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Is Sony Announcing an F5 Digital Cinema Camera, 4K Recorder, or Both on October 30?

10.16.12 @ 8:36AM Tags : , , , , ,

Just before NAB this year, there were plenty of rumors that Sony would be introducing a higher-end Sony F3 with the potential for 4K. That camera, dubbed the F5 by many, never materialized, quite possibly because they wanted some space for their newly announced FS700, which took everything the FS100 already did, and added ND filters, slow motion, and a 4K upgrade path. Now it looks like Sony will be announcing a brand new camera on October 30th according to some recent Tweets and a Facebook posting.

This is the photo that was posted on the page:

Their wording is interesting, almost a mix between an Apple announcement and a RED announcement. It seems “ahead of schedule” is a play on the future being here now, but if this announcement day is just about 4K, and you’re RED, the future is already in the past, right…or something? It looks like Sony Europe has scheduled a webinar to talk about 4K projection (among other things):

So what’s really coming on this announcement day? There is no question it seems like a new camera, as the designation “TheNewF” would most likely refer to the F in their digital cinema cameras — like the FS100, FS700, F3, and F65. The F3 might still compare favorably to the Canon C300, but with the new Canon C500 4K camera being released in the next few months, Sony doesn’t really have anything that can match that quality under the F65 — and not too many people can afford to buy those.

I think we’ll see a Sony F5 announced slotted right above the F3, somewhere around $20,000, and capable of 12-bit 4K recording just like the Canon C500. The internal codec on this new camera has to be a minimum of 50mbps, but if they really wanted to catch Canon where it hurts, they would put a 100mbps 4:2:2 intraframe codec internally or higher into the camera. RAW takes up quite a bit of disk space, so having a good internal codec when you don’t need the advantages of RAW is helpful. Specs aren’t everything, of course, and you can do a lot with the 50mbps 8-bit codec inside the C300, but you could definitely push a better codec a lot harder in grading, pulling up shadows without any macro blocking and avoiding the artifacts that come from lots of motion within a frame.

If Sony does release this 4K capable F5 camera, how exactly will it record 4K? They’ve talked about a 4K recorder in the past, and I think that they will come up with a solution that will work with all of their future cameras for the next few years. The FS700 firmware upgrade could also be coming that day (though it could come sooner), and both that camera and the F5 would benefit from having a Sony approved recorder with Sony media, ensuring performance and consistency. If they want to price it competitively, it would likely be around $4-$6,000.

It’s also likely the F5 would share the same interchangeable PL mounting system (which I actually like), as opposed to the fixed system that Canon has chosen.  Either way we’ll know in two weeks what Sony has up their sleeve. You can sign up for that Sony Europe webinar by going to the link below.

What would you guys like to see in a Sony F5? Where should it be priced? How much do you think the recorder should cost, and do you think the firmware upgrade for the FS700 will be free?



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  • The “future” of the FS700 was the 4k upgrade, they didn’t plan on it being released yet, so It’s “ahead of schedule”,
    that would certainly make it a “New F” also. Just speculating.

  • They should release a full-frame 4k camcorder.

  • This is amazingly exciting. Sony has proven (unlike canon) that they are willing to release product innovations, case and point, high frame rates 4k raw fs700, and they have soooooooo much room between the fs700 and the f65 that they could jam pack the f5 with features and not a single f65 owner would be pissed.

    My predictions:

    50mbps 10 bit 4:2:2 codec internal
    14 stops of dynamic range
    Smaller body that you can hold in your hand
    4k RAW recording with external recording (I don’t think a sony 4k recorder will be under 10 grand otherwise it would price cut the SR-R1, which was pitched with the f3 but I don;t know how many people bit.)
    burst fire high frame rates

    If even the majority of these features arrive with the f5, I’m selling my scarlet.

    • Sweet! Let me know how much for your Scarlet package! ;-)

    • “50mbps 10 bit 4:2:2 codec internal”

      If you really need only that for a recording codec, just get yourself a Panasonic HPX-250 for around $5,000. and why wouldn’t you? After all, the Panny HPX-250 records 4:2:2 10-bit at 100Mbit/sec AVC-Intra. If all you are hoping from the new Sony F-whatever is a 50Mb/sec codec, the camera better have a price of around $3,000, well $4K tops.

  • internal recording of 4K on open media (SSD, a la BMCC) would be ideal if you ask me. That’s the one thing RED has wrong, their media is ridiculously expensive. If the F5 (or whatever) would record to any SSD, as long as it performed well enough, it would be s scoop from RED.

    Unfortunately, we’re talking about Sony…who basically invented proprietary storage media…so I seriously doubt it wold happen.

    I think it’s more likely to be a $30K 4K camera and they’ll sell it like a low cost F65.

    • This seems the most likely. They price things at the maximum, and move down when forced at gunpoint. Love the F3, but it was $20k +5k for S-Log on Day 1. How nuts does that look barely 2 years later?

      If it is an F5 it will be $20k+. I can’t see it being much smaller than an F3 – that’s not their aesthetic.
      All the rest sounds about right. It would be MAX 50mb internal by the way.

      • How can you record usable 4K video with a 50Mbir/second bitrate? That’s\barely enough for passable HD video. 4K = need to think at 100Mb/sec minimum and 200Mb/sec normal, as with the Panasonic AVC-Ultra codec.

  • This is something I’m truly excited about.

  • I have an FS700 and what I’m really hoping for is just a better internal codec. Maybe XDcam 50mbps 4:2:2. Seems crazy that cameras that cost between $1K to $3K have as good / better internal codecs than both the FS700 and F3 which costs way more, especially the F3.

    IF they do an external recorder for the FS700, I sure hope it’s not gigantic.

  • Cant they just release a firmware update that enables all their F-cameras right down to the FS100 to record 100mbps 4:2:2 internal codec to their Falsh Memory Unit? Seems a good way to sell more of those flash units.

  • RAW s35 60fps for $5000… or get out.

  • My guess is $20k for body alone easily, plus costs for add-on options as not everyone will want 4k or to record it anyway. I would love to see an internal codec for 4k but feel it will be left to an external recorder – as the FS700 needs one anyway. You’ll be looking at $5-$10k for a recorder (the HD SR-R1 is $8800 and the 4k recorder $16,000) so that puts this package price to shoot 4k cinema at well over $25-$30k.

    • Exactly. When I first heard of it, I was thinking something in the $25K to $35K bracket. That’s Sony for you.

  • I think the firmware update for the FS700 should be free, no, it MUST be free !

    I hope it will be announced along with the 4K recorder on that day…

    BTW : the FS700 internal codec, it’s an AVCHD camera so it’s bound to the AVCHD specs (max 28Mb/s) :

  • I’ve stopped myself from buying the F3 for this new if you will F5. Everyone has excellent
    Input on features we all think it should have, my own wish on top is to have a high speed option up
    To 256fps or so and if the purchase price is around $17K This will be huge option and give user’s almost the best Bang for the buck future proofed camera, for now…