March 13, 2014

Sony F5 & F55 Cameras Getting ProRes and DNxHD On-Board Recording

Today, Sony announced that their higher end cinema cameras, the F5 and F55, are both going to be getting Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD recording in a future hardware upgrade. This is a big move for the company, which has so far avoided either of the codecs in both their high-end and low-end cameras, even as competitors like ARRI adopted them for much easier workflows. Read on for more details.

Here is the news from the Sony forum:

XAVC has proven robust, and is well accepted by “mission critical” genres such as Episodic Television, Documentary and feature film. The adoption of XAVC by commonly used platforms has been exceptionally fast, and as a result XAVC is supported by all major workflow applications in the fields of editing, grading, transcoding and media management.

Sony is firmly committed to the continued advancement of the XAVC codec with exciting developments planned for the future. Sony is also committed to our customers and with your feedback the need for diversity and flexibility to support codecs that have been used in our industry for some time.

Our mission is to continue developing the most feature rich cameras on the market. In so doing we are excited to announce support for ProRes and DNxHD codecs as a future hardware upgrade option for both the F5, and F55 cameras.

As it says above, this will be a hardware upgrade, so there may be some cost involved and you will probably have to bring in or send in your camera to get the new codecs, but it's likely that these will be recorded with the SxS cards since all of those other codecs above currently are. What we don't know yet is which flavors the cameras will be getting, but if Sony really wants to make a splash, they will put 4K ProRes into the F55 (if not both cameras). I'm sure at the very least the F5 and F55 will feature 10-bit ProRes HQ and 10-bit DNxHD 220, and I'm sure you'll be able to record in log with the codecs.

This is huge news for the camera and for the industry, and will simplify post workflows even more, allowing people to stay in ProRes or DNxHD throughout the entire pipeline if they choose to. The announcement is one of those things you're happy to be wrong about, as I never thought one of the big three (Sony, Canon, Panasonic) would ever put ProRes into their cameras because of the licensing involved. Clearly that wasn't too much of an issue in this case, as it's going to happen at some point in the near future.

Since Apple requires that companies be approved before they can even announce that they are using ProRes, I can't imagine this upgrade being too far down the line, so we'll probably hear a lot more about it during NAB -- or even sooner. Either way, it's a sign that Sony really wants to take over the mid-range market that has been dominated by Canon, RED, and ARRI, and that they see themselves directly competing against the ALEXA in plenty of cases.

This announcement could also mean that newer cameras from Sony in the $5,000-$10,000 range get these codecs down the road, which would really put pressure on all of the other camera manufacturers to come out swinging in this segment, and really give you some bang for your buck.

Link: Announcing ProRes and DNxHD support for both F5 and F55 -- Sony Forum

Your Comment

32 Comments

I would love to see ProRes on the FS700. That would make my month.

March 13, 2014 at 6:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Devin

The Odyssey 7Q is supposed to have a very nice ProRes update for the FS700 coming any day now.

March 13, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Luke

Eventually ... The 4K image out of the FS700 is insanely beautiful and despite Sony's horrendously flawed 4K to 2K/HD internal conversion I have high hopes for the Convergent Design approach. What makes it even more frustrating is that monitoring the 4K signal on my 7Q looks amazing and I can't record it. Yet.

Owning the FS700 feels much like being the rented step child of Sony. There is zero love from that company towards us, the owners.

March 15, 2014 at 12:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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hehehe, Here in Brazil we have an expression for this:
"Quando a água bate na bunda..."
It means:
"When the water hits the butt" it's time to move on!!!
BlackMagic with ProRes, Pocket with ProRes...
Good for us!
It's a pity the GH4 doesn't have ProRes (yet!)

March 13, 2014 at 6:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Theuer

I guess the competition is getting fierce and some cameras will definitely get left in the dust. I hope Canon i paying attention as am one thinking of Black Magic Cinema Camera instead of the C100.

March 21, 2014 at 12:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I already have Prores on my F5, It's called a Samurai Blade. Ok, so it doesn't shoot high speed but for daily deliveries to clients it's perfect. I also use the Blade as an EVF with the Grid Loupe. It's a nice combo that can turn the F5 into a near ENG style.

March 13, 2014 at 6:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

Can you capture 4K on your Atomos recorder when using the F5?

March 13, 2014 at 8:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam d

Nope, but I believe on the F55 you can with the Odyssey 7Q

March 14, 2014 at 3:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

Hello JPS,
Is it possible to see what your F5 looks like when used as an ENG style cam ?
What lense do you use ?
I'm on the verge to buy the F5, but worried about its handling ability.
What's your point of view ?
Thanks for your help.

Jeff

March 22, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

If they have on board 4k pro res 444, they might give Alexa a run for their market share. That being said, I still like the look of the Alexa over this camera but this camera is a cheaper rental and light enough to go on a MoVI which can be a major deciding factor these days.

March 13, 2014 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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and the color gamut of the f55 quite nice aswell...

March 13, 2014 at 9:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Didier

Not as great as Alexa here's a colorist to explain why http://www.dvinfo.net/article/post/making-the-sony-f55-look-filmic-with-...

March 14, 2014 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cinester

All that really means is the Alexa has a more filmic color rendition out of the gate. Considering Sony has an even wider gamut than film, you can reproduce any look you want in post.

