Sony Electronics recently introduced two new 4K cameras, the PMW-F55 and PMW-F5, that can shoot HD, 2K and 4K. TV Technology’s Craig Johnston spoke to Sony Electronics senior product manager Juan Martinez and director of marketing for large image sensor cameras Rob Willox about the new cameras.
Where do these two new CineAlta cameras fit into the Sony 4K camera lineup?
Juan Martinez: The PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 slot in below our F65 8K raw camera. The F65 has a 20-megapixel sensor, with twice as many pixels as these two new CineAlta cameras. But these are 4K cameras that can deliver HD or higher, with performance above our PMW-F3 camcorder. And price-wise, they’re between the F65 and the F3.
Rob Willox: One of the interesting things about these cameras as far as television production companies are concerned is that they are the first generation of cameras that will be able to simultaneously record 4K and HD within the same camera system. In fact, you could produce a 4K master, a UHD master, a 2K master and an HD master, 1080 or 720. So you have a tremendous amount of flexibility available to you.
Martinez: In the typical large-sensor camera, the architecture and shape of the camera are not really conducive for shoulder-mount operation. But these cameras, we like to call them “camera systems” because they have modular architecture and have many different accessories. The camera has been designed for viewfinders. We have the breakthrough DVF OLED high-resolution viewfinders for the cameras, and we also offer an LCD viewfinder. There are batteries and other accessories as well. But the camera is designed to go on the shoulder for ENG or docu-style, as well as to be fully dressed for digital cinematography, and handheld operation.
Willox: The business model for the F65, F55 and F5 was carefully considered for owner operators, for rental shops, all different types of productions from sports to cinematic productions. Let’s talk about the business model for the owner/operator. They want to purchase something that’s going to protect their investment for a number of years, as long as possible. They need to recoup their investment quickly so they can be profitable and make money. A lot of careful attention has gone into those concerns, both from a design standpoint and from a cost standpoint. I think we’ve really nailed it. The cost of the cameras is very efficient, as is the flexibility of the feature sets and the modularity of the design that Juan was referencing before. Our strategy is really to encompass all different types of productions, at every level, for every budget.
Martinez: You start working in raw color space, with some of the things that you can do to paint and give a highly stylized look to footage. Because they’re software-driven rather than hardware, a lot of those tools now are accessible at any level of production. Though they can be dressed out for cine-style shooting with a larger crew, both the F55 and F5 are also ideal for one-man operation, where you can start and stop the camera from the zoom control handle of the lens. So it is very comfortable, very easy to operate. You don’t need a big union crew to operate the cameras. Their size, weight, power consumption and modularity are perfect for television production. We’re aiming at the one-person crew and television production all the way up to feature film or sports and episodic TV production.