Confused about XAVC-S, XAVC-L, XAVC-I? We spoke to Claus Pfeifer from Sony Europe about the Sony FS5 and how it uses XAVC in a surprising way. The latest addition to the sony digital cinema camera family, the Sony FS5 has caused quite a stir. We wanted to follow up on some open questions. Will the FS7 receive a 240fps firmware upgrade? What are the main differences between the FS7 and FS5? Which codec is used in which situation and what are the benefits? All questions answered in our exclusive interview. Interestingly, we found out that the 240fps high speed shooting mode is “only” a burst mode similar to the FS700, not like in the FS7, where you can record 180fps continuously internally if you use the faster XQD memory cards. A big junk of the interview was dedicated to learn about XAVC. Nino asked Claus about XAVC-L, which is an interframe codec (as opposed to XAVC-I, which is intraframe), with the FS5 being the first camera using XAVC-L as its exclusive codec. It’s 4:2:0 color space in UHD (the “broadcast 4K”) and 4:2:2 color space in 1080p resolutions. As a reminder here are the specs of the new camera. See the details in our Sony FS5 announcement article. Sensor Size: 4352 x 2662, 11.6 Megapixels (8.4 Megapixels Effective) Sensor type – EXMOR 4K Super35mm E-Mount Lens type S-Gamut3.Cine & S-Log3 Native 3,200 ISO with 14 Stops of Dynamic Range Built in Electric Variable ND from 1/4 to 1/128 Codec: XAVC-L 3840 x 2160 8-bit, 4:2:0, up to 30fps continuous. 1080p 10-bit 4:2:2 up to 60fps continuous S&Q Mode: 120, 240, 480, 960 fps (buffered like FS700) Less than 5 sec boot time, Direct Access Menu, No rebooting for Rec format changes, etc., 2K Center Crop 4K RAW output via future firmware Dual SD Card Slots Built-in microphone Dual XLR input (one on body, one on handle) 3G-SDI, 4K HDMI, WiFi, Wired LAN, Same batteries as FS7 Weighs: 0.8kg List Price: $6,700 without lens, $7,300 with 18-105mm f/4 PRE-ORDER HERERead more
Blackmagic Design created a lot of buzz with the introduction of their camera line in 2012 when the Blackmagic Cinema Camera was announced. Due to the popularity of these cameras there was also criticism raising in some areas and users had questions regarding things like firmware updates, quality control and design decisions. In our frequent visits to the tradeshows we often presented these questions to the technicians and spokespeople of Blackmagic and had very interesting conversations off camera that helped us understand some of their decisions. This time at IBC a few weeks ago we had our camera with us and sat down to have an honest chat with Tim Siddons from Blackmagic Design. We’re happy Tim took the time to answer all of our questions in detail and that we can share this with you, giving you some more insights than the usual product presentation talks. Please let us know what you think in the comments below. Do you have more questions for Blackmagic that we can ask next time we meet them? The sponsors for our Tradeshow coverage were:Read more
Sony has extended its XDCAM line with release of the PXW-X160 and PXW-X180. Both cameras feature three 1/3″ sensors with a first in its kind built-in variable ND filter. I’ll start by stating the differences between the two cameras. The PXW-X180 features Wi-Fi/NFS (near field communication) and GPS. The Wi-Fi operates alongside a USB dongle, enabling wireless transfer of videos recorded in MP4 format. Which takes me onto another apparent difference between the two cameras; the PXW-X180 can record data rate selectable MP4 proxies. The inclusion of NFS also ensures communication with smartphone devices also. Download of the Content Browser Mobile app enables selection of recorded clips, with other controls such as set in/out points and record start/stop. With that said, all other features mentioned below seemingly apply to both the PXW-X160 and the PXW-X180. The cameras feature three 2-megapixel 1/3-inch type Full-HD Exmor™ CMOS sensors. They sport a fixed G series lens, a popular choice in more affordable handheld Sony camcorders. However unlike its predecessors, the Sony PXW-X cams feature a longer x25 lens (26mm-650mm 35mm equivalent) with independent hard stopped zoom focus and iris rings. This is great, not only do the separate rings offers faster operation but the hard stops means you have greater control. Sony has often been partial to the stop-less lens ring. From the old NX5 cameras to the stock lens of the Sony FS100/700 cameras, as a user I felt you lost control with these endless rings. Especially with the likes of the latter where the inclusion of a variable speed focus ring was concerned (faster you twist the ring, faster the focus moves), you never quite knew where you were. Bringing back the hard stops is a great move in my opinion. Both new PXW cameras feature a multitude of recording options. MPEG 422 50mbps is offered, as well as Sonys new XAVC codec in both intra and long GOP form. Selectable data rate for XAVC recording is 111 or 112 Mbps at 1080/59.94i or 50i and 89, or 112 Mbps at 1080/23.98P or 25p. Further more both cameras support DVCAM at 25 Mbps in MXF file format and AVCHD in MTS file format, to increase optimum workflow with NXCAM cameras. Sony has consolidated a lot of its previous line by offering a wide variety of codecs recording media and focal range in these cameras. Both cameras include two SXS card slots, which naturally support simultaneous recording and auto switch between both slots. Sony has made specific reference to compatibility with SD and XQD cards via an SXS adaptor. Both have been available previously for other SXS slotted cameras (SD has been around for years), but Sony is making it sure this feature is clear to further bolster the cameras wide compatibility potential. Both cameras feature an OLED viewfinder, LANC remote, 3G SDI, HDMI, genlock and timecode IN/OUT; these cameras really are well spec’d, we’re used to seeing multiple cameras released by Sony that share peripherals, codecs and features but the PXW-X160 and PXW-X180 seemingly claims nearly everything that’s in Sonys current arsenal. A new exciting feature is also included; a variable ND filter. Both cameras feature the standard 3-wheel ND filter (clear plus two grades) however an additional wheel enables more precise levels of ND ranging from 1/4ND to 1/128ND linearly. I hope to see this feature used much more in future camera releases. Whilst a small chip camera may not excite many of us filmmakers whom have embraced the large sensor revolution, it’s great to see Sony pushing so many assets into one camera. There’s a whole host of features included in the PXW-X160 and PXW-X180 that now make the FS700 look a little out of date. Cue a variable ND, XAVC and SDI enabled large sensor camera?Read more
Attention: This post is a copy of the original blog post on my personal blog. The music video for “DEJA – Struck by the Light” came around at the right time to make it a camera test for the brand-new Sony F55. The target audience for the song are teenage girls, and I think few of cinema5D readers fall into this target group, so I don’t blame you if the music is not for you – but if it is, please support the artist Deja by buying the song via iTunes or Amazon.Read more
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