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Canon C500 beaten. Arri Alexa challenged? Sony F5 and F55 shooting reports by Jon Fauer ASC and official pricing


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#1 EOSHD

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:23 AM

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Jon Fauer ASC has put together a 96 page report on the Sony F5 and F55.

Along with what we now know here is my analysis of the Sony F5, F55 and that other competitor - the Canon C500.

#2 Paul Watt

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:24 AM

Interesting cameras, to be sure. Global shutter would be so sweet. Gotta say though, that the Epic can be built much much smaller, and I can edit 4K RED raw on my laptop. Bet the image is insanely amazing, but I have a feeling the workflow will be slow, very data heavy, and complex in comparison.

#3 nahua

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:25 AM

Andrew you're on a roll, some of the best analysis to date! It'll be very interesting to see who's left standing after the dust settles. There is a very bright future for Sony indeed!
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#4 EOSHD

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:30 AM

Interesting cameras, to be sure. Global shutter would be so sweet. Gotta say though, that the Epic can be built much much smaller, and I can edit 4K RED raw on my laptop. Bet the image is insanely amazing, but I have a feeling the workflow will be slow, very data heavy, and complex in comparison.


I think the F55 is smaller than Epic, no?

Don't forget you have 4K H.264 on the Sony. That should be editable on a laptop like Canon 1D C MJPEG for fast delivery. I am sure their raw codec will perform similarly to the other ones out there. NVidia CUDA makes mincemeat of raw these days, even on a laptop (Alienware with GTX 580M or MacBook Pro Retina).

#5 Rolf Silber

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

Thanks. Great analyses.

#6 Leang

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

I'm more interested in a next generation FS-100 with the XAVC codec. I hope it doesn't take another year for the codec to hit the semi pro cams

#7 Xiong

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:01 AM

Really loving the frequent content Andrew, great article as well. You make some really fantastic points that I agree completely on about the F55 and the C500.

What I think is great and probably one of Sony's best move is the compressed 4K. Sure its not RAW but its a hell of alot nicer for workflow. Just seems smarter and might sway alot of people who might be planning on shooting with the C500.

#8 andycorleone

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

Andrew, I think you have some facts wrong, Most information I have found reads the F55 can do 4k internally but in order to record RAW you need the external recorder

#9 endlos

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:08 PM

"ProRes which has become something of a staple of the film industry despite Apple reversing, bizarrely, away from committing to their pro tools division. "

And where is the evidence of that? Your not referring to the tired and outdated arguments against Final Cut X are you?

#10 chulx1001

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

I don't think F55 does RAW internally. It does 4k internally but for RAW it still needs the AXS-R5 module
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#11 Bruno

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:56 PM

And where is the evidence of that? Your not referring to the tired and outdated arguments against Final Cut X are you?


Right in front of your eyes!
DVD Studio Pro has been discontinued. Logic hasn't seen an update in years. Same for Aperture. There hasn't been a proper Mac Pro update in what, 3 years??? The iMac is their fastest machine at the moment!
They're obviously focusing all their efforts on iPads and iPhones and consumer stuff, I don't think you need any further proof of that...

The Alexa has become a favourite in film due to its amazing picture quality, and in broadcasting due to its picture quality AND prores support.
The RED didn't have prores until very recently and on paper it's always been better than the Alexa, but that wasn't enough for many top cinematographers.
I'm afraid these specs are more closely evaluated by people like us than actually top cinematographers, because they just hire one of each and run a bunch of test shoots, and in the end their decision is based on the image quality when they run the tests on a big screen. High fps will hardly be a deciding factor unless the film in question relies heavily on it. I've worked on films where the RED was only used because it's easier to use for stereo shoots, not because of image quality, so that has been a huge advantage for them.
Sony will have to deliver in image quality too if they want to succeed, these cameras are not cheap enough for the spec sheet reading enthusiasts and for the pros it doesn't really matter if they're slightly cheaper than an Alexa or RED. If they deliver though, then it might shake things up even more, and who knows soon we'll even be able to afford one!

Canon's C series cameras are great at what they do, you could almost say they're perfect for a bunch of different tasks, including indie filmmaking (maybe 60fps would make them even more perfect), but looking at what everyone else has on offer at the moment, I don't think I'm being unrealistic when I say that all their C cameras should have their prices dropped to half.
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#12 hmcindie

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:06 PM

You rated film at 15 f-stops (one stop more than 14) but Deakins says this (Alexa vs Film):

"The latitude of the camera is, in my opinion, far superior to that of film and the 800 ASA makes all the difference in low light situations. Because of the increased latitude I do tend to shoot a little more with practical sources and use less light to augment them. Do I use smaller lights? Not really as I usually light for an effect, not just an exposure, so the kind of light I use is the same.
Probably the biggest difference is that I sleep better at night. Waiting for a lab report is always stressful."

