TheNewF – Line up

So the day is finally here. I got the privilege to hear about all the details last week and have been hard pressed to keep quiet. I really think Sony is going to change things up quite a bit with this announcement. The F5, the F55 and upgrades to FS700 and the F65. According to Sony 4K is here to stay and I am becoming a believer.

Sony F5

I don’t even know where to start with this to be honest, there is so much. I guess I can start with the new Codec known as XAVC which is a new 10bit 4k codec. It’s a intra frame and Long GOP codec allowing for both 4K and 1080/50p files as well as “regular” HD. Then…. I think what most people anticipated for #TheNewF was an upgrade to the F3. Well there is now the Sony F5 and F55. Both cameras have an S35mm 4K CMOS sensor with PL mount (with PL/FZ mount adapter). Both cameras are built on a modular design to make everything as streamlined as possible. There is even a new battery system developed by Sony that fits this modular design. Even more, there is new recording media released that has a docking slot that fits into the modular design of both the F5 and F55, all without cables!! On top of this, I know it never ends, there are new professional view finder options as well as a 30′ LCD 4K monitor. Ohhhh I almost forgot there is the 6 lenses, T2.0, metal housing with a 240 degree throw!

Ok so lets try and break this down just a little.

The F5 and F55 are both 4K sensor cameras. 14 stops of DR! Slog2 gamma and hypergamma modes. Both deliver in a multi codec environment with both the established Mpeg2/HD422/50mbit as well as the new XAVC directly to the SxS cards. The F5 does 120fps XAVC HD and the F55 180fps XAVC HD both to internal SxS Pro+. ONLY THE F55 will record 4K to the internal cards, using the new XAVC codec, but it will also store MPEG2 HD422 files, perfect for offline editing. The F5 will need the external 4K recorder to deliver 4k images.
The F55 will also shoot 240fps 2K RAW to the new external recorder, AXS-R5. This new recorder (fitting both F5 and F55) will simply snap to the back of the camera like a battery and the attachment is cable free. The AXS-R5 is a RAW 2K and 4K recorder (16bit linear) storing up to 60p in 4K and 240 in 2K. It uses a 2,4Gbits new media card with capacities up to 512GB. The F55 also has a global shutter and a wider color gamut than the F5 and more like the F65.

Modular design of Sony F5 and F55

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One thing I’ve been waiting for since we got our F3 is a real HD viewfinder. Well now there are 2 new viewfinders and one 7 inch onboard monitor.
The top of the line VF is a 0.7” 1280 x 720 OLED DVF-EL100 which will work on F5/F55/F65 and is said to deliver an outstanding clarity.
The next choice is a DVF-L350, a 960 x 540 pixel LCD VF with a flip-up display.
And to finish off is a high brightness (1000cd/m2) 7” FullHD, LCD

DVF-EL100 1280 x 720 VF
DVF-EL100 1280 x 720 VF

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The Lenses. I am personally really excited about this. Sony has announced 6 PL mount prime lenses T2.0 all metal housing. This could of course be re-housed still lenses, but that doesn’t mean its bad optics; other PL mount lenses are known to be just that. Exciting indeed. No price point yet that I know of.

TheNewF meant more than the release of the F5 and F55. It also meant an upgrade/advancement of the FS700 and the all mighty F65.
The F65 will get a v3.0 upgrade with “Advanced de-mosaicing at 6K or 8K even with RAW files captured to-date” and “120P 8K capture, totally unique feature”
The FS700 will among other things finally get 4K RAW output to the AXS-R5.

I think the announcement of the new XAVC codec is really exciting. It is a 8/10bit codec allowing for intra/long GOP coding as well as 4K, 1080/50p as well as 1080/25p. It is said to wedge in between the top of the line HDCAM SR and the existing HD422 50Mbits format. I can’t wait to see what it really looks like.

