Today Sony announced the “Future ahead of Schedule” with two versions of the same camcorder, the PMW-F5 and the PMW-F55.
This is a direct hit at ARRI, RED and Canon, not something we were expecting but Sony has in the last 15 months taken an enormous hit from Canon with the very popular C300 and just coming to market the 4K C500.
Sony expected a lot from their PMW-F3 but like a lot of recent Sony products they were pipped at the post by lack of features or poor design leaving an enormous gap for the likes of Canon to fill with the C300.
The ARRI Alexa being the number one choice among DPs filming multi million pound dramas like Sherlock, RED being the choice of Jamie Olivers production company with some slack being taken up by Sony F65.
No one can deny the Alexa is a good camera but it’s a tad on the big side which makes it a bummer for hand held shots…in my opinion, plus they only seem to film in 2K which is now very limiting.
Sony have just sunk a very large hole in the Alexa with the F55 at 4K RAW 16bit, how much of a hole in RED is anyones guess but I personally think it will be significant.
The Sony F65 is still a good camera but once again a bit like the Alexa a tad on the large cumbersome side making it impossible for any hand held shooting which seems to be the fashion these days “wobble vision” as I call it.
Canon with the 4K C500 have a head start on the F5 but if Sony are astute they will price the F5 closer to the C500 if they are to take any ground from Canon, Canon on the other hand have just reduced the price of their XF300 range so who knows what price war may ensue.
Size wise theres not a lot to choose between the F5 and the F3 which gives the F5 a major advantage over the Alexa for 2K shooting and for once we get a decent viewfinder plus a choice of a higher resolution viewfinder taking Sony away from the joke VF as seen on the PMW-F3.
I think these modular cameras from Sony are a true game changer, game changing for Sony, bringing them up there with the Alexa, RED and Canon, stealing potential sales from all three competitors and setting the bar even higher for the competition in general.
The only problem Sony have now is…
1. Getting the price right !
2. Delivering enough units to satisfy the hunger for all those who want one !
If Sony can overcome their production bottle neck on the F5/55 they will indeed have reached their pinnacle of perfection by finally producing cameras more than fit for purpose.