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December 16, 2012

Sony Goes on the Offensive Against Canon and RED with Final Pricing for the F5 and F55

Sony gave us some official prices back in November -- which was a part of the RED back-and-forth -- and it looks like we've finally got real street pricing for both cameras, the F5 and the F55, and some of the accessories. I've talked a bit about where I expected them to be, and the F5 is priced even more aggressively than I thought it would be. Sony is serious about taking back marketshare in the medium to high-end digital cinema arena, and it also shows just how far technology has come in a short time -- because really -- the F3/FS100 were just stopgap solutions in the meantime while they prepared for their real 4K sensor and true cinema cameras. Click through to check out the pricing.

Here are the street prices for the cameras and some of the accessories:

If you're looking at the price of the F5, realistically, that's about what it's going to cost people to put together a SCARLET. The Sony will wind up being a few thousand more expensive, since at the moment the $16,500 is just the body only, but they are far more comparable at the new price than at the MSRP of almost $20,000 reported before. If you want 4K with the F5, the SCARLET has the advantage, because at these prices, the lowest you can go with a body and recording media is above $23,000 -- though again, the internal options are so good, many won't need to go this route. The EPIC is also a cheaper option than the F55, but when it comes down to it, the F55 is a more fully featured camera and has ND filters, tons of internal recording options, and a simpler menu system that should make for less headaches on set.

Keep in mind that you don't actually have to buy any of Sony's monitoring accessories, but as far as I know all of them will still leave your HDMI/HD-SDI free because they have their own special connector. This is not dissimilar to RED and Arri's solution, so it's a welcome addition to allow other monitors to be attached. For example, you could have a 7" 1080p Sony monitor for your 1st AC and a second cheap monitor or EVF to let your operator frame the shot (since there is no onboard LCD).

I know a lot of people are going to be excited about that lens kit, especially if they are that much better than the previous lenses Sony sold with the F3. Under $4,000 per lens will hopefully lead the way for cheaper PL lenses all around, as this is really the one piece of film gear that still doesn't really have a budget alternative (PL lenses that is). Regardless, for being all T2.0, these compare favorably at least in speed to the competition, and certainly they would be part of a longer term purchasing scenario, as they should outlive the camera if they are treated well and they are actually built with maintenance in mind (unlike Sony's previous lenses).

Specs aren't everything, of course, but Canon is missing a camera that can compete with what the F5 can do. You may not need 4K recording, but having 10-bit 4:4:4 recording internally is a big deal, especially as rigs begin to get unwieldy in a real-world shooting scenario. The only option right now that can match what the F5 can do internally is to use an external recorder with the Canon C500. The Sony also has a bit of a slow motion advantage, though the C500 is much more capable than the C300. This is a serious camera system from Sony, and they are bringing them in at serious prices, especially for rental, which is where I really see the F55. If I were renting a camera for a production and I've got a choice between Canon and Sony, the only way I'm not choosing the F55 over the C500 is if we need a tiny rig and we've got a case full of professional Canon lenses already, though even then, those are the last lenses I would want to use on a big production -- and there are options to mount the EF lenses on Sony's interchangeable mount.

I'm aware that may upset a few Canon folks out there, but I will choose the camera that's going to limit me the least if I can help it, and also be the simplest rig if I want it that way. The C100, C300, and C500 are all great options, but Canon thus far has been afraid to not only disrupt the market, but their own product line. That could be because they are doing just fine financially, but up until this point there hasn't been as much competition in the $10,000-$20,000 budget range when you want good compressed codecs internally. Now we've got unbelievably good professional compressed codecs internally. It will be interesting to see Sony's next camera, because a budget option well under $10,000 with the same body capable of log 10-bit 4:2:2 internally would go a long way towards upsetting the market even more.

Both cameras are available for pre-order right now, with an expected availability of February -- so we'll have to wait and see how quickly we start seeing them in action.

What do you guys think of the pricing? Does this put pricing within reach for you? Is your mind changing about Sony based on some of the samples we've seen so far from their cameras?

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82 Comments

That F5 is going to sell like Sprinkles cupcakes at the Grove at that price.

December 16, 2012

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marklondon

It's definitely competitive. The F5 is almost twice the camera the F3 is (internally), and it's not that much more expensive.