I also really like the modular design of everything. Batteries, recorders and camera is now one unit without any cables. The rigs nowadays are big and cumbersome and cables everywhere. Can the integrated electronics save a few cables that is great news I think. The new batteries for the Fseries are promising a longer running time and a 2x high speed charging.

I am going to the US to cover the election on thursday but the thought crossed my mind to cancel and go to the UK Sony Roadshow instead. Will try my best to get a look at these cameras as soon as I can.

There was no talk to pricing last week, but my guess is the F5 will last slightly higher than the F3 at $16k, which will still be available, and the F55 perhaps 20K above the F5 to protect the 4K internal recording, global shutter and higher frame rates. Products are available in end of January.

Lots of more information will of course come out in the next few weeks and it will be interesting to see the first images from these cameras, since after all that is what we use them for….

Wow how long is my Christmas list now…

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Disclaimer: No one asked me to write this post, no one has payed to write anything in regards to this. I do not work for Sony. I was privy to information about the release early as I am sure lots of other working professionals with contacts were. Images in the post are from a Sony release

TheNewF – a few days left

Today I got to hear confirmed information on the TheNewF from Sony. I hate to tease, But… Wow. Without revealing details, it is: Very cool! I cannot wait to see this/these/the F being released. Sony has really gone all out, thought things through, and will deliver some game changing stuff. No prices were discussed, hopefully they keep them where they should be… Exciting stuff ahead!!

PMW200 Backfocus update

Sony just released new firmware to help resolve the backfocus issue on the PMW200 which has been seen on certain cameras.  Travel and movent to the camera body can sometimes misalign the focus mechanism inside the camera.  This firmware upgrade adds a feature to re-align it again.  Its an easy upgrade and only takes a few minutes.

You close the LCD, set gain to H and simultaneously hold down the scroll wheel (select/set), MENY and CANCEL. This will bring up a deeper mainenence meny.  Find FB Adjust and execute.  Do with using a siemens focus star of something similar at about 10ft (3m) aimed directly at the target.  The software will do this all by itself let you know when finished.

 

Doing this fixes the problem of the 2 cameras I tested to 95%.  I can still see a slight slight focus shift in EXPANDED FOCUS while shooting wide open,  but I think this is within specs on a lens like this.   This sets my mind at ease and I would not hold back on buying this camera on account of any focus issue but I would certainly check the back focus with the meny setting above.

 

Here is a link to the firmware

 

GoPro Hero 3 Black Announced

The #GoPro Hero 3 Black was announced last night and both pretty cool specs. It’s both smaller and lighter and the fact that its offering 1080p at 50/60 as well as the built in WiFi will most likely make us pick up a couple of these badboys. At $400 a pop they’re still priced to sell like hot cakes!
The other big thing talked about if 4k res at 15 fps and 720p at a whopping 120 fps.

Available October 22

4K at 15fps, 2.7K at 30p. 1080p at 60, and 720p at 120 fps. WiFi built in.

PMW-200 Focus issue part 2

Ok So for the last week I have been trying to write a review on the PMW200. The image quality is really great but something else got in the way of finishing the write up. I thought it was a faulty unit but have now confirmed this on 2 different cameras.

The cameras I’ve tested are 2 brand new production models on loan from our dealer Scandinavian Photo. Upon hearing that I had focus concerns on the first camera they gave me another one to see if this was an isolated problem. It does not appear to be.
Before I go on, a small disclaimer. I have spent very little time with mid sized camcorders ala EX1, DVX100 etc etc. Therefore this focus issue of lenses not being parfocal might be a know issue with these “permanent-hardmount-lensed” cameras. If so I can only share my concerns from my point of view. I am grateful for any feedback you may have.

What happens is this. If you zoom all the way in, set your focus everything is fine. But if you zoom out a little, perhaps to re frame, you loose focus, but some of the peaking remains on screen. You can see what happens really clearly if you are in “expanded focus” but its easily missed in full display, especially if you are outdoors. If you correct your new wider frame then in case you decide to zoom back in you are out of focus again. The drift doesn’t seem to be constant but changing along the zoom range. Its sort of like a drifting back-focus.

