August 27, 2014

A New Hack Proves the Sony F5 Is Fully Capable of Internal 4K, but Sony Disabled It

Sony F$ 4KFor the past few years, the practice of hacking a camera's firmware in order to increase the feature-set of said camera has been commonplace and quite popular, especially in the case of the original GH2 hack and, of course, Magic Lantern with Canon DSLRs. However, up to this point, we haven't really seen or heard about folks hacking higher-end cameras in order to increase performance. Until now, that is. Paul Ream, a working cinematographer, recently figured out how to hack the Sony F5 so that it enables the camera to shoot 4K internally, a task which significantly closes the performance gap between the F5 and its much more expensive big brother, the F55. Furthermore, this hack raises some interesting questions about the ethics of companies limiting the functionality of their products in superficial ways.

So what exactly did Ream do to his camera in order to coax internal 4K from his F5? He shared the technique in the most recent version of the ExtraShot podcast. You can skip ahead to the 11:10 mark in the podcast to get directly to the conversation about the F5, and to about 18:20 to get to the part about the technical process behind hacking the camera.

Now that you've heard about F5 hack, here's a bit of a primer on why this is so significant. The Sony F5, which comes in at roughly $16,500 for the body only, is a 4K enabled camera, but only when the proprietary R5 recorder is attached. That device will set you back another $5500. By comparison, the Sony F55, which comes in at $29,000, has the ability to shoot 4K internally to Sony's XAVC codec. There are a few other differences between the two cameras, primarily the fact that the F55 has a global shutter sensor, more HFR options, and an improved color gamut.

This all seems well and good, especially considering that both cameras are highly capable production cameras, with the F55 having a few distinct advantages. Where people have been taking issue, however, is with the claim that the F5 is fully capable of internal 4k, but that Sony has very deliberately disabled that functionality for the purpose of creating more discernible differences between the two cameras.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 2.57.24 PM

Ream also shared the following video, which can be downloaded directly from Vimeo in the original 4K resolution.

It should be noted that this "hack" from Ream is not actually a firmware hack or some kind of tampering with the camera's physical hardware. Instead, Ream figured out that the F5 saves its internal preferences to a simple unprotected .txt file, a file that can be edited to include 4K resolution, saved, and then loaded back into the camera. Essentially, each line in this .txt file controls a different aspect of the camera's preferences, and line 150 is the one that controls resolution. By replacing that line (from the F5 preferences) with the resolution settings line from the F55, you can trick the F5 into recording internal 4K. Pretty cool, right?

Now let's talk a little bit about the implications of this little hack. On the surface it definitely seems like Sony is restricting the capability of the F5 in order to create marketable differences between it and the F55. Sony is positioning these cameras (and restricting feature-sets) in a way that is most profitable to them. That's nothing new in the business world. In another sense, however, it makes you wonder about the price difference between the F5 and the F55. As far as I know, the global shutter sensor is the only significant hardware difference between the two cameras (and to go along with that, a wider gamut color filter over the sensor). Even if there are more hardware differences than just the sensor, the hack is showing us that the F5 is capable of performance similar to the F55, which begs the question: is the F55 worth the over-$12,000 price difference?

We're waiting to see how Sony will respond to this new hack, considering that if it's allowed to continue, it could very well affect F55 sales. My guess is that a firmware update is in the works that will restrict access to the preferences file that allows the F5 to be hacked. If you're an owner of the F5 and you're interested in implementing the hack, it's a safe bet to say that you will have to hold on to the current firmware version to ensure that it continues to work. We also don't know for sure if all cameras will react the same way, so keep in mind if you do try it on your own camera, you are doing it at your own risk.

What do you guys think about this hack and the fact that the F5 is capable of more, but Sony has disabled these features? Is it ethical for them to do so, or do they have to make back their research and development costs somehow?

Links:

[via Cinema5D]

Your Comment

100 Comments

Typo: $29,ooo should be $29,000 (zeros not o's).

