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Details Revealed About Possible New Sony F5 and F55 Digital Cinema Cameras, and 4K Recorder

10.26.12 @ 6:52PM Tags : , , , , , , , ,

We already discussed XAVC, which will likely be a new codec that Sony will be introducing when they announce new cameras on October 30th, but now it seems the details for their upcoming cameras have been outed. Nothing is concrete until the cameras are released (of course), but Matt Ryan on the REDUser forum reportedly attended a Sony Demo Focus Group where the new F5 and F55 cameras, as well as a 4K recorder, were all introduced. He not only mentions many of the specs, but the current pricing information as well. Read on for more details.

Here’s what Matt said (bold is my emphasis):

The New sony camera is the F5 ($22-$25,000 range)!

They are skipping the 4 model number and going to 5…They are aiming for the C300/500/Scarlet market with this.

Compression Schemes:

50 Mbps XDCam @ 422
80 Mbps XAVCHD @ 422
120 Mbps iframe compressed not XD Cam
220 Mbps “SR” @ 422 (only on new “SxS Raw+” Memory cards…. these are new!)

You can only record the full 4k frame with the R5 SR Recorder, otherwise you will record windowed footage.


120 frames per second in HD (1080), codec: XAVCHD

No on board 4K. Must use R5 recorder using a NEW type of memory card to record 4K and/or RAW.

R5 Recorder Suggested Price at the moment is $19,000! Not to mention the recording media. May change before the release.


There is also an F55 4K camera coming too, and that is what Sony is calling the direct competitor to the Epic. They think the Epic is way behind the F65…Seriously…

They will also be announcing a new set of lenses much better than their previous ones and at a t2.0 (set of 6 made by a famous lens company exclusively for Sony)…

He also went on to say this later:

I was at the demo, I’m telling you what the specs and approximate pricing was as it has not been officially set yet. This is how Sony operates in regards to pricing…I was at the Sony Hands on Demo focus group….

So this is big news, and it means my original could be pretty close to the mark in terms of what I thought would be introduced. I thought 50mbps was a minimum on this camera, and that it would not be sold for anything less than $20K. I also think the other possible codecs make this a killer option. Even though you would need high-performance SxS cards, having 220mbps would ideally make an external recorder unnecessary, so unless you need RAW (which the SCARLET has for a slightly lower price), this is the best compressed recording you’ll get at this sensor size.

Of course, not all of these details are final, as Matt says, so we’ll still have to wait for the official release, but it does seem to indicate that Sony would like to crush both Canon and RED if they can. I think if their 4K recorder is anything over $5,000 (which it very well could be), not many FS700 users are going to jump on it. Spending the price of your camera once again just to get 4K probably doesn’t make sense for most users, unless it’s a future purchase way down the line to keep the camera relevant. It would, however, make sense as a rental, because you could keep using 1080p for most of your needs, and when you really need 4K, you’ve got the option. I think this makes it a bit more flexible compared to Canon’s options, but those Canon cameras definitely have size on their side.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this F55 camera, and how this slots in under the price of the F65 (which is close to $100,000 for a full package). They can’t make that camera too good, so it likely would not be oversampling to get down to a true 4K, but if they think the EPIC is way behind the F65, then you can expect that the F55 would do at least 60fps at 4K, if not higher. The other big question remaining is how this recorder will compress footage. I can’t imaging that they would charge so much money for a recorder that simply recorded uncompressed, and it’s likely that it will use a similar codec to the one used on the high-end F65.

What do you guys think? Will the F5 take away potential sales of the RED SCARLET, or do you think needing an external recorder will make many forgo RAW altogether? What about taking sales away from the C500? What do you guys think the specs will be on the F55 camera — will it compare to the RED EPIC?

Let us know in the comments below.

