August 31, 2014

A Step by Step Video Guide for Hacking the Sony F5 to Record Internal 4K

Sony F5 Hack
The internal 4K hack for the Sony F5 has been getting a lot of press lately, and for good reason. It adds tremendous value to an already-stellar camera, and best of all, it's incredibly simple.

In case you haven't heard about the F5 hack yet, check out our post on it from several days ago in which we not only share a bit of background on the cameras and how the hack is done, but also some of the potential implications of the hack. And if you'd like to check out Sony's brief corporate response to this situation, you can read it here.  For those of you who are up to speed and are keen to see how it's done, Brian Hallett over at Pro Video Coalition shared a helpful video and article that will show you just how simple the process is.

Once again, it should be noted that this could potentially damage an expensive camera if not done properly. Also, it's not a "Sony-approved" operation, which means that it could potentially void your warranty if Sony were to find out that you hacked your camera. With that said, the way the hack works seems relatively benign, so it doesn't seem likely to cause damage or void your warranty. But if you're worried about it in the slightest, it's always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to tampering with expensive gear that you need in order to make a living.

In Hallett's excellent PVC write-up, he also shared some more excellent footage shot internally with the F5.

https://vimeo.com/104701797

What do you guys expect next from Sony? Will they release a firmware update making this hack obsolete, or is it in their best interest to implement internal 4K in the F5?

Your Comment

26 Comments

первый НАХ

August 31, 2014 at 3:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

9
Reply
TEam swan

Pretty darn cool. Watch in HD, I love the clarity. Even low light, that one quick sunset shot is beautiful. OFC the rain helped the aesthetic ;)

August 31, 2014 at 5:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Rean

Oh god the image is absolutely beautiful in 4K at 60p. Shame it's locked in a camera that can deliver such amazing quality.

August 31, 2014 at 6:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Ebrahim Saadawi

What's the color sampling and bitrate on the 4K 60p stuff?

August 31, 2014 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply
Phil McTaggins

Even if Sony tries to negate this with a firmware update, one could just choose not to download it. And Sony should be celebrating this hack, not frowning upon it, as it's likely to move a lot of F5's off the existing store shelves without giving away profits to Convergent Design.
.
For reference - this is F5 recorded in 4K to Sony's own recorder.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSFnDD853f0 ]

August 31, 2014 at 7:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
DLD

And this is the Contrast Video clip that Rob had embedded above but in YouTube 4K.
.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ4t9uTpvtA ]

August 31, 2014 at 7:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
DLD

I might have missed it, but does anyone know of a step by step guide like this for the CURRENT version of the Magic Lantern 5D3 Raw hack?

August 31, 2014 at 8:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Shawn

This should be titled: "A step by step guide to voiding your warranty" lol. Just kidding! But wow, I hope more of these happen as often to get rid of these bottlenecks placed by manufacturers

August 31, 2014 at 9:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
t. cal

BTW, B&H is listing F5 as "out of stock", though Abel Cine still has them for a 1-2 week delivery.

August 31, 2014 at 11:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
DLD

Nathan good video and thank you again Paul.

Worth mentioning that once you have one ALL FILE setup it seems you can change anything (except frame size) and save a new ALL FILE in camera and that file will also be 4K but with the changes you just made.

Example turn on peaking, set it to yellow and save a new ALL FILE and now that version of the 4K file has yellow peaking saved.

September 1, 2014 at 9:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply

I will add that I dont really care about 4K but I might use it to punch in on interviews from time to time.

September 1, 2014 at 9:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply

Simon, F5 can do 4K with SR5 anyway, correct? So, this is a $5K saving at best.
.
And Sony Alpha Rumors are reporting that in two weeks Sony will try to dethrone the current kings of the medium priced pro market cameras C100/300 with an E-mount internal 4K unit as well.

September 1, 2014 at 11:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
DLD

DLD I'd say it has the potential to be more than a $5K savings. Yes the AXS-R5 recorder shoots 4K up to 60p. But it only records RAW. It does not offer 4K XAVC as an option. Since internal XAVC 4K is only available on the F55 at this point, I think it's a pretty interesting development. I have the R5 recorder, but I could think of times when compressed 4K is a more workable option. But as you mention, technology is progressing faster and faster. 4K will become more common in more affordable cameras.