December 16, 2012

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

Canon needs to compete in the FS100/AF100 arena.

December 16, 2012

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They would argue that's what the C100 is.

December 16, 2012

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

interesting, the only thing that will slow down sells is if the firmware cost alot of money or anything at all, which would allow for internal 2k recording up to 120fps. Also out the box ive read that it would not be 4:4:4 440MBPS until firmware upgrade. Now take in mind that the fs700 has been out for quite some time and firmware for 4k still is not available when but was said to be availble months after debut.

Overall you could be looking at 18k if the firmware is 2-3k, dont know if this alone would be put a dent in RED OR CANON sales.

Then add that BLACK MAGIC cam would probably not be widely available to AUGUST or this summer, whats a everyday film guy to do with a budget under $14k.

C100 and fs700 for slow mo? Decisions , decisions.

December 16, 2012

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JAY CHASE

Those firmware updates will be free according to the last Sony webchat, so that's why I'm including it.

December 16, 2012

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

This is still ridiculous pricing. By the technological standards of today... these are worth about $5k and $10k. And yes, I am using the BMCC/Scarlet as a basis of a new tech/price standard. There is NO WAY I would pay over $10k for ANY 2k camera... and they want $17k for the 2k F5?!!!!? Absolutely abysmal pricing on sony's part. Hopefully next year they'll start to fall into realistic pricing, but I doubt it. Blackmagic and Red for me still... I don't understand the world these other guy's are living in.

December 16, 2012

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bwhitz

Agree completely and lets be honest the only reason they are priced this way is only to be somewhat on par with competition prices from RED AND CANON. They have proabably gone back and forth 11 times at round table about what price to sell it them for.

So technically the FS700 with RECORDER and cards will come out at about 15k

December 16, 2012

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JAY CHASE

Many people will choose the Sony f5 and it's internal codes, slow motion and 4k option over the red scarlet because they don't like red as a company or it's workflow..

December 16, 2012

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Many don't like the lie that the scarlet get's 13.5 DR...when in reality it get's about 12.5 stop of DR.

December 16, 2012

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Source?

December 16, 2012

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Gabe

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

December 17, 2012

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brett

The only people I know complaining about Red's workflow are those who never worked with it.

December 16, 2012

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hansd

bwhitz, don't be a dslr dummy. BMC can't be used on a hollywood production as A Cam. It has no power out, no genlock, no timecode out, you cannot even check your aperture, no offline/online workflow. For a multicam production, BMC is useless, so you're cost analysis is missing some variables. BMC was never meant to disrupt hollywood, it was mean to disrupt dslr and indie. It will not bring hollywood to its knees. Sony f5 and 55 is meant for hollywood and TV productions. It shouldn't be compared to BMC, it should be compared to Canon C series, Red and Arri. In those respects it offers great cost/performance. In comparison to Red, Red has no 2k onboard, Sony does with better color and dynamic range. Image quality is not the end all be all of pricing. It would probably cost a hollywood film more to shoot on BMC than F5.

December 16, 2012

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ryan

agreed.
I really don't get the hype, people should be scratching their head's about the prices when comparing the cams to the direct competition.

December 16, 2012

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hansd

There is a shift with technology ocurring. World economies are not strong. I think the pricing is too high. Sony is trying to price what they think the market will bear. These are different times. New competition entering. Look at how much "expensive" cameras in the last few years have plummeted in price. Sony has a worthy product with the F5 and F55. Maybe Sony should price extremely aggressively and grab huge market share. Take out the competition while they can and don't look back. Canon should have done so with the followup to the 5D2. They missed the boat imo.

December 16, 2012

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Ron

This site is a great place for a laugh. Ha, ha and ha.

December 16, 2012

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Phil

Red cameras have extremely bad quality control, both hw and software. They simply are most unreliable cameras when you compare the long time track record to other brands.

Most telling is the amount of bugs that come up ever time firmware is updated. It is clear sign that whole Red camera system software architecture is designed by people with inferior skills when compared to Sony engineers, for example.

December 17, 2012

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Juhan-i

Which is another reason why not a single blockbuster movie was shot on RED this year, but plenty on Sony....oh wait, it's the other way around

December 17, 2012

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michael

Hahaha, you can't argue with that! This is so funny.

