Sony declare WAR with their new professional large sensor camcorders and now RED hit back

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My blog is not a news site. There are many worthy sites that do that. I try to keep things focused on creativity, actual hands-on reviews of new cameras, tutorials and of course my current massive fundraiser. But every now and then an announcement is made that has to be reported. Again, these are all specs and just from the official press release (there is a big launch event in London today that, unfortunately, due to family commitments I cannot make) but they impress enormously, not just in specs but especially in form factor. A real bugbear of mine. Although none of what we are talking about here is for the low end. This is all for professionals with money 🙂


I have the Sony F3, FS100 and FS700 (and of course many other cameras from other companies) Let me sum up these three cameras very quickly.


The F3. Probably the most filmic looking image and best dynamic range our of any “lower end” large sensor camcorder. With a bad form factor, unusable view finder and very dated codec.


The FS100. The best bang for buck large sensor camcorder out there. Wonderful image. Atrocious ergonomics and form factor.


The FS700 Terrific features, amazing super slow motion, lovely image, minor improvements on the FS100 like ND and SDI, with slightly nicer buttons, handle and better grip. Otherwise essentially the same poor ergonomics.


So what have Sony announced today?


Two new 4k large sensor camcorders with the F5 and the F55.


A 4K raw (raw should not be written RAW – it’s a word, not an acronym) recording interface for my FS700…sweet!


The F65 says up yours to the SOOOO has been 4k with an 8K firmware upgrade.
What does this actually mean to us, the low budget filmmakers? Well to be honest this is designed for the higher-end professional, but at prices (apart from the F65) that are unheard of with these specs…again only specs, yes footage is being shown today, but footage is one thing. Shooting with them is another!



Let’s start with the 4K raw for the FS700. We have been expecting 4k out of this camera since its announcement. So far no joy, but not only are we getting 4k, we are getting it in raw too. This is what we need. If you have never shot raw, you don’t know just how much of a giant leap it makes compared to compressed codecs. Raw is one of the best features on the Blackmagic, the RED etc. The downside naturally is that this cannot work in-camera on the FS700, an external box will be required. I hate external recorders and want internal recording, but for this camera we always expected that. This won’t be available until April to June next year, and if the Mayan/ great soothsayer Roland Emmerich prophecy of our world ending in 2012 (hurry up! Only two months to go!) happens, then that will suck. Oh well. I always said 1080p looked great!


The sony raw recording box
Ok, this is the really exciting part. The F5 has been expected, well, basically ever since the F3 was pushed out very fast. A great camera, hampered by a nice but totally out-of-its-depth XDCAM EX internal codec and poor EVF and poor form factor. With S-Log, external recorder and a rig, it becomes a wicked camera. Still my favourite image in this price bracket, even more so than my beloved C300.


We also have the F55. So what is what. Well this is what Sony say for starters:


The new PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 CineAlta 4K cameras deliver unprecedented creative options for HD/2K*/QFHD*/4K (PMW- F55) and 2K*/HD (PMW-F5) production. Both offer multi-codec support featuring Sony’s new XAVC MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format, the SR codec (MPEG4 SStP) and the industry-standard High Definition XDCAM 50Mbps 4:2:2 codec. In-camera recording is on Sony’s New SxS media, SxS PRO+ (Plus ) – which can be used to record XAVC in HD High Frame Rate and in 4K at up to 60fps (in the PMW-PMW-F55), and XAVC HD High Frame Rate in the PMW-F5.

In addition to on-board recording onto SxS PRO+, the PMW-F55 and PMW- F5 can also be connected to the new AXS-R5 RAW recorder. Slow-motion imagery at up to 240fps** (PMW- F55) and up to 120fps** (PMW- F5) can be captured as 4K RAW files on newly developed AXS memory.

The PMW-F55 features a global shutter to eliminate rolling shutter skew and flash band, and features a wider colour gamut for exceptional colour reproduction. The cameras are further distinguished by wide (14 stops) exposure latitude, high sensitivity, and low noise.

LOOK! The F55 with attached raw recording module, proper viewfinder and a should pad. It’s like a proper camera…FINALLY!

