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June 2, 2013

First Footage from a 4K-Enabled Sony FS700 & How Much It Will Cost to Upgrade Your Camera

The Sony FS700 made quite a bit of noise at last year's NAB, not only for its extremely high frame rates, but because the camera was going to get 4K RAW support at some point in the future. While concrete info was almost nonexistent at that time (and for many months later), the details have started to emerge, and it looks like 4K on the camera will only come with a paid hardware upgrade. We've also got more details from Convergent Design about their new monitor/recorder the Odyssey, and how that fits into Sony's 4K/2K recording plan, as well as some of the first footage available showing off the 4K RAW mode.

Thanks to Jason Rosete for sending this my way, here's the first footage from 4K on the FS700, using Sony's recording solution:

Here's a refresh about what the Sony 4K upgrade will enable:

Dan Keaton from Convergent Design has been talking about the Odyssey 7Q in the DVXuser forum, and what they'll actually be able to get after the Sony hardware upgrade (this is slightly abbreviated from the full post):

1. As Mike Schell reported earlier today, the HD-SDI output is 8-Bits effective in the 10-Bit HD-SDI format.

2. The upgraded Sony FS700, in 2K Raw outputs 12-Bits linear. This is very good.

To obtain 12-Bits linear in a camera, one needs the image sensor to be greater than 12-Bits, say 14-Bits, but for image quality reasons, (and maybe some other reasons), the output is 12-bits.

Thus, when the Odyssey7Q records from the Sony FS700, in 2K Raw, up to 240 fps, we will be recording in 12-bit linear, in the Cinema DNG format.

Our test recordings have been at 12-Bit Linear Raw, in the Cinema DNG format. We have been recording in this format for a few days now.

And we have been using commercially available software to work with these industry standard files with great success.

We are planning, in the future, to take the 2K Raw 12-Bit output, decompress it, deBayer it, then record it compressed in Avid DNxHD (and another very popular codec later), in HD at the full 10-Bits.

He later mentioned where they are in terms of recording on the FS700:

Yes, we should be able to record 2K Raw, at lower frame rates, using just one 240 GB, 480 GB, or 960 GB SSD.

As I calculate it, 120 fps in 2K Raw, 12-Bit Linear, is around 385 Megabytes per second.

This is just slightly over our desired limit (which establishes a safety margin) of 380 Megabytes per second.)

And these calculations do not always consider the small header for each Cinema DNG file.

We will know more as we proceed with our testing, but up to 100 or more frames per second should be safe.

Later, we may find that 380 Megabytes per second is too conservative, if so, then we may be able to support 120 fps in this mode.

In case you have not heard, we are now successfully recording from the FS700, 240 fps, in 12-Bit Linear Raw, continuously, and the resulting Cinema DNG files are playing back perfectly in a normal Non-Linear Editor. I understand that the images are looking very good.

How much is it going to cost in total if you're going to upgrade to 4K on the FS700? Thanks to FreshDV's Matt Jeppsen for tweeting this from Cine Gear:

Here are some prices, with max frame size and frame rates, as well as a similar card size for both:

Sony 4K Recording Solution

Total: $9,650

Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q

  • 4K Uncompressed DPX at 30fps, 2K RAW up to 240fps
  • Sony Hardware Upgrade: $400
  • Odyssey 7Q (Odyssey 7 will not have FS700 option): $2,300
  • Convergent Design 480GB SSD: $1,200
  • Odyssey FS700 Support: $1,500 (or $75 per day rental)

Total: $5,400

The cheapest memory option for the 7Q will be $600, and if you only wanted to rent the codec a handful of times throughout the year, that would bring the price to below $4,000 for the Odyssey. The SSDs for the Odyssey should be readable in any SSD reader, which is an advantage over Sony's proprietary card reader. It should also be noted that Convergent Design has decided to include Avid DNxHD free with both the 7 and 7Q, instead of it being a separate option. If they are approved by Apple, they will also be including ProRes, but that may not happen until late this year or early next year.