December 17, 2012

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Erkvad

Wow unreal.. Almost regretting BT scarlet order.. Then again I can't quite afford 20k for a full kit.

December 16, 2012

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Vladimir

are you serious? you wanna trade a cinema camera for a more expensive tv camera?

December 16, 2012

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hansd

So far the F5 will have MUCH better image/dynamic range than the Scarlet especially with 4k recorder.. hardly a TV camera.. same form factor as Alexa (you think that's a TV camera?) better FPS.. better all around in fact, until we figure out whats happening with Dragon :)

December 16, 2012

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I'm not talking about form factors or stuff like that. I'm talking that typical Sony image that makes the F65 collect dust in the shelves instead of shooting blockbusters.
F55 and F5 won't change anything about Arri and RED being the camera brands for the big screen the next years unless Sony works on their color science.

Although, maybe Peter Jackson gets interested, he seems to be into plastic soap opera images.

December 17, 2012

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hansd

I agree.. The F65 was used on "After Earth" from what I know, and that's the extent of it. There may be more, but it doesn't look like DP's are rushing to use one. It's always Alexa, or Epic. Sony's image in my opinion suffers from the same issue i've heard many people complain about the C300. It's so clean and digital looking, it draws attention to itself. Like a hacked GH2 with better latitude, lol.

December 17, 2012

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F.M.L.

any news on the pro+ card pricing? Since 512 gigs that can record raw is 1800, hopefully 128 gigs that can't will be reasonably cheaper.

December 16, 2012

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ryan

I've been searching but I can't seem to find definite street pricing for that. I'll update the post if I do find it.

December 16, 2012

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

thanks

December 16, 2012

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ryan

The F5 is insane at that price and an amazing camera. Too much for me still, so I'm stuck with my FS700 which is still a good camera. But yes, the 4K on the FS700 is sham / switch and bait by Sony. But it's still a decent HD camera. Sony needs to bump up the internal codec now on the FS700 to at least 4:2:2 8bit, or else it's going to be dated fast.

Seems like the F3 is just done. Not sure why anyone would buy it since the price is pretty close to the F5, while the FS700 is still about $12K cheaper if you include the $3200 F5 viewfinder which is an almost must have since it's so amazing ergonomically. I love that the F5 just doesn't require any extra rigging for an EVF or shoulder mount. It just works. So smart.

As for BMC, good image but the 2.3x crop and the ergo are major handicaps. I'm hoping that in the next 2 years BMC comes out with a super 35mm camera with good ergonomics and then, the BMC revolution will really happen.

December 16, 2012

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Gene Sung

Might get me a cheap used f3 now...

December 16, 2012

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Brian

Yes, let's hope so. Resale has held up strong on it. We just posted/finished a feature from a major director shot on it. Looked GREAT.

December 16, 2012

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marklondon

Yeah, I'm hoping used F3's will be abundant and available on the secondary market.

December 16, 2012

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Ken

It's hard for me to complain about the price. It's not like the market is just saturated with cameras with these sort of specs. You buy it, rent it, or you don't. Since I don't limit myself or my future financial status, I plan on purchasing an F55 at some point. (To me) It's a great value and I personally feel good about it. I was very impressed with the F3 and so far I am impressed with the F5/F55. However, I don't plan on buying the viewfinder or monitor. I think I'd rather go with SmallHD monitoring options.

December 16, 2012

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WOW - congrats to Sony.

Game over Canon - you need to slash and burn or bring out new versions of the products you just released. Either way you are in a no win situation. Your reputation is shot along with the loyalty of your customers. Shame on you for thinking you could screw us all so badly.

December 16, 2012

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Paul

Jesus, look canon still has places where the c300 cannot be touched even with the f5. There is no camera that will get you more set ups in a day and if the quality suffices for the project why use another option, you'll be wasting money. In some cases the it won't and boom you got the f5. But saying Canon is over in camcorders is like saying the ex1 is dead because of the 5d, which just isn't true. And the c300 is stilll the best bang per bit. Its 8bit 50mbit is going toe to toe with much more robust and time consuming acquisition workflows. While other cameras can't get skin tones right with16 bits canon does in 8, they deserve some credit.