So what does this mean?

We now have a truly modular design for starters, which the FS100/ 700 looked like it was but really weren’t. The mid section of these cameras looks like the FS series, but with enormously improved professional buttons. Both can record raw via an external box which simply bolts onto the back. Sweet! The AXS-R5 RAW recorder can do super slow motion imagery at up to 240fps with the F55, and up to 120fps with the F5. These frame rates can be captured as 4K RAW files on newly developed AXS memory.


The F55 also has a global shutter, so whip pans return…HOORAY! This is something that only the mechanical-shutter F65 and Alexa studio offer. Both very expensive super pro cameras, out of the price range of even me with my massive billions of $ (that’s a joke!).  Action scenes can be fast moving without the god awful skew. This is a BIG deal.


The modular design of these cameras is exceptionally thought out, from the images that I have seen. With their new shoulder rig that works simply and sleekly with the camera, it easily goes on your shoulder, so handheld work is a breeze…Yes, a large sensor camcorder that goes on your shoulder. The place a camera SHOULD go. Couple this with their new viewfinder – a proper viewfinder, not the F3 and FS100 nonsense – and we now have (in Sony’s words)


To get an ideas of size check out this image from FDTIMES.COM



LOOK! Modular…proper modular!!


The DVF-EL100 OLED viewfinder measures 0.7-inches with 1280 x 720 HD resolution, superb brightness, contrast and response. The DVF-L350 3.5-inch LCD viewfinder offers 10 times the contrast of previous Sony LCD viewfinders, with a flip-up eyepiece for direct monitoring. A third option is the full HD DVF-L700. This compact 7-inch LCD viewfinder enables high resolution when shooting in 2K and 4K, with pixel-to-pixel 1920 x 1080 representation of HD images.


F55 with L350 View Finder


L700 monitor
F3 with L350 view finder
F55 with the EL100
The F55 also has the option of 4k internal recording, via their new (Sony’s words) SxS media, SxS PRO+ (Plus ) – which can be used to record XAVC in HD High Frame Rate and in 4K at up to 60fps (in the PMW-PMW-F55), and XAVC HD High Frame Rate in the PMW-F5.


For raw you do need that external module. Remember raw is not for everyone, since it adds a lot of post work and is generally used on high-end commercials and movies. Most TV shows that shoot Alexa shoot Prores HQ and ignore ARRI raw, as the post workflow is too expensive, and to be honest the ProRes HQ is exceptional with these cameras.
I have not used or seen this new format for the Sony cameras, but I doubt they would bring it out if it wasn’t pretty darn good (see I went all American there!)


One of the biggest announcements, the 8k upgrade for the F65, is out of the price range of us mere mortals, much like the Aston Martin DB9 that I have lusted after even longer than I have lusted after Zooey Deschanel (well less lust, more love…I can dream, right?). Actually her dad will like this, the amazing cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. 8K is the future. Not 4k.


Now don’t get me wrong – 4k is smashing, but the difference between 2K (essentially full HD) and4k is not the leaps and bounds that we had from SD to HD. Not to  my old eyes, and by the time we all have 8K, won’t see a bloody thing but THIS is the progress leap that will make the difference.



The reason I say this is because 4K IS a great acquisition format, but it’s a format that I simply don’t feel will be taken up by the average consumer at home. That is what most of these companies want, especially TV manufacturers. But I judge these things not by geeks like me who buy every single iPad ever brought out, but by people like my mum and dad, my sister, my non TV-working friends. They won’t want 4k. They are happy with their LED/ LCD etc full HD screens and the prospect of buying another TV for a difference that will not really been seen by most on those new TVs means I doubt it will take off. I could be proved wrong. 8k, not 4k could FINALLY be that looking through a window (well a clean window) technology that we have always been promised and some people when HD came out said it was.


