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.