The Sony F65 might be technically amazing, but it never really found favor in Hollywood.
A full shooting package for the F65 was a little under $100,000 when it was first released in early 2012, and now you can get them for around $30,000 or less just three years later — with rental prices coming down as well. The F5 and F55 announced later in 2012 have been used much more, mostly because the workflow was a bit simpler and the cameras were a bit smaller and lighter — while still giving the ability for 4K RAW if you needed it (and let's not forget much cheaper). We did get movies like Oblivion and the recent Tomorrowland shooting on the camera, but not too much else — and both of those were shot by Claudio Miranda.
The ARRI ALEXA likely had a lot to do with why the F65 wasn't more popular in the US. Though it's non-standard 8K x 2K sensor produced a technically strong 4K image (and you can actually get files larger than 4K in post), the F65 was only used on a handful of movies, whereas the under 3K ALEXA has been used on literally everything you can think of over the last few years. For many people, there's just something more pleasing about the ALEXA image, and it had a far easier workflow, especially if you were only shooting ProRes.
If a new rumor turns out to be even remotely true, we may see a brand new 8K Sony camera coming next year that not only takes the cake in the resolution race, but would also be smaller and lighter, and would hopefully keep the same media and workflow that we saw with the F55. Here is Sony Alpha Rumors on that (keep in mind this is just an SR2 rumor, so the probability is still pretty low):
“Sony is working on a 8K Cine Alta camera which will replace the current top of the line Sony F65 camera. The sensor will be based on the A7r2 back-lit CMOS technology and will include a global shutter mode (either mechanical or electronic)
– 60FPS in DCI 8K resolution
– 240FPS in DCI 4K resolution
– 16 bit RAW uncompressed and compressed onboard recorder
– ProRes, DNxHD, DNxHR, AVCHD, XAVC, SR, MPEG-2, H264
– Burst mode allows for higher FPS
– Sony F55 form factor and weight
– To be introduced in early 2016
– Price point will surprise many people
– Sony FZ mount”
Take this rumor with a huge grain of salt. Sharing this is less about the rumor itself though and more about what Sony would need to do to take back some marketshare in Hollywood. A few years ago this spec list would have seemed ridiculous, but with the way Sony has developed sensors, and the fact that RED will have an 8K camera soon, and ARRI has a 6K camera, it would not really be all that surprising to see a camera from them actually shooting 8K.
Sony has always been big on oversampling to get a better image, which is why the F65 and the F35 both had many more pixels than their final resolutions. Could we see a much higher-than-8K sensor in order to get true 8K, or will this be more like the F5/F55 where you're essentially using the pixels that are there? Either way, creating a better form factor would go a long way for them. Simplifying the workflow and the physical exterior of the camera would also go a long way, which is something that has propelled the ALEXA. Most of all though, if the image still looks similar to the traditional Sony "video" look, shooters outside of Japan aren't likely going to get too excited about it.
Sony can be as technically perfect as they want, but the film industry has shown that they want something that looks and feels nice over technical superiority. If something is coming in early 2016, we'll probably hear about it at IBC in September, or shortly thereafter.
What would you like to see in an 8K Cine Alta camera?