Now I'd like to see someone figure out a hack to record 4k internally on the a7s.

August 27, 2014 at 7:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Don't think you can hack the a7s as the physical hardware is not capable of recording 4K internally. It would overheat.

August 28, 2014 at 3:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Don

Does the downscaling from 4K to HD and then encode to SD card produce less heat than just 4k encode to SD card ? It is already producing a 4K image, isn't it ?

August 28, 2014 at 6:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anton

From what I understand, the camera is just reading every pixel on the sensor for 1080p, not piping a 4K signal down the line.

August 28, 2014 at 8:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Luca

My understanding is that the A7s outputs the 4k image out the HDMI connection, so that means it is processing the 4k image with the picture profile that you choose and sends the 4k image out the HDMI, while also down-sampling internally to 1080p to the card. I would think the camera is actually producing more heat to record 1080p than if it could record 4k internally.

August 28, 2014 at 8:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thomas Barthle

Almost all cameras seem to have heat problems with compressing and recording to media. You will notice that most cameras don't get hot when it is sitting in standby and sending out a signal through the video out while also displaying a reduced signal on the LCD. But, they definitely get hot when recording.

August 28, 2014 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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cpreston

please do the same with the fs700!!!

August 27, 2014 at 7:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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W

I've already tried. FS700 settings are stored in assembly opposite to plain text in F5/55. It made me thinking that it was left there on purpose.

August 27, 2014 at 8:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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a

Binary

August 27, 2014 at 8:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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a

There are rumors - aren't there always - of a FS100 (and/or FS700) 4K replacement. When you think about it, Sony could have had it a year ago but they chose to release Z 100, which is not a huge success on the sales charts. Its small 1/2.3" sensor aside, the model has an internal XAVC at 600 Mbps with 60p, 4K HDMI out, etc. Swap the sensors, drop the fixed lens and there's your update in an instant.

August 27, 2014 at 10:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

You could probably see if that converts to ASCII.

August 28, 2014 at 6:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ben

Ha! God damnit hackers, I love your clever-ass ways! This is great :)

August 27, 2014 at 7:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Are there any similarities with the other Sony cameras in regard to it generating these text files?

August 27, 2014 at 7:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yup, camera manufacturers are among the worst offenders in the "self crippling" of their products. Even GH4, arguably the best buy among all entry level 4K hybrids, should have had a higher bitrate recording (it's 200 Mbps in 1080p but only 100 in 4K) and a log function. Its cheaper cousin FZ 1000 should have had 24p capability but it only has 30p. Sony A7s should have at least the internal 4K XAVC-S at 60 Mbps. The reason for this is because a lot of the built-in hardware is virtually identical over several tiers of the product line since it's cheaper to do it that way. One can always disable an "added feature" in programming, as seems to be the case with F5.

August 27, 2014 at 7:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

What makes you think the A7s 'should' have internal 4K? Are you aware of something contrary to Sony's claim of a hardware limitation due to overheating?

August 28, 2014 at 8:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Luca

Panasonic FZ-1000 does internal 4K at 100 Mbps for $899 retail and there are other bridge cameras and, obviously, smartphones that can record 4K internally. Given that both FZ-1000 and A7s do a straight sensor readout without the need to do a lot of extra processing with pixel/line skipping, the elimination or toleration of extra heat could have been accomplished via various means. Sony simply chose to deliver this camera and at this price point. It now seems to delay A99 MK II until 2015, even though it could have released a large body internal 4K camera instead of A7s. But then Sony's managers - in both product and marketing - have to navigate the uncharted waters when it comes to the 4K hybrid market. On some they hit, on some, they miss. FS-100/700 were hits. AX1 and Z100 are not. And that's how it goes.
'
By the way, speaking of a 20/20 hindsight, Panasonic just took a wild swing and released GH4 without even expecting it to be such a huge hit. Once they realized what they had on their hands, they rushed to double its production. And their huge marketing department did not predict that.