8K is the future (until 16K comes next year…joke) and all movies will be acquired in this format in the near future. It’s a no-brainer. This is future proof and can capture detail beyond 35mm film. We truly have a digital system that out performs 35mm film enormously in resolution. Probably…again I’ve not seen it, so let’s hang on there. Problem is: 8K projectors? 8K TVs? Not going to be common for some time. My local cinema is 2k. I know of a handful of screens in London that have 4k. 4k projectors themselves will be a slow take up and movie theatres are notoriously tight-fisted as more and more of us balk at paying $50+ to take our family to see a movie, when we can get the blu ray version 3 months later for $20 or less.


Sony have also announced loads more things, like new batteries and chargers, new PL lenses, monitor and a coffee machine that empties the grounds for you whilst making your toast (gluten free for me please) and brushing your teeth.


Today is the day that Sony declared war, not just on Canon. The C500 now has enormous competition with both the F5 and F55. Even the much lower specced C300, which is my favourite camera, will need to drop its price to remain competitive. Also the interchangeable lens mount on these cameras is a trick that Canon should have added…BUT the C300, although only full HD, is a much smaller and still broadcast approved camera and has been taken up in droves. The vast majority of TV has no interest in 4K and full HD at 50 mb/s 4:2:2 is fine for them, so I see the C300 being pretty safe in that market. It’s the cinema market and high-end commercial market that has been totally changed by these announcements.


Now remember specs are never a way to judge any camera as we have been let down again and again here…on paper, the F55 is an Epic beater (ON PAPER…proof is always in using it both shooting and post) . Yep…I love the Epic and I miss mine, amazing camera and it’s influence on the industry, along with the red one must never be underestimated. But, again on paper this out-performs that camera in every way and so it damn well should be. It’s a two year old newer camera with all these new tech developments and of course a global shutter. Now, I have been told that list price on the F55 will be around $50k body-only so not cheap, raw module probably another $10k, if it was cheaper it would beat the Epic there too…..F5 I am told will have a list price of $18k. Also the 4K on the this will only be via Sony module and won’t work on 3rd party ones…Even with these prices, two very different prices for different markets….war truly has been waged. With a global shutter, that sensitivity and that price, coupled with the reliability and backup of a company like Sony, Red are going to be in serious trouble. Please ignore my previous Red issues. I have no ill feelings towards Red. None at all. I adore their cameras, and if I hadn’t blown all my money I got when I returned my Epic on drugs and hookers (again joke PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ME SERIOUSLY, TRYING TO MAKE THIS POST LESS DRY!!!) then I would possibly have dipped my foot into it again. But now? No chance. I want an F55. I want it now. Give it to me now, or I will scream and scream until I am sick!!!!  Actually problem is for me and my work…it’s just a bit too big. I love small cameras now. Am so over big cameras. Just for certain jobs. Think this will be a rental for me 🙂
EDIT: RED have slashed the prices of all their cameras. Making the Epic X brain only now just $19k, a Scarlet for $8k and a used RED one MX for $4.5k. Of course all these need lots of stuff to make them work but this is a massive price cut!! Check out the RED site for more info. This is great news for us all. The dragon upgrade chip is still needed but these.



Guy Thatcher, my buddy from is, as we speak, walking into the event and will give me a first hand account on what he has seen, so do check it again and if my facts are wrong here then I will also correct them and especially pricing! 🙂
Above is the F55 with it’s 4k internal recording

Above is the F55 with its 4k internal recording AND the raw module (that bit before the battery the Cinealta logo on it)

The USB 3 reader



  1. That’s great insight, Philip. Like Red, Sony is beginning to breed fan boys, so I really enjoyed reading your balanced and informed comments on the F5 and F55. I come to the conclusion that it’s not a ‘game changer’, just Sony playing ‘catch up.’ I’m very happy with my F3, despite having to add an external recorder and better EVF. In the end I still get an excellent picture.

    After reading your comments I reckon I’ve still got it all covered. 🙂

  2. great cameras!! finally red has some serious competition!

    on a side note – do you have celiac disease? or do you just prefer gluten free food? i do have it and i imagine it´s pretty hard to get gluten free food when traveling around the world all the time.

  3. This is from Wikipedia:

    4K is already 4 times the size of 2K (you can fit 4 boxes of 2K in a 4K frame) and real 8K would then mean four times the size of a 4K frame).