Alexa and Epic are actually quite close DR wise: http://provideocoali..._dynamic_range/

#13 endlos

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:56 PM

Bruno, I don't think Apple is ever going to invest in a delivery mechanism that is slowly dying off (DVDs). Haven't bought a DVD in years.

On the other hand Logic is definitely not dead. With the new technology platform that is Final Cut X I suspect that Apple may be planing something similar and starting from scratch takes time.

The end goal I'm sure is to harmonize the applications to deliver a similar or better integration that what Adobe offers with their products.

By the time you factor in the massive price drops that Apple has introduced (just take a look at what Logic, Final Cut X, and Motion cost today vs previously) Apple is if anything aggressive about growing market share.

#14 Rolf Silber

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

Even in a "normal" German TV-Movie costs for the camera alone account only for about 3% to 5% at the most. So any decision on what camera will be used will next to never be decided by the price of the camera if it sits somewhere in or a little below RED and ALEXA level. All decisions will be based on picture quality, stability in the production process, secure workflow and if the camera fits in form factor wise. And if a DoP feels at home with this thing. This made the Alexa the success it is after RED had established digital once and forever in the upper level market.

So if the the Sony will excell here it has a chance to break into that market. It needs to earn DoP's trust.

#15 Bruno

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:29 PM

By the time you factor in the massive price drops that Apple has introduced (just take a look at what Logic, Final Cut X, and Motion cost today vs previously) Apple is if anything aggressive about growing market share.


Yeah, but that's a product of the times. Everyone edits HD these days, so even FCP will have a much wider target if the price is right. Even if they had done FCP8 instead of redesigning it, it would have made sense to bring the prices down because so many more people are willing to buy it now.

You didn't mention the Mac Pros, which is undoubtedly their main pro product, and has been ignored for a few years, with many believing they're dead.

There's also Shake, it had no competition whatsoever in high end compositing in the post production industry when Apple ditched it, so why was it? Because high end professional products don't make nearly as much profit as the millions of iStuff they sell.

You can acknowledge it or ignore it, but it's quite clear for everyone to see, and I used all those products, so I feel the consequences, I'm not just ditching Apple for the sake of it.

#16 Bruno

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:53 PM

Bruno, I don't think Apple is ever going to invest in a delivery mechanism that is slowly dying off (DVDs). Haven't bought a DVD in years.


You're proving my point. Home DVD authoring is dying, and a product like DVD Studio Pro (for DVD and Blu-Ray authoring) would now be only used by professional disc authoring facilities, and not by the end consumers, therefore something Apple is no longer interested in.

#17 Caleb Genheimer

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

I'm just waiting for the BMCC to blow up in the lower markets. I've no intention of switching from my trusty GH2 until I can get at least a S35 RAW camera for around 4-5K. Also, I would hope for 35mm, with a S35 crop mode. standard 35mm is what anamorphic was designed for in the first place.

#18 ScreensPro

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:14 PM

Neither camera shoots RAW internally.... Only via the bolt on module (which is surprisingly cheap).

It does, however, shoot 4K, log, 10bit, 4:2:2 internally...... This is a huge selling point. Edit ready, filmic 4K.

The reason Alexa has won the war over RED is that it is edit-ready..... It is just that simple (of course, both have amazing IQ). Sony have been very clever in being 1st to market (1D-C aside) with a 4K edit ready codec. Offering RAW for just $6K more is the cherry on top.

#19 EOSHD

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:25 PM

"ProRes which has become something of a staple of the film industry despite Apple reversing, bizarrely, away from committing to their pro tools division. "

And where is the evidence of that? Your not referring to the tired and outdated arguments against Final Cut X are you?


It isn't just FCPX. No Mac Pro update and decimated pro software team. Logic may be discontinued or turned into 'Garage Band Pro'. Logic X anyone? No thanks.

#20 levisdavis

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

Just couldn't seem to overlook the Sensor type found on the Canon...

They have the most unique sensor of all the digital cinema cameras listed. The sensor is actually composed of a CCD and CMOS. Together they work to read light with individual RGB registry. This makes for a "reduced rolling shutter effect." In fact, the rolling shutter is nearly gone. Technically it's a really great image because of the sensor's design.

Is Canon the right company to purchase a camera from? Maybe they are making more bang for the buck off optics than they are producing high-end professional cinema equipment. After all, who's running with the market now! Hopefully the answer is Blackmagic Design, right? Of course, they may very well want to consider a super 35mm chip like mentioned earlier on EOSHD.

Great article/information about the Global Shutter on the CMOS chip from Sony F55. This is what it's all about folks! "Bokehlicious"




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