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Sony Finally Reveals Official Pricing for the F5 and F55 Digital Cinema Cameras

11.29.12 @ 12:08AM Tags : , , , ,

Sony and RED have been playing an interesting back-and-forth over the last month or so. Sony announced brand new cameras, but didn’t reveal pricing information. Then RED announced significant price drops for their cameras. After an event introducing the F5 and F55 in Los Angeles tonight, Sony has finally released the pricing information for both cameras and for all of the related accessories — including the new PL lenses — and interestingly, they closely match a Sony Japan leak we had earlier in the month.

Here are the details taken from their press release. [Update] In this context LIST and MSRP seem to be interchangeable, so final prices could certainly be lower by the time they get into stores:

  • PMW-F5 CineAlta 4K Camera                        $19,400
  • PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Camera                      $34,900
  • AXR-R5 RAW Recorder                                $6,300
  • AXS-512S24 512Gb Memory Card               $2,100
  • AXS-CR1 card reader                                   $660.00
  • DVF -EL100 OLED Viewfinder                      $5,800
  • DVF-F350 3.5” LCD Viewfinder                    $3,800
  • DVF-L700 LCD viewfinder                            $5,000
  • SCL-PK6/F PL mount six lens package         $24,600
  • SCL-PK3/F PL mount three lens package     $13,600

Sony is also introducing a 30″ 4K professional monitor in February along with the release of the rest of these items, but they have not yet announced pricing. If it’s a professional monitor, though, I can’t image it’s going to be cheap. Here is a nice summary of the two cameras and what they are capable of from that same press release:

  • Both cameras are equipped (with different) 4K Super35mm CMOS sensors. These state-of-the-art sensors capture 14-stops of exposure latitude with high resolution and fine tonal gradations
  • The F55 can capture 4K and QFHD XAVC internally on SxS Pro+cards up to 60p. When using the optional AXS-R5, the F55 can record up to 60fps in 16Bit linear RAW
  • The PMW-F5 & PMW-F55 camcorders can internally record high frame rate HD and 2K XAVC at up to 120fps (F5) or 180fps (F55). When recording 16-bit 2K RAW to the optional AXS‑R5, frame rates up to 120fps (F5) or 240fps (F55) are possible
  • The F55 can output 4K HDMI, SDI using both the SDI(Main) and SDI(Sub) when in the 4K recording mode and can monitor 4K up to 30p
  •  The PMW-F5 & F55 both employ HDMI V1.4a for monitoring. Using the HDMI 1.4a, the F5 can output 2K and HD up to 60p. The F55 can additionally output 4K on HDMI up to 30p.

It looks like the F5 will be priced very near to where I predicted months ago, but it’s going to cost over $30,000 to get a package shooting 4K. With RED’s recent price drops, that’s roughly twice the cost of a working SCARLET package, though when you consider that the F5 can record many different compressed codecs internally, has a relatively simple menu, ND filters, and a sensor that is more than twice as sensitive as the competition, it definitely puts the price into perspective.

While the F55 might be a little more expensive right now, by the time RED gets the Dragon sensor into the EPIC, they are going to be closer in price. Keep in mind that the Dragon pricing of $6,000 for a new sensor will be limited, so it’s certainly possible that a new RED EPIC with Dragon will be over $30,000 by the time it’s available as its own package (when that will happen is anyone’s guess).

The rest of the accessories also look like they are a little more expensive than RED offerings, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of the retailers end up selling these items for any cheaper than they are listed here. If you’re looking for budget PL lenses, Sony’s offering will be around $4,000-$4,500 per lens (depending on the package), which compares very favorably to the Zeiss CP.2 series — except those lenses have interchangeable mounts. At the very least these may end up being a pretty good rental option considering the range is 20mm to 135 mm, and the fact that they open up to T/2.0 — which at 20mm is actually a stop faster than the closest Zeiss lens in that range.

