December 27, 2013

Sony Releases v3.0 of F5 & F55 Firmware, Adds Internal 4K, Higher Frame Rates, Super 16mm Mode

Sony-F55wZeissUltra16-FDTimes-640x340In the year or so since Sony announced the F5 and the F55, the company has released a veritable plethora of firmware updates and an optional hardware upgrade of the replaceable optical low-pass filter. Despite a somewhat premature release of the cameras with some of the key functionalities missing (especially in terms of higher resolutions and frame rates), the cameras are finally up to their original specs and then some. Sony isn't stopping there, however. In the third version of the firmware for the cameras, which was released today, a few impressive new features were added to the cameras. Read on to hear all about these exciting new features.

First and foremost, here's the full list of new functionalities that have been added to the F5 and F55 by the v3.0 firmware. This list comes courtesy of the Studio Daily post about the new firmware:

  1. XAVC QFHD (3840×2160) recording on the F55 at 23.98PsF, 25.0PsF, 29.97PsF, 50.0p and 59.94p.
  2. MPEG HD 1280x720p recording at 50p and 59.94p.
  3. S&Q motion on XAVC 4K and QFHD on the F55. 
  4. Additional S&Q frame rate on XAVC HD 1920 x 1080. (up to 180fps)
  5. S&Q motion on XAVC 2K 2048 x 1080.
  6. Additional FPS on RAW recording
  7. Center Scan mode on Slow and Quick motion
  8. Center Scan mode for Super 16mm lens
  9. User definable clip naming
  10. AES/EBU digital audio input (four channels/two connectors)
  11. RAW playback from AXS-R5 via F5/F55’s SDI, HDMI and VF connectors
  12. Save and Load Lens file and Scene file via SD memory card
  13. Available Cine-EI operation on only SxS recording
  14. New color gamut and Log curve
  15. User LUT and Look Profile
  16. Independent Monitor LUT
  17. Auto Iris
  18. 100% Marker
  19. Marker ON/OFF for each output
  20. Hi/Low Key function
  21. Black Gamma function
  22. 2K/HD 59.94/50.0P RGB 3G-Dual output
  23. Clip metadata output from SDIs
  24. Additional Menu items for Wi-Fi remote control
  25. Focus and Zoom Control
  26. Shockless gain
  27. Additional functions for CA-4000 Sony fibre-transmission adapter
  28. VF cable during power on

Perhaps the biggest addition is that Sony has finally added internal XAVC 4K to the F55, with frame rates up to 60fps. As much as I love shooting 4K RAW on the R5 recorder, it's really not practical for the majority of the time, because the storage requirements are huge and the post production workflow is a bit more convoluted. With the 3.0 firmware update, the F55 is now a stupidly versatile camera that has a recording option for just about any and every shooting situation that you could conjure. Add to that the high frame rate options (up to 180fps) that are now available with 1080 XAVC, and the versatility becomes virtually unmatched.

Sony F55 with Zeiss s16 Glass

The other feature that has me excited about this new firmware update is what Sony is calling "Center Scan Mode", which physically crops the sensor and makes it possible to use vintage super16 lenses on the F5 and F55. Considering the abundance of high quality s16 glass that is readily available, the center scan mode is a welcome addition to these cameras. In the center scan mode, you'll have the option to shoot XAVC HD, XAVC 2K, SStP and 2K RAW. With that said, I'm not entirely sure what kind of scaling is happening internally to maintain these resolutions.

Version 3.0 of the firmware is available for download from Sony now. To learn more about the new features, check out the original announcement from Sony, Jon Fauer's article, as well as this post from Studio Daily.

What do you guys think? Are you excited about the new features added to these cameras by the version 3.0 firmware? What features would you like to see in future updates? Let us know down in the comments!

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Your Comment

42 Comments

I personally think the F55 is the best all round camera available.
I've persuaded quite a few people to rent/buy them over the last 6 months. Sony have lifted their game with this unit with the updates too.
Can't wait to see what the new S-Logs are going to do once they implement them.
All these features good too. File renaming - yes!

December 27, 2013 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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marklondon

Wow what a monster of a camera this F55 has developed into in the last 12 months since its debut.