March 14, 2014 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael

BTW, I noticed he was recording in XVAC. I think RAW would have been a better comparison. Either way, Alexa certainly has a more filmic look out of the box. Whether that is "better" is more subjective. I usually equate better with technical measurements, specs, etc.

March 14, 2014 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael

March 14, 2014 at 11:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juhan-i

oh man, I would love ProRes on everything

March 13, 2014 at 8:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I sooooooo agree with the last paragraph. Sony's swinging for the meat of the market with this. In-camera ProRes, pull the SxS card out, hand it over, reload. Instant grading, dailies, the whole shebang. The TV networks/studios want 4K yesterday but they don't want to have the Raw related hassle. This sets them up nicely (with F55, as a rule) for the 2014 TV season that will begin shooting around July, 1. And now there shall be little need for Amira's LUT's.

March 13, 2014 at 9:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Agreed. 4k/raw is nice but not a necessity and pro res to put it simply..."just works"(at a HIGH standard). I think Apple has an unseen/unspoken about business advantage over certain companies. Some companies products depend mostly on their ability to record a pro res file. I'm pretty sure these companies are aware of this. It's a shark tank.

March 14, 2014 at 1:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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While I think this addition is a welcome development, its the raw and HDscamR that turns the F5 and F55 into a beast making it rival the alexa and destroys MX. Noithing touches sony raw even the epic 5k 3:1 redcode. Neva touched arriraw though. I think sony should also develop its own XAVC 12bit 444 4k codec with a better compression than prores that's where the real game changer would be.

March 14, 2014 at 4:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JustCalMeTheBoss

They should do that for their feature cams like F65 and its eventual successors but the TV biz is very much workflow oriented due to the sheer volume of footage and the need to meet the deadlines. Arri is on the same "workflow" wavelength with Amira. Unfortunately for many Arri fans, it's not a 4K cam and thus Amira will probably will aim more toward the documentary, cable and non-US/Japan markets.
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Varicam is going with AVC-Ultra 4K, which is 400 Mbps and thus offers even more compact files than ProRes HQ. On top of that, Panasonic will sell the supporting infrastructure also.
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As it is, F55 is doing great in scripted TV format with its current XAVC codecs and this ProRes development should help it dominate the US market once the switch to 4K goes full time. Of course, there will be studios that see Sony as a competitor that it is and may lean toward a different manufacturer - Panasonic, Canon, Arri - if a worthy product is available. Which there will be. In time. But F55 will have one heck of a head start.

March 14, 2014 at 2:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

It's not the K that counts, it's the colour renditioning and latitude. That's why the Amira will still sell and it's why the Alexa dominates. It will undoubtedly produce very nice pictures, and even if they say it's a doco camera I'm betting a lot of indie features will go for it. I've yet to properly light for drama with my F5 in raw but I'm looking forward to what I can do with it.

March 14, 2014 at 3:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

K will count because that's where marketing moves the market, if for no other reason (and there are other reasons). Color rendition is great but the key to an improved image quality is not only color gamut - some TV's will be coming out with the Rec. 2020 this fall - but it's that AND a faster frame rate AND a higher dynamic range AND greater resolution. All are limited under the current broadcast and streaming technologies but the first barrier to fall globally is 4K. The only question with regard to Arri's 4K camera will be its full feature set and price point, as it's likely to compete with F65 for the major motion picture role. The low/no budget projects will probably settle for a GH4-BMPC4K type, while Amira will have to fight it out against F55 and Varicam in the TV and documentary areas ... a fight that will probably lose, given its price and features.

March 14, 2014 at 5:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Unless you're talking about uncompressed Sony Raw, it's the equivalent of 5:1 on Red. And noisy in the blacks, so you need NR.

March 14, 2014 at 3:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

Hate looking at new cameras. I already have too many and now I feel mine are out of date :(

March 14, 2014 at 7:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'll take some of those cameras off your hands.

March 14, 2014 at 9:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pat

Opps, you beat me to it...

March 21, 2014 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FWIW, Sony is starting a major World Cup (June, 12 opening match) related ad campaign. F55's will provide the 4K coverage of the (selected) matches. They'll obviously throw the kitchen sink into this opportunity.

March 15, 2014 at 1:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Adding ProRes to the F5 & F55 is definitely going to impose a trade off between frame rate and resolution since combined ProRes will easily exceed the data-rate of shooting in 4k RAW mode. Which raises speculation if the upgrade will in fact require the AXS-R5 module for it since SXS Pro + cards are only rated for 1500Mbps while AXSM cards are rated at 2500Mbps. Then of course there are the new Sony AXSM - slim cards recently announced. They do not fit into the SXS slot, so what are they going to be for? The plot thickens.

March 15, 2014 at 10:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hopefully this drives the competition to do the similiar open source codecs for all!

March 15, 2014 at 11:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wonder if this will be HD only...

March 17, 2014 at 6:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pippy

I would like to see the Pro Res in the new PXW-Z100. Also need the slow mo 8 FPS in 4K not just 2K.

March 23, 2014 at 12:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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i need camera for movie/film making
asad

March 26, 2014 at 5:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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asad