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Sony FS700 4K Recorder Support Coming in July, and Complete F5/F55 Firmware Timeline Revealed

02.25.13 @ 5:07PM Tags : , , , , , ,

A lawsuit from rival RED hasn’t stopped the Sony F5 and F55 cameras from shipping on-time, and now we’ve got some more concrete information about what is currently enabled and when we can expect future features to be implemented. For FS700 owners, we also have a pretty good idea of when you can expect full 4K support from Sony with their AXS-R5 recorder, which needs a separate piece, the HXR-IFR5, to interface with the camera. Click through for all of the currently supported frame rates and resolutions, and when you can expect them to be updated.

Here is the timeline for updates (click for larger):

Sony has talked about enabling 4K RAW for third-party recorders, but to keep it simple, we’ll just assume that you are using the AXS-R5 (which is the cleanest and smallest solution either way). As you can see above, you’re not going to be shooting 2K at any resolution, RAW or otherwise, for quite some time. Whether or not that is a big deal is up to each individual production, but even if you’re not going for a cinema release, 2K does give you a few more pixels of wiggle room over 1080, especially if you’re framing for a 2.39 output.

You’re also not going to be shooting any slow motion in RAW until the fall/winter of this year. Yes, you’ll be able to shoot at a higher frame rate and conform, but in-camera slow motion is not coming for a while. For FS700 owners, you’re also not going to be getting RAW support with the AXS-R5 recorder until July. Again, it has been mentioned that the FS700 may be able to use 3rd party recorders, but if you’re going to be using Sony’s solution, you will have to wait another 6 months.

I think the F5 and F55 are going to do very well, and while they will probably be rock solid, the trade-off is that you’re not getting all of the capability right off the bat. This is kind of how it goes for any camera system: wait for all the good features later on or get them immediately and risk having a few hiccups.

What features were you looking for out of the box with the F5 or F55? Do you think it’s better to wait for those features or find another camera that can do what you need right away — either as a purchase or a rental?

Link: Firmware Timeline — Sony Forum


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  • So I’m guessing that because these graphics say “End user firmware updates are free of charge”, it means that the FS700 firmware update will be free as well. This is great news for FS700 owners who simply want 4K as a rental option without having to buy anything. The schedule of features is kind of curious though. Is there a technical reason for this?

    • Well the only thing that is missing is the actual 4K firmware update for the FS700, that isn’t anywhere on this timeline, because I don’t know if they have decided if it will be free or not (but I think they are leaning towards free). The one above is for the recorder to handle FS700 4K RAW, which means if you want to use Sony’s solution, the earliest you’ll be able to do it is July.

      Making everything work seamlessly is not easy, as RED has found out the hard way – and has taken a lot of flack for it. It’s possible they haven’t written the firmware yet that makes these other features work – but they wanted to get the camera out there now.

      • Austin Goss on 04.22.13 @ 10:40PM

        To be more specific the Firmware for the action will be free… but the recorder and so forth will probably cost a pretty penny for obvious reasons. The system will be able to shoot 4k once you buy the recorder, and as I imagine the firmware for 4k would also include other slight tweeks to stuff like AutoFocus etc… So making those consumers who might not need 4k buy a firmware for the minor changes would be just stupid and bad business practice.

  • Schedule is not final.

    According to Sony, there will some adjustments according to what users / owners want. They have thread in Sony community pages where you can tell what you would like to have earlier in process:

    ” In that spirit of continued collaboration, we want to share our planned timeline for releasing firmware updates and enabling new features of the F55 and F5. But more important, we want your input on the further development of these cameras.

    In the coming months, we will expand on the cameras’ feature sets considerably, and always at no charge to the end user. The information in the timeline below represents our current plan and is subject to change based on user and market needs.

    The below timeline does not reveal everything we are doing, there will be more features added that are not shown.