So it will definitely be more cost-effective to use the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q with the FS700, but you will be missing out on 4K RAW as well as higher frame rates at 4K. For more information on pricing, check out the PDF link below.

What do you think about the pricing? Which option will you be choosing for your FS700?

Links:

Your Comment

78 Comments

Joe, thanks for posting. Was curious to finally see these images!

June 2, 2013

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Any info for only the SLOG2 update?

June 2, 2013

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Mattia

I'm also curious about that. Specifically, will that be for internal recording also? And what format? SLOG in 8-bit AVCHD seems pretty limited.

June 2, 2013

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Internal recording and external HD recording is still only 8-bit. However, as noted, Convergent Design, would be able to record 10-bit HD by using 2K raw as source stream

June 4, 2013

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Art

Odessey Codecs! What a rip!

June 2, 2013

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Eeh...

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

I wonder if that's grounds for a class action law suite? "firmware update, Sony proprietary recorder". Not one mention about any "hardware" upgrade over the last 11 months till NAB. It was obvious to me Juan clearly made a mistake telling Tony Reale about the hardware upgrade. Sony still wasn't ready to let that cat out of the bag. They really promised us the F5 but instead gave us an fs100 with higher frame rates. "4k ready" baloney...yes so is the c100 with a hardware and firmware update. Sony has some explaining to do, I feel ripped off.

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Doesn't seem too bad of an upgrade plan to be honest. Yes, the external recorders seem quite bulky - especially the Sony solution - but price-wise it's still somewhat competitive.
As an owner of both the FS700 and a Scarlet, I am now presented with two upgrade options - and comparatively, the FS700 upgrade path comes out cheaper than the Epic one.
The only thing that is somewhat upsetting is the $1500 for FS700 support for the Odyssey - is this standard practice in terms of external recorders? For example, if I were to get an Atomos Samurai at this point, would I need to pay to have my camera supported, or pay separately for a particular codec?
That sounds somewhat off to me. Either way, I'm pretty sure there will be other recording options available in the near future which will end up being cheaper.

June 2, 2013

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Andreas Kopriva

16bit vs 10(12)bit...

June 2, 2013

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Artem

Apparently the camera works at 12bit internally so more bits don't help. Although that info could be wrong.

June 2, 2013

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Stu Mannion

What...? then I can't use the recorders for 16bit?

Than I would get f5+ Recorder...

Some how, I am very struggling between f5 vs fs700 now...for the future....

June 3, 2013

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I think those new options are great. I can get a great monitor/recorder for 90% of my needs and if I need 3 days of 4K Uncompressed, I juts rent them. I just wish there would be only one Odyssey at the price of the regular 7 now and everything the 7Q offers, could be paid via upgrades or rentals. But considering hardware costs for the 7Q specific parts, that would only be good for customers, not Convergent Design ;)

June 2, 2013

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SpartaBear

Looks great, however, at these prices, might as well save up a little more for a Sony F5.

June 2, 2013

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Voltaire

In theory, but once you add the recorder, interface unit, media and viewfinder you're up over $25,000.

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Guess so. For me, the built-in 10bit XAVC 440Mbps with S-Log2 is plenty.

June 2, 2013

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Voltaire

I'm very impressed with the F5. Looks way better than any FS700 footage I've ever seen, and the RAW recorder pack isn't too bulky and 'fits'. Its at an odd price point, and if you were a serious owner/op you'd get the F55, but the F5 could end up being a sneaky bargain if you used it for the next 3-4 years.
The Convergent Q7 is a really nifty unit, but that 'codec rental' idea seems a complete ripoff to me. Sorry.

June 2, 2013

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marklondon

You're commenting on an article about a $7000 camera. Of course the F55 or even the F5, a camera double the cost will look better. And as an fs700 owner I am a serious operator, for docs you can't beat the fs700 versatility. In fact with my fs700 in about 11 months you'll see it in action (a very serious high end production major cable) so not everybody needs to shoot with an Alexa to make money or be considered a "serious owner/op". I like you're comments, very informative but this one sounds like you're sour for some reason. It's not like you.

