Product Highlights
  • 8.9 MP Super 35mm CMOS
  • 4K (4096 x 2160) Up to 59.95p
  • 2K (2048 x 1920) Up to 240 FPS
  • Interchangeable FZ/PL Mount System
Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K
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Overview

Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K

Sony 4K sensor for gorgeous, super-sampled HD, 2K and 4K The PMW-F55 CineAlta camera shoots spectacular images with its 8.9 megapixels (effective) Sony 4K image sensor. You get superb dynamic range, the widest colour gamut, and pristine image quality, whether you shoot in HD, 2K or 4K. Multiple recording formats includes HD/2K/4K on SxS memory and 16-bit RAW 2K/4K on AXSM™ media Multiple recording formats include MPEG-2 HD422, MPEG4 SStP*, XAVC 2K*/HD, XAVC QFHD*/4K and 16-bit RAW 2K/4K**. You can have simultaneous recording on internal high-speed SxS PRO+ memory cards and RAW 2K/4K recording on sleek AXSM™ memory cards using the optional bolt-on AXS-R5 recorder, designed specifically to attach seamlessly to the F55 and F5 cameras. There is also high speed shooting up to 240 fps RAW 2K and 60 fps in RAW 4K recording onto the AXS-R5. *Expected as a future upgrade. ** Recording onto the optional AXS-R5 recorder. Lightweight modular design to maximize versatility in 2D and 3D The F55 is exceptionally small, light and modular, letting you build up the right configuration for each job – or each shot. As well as the choice of formats and internal and external recording options, you can attach a variety of viewfinders, including the revolutionary optional DVF-EL100 OLED viewfinder, PL-mount, FZ-mount and still lenses, including second-generation Sony PL-mount lenses, and extra long-life Olivine – Lithium Iron Phosphate – batteries. The chassis is only slightly wider than a typical PL-mount prime lens, perfect for 3D rigs. An optional shoulder rig provides for hand-held and shoulder-mounted shooting.

Shoot spectacular HD, 2K or 4K

Does a 4K camera make sense in an HD world? Perfect sense. Even if you're not planning on 4K production, the 11.6 total megapixels of Sony's 4K image sensor enable you to shoot gorgeous, super-sampled HD now and learn how to get the best from the camera. Then as 4K postproduction and distribution continue to gain traction, you'll be ready with built-in 4K recording. The F55 supports three major shooting scenarios.

  • Shoot, Record, Master and Distribute in stunning 4K. You're ready for the more than 13,000 movie theaters with Sony Digital Cinema 4K projectors—and the new wave of 4K home entertainment. Sony is one of several companies that have launched 4K home televisions while cable, satellite and network operators are currently considering the prospect of 4K content delivery.
  • Shoot, Record and Master in 4K. Distribute in 2K/HD. Derive your delivery format while preserving the original as a future-proof archive. Your master is ready for future 4K release.
  • Shoot in 4K. Record, Master and Distribute in 2K/HD. Sony's 4K sensor gives you a gorgeous, super-sampled HD picture with visibly superior texture, color reproduction, detail and high-frequency contrast that ordinary HD cameras cannot touch. 2K XAVC internal recording and 2K RAW High Frame Rate have arrived with the free v2.0 upgrade.

4K on-board recording—and three other formats

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 file size that match the needs of each project.

  • MPEG-2 HD. The de facto standard for television production. 50 Mbps at 24p.
  • XAVC HD. The next generation of H.264/AVC Intra-frame coding. 90 Mbps at 24p.
  • SR File. A fixture in Hollywood production, post production and program exchange. 176 and 352 Mbps at 24p. Available with free v1.2 upgrade, July 2013.
  • XAVC 4K (and QFHD). Now you can record 4K on to Sony's SxS® PRO+ media. 240 Mbps at 24p. QFHD available with free v3.0 upgrade, expected December 2013.

And the future is bright. Sony has a roadmap of planned firmware upgrades: version 1.2 (July 2013), v2.0 (September 2013) and v3.0 (expected December 2013). Each is available at no extra charge to users with an internet connection. Each is user installable, which means you won't need to bring the camera in to a service center to reap the benefits. And each brings you even more frame rates, more operating features and more recording options.

4K/2K RAW options

The ultimate camera capture system would record every nuance of light and shadow from the image sensor, preserving every detail from every 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.

