Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


The camera that caused the most interest at BVE North 2012 was the Sony PMW-F55, finally Sony produce a large sensor camera that not only looks the part, is fit for purpose but is a major threat to both RED and ARRI because they appear to have taken note of all of their rival’s key features and combined them all to create what appears to be the most versatile and capable mid-market digital cinematography camera. I say mid-market because Sony are making it very clear that the F55 is positioned below their flagship F65.


Here are the key and enhanced features of the F55

  • Full HD & 4K
  • Super 35mm 4K CMOS Imager
  • 4,096 x 2,160, 11.6M total pixels, 8.9M effective pixels, Bayer Pattern
  • High sensitivity (ISO 2000) and low noise (S/N 57dB with noise reduction off)
  • High Frame Rate of up to 120fps
  • Internal Recording to SxS media
  • Modular Design
  • RAW Recording capability to a new modular “dockable” external recorder, the AXS-R5
  • 50Mb/s / 4:2:2 Broadcast Friendly HD
  • New XAVC Codec for efficient 4K
  • Shoulder Pad & Class-leading OLED HD viewfinder & mount options to provide a genuine shoulder-mount camcorder
  • Dual lens mount as standard – Arri PL & Sony FZ
  • Higher frame rate of up to 240fps (Full HD RAW or 60fps (4k RAW) with optional  AXS-R5 recorder
  • Internal recording at up to 180fps onto SxS media using XAVC Codec (HD / 4K)
  • Simultaneous XAVC and MPEG 2 recording capability – onto the same SxS media card
  • Slightly reduced sensitivity of ISO 1250 when compared to F5
  • Global Shutter (Eliminates rolling shutter effect)
  • F65 Colour Gamut


At £22,800 the F55 is for a small number of specialist DP’s in both drama and well paid commercial TV work, this is the Super 35mm 4K/2K camera of 2012 it beats the competition hands down. Sony dragged their heals with various large sensor camcorders the F3 being the first but eventually caught up and overtook the competition though you need a hefty bank balance to fully kit yourself out with an F55 plus 4K recorder though unlike the F5 you can record 4K direct to SxS with the F55.



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.

3 thoughts on “Sony PMW-F55 Review 2012

  1. Just wandered how can you review a camera, you have not even used on a test shoot yet? Also saying things like ‘Best Super 35mm camera 2012’ when again not even out in 2012?

    HDW : Hi Ross, firstly I have played with the camera and seen footage from the camera, it was announced and shown during October 2012 so that makes it a 2012 camera.
    From the footage I have seen this camera is far from a bag of nails, I have also owned 3 large sensor cameras myself (Panasonic AF101, Sony FS100 and my Canon C300) producing 2 teaching videos on the AF101 and the C300.
    Take it from me the Sony F55 is the best Super 35mm camera no mater how you look at it or which camp you come from.

  2. I’m curious to see an ungraded comparison to the c300. On paper this camera is amazing, but as we all know real world results are the true test. Are you happy with the look of the sensor? Do the skin tones as clean and natural as the c300? Also, do you know if the 2k/HD record option is debayered or not (again, like the c300)? Thanks for your time.

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