As for the FS700, no announcement has been made yet regarding the firmware update to 4K and whether that will cost money or not, but if you look at the pricing for the rest of the accessories and the already-announced module adapter, you’re looking at well over $10,000 to actually shoot 4K (or at least more than 8-bit) with that camera — which is more than the body currently costs. If you’re wondering what that’s going to look like, SonyProUSA posted this picture on their Twitter account showing a full FS700 and 4K recorder rig with the new battery:

I think if you look at all of this from a rental perspective, however, Sony’s cameras have a real possibility of eating into Arri Alexa’s marketshare. One of the big reasons that camera goes out so much (besides the image it produces) is because of its reliability and its unbelievably simple ProRes or DNxHD workflow. The same can be said of Canon’s C300 — which is constantly out of stock at rental houses. If Sony’s new XAVC codec will already be compatible with a number of NLEs and other programs in the near future, Sony will also share in that simple, compressed workflow. The addition of ND filters adds the versatility that people look for when they rent something for a job, so this will certainly work in Sony’s favor, especially since the interchangeable mount means tons of different lenses can be adapted.

If you missed it (and many did), Sony has launched their own forum not too dissimilar to REDUser (though they cover basically all of their products instead of just cameras). While it’s still in its early stages, I’m sure we can expect a lot of Sony information and Q&As to come out of there in the near future.

What do all of you think about the pricing? If you’re in the market for a new digital cinema camera, are these prices enticing based on the specs alone, or are you considering jumping over to RED? How about for rental purposes? Will you consider going Sony if the final image quality is there with the F5 or the F55? Let us know what you think below.

Link: F5 & F55 — Pricing — Sony Forum


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  • I’d go for the Sony on reliability alone. I’ve owned more than a few Sony cameras and they’ve never given me an issue. Red leaves my feeling a bit nervous though I appreciate what they’re doing.

  • So with the F5 am I right that there is no monitoring out of the box – that’s an extra?

    • Right, just like RED, these prices are for the “Brain” and you’ll have to purchase the additional accessories after that. They have talked about possibly putting together packages but they haven’t talked about what those might include or how much they’ll cost.

  • Dragon can’t get here soon enough. Sony went aggressive with these prices… Good time to be shooting!

  • The Sony cams do look very nice as rental options…if you shoot 3 or more 4K features a year then the full F55 package will make sense to own. Otherwise it’s great to have all these rental options. My biggest question would be if a production needs to rent two or if they are reliable enough out of the gate to risk the day on just one.

    BTW, since I’m sure you’d ask, I’ve been playing with my C100 for the last few hours and it’s mostly very satisfying, I think some firmware tweaks could be in the offing, but the physical hardware is really quite nice. The EVF is poor though, but usable in a pinch I suppose. Needs an eyecup (does someone make one?). The handle is very solid and nice as is the side grip. Everything seems to work well enough, some things are better on the higher-volume DSLRs like the menu system etc. but I feel this qualifies as a pro cinema/all-purpose cam with fairly deep control available. I will continue to update…Enjoy your F55′s.

    • Oh I know it’s o/t but there isn’t a recent C100 thread so I thought I’d just post an update here…I can confirm to the world that the HDMI output from the C100 is uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 and records stunning video (including color edges) on the Atomos Ninja 2 direct to 220 Mbps ProRes 422 HQ. The internal codec isn’t truly awful when needing maximum portability, but when you see the difference the Ninja makes you aren’t going to want anything else. Canon Log gamma is awesome as well, can go all the way up to ISO 20000 no problem. I dislike the other gammas, Wide DR ends up a bit disappointing in noise and DR. The internal mics are poor but the preamps are fine and the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro (with the Plural Eyes deal) is a great upgrade, and with the Ninja 2 you can record 4 channel audio that way (hooking the Rode directly to the Ninja and using the C100 preamps via HDMI), with start and stop recording conveniently driven by timecode on the C100.

      Gorgeous. I am completely satisfied…best low-light image and ergonomics for under $10K hands down.

      • Peter not to mention that its capable of shooting right away. Add a ATOMOS recorder for prores and “Nuff said”

        c100 canon log is more than capable of shooting a feature film, also what most people fail to realize is that if you plan on shooting a multi cam feature, it would require more than one camera. Basically you could get 3 c100′s with external recorders for under the price of one ALEXA, EPIC, F5 etc.

        Black magic is ok but shooting style is not really practical , requires alot of tweaking and add-ons and most importantly as of right now it is a unicorn.

        ALL i need to see is if the c100 holds up on the BIG SCREEN and considering that it has the same 4k sensor as the C300 then, i say it is more than capable of handling the big screen.