Bravo Sony. And if color output is similar to the F65 (Oblivion - amazing) then this is THE best value for movie making someone could rent or purchase ATM.

I love the Red Epics I have rented and friends rave about Alexa....but if im renting - this would be it for me.

BHphoto is dropping the price of Sony XAVC media Q1 2014 also!

December 27, 2013 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Heather Park

This might be a dumb question; wondering how you can tell a cameras capabilities from finished releases [like oblivion above]? Like is it obvious to you more experienced guys when watching a movie, to be able to tell if a certain camera is used? Just because I'm wondering if it's not the colorist actually making all of the final product shine, instead of the camera?

December 27, 2013 at 4:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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one place to find out what cameras are being used current films is a magazine called american cinematographer magazine.

December 27, 2013 at 5:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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shotonwhat . com is also a good place to find that

December 27, 2013 at 10:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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maghoxfr

Every camera has a certain look. It has its own unique color palette. A great colorist and a great DoP can make any camera shine. It's all about light really. If you have the experience you can almost always tell what camera was used. No camera captures the image the same way when it comes to motion, resolution and color. So no matter how good you are using the camera and grading the footage, the output will be slightly different when you compare. For example Alexa and Red has different skin tones. DB has a CCD with another kind of color palette then CMOS and a Canon 5D Mark II or III has an image with a more digital look. And so on...

December 27, 2013 at 5:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Martin

I truly agree. For some reason there is still a considerable amount of people who think that once a camera has RAW "you can make the image look how every you want" - basically a misconception that people seem to parrot from each other. If this was true the Hollywood would throw out Alexas and other pro-cams. Just look at the Black Magic cameras.. the image is in 70% of lighting situations just "yuck".. even though it's RAW people just can't make it look good.. once camera spits out an ugly RAW you can not do much about it - it's much wiser to rather play around with the lighting to make it look good (cheaper raw cams always seem to be quite good with neutral white lighting.. once you introduce any color to lighting - things get bad really fast).

December 29, 2013 at 3:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Peter

The F55 has so far the widest color gamut available due to its CFA and in fact it exceeds the color gamut of film. Working in ACES color space with the F55 really places no limits on "what kind of stock look" it really has. It's sort of true that certain cameras have certain looks, but with ACES the idea of that gets completely erased.

December 29, 2013 at 8:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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try shotonwhat.com here you can find all this kind of things if you are interested.

December 27, 2013 at 5:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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jesuan

"friends rave about Alexa"

I like the image of the Alexa a lot, the rich colors, the quality, the warmth. I can understand why you're friends like it a lot. After seeing a lot of 4K video and then going back to ARRI video I can see they really do need to get to 4K because 4K is making 1080p look like old news. Funny, because 1080p was the best just a short time ago. I'm so curios what the ARRI 4K will look like.

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/07/arri-confirms-4k-camera-development/

December 28, 2013 at 12:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

Regarding the XAVC media, as of firmware v2 (October 2013) the F5/F55 now support high-speed Sony XQD Media cards which are about 1/3rd the cost of SXS Pro Plus medias. These cards are about 2.5 times faster than any internal codec in the camera can even record to it - the idea is for speedy transfers and offloading of footage via PCIe interface.

There are three different series of XQD cards, so for complete details I wrote a detailed review here: http://cinetiny.com/m7pz2o2h

December 29, 2013 at 8:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Just in time for my shoot in two weeks! (Now that 400$ went to waste on a BMD HD link Pro).

December 27, 2013 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Inzitari

Not sure if I understand it correctly but will S-Log3 extend the dynamic range beyond the camera's rating of 14 stops? If so, how much more? Thanks

December 27, 2013 at 6:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ben

I would guess no. As 14 stops was Raw.

December 27, 2013 at 8:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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jd holloway

slog3 is much more similar to the cineon log curve, the middle grey is placed somewhat higher on the log curve. I suspect since with slog2 middle grey is so low (around 32%) that by the time you push it up in post you are really introducing quite a bit of noise during that lift. Starting with a brighter image and pulling it down in post is always a better way to go if you are trying to minimize noise and work above the noise floor.

December 29, 2013 at 8:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hope for a FS-100 update, too!

December 27, 2013 at 7:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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The F55 is a nice camera and these are nice upgrades but the footage is not at all easy to work with. RED files are just that much better.