    And if you take your 8K frame of 7680×4320 you should end up with 33177600 pixels, which is higher than 20 million pixels.

        1. Well I just loved the jokes mixed in with the dry serious tech stuff! Aside from that, I cannot afford these high end Sonys so sorry if this is slightly off topic but since we’re talking about Sony and their other cameras have been mentioned, I’d love to hear more about the image coming out of the Sony A99 full frame both internally and via HDMI 422 externally. I’m wondering if it is likely that the camera will be hacked for a higher internal bit rate recording as I am already spoiled by the hacked GH2. I am a musician and am working on some live music productions. A one camera shoot is boring – so far I have only the hacked GH2 and some nice lenses but the GH3 will be on it’s way soon I hope. As I’d like to be able to do at least a 3 way multi camera shoot, I am in the market for the third camera. Since stills are equally important to me and I have not yet invested in lenses other than a few nice micro 4/3s, is the A99 paired with a Zeiss 2.8 zoom the best choice for a hybrid camera in it’s price range? Or will I be satisfied with the improved stills of the upcoming GH3 and so just go for the micro 4/3s version of the Black Magic Cinema since it is similarly price and I already have some nice compatible lenses? My confusion is primarily over the questions of how much better the full frame stills of the A99 will be over the new GH3 and also how the video of the A99 will compare to the BlackMagicCinema recording in ProRes422?

          1. Well shoots, I guess after further calculations it seems that the Sony A99 will end up costing me much more than the Black Magic Cinema! Add the XLR module for around $800 US, a Zeiss lens for about $1800 US and then a Ninja external recorder and this makes somewhere around $4000 more than the Black Magic Cinema camera ( micro 4/3s model for which I already have lenses). Clearly it would seem however that the Sony A99 has better low light performance than the Black Magic Cinema and is also a great full frame sensor for stills and yes it will have that “unique” full frame video look but is that look better than the Black Magic Cinema? Oh and yes do not forget that like the GH2/3, you can use the electronic view finder of the A99 when capturing video and so can get by without an external monitor. I guess I will have to wait and see how good the stills photos are from the Gh3 that I have preordered. The reports so far say that the stills have improved greatly over the GH2. Hopefully that is so as I have found the raw stills of the GH2 to be rather dirtly/noisy when cropped or under low light. In this dilemma I may find my self owing 4 cameras – GH2, Gh3, BlackMagicCinema and Sony A99! Hey, that is a bigger bang for your buck than these higher priced cameras! Go figure!

            1. Well nobody has replied yet so here I go again – I just spent about a week doing more research and tonight came across this review of the Sony A99:
              I now have 2nd thoughts about buying this camera because of the moiré and aliasing issues. For less than three times the price of a Sony A99, the hacked version of the Gh2 is much be better in this department. My GH3 is on the way regardless but I am frustrated that I can’t find a full frame camera for three times the price of a GH2 or GH3 that does not have so many video/film issues? I wish Panasonic would come out with a full frame hybrid camera that does it all for under $4.000.

    1. I find I can visualize it best by thinking of photo cameras.
      2k is 2MP; 4k is 9MP; 8K is 36MP (which is something like a Nikon D800, though the d800 is full-frame). Then if you’re shooting raw, it’s like taking 24 raw photos per second, a serious amount of data.

    2. That’s true for the 4096×3072 4K resolution which is 1.33 aspect ratio.

      But for the UHD 4K resolution defined by the ITU, it is 4 times “HD” (which is 1.78 2K in fact but whatever). It is a bit misleading.
      Upcoming 4K TV will be 3840×2160. (in fact it is not defined by the 1.33 4K but by the 1.89 4K, which is the “Academic Standard” US Aspect Ratio for digital cinema, adapted from the good old 1.85 on film)

      Anyway, it’s pixels war right now ! And some people will launch “Retina” 50″ displays with 20K resolution and nuke the market and burn our eyes and everyone beeing blind, we will all be unemployed and….. Ok I’ll take my pills 😀

  4. You’re right Philip, 2K is enough, at least for the next 10 years! I’m sure you’ll remember the first HD broadcast, back in 1991 with the Italian World Cup (football/soccer) with the now defunct Sony HDVS system.