        • Yes if any 1080p can hold up on the big screen, the C100 + Ninja + Canon Log most certainly can. 12 stops over 8 bits isn’t F55 awesome, but it’s very well done. No slomo, no 4K, no RAW, but the low light is absolutely killer. Yes a production can easily budget three of these $7500 setups…I imagine event shooters will all have at least that. The fact these will be so popular with event shooters and others due to the low-light and ergonomics shouldn’t make people think it’s not for cinema…DSLRs can’t touch this and people are making art with them.

          The workflow is so so so nice…you can name scene/shot/take right on the Ninja and there’s no transcode time and the Ninja gives you decent peaking/zebra/false color and/or a monitor for the focus puller and it’s all set and forget. Media, 6 hours of ProRes 220MBit 422HQ on a $75 drive. Ridiculous. Effortless. Focus on the story and the shot and forget the camera ceremony. I think some people won’t like these because it’s too easy and denies them the bragging rights of how skilled they have to be just to pull off a 3 second shot and run it through post.

          • Peter right on buddy that was head on from logical stand point and facts/specifications, workflow, and practicality of filmaking and C100 in general. Its a capable camera thats also a practical production tool for telling a story, nothing more nothing less, great input

            Im d@mn near sold on c100

          • Thanks for this. Interested in recommending the C100 to some clients. Very interesting stuff, especially with the Ninja2.

          • There are reports that Canon has tweaked the color science on the C100 vs. the C300, so it may be that C-log onto the Ninja is in fact better than the C300 internal or external. No kidding. It certainly has ergonomic improvements.


            I think I’m just going to engage cinema lock and view assist, be disciplined with white balance and exposure, and leave all options to post. That way as I get better working with the output in post I can revise my earlier work consistently, including techniques to match other camera’s looks.

            I wonder if Canon was going to cripple the C100 more to protect the C300 and BMD forced them to give us the goods, just like the coming clean HDMI on the 5D3 (which I am sure was in turn delayed to benefit the C100). The Ninja is absolutely essential for it, just like an external recorder is for the C500 (and in this thread, the F55). But the Ninja is small and cheap and the media is too, you can just hoist it onto the shoe mount without the handle if you need portability, not too bad. The internal SDHCs are purely safeties…I doubt I’ll ever take them out of the slots. If I really need portability at sacrifice of quality, Hero3 black.

  • Very interesting. That F5 will sell, especially in Europe to owner/operators.
    Looking forward to the footage. Great times. Has the perfect cinema cam for me come down the pipe? Not yet, but won’t be long now….

  • It seems Panasonic and Panavision are on the sidelines. Even JVC has a 4k camera.

  • thadon calico on 11.29.12 @ 2:45AM

    finally, something to eat away canon C series with that awful motion rendering / video-ey looking image, deposit ready to be placed at my local store…I wish test footage would be out

  • I was at the sony event tonight. Didn’t catch any of the F5 footage, the F55 super sharp really clean, less clinical F65. It does seem to have a bit of a video look to it though. Could be the person behind the camera, but nothing really blew me away. I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.

  • I have a feeling that soon there will be Red Epic at at half price, after the Hobbit film, also there will be new cameras coming with a dragon chip, the old ones will be sold at a better price.

  • Man that last picture did make me laugh! That looks utterly RIDICULOUS! SELP18200 – FS700 – Adapter – RAW Recorder – Battery. It looks like a friggin spaceship! Imagine extending the hideous Zoom lens… and trying to look through the Monitor-loupe. Priceless!

  • I’m interested in Rhodes lenses, they are s35 not full frame, looks pretty good to me as long as the distortion and breathing are minimal

  • Aw right!
    Sony is rocking the 4k boat.
    Who will buy the Canon c500?

  • starcentral on 11.29.12 @ 12:27PM

    Hopefully everyone realizes these are only MSRP and street pricing will be 15-20% less as it has always been. A F5 with recorder and $2800 EVF will put you at $24k – which is the same price as a EPIC, Side SSD module, lens mount., and 5″ LCD touch.

    The clear advantage of F5/F55 is simultaneous internal and external RAW recording giving you high quality proxies for editing, not to mention higher ISO’s, and scaled 2k modes instead of windowed like on RED.

