Resting on laurels is not in the playbook
By The Sony Tech Guy | May 20, 2011
The new F65 digital motion picture camera would not have been possible without major Sony advances in CMOS image sensor technology.
Ordinarily, it's hard to see the connection between stuff that directors of photography might be expected to care about (exposure latitude, highlight handling, low-light sensitivity) and $1.7 billion in investments. But when the money goes to Sony CMOS image sensors, the investments become a little more relevant. Recent Sony sensors have been headline news. It started with the launch of the award-winning PMW-F3 camcorder, which also marked the debut of a new Sony Super 35mm Exmor CMOS image sensor. Then came the long-hinted-at 8K sensor of the award-winning F65 camera, another Super 35mm Exmor CMOS design. And then Sony announced, that oh by the way, the NEX-FS100U, another award winner, features the same image sensor as F3. Sony is now actively building on these successes.
NXCAM camcorders feature Sony's operations-adaptive codec.
By The Sony Tech Guy | May 04, 2011
Smarter than your average codec: the AVCHD encoder in Sony's NEX-FS100U.
Compression encoders are "content-adaptive." They keep a watchful eye on the complexity of the video signal and make content-based adjustments on the fly. Now a new generation of encoders adds a clever twist. On Sony NXCAM camcorders such as the NEX-FS100U and HXR-NX5U, our proprietary AVCHD encoder is not only content-adaptive, but also operations-adaptive. When you engage camera gain, the control bus signals the encoder, which adjusts accordingly. For example, when you boost the gain, the codec anticipates noise in the scene, minimizes the loss of encoding bits to noise and improves picture quality. When you cut the gain, the codec maximizes picture detail. As a result, you get a substantial advantage: image quality optimized for each gain setting.
A detailed video walk through from Sony's senior product manager.
By Scott Gentry | April 15, 2011
Sony FS100 with Juan Martinez from Sony from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.
We spent time with Juan Martinez at NAB who walked us through step by step with the FS100. My apologies for the audio, as you can see Juan had his hands full of microphone and camera.Running time about 5:50.
Shot at the Sony Booth
By Scott Gentry | April 15, 2011
Sony F3 at NAB from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.
This Video runs a little over 6 mins, but if you're an F3 fan, want to learn a little more, it's worth 6 minutes of your time. I spent a good deal of time with the F100 and F3 at the show. I left drooling for both.
Abel Cine tests Sony F3 Dynamic Range on the charts
By Matthew Jeppsen | April 01, 2011
Abel Cine has been doing a short series of tests on the new PMW-F3 camera from Sony, and the latest episode is a very thorough dynamic range test. In it, they chart the F3 at a solid 12-stops of dynamic range, and then go on to show how the various Cine Gamma modes affect the way information the camera is capturing. It's a very well done test video, watch below...
The large-single-sensor "NXCAM 35" unveiled. Plus: writeups, NAB seminars, press release.
By Adam Wilt | March 23, 2011
NEX-FS100 next to a PMW-F3, from a Sony NAB Seminar email.
This image of the "NXCAM 35" camcorder is lifted from a promotional email for Sony's Super 35mm Seminars at NAB (more below). Jon Fauer shows a different configuration from his Japan trip along with his un-embargoed writeup.
Comparison of Gain & Sensitivity and now updated with a Latitude comparison
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 21, 2011
Here's a quick side-by-side candle-lit comparison of the Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, and the venerable Canon 5D MKII DSLR. The test footage was shot by Dennis Ersöz. This video clip very neatly shows how the native sensitivity of each camera compares, and also how clean the gain/ISO is at high levels. Watch below.
...with RED ONE, Alexa, and EX1 resolution/aliasing comparisons.
By Adam Wilt | March 18, 2011
A PMW-EX3, PMW-F3, and AG-AF100 lined up on a cart.
This past Monday, Art Adams and I went up to Chater Camera to have a quick look at the tonal-scale renderings of the PMW-F3 and AG-AF100, two new large-single-sensor (LSS) interchangeable-lens camcorders, and to torture them with resolution, aliasing, and IR sensitivity tests. [updated 2001-03-19: RED M vs M-X aliasing comparison.]
Sony flew a bunch of journos to Japan recently; here's what they saw.
By Adam Wilt | March 13, 2011
In the past couple of weeks, Sony took industry journalists on a junket to Japan, to get an advance peek at some new cameras (I was invited, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts). Jon Fauer and David Williams have written up what they've seen.
Sony's S-LOG Gamma encoding reaches a broader audience
By The Sony Tech Guy | February 23, 2011
The S-LOG Gamma curve of the Sony PMW-F3 (blue) maintains camera highlights up to 800% of nominal peak white. This is far beyond the capability of conventional Rec.709 gamma encoding (red).
As the much-talked-about PMW-F3 handheld Super 35mm camcorder hits the streets this month, it comes with the promise of S-LOG Gamma, which will be available as an extra-cost upgrade later this year. S-LOG will join the F3's built-in HyperGamma curves as creative tools for managing high scene contrast. So what can S-LOG Gamma do for your images? How does it differ from HyperGamma? And what are the basic requirements for handling S-LOG Gamma in post? I'm glad you asked.
Sometimes bigger can actually mean better.
By The Sony Tech Guy | January 27, 2011
Next month marks the debut of Sony's first handheld Super 35mm model for professionals: the PMW-F3. It's also Sony's first such camera with XDCAM EX recording and first with CMOS technology. And the F3 starts at just $16,000 MSRP. The new camera is beginning to make a name for itself after some sweet pre-production tests and first-on-the-block Vimeo posts. In this article, we'll take a look at the new camera's Super 35mm image sensor, and see exactly what Sony means by "Super 35."
