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October 30, 2012

What Will the Sony F5/F55 Digital Cinema Cameras and 4K RAW Recorder Cost You?

Sony announced a few new cameras mere hours ago, but they've been rather vague on the details regarding pricing. The F5 will record 2K/1080p maximum internally and 4K RAW externally, while the F55 will record 4K compressed maximum internally, and 4K RAW externally with higher frame rates than the F5 -- as well as feature a global shutter to completely eliminate rolling shutter artifacts. Click through for some pure speculation on where Sony might be headed with their pricing.

Here are the rumors I believe are closest to the final pricing (first two courtesy of Philip Bloom):

  • Sony F5 (2K compressed internally): $18,000
  • Sony F55 (4K compressed internally): $50,000
  • AXS-R5 4K RAW Recorder: $10,000

Sony has announced an actual price for this module that allows other modules (like the 4K recorder), to attach to the FS700:

  • HXR-IFR5 Module for FS700: $2,000

We should keep in mind that these prices are speculation and/or rumors, and there's a good chance that they may be higher or lower depending on the final package. Many have talked about the price being much lower for both, but Sony has very clearly stated that they will still sell the F3 alongside the other cameras, which makes me think that at least as far as the F5 is concerned, the price won't vary too far from what we're speculating about here.

Sony has not decided on much of anything yet (except the major hardware designs), so we're going to still be in the dark for some time, likely until at least the end of November where Sony has another announcement planned. Wait...what? Yes, Sony is announcing that they will be having another announcement about the announcement we had this morning. Confused yet?

Either way, what will this mean for your options if the prices hold true? Both the F5 and the F55 record internally to compressed formats, but only the F55 can do 4K. Neither of them can do RAW until you add on the AXS-R5 recorder. Once you do add the recorder, though, you won't be shooting in uncompressed RAW like the Canon C500, but instead will get about a 3.6:1 ratio similar to the F65.

So to get a 4K (or 2K) RAW shooting package, where does that leave you?

  • Sony FS700: $20,000
  • Sony F5: $25-$30,000
  • Sony F55: $45,000-$60,000

If those prices hold true, it means the FS700 will likely stay a 1080p camera for most users. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just don't see too many people shelling out more than the price they already paid for the camera just to have the ability to shoot 4K RAW. For most people, the F5 might actually make a lot more sense even without RAW, because it's a far more versatile camera. While it's quite a jump in price, the internal codec options are exceptional, and really the only thing you're missing are extremely high frame rates, and of course 4K internally.

We always talk about price and about what people can afford, but what about renting? If Sony can hit those prices on the F55 (or even lower), it's going to fly off the shelves. The F65 has been in low demand for many reasons, but a camera with all of the compressed options (and internal compressed 4K) like the F55 makes a lot of sense to folks who are shooting TV or other types of projects that don't need or want RAW. I don't know if it will replace the Alexa as camera of choice (highly doubtful), but the specs are incredible, and if the images are pleasing, the cost to own might not even be a consideration for many, as they will be renting anyway.

The real question will be, if these prices are slightly lower, where will you pull the trigger? If, for example, the recorder was only $5,000, that would put a 4K RAW FS700 around $15,000, right in RED SCARLET territory (before a possible price drop on Thursday of course). I think that makes it an entirely new consideration for those who are considering the SCARLET as a camera purchase but are looking in the $10K to $20K range. Another consideration could be if Sony actually was able to get the price of the F5 down to around $16,000 or $17,000. If the recorder was only about $5K, a pretty ridiculous camera package could be had for around $20K.

Again, complete speculation, but I think Sony is really trying to hit Canon and RED where it hurts, and the real battle is going to take place in the $25-$35K range. What will be RED's response to Sony's announcements? We've already talked about what they might do in another day when they announce price cuts, but we won't know the full extent until that actually happens.

What do you guys think? At which prices would you pull the trigger for which camera? Have you heard drastically different price numbers, if so, feel free to share them below.

Links:

[via FDTimes]

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119 Comments

Sadly, I think Philip is off. Based on my experience with Sony pricing...the F5 will be closer to $25K. The recorder is overpriced at 10K, I'm thinking more like $8K. $7995...lol. The 4K module for the FS700 will be more like $2995 or $3495 I think. Love to be pleasantly surprised though.

What is with the delay in annoucing prices though? Are they waiting to see what RED announces? If so, that's a huge hat tip to RED from Sony. Didn't think I'd see that...

October 30, 2012

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sean

The adapter module is actually the only thing they've announced a price on, and that will be $2,000 - of course subject to change, but I feel like it wouldn't make much sense to cost more.

