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-f55wzeissultra16-fdtimes-640x340Sony 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!