Looking to fill a perceived gap in their CineAlta line of cinema cameras, Sony gave attendees at Cine Gear a sneak peak into a new full frame cinema camera they’re working on for 2018. What interesting is that they went out of their way to state that this isn’t just another off the shelf upgrade, but has technology designed for the ground up. Could we see Sony’s latest entry into 8K?
Sony Electronics is announcing plans for its next-generation CineAlta digital motion picture camera system. This latest addition to the CineAlta family is being developed through careful research and close collaboration with creative professionals including Directors, Cinematographers and Digital Imaging Technicians. Through the implementation of features demanded by the industry, Sony is demonstrating its commitment to innovation and the creative freedom needed for feature filmmaking and production. – Sony Blog
What’s key here is that Sony has over 1000 engineers dedicated to designing their sensors, so they’ve got some serious commitment to doing something marvelous. This new full frame sensor, at 36mm x 24mm, promises have a “minimum” resolution of 4K, but you can get it will be able to do far more than that.
First off, Sony has had a track record of hobbling features in their sensors and then upgrading them over time, or offering an unlock key for an additional price for more features. So I’m guessing that this new full frame Cine Alta will be a next generation ultra high definition sensor which will whet shooter’s appetite with HDR, better dynamic range, and color gamut. But Sony will keep its powder dry on 8K until down the line when the firmware is available to unlock it. Also look for it to be compatible with existing Sony workflows like 16 bit RAW/X-OCN and XAVC.
Other tempting details include:
- Full Frame 36x24mm sensor exclusively designed for this Digital Motion Picture Camera
- Aspect ratio-agnostic – including Full Frame, Super35 4K 4-perf 4:3 Anamorphic and 4K spherical 3-perf 17:9
- New image sensor enabling exceptional picture quality
- Maintains the workflow established with Sony’s 16bit RAW/X-OCN and XAVC
- Compatible with current and upcoming hardware accessories for CineAlta cameras (DVF-EL200 Full HD OLED Viewfinder, AXS-R7 recorder, AXS-CR1 and AR1 card reader, AXS and SxS memory cards).
But make no mistake, Sony, along with other r&d video companies in Japan, are obsessed with moving into what they call Super HiVision, and 8K prototypes are being refined every day as they move towards the goal of broadcasting the 2020 Summer Olympics in 8K.
The benefit of using full frame for it is that shooters will be able to get a little more real estate out of a larger sensor than Super 35, like RED’s HELIUM does, and still keep the mobile footprint a smaller form factor camera array. Sony’s F65 is a popular rig for the current large format trend, but that camera isn’t exactly ideal for putting on your shoulder or three axis gimbal and moving with the subject.
2018 is a long way out though, but I’m guessing that when IBC rolls around in September, Sony will have a more concrete idea of specs, and even show off a prototype for us all to get excited about.
Until then, we can keep ourselves drooling with a new rebate promotion that Sony is running for the 4K PXW-FS5. If you purchase the camera from an authorized Sony dealer by the end of July 1017, Sony is not only offering users a nice $1000 mail in rebate, but will also give users a Metabones Mark IV Smart Adapter for EF-E lenses if they do so by the end of this month. That means you can get the FS5, plus the adapter for around $4800 plus tax. The deal also applies to the FS5K kit with an 18-105mm f4 lens. So you’re still getting all that for around $5250, still a cool $500 under list. Check out the deal details here.