There's a lot of information to take in here with these new Sony cameras and all the stuff that goes with them. We've just been to the European launch and things are a little clearer.
For me, perhaps, and not at all obvious so far, is that the sensors in the two cameras are different. The F55's sensor has different - better - pigments and an electronic "global" shutter. The F5's sensor does not.
The F55's sensor and the F65's sensor are different. The F65's sensor is natively 8K, whereas the F55's sensor is natively 4K.
The F3 will remain in production, contrary to some rumours that it has been discontinued.
The new cameras form a significant part of Sony's 4K strategy. They're calling this part of it "the future, ahead of schedule" - somewhat resonant with our RedShark theme of exponential technology, which means new things arrive faster than we are conditioned to expect.
So, Sony now has products for Acquisition, Production, Distribution (Sony Pictures), and the home.
Here's a surprising figure: Sony has over 13,000 4K projectors installed in cinemas throughout the world. Most of them are currently used for 3D projection, but a simple lens change can turn them into native 4K projectors. If not necessarily evidence, this at least supports the idea that people are going to prefer native 4K to 3D. Of course native 4K 3D would be better but that's asking a lot…
Sony is recycling its slogan: "From the Lens to the Living Room" for their 4K ecosystem.
History of Sony cinema cameras
Here's a brief history of Sony's Digital Cinematography cameras:
In Sony 2000 started with digital cinema cameras. The first was the 24p HDW F90 - 24p.
2010: F3 - a 35mm sensor below $20K
2011: F65 Sony says it's the "best camera in the market"
Shipping next year
The new cameras will be shipping in January 2013.
No prices have been announced yet but we were told today that we will know the prices "in about two weeks".
F65 upgrades: Version 3.0 firmware will bring:
Advanced de-mosaicing and at least 6K - probably 8K from raw files. Weirdly even previously recorded raw material can be decoded to 6K or 8K with the new software.
120p at 4K resolution.
Will be able to use the new digital OLED viewfinder.
Here are some of what Sony describes as "innovations ahead of schedule":
XAVC - a new codec specifically for "beyond HD" It will offer very high quality recording but with lower data rates than RAW. It was compared by Sony to XDCAM as a "Workhorse" codec - designed for robust, everyday use.
The F5 is primarily for HD. It can only record HD internally. It needs an external recorder to record 4K.
The F55 can record 4K internally.
The new SxS Pro Plus has write times 3 times faster than SxS pro. It can record multiple formats simultaneously, with XDCAM MPEG-2 4:2:2 being used as a proxy.
Both new cameras come with S-Log gamma recording - free.
That's it for now.
Phil Rhodes will be bringing us a "Hands On" account of the F55 soon.