August 28, 2014 at 10:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

"Panasonic just took a wild swing and released GH4 without even expecting it to be such a huge hit. Once they realized what they had on their hands, they rushed to double its production. And their huge marketing department did not predict that."

What on earth are you talking about? You really think that Panasonic didn't expect to sell a lot of 4K cameras and was caught off-guard by the demand? Hahahahahahaha

August 29, 2014 at 8:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sara

Awesome.

And what if the Sony A7S could record internal 4k but is disabled so that people buy instead FS700 or F55?

August 27, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It can! Jeremy from Atomos said that when Sony contacted him they said that it can record for 5-6 minutes and then it overheats. That's why they locked it. I am 100% that with some simple hack it can be enabled.

August 27, 2014 at 8:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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a

I've just tried it and it works. I'm on XQD S-series 180mbs cards, not even the SXS pro +!

August 27, 2014 at 7:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

uh oh! good for him to figure that out and be brave enough to test it.

August 27, 2014 at 7:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Seriously why bother with 4K when the Red can do 6K? I don't understand all the wannabes on this site even talking about inferior products such as cameras from Sony, Arri, Blackmagic when Red is the only camera that should be used for making "cinema".

August 27, 2014 at 7:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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For my next film I told the director we need to shoot 7.7k or I won't shoot it.

August 27, 2014 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hahaha. You're clearly not wise. Resolution is not king, and you just denounced Arri which has the undisputed best looking digital sensor in the world.

August 27, 2014 at 7:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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matt

I think he's being facetious chief. If not, he should be.

August 29, 2014 at 1:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcus

Are you a troll from Reddit?

August 27, 2014 at 8:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rich

If you met Leonardo Da Vinci, would you obsess over what brand of paint brush he uses? Is it the tool, or the skill of the user? If you think RED is all you need for the "cinema" look, I recommend you go to YouTube and look for "The Time Machine (I found at a yard sale)" - it shot on RED!

August 27, 2014 at 8:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael H

This is the most unintentionally hilarious comment I've ever seen.

August 27, 2014 at 8:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4495

Unintentional? :-)

August 28, 2014 at 12:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael H

Really Shane Anderson?
Have you ever looked at what camera is used for most of the films nominated for best picture at the Acadamy Awards?
http://nofilmschool.com/2014/01/which-cameras-were-used-on-the-oscar-nom...
RED Epic is a brilliant camera, but purely thinking workwise, I'll take the Alexa over Epic, no matter how high the resulution of the RED is.

August 27, 2014 at 9:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rúni Friis Kjær

There seem to be a group of people who enjoy making Red Camera users seem ignorant and defensive towards other manufacturers. It'a getting quite ridiculous how, on every camera article, there is a comment about how crappy the camera is and that it shouldn't be made because Red is better.

The fact is that people who actually use these cameras, work in high-end environments, and know how good all these systems are and use and use all of them. This brand loyality and childish wars only seems to exist here online. Red, Arri, F55, etc users are the highest-end professionals in the industry, and childish ignorance is not one of their charachters.

August 27, 2014 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ahmed

+100

The guy is obviously trolling and just being sarcastic.

August 27, 2014 at 10:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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BTW, the new Fincher flick was shot on Red in 5K. 36 TB worth of footage, edited in a 2K proxy.

August 27, 2014 at 10:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Thank you so much for saying this.

August 27, 2014 at 10:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Coty

Seriously why bother with RED 6K when the Sony F65 can do 8K? I don’t understand all the wannabes on this site even talking about inferior products such as cameras from RED, Arri, Blackmagic when Sony F65 is the only camera that should be used for making “8K cinema”.

August 27, 2014 at 10:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guy McLoughlin

lol Red 6k... I am shooting Vector Video with the cam I am developing. Inferior Trolls.

August 27, 2014 at 11:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bobhadababyitsaboy

2/10 not even mad. Learn to troll harder.