December 27, 2013 at 10:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Evidently, you haven't actually used one.

December 27, 2013 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I'd rather have a $30,000 lens and rent this sucker. I don't know, It feels better than actually wanting to own the camera. It's a fantastic machine, but I think what will separate all these great new imagers is the glass. The DR is there, colors nice, perfect log, easy grading apps and LUTS, so what will give its own personality and create a mood is the lens (and of course lighting) I don't think DSLR lenses are the answer, maybe a few. Am I wrong for thinking that way? The fanatical gear head in me says yes, the wannabe artist says no.

December 27, 2013 at 10:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

Glass is very important, but at the end of the day its just a tool to convey the image/story. What i basically mean is that you do not need 30k glass. Every camera is not created equal, but you could use budget nikon lens vs expensive LEICA lens to acheive a better photo.

The black magic cinema camera in Raw seems to shine regardless of what glass you throw in front of it.

Glass is important but at the end of the day, The best glass in the word will not imporve an 8 bit dslr image, ultimately if its a great camera, then it can be recovered in post.

December 27, 2013 at 10:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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JAYE

Great point.

December 27, 2013 at 10:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

Good glass is SO much cheaper to rent than to own. My personal choice is to buy an all around great camera that works for almost any situation, rent the glass, and when the camera becomes outdated or I want to move to a lower price range...I sell. Selling a RED camera on Reduser is a piece of cake.

Buy the brain new, buy all accessories used. Use it for 6 months and then sell it for close to what you put in...free 6 month rental. Not sure what the used market is like for the Sony line though...

December 29, 2013 at 8:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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With the feature sets now offered on both the F5 and F55, I can't see how anyone could deny that these are the most capable cameras, in their price range, available today. I own the F5 and it already made outstanding images but, with the new update, it will be even better. I'm pretty stoked.

December 27, 2013 at 10:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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There're gonna be around for a while, they check all the boxes. Great cameras.

December 27, 2013 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

"the F55 is now a stupidly versatile camera"

lol, good way to put it.

December 27, 2013 at 11:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

Sony also has made a studio version of F55, which is probably what they'll be using for broadcasting the 2014 World Cup 4K matches. High frame rate would really come handy there.

December 28, 2013 at 3:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

Is there a feature film that has been shot on this camera? I've only seen short form work from this camera thus far.

December 28, 2013 at 7:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Cinester

New big budget scifi flick Tomorrowland (2015) starring George Clooney will be shot with F65 and F55. Obviously F55 being so called "B cam". Very talented Claudio Miranda is DP. He is a Sony guy, shot Tron with F35 and above mentioned (visually stunning) Oblivion with F65.

December 28, 2013 at 11:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

Definitely interested in seeing some center cropped footage shot with S16 glass. Any links would be appreciated.

December 28, 2013 at 9:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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http://vimeo.com/82808203

If you are more interested with F5 / F55 stuff, join the community:

http://community.sony.com/t5/F5-F55/bd-p/large-sensor-camera-F5-F55

December 28, 2013 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

I shot a 2k Center Scan and 2k Full Scan on the F55 using the same lens and same framing so that any differences could easily be observed. My test clips can be downloaded from here: http://cinetiny.com/crJMeP2T

December 29, 2013 at 8:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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The Sony F55 is definitely the best camera out right now beautiful image and great ergonomics. I would love to rent one for some shoots.

December 28, 2013 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Caleb

"Perhaps the biggest addition is that Sony has finally added internal XAVC 4K to the F55, with frame rates up to 60fps."

WTF? F55 was able to record 4K internally since firmware 1.0, the day of the launch last year.

December 28, 2013 at 2:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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one

Yes indeed, the F55 camera has been shooting 4k 60p since early March of this year when I first got the camera. The latest frame rate related additions have been HFR HD 120fps, 2k RAW 180fps & 240fps in the October firmware upgrade and just this week now most of these are completely variable in frame rate.

December 29, 2013 at 8:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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" In the center scan mode, you’ll have the option to shoot XAVC HD, XAVC 2K, SStP and 2K RAW. With that said, I’m not entirely sure what kind of scaling is happening internally to maintain these resolutions."