    If you feel strongly about a feature that is not implemented immediately, please let us know. We encourage you to reply to this thread with your opinions on why you feel a particular feature should be moved up in the timeline. “

    • Of course, everything is subject to change as it says on each page above. (Sounds a bit like RED, doesn’t it?)

      I would be surprised if their schedule deviated all that much from the current timeline. They obviously want user input, but they’ve clearly created this timeline based on their current capabilities, so it’s likely that if something gets pushed up, another feature will probably be pushed back.

  • Dear Sony, can future firmware updates please install a copy protection rootkit on our computers without our knowledge? A rootkit that exposes us to attacks by other malware would be ideal.

  • I think it’s great that Sony is communicating its future roadmap and timetable. These tools are an investment and having this information can definitely help to make an informed decision. As an F3 owner/operator it would have been great to have had such a roadmap. Perhaps Sony knows this and is woking harder to reward early adopters. I love the F3 but like many owners I’m still waiting for Firmware version 1.5 which Sony teased in the fall.

  • no wonder RED is getting out the lawyers – they finally have some real competition. this also makes buying a F5 easier because at least sony is giving out a roadmap of where things are going. even if they slip a little on the time schedule you know there is a plan… and there is nothing to say they don’t get there sooner. sony has vastly larger resources. I expect RED lawsuit will either get crushed by sony lawyers… or sony will simply engineer a solution that side steps the issue entirely and RED wasted their time, money and resources on yet another pointless patent lawsuit.

    • I concur. That F5 is going to sell (and is selling) like gangbusters. HD now, 4K later? No fiddling with REDs? Sony backup? Sweet lease deals from major distributors? Sign me up says 99% of the TV industry.

      • Fiddling with REDs? Sorry, but it seems that people are basing their RED opinions on prototype Red Ones in 2007. Our Scarlet has been very reliable for us and producing 4k RAW NATIVELY without the need for any external recorder for the last year.

        • Daniel Mimura on 03.7.13 @ 7:19PM

          Yeah, I have none of the problems people are still complaining about based on…what other people are saying, or based on older builds. I have a battle tested Red One and the only problem I’ve had is with HDMI sometimes, but that’s to be expected cuz HDMI sucks and was never meant for production. (I have an HD-SDI monitor on order right now.)

          Looking at what Sony is doing, they’re clearly starting to release their cameras in perpetual beta as well.

    • I think it’s unfair as an outsider to question Red’s lawsuit of Sony. None of us know the details well enough to assert that their lawsuit is without merit. Red, a small company VS Sony, an electronic giant…. I’d like to give Red the benefit of the doubt before criticizing the lawsuit. Plus, we own a RED, so we’re biased. :)

  • Does anybody know if FCP7 will be able to handle XAVC?

    • I wouldn’t count on it. With no more updates coming out for FCP 7, don’t expect there to be any development if it doesn’t support it now, either.

  • The 4K on the FS700 seems really awkward and huge. I’m hoping for a small recorder from someone like Black Magic. I really wish that Sony would bump up the internal codec a little bit on the FS700 to at least 4:2:2 8-bit. I would gladly pay for that and I think many owners (like myself) would prefer that over the huge and cumbersome 4K option.

    • While I haven’t seen any images of it all put together, I’m pretty sure the R5 recorder and interface module connect to the back of the FS700, essentially making it longer and probably better balanced on a shoulder rig. I don’t think that will be too bad. I don’t mind cradling it for the little handheld work I do, but I could see adding a shoulder rig and EVF to accommodate the extra modules if I can get 4K raw out of it. I for one would skip 8-bit 4:2:2 in favor of a compressed raw format.

  • Not sure if I understand this…

    In theory SONY as public company will not be able to recognize any profit on the F55 until they have completed the full plan due to the Sarbnese Oxley act, as customers could claim they have bought the camera based on this timeline and that the delivery is not yet complete until full functionality is provided. This is why Apple never talks about future releases or products and why other companies only show relatively short lookouts without an NDA…

    Pretty dangerous in my view.