    20 YEARS LATER, more than 50% of TV Broadcasters (in the EU at least) are STILL in SD, so we’re not even in HD-world, and yet some are pushing 4K as there’s no tomorrow? 4K is for Hollywood Blockbusters ONLY, and even then, check its last megahits: Avatar, Hugo, last Bond= all in 2K, no need for 4K as it increases post costs too much and there aren’t enough screens to make it viable.

    As for the new Sony’s, thery’re going to give A LOT of trouble to both Canon and RED, who won’t have any other option but to drastically drop their prices, but they still won’t be able to compete with their own current products, or paralell Sony’s reliability, experience and worldwide customer support.

    I see the F5, rumored at €15k, to make the biggest ripples. A single camera that rules them all, valid for corporate, docus, broadcast indie films and lower budget TV drama and commercials. Small, lightweight, designed to properly sit on the shoulder without a monstrous €3k additional rig. A proper viewfinder (!!!). On-Cam broadcast codec, up to 120fps at 2K 10bit 4:2:2, even SR codec. Rated at ISO2000 (!). Mount-any-lens-you-want. S-Log and 14 stops. Affordable media. Simple to use and reliable. CHECK MATE

  5. This is great news. More competition and better cameras!

    Any hunch on when if ever Panasonic going to make a move? Or have they unofficially rolled over and given up on producing professional video cameras?

  6. The problem for early adopters is there aren’t really any consumer 4K TVs yet. And Certainly no 4K content. And even with on-line streaming, a highly compressed 4K movie would be a bandwidth hog. Where I see 4K coming in is LARGE displays. Have you seen an 80″ TV? The 1080p does fall apart. At close range it doesn’t have the detail. Obviously you are blowing up a 2/3″ sensor to 80″. If there is a need for 80″, 90″, 120″ TVs 4k will be a much better experience. On a 55″ it does seem just a novelty. You’d have to have the eyesight of a 10 year old to appreciate it. It will come, but it is a technology, that doesn’t solve a problem.

  7. I’ve pretty much abandoned hope for 4K for my FS700 since it sounds like it’s going to be super expensive. Probably just a rental thing. To me, it seems like if they want to keep the FS700 going, they should better the internal codec up to broadcast specs, like the C300. I would gladly pay for that upgrade. Cameras like the $1200 GH3 essentially has the same codec as the FS700, so it’s getting dated fast, especially since the FS700 only came out about 4 months ago (now and eternity in camera years).

    As for the F3, seems like it will just get faded out. If the F5 is only $18K, that only $3K more than the F3. Chump change for that much more camera. Logically, seems like the FS700 would soon sit below the F5 at 1/2 the price, kind of like the C300 and the C100.

    Anyways… Sony is kicking major Behind.

  8. Philip, thank you for the super informative posting. This was the only place I could find info on pricing on the cameras this morning. However, the drug and hooker jokes make me question why your a source for information. It’s your blog, say what you will, but your a great blog for insider information, not a stand up comedy routine.

    I registered this account, today, but I have been an avid reader for years. Perhaps I’ll look elsewhere now.

    1. you serious? you didn’t like my joke? ALL my posts include humour as it’s important with dry topics like that. Without humour what are we. To say you will no longer will come here because you don’t like a joke I made to be honest means you are way too sensitive! Especially in this industry! Relax! All I got drug wise was some barroca and the hooker was an arabic pipe…just spelt it wrong! Smile. I need to. it helps me get through the trials and stress of life.

      1. Hi Philip, Im from Brazil. Ive been following your reviews since the Ex3. Before xdcam I use to shot with
        Dsr 200 Dv cam from sony, do you remember this? Can you believe this?!
        Iam a big fan of you like professional and person.

        Now I waiting to next big step, maybe a F5. Depending on your review!

        Oh I almost forgot! KEEP JOKING!