All three cameras will use the same recorder to do 4K.

October 30, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

ah! didn't see that...

My tip of the hat comment was in reference to Sony's move as being a public display that they take RED serious. Which is uncharacteristic of Sony. When they decided to take on Canon and Nikon, they were quite dismissive of those behemoth companies.

Sony has been a top player in the high end video world for a while...longer than RED. This is the first time I've seen them "react" to something RED is doing. That's all.

October 30, 2012

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sean

Are you kidding? I think either people have forgotten or were never aware of how much a CineAlta camera from Sony cost before RED came along. You couldn't get one for less than $150K. It only made sense for rental houses to buy them because they were prohibitively expensive. The notion of OWNING a high end digital cinema camera, let alone one that was 4K and shot RAW, is RED's doing. Like them or not, everyone owes them for that.

The only reason Sony has a 4K+ camera now and not 1080p still is a reaction to RED. The F65 coming in at a base $65K and not $265K is because of RED (and Alexa, which also has Epic influenced pricing). The only reason there's a "modular" FS100 with a S35 sized sensor (meant to best the 2/3" sensor in Scarlet, which would've been a fraction of the cost of the F23) is a reaction to the initial Scarlet announcement. Yes, Scarlet ended up being different and costing more, but that's not the point. Canon, Panasonic and Sony all reacted to what the presence of Scarlet would mean for their marketshare. It was so highly anticipated that the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera can still capitalize on a similar offering today.

I don't understand why people want to see RED fail so badly. They were instrumental in getting Sony to make something like the F5, which rivals their once flagship F35, for anywhere near $20K. As long as RED, or any other company, keeps making high performance, low cost cinema cameras, every camera maker will as well. They'll have to. Even if you hate RED products, you should be cheering them on because they allow you to buy similar or better cameras from the manufacturers of your choice at more affordable prices.

Before you cry RED fanboy, the same would be true if Panasonic, Canon or Blackmagic Design did what RED did. But, that's not how it happened. End sermon.

October 30, 2012

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Brian

I don't like RED way of doing business but you're right about their positive influence on the democratization of high end cameras.

October 30, 2012

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That DID feel really fanboy-ish Brian! I never said anything bad about RED, so I don't know why you're taking such offense. You're at 11 and we need you down around a 7! ;)

The original nature of my post was that Sony's corporate culture (in the past) was one of NOT recognizing their competition, because that in turn provides exposure and credibility to your competitor. It was not a slight against RED at all. So if indeed, they are delaying their pricing to see what RED does, it's a very public display of recognition that Sony considers RED their main competition. Not Arri, not Canon, etc.

I'm surprised at the public display, not the fact.

However, you are totally putting RED on a huge pedestal! RED certainly wasn't first to the 4K market, plus they were delayed and had several technical issues at launch.

Technology will always be advancing, 4K was coming and would become accessible (cheaper) overtime. Period. That's just how the world works. RED was definitely one of the catalysts that moved that ball forward at an early point, but the argument could also be made that they set the "digital" industry back with their problems.

Don't you remember the hollywood folks snickering about how their shit didn't work? "No thanks, I'll stick to film..." Those negative opinions were formed because of the way RED did business and their very public falling on their face. That was then (2007), this is now and RED seem to have solved all those early issues and make great technology today. However, to say that having a $20,000 F3 was only made possible because of RED, is rather (IMO) inaccurate.

However, that's your opinion and your welcome to it.

Bottom line is competition is good. Prices will continue to drop. Technology will continue to become more accessible. I have no doubt we'll all have 4K camera in our iPhone 7s xD

October 31, 2012

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sean

Sean, what do you mean you didn't say anything about RED? This is your quote: "This is the first time I’ve seen them “react” to something RED is doing." You do realize we can see your posts, right?

My response was not a defense of RED so much as it was intended to refute that statement. It's inaccurate. Sony has publicly acknowledged RED's influence by its actions - the products it subsequently released and their pricing. Saying they're only now acknowledging it ignores the fact that the significantly improved flagship F65 is 1/3 the price of the camera it replaced, the F35. They succumbed to market pressure. How else do you explain such a drastic price drop in one generation?

I never said RED was first with 4K. What I said was they were first with an AFFORDABLE 4K digital cinema camera, which drove everyone's price down. That's important to the very nature of this new announcement from Sony. So, yes, the affordable trend in new high performance cinema cameras can be traced back to RED. Otherwise, the F5 could cost 4x as much. More importantly, it might not have even been invented yet if Sony weren't pushed along and the notion of OWNING a camera that capable hadn't been introduced.