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Apologies. I really meant the 'serious' part as choosing between the F5 and F55. The F55 will probably have a longer life cycle and a higher day rate is what I meant. Poor choice of words on my part.
I know plenty of people earning a living from the FS700 and its a well priced cam. I'm just not a huge fan of its base look, and I don't like that its only 35mbs internal. I've used them on jobs though! And the SLog2, if you can add that on its own, would widen its possibilities enormously.

June 2, 2013

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Marklondon

Haha. No worries friend. We'll defend our camera choices till our dying day. I understand what you mean and always appreciate your insight Mark.

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Two words: rental items

June 2, 2013

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But you still have to pay the extra for the upgrade...

June 2, 2013

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Alex Mand

I already rent the FS700 for jobs, so I'll likely keep doing so and invest in the hardware for the 4K path via the Convergent Design route. 4K RAW isn't of interest to me right now, but shooting 2K RAW with the option of 240FPS for 1080P delivery is.

June 2, 2013

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Marc B

It looks like 2K@240FPS at Cinema DNG, not RAW after all, but it's still very impressive.

June 2, 2013

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Marc B

DNG is raw.

June 2, 2013

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CinemaDNG is just a raw video container/processing format; the underlying video is still raw.

June 2, 2013

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Blah

"4K Uncompressed DPX at 30fps, 2K RAW up to 240fps"
-to do the 240fps you need 2 SSD on 7Q ? -or did i get that wrong?

that would bring the price up to roughly 7k with two ssd cards

7k or 10k, either way that almost doubles the price of the fs700

Who ever thought it would be this much?

June 2, 2013

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Snowball

Two $600 240GB cards would also work. That would actually not change the price at all.

June 2, 2013

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

June 3, 2013

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Snowball

Hmm, I am not so impressed. The Sony price for 4K video (even with the FS700) is very high compared to the new 4K Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which offers raw as well, unlike the Sony. The very high framerates are nice on the Sony, but otherwise I do not see a great advantage.

June 2, 2013

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Erwin

It may depend greatly on your situation. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is nice because of its price, recording options (CinemaDNG, ProRes at full resolution, etc.), and simplicity of operation. The FS700, though, offers massively better low-light/high ISO performance, greater dynamic range (at 2K raw and 4K, at least... I'm not sure about regular AVCHD recording...), a much more flexible lens mount (it's still Sony's E-mount, which can use the Speed Booster, and can be adapter to use Canon EF lenses), built-in ND filters, XLR audio, space-saving/proxy lower bit-rate files, and, of course, its slow motion options.
It's a huge price difference between the two cameras, yes, but if you have the budget to rent or even buy an FS700 with a 4K set-up, it can be a much more practical camera in many situations. Obviously, depending on your budget, your choice of camera may be made for you.

June 2, 2013

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Blah

It's really depend on what you need. And there is a lot limitation on BMCC and the raw given it's actually a compressed RAW as well and the sensor size isn't actually a 35mm, a guy had list out very detail information about it. If it is really pro than anyone out there with 4k and the price, most of the brand will be dead because of the price and performance. BUT not, it's because of what you pay= what you get, every product and price range got it's own functionality.

June 3, 2013

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Alan

Not impressed with the Sony. Too high a price for 4K video compared to the 4K Blackmagic. (which offers raw)

June 2, 2013

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Erwin

Ouch. While I didn't buy the Fs700 because of the future 4k upgrade path, it still stings to see it cost this much. I don't really care about the 4k, but the 2k raw has always interested me for narrative work and special fx. I could buy a fully kitted out black magic cinema camera for the price of this upgrade. It also stings to see convergent design charging a whopping $1500 to what I can only guess boils down to a simple firmware upgrade over the net just to let it record from my camera. Why is that by the way? Does Sony charge Convergent this as a licensing cost so they are forced to pass it on to the customer or is it purely for profit?

June 2, 2013

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Kyron

@Kyron no, Dan at CD confirmed with me on dvxuser that the $1500 fs700 cost is not licensed from Sony which I assumed it was, its a purely CD cost they've added on for their effort in supporting it. I'm not sure I've seen something like that before and judging by the reactions here I dont think its a popular decision.

