March 5, 2013

F5/F55 Cameras Continue to Ship Out & Shape Up as Sony Issues Bug-Fixing V1.03 Firmware Update

In the midst of some tension and even some quite literal (and legal) contention, Sony's RED/Alexa-aimed F55 and its less feature-rich sibling the F5 are in-stock at B&H and shipping out order to order. We've previously mentioned the comprehensive firmware update timeline released by Sony for the F5/F55 family, which also sees eldest little brother the FS700 rejuvenated with RAW support using Sony's R5 recorder in July. Meanwhile, Sony is urging F5/F55 owners to update their cameras to firmware release 1.03, a previously unscheduled update which corrects a "black edge on highlights issue" in S-Log2 or HyperGamma modes.

Being off-timeline means firmware v1.03 precedes the actually-scheduled release v1.1. Here's Sony's forum announcement of v1.03:

We are releasing an important update PRIOR to v1.1. All owners of the F5, F55 should download and update their cameras [to the] new F5 & F55 Firmware release Ver. 1.03.

This firmware is not part of a scheduled release. It is an interim release to provide immediate correction to the “black edge on highlights” issue reported by some users. This issue rarely occurs with Ver. 1.02 only when shooting with S-Log2 or HyperGamma selected; it is not present in RAW or Standard Gamma recordings. Future scheduled releases will also contain this improvement.

Download F5 Firmware v1.03 [.zip] -- Download F55 Firmware v1.03 [.zip]

The problem with blown-out artifacting doesn't seem to have been limited to 'black' edges alone, either. One Vimeo video displays several issues screen-capped below (courtesy photobucket user hingsberg):

Sony adds that "If you do not feel confident to perform the firmware update, you can bring or ship the camera to a Sony Professional Service Depot. There is no charge for the firmware itself, but labor chargers will apply." Thus far F-Users have positive things to say regarding v1.03 beyond the highlight-edge fix, calling it an overall improvement. More specifically, one user states the following:

Edge enhancement is dramatically improved, 1.0.3 removes the subtle artifacting that was present in firmware 1.00.  This update made the image even cleaner and smoother. Menu seems just slightly more responsive as well.

AXSM Drive Utility & Manual Now Available

It's good to hear Sony's taking these problems very seriously, enough to already push a significant firmware fix immediately out to new owners. It's worth noting at this time the F5/F55 manual is, as of quite recently, available for download [.pdf] -- as are some utilities for the AXS-CR1 card reader:

This software utility includes several functions for use with the AXS Memory Card Reader (AXS-CR1) including:

  • Displaying the status of an AXS-CR1 drive and AXS Memory Card
  • Fully formatting an AXS Memory Card
  • Saving AXS-R5 firmware data onto an AXS Memory Card (for firmware update)
  • Retrieving log data from an AXS Memory Card
  • Updating the Firmware of AXS Memory Card

Some diametric opposition (or "side-taking") will inevitably arise regarding shooters more loyal to either Sony or RED, for one reason or another. Whatever the outcome of this uncertain situation, it's clear Sony will continue to treat the mean time like the 'lean time' and carry right on tweaking and expanding the F5/F55 camera lines.

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Your Comment

23 Comments

These cameras are selling as fast as they can ship them.

March 6, 2013

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marklondon

The F5 low light noise pattern (yeah you have to look real hard) is to die for!

Sorry Canon but a lousy $2k price drop on the C300 wont save your pathetic attempt at a cinema line.

Sony is going to eat your F@CKING lunch you arrogant arsholes!

March 6, 2013

0
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Peter

Agreed!

March 6, 2013

1
Reply

canon showed up with a dull knife to a gunfight - lolz

March 6, 2013

-1
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burt

...but at least they showed up first. They got a full year of sales in.

March 6, 2013

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marklondon

Actually, red showed up first with its Scarlet.

March 6, 2013

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Tim

I was referring to the C300 he specifically mentions above.
Re the Scarlet, only just, and yes they got 12 months of sales out of that too.
I think RED will find it hard now to sell any Scarlet rig new (no Dragon upgrade, other 4K options either out or coming soon near it in price, BMDCC taking the true indie market for RAW). I'm not saying they won't sell ANY more new, just that it will be tough sledding.

March 6, 2013

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marklondon

They will need that 1 year head start to off-set the upcoming decrease in sales..

March 7, 2013

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burt

Sony has been beat up a lot as a company but these cameras are LEGIT. The video samples running at CES showed fenominal color - best what Red produces by a mile. The gentleman showing the F55 at the show - Mike - challenged Red owners to run clips on the TV behind him that could best the F55. Nobody took him up on it. The baby windows sunlight scene he was running showed incredible skin tone and the shadow detail showed Alexa like range and depth.

I can't stand many things Sony does as a company and I am no fanboy - I own a Panny GH3 - but the is tremendous quality to be unleased with these new cameras.

Good times!

March 6, 2013

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Theo Z.

Sorry about my poor english!

March 6, 2013

1
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Theo Z.

Ungraded, 50 Mbit/sec HD proxy straight from the camera:
http://vimeo.com/60927476

From 4K XAVC at 100 Mbit/sec to Pro Res:
http://vimeo.com/61044316

Watch the clips to see why Jimbo is so scared.

March 6, 2013

2
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Juhan-i

Yikes! That 4K footage looks great. The 50Mb footage looks awesome too. I was sold before and I'm more sold now. Nice!

March 6, 2013

0
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Blown away. Red is dead!

March 6, 2013

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Peter

Sony's lineup rocks.

March 6, 2013

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Mark

after these two, why do we need the f65 exactly?

March 6, 2013

1
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daniel

8k coming shortly for the F65. It also has (based only on my experience with the F65 - haven't used the F55 yet) a slightly more 'filmic look. Having seen Oblivion on a big screen already, it looks f**king amazing.
Having said all that, used F65s have started hitting Craigslist: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/pho/3585673190.html

March 6, 2013

3
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marklondon

Hi, Is the F65 significantly better than the F55. Is it worth having a used F65 over a new F55 ?

March 7, 2013

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Saied

How much VFX are you shooting? The F65 is the current leader in the clubhouse for VFX heavy shoots. For naturally lit drama, I don't think you'd need it.

March 7, 2013

1
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marklondon

Its also $20k more used....:-)

March 7, 2013

1
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marklondon

I was just curious, but sincerest thanks for answering.

March 7, 2013

1
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Saied

March 7, 2013

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Juhan-i

Terrific comparison here, with sensible conclusions re BMDCC vs F5 vs Scarlet. http://youtu.be/AI9E8RDkYwg

March 7, 2013

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marklondon

Interesting to see this problem on another Sony camera - I shoot news on PMW500 and it's absolutely dogged by artefacts on highlights, usually appearing as thick blue line.

March 8, 2013

1
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Trevor Lloyd