Now, $20K for the F5 is partly due to RED, partly to Canon, partly to Arri and whoever else throws their hat into the ring. But, it's a relatively affordable ring. 4K may have always been on the horizon but the distinction now is that it's not something that only rental houses and big productions would be concerned with and could afford.

That is RED's crowning achievement, despite their many missteps. We ALL won the day they released that very flawed camera. It's simply giving credit where credit is due.

October 31, 2012

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Brian

Sean, the third paragraph of my original post was not aimed at you or your comments. I can see how you may have thought they were and I could've made it clear they were not. It was just a good place to make a general statement aimed at anyone who felt like Sony had to crush RED, or any other smaller company, for that matter. Doing so would be bad for everyone involved.

I still think you're wrong about the Sony comment, however.

October 31, 2012

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Brian

The recorder will not cost $10000, cut that in half.

Andy

October 31, 2012

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Joe Marine: do you have link to this quote????

November 1, 2012

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Jordan

How do you figure that Sony holding off on announcing their prices is a tip of the hat to Red? The way I see it, it's more of a short-term ploy from Sony to see how they can best compete with Red in the future.

October 30, 2012

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Robert

I think you just answered you own question?...

October 30, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Hows The Movie coming along Koo

October 31, 2012

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Tj

I wonder if they'll throw us a bone with the F3.. Under 10k? Maybe drop the price on the FS 100?
The FS 100 is still a killer camera for low light despite it's low bitrate codec... It does it so well though that the
Clean hdmi out is nearly indistinguishable.. The F3 with S-Log has been praised by a lot of people as being about as close to an Alexa image as there is.. (Albeit, that was a while ago).. I'm perfectly cool with 1080p. You can still make a good movie in HD. There may be a market out there for high end cinema cameras with 16bit, raw, 4k, 783 stops of latitude, etc.. But it's a hell of a lot smaller than the one that can't afford it. I'd actually like to see Red do something simple like a 2k camera.. Doesn't need to be a transformer and break down into a hundred modular pieces. Just a badass little camera with some killer specs that's ready to make a movie out of the box. I hate to say BMC because i know everybody is tired of hearing it.... But damn. It is kind of the elephant in the room.. It's ready to go with an SSD and a lens. With a switronix external battery, 512gb ssd, it's still under $4000. The sensor's small though, so there's a market opportunity open for somebody..

October 31, 2012

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Jeremy

Koo took the money and is now living off it. He will not make the movie.

October 31, 2012

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Bob

Let me go check that bank account... hmmm, money still seems to be there. Actually there IS a bit less now as I had to pay taxes, but that's a post for another day (which I'm writing). Now let me go check your shame account... hmmm, strange. It seems you feel none?

October 31, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Obvious joke was not obvious lolll love you koo

October 31, 2012

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Bob

Hah, well plenty of people say stuff like that without kidding... there is no "tone" in the comments section after all!

October 31, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

It will be alot of determining unanswered factors to consider if this is a worthy price wise camera. First one would need to see how decent the internal 2k compression holds up on Big screen and with heavy post work. 2ND it still waits to be seen if one could use a third party external recorder setup or if its completely proprietary like REDS media. Red Raw is actually compressed contrary to what people believe it is not completely raw , so if the compressed 2k holds up well, then it may be worth of the 15-18k price tag, because it still is an amazing HD camera, but just a lil out of budget for most. The Compressed 2k results and price of media for internal 2k will be the "make or break" determining factors.

October 30, 2012

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Jay slocum

The Pro + SxS cards should not cost much more than existing SxS Pro cards. XAVC is an extremely good compression, beating out ProRes 422 HQ for sure.

Andy

October 31, 2012

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Beating out Proress ? The codec is a H.264 based codec no?

November 1, 2012

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Jordan

There's nothing wrong with H264, it's DCT compression like most other codecs out there. And It's actually a more efficient codec than most others, even ProRes and DNxHD. But we're used to almost exclusively low bitrate 8-bit 4:2:0 H264, which is pretty crappy looking in comparison. Sony's XAVC flavor of H264 is intraframe 100mbs 10-bit 4:2:2, so it should look pretty good (it sounds very similar to Panasonic's AVC-I which is also H264 intraframe 100mbs 10-bit 4:2:2).

November 1, 2012

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Gabe

Red better get use to being the price/performance leader kinda like amd is to intel.