June 2, 2013

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Toby Lockerbie

Usually manufacturers obscure these costs from us because people hate paying for R & D. All CD have just done is make it overt (honest?). They're still cheaper than the competitor.

June 2, 2013

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Stu Mannion

The problem is people don't like seeing those costs and as you say R&D costs are normally absorbed and hidden and spread across the product, this R&D cost is not spread, it's only for FS700 users, I'm not sure I've seen that before. I understand the reasoning and the transparency, I'm just not sure people will appreciate.

June 3, 2013

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It's not for FS700 only. Canon RAW and Alexa RAW (and other codecs) would have similar fees.

June 4, 2013

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Art

The Sony recording solution actually includes the $400 firmware cost. You can remove that from the total.
http://twitter.com/SonyProUSA/status/341288176616349696/photo/1

June 2, 2013

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Stefan vj

You are right. Sony is doing a fantastic job getting these details out. ;)

June 2, 2013

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

For obvious reasons of course.

June 2, 2013

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Anthony Marino

The best bit is that the upgrade by itself adds an S-Log2 gamma curve. Even in the internal 8 bits it looks much better in the highlights. Watch the test videos online.

Don't be put off this camera by the standard look it produces - as seen in most online videos. I'm using a customised version of AbelCine's A_B Range colour profile and it looks much better. The only real issue is some aliasing on the fringe of blown highlight areas - and the S-Log2 upgrade fixes this.

June 2, 2013

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Stu Mannion

Hey guys,

I have visual confirmation that the fs700 will be used on the next Terminator film!

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14567628/arnoldfs700.jpg

June 2, 2013

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I'll Be Back

Joe, with the Sony recording option, how is the combined unit powered? is there an additional VLock that needs to be factored into these costs above? Just curiously to see where the unit draws power (and where the camera battery would be positioned once these add-ons are bolted onto the camera).

June 2, 2013

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shaun wilson

That's a good question. I guess you'd probably have to add batteries to that equation. I don't think the camera itself has the power with the tiny Sony batteries to also power the recorder even if it could.

June 3, 2013

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

The R5 is powered separately by Sony v-mount or DC 4pin.

Found that info in this interview @2mins40
http://vimeo.com/67337904

June 3, 2013

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Kyron

Right, so then the best setup is using the batteries that are powering the recorder to also the power the camera. That should be something you can rig up. Otherwise you'll need two separate batteries for both the camera and the recorder.

June 3, 2013

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

This is interesting! However, I think the price is quiet little high for this model but, it is still okay. F5 is also another wonderful choice.

June 2, 2013

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As an FS700 owner, I just don't see many of us buying either of these options as they cost nearly or much more than the camera itself. Technically, Sony fulfilled their end of the bargain, but they did the minimal amount they were required to. Actually they did less than the minimum since we have to pay for the upgrade which was nowhere advertised when the camera came out. The Sony recorder + interface is extremely large and would just be a pain the ass to rig. Everything about the upgrade just screams "intential crippling" by Sony to protect the F5. Even if they did give the FS700 10-bit 4:2:2, that's still nothing compared to the F5s 4:4:4 10 bit with 2 extra stops of DR.

The only thing that excites me about the upgrade is the S-Log which looks pretty good from tests. I'm just hoping that it will work decently with the internal codec. Strapping recorders on is such a workflow joy killer.

The whole FS700 4k debacle has really left a bad taste. It's really just an HD camera (one that I like very much), and Sony wants to keep it that way by charging exorbitant prices and major workflow issues with the 4k upgrade to try and discourage people from using 4k with it. I mean... Come on! The 4K setup is massive size wise. It looks more like a missile launcher than a camera.

June 2, 2013

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Gene Sung

Ultimately it boils down to Sony wanting to sell 4K tvs, so I do not believe they put enough thought in this fs700 camera.

June 3, 2013

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Kevin

what's the overall cost comparison with D1 C for the full rig?

June 3, 2013

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DLD

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