December 16, 2012

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ryan

Everyone wants to bash Canon, but the C300 looks great and is a joy to work with. There is nothing better for run and gun at the moment, it's already established as the go-to TV cam and the price is still right. Getting television productions to fork out the extra $ for an F5 at this point will be difficult because the C300 is already proven. Lots of shows still use the 5dmkii - the C300 isn't going away soon. For all of you that are sitting on your hands and pontificating on these blogs, the rest of us are out here working and making a great living using tools that are simply amazing. Have you used the C300 in low light? Focus peaking, image stabilization, zebras, programable buttons, etc. Outstanding. Thank you Canon!

Now hand sitters, go make something that doesn't suck. It helps if you get off the internet. Rant over.

December 17, 2012

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Chris

I think its easy to get people to go f5 over c300 - the camera is better balanced - it has slo mo capabilities - slog works better than c log - it's 10 bit 4:2:2 - I think it will def beat up c300 sales.

December 21, 2012

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UGH... another priced camera. seriously... and if the body isn't bad enough the pricing on VF and other bits is just as bad if not worse. they are trying to back to the old days when a BVW600 was 50K for the body, $75K shootable. hello, sorry, no we aren't going back there. the lack of an affordable S35 / APS-C sensor camera w/o all the canon dslr image problems is still wide open. its depressing really that canon got sony greedy for the C series cameras because we all know they are not worth even close to what canon is asking for them. I think its still sit and wait :(

December 16, 2012

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Sit and wait is stupid. Rolling shutter, aliasing, dynamic range, and bit rates have already been solved. There are plenty of super 35mm sensor cameras at every single price bracket. If you can't find what you need then something is wrong with you. Stop complaining and start shooting!

December 16, 2012

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ryan

Haha :)

December 17, 2012

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kyle

Curious as to the major differences in the F65 and the F55? The shutter in the F65 is mechanical correct v. F55?

December 16, 2012

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Jimmy

F55 has an electronic global shutter (i.e. no rolling shutter)

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/show-highend/resource.solutions.bbsccms-ass...

December 17, 2012

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Matt

F65 has a lot higher resolution sensor. The amount of sensor photosites that is. When you compare F65 and F55 final 4K images, there is clear difference.

December 17, 2012

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Juhan-i

Have you compared them?

December 17, 2012

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The F5 is highly competitive in pricing and performance is still to be seen. However, all in all, it's very attractive. I will wait until the camera comes out ... rent it a few times to get familiar with it and then, decide if it's a good future proof buy for me to invest. My EX3 paid for itself within the 1st year and has been a good corporate workhorse since it first came out and I bought it back then. Sony has kept up with solid updates so ... no complaints there. I think the onboard system is highly attractive for what I do. I use the NanoFlash with the EX3 to good effect but the DR on the F5 is where the future proofing comes in. I like what I see here!

December 16, 2012

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The F5 is highly competitive in pricing and performance is still to be seen. However, all in all, it's very attractive. I will wait until the camera comes out ... rent it a few times to get familiar with it and then, decide if it's a good future proof buy for me to invest. My EX3 paid for itself within the 1st year and has been a good corporate workhorse since it first came out and I bought it back then. Sony has kept up with solid updates so ... no complaints there. I think the onboard system in the F5 is highly attractive for what I do. I use the NanoFlash with the EX3 to good effect but the DR on the F5 is where the future proofing comes in. I like what I see here!

December 16, 2012

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In regards to the menu system: being someone who owns a Scarlet, an Epic a Canon DSLR, and has used several Sony cameras for payed projects. Red's menu system is WAY simpler, haha. I mean, there isn't even a comparison, seriously. But good article.

Regards

December 17, 2012

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Tyler

Yes, Sony's previous menus, were absolutely abysmal. Have you checked out the new one? It's ripped almost straight from the Alexa. Much simpler and the most important settings are staring right back at you.

December 17, 2012

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

Every professional who has used both Sony F65 and Red cameras has mentioned that Sony IS A LOT easier to use. Sony F55 is similar, actually even more easier to use.

December 17, 2012

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Juhan-i

F65 is actually new generation so the menu system has been redesigned as in the new cameras.

December 17, 2012

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Erkvad

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