With the F55, 2K RAW is not just a technical specification. It's a business model. Sony 2K RAW gives you everything you love about Super 35 cinematography with no crop factor, no telephoto conversion on your lenses. 2K RAW is a smart choice for HD productions and it's just one quarter the data of 4K RAW. 2K RAW High Frame Rate has arrived with the free v2.0 upgrade.

The AXS-R5 has another clever advantage. Its HD-SDI output provides a closer-to-RAW live demosaiced image for outboard monitors and recorders. This is a 4:2:2 10-bit digital signal with S-Log 2 encoding to protect highlights and shadows.

Electronic frame image scan

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.

Vast exposure latitude

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!

S-Gamut color system

Directors of photography and colourists are talking about Sony's S-Gamut colour 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 colour correction.

The secret to the S-Gamut system is an often overlooked but fundamental component of the large, single-sensor camera: the colour filter array (CFA), which screens incoming light so that each photosensor can detect Red, Green or Blue. Sony's S-Gamut system uses phenomenally pure CFA dyes to achieve a range of colour that's not only wider than other digital cameras. It's even wider than motion picture print film.

Retaining maximum grayscale

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.

  • 16-bit linear RAW. Preserve the maximum headroom for color correction. See everything the image sensor has to offer. Like other RAW recording, Sony's system captures a color sample for each photosite on the image sensor. Unlike some others, Sony's 16-linear system preserves more tonal values than the human eye can differentiate. As a result, your look isn't "baked in." It's fully open to creative manipulation.
  • S-Log 2 Gamma. Postproduction can take advantage of the full range of grayscale values from the deepest shadows to the brightest specular highlights, thanks to Sony's latest S-Log 2 Gamma. While conventional video gamma preserves 109% of the sensor's nominal peak white, and Sony's original S-Log accommodates 800%, S-Log 2 extends all the way to 1300% of nominal peak white, to deliver the full 14-stop dynamic range of the camera.
  • Rec. 709 high definition. Productions intended for television that plan little or no color correction may choose to take advantage of conventional Rec. 709 high definition, which is also available.

Modularity and versatility

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.

  • Exceptional modularity. The F55 is notably small, light and modular, letting you build up the right configuration for each job—or each shot. For example, you can add the optional AXS-R5 RAW recorder whenever you need it. Or go with internal recording whenever size and weight are the highest priority.
  • Optional VCT-FSA5 shoulder rig with rosettes. Sony's optional Sony shoulder rig with padded arch provides comfortable handheld operation hour after hour. The rig is sturdy, lightweight and features generous front-to-back adjustment for ideal weight balance. The side-mounted optional viewfinders also offer substantial front-to-back adjustment. The shoulder rig accepts 15 mm rods, while industry-standard rosettes on both sides enable quick and easy attachment of third-party hand grips and other accessories.
  • 3D ergonomics. Small size is particularly welcome in stereoscopic 3D shooting. The time code/genlock connections and XLR audio inputs are located in two modules that you can add or remove as needed. With the modules removed, the chassis is only slightly wider than a typical PL mount prime lens, perfect for both mirror rigs and side-by-side configurations.
  • Mounting threads. For even greater versatility, Sony provides mounting threads to attach third-party accessories. For example, the bottom of the camera offers three 3/8-16 and three 1/4-20 threads. The top of the camera includes four 1/4-20 threads. The detachable top handle includes five 3/8-16 and four 1/4-20 threads.

High speed: 240 fps

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.

  • 60 fps: 4K RAW, XAVC 4K and XAVC HD out of the box at launch. XAVC QFHD with the free v3.0 upgrade, expected December 2013
  • 180 fps XAVC HD, with the free v2.0 upgrade, now available.
  • 240 fps 2K RAW, with the optional AXS-R5 outboard recorder and the free v2.0 upgrade, now available. In this way, the F55 achieves the highest frame rates most productions will need, while retaining exceptional, 16-bit image quality.

More than just a pretty interface

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 adjustments are always at your fingertips.

Real-time 4K output and other vital connections

The F55 offers powerful connections, including real-time 4K output up to 60p. This supports all-new possibilities, including 4K live production as well as real-time output to a compatible 4K monitor. It's made possible by four 3G-SDI outputs. The HDMI® v1.4a output supports 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 channels of AES/EBU digital audio with an expected free firmware upgrade.

Long-life Olivine Battery

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.

The BP-FL75 Olivine battery works with Sony's BC-L90 quick charger, which accommodates two batteries and cuts charging time from 120 minutes to just 60 minutes, compared to conventional Sony chargers.

