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?