      2. Do not stop joking and being funny, Philip. I always enjoy your posts here and elsewhere. Oh and on the topic of these new SONYs, yeah, I want the F5 NOW!!! LOL. As you said, finally a real normal ergonomically sane camera. 🙂

      3. — As an American, not only did I laugh at your humorous remark of “See I went all American there,” my hooker laughed as well. Of course, we were on copious amounts of drugs at the time, so everything was funny.

        Insert copious amounts of sarcasm and humorous tone.

      4. Seriously, dude. I’ve been using that joke regularly for a few years now and it seem 95% of the world gets it. It’ s funny if you just lighten up a touch… Shooting news and docs, I think comedy is crucial.

            1. I usually refrain myself from commenting anything on the internet since i dont find it an appropriate medium to adequately articulate your ideas. However i will try :

              You are obviously in this for enough time to know that no matter what you do, someone will always be offended.Trying to please everyone is futile.It is biologically impossible among other things.

              Do what you feel like doing.Keep a balance that makes you feel comfortable and march on.I think it is preferable to have certain unique characteristics that distinguish you from others, than cultivating a beige public personality in order to be politically correct. I am not suggesting you should change your ”recipe’ but we can always refine what we are good at. ‘And stop underlining the fact that you are joking. Smart people get it.

              I am sure you know all this already but this guy got me so upset that i had to get it out of my system.

              P.s.I also believe that drugs and hookers are an amazing way to spend your money but that is an entirely different topic

          1. @Ben: It’s not racist saying black humour, since it doesn’t have anything to do with
            race. Just like the concept of black magic doesn’t imply that it’s magic done by
            black people.

            @Philip: Justafilmguy is apparently too sensitive and easily offended. The world is
            unfortunately full of people like that, just ignore them. Keep up your great work, there are
            many of us who appreciate what you do AND your humour. 🙂

    2. some people are so serious ……..the jokes its what make us forget our stress and its a good way ….to make your point
      ..anyway for my self a I ll always remember Philip bloom I was nothing ….this forum give me a lot help me a lot and
      educate me a lot so I ll be always thankful for that and for Phil ………………relax mate the whole life is a joke anyway

    3. Hey, If you’re gonna pick on Phil, I’m gonna pick on your use of “your” when you should have used “you’re”, so there

      If you can’t joke about drugs and hookers, what’s left?

      Thanks, Phil

    4. really? you’re going to cry over 1 line? and it was so offensive that you needed to register to comment? what are you… 80 years old? cause you sound like one.

      Can imagine working with this guy… wouldn’t last with that attitude

  9. Many folks are interested in owning gear like this – which is great – but I think just as exciting is the prospect of decreased RENTAL costs/increased rental accessibility for proper feature shoots. All a result of this ever competitive imaging market. You could save for years, liquidate your savings for a sweet camera like this, or you could take that cash (maybe even less) and hire a small crew and shoot a 2 hour film by renting this camera. It’s all gravy nevertheless!


  10. GOODBYE RED!!!!! I couldn’t stand RED cameras, nor RED flows, nor RED pretentious team of engineers anymore. Finally a camera that does it all, and that goes on your shoulder!!! AHAahaahahahha..

  11. Technology is not just number growing. Marketing is.
    Future is not TV (let alone theatres). Future is handheld devices
    Last night, I was checking 500px and find a night shot image. It was great picture. Really great. Taken by what? D90. a 12mpx camera from 2008. 12mpx is joke these days when a phone can capture 38mpx! But, I do care? No. I watch that photo on 120 inch TV? No. I print it on wall? No. Heck what I saw was just 1/10 resolution of the original file, Compressed to 1/20 of original data.
    Sony, if you have no choice but to stick with numbers, its ok, double the number of dynamic range stops, and then I call it Innovation.
    Sony user, I watch your content in my 4.8 inch smartphone. Show me creativity. Its the thing my eyes are able to distinguish in that small area

  12. Philip,

    Always enjoy your gear updates and no nonsense and candid delivery.