The cameras and batteries are also interoperable. The F55 camera accepts Sony's conventional batteries: the BP-GL95A, GL65A, L80S and L60S. These batteries work with the BC-L90 charger (at normal speed). And the BP-FL75 Olivine battery works with the conventional BC-L70 and L160 chargers (at normal speed).

What's Included

  • Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Digital Cinema Camera
  • PL-Mount Adapter
  • Battery Adapter
  • Audio Input Box
  • CD-ROM
  • Operating Instructions

Reviews

Product Specifications

Sensor
Sensor Type Super 35mm equivalent single-chip CMOS with global shutter
Pixels Total: 11.6 MP
Effective: 8.9 MP
Sensitivity Luminance: 2000 lx, 89.9% reflectance
Video Gamma: T11@24p (3200K light source)
S-Log2 Gamma: ISO 1250 (D55 Light source)
Dynamic Range 14 stops
Signal to Noise Ratio 57dB (Video Gamma, 24p, Noise Suppression OFF)
Recording
Video Recording Format MPEG-2 Long GOP
HD 422 mode: CBR, 50 Mbps max, MPEG-2 422P@HL
Audio Recording Format Linear PCM (2 ch, 24-bit, 48-kHz)
Recording Modes XAVC 4K: 4096 x 2160 at 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
XAVC QFHD: 3840 x 2160 at 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
XAVC 2K: 2048 x 1920 at 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
XAVC HD: 1920 x 1080 at 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p
MPEG4 SStP: 1920 x 1080, 23.98p/24p/25p/29.97p
MPEG2 HD: 1920 x 1080 at 50i, 59.94i, 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p
MPEG2 HD: 1280 x 720 at 50p, 59.94p
Shutter Speed 1/24s to 1/6,000s
Shutter Angle 4.2 - 360°(electrical shutter)
Slow Shutter 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 frame accumulation
Slow & Quick Motion Function XAVC 4K/QFHD: 1-60p (NTSC)
XAVC 4K/QFHD: 1-50p (PAL)
XAVC HD/2K: 1-180p (NTSC), 23.98p/29.97p with option
XAVC HD/2K: 1-150p (PAL), 25p with option
XAVC HD: 1-60p (NTSC)
XAVC HD: 1-50p (PAL)
White Balance Preset (3200K, 4300K, 5500K), Memory, ATW
Gain -3, 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 dB, AGC
Gamma Curve Standard (x6)
HG1, HG2, HG3, HG4, HG7 and HG8
S-Log2 Gamma
Interface
Memory Cards SxS (x2, ExpressCard 34 slots)
SD card slot (x1)
Video Output HD-Y or HD Sync (tri-level) V1.0
Analog Composite (VUP)
HD-SDI Output HD mode: SDI 1/2 Line Output, SDI 3/4 Monitor Output (character on/off)
4K mode: SDI 1/2/3/4 Line Output (character on/off), HD-SDI/3G-SDI switchable
Timecode TC IN/OUT switchable (x1)
Genlock BNC input (x1)
HDMI A Type output (x1)
Audio Input: XLR-type 3-pin with Line/Mic/Mic +48V/AES/EBU selectable (x2, female)
Output: phono jack (CH-1, CH-2)
Headphone: Stereo mini jack (x1)
Speaker: monaural
USB USB device, Mini-B (x1)
USB host, type-A (x1)
Wi-Fi USB host, type-A (x1)
DC Output 4-pin (x1), 11 V to 17 V DC (MAX 2.0A) w/ battery adapter
Remote 8-pin (x1)
General
Lens Mount FZ-mount, PL-mount (with supplied adapter)
Built-in Filters Clear, 0.9 (1/8 ND), 1.8 (1/64 ND)
Power Requirements DC 12 V (11 V to 17.0 V)
Power Consumption Approx. 25 W (while recording XAVC 4K 60p, EVF Off, LCD monitor Off, 4K SDI On)
Battery Operating Time With BP-FL75: approximately 150 minutes
With BP-GL95A: approximately 210 minutes
Operating Temperature 32 ~ 104° F (0 ~ 40° C)
Storage Temperature -4° ~ +140° F (-20° ~ +60° C)
Dimensions Without protrusions: 7.13 x 7.88 x 12.25" (15.1 x 18.9 x 21 cm)
Weight Body only: 4.88 lb (2.2 kg)

 

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Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K

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