Link: Worth Competitor for the EPIC?? — REDUser Forum

[via Sony Alpha Rumors]


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  • This F5 camera looks like it falls into the uncanny valley spec-wise. Not as fast HFR as even the FS700 (though that’s just 10 second burst), not cheap enough to own but not sexy enough to rent. It might have a truly great image of course, a baby F65 ideally, but it doesn’t differentiate from RED enough because it still uses proprietary media and costly add-ons. Yet it doesn’t have the RED fanbase.

    I thought Sony would be desperate enough to really shake things up (like RED did initially, and BMD just tried to) but they are just plodding along it looks. Canon isn’t losing sleep over this and I don’t think RED or ARRI will either.

    • I think BMD not only tried, but did shake things up, with more shaking to come.

      • Agree BLACK MAGIC CINEMA CAMERA name/specs/price alone shook things up, even though its only 3 in the “wild”. Right there is no reason not to buy an BMC , unless RED shakes things up with a price drop. My only concern with BLACK MAGIC is inventory and support. It means nothing to me to ship cameras out, but not have a decent support system to replace possible bad or messed up cameras. Lets say a production company purchases 5 camereas and get a bad batch, waiting 5-6 weeks is unacceptble support, but i think they will get it toghether and dont mind the small delay .

    • “Red fanbase” ?

      Massive “LOL”.

      • I think the people who hate RED will likely hate this camera too, for similar reasons. No?

        RED also has the promise of an upgrade path which is unique. And RED has Jannard the iconoclast. Sony has no personality. They didn’t even name the people they sent to the Zacuto shootout. They are ghosts.

      • I’m not sure what the massive LOL is about. Is that sarcasm? I don’t own a red but I’ve worked with them and some of its competitors. There’s quality in all cameras, but there’s no denying there’s a large red fan base or following. Also the upgradeability factor is a huge advantage. If the dragon upgrade does what it’s supposed to do and fixes some of the noise issues with the Scarlett at higher isos, I may soon also become a red owner and huge “fan”

        • Red is one of the first “professional” maker of cinema equipment with something like a fan base, and I`m quite sure that the competitors don`t have one because of the negative aspects it brings with it. Just look at the vast majority of the fanboys…sorry, fan base: most are just amateurs or people with lower end production companies doing corporate work and stuff like this. Those who are not, don`t belong to the fan base, people like James Cameron who not only ordered a heap of Epics but also the same amount of Alexa M cameras. And we have to ask one big question: What happens, when Jannard drops out of the company? He`s the sole driving force and financer of this whole enterprise.

    • Then you got Sony fanbase

  • These cameras sound great. Sony is on fire in the camera world. But I have a question: Do you think the 240fps from the FS700 could transfer over to the F5 and/or the F55. I don’t see why they couldn’t do that.

  • yeah needing a recorder to accomplish 4K is total bull in my book.

    F3 did well cause u could get Alexa like images with S-Log at a much cheaper price than an Alexa. $13k + $6K= Under $25k compared to $80K Alexa.

    F5 just looks like a waste of time when you can rent a Scarlet for way cheap. I’ve seen kids rent crappy but working Scarlet kits for $250/Day. Most shooters know someone with a Red who can usually break deals.

    By the time you buy an F5 then decide to go 4K cause u gotta buy a POS R5 recorder what does that set you back? $35-$30k? By then I’ll be upgrading my Scarlet-X to Drangon Sensor and 6K ASIC chips for much less than $20k.

    sorry sony but u can bite me

    • Pretty much this. In a post BMCC and Scarlet world these speculated specs and prices seem a bit lacking. As does the 4k external recorder especially if it will be using proprietary (and therefore quite expensive) media. It seems like a strange move on behalf of Sony, especially following the FS700,

  • Before you continue to complain can we hear the rest of the story like image quality maybe

  • Why wouldn’t the F5/F55 not work with the Ki Pro Quad 4k recorder?

  • As long as the competition hasn’t come up with internal or super compact 4K RAW recorder, REDs are safe.

