SONY PMW F55 4K DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERA
While the F55 offers the option of glorious 16-bit 4K and 2K RAW recording using the outboard AXS-R5 recorder, not every production is prepared to take advantage. That's why the camera offers four internal recording formats, including the first 4K recording facility built into the camera itself. Internal modes range from 50 Mbps to 240 Mbps (at 24p), for images from HD to 2K to 4K. 2K XAVC internal recording has arrived with the free v2.0 upgrade. You can choose the image type, codec, processing complexity and filesize that match the needs of each project.
The ultimate camera capture system would record every nuance of light and shadow from the image sensor, preserving every detail fromevery pixel for full exploitation in post-production. If you want the maximum flexibility that 4K and 2K RAW deliver, Sony's optional AXS-R5 Access Memory System recorder is a remarkable choice. Unlike some RAW systems, Sony's 16-bit linear capture preserves more tonal values than the human eye can differentiate. This is also the ideal match for the 16-bit linear ACES workflow. For simplified creation of offline proxies, the camera even provides simultaneous onboard recording to SxS¦ cards using the same start frame and stop frame as the RAW recording.
The traditional CMOS image sensor uses a "rolling" shutter that can result in images with unwanted distortions like motion skew and flash banding. That can be annoying, especially when shooting visual effects or 3D. Anything but typical, the F55 incorporates electronic frame image scan. Rolling shutter distortions aren't minimized, they're completely eliminated.
Cinematographers paint their images with light and shadow. So the ability to render tones from deepest shadows to brightest highlights is a crucial test of any digital camera. The F55 excels, with 14 stops of exposure latitude. DPs have noticed that the camera holds remarkable detail in the highlights, while noise in the blacks is extremely low. The result? Graceful rendering of scene contrast, even in searing sunlight. The camera is rated at ISO 1250 (S-Log 2 gamma, D55 light source). In fact, the camera is so sensitive that one cinematographer actually recorded starlight in exterior night scenes!
Directors of photography and colorists are talking about Sony's S-Gamut color system, which made its debut on Sony's 8K flagship, the F65. DPs love how S-Gamut captures images that are closer to what the human eye actually sees. They appreciate the extraordinarily natural results with challenging mixed light scenes. They notice how S-Gamut is changing their approach to lighting.And they see how S-Gamut simplifies color correction.
Given all the effort Sony made to achieve 14 stops of exposure latitude, it would be a crime to crush this latitude in recording. That's why Sony gives you a choice of grayscale encoding.
It's ironic that with focus so critical, most operators are stuck with viewfinders and on-camera monitors that offer middling contrast and resolution. Sony changes all that with the F55. A new digital interface has given rise to a brilliant new series of viewfinders.
Sony spent two years in close consultation with cinematographers and ACs. In particular, we focused on the ergonomics of handheld and shoulder-mounted shooting. The result is an ergonomic design unlike any previous Sony camera. It starts with a highly compact camera that builds up with modules to form an elegant, unified system.
From stunts and explosions to the fall of a single raindrop, F55 high-speed shooting is a powerful storytelling tool. The camera also performs Slow & Quick (S&Q) motion for overcranking and undercranking. This enables you to alter the narrative by speeding up or slowing down the action, choosing frame rates from 1 frame per second (fps) to the maximum in 1 fps increments. And with the F55,every high speed shooting, overcranking and undercranking mode delivers full quality. There's no sacrifice in bit depth and no "windowing" of the sensor. So there's no crop factor, no loss in angle of view.
Carefully designed with significant input from cinematographers, the F55 provides an incredibly rich range of controls. And the interface is nicely intuitive. Instead of diving through menus, you get direct, one-touch access to key shooting parameters including frame rate, shutter speed, color temperature, ISO sensitivity and gamma. Assignable buttons mean that favorite adjustmentsare always at your fingertips.
The F55 offers powerful connections, including real-time 4K output up to 60p. This supports all-new possibilities, including 4K liveproduction as well as real-time output to a compatible 4K monitor. It's made possible by four 3G-SDI outputs. The HDMI¦ v1.4a outputsupports real-time 4K (4:2:0, 8 bits, up to 30p). There's also USB, DC in connection, a removable XLR audio module and a removable time code/genlock module. The XLR inputs accept balanced analog signals, provide 48-Volt phantom power and will accept four channelsof AES/EBU digital audio with an expected free firmware upgrade.
At Sony, we don't just know about cameras. We're also a leader in battery technology. The F55 takes advantage of Sony's innovative BP-FL75 battery pack, which uses Olivine Lithium Iron Phosphate instead of conventional Lithium Ion cathodes. The result is twice the number of charge-discharge cycles, compared to previous Sony batteries.
Like high definition a decade ago, 4K is emerging as a consumer entertainment platform. And Sony is playing a pivotal role in this transition. When we launched the world's first commercial 4K projectors in 2005, we had to explain that a "K" was 1024 horizontal pixels and that "4K" meant 4096 x 2160 resolution. We had to itemize the advantages with tutorials on resolution and seating distance. Today 4K is a robust production platform. It is enshrined in the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specification. The ITU and SMPTE have both issued 4K standards. And the Consumer Electronics Association has recently launched the term "Ultra High-Definition" (Ultra HD) to cover 4K consumer products.