it's not a tired meme, everything comes back to the narrative, even if it's a broken one or pretty pictures, you're still trying to tell someone something and that's what it's all about. That's why we choose particular formats because perhaps sometimes a super crisp 4K image isn't what the story needs.

 

No it really is a tired meme that is repeated over and over and it's nonsense.

 

Not everything does come back to narrative. Some films are not narrative films.

 

...and yes you might choose different formats because that is what the story might need or even what the film/video might need but that is very different from saying that the camera didn't matter and you could just shoot on anything because it was all about the story. So maybe it does matter a bit more than whether "you can shoot with it".

 

I'd also point out that this is a cinematography forum. That's why it is called cinematography.com so that is why people are discussing issues around cinematography. It's a bit strange to come on a cinematography forum and tell everyone that the only thing that matters is the story. For you it may be all about the story, but if so then why are you hanging out on a cinematography forum complaining. Obviously the people here care about the cinematography and don't think the story is the only thing that matters (I would hope!)

 

love

 

Freya

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We currently have some of the cheapest and most affordable gear around and yet people are still complaining? It's always about something not being good enough rather than actually making something.

 

However nobody in this thread is discussing the price of the camera and how affordable it is and complaining about that. Nobody is talking about something not being good enough. You either read a different thread, imagined these things were said, or just thought you would throw it in there for no real reason.

 

Why whine about a format that is completely untested and we don't fully understand? All the digital formats we currently have are not the be all and end all, but that doesn't really mean you can't go out and start shooting with them which is the point of what I'm saying. I don't think preservation is much of a big deal for a lot of us here because most of us aren't making cinematic history.

 

The codec is an MPEG-4 codec, so most of us have probably tried it and have a good understanding of it. It is indeed wrapped up in a new wrapper that is indeed untested and unlikely to be supported by any software out there at present. You can of course go out and shoot with the camera anyway, but you might have a lot of trouble when it comes to editing it. Hopefully it will be easy to transcode into something more useful.

 

Nobody was talking about preservation. I'm not sure why you have just thrown that into the mix, or what it has to do with the F5 or F55 in particular?

 

All I'm saying is there's little reason to get into this much complaint when you can simply make something and see how the camera fares. It's just all theoretical until so.

 

Nobody was especially complaining. They were having a discussion about a camera and what they liked and disliked about it, and why not? It was actually you that started complaining, about a bunch of stuff that isn't in this thread at all.

 

love

 

Freya

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