October 30, 2012

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Who's the Intel then, Sony? Or Arri? Hahahahaha.

October 31, 2012

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Natt

Glad to see other companies catching up, some real competition. Really looking forward to REDs response, but they still seems the way to go for me, even as current prices stand. And prices are about to come down, plus an upgrade path.

October 30, 2012

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carlos

well, with those Sony prices, the black magic cinema camera (BMCC) has only become better positioned in the market for mid-priced systems. (BMCC camera being just 3000 USD).

Perhaps Black Magic can do a 4K camera next year, for say 6000 USD?

October 30, 2012

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Erwin (Netherlands)

Erwin. Right on. BMC is probably developing the 4K model or full sensor model right now. They know how to play the game. BM has their foot in the door and it will get wider for them. Cheers.

October 30, 2012

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Ron

skip the 4k and just make a bigger sensor camera. 2.5k is just fine. im sure many people would shell out 5 or 6k easily for a bigger sensor camera, with removable battery, xlr audio, and better firmware.

The more i think about it, seriously doubt that RED drops the price more than a thousand for scarlett, there is no reason to other than to once and for all shut arri and BMC but im sure price drop will be just for epics and not scarletts.

October 30, 2012

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Jay slocum

they know how to play the marketing game!

October 30, 2012

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gerald

I remember reading that BMD said the reason they didn't opt for larger, hi-res sensors was that it drove the price up significantly.

I have a feeling that with these price announcements, they may just see that they can make a big brother to the BMCC, and otherwise superior model to these two Sony cameras, and bring it in under the cost of the F5 with a recorder.

Competing with Scarlet prices will be the challenge, though.

October 30, 2012

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People are making major productions and have been with Red's and Arri's for a while.
If film is the defacto, the Epic & the Alexa are the golden eggs i guess for digital.. The edge on image
Preference, usually goes to the Alexa everytime though from what i've seen. It's not shooting 4k.. In fact, Skyfall was uprez'd to 4k.. I know it's personal preference, but i respect the guys that have 20-30 years on me doing cinematography.. If it's good enough for Martin Scorcese, Roger Deakins, and wins an Oscar at 1080p, i'm sure we'd get by without 4k..

October 31, 2012

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Jeremy

I'm with you, Jeremy. If those guys can make a movie with a 1080P camera, then so can we.

I think there is still a large hole in the camera landscape that will probably never be filled... a 1080P super 35 sensor, good dynamic range, good internal recording with a lens mount to accommodate most lenses priced for the budget filmmaker.
I suppose it would be nice to actually do, say 2.5K for a little wiggle room in post but, with this push to 4K, that in reality, very few of us need, I doubt that camera will ever be made. I've never worked with it but, from what I hear, 4K is a considerably heavier workload and requiring much more in hardware and storage.

If Roger Deakins is happy with 1080P, I really don't think I could bitch that it's not good enough for me.

October 31, 2012

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dixter

http://www.creativev...ony-pmw-f5.html ($19500)

http://www.creativev...ny-pmw-f55.html ($24500,00)

Still too high.

Prices cheaper in the US. Sony is the big boy yet playing follow the leader with the pricing?

October 30, 2012

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Ron

Sony is probably watching the reaction on various forums. BMC camera, digital Bolex and others can offer the quality sought. Sure the Sony camera is awesome but at what price? Technology changes quickly and a camera investment is a depreciating asset.

October 30, 2012

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Ron

@Ron you hit it on the head buddy, im sure sony is sitting back watiing for the reactions, now how big will it effect the final price is another question, but trust they are indeed listening.

October 30, 2012

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Jay slocum

All makes pretty good sense.
Sony's 4K tree: (categories not watertight)

F65 - features
F55 - features/major TV drama
F5 - smaller features/TV
F700 - features/general shooting, mainly at 1080.

F3 as legacy, still available.

I'm surprised at the RED rhetoric above - that list doesn't read like a company responding directly to any one company. However ARRIs one camera killed off the F35 and the S900 and DPs/ACs prefer it to the F65.
The global shutter will get the F55 work, but the pictures had better look a lot better than what we've seen from the F65. Also, as I've posted here before, Arri aren't sitting on their hands.

October 30, 2012

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marklondon

Alot better than the f65? Have you used the camera yet. It takes astounding pictures. Its flesh tones thanks to 16 bit are unparalleled. The reason it hasn't caught are: insanely large amounts of data; need to transcode as native codec isn't supported and requires a maxed out turbo system to offline; and its size. It's a pig.