    When I found out about windowed mode on RED and what ISO I would really have to use I sold my RED package before taking receipt of it. It just didn’t make sense to keep and now that the F’s are out, I’m even more convinced.

  • Really mixed emotions about the footage. Latitude is definitely there, the color is fantastic and the skin tone rendition seems fairly natural. However, there is this terrible video motion effect in a lot of the shots that turns me off. Not sure if this was just in the wrong hands (there is a tiny sliver of the eyebrow on the mattebox peeking in on one shot) or if this is just what you get from this camera. Check out the footage here

    • probably user error but a lot of that looked like nikonish DSLR footage to me

      • It looks way better than any DSLR footage I’ve ever seen and for the most part I’m impressed. It’s just a handful of shots (especially in the daytime chase) that really are not filmic. Gonna hold off on any judgements until I see more footage from this camera.

        • I feel the same way that you do, that highlight roll off on some of those backlit shots where amazing, very alexa like, but the motion stood out a couple times mucho digital

  • Kind of a misleading post but expected with this RED centric blog. Scarlet with mount and SSD module is $10150, F5 [mount + recording module included] $15k street price.

    Both cameras need recording media, power, monitoring etc which increase price and yes F5 will need 4k module to record 4k BUT 4k not here yet and most Scarlet owners don’t need it, problem is they don’t have option to record anything else for most of their other work.

    For example Joe you have Scarlet, are you using? What’s point of having 4k camera if not using? What’s point of having any camera if not using? And most work is not needing 4k so a waste of camera right now.

    • As an fan of the blog, I take some offense to your claims that this blog is bias. They have made a clearly notable attempt to cover pertinent news for their audience in an impartial way. Thats why I like the site.

      I’m curious where the misleading is taking place. Joe mentioned that a working 4k scarket is half the cost of a working 4k f5, I don’t see where your comment about brain and mount prices debunks that.

      4k is not about needs, its about options. Some people want options, some people don’t. 4k is only one of a few strengths that the scarlet has over other cameras in its price range. No one is making their decision to use or buy a scarlet solely on a 4k feature. Maybe its the 16 bit color reproduction, or the dynamic range, or skin tones.

      It seems like 4k is a bigger deal to people who hate it than people who use it. There is no competition for the scarlet that doesn’t have a 4k sensor. The c300 processes 4k and subsamples a 1080 image. Thats no different than what you do in post with RED footage, but some how RED is the asshole for giving you what the sensor can actually do and giving you the choice.

    • I have a scarlet and I use 4k everyday, I dont know what your talking about. Downsampling to 720/1080 gives amazing results. You can reframe if you need to. You can push the grade in ways you’ve only dreamed of. These are just some of the benefits. 4k projection is not here but the benefits of 4k acquisition are so im not sure where youre coming from.

    • Daniel Mimura on 12.6.12 @ 10:06PM

      How is this blog Red-centric? I’ve honestly seen more posts about Canon, BMCC, and Sony (as of late, especially), than Red.

      The bias to me seems to be about new releases, but that sort of makes sense b/c that’s “news” (as is released at NAB and various camera manufacturers…etc…).

      I’d like to see *more* Red coverage and less about D-SLR’s, personally, but that’s my personal bias.

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  • sorry but sony’s prices are simply insane. I have no idea how the expect to sell very many in that price range and thats reality. the shooter’s who can pay $25K for a camera want a real ENG form factor.. I’m not taking about all the wannebe’s using their parents credit cards to buy one, but pro’s who work every week.

    I’d expect the F3 will get dropped to under $10K and that will be the real camera to get. … until you try to edit 4K … ya right. 4K is a very limited market right now, even looking forwards. clean 1080 / 2K will be around for the next 5 years at least. never mind how many SD sets are still knocking around. … don’t care, not impressed

  • Im a red owner for many years. I just put my deposit on the F55. I’m jumping ship! Red customer service, red reliability , and now red price drops, I’ve had enough. The f55 in my opion looks like a camera I can build upon for the next couple years.

  • kamruzzaman on 01.14.14 @ 12:19AM

    i wanted a sony f5/f55 camera,but i am a poor,so my wish is very empty.01199813005.