Back in September when Sony announced its VENICE cinema camera, the marquee feature was the full-frame sensor. Bigger sensors have come along by making a still camera do something it was never intended to do (the Canon 5D), or from RED in their various flavors, or from the Alexa 65 and the Panavision DXL, but the traditional broadcast video giants hadn't really jumped into the full-frame/bigger sensor universe, and Sony coming into the market is welcome. Even if you aren't a Sony fan, VENICE will definitely mean more full-frame cinema lenses will hit the market, and that's a good thing.

Sony_venice_with_axs-r7_0 Credit: Sony

Unfortunately, at launch, Sony would only commit to Super35mm being available for users when VENICE hits the streets in February, with full frame coming later, likely summer 2018. While it's not uncommon for features to roll out with a camera over time, it's particularly frustrating when the marque feature isn't included in the initial release. Listening to the reactions from the commentariat, Sony has moved up the support for full frame, which will now be available at the camera's launch in Feburary.

Additionally, every user will get a free six months of the full-frame license. Licensing aspects of a camera is controversial: many buyers feel that artificially limiting what a camera can do just to charge some users more is unfair. However, the reality is that it's likely the price of VENICE is lower by saving full-frame functionality for a license: if FF was always active, Sony would charge more for all VENICE bodies. By making full frame a license, VENICE becomes more accessible for the huge majority of production which will be using standard Super 35mm glass with the body. If you are an owner or rental house with a lot of Super 35mm glass, getting VENICE remains attractive and you can rent the license for FF when you need it. That free six-month FF giveaway in the beginning should be enough to get most people familiar with the full-frame format and might even convince some to buy the license and upgrade all of their glass outright.

Good move, Sony.

Tech Specs:

  • Full-Frame 36x24mm CMOS Sensor
  • 15+ stops Dynamic Range
  • Interchangeable Sensor Block
  • 6K Full-Frame 3:2 mode (6048 x 4032)
  • 4K Anamorphic 4:3 and 6:5 (4096 x 3432)
  • 4K Super 35 mode (window)
  • FF & S35 spherical lens support
  • FF & S35 anamorphic lens support
  • 8-step ND filter
  • PL mount
  • E-mount
  • Exceeds Rec. 2020 color space
  • X-OCN Compressed Raw onto AXS-R7 Raw Recorder, 4K XAVC – Class480/300, ProRes HQ/422/LT, MPEG HD