Whoever wrote this article seriously needs to check his facts.

Shame on you nofilmschool editors.

There is no "scaling" happening in central scan mode as the F55/F5 sensor is 4K, so you can use the central scan but still retain 2K resolution without scaling.

December 28, 2013 at 2:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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one

Even with s16 lenses, will they cover that. Feeling that they won't but don't know for certain.

December 28, 2013 at 5:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I shot a 2k Center Scan and 2k Full Scan on the F55 using the same lens and same framing so that any differences could easily be observed. My test clips can be downloaded from here: http://cinetiny.com/crJMeP2T

There is definitely no scaling going on or weird pixel-binning / line-skipping going on like Sony did with the HD HFR that resulted in aliasing.

December 29, 2013 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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It's absolutely ridiculous article. The guy who wrote it didn't even know that F55 did 4K internally since the launch date.

December 30, 2013 at 2:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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one

I have had an F5 for the past three months, with nikon 18-200 zoom lens via an mtf adaptor and a simple shoulder mount with follow focus. Basically using the rig as an replacement for my old Broadcast ENG camera. I was dubious about the SXS costs but in use the Camera just excels. Shooting Mpeg or XAVC 100 mb produces stunning results that are easy to edit in FCPX and grade in Davinci. It was a leap of faith to buy at such a fast developing time for camera tech, but the updates just keep increasing the horizon of this amazing camera. The wide choice of formats mean that I can spec it for the job and keep my post cost efficient and relevant for the job. The camera is fast paying itself back and I haven't even shot 4k on it yet! And if I every need to use and f55 the transition should be reasonable. Camera of the year 2013.

January 2, 2014 at 5:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Chris K Jones

+1

January 2, 2014 at 7:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sony shouldn't let their F55 be beaten in any single category by the FS700! I'm talking high frame rate of 960fps. If the gear on the FS700 is capable of producing 960fps the F55 should at the very least be able to match it, if not even surpass it. Sure, it may not be able to do it with all the features or bit depth as the F55 can deliver in normal modes - but it's like buying a million dollar sports car with no cup holders. Sure, the F55's mission isn't 960 or higher fps, but it should do it anyway - if for no other reason than because they can.

Let's show them what the internal guts of this thing can do, let's see 1200fps or higher just to prove it can be done, and let's do it at a higher than FS700 resolution too. Let's make this thing the HFR flagship, not the FS700!!

January 4, 2014 at 9:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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We need 1440x1080 and 1280x1080 native setting for 2x anamorphic.

January 4, 2014 at 6:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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hawkviewtaiwan

From what I've seen, I like the image of F-55. I like the 4k raw ability, global shutter, strength in low light, it's everything I've been waiting for since 2008 :) when I made my dream list of a camera that can handle 90% of work I do. BUT, I'm upset that the slowmo in 4k stops at 60fps. at least 100 or 120fps. I wouldn't use it all the time, but to be limited like that, and having to bump down to get that 120/180/and even 240fps saddens me. If a v.40 firmware update would have 30-40 more frames in 4k raw mode. This camera is done a deal and doesn't just compete, but beats the competitor. I don't want a "perfect camera" But i want a camera that I don't need to swap it out for another on the day to get the shot i need. I just want to switch the settings. and stay in 4k, because that's what the client wants.

Thoughts anyone?

November 2, 2014 at 3:02PM

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David Carmichael
Shooter, editor
142

I guess this me being picky- but last thing.

When I've looked for a camera every showcase, here's my list in order of importance:
DR (14-18 stops) (F-55, Alexa, Red)
amazing color space and damn good look (F-55, Alexa, Canon)
Global Shutter, like mechanical film cameras (F-55, Red)
Raw 4k (F-55, Red)
Low Light ability- I wont always use this, but this like having a very flexible stop on hand, and can help you get those last shots of the day looking just as good as the ones at noon. (F-55, Canon)
Awesome Slow motion options at full resolution (Red)

As you can see, the camera that does what I'm looking for is technically here. If I was to buy a camera that would lst me until we start having to shoot 3D holgram movies (lol) I would pick the F-55, but is it that hard to give me those few more extra frames ;)

November 2, 2014 at 3:12PM

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David Carmichael
Shooter, editor
142