Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

So what do we know about Sony’s Mystery FilmLike camcorder, firstly it’s due in all it’s full glory about February 2011 that’s when we shall get specifications and the all illusive pricing. In fact that’s a good place to start during IBC we were getting pricing from $50,000 to £6,000 and various flavours in between. If we just take a minute to look round the camera I think we can see some telling give aways as to the cameras price…

So lets look at what we know…we have a PL mount for prime lenses but strangely Sony seem to have given this camera a TWO position ND switch…not very useful or what you would expect from a HI-end full frame camcorder. The domestic viewfinder stuck on the handle does not inspire confidence that we are getting a top end camera.

A lot of what we are seeing is from the £4K end of Sony’s range of camcorders, shutter, gain, WB and 2 channels of audio this leads me to suggest we are getting a camcorder that is far from Hi-end, there was a video playing beside the camcorder that produced nice clean noiseless pictures so what do I conclude from what we know and what we can see ourselves.

I am aware that we are looking at a 35mm motion sensor rather than the 4/3″ sensor as seen in the Panasonic AF101, which is good news for those of you craving the 35mm motion sensor but everything else smacks of £4K pro features as seen on an NX5 for example the rest of the camera does not match the feature set of a $50K FilmLike camera.

Talking of 35mm sensors I had a humbling experience on DVX USER during the week as I was banging on about 35mm sensors, full frame and APS-C lenses getting completely mixed up till I saw the light…35mm Full Frame photographic sensors are the reason most footage is produced on the Canon 5DMk11 as this is by far the biggest sensor and produces amazing footage but with all the nasties that come with it. The new Panasonic AG AF101 uses a Four Thirds sensor which is a lot smaller than the 35mm Full Frame sensor but does not suffer any of the problems inherent with the DSLR. Sony’s new FilmLike camera by all accounts uses the 35mm motion sensor now as you can see it is a lot bigger than the Panasonic sensor which is why we are seeing very noiseless, punchy footage.

There is nothing to indicate the format being used with this camcorder but at a guess I think it will be SDHC nor what bit rate but if they are going to catch the eye of the broadcaster then 50Mbs would be helpful. Like the Panasonic I am sure it will have multi frame rates with everything from 1080 50i to 720 50p once again I doubt we are going to get the holy grail of 1080 50p.

I have already predicted the price of this FilmLike camcorder at £6,000 and re visiting the press picture I don’t think I am that far away. Don’t get me wrong if Sony bring out a Cinematography camera at £6K or less Panasonic will have a race on their hands but lets not kid ourselves the starting block is during December when Panasonic ship the first of their AF101 cameras and Sony even at a February announcement won’t start shipping till at least May 2011 giving Panasonic a clear five months head start, but if the Sony has indeed got a 35mm motion sensor maybe that extra five months might just be worth the wait.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

One thought on “Sony’s Mystery FilmLike Camcorder “Re visiting the Sony Press Picture”

  1. Thanks for the intel! I’m very curious about this new camera and I’m looking forward to more concrete details. I’ve used a Z1 on and off for the last four years and it’s grand for basic corporate work but the weaknesses of the fixed lens & HDV codes are becoming more and more apparent, especially next to DSLR footage. For me, if this camera is around the 6K mark, uses a high data rate codec, is great in low light, allows use of a variety of lenses, and has the basic camcorder functions missing from DSLRs then it will be the ideal choice for my work. One question, when you say 35 mm size sensor, is that the same size as the 5D mk II sensor, ie full frame? Thanks, Glenn.

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