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Sony Teases Concept 4K DSLR and Octagonal-Shaped Cameras at NAB 2013

04.17.13 @ 9:34PM Tags : , , , , ,

While Sony didn’t announce any large sensor cameras at NAB 2013 as some had speculated, they did show off some concept 4K DSLR-type cameras with heavy-duty positive lock mounts (only one of the cameras actually takes standard PL lenses, the other is an A-mount) that may or may not find their way into the hands of shooters. Even though they are far from completed cameras, they do speak to where Sony may be looking for the future. Check out this video below from Engadget, who was at the Sony event where these were being shown:

While I think form factor is important, and has probably been part of the reason for Canon’s success with C300-style cameras, lenses are a big reason people have flocked to those cameras. Certainly it’s nicer hand-holding a camera like the C300 than the Sony FS700, but native support for Canon lenses makes a lot of sense when you’re appealing to a crowd who is comfortable with shooting video on DSLRs. That’s why it would be very interesting if Sony decided to make a 4K camera line in the DSLR form factor. I think they would have an uphill battle in terms of lens compatibility because Canon lenses are still more popular, which is why the E-mount might actually be a better choice for a camera like the one pictured below. Plenty of adapters are made for the Sony E-mount to other lens types, including PL, and Sony even makes their own E to A-mount adapter.

You don’t have to look far to understand why a company would want to make their cameras more compatible to other lens types. Blackmagic heard the calls for an MFT mount on their 2.5K camera, but there is a reason the first model they introduced had a Canon mount, and why the new 4K camera also has a Canon mount (I believe it will get PL eventually). While it’s a lot of speculation, especially since these are just concepts, the 4K DSLR is definitely interesting, but if they want to compete with everything Blackmagic is doing, they are going to have to give users a reason to consider their camera, and 4K will not be enough — they’ll also have to compete on price — and at the lower end of the price spectrum, more lens compatibility is certainly better.

Both of these cameras are a long way off, and from people I talked to at NAB they may not see the light of day in their current forms (the octagonal camera is definitely an interesting shape), but I would actually like to see something small that shoots 4K from Sony (and is priced somewhere near their current DSLR/SLT line). I think it would be great to see Sony use the same compression as they are using in their higher-end F5 and F55 cameras, as that would help a lot with compatibility.

What do you guys think? What would you like to see from Sony regarding 4K cameras? Do you like these form factors or would you want something bigger?

Link: Visualized: Sony teases prototype 4K cameras and lenses at NAB — Engadget


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  • Right now, if anyone can accomplish 4K getting widely adopted, it’s Sony. They seem to be showing an interest in letting it trickle down from the highest end to lower and lower end options. The next 24 months or so will be a lot of fun to watch, for sure.

  • Harry Pray IV on 04.18.13 @ 1:23AM

    I also believe that they’ll introduce a PL mount version of the 4K camera…and it’s keeping me from putting in a preorder for it. I’ve been waiting for their S35 camera since they released the BMCC. Thank god they listened to their customers unlike most companies.

    Answer me this, though: Why don’t manufacturers take a page from Red and make their cameras mount-agnostic? I’d rather have a body designed with the lowest possible flange depth with the ability to build that outward as needed…and I’m pretty darn sure most DP’s do too.

    The most exciting mount I’ve seen for APS-C in a while is the EF-M. EF-M and others with wide throats and shallow FFD’s can be just as beneficial for the future of lens compatability…let’s move away from EF and go shallower.

    I want to be able to mount some Leica still glass on my BMPC!.

    If the BMPC doesn’t get released in PL, I will certainly have the EF version modified to EF-M and buy an PL to EF-M adapter.

  • I’m still wondering if I should invest in Nikon or Canon glasses … Some time ago, I needed to pay all my debts, and so I sold all my Canon equipment … And I bought a Nikon DSLR.
    But I didn’t buy anything until now, preferring to rent rather than massively invest in glasses if I’m not absolutely sure I will continue with Nikon.

    I like the fact that you have clean HDMI out on all the new models, that you can still find a lot of lenses with aperture ring, … And the ISO noise works much better in my opinion on Nikons than on Canons.
    So if I want to use my Nikon glasses on Sony or Canon mount, I can with a simple mechanical (no glass element) adapter.
    And i CANT with Canon as they have no aperture ring.

    HOWEVER, Canon is becoming really widespread nowadays, with BlackMagic, RED, Canon and many others supporting it. And you have on Canon DSLRs the wonderful Magic Lantern.

