Sony HDC-F5500 S35 4K Camera

Sony has announced the HDC-F5500 S35 4K Camera. This is the latest addition to their HDC series of cameras that are designed specifically for outside broadcast applications.

The HDC-F5500 builds on the HDC-5500, by utilizing a larger sensor, PL mount, a new ND system, and better connectivity options.

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Sony has made numerous HDC series cameras over the years, including the S35 HDC-4800 which was announced in 2016.

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The HDC-F5500 utilizes a Super 35mm 4K CMOS Global Shutter Image Sensor. Having a global shutter is important when filming sports and live entertainment to prevent rolling shutter distortion and flash bands. The camera can also shoot at up to 120fps.

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The camera has a 4K/12G-SDI direct output from the camera facilitates wireless operation and direct recording. Just to be crystal clear, this is a live production camera and it doesn’t feature any onboard recording capabilities.

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What is interesting is that the camera inherits the motorized 8-step ND filter from the VENICE. The ND can be controlled locally or remotely. The HDC-F5500 also features support for BT.2020, S-Gamut3/S-Gamut3.cine and HLG.

We are starting to see larger sensor cameras being used more frequently by broadcasters for live sports. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues.

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The HDC-F5500 integrates with Sony’s IP Live production system through the use of the HDCU-5000 series, which supports SMPTE ST 2110 and AMWA NMOS standards. The HDC-F5500 can utilize the new IP extension adaptor HDCE-TX50 for remote production or multi-camera flight pack “CCU-Less” operation. The HDC-F5500 is also compatible with Sony’s existing SR Live for HDR workflow with HLG and S-Log3.

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Additionally, the newly developed ARIA (Automatic Restoration of Illumination Attenuation) function, for select supported PL and zoom lenses, calibrates and compensates picture appearance when shooting at a distance.

Other features include a new viewfinder slide mechanism compatible with existing large viewfinders.

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It is strange that Sony hasn’t released a camera in this exact same form factor that can record internally. I personally think there is a market for a proper all-in-one shoulder mountable S35 camera. Sure you could argue that the F5 and F55 were kind of that, but I would personally argue that an all-in-one solution that basically resembles a traditional ENG camera still hasn’t been created.

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The concept of creating a Super 35mm sized sensor camera for outside broadcast isn’t new. The Ikagami HDK-97ARRI that was announced back in 2013 featured the exact same ALEV III sensor that is still found in a lot of ARRI’s current cameras. It also featured a PL mount that could be swapped out for a B4 broadcast mount.

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ARRI also recently announced the AMIRA Live. Like other Super 35 format cinema cameras adapted for multi-camera broadcasting, the AMIRA previously required several external cables connecting the camera to the fiber backend for SMPTE 311M signal transmission. For live broadcasters, these cables created another link in the chain as there was always the chance of accidental disconnection or damage. Not only does the AMIRA Live remove these risks, but the cleaner camera configuration makes it a better solution for camera operators.

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The HDC-F5500 is planned to be available in December 2021.

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