Sony has a brand new version of their RAW recorder.
To get RAW video working on the F5 and F55 cinema cameras, you needed the AXS-R5 RAW recorder accessory that mounted on the back of the camera (and also worked with the FS700 with an additional accessory). Now they've introduced an updated version, the AXS-R7, which has two recording slots, and have announced that there will be new AXS media and a new firmware, version 8.
They've added a few interesting features with this recorder. The first is the ability to shoot 120fps 4K RAW on the F55 only, something the company has been teasing for the past few weeks. They've also added cache recording up to 30 seconds, which is great for documentary or nature shooters. In the cache recording mode, the camera is always recording, but overwrites the information until you hit record.
One of the big benefits of the new construction is the fact that it is weather-sealed. From Sony:
A metal filter separates and seals the recorder’s ventilation shaft from the electronics, making the recorder dust- and water-resistant. The recorder’s connection to the camera is ruggedized with a top bracket that employs four widely spaced 1/4 inch screws.
New AXS Media
In addition to the recorder, they've announced new media that is required for shooting 4K RAW 120fps. Here's more from Sony:
Available in 1TB and 512 GB capacities, these cards can support sustained read and write speeds of 4.8 Gbps, delivering 44 minutes at 59.94p or 22 minutes at 120 FPS (1TB version). The dual-slot recorder also accepts current A-series AXS media, but the new cards are designed to support the write speeds required for 4K RAW 120 FPS recording for those who require that level of performance.
But current slim AXS Blue cards will still work with the recorder:
Here are some of the specs of the AXS-R7:
- Works with both the F5 and F55 Cameras
- 4K 120 FPS Recording F55 only – 1-60 FPS, 120FPS
- 4K 120FPS requires new black high speed AXS media: 1TB AXS-A1TS48 & 512 GB AXS-A512S48
- 4K RAW Cache Recording (F5, F55): 30s in 23.98p/24.0p, 24s in 25.0p/29.97p, 10s in 50.0p/59.94p
- 2K RAW up to 240fps for both F5 and F55 (carried over from AXS-R5 specs)
- Rugged construction – reinforced mounting to body
- Dust and Water resistant
- Dual slot recorder
- Supports A series AXS cards (Slim cards only)
- Accepts the current S24 memory cards (slim cards only): AXS-A256S24, AXS-A512S24, AXS-A1TS24
- Requires Firmware Version 8
- Takes V-Mount Batteries (Anton Bauer plates will likely exist from 3rd parties as they do now)
- Availability: Summer 2016 for Recorders, Media, and Firmware
- Price: TBA
PMW-F55/F5 Firmware Version 8
Sony's new version 8 firmware will not only enable this recorder to work with both cameras, but you'll also get some new higher bitrate recording options, up to 480Mbps 4K XAVC:
The upcoming firmware update (version 8) for the F55 and F5 (with the optional CBKZ-55FX upgrade license installed) enables support for XAVC 4K Class 480 recording at 23.98p, 24.0p, 25.0p and 29.97p. Leading third-party vendors already support XAVC 4K Class 480, for creative professionals requiring a higher data rate version of XAVC. The class number represents the approximate bitrate value at 29.97p.
Price & Availability
Unfortunately we don't know too many more details about the price, though we do know that all of these products will hit the streets sometime in Summer 2016. I would not expect this new media or the recorder to be an inexpensive addition. The current AXS-R5 sells for $5,350, so expect the R7 to be somewhere in that price range (maybe more or less depending on what Sony decides to do).
As far as media, the current blue AXS cards sell for $1,200, $1,800, and $3,600 for capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The new black cards take the speed crown, and will also likely be the most expensive. We will find out more during NAB according to the Sony press release.
There may be other specs that have not been released yet, but for those needing RAW on these cameras, Sony is currently the only game in town. It would be nice if they opened it up to third parties like on the FS7 and FS700, even though the Sony recorder is a cleaner solution. Down the road hopefully Sony just enables RAW internally, and then we won't have to worry about these add-on accessories. This may be something we get when the company releases the replacements for the F5 and F55 in the future.
For more info, but sure to check out the forum.