Everything set to manual focus, focus ring pulled back to full manual. “Anti-shake”/”steadishot” makes no difference if its on or off. Again, confirmed this on 2 different cameras at f1.9 or f2.8 hard to see at f4 gone at f5.6- Video above is shot wide open, no shutter. Not a scientific test by any means but still a clear issue.

Hopefully this is just a firmware fix for Sony, to keep this little baby in play. It does put out a remarkably good image for the price tag. I am working on a review and will hopefully post shortly.

https://vimeo.com/51213511

Below is what it looks like from the camera LCD.

Sony PMW-200 first look

Yesterday I finally got to lay my hands on the new Sony PMW-200 Xdcam camera recently announced. It is a 50Mbit/s MpegHD422 camera with a 1/2 inch sensor.
I will do a complete post with pictures and more details, hopefully this weekend, but here is a sneak peak…

Image quality is really remarkable for a camera in this price range. We did a quick setup. Black cloth, a few objects, some skin tone and one 600w open face tungsten light. Same gamma settings, HG3, and we white balanced in key light.

On this shot I had, together with a Senior DaVinci Colorist / VFX Supervisor, a hard time to tell the difference between a PDW700 with a Canon HJ22 (a $65 000 setup) and the PMW200 ($8 000).
I had heard it was good looking camera but this more than I expected.
This is of course one setup shot at f5.6 at our office. Other situations may show different thing, more testing will tell. 🙂

The camera has a few things I am not thrilled about but we’ll leave this for the complete post. Check back!

Here is a screen grab converted to Jpg for display. Will post uncompressed pics with later post.

20121004-192227.jpg

Sony PMW-200 !! Officially released

Ok so the rumors were true for the most part it seems. 🙂 A new camera in the Xdcam line up has been released by Sony, the PMW-200.

PMW-200

It is a camera that seems to build on the XDCam EX line in body shape and lens choice. It will feature 3 Exmor Full HD CMOS sensors, each sensor having 2 million effective pixels, which will allow shooting a 1080 full raster HD image without pixel interpolation. Very cool. This camera also adds something I really really wish our Sony F3 had, a 50Mbps image using the solid MPEG HD422 compression. Why is this a big deal? Well because EBU and BBC for example have set the 50 Mbps bitrate limit as an “acceptable” quality for other things than news. (Although bitrate is not everything, not all 50mbps cameras are automatically approved ie PMW-100) The F3 may have a great looking 35Mbps image but will require an external recorder capturing atleast 50mbps images to comply with high end broadcasters. I can only hope, now that this camera is “out of the bag” Sony will decide up allow for an upgrade on the Sony F3.

The PMW-200 will, like the EX1, use the SxS cards both the PRO and SxS1 cards. The new twist is that by formatting the cards in UDF (Universal Disk Format) you can now record in and industry standard MXF file, also very cool. You can still use the MP4 files using FAT32 formatted cards. It will shoot all flavors of HD as well as SD DVCam.

On Sony’s site it says “(Note: Proxy video is not available with the PMW-200).” I think the proxy files associated with each master clip on the XDCam 700 and 800 is a great way to log, and transcribe footage and if this feature is not available on the PMW-200 I think that is a shame.

I don’t know how accurate the PDF User manual is that I got the other day, so we’ll wait until Sony release an official one on their site, to read more into all the features and specs. But what specs we know for sure, the new 1/2 inch sensors, built in ND filters, HD/SD-SDI output, Slow & Quick motion, 14x zoom lens, 4 Hypergammas, 15 sec cache record, genlock and TC interface this could prove to be a great little camera. It is priced just under 8k.

Look forward to seeing some footage and actually get to play with this camera. IBC is next I guess… 🙂

Here is the Sony Site.

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