    8K is interesting…to whom i’m not sure…perhaps high end post houses for V/F…but really, better than 35mm detail! woo hoo, but do we want to see the hairs on a nat’s ass? I for one…could care less and don’t feel these kinds of resolutions (marketing rhetoric to salivate next generation) really further a filmmakers repertoire of storytelling.(perhaps his peer-group bragging rights)

    Anyway, speaking of sony…awhile back you posted A99/VG900 release, I found to be the first significant advance in camcorders and reason enough to possibly upgrade for us mere mortals who are on a strict budget.

    Would like to see a ‘video only’ side by side comparison between these two cameras…with full frame lenses?

    Keep up the good work.


  13. Philip,

    I was looking at the setup and it’s great that you have a way to get it on your shoulder but the picture you have has a monster Fujinon lens that has a hand grip on it.

    How would you hold it if you had, let’s say a Zeiss ZF lens on there? Do you know if they have a hand grip adapter like the FS100/700?

    Thanks for the info. Sony really knows how to make some noise. 🙂

  14. Your Drug and Hooker joke was so unexpected and out of character that it had me cracking up alone in front of my computer. Keep up the humor! As a public figure I think you’re a class act. I love your insights, tone and honesty. Please don’t change!

      1. I know, huh. What are people thinking? I’m American and I get your humor. I loved it when you were looking over some sort of rig that looked like a piece of artillery and you said it’s very German. Then you said something like I’m English so I love Germans and you gave the oddest face. Anyway, as you can see that really cracked me up maybe cause I just got through watching the movie Fallen.

  15. I’m not a Red person, by any means, but does the F55 really beat out the Epic?

    Price wise, it only competes with the Epic once you’ve added the raw box. $60K is $17K more than an Epic (when comparing base models at raw capabilities) – and Red may drop their prices further with their announcement tomorrow.

    At $60K, the F55 is right in the middle of the pack between the Epic and the Alexa/F65. If you’re spending that much money on an investment, and an extra $17K isn’t of that much concern, then why not continue splurging all the way to the best? Or, if money is a real concern, why not stick with the significantly cheaper, but still very competitive Red alternative?

    I agree that the Sony name will be what lands it on most sets, rather than a “battle of the specs”. Same way the Alexa look and name trumps, even though it may lose a battle or two itself.

      1. Hey, not implying you had an agenda or anything. I guess some of the pros of the F55 didn’t register as $17K worth of improvements.

        I’m just really struggling to get my head around the landscape of upmarket cameras at the moment. Some things, on paper, just don’t make sense – like the Arri base model costing more than a Red or Sony raw capable model.

        But, as you say, proof is in using them.

      1. You’re right …. it’s unfortunate that only the high end cameras seem to have a proper viewfinder in the right place. Take the Canon C100 –
        nice camera but it has the same unusable viewfinder as the HFG10, XA10 and XF100.
        That’s just plain silly. Imagine if only expensive cars had the right size steering wheel in the right place.
        I’m sure Steve will dream up something for this lot. He’s the man.

  16. I see two major design flaws. First: Why have a separate external RAW recorder? Why not make it internal? It adds to the size and weight of it. Second: Since they made the RAW recorder, why didn’t they make it attach via a standard connection? Example: lets say you have a really small crammed space to shoot in, so you have to remove the RAW recorder for space, but you still want to record RAW. If it were a multiple 3G SDI recorder, you could just put it down stream. Since it is not, in that scenario you’d need a different RAW recorder. If I get this camera I’d look into other RAW recording option than the AXS-R5.

  17. Philip,

    A bit off-topic but in the spirit of your remarks…which henceforth you’ll perhaps never live down…

    If you’re employed at the BBC, no need to spend your earnings on drugs or hookers…they’re all free!

    Ridiculously shameful, I might add!


    ps: any eta on in-depth sony A99/VG900 review?

  18. It looks like RED and SONY are playing a game of chicken over pricing on their cameras. SONY not announcing a price with these cameras, and RED announcing that they will be lowering Epic and Scarlet prices. But not saying by how much.

    Hopefully they start a price war on cameras. We could use the savings.

  19. F5 looks sweet, but the F55 is sweeter. Going to have to save up big time. Probably start selling my F3 and all the bits I’ve built over the years. Can you recommend the best place to advertise such a sale?
    Also, you’ve over 40 million hits on your blog, dude! It only feels like last year when you were hitting 4 million!