Is HD "bigger" than SD?
By The Sony Tech Guy | December 22, 2010
The screen corners are rounded, the viewing distances are inexact and the angles aren't accurate. Still, this early SD versus HD diagram was prophetic.
I'm holding a Sony white paper on the proposed 1125/60 international HDTV standard for studio origination and program exchange. You say that standard doesn't sound familiar? It was the forerunner of 1080/60i. The white paper is dated April 1988 and it extols the virtues of future HDTV in terms of more scanning lines, better colorimetry and wider aspect ratio. But the most striking graphic shows an HDTV screen with a whopping six times the area of a superimposed SDTV screen. Why? What, if anything about HDTV translates to a bigger screen? And how closely do the televisions of today reflect the predictions of 22 years ago?
When numbers get numbing.
By The Sony Tech Guy | December 17, 2010
This picture is worth at least a few words.
So much of the technical jargon around digital content creation is fraught with traps for the unwary. As we've previously written, an image sensor "pixel" is not the same as a recorded "pixel" and nothing about a 2/3-inch type sensor actually measures 2/3 inch. Another classic source of confusion is the seemingly innocuous ratio-such as 4:4:4-that expresses the digital sampling structure.
Camera control unit for XDCAM EX camcorders
By The Sony Tech Guy | December 02, 2010
From corporate video studios to public access television to small market call-letter stations, there's a full-court press for affordable HD studio camera solutions. If you want full 1920 x 1080 resolution, full digital signal transport, full camera remote control and a full range of studio facilities, Sony has a surprisingly affordable new option. A new camera control unit (CCU), the XDCU-50 enables low-cost studio configuration with the PMW-EX3, 320, 350 and 500 XDCAM EX™ camcorders. While all these camcorders offer full HD resolution, there's a choice of imager sizes. The PMW-EX3 and 320 offer 1/2-inch type image sensors, while the PMW-350 and 500 step up to full 2/3-inch type imagers. The new CCU is destined to bring big smiles to a lot of faces with an MSRP of $3,500.
Some chaps in the UK have shot a short with an PMW-F3, and Sony announces a pro large-sensor NXCAM camcorder.
By Adam Wilt | November 17, 2010
Things are really heating up in the large single sensor camcorder world.
Quick links to early info on this large-format camcorder.
By Adam Wilt | November 10, 2010
[Updated 2010-11-13: Added link to Jon Fauer's preliminary report.][Updated 2010-11-11: Sony USA press release, shipping date, US prices.] Sony has announced the PMW-F3, a 35mm-sized camcorder designed for interchangeable lenses. Think 35 Mbit/sec, 4:2:0 XDCAM EX; handycam form factor; new Sony F mount with a PL mount adapter; available as a body only or packaged with three new Sony cine primes (35mm, 50mm, 85mm T2.0). It will ship in February 2011.
One app; many talents.
By The Sony Tech Guy | November 09, 2010
If it hadn't already been taken, E pluribus unum would have been a great motto for Sony's latest development, XDCAM® Browser version 1.00. This free, downloadable software unifies and simplifies what had been five separate applications for XDCAM and XDCAM EX products. This unification is particularly important now that the recently introduced PMW-500 camcorder and PDW-HR1/MK1 field recorder support both XDCAM and XDCAM EX file types. The new software also operates under both Windows® and Mac® OS.
A downloadable PDF for your entertainment and edification
By The Sony Tech Guy | November 09, 2010
Why is the image circle of a 2/3-inch type image sensor so much smaller than 2/3 inches?
Exactly what in a two-thirds inch sensor measures two thirds of an inch? What does a two-thirds inch 4:3 sensor have in common with a two thirds inch 16:9 sensor? And how big is a 35mm frame? As today's directors of photography move among different image sensor formats, these questions are becoming more important. But the answers are somewhat elusive and potentially confusing. That's why Sony has created a handy, one-page Guide to Image Sensor Sizes, which you can download here.
PDW-HR1/MK1 portable supports both Professional Disc and SxS memory recording.
By The Sony Tech Guy | October 27, 2010
It slices. It dices. It juliennes fries.
If the Swiss Army made a file-based recorder, this would be it. The Sony PDW-HR1/MK1 field deck integrates an XDCAM® HD portable recorder with two SxS™ media slots. The new deck enables you to copy and transcode any flavor of XDCAM recording between SxS cards and Professional Disc™ media. So it's a nifty solution for several field recording applications.
Sony teaches proxy AV some new tricks in the PMW-500.
By The Sony Tech Guy | October 27, 2010
The PMW-500 personifies the Power of the Proxy.
Proxy AV is one of the great little secrets of the Sony XDCAM® HD format. Users run the gamut from those who aren't aware of proxy to those who gush about it like religious converts. The PMW-500 camcorder is the first product to record proxy onto SxS™ media cards.
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Sony F65 - true 4K and Beyond
DPs gave Sony a wish list. Higher resolution than any previous digital motion picture camera.1 Even greater exposure latitude, dynamic range and wider color gamut than Sony's previous best. Plus file-based SR Codec recording for fast, efficient episodic TV production workflow. Plus 16-bit linear RAW to support the most demanding feature films. On the Sony F65 digital motion picture camera, it's all true. And it's only the beginning. Learn More.