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Warren T

SONY F5/55 REPLACEMENT

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Hi all,

As SONY has released the PXW-FX9, i am wondering if anyone has heard any whispers about a F5/55

coming out next year? Apparently ARRI has a new sensor due next year too!

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Given how large of chunk of the "mid" range the FS7 has taken (and the FS9 lives in the same space), it may be that we won't necessarily see an in-between camera from them. 

Just Venice at the high-end, FS5/FS6 for the low-end, and FX9/FS7 for everything in-between. 

Which I get. It's hard to squeeze something in-between the FS9 and the Venice without treading on the Venice's toes.

A new S35mm sensor for the Venice (at a lower price-point) would be the obvious option (and an excellent way to spread the Venice's uptake across different sections of the industry).

Something that people are less likely to add the R7 recorder too, and will live more in XAVC480 world.

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No whispers, no. But lots of speculative discussion online. There have been several long discussions about this on the F5/55 Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/829126787140230/

I personally believe that it's highly unlikely we'll see a new camera between the FX9 and VENICE any time soon., if ever. They're just too similar already. I mean... obviously very different in many ways, but the overlaps/similarities are significant enough that anything in the middle would likely have a negative impact on sales of the models either side. That's me with my "marketing hat" on.

However, from an operator perspective, I absolutely feel there is a place for a model in between.

Also, there are a lot of things the F5/55 can do that the FX9 can't do (yet?), and/or things that are just (IMO) better about the F5/55. Maybe some of these will be added in firmware updates... but some will likely never happen again.

Such as:

  • Ability to use the CA-4000 etc for live OB environments. Perhaps this just never became popular enough so Sony have canned this, leaving it to their systems cameras (after all, one of them now has a Super35 sensor!). Or maybe they'll bring some of those features to the VENICE?
  • Ability to use an RCP (see above).
  • Much tidier ENG back option.
  • PL mount with electronics and lens metadata.
  • Shutter sync for 3D work (again, BENICE territory, and I guess just not very popular these days).
  • Global shutter (F55). VENICE sensor readout speed is very fast, so somewhat negates the need for this, but I've heard the FX9 sensor readout speed isn't so great.
  • AES/EBU digital audio (ok, the FX9 has the Mi-shoe... which is quite good, and clearly Sony want to keep people in their product ecosystem there, but I personally use digital audio when working with Sound Recordists, and it'd be a shame to loose it).
  • Class480 XAVC. Definitely a lacking feature from the FX9, imo.
  • Ability to use 2K OLPF. I've seen countless conversations about how footage from the FX9's 2K scan mode is practically unusable... this is probably why: no dedicated OLPF.
  • Ability to use the AXS-R5 and AXS-R7. It's weird that the VENICE is the only current generation camera that can use the R7!
  • Side display panel. I like that the FX9 (and FS7 before it) have more physical toggle buttons, but I find the side LCD invaluable.
  • Ability to use Sony's flagship EVF (DVF-EL200).

So yes, lots of things lost here.... but maybe Sony just don't feel those things are significant enough.

@Warren T yes, I've seen conversation from people who have tested it. It's a Super35 sensor true 4K Alexa Mini. let's see if it actually happens...

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Posted (edited)

What does Arri mean by true 4K.. I have only ever heard this term used to describe a down sampled image from larger than 4K ,to achieve a "true" 4K (eg the fx9 as a good example 6k -4K down sampling ).. talking into account resolution loss for debayering ..ie a 4K sensor is approx 3.2K or less. after debayer .. or are they cramming in more that 4K pixels onto a s35m (APSC) size sensor .. ?

Re Sony .. who knows their marketing logic .. but I would agree I think the fx9 ,with even a couple of FW updates.. we would have V2 already .. is already 80% of a Venice .. they give it 480... bound to happen.. let the fancy EVF be used .. aided for the LCD screen ( it will have touch screen that you change menu items ) I mean really there isn't much a gap to squeeze in camera between the fx9 and the Venice .. its more like the Venice will get out classed by  the fx9.. !

Edited by Robin Probyn

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Update BTW, ARRI have confirmed officially they'll have a Super34 4K camera next year.

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There's also more S35 global shutter options coming, was one of the "tricks" that the F55 had, given so few options for GS cameras.  Perhaps a S35 GS Venice or FX9, maybe branded separately?  Venice is mature enough that they can probably start dropping prices on it pretty soon, and right, the space between Venice and FX9 is pretty slim for a whole other camera line to fit into.

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11 hours ago, Tom Visser said:

Venice is mature enough that they can probably start dropping prices on it pretty soon

It'll be at least a year before that happens I reckon.

Also, you say this as if you know there are more global shutter S35 options coming. Where did you hear that, or get that idea? Sony made a big deal out of the VENICE's marketing that the sensor read-out was so fast that global shutter wasn't really necessary.