  • good question Carl. im sure sony wont allow some stuff
    but if these prices are true come next week, they have just shot themselves in the foot. there is no way this can compete with RED scarlet or Epic price wise. im sure the images will be fantastic and ALL these new cameras images are, even the DSLR’s but these days price is the name of the game

  • i think it comes down to price. There are so many great camera choices out there, people who buy cameras need them to be affordable so they can make money shooting or they need them for there personal projects. If i was a indie filmmaker with a very small budget, but had money to spend on a camera I would go with the black magic camera or a 7D. Not because I love those cameras, those are the one I can afford. If I was a small production company, I would want to know what my final cost be with all accessories.

  • I’m sure this camera will be great but even IF the external recorder were $10,000 it still would be pricey to record in RAW. If this price is real then hello C500+Ki Pro. For me, If this camera costs more to record in RAW than the C500 costs to record in RAW, then the F5 is not really a sensible option(for me personally). I think it’s pretty safe to say that the C500+Ki Pro will give you an incredibly acceptable large sensor image at a sensible footprint. (If this F5 info is correct) The only way this camera will be able to compete is in a price war.

  • I was interested to see if a camera was going to fall in between the C300 and the C500, even if it wasn’t from Canon, and I gotta say, this seems awesome.

    Then again, we shouldn’t judge a camera by specs alone….

  • I guess Canons 1DC at $13k isn’t sounding too bad anymore. I previously thought that price was too much for a DSLR but I’m not sure anymore.

  • David Bailey on 10.26.12 @ 11:47PM

    RED just announced they are going to lower the price of epic bodies Oct 31

    • yup these camera wars are getting very gritty.

      good thing the consumer wins =)

      I’m sure these cameras will be great but it seems like if someone has over $15k to invest they go RED. If your gonna be an owner operator it seems to be the right choice. I know several rental shops including Panavision are sub-renting peoples cameras, they can’t even keep up with the camera wars so imagine small rental houses and consumers. It works for the owner operator since no paperwork or taxes need to be done and business dont have to be investing every 6 months in new gear. The ideal market is $3000 for a camera, many people are sour to the BMC due to sensor size…it’s just a matter of time really.

      F5 Body – $22k
      R5 Recorder- $19k___________$41k

      C500 Body – $26k
      Pro Ki Recorder – $4K________$30k

      Pro Collection – _____________$25K

      in this economy even $5K is asking too much for a body. I’m still shocked at how many 5D Mkii and 7D’s canon sold they killed it.

      they’ll still sell, theres a sony fan base not to mention broadcast

  • insane pricing. I know producers who will prefer renting Sony to RED, but not that many.

  • Id be skeptical if this was the actual street price – for all we know it may be you can get it for $17k which is still cheaper that the F3 + slog price at launch. Sure $17k still isn’t cheap – but show me the camera able to give you a continuous 120fps at 1080/422 for under 20k?

    Reds price cut announcement is interesting though…if its significant then all of a sudden the F5 / C500 may be in a spot of bother, or at least up for a serious battle.

    What would REALLY shake things up is a BMCC v2 – S35 3k+ rez recording cineformRAW up to 60fps for under $10k. Where do I sing up for that camera ;-)

    • Red is now facing the bad part of being cheap – they`re competing with all sub-Alexa priced cameras, while on the upper end Arri seems to be extremely comfortable with their higher price point, just like Sony`s F65. Additionally they`re still fighting with their bad reputation regarding reliability – I had to chuckle when I read the quote on the Arri website: “Not having the budget for a backup body and being so far away was a major factor in our decision to go with ALEXA.” …who could this be aimed at…

  • It´s nice to see that more camera companies are jumping on the 4K bandwaggon. But…

    4K resolution by itself does not mean much. Look at the so called 1080 resolution of the 5D mark III, D800 Sony Alpha 99 etc. Effectively they are much closer to 720P actually. (test it, you’ll see)

    These camera’s produce rather fuzzy video I find. (with the exception of the GH2) I also seriously wonder what the Sony FS-700 will bring in 4K terms. What good are 4K by 2K pixels when the effective resolution turns out be 1080 or less?