September 1, 2014 at 5:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

I wish the team that did the A7s menu software would rewrite the F5/F55 menu software. Its a joke. The A7s is really well done and fast to change settings. Yesterday on a shoot with the F5 trying to monitor 2 channels of audio is ridiculous. The amount of button clicking to select CH1 then adjust, then more clicking audio pages then digging in to change monitoring to CH2 then more page clicking back to get to CH2 level adjustment click, click, click etc... There are a lot of examples like that. We need to be able to customise the 6 side panel buttons. Its crazy that we cant. The A7s function button gives 12!!! customisable buttons while still letting you see the image. Its freakin awesome like that.

September 1, 2014 at 8:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Hey Anonymo,

The audio channels are actually really easy to access from the side panel. I had the same experience as you but then realized that when you click the AU/TC button a couple times it brings up all your audio controls and timecode controls right there. Give it a try and I think you will find it's a lot easier to use:)

Hope that helps!

September 1, 2014 at 10:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Greg

Whoops last post was for Simon Bailey.

September 1, 2014 at 10:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

10
Reply
Greg

Hi Greg, Thats what I do too as its the only way to do it but the problem is the amount of clicking when you need to monitor 2 channels because they are on different pages and its too much clicking.

September 2, 2014 at 5:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Hi, Nathan. Thanks for the reply. The cost of the media obviously should be added to the total price of the F5 4K Raw. It's funny how Z100 has been able to do the internal XAVC 4K for almost a year now but a camera that costs three times more couldn't until this hack.

September 1, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

8
Reply
DLD

Good point Simon. I considered hitting on a few points like this, but I wanted to keep the video as concise as possible and let people figure out the additional options themselves. If only frame rate was one of the things that could change without loading a new ALL FILE setting! Some things are just too good to be true haha.

September 1, 2014 at 5:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

A camera is $5k because the company offsets the development costs to the $50 model users. Even if they are identical in hardware, you have no right to do this and this could get you in trouble under intellectual property law. This is no different from cracking demo or limited functionality software to get the features of the full or high-end version, without compensating the company. This is unfair to the company and, of course, to the $50 model owners.

You do own the hardware but only under the limitations of the license agreement. The license agreement is what makes the affordable model pricing possible. Sharing information on how it's done could be legal under conditions, but still, it's no different from sharing information on hacking software to remove limitations of any kind.

Adding functionality is one thing, but adding functionality that exists in a different offer and is sold at a much higher price point breaks the economical model of development and business in general. If everybody did this, the $5k model would eventually cost $15K in order to redistribute the cost of development that was offset by the lost high end model sales. If nobody buys the expensive model and the sales of the affordable model are increased by a factor of X, it could work depending on X and even benefit the company. I doubt a company like this did not calculate that scenario before setting pricing.

Losing some benefits like warranty repair is the least one has to worry about.

This is interesting as long as it stays at a small scale. Just like the typical hack students do in major universities. Use it responsibly:)

September 1, 2014 at 5:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

7
Reply
Anonymo

Custom mods have never been subject to the intellectual property laws. From turbo/supercharged cars to guitars and amp mods (tubes, resistors, capacitors) to overclocked CPU's, the worst an individual owner could suffer was the warranty void.
.
Besides, it'd be idiotic for Sony to go after its potential customer base. The worst PR move ever,

September 1, 2014 at 10:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
DLD

Hey Anonymo, take a hike.

September 2, 2014 at 12:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

So, there's your new FS700 II - internal 4K via XAVC and priced at $10K.

http://i1266.photobucket.com/albums/jj524/picrumors/picrumors001/145844n...

September 2, 2014 at 4:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

10
Reply
DLD

Okay now lets make this hack available for the RX10!! Now that we have XAVC-S its the perfect time to become like magic latern for sony cameras. I would love to get 4K internal from the RX10.

September 2, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Dante

How dare you! Hacking is illegal. This is no different to online piracy...getting something for nothing! Depriving a greedy corporation of outrageous profits! Abuse! Think of the children! You should all be prosecuted under your fucked-up country's DCMA!

September 2, 2014 at 8:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
HonestJoe

Shit! Sorry Anoymo...I wrote this BEFORE I read your post. Please don't set the legal shysters on me!

September 2, 2014 at 8:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

12
Reply
HonestJoe