But if it's pristine imaging you want, I think it has no equal in the digital world. I shoot with Alexa's all the time and start work on a series for Comedy Central this work. The decision to go with Alexa has as much to do with image as convenience, reliability, ease of use and workflow. Alexa has effectively crushed Red in both features and broadcast to the point where I use the Epic one day for every ten days on Alexa. The reason: convenience, reliability, ease of use and workflow. That all translates into money.

Recently did two back to back commercial campaigns: one on Alexa and other on Epic. Aside from the usual 15 minutes downtime for the Epic's black balance, transcoding, glitches and re-boots costs us much more than the difference in body rentals. The bigger the production, the less tolerant they are of anything gear related that eats into the most valuable commodity on set - time. Imagine you spend 100k by lunch. Your Epic cost you an extra half hour at the end of the day. What price would you put on that delay? 5000.00? The difference in camera body price is 400 or so. When the stakes are not as high, if it's 3d or requires alot of high speed, that's when you see Epics otherwise it's an Arri world, for now.

Sony's 16bit, global shutter, 4k/proxy recording and built in ND's could very well be a paradigm shift.

November 26, 2012

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I'm starting to hate bmc guys more and more, you guys are like prius drivers!

October 30, 2012

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Ryan

Ryan, u r so silly for that comment, but I admit I haven't laughed that hard since the hurricane began!

I about to make shirts and stickers saying just that "bmc fans are like prius drivers"

October 30, 2012

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tkal

October 31, 2012

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marklondon

Who needs the BMCC that badly that they would pay double?

October 31, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I don't know but the good news is that some people are getting their BMCC orders! :)

October 31, 2012

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Yeah way a dick move

October 31, 2012

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Steve

Probably the most vocal (and fanboyish) userbase for any camera, ever made. It's pretty much the GH2 cult but all grown up, slightly.

October 31, 2012

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john jeffreys

It's funny how they make you believe that you need 4K, the only reason I shoot 4k with Red is because there's no option to shoot 2k without having the huge crop. "Future proof" is just a gimmick they use to make you spend more for something it's a hassle to use, yes yes you can re-frame and stuff but honestly. I have few reasons to believe 4K is still far way as a output standard.
- we still have crappy compressions from internet video provider services and cable tvs, horrible images in HD.
- Visual effects are already very expensive in 2k output, in 4k it would put a lot of vfx studios out of service or the already expensive film production to be even more expensive. Please keep in mind most of the money film studios make is from vfx heavy movies.
- They are starting to make 4k TVs, but you mostly will be seeing upscaled stuff since no broadcaster is prepared for 4k output, maybe in few years? some of them are not even prepared for HD.

You want to buy a camera? look for a nice image that please you, if you UNDERSTAND about post production, color correction, etc get something with a good dynamic range, so you can get a lot more from the already nice image,you should be just fine with 2k for the next 5 years.

October 30, 2012

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Marcus

Sorry, have to disagree. I love editing 4k RAW. I prefer it to any other format, regardless that I'm usually outputting to 1920x1080.... For me, it's not about future-proofing at all, it's about the freedom of more resolution for framing, and more latitude for grading.

October 31, 2012

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Alexa has a 4k sensor and outputs 2K, so you still have the latitude, yes it's good to have more effective pixels in a camera's sensor, also I can understand people re framing footage in post, theres some benefits, I appreciate that, but having someone telling me I should be shooting 4K just because it's the future, I don't swallow. If I could, I'd buy an Alexa over any camera currently in the market. Soon or later Arri will have to jump to 4k as well so they stop selling units because of this premature resolution war.

October 31, 2012

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Marcus

The Alexa only has effective 2.8K pixels in ArriRAW. The sensor is somewhere around 3K-ish I believe, but it's definitely under 4K (not that this matters much as the Alexa outputs a beautiful image).

October 31, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Beautiful and soft like baby butt.

October 31, 2012

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Natt

Having only quickly flicked through the specs of the F55, I can't understand why someone wouldn't spend less money on an Epic, which looks to offer better specs across the board (or did I miss something?).

If the F5 comes in at that price, it's setting itself up next to the c500 once both are RAW equipped with outboard recorders (although still coming in cheaper).

RED is easily offering, pound for pound, the best value for money already - and they haven't even dropped their prices yet. Whilst I have a feeling that these Sony cameras might come in a bit cheaper than listed here because of that, I'm also aware that Sony has a very significant place within the broadcast industry as it is. A lot of production houses will prefer to work with Sony simply because of its name and the fact that every camera they've had before their next one has most likely been a Sony.

October 30, 2012

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