August 28, 2014 at 8:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Luca

Hahahaha go shoot something on RED for web distribution and come back to us. Infact go shoot anything and get back to us.

August 28, 2014 at 10:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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In all seriousness, it is the final image resolution that counts.
For example 4K raw frame out of Sony F55 has more final, visible resolution than 5.5K raw frame from Red Dragon camera.

This has been verified in independent tests:

http://www.cinematography.net/UWE/index.html

When it comes to this F5 debacle, most likely Sony was going to extend the life of F5 in future, by opening the 4K recording through firmware update.

August 28, 2014 at 2:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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-Juhani-

The F55 is as sharp if not more sharp than the red epic dragon at 6k espically when u shoot raw even with the 2k olpf on it. Dis way u dnt get to see the sony sharpness images are very organic. And dam sharp. I mean clear sharp. Of course I have used both cameras

August 28, 2014 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JustCalMeDBoss

Shane tell me what you're on so I can get some too.

August 28, 2014 at 6:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gary Simmons

Do you think there will be a hack for the gh4 ?

August 27, 2014 at 7:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stewart

if it saves the camera data then go for it - try to find it - but be careful of the legal limitations of posting your results.

August 27, 2014 at 7:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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GH4 might have a firmware update soon.

August 27, 2014 at 10:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I've just done this 'Hack' to my F5 and seems to all work fine. I can't playback the recorded 4K clips in camera, but they import, play and export out of Adobe Premiere CC just fine.

I don't have a 4K monitor so I can't test the HMDI or SDI output from the F5.

I also didn't record any audio while in 4K as I didn't have my mics with me, but I'm assuming its all ok.

August 27, 2014 at 8:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thanks for the update!

August 27, 2014 at 9:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4495

One of the (few) main differences between F5 and F55 is the 4K video output. Only F55 can output 4K out of the camera...

August 28, 2014 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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-Juhani-

Come on! Isn't it obvious "Shane Anderson" is baiting. He's a RED hater trying to perpetuate this nonsense.

August 27, 2014 at 9:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Phil

Gotta love crippling the hardware features with "clever" firmware and paid updates (hello, like hello).

August 27, 2014 at 11:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

Why is everyone so surprised by this? The CPU you're using right now is crippled, just like your video card. It's usually cheaper for chip makers fabricate one design and just disable the higher end portions to arrive at lower price points. It happens all the time and it has nothing to do with ETHICS. (whaaaat?!) It'd cost you more in the end if companies didn't use these strategies to differentiate their products. Supply, demand, cost efficiencies... these are terms you learn about in high school.

What's actually interesting is that Sony made this "hack" just a simple value in a .txt file. It's harder to figure out the shutter count on a Sony DSLR than it is to upgrade the resolution on an Sony F5. My guess is that Sony planned this more or less.... let some guy figure this "hack" out right about the time the camera needs more value to justify the price (making the camera sell well when sales usually start to taper off). If not, there will be an engineer or 10 fired ASAP.

August 29, 2014 at 4:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

Protecting themselves hurt everybody else.

August 28, 2014 at 12:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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edgar

As an F5 owner, gotta say, I am absolutely thrilled with this development.

August 28, 2014 at 2:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ah, armchair quarterbacking. Manufacturers have reasons for doing things that are not always related to sales & marketing. Maybe internal testing of the F5 at 4k uncovered problems. Sony has to warranty and service the cameras.

P.S. How did an F5 hack story devolve into an Epic vs. Alexa battle? Oh, wait, this is No Film School.

August 28, 2014 at 3:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Charlie

Surprise, surprise.
Cars nowadays are throttled by a small electronic device. They can sell three different models at different prices which share the exact same motor, but at three different horse power ratings and even different fuel consumption.