    What do you think ? Should I stick with Nikon or go with Canon ?

    • Rafael Kino on 04.18.13 @ 6:49AM

      So many variables. Magic Lantern I’ve always thought is overrated. It doesn’t feel professional, at least not to me there’s too many bugs and trade offs that are poorly documented. The only reason I would think of switching to Canon is the colors, which I really like, and the really high ISO range on something like the Mk3.

      But the Nikon 5200 has no moire and aliasing and it costs 600usd. The Mk3 which is the only Canon Dslr that acts the same, is over 3x the price. Nikon Ais glass is also incredibly good for the price and sure you can adapt it, but it won’t look as good on a FF sensor where it will vignette a bit. The 5200 sensor is also closer to cinema format s35.

      • Rafael Kino on 04.18.13 @ 6:52AM

        Oh and the dynamic range is so much better on the Nikon. Either way I’d simply wait for the pocket camera from BM, it’s going to shoot 14 stops in RAW files, and that’s just the end of it as far as I’m concerned. It’s like having digital S16mm film that lasts forever, on an MFT super adaptable mount… I couldn’t ask for more than that.

    • Here’s what I do. For PRIMES I buy manual Zeiss ZF glass (with Nikon mount) that is useable on any camera. For Zooms, Canon and Nikon both have really good zooms, but Canon has the edge on electronic mount with IS compatibility – BMC, RED, Sony with Metabones and Canon. So yes, for Primes, get lenses in Nikon mount with manual aperture ring that can always be adopted and for Zooms, get Canons.

      While Primes have not improved as drastically, Zooms have. A modern zoom lens is head over heels better then vintage zooms such as FDs and AI-S. I have several older Canon FD and Nikon AI-S zooms and they just cannot even compete with the modern zooms (5 blades vs 8 blades) and modern zooms have a much, much shorter minimum focusing distance which is a huge advantage. For example, my FD zoom 35-105 the minimum focus distance is about 3.5 feet while the modern Canon 24-105 is about 15 inches. Plus I can put the Canon EOS on the FS700 Metabones Speed booster and it becomes 1 stop faster and wider. Super versatile.

  • I’m very curious how did they fit ND filters in that 4K DSLR prototype.

    • You answered your own question, because its just that a prototype, basically a shell

      And this people is why i call them a joke in terms of milking, the best sony could do was show two shells, non working with no conceivable information on format or codecs other than whatever technology would not be avalable in dslr for next few years.

      h3ll they have still to yet provide answers to sony f3 upgrades yet, this is why no one buys their damnnnn DSLR CAMERAS AND its sad because they are decent spec cameras, but SONY just like other big camera corps are inevitably shooting themselves in the foot

  • Hey Joe, you may wanna read about this new 1″ 4k 60fps sensor from Aptina: They claim it’s a game changer! Let your readers know what you think.
    Check it out Here!

    • It’s interesting but it’s definitely a more specialized look as it’s closer to Super 16mm sized.

  • Another 4K Epic-sized killer? Good luck with that, Sonmi-451

  • On the Sony whats that silver thing that looks like an old car aerial?? To the right of the Sony logo.

  • Am I the only one that read “octagonal” and had a brain-blowout and thought that the sensor would be octagonal. Like. As tall as it’s wide but still only able to shoot with 4:3 (or 3:4 vertical) aspect ratios. Even enabling 45 degree sensor-rotation without any cropping needed.

    Not really sure why I would think that though… :P

  • I’m just waiting for the 4K upgrade for the Sony FS-700. That would be a game changer for a small solo producer like me.

  • My predictions regarding 4k for the next year:

    Pana-Sony will bring out interesting 4k cameras…but in 8 bit 4:2:0…and wonder why no one buys them.

    Canon will unlock some firmware, add the words “Professional 4k” to their Cinema cameras…and jack up the price.

    The Chinese will enter the 4k market with some interesting good value cameras…that will work reasonably well…sort-of…most of the time…

    Blackmagic will get its production/supply act together and dominate the market with great value 4k cameras.

    Atomos and GoPro combine resources to give Blackmagic a bit of serious 4k competition.

    RED will start bleating that they are about to release a 4k for 4k$ Scarlet…but go bankrupt before it happens.

    Go Aussie go!!

  • I’m interested to learn more about these cameras & am looking forward to more updates. Hope these cameras will sync well with my Minolta glass…