  20. Hey Philip,

    If someone sends you an email that reads, “Have a go at grading a few seconds of this raw footage and tell me what you think.”

    Do they mean raw as in captured in a raw format or do they mean unedited? You’ll find out soon enough what they meant but writing raw capture as RAW makes it instantly clear, does it not? Technically speaking, you’re right about it not being an acronym. However, I’d much rather see raw written as RAW in that context than the word “you’re” written as “your”. I’m just sayin’…

  21. Working with raw anything is going to require technological beastliness of mass proportions regardless of the resolution, so it will be interesting to see if these large K beasts collapse under their own weight before achieving ultimate power and fame.

    RED has a pretty significant lead on Sony in building products/solutions to deal with copious amounts of large sensor data and Red Rocket is a boon for them now and will probably continue to pay dividends to users as it advances.

  22. I don’t understand what’s about the joke. It’s crude, but made me laugh.
    Philip Bloom is known for being very serious about ethic stuff, he made jokes in the past AND he is british ! Come on ! British people are known worldwide to be the best in black humour !

    Those cameras are really awesome on paper. Need some test to know, but Sony makes quality products.
    Even if RED dropped their prices, I am not sure that’s where the battle takes place. When looking at the features and form factore of those new Sony Cameras, it seems to me that the japanese brands is looking towards Arri and their Alexa line of cameras (and also RED, offcourse but I really see a camera that says “Hello Arri, I’m here !” :p)

    Anyway (bis) : the more cameras on the market, the more options we have !

  23. 8K as a delivery format? Very much doubt that, Philip. Most of the DI post production currently being processed at 2K resolution, colour timing, CG, VFX. Almost everything. This entire industry almost hate 4K where it is being pushed these days. Can’t imagine them going to 8K pipeline sooner than 6-10 years. Unless some dramatic revolution happens in CPU world – to properly process 8K we need to improve computers performance not even 10 times I would say 20-30 times – it is not going to be easy. An how many reinvestments for the theatrical equipment such as projectors an presentation workflow. Oh gosh – they not even properly recovered after 3D post-avatar financial impact :))) sure they make a lot but how much they spend? And you think they can handle 8K with ease? 10 years after – maybe just some “top-notch cineplexes” in Dubai, not in US. 5 – no way. All 8K equipment is entirely prototypes and presented in extremely limited numbers. But 6K going to RED this year 🙂 no doubt it will be 8K from same company at some point in 2015 🙂

  24. Dear Philip –

    In this post you state: “In addition to on-board recording onto SxS PRO+, the PMW-F55 and PMW- F5 can also be connected to the new AXS-R5 RAW recorder. Slow-motion imagery at up to 240fps** (PMW- F55) and up to 120fps** (PMW- F5) can be captured as 4K RAW files on newly developed AXS memory.”

    Everywhere else I’ve read that the F5 can only capture 120fps and the F55 240fps as 2k RAW files with the AXS-R5 recorder. Is this a mistake? I see that you’ve put asterisks here. I’m in the market for a new camera and debating between a RED Epic and an F5. If what you say is true, then the F5 and Epic are very comparable in their slow-motion capabilities. Can you clarify pro favor?


  25. Thanks for the great review!

    I’m suddenly in the market for an F5. While I’d love to own the Fuji 19-90 Cabrio, its $38,000 price tag is a bit much to swallow at the moment.

    So I’m wondering how the Sony SCL-Z18X140 FZ Mount 14X Power Zoom Lens that was meant for the F3 works with the F5. From the looks of it, the F3 has an integrated zoom rocker switch on the body itself which controlled the lens. But the F5 does not have that rocker switch. Does this mean that the zoom lens on an F5 is manual control only? Is it possible to connect the lens to some kind of external control that could be rigged on a handle?

    I’m also wondering where an external boom mic would be attached on the top. The F3 looks like it had that built in, but I can’t tell where I would be able to attach one to the top of the F5.

    Thank you!

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