August 28, 2014 at 8:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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hansd35

This argument reminds me of something I learned while modding an old 1.8T GTI I had back in the day. A simple software change gave me 70lb/ft more torque. It also made the car a little unwieldy. Now, I needed new tires. New suspension. New brakes. If somebody else drove the car, they would think there was something wrong with the engine because it no longer accelerated smoothly. Most buyers don't even want more power, they just want something that is easy to use. In these discussions about specs, we often forget that there a lot of reasons that manufacturers make choices that seem to limit hardware and none of them are about screwing over the buyer.

August 28, 2014 at 4:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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cpreston

Exactly. And the manufacturer is responsible for the car in large part for at least a year after you buy it, often for three or more years.

August 28, 2014 at 4:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Charlie

It's a small electronic device throtteling down performance on the cheaper versions of a car model, no DIY, no need for better/other 'hardware' or security issues.
You're car may very well have that too.
Same with these cameras.

August 29, 2014 at 7:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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hansd35

I don't think Sony is ripping anybody off btw.

August 29, 2014 at 7:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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hansd35

The thing is, if you talk to the average consumer, many actually prefer less power. There is a mind set among some people that less power or options is the more frugal and safe option, and so the decrease in horsepower actually is a selling point. In the case of cameras, some consumers prefer fewer options or capabilities. Go to any photography forum and you will hear people railing against any video feature they find on the camera. And the average amateur photographer wants auto everything. Manual control just scares them and they would rather buy the cheaper camera with less options even if they had the money available. Even among working professionals, sometimes less is more especially if you have to spend less time on set-up or learning a new system. To the geek camera guy, it all comes across as crippling the product, but to the company and marketing there is a legitimate business reason that may actually bring them more customers.

August 29, 2014 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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cpreston

this makes it clear that Sony is ripping you off

August 28, 2014 at 8:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kenneth gooswit

I, for one, find Sony restricting it to be a bit silly (to put it mildly). So too everyone’s obsession with 4K given it is not a robust enhancement. Resolution is not everything. And in the 4K world is too small (at the moment) to get all excited about this extra capability.

The feature I drool over is the RAW portion, or 16bit capability. So much do i want this that I would like to see 2K record in 16bit internally. Gimme that as a hack and my whole world will change.

I save my frustration for the reality that cameras are constantly coming out that feature 4K RAW at a fraction of the cost of an F5 - WITHOUT the RAW capability. As someone who frequently laments, but is resigned to a world of tech evolution, this investment has left me with an all time new low feeling.

August 28, 2014 at 8:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's funny to see magic lantern supporters bash this hack.

August 28, 2014 at 9:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jared

I think people are confusing ease of providing more bang for your buck, with obligation to provide more bang for your buck.

Do you think selling different feature sets at different prices is unethical?
Do you think making a profit is unethical?
Do you think capitalism is unethical?

If your answer is no to all three, what has Sony done that's unethical?

Random thought experiment: if Sony had done a hardware cripple rather than a firmware cripple, in order to sell different feature sets at different prices, would you regard that behaviour as unethical? If not, how is hardware cripple morally different from firmware cripple? The practical result is the same.

One more random thought experiment: if McDonald's produces a burger for $2 and sells it at $4 when it could have sold it for less, is McDonald's being unethical? Surely everyone has a right to charge what they like for their goods and services, and, generally speaking (cartels etc aside), to restrict people having this sort of freedom would be unethical?

August 28, 2014 at 9:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Paper_bag

Just put a paper bag over your head and shut up!

August 28, 2014 at 10:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YNOS

lol

August 28, 2014 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yes yes yes...

We are at a point in time where corporate interests influnce in a negative way society and its ability to sustain itself.
In my honest opinion the idea of different sets and different prices is a joke. There really should only be a difference when it serves a purpose and even then not differ too much in price.

Sony deserves what they are going to get as a result of this and I have the most profound respect for the man who shared this info with the rest of the world as all tech should be at the hands of every man woman and child on this earth.

August 28, 2014 at 11:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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torben

You do understand that Sony is a private company doing business, not charity intended to deliver you and your friends free high tech ?

Unless I am mistaken, it took several years of work from literally hundreds of Sony engineers to design and implement F5/F55 cameras. Who is gonna pay this development ?

