Tech Highlight: The Sony PMW-F55

What happens when top engineers spend years consulting cinematographers and creating breakthroughs in sensors, image processors and recording media? The Sony F55. Here is a camera engineered to reward its owners now and far into the future. The Sony 4K image sensor incorporates a remarkable electronic frame image scan. You get superb dynamic range, the widest color gamut, and pristine image quality whether you shoot in HD, 2K or 4K. With the optional AXS-R5 recorder, you can even make the jump to incredibly precise 16-bit Linear RAW in both 2K and 4K.

Shoot spectacular HD, 2K or 4K

Does a 4K camera make sense in an HD world? Perfect sense. Even if you're not planning on 4K production, the 11.6 total megapixels of Sony's 4K image sensor enable you to shoot gorgeous, super-sampled HD now and learn how to get the best from the camera. Then as 4K postproduction and distribution continue to gain traction, you'll be ready with built-in 4K recording. The F55 supports three major shooting scenarios.

4K on-board recording—and three other formats

While the F55 offers the option of glorious 16-bit 4K and 2K RAW recording using the outboard AXS-R5 recorder, not every production is prepared to take advantage. That's why the camera offers four internal recording formats, including the first 4K recording facility built into the camera itself. Internal modes range from 50 Mbps to 240 Mbps (at 24p), for images from HD to 2K to 4K. 2K XAVC internal recording has arrived with the free v2.0 upgrade. You can choose the image type, codec, processing complexity and file size that match the needs of each project.

4K/2K RAW options

The ultimate camera capture system would record every nuance of light and shadow from the image sensor, preserving every detail from every pixel for full exploitation in post-production. If you want the maximum flexibility that 4K and 2K RAW deliver, Sony's optional AXS-R5 Access Memory System recorder is a remarkable choice. Unlike some RAW systems, Sony's 16-bit linear capture preserves more tonal values than the human eye can differentiate. This is also the ideal match for the 16-bit linear ACES workflow. For simplified creation of offline proxies, the camera even provides simultaneous onboard recording to SxS® cards using the same start frame and stop frame as the RAW recording.

Electronic frame image scan

The traditional CMOS image sensor uses a "rolling" shutter that can result in images with unwanted distortions like motion skew and flash banding. That can be annoying, especially when shooting visual effects or 3D. Anything but typical, the F55 incorporates electronic frame image scan. Rolling shutter distortions aren't minimized, they're completely eliminated.

Vast exposure latitude

Cinematographers paint their images with light and shadow. So the ability to render tones from deepest shadows to brightest highlights is a crucial test of any digital camera. The F55 excels, with 14 stops of exposure latitude. DPs have noticed that the camera holds remarkable detail in the highlights, while noise in the blacks is extremely low. The result? Graceful rendering of scene contrast, even in searing sunlight. The camera is rated at ISO 1250 (S-Log 2 gamma, D55 light source). In fact, the camera is so sensitive that one cinematographer actually recorded starlight in exterior night scenes!

S-Gamut color system

Directors of photography and colorists are talking about Sony's S-Gamut color system, which made its debut on Sony's 8K flagship, the F65. DPs love how S-Gamut captures images that are closer to what the human eye actually sees. They appreciate the extraordinarily natural results with challenging mixed light scenes. They notice how S-Gamut is changing their approach to lighting. And they see how S-Gamut simplifies color correction.

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