sony f55 cinealta 4k

first hand test @ SOny studios

In early 2014 I went to Sony's Digital Motion Picture Center, on Stage 7 at the Sony Lot in Culver City, and spent and entire day with the new F55 CineAlta camera. Keith Vidger, Business Development Manager, went over every aspect of the camera, including its new S-Log2 (a new S-Log3 was recently introduced) and S-Gamut features. I had a chance of setting-up and striking the camera, an intensive walk-thru of its deep menu system, and a chance at using the camera in a professional studio set-up.

The F55 has tons of impressive features, see Sony's official F55 CineAlta page for all the tech stuff, but what really had piqued my interested was its global shutter, 16-bit raw recording, and S-Gamut. These three features alone made the camera almost equivalent to a cine camera, like an Arri 435 or Aaton Penelope, and it all came in a small, easy to use package. The global shutter means not worrying about any artifacts that come from the use of CMOS sensors, like the famous (and less tasty) jell-o effect. The 16-bit linear raw recording can record all 14-stops of latitude the camera offers, allowing an enormous amount of protection against hilite-cliping or black-crushing. And the S-Gamut color space is broader than that of print film.

I'm very familiar and confortable with film cameras (I love to shoot film), and have always enjoyed the fact that a light meter is all that's needed for proper exposure. Well, and a bit of light. So it really was a pleasure to see a digital cine camera for which only a light meter is needed. Well, and a bit of light too. It's become so common, both in studio shoots and location work, to have everyone come over to video village to see how the picture is looking. And it's a difficult condition to extirpate from the set, we all start spending too much time on technicalities when I really just want to look at my composition. I also enjoy an efficient set, and having less equipment to set up, carry, transport, and maintain makes me very happy. And the F55 delivers on all these aspects.