Do you know how much it costs to have for example 150 engineers working for two years, full time ? Just the salary expenses are huge, when compared to amount of units these cameras are going to sell.

August 28, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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-Juhani-

Monsanto want to sell suicide seeds to the third world so that they can't reap the harvest and plant a new crop from their current one. Monsanto spent a lot of money on developing it and it will make a lot of money. This is business. Is it ethical? Hell no! It's bordering on criminal. Sony made a serious mistake differentiating the two cameras in the market place.

August 28, 2014 at 5:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

...and yet, they spent all that time coming out with two cameras which are essentially the same camera with minor differences. I wouldn't be at all surprised if everything inside is basically the same hardware, and the rest is software crippling.

There'a s huge difference between maximising profit and wrapping the same gift in two different kinds of wrapping paper.

August 29, 2014 at 4:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Torben

Well, look at it another way. If you just bought a new Chevy Impala and someone found it could go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds with a computer hack, would you feel your car manufacturer was ethical, or would you say you should have bught a Corvette?

August 28, 2014 at 7:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bob

Does anyone think you can activate the Prores and DNXHD codecs which may already be in FW 4.0 but disabled by default this way?

August 28, 2014 at 10:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Proves my long standing opinion about what a cynical, dead-shit company Sony really is...

August 28, 2014 at 10:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YNOS

You would think a company would produce a product providing maximum utility for minimum price to win the market. But, for Sony and Canon and Panasonic, such products would kill their revenue stream from higher priced gear. Case in point, the Sony AX100, a $2K camera recording 4K. The codec's limited to 50Mbs! Ability to configure is limited, sharpness cannot be reduced, for example. It has NDs built in! That ND goodness was not enough for me. The form factor of the AX100 blows away the GH4, but I'm using that wart hog of a camcorder GH4 because I can set the software to record the way I want.

August 28, 2014 at 10:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yep...that's why Sony and Canon haven't got a dollar out of me for a long, long time! Canon especially are a total joke as far as milking archaic video technology to the max.

Panasonic have loosened their technology sphincter and are now giving the plebs a modicum of decent value-for-money 4K equipment in the form of the excellent GH4. Ha ha...they've came a long way from when they tried to block the GH1 hack...

August 28, 2014 at 11:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YNOS

Editing a text file, that the thing reads is hardly a hack. That being said disabling it would be as easy as a simple if statement when reading the file.

I bet Sony won't mess with it, or they will enable it.

August 28, 2014 at 10:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Darren Orange

I bet some poor salaryman code writer has been demoted to the Aibo division.

August 28, 2014 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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YNOS

Gotta agree with Paper Bag on this. (Man the things you find yourself typing these days….) You don’t like his analogies? How about this one: You can’t really get pissed off at your masseuse because she didn’t give you a happy ending after you heard she gave one to the guy across town who ponied up more dough. ( Not the best analogy but not the worst either) Sony has been in trouble the last few years and they’re trying to make ends meet. Aren’t we all?

August 28, 2014 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Billy Barber

+1 :)

August 28, 2014 at 7:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I bet you can do something similar with a C300 and squeeze out 4k @ 23.976fps as well as 1080p @ 60fps. That camera can do more than it currently does for sure. As least give us 10bit.
It's going to be increasingly difficult for manufacturers to intentionally cripple it's products for future profit.

August 28, 2014 at 1:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The thing is that F5 probably uses same internals with F55 because the mass production is cheaper when you only have one production line (or they just wanted to have longer life for the camera for later update). This is not really a hacked or cracked firmware, but just exploited bug taking advantage of the sister model having same internals with REAL capability to record 4K. None of the canon C cameras can do internal 4K although they have 4K sensor. Sony's codec was also designed to work in 4K applications. No matter what compression the different C series Canon uses now, getting 4K would quadruple the data rate and internal processing requirement. It is one thing for C500 for example to push out 4K to external recorder than actually having internal processing power to compress it and record internally. Seeing this coincidental bug exploit as a sign that someone would hack Canon is very far fetched.