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I think I've read somewhere or heard that there is no plans for a replacement for the F5/F55. As you all have said, the FX9 is such a capable camera, that I don't see how something in between would fit. The F5/F55 is still highly popular here in Norway in rental houses for reality, documentaries and ENG. It's just more robust and better to work with when dealing with heavy lenses like the Cabrio and CN7. 

I think people can get a steal on a used F5/F55 right now if they want to get into that kind of work and want a workhorse of a camera. 

Thing is, much of the independent filmmaker / freelance market is moving away from cameras like the F5 and F55 and more onto mirrorless and smaller cine cameras like the C200 or BM choices. The quality is just so good that you don't need a big camera to produce content for the web and similar. People don't want to deal with heavy setups, and people who need the ergonomics of a big ENG-like camera are happy with the F5/F55 and Amiras. Sony probably sold a ton more of the FS7 than the F5/F55, and releasing a new camera between the FX9 and Venice would probably not make them a ton more money.

 

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On 6/9/2020 at 9:55 AM, Tom Visser said:

There's also more S35 global shutter options coming, was one of the "tricks" that the F55 had, given so few options for GS cameras.  Perhaps a S35 GS Venice or FX9, maybe branded separately?  Venice is mature enough that they can probably start dropping prices on it pretty soon, and right, the space between Venice and FX9 is pretty slim for a whole other camera line to fit into.

I owned an F55 and I can honestly say that having a global shutter didn't make any difference to the type of work I do. If you compare a global shutter camera to a CMOS sensor that has very fast read out speeds the difference is barely noticeable. 

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9 hours ago, Martin Håndlykken said:

I think I've read somewhere or heard that there is no plans for a replacement for the F5/F55. As you all have said, the FX9 is such a capable camera, that I don't see how something in between would fit. The F5/F55 is still highly popular here in Norway in rental houses for reality, documentaries and ENG. It's just more robust and better to work with when dealing with heavy lenses like the Cabrio and CN7. 

I think people can get a steal on a used F5/F55 right now if they want to get into that kind of work and want a workhorse of a camera. 

Thing is, much of the independent filmmaker / freelance market is moving away from cameras like the F5 and F55 and more onto mirrorless and smaller cine cameras like the C200 or BM choices. The quality is just so good that you don't need a big camera to produce content for the web and similar. People don't want to deal with heavy setups, and people who need the ergonomics of a big ENG-like camera are happy with the F5/F55 and Amiras. Sony probably sold a ton more of the FS7 than the F5/F55, and releasing a new camera between the FX9 and Venice would probably not make them a ton more money.

 

I don't think you will see an F5/F55 replacement. Sony has the FX9 and then the VENICE. That middle ground market for cameras $15-$25K has all but evaporated. F5 and F55 are still widely used and there is no reason why you still couldn't get many years out of one even of you bought a second hand version today. You can find pretty good deals on the F5 second hand. 

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12 hours ago, Nezih said:

It'll be at least a year before that happens I reckon.

Also, you say this as if you know there are more global shutter S35 options coming. Where did you hear that, or get that idea? Sony made a big deal out of the VENICE's marketing that the sensor read-out was so fast that global shutter wasn't really necessary.

You are correct. The difference between a global shutter sensor and a sensor with a very fast readout is so negligable that you would struggle to tell the differnce with the majority of shooting. Lots of flash photography going off at once would be the biggest noticable differnce. 

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1 hour ago, Matthew Allard ACS said:

You are correct. The difference between a global shutter sensor and a sensor with a very fast readout is so negligable that you would struggle to tell the differnce with the majority of shooting. Lots of flash photography going off at once would be the biggest noticable differnce. 

This has always been the most noticeable artifact to me and something that I absolutely cannot stand.  I shoot a lot of sports and am around a lot of flashes, so global shutter cameras and rolling shutter cameras can be picked out with one eye closed... ;  )

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Reminds me of the very first time I used an F55:  (from 55 seconds)

A rolling shutter camera (especially in 2013) would have looked a total mess in this environment! Might be a few 5DmkIII shots mixed in there, which  may have horrific banding.


 

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14 hours ago, Matthew Allard ACS said:

I don't think you will see an F5/F55 replacement. Sony has the FX9 and then the VENICE. That middle ground market for cameras $15-$25K has all but evaporated. F5 and F55 are still widely used and there is no reason why you still couldn't get many years out of one even of you bought a second hand version today. You can find pretty good deals on the F5 second hand. 

Yep, totally agree. The only middle ground market that is left is the market for ENG cameras that big broadcast networks invest in. I remember shooting the Winter Olympics in 2018 and Eurosport rented out brand new Sony 4K ENG cams from NEP for the entire ENG crew. Those cams are still around the 15-25k pricepoint.

I've seen F55 kits for around 10k USD and cheaper, and F5s for around 4-7k for a kit. At the marketplace in the forum Jonathon is selling one for 4000GBP. 

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