    If one must have 4K, in that case it would (technically speaking) make more sense to get a camera that does true and pristine 1080 and then upscale it in software to 4K. Of course having RAW and a large sensor would then be very nice to have as well.

    my two cents,

    • I’m with you cameras should all have a “Resolvable Pixels” spec based on scientific measurement instead of just a format’s theoretical resolution. They should also have measured and delivered dynamic range specs, gamut specs, etc.

      Specs aren’t everything certainly but they are worth something and it’s misleading as you rightly point out to quote a format (e.g. 4K or 12 bit etc.) but sell a product that falls well short of the format maximum. Lawsuits against video monitor companies in the 90′s, when they were selling “17 inch monitors!” that only had 14 inches of viewable area in XGA resolution forced the manufacturers to list the actual specs and we should do so for camera makers as well.

    • The Sony F3 gives that true HD and nice dynamic range with S-Log. I don’t think it is possible to upscale to 4K. But what is interesting is that when I play a DVD (720p or less), when played back through my Sony Blu-Ray player and Panasonic plasma TV, it is damned hard to tell the difference between it after up-converting and a Blu-ray disc – using Ben-Hur as the test. Maybe you are right, someone will figure out how to upconvert HD (blue-ray) to UHD, so what is the point of shooting in 4K? Who knows what will happen.

      But I now know that 12 bit, pristine HD is mandatory as the BMC vs Canon 5Mk3 proved in a recent post on this site. Best bang for the buck. That F3 sure looks fantastic, ancient codec and all!

      Take 5

  • I tried to read the RED userforum about price change, but could not just take it… The whole place full morons, who are licking Jannards ass.

    Real reason RED is cutting the price IS THAT THEY ARE SCARED OF SONY.

    RED does not have any real r&d resources, Sony has one of the biggest in the industry. Sony could easily crush RED / Canon / anyone when comes to price-performance -ratio. It is just matter of company policy.

    RED has simply cheated their users like no other company in business. They keep telling how cheap their 4K-cameras are compared to competition (Alexa, F65, C500).

    Well, how much the marginal for that RED SSD memory is ? Similar marginals (10:1 ratio, that is) than drug business.

    Same thing with the RED Rocket card, they do not want to support raw handling wth GPU, because then they could not sell the overpriced Rockets. Or the case of Wooden Camera equipment, who made great stuff for RED cameras. Jannard did not like that, because it had too good value…

    • Why would they be scared of Sony? Sony’s F65 is being crushed by Alexa and Epic.

      And you’re seriously going to bash Red for media cost? Might want to take a look at Sony’s own SxS cards, which cost the same as Red’s SSDs…

      • The last I heard was that the F65 was back ordered by heavy demand. Being crushed? Not quite!! There are more Alexa’s and RED’s out there because they have been in the market longer. These Sony’s, if you know how to use them are incredible cameras. It takes training and talent to get the most out of it.

        Take 5

    • Cheated their customers like no one else in business? Honestly, once RED is mentioned, peoples prejudices kick in and this place dumbs down dramatically. It’s raining great cameras. And things are only getting better. We should be nothing but overjoyed at most news we get these days, but instead so many people just use it as an opportunity to belittle this and bemoan that. Unbelievably tiresome to say the least.

  • Wish Sony price the camera competitively. With C500 atleast I can still manage the funds to get it next year. But the Sony exclusive media policy is going to kill it. Canon wisely didn’t get into that mess and allowed companies to build and create a ecosystem of various accessories that will appeal to many people. Paying 19k USD for the recorder is insane.

    The 4k of the 1DC has got incredible details. So the competition is going to be very tough and it is good for us. Enjoy.

  • Sony is a bit dissapointing company, they announce so much and they give less (see what happened with A55), F55 could be a killer camera if they sell it for 5000$, for that price I ll buy it!