August 29, 2014 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ts

Something still makes me think there's more under the hood on the C300. Maybe not 4k, but at least a bitrate change or maybe 1080p @ 60fps. If the C100 can output 10bit 422 then the C300 should at least be able do it as well.

August 30, 2014 at 5:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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There is another major hardware difference between the F55 and F5 - the F55 has a different Color Filter Array (CFA) that gives it the aforementioned increased color gamut.

August 28, 2014 at 2:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nice. Although 4K isn't all that yet. I have a BMPC4K and have not used 4K resolution for anything other than playing around yet.

August 28, 2014 at 2:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Christopher Kou

There's not un-ethical about a company having two products, built from the same building blocks and then limiting the capabilities of the cheaper product.

With camera technology changing from purely hardware to a hardware & software combination, software companies have always had tiered offerings that start from the same code base.

I actually would prefer that manufacturers provide one product with features that can be purchased when you need them. In the film/video production world products with this capability, such as Convergent Design's 7Q 4K recorder, increase my value to my customer because I now rent a feature increase when I need it or buy it outright if I'm using it a lot. In today's world of leap-frog innovations, I can't keep buying a new camera every year.

Make them modular like Red cameras, make them upgradable like BMD URSA and help protect my investment into your product line.

August 28, 2014 at 4:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Herschel

The problem with modularity is sort like in that engine upgrade analogy above - you get more horse power but then you'll also need a new suspension, a new clutch, etc. Besides, the digital technology keeps moving forward at a much faster pace than the old analog world These mods are great for those who already own the product but, rest assured, the next generation of models will always deliver a lot more for a lot less.
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By the way, Sony F-series had a lot of firmware upgrades along the way. It's quite possible the internal 4K on F5 was intended to be among them but never materialized for a variety of reasons.

August 28, 2014 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Bingo, I think Sony had it scheduled for a future update down the road to keep selling a camera over 2 years in the making. Imagine if Paul never figured this out and in 6 months Sony came out with this 4k internal feature. It would surely extend sales and keep the f5 relevant for at least a little while longer.

August 28, 2014 at 10:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

Well said. Also, it may or may not hurt Sony, but if they allow this it will drive more sales to that product anyway.

August 28, 2014 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's not unethical.

Let's assume most here are practicing professionals. You shoot/edit a music video/wedding video/corporate video for a client which is bare bones and a very basic production. Then another client pays you more money to create another video, with more intense features involved - so you charge more money. Then a third client comes along, and expects the features from your second video, but at the price of the bare bones video. Is it smart for you to set the standard that low going forward? Even if you're able to simply replicate what you did in your second video replicating set up, or copy/pasting effects (after all the trial and error that went into that)?

Would you consider yourself unethical for protecting your own profit margins and looking to recoup the time and effort it took for you to understand how to achieve those functions which are now desirable?

Is it unfortunate that we can't all afford the F55? Sure. Unethical? Nup.

August 28, 2014 at 9:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ben Howling

Well said

August 28, 2014 at 10:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andy

1+

August 29, 2014 at 9:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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zohair

Bit rates, codecs and colour depth hobble cameras more than frame sizes do. People love Alexa because of its colour depth not its frame size.

I hate these reductive fundamentalist arguments about cameras. DOP's I know love Alexa and 80-90% of what I get is Alexa footage but they all think RED is amazing. Yeah they prefer Alexa but if I need the resolution for VFX they'll shoot RED no problems.

They're professionals and they've seen it all before. Some people like Cookes some like Zeiss who cares? Most DOP's use Cooke's on one job for a look and then Zeiss on another for a different look.

The worst of this is people completely disregarding the Blackmagic stuff because of the black sun problem. I've had black suns (well black headlights) in Alexa footage. Blackmagic stuff is amazing because it gives you 12bit RAW! Colour depth is super important for grading and is something we used to only get from Neg or High end cinema cameras.

