It would seem that I missed a few important new hardware announcements while I was traveling in Europe. As to be expected, most of them revolve around 4K production.
Sony announced two new 4K cameras, both of which have a very modular design. The PMW-F55 will fit near the top of their lineup, just below the “8K” F65. It will capture and output up to uncompressed 16bit 4K RAW to an outboard recorders, and record 300Mb XAVC compressed 4K to SxS cards internally. It can also capture up to 240fps at 2K, or 180fps internally. The biggest feature that will differentiate it from other 4K cameras is it “global shutter” which should eliminate all potential rolling shutter artifacts that can plague other large single sensor CMOS cameras. Price estimates vary, but if this camera becomes available at the expected $25-35K price point, it will really shake up the market.
The lower end PMW-F5 will fit in above the currently popular PMW-F3. It has a 4K sensor, but will only record 2K internally. This seems similar to Canon’s C500, in that capturing full 4K requires an external recorder. The external recorder also allows high speed recording up to 120fps. The F5 is expected to be priced between $15K and $20K, which will compete with Canon’s C300, with much more capability.
The externally recorder that unlocks the 4K RAW and high speed options in both of these cameras, is the AXS-R5. It records to new SSD format from Sony, called AXSM. This will fit below SR Memory in the lineup, and the media will initially be available in half terabyte units. There will be a USB3 Reader available to access the content from a workstation or laptop. The recorder is expected to be $6K, with no word on AXSM media prices. Without the recorder, both new cameras also have the dual SxS slots, for recording HD internally, compressed as XDCam422, 10bit XAVC, or Sony’s SR codec.
Sony also announced a new full 4K monitor to go with their new camera options. The PVM-X300 is a 30″ LCD display, with a variety of input options, including Quad SDI, Quad HDMI, HDMI 1.4, and Dual DisplayPort. It will also have the option to playback 4K content directly from an SxS card. There will be a variety of 3rd party color calibration options as well. This is not a product I would use, but I am looking forward to when these 30″ 4K displays make their way farther into an affordable space.