  • 4K resolution and all is good but for indie narrative work I’m more curious to see the dynamic range of the new F5. So far the F3 had the best DR ( with S-Log) for under 50K.

  • Has anyone else seen the Taylor Swift ‘first music video in 4k!’ ad playing in front of films in the LA area? It looks AWFUL. Shot on F65. There’s a lot of use of the words ‘true 4K’ in the fine print. Ludicrous on many levels.
    And it wasn’t the projector – the film after it looked gorgeous (BARCO 4k projector).

  • Over $5K for an external recorder is complete and utter joke…mark my word in the future if you don’t follow the same belief we are going to be saying “Remember when Sony and Arri screwed us over by requiring over priced external recorders to actually get what we paid for instead of just SSDs?” I think Sony is probably more guilty of it but I may be biased because I like Arri and Arri hasn’t produced a million randomly named cameras like the F534853473…One thing I like about RED is I don’t get confused with models too…anyways when your dropping $25K on a camera internal 4K recording should be standard or at least the decency to not piss on us by charging a large lump of cash for something as basic as an external recorder….by does an external recorder cost as much as a few of the machines I cut video on!

  • ok 4K pixels ≠ 4K lines of actual resolution. it takes one white and one black pixel to make a line… and techincally one more white pixel. therefore 4K pixels is more like 2K of actual resolution… which still looks great. This is why in the F65 sony built a 8K pixels chip and really isn’t down sampleing it to 4K, but more like just merging pixels. either way plenty of raw pixel data to work with. a $20K camera in the current market is generally insane. unless you live and work A LOT in a major market, you can’ t pay it off fast enough. then of course there is the simple issue of being PROFITABLE as a shooter. strange concept, I know. you should put 50% of your day rate in an envelope and send it to Sony for the next couple of years. I think NOT.

    Sony is again being arrogant. what else is new. they they think because they put their name on it people will buy it at any price… guess again. my bet is they cut the scarlet price to about $8K… or bundle a decent amount of SSD storage or something with it making a shootable package lower.

  • $19,000 is WAY off. So before you get upset with Sony just wait for the real numbers.

  • I just saw the BMC video (on this newsletter) explaining the advantage of 12 bit over 8 bit. WOW! The curtains suddenly opened. I had no idea. I own an FS100 and 5Dmk2. The dynamic range is always a challenge, the Sony far far better, but this 12 bit stuff was huge. Now I understand why it is so important and why the media output can be so large and it is worth it. Now add 4K and the output is stupidly large. That means reliable recording of mega amounts. Can other recorders do that to the new codec? (Give them time). But in the meantime, when you have the new camera to use that tool, you need the recorder means of large data.

    The comparison of the BMC and the Canon 5Dmk3 was so dramatic, that I can hardly see why anyone serious enough would buy a Canon for video – 8 bit don’t work, image is too soft, dynamic range is not so good, qualtiy just is not up to video speed of the BMC, although my FS100 is far superior to the Canon- except that elusive dynamic range at 12 bit. So what is the solution. Sony had to come up with something to address the demands from many.

    These new cameras of Sony have been designed to get that 12+ stops ( I would assume), 4k and probably 12 bit rates to get it – (haven’t seen anywhere what it is, but at that price, it has to be). But here is the big one: you get reliability, support, backing and technology from the largest, probably best electronics company in the world of smart men and women who know what the heck they are doing – the experts in the field who know the business well. Expertise comes with a price and I for one am prepared to hang around expertise because these guys are going to help me make the best I can and stand behind me if the chips are down (not so far).

    And for that comfort, it comes with cheap insurance of superb performance with huge input from those on the field. To me it is worth the money. And that is the reason why major studios will not even blink an eye to paying extra money for that reliability. It costs far too much when things crap out with cheaper equipment.

    If your production is over a .5M, this camera is cheap. For all the tremendous work you do to make a good production, you want to deliver images that pop out and the audience says WOW! That is worth everything.

    Take 5