I'm not defending Sony but this seems similar to Blackmagic having a Free and Paid version of Resolve with different features.

Having said that I must say well done to the hacker. If your willing to bear the risk to your equipment for extra functionality and share that with the world you are a legend. I'm happy to take that risk on my 5D to get RAW video and to see this sort of thing in the professional space is exciting.

August 28, 2014 at 10:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andy

The programmer that said, "Nah, I'll just leave it in a text file, no one will look there" just lost his job.

August 29, 2014 at 1:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marshal

Erm, well the next firmware update could be interesting.......lol

Brilliant news...

August 29, 2014 at 6:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Chris K Jones

I am not a fan of RED camera but the first film made with : i like the look was the 1 & 2 Che made with the Red X or M if i am remembered.
Then Prometheus came out and was shot with the RED Epic this was good i think it's was shot on film first.
Sony ; i do not like the service after sell, and i do not like the image look from there lens.
I used Sony Vegas Pro editing but many time Sony sell us upgrade not ready for the market this program was a better quality before Sony buy them, now you need to buy a lot of plug-ins because Sony came very close to be naked.
I like the possibility to hack a camera like the GH 2 and this philosophies it's create a interesting relation with the used and the manufacturer, but Panasonic take time to realized it and accepting it .
Blackmagic should jump on this
relation with the user and made his camera a way people could change the set up program to using it this will project them to camera the filmmaker own and not rent.

I hope we will have the opportunity to shot the capture in film and transfer it in digital.Film must stay as a artistic choice.

August 29, 2014 at 2:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

Another facet that doesn't seem to actually be needed is the 30 minute limit. I'm not certain why it exists but seems to be easily eliminated by those whose understand computer code. I was feeling mile high about the Panasonic FZ1000, 4K with a large sensor, motorized zoom w/autofocus, color that seemed to look better than the GH4---a live streamers dream. When I finally found the specs I saw the 30 minute limit.....high feeling dashed.

August 29, 2014 at 6:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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geno

The 30 minute (29:59 to be correct) barrier is set in place to avoid extra taxes and import restrictions from within the European Union, which has subjected video cameras to a higher tax rate than photography cameras. And why the hell would you want 4k for live streaming?

August 29, 2014 at 10:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jelro

4K for recording, while live streaming in lower resolution, for upload to YouTube, and for rendering in lower resolution for burning to dvds. Why record in 4K then render in a lower resolution to burn to dvds? Because it looks better.

I know why the 30 minute limit exists. But It is even on the U.S. version . I don't know why it is on the U.S. version is what I meant. I could take guesses. But don't want to.

September 2, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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geno

sony shouldn't be let off the hook so easily.. if you found out that your Audi car had a limiter on it that made it 30% less fuel efficient, too encourage you to buy one of their pricier, more fuel efficient cars (or a pricy adapter piece that would make your car more fuel efficient), you'd be pretty pissed. this is not so different (aside from environmental concerns). what about if apple sold you a display monitor, and purposely limited the resolution, but offered a $1,000 fix for it, which was not at all necessary.

not sure why a camera company should get away with it. everyone knows the RED Scarlet has the same sensor as the RED Epic, and only some internal limiters, limit the cameras ability. it's part of the reason why RED owners are all selling their cameras, and moving away from RED. you get greedy, you pay a price.

August 29, 2014 at 10:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steveD

After the 4K switch on.... I can't play 4K clips back in camera?

August 30, 2014 at 4:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pete

I think now the F5 has been hacked then Sony will probably release it as an official firmware upgrade. They can't very well copy protect future firmware without getting F5 owners completely offside.
Of course with the announcement of the FS7 they may just have done that anyway and we'll probably see the F5 get a significant price drop. On the surface the FS7 announced features seem to equal the F5 on every front and better it on others.

September 14, 2014 at 6:15PM, Edited September 14, 6:15PM

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