Sony F5 Gets Official 4K (Paid) Upgrade

The official response by Sony to the 4K “Hack” of PMW-F5 is called CBKZ-55FX. In short, this is a 4K upgrade option that enables XAVC 4K/QFHD recording and playback on Sony PMW-F5, thus appeasing F5 owners for the time being.

This option will be activated by a license key which will be purchased and installed by F5 users. This is a non-cancellable purchase, one way upgrade, and can’t be uninstalled. It is planned to be released in December 2014 and will cost US $1,000. Good news is you don’t have to send your F5 back to Sony, as you can update it yourself. No added boards required, simple firmware update style update.

The upgrade will also activate 4K SDI and 4K HDMI output of F5 and simultanious XAVC 4K and MPEG 50 Mbps 422 as well. As we all know, “hacks” could be really tricky and quite unreliable in many situations, especially when any type of professional work is involved, so now all F5 owners will have the option to officially upgrade their cameras without having to worry about voiding their warranty. Further, after the information of the “hack” was released Sony responded almost immediately to it:

The official reaction and response of Peter Crithary marketing manager in Sony’s digital cinema division to the F5 “hack”:

Sony is aware of the All File modification that was done by some F5 owners to enable 4K XAVC recording in the camera head. As a matter of policy Sony cannot approve any modifications that are not part of an official firmware release. All firmware updates from Sony come with quality assurances that guarantee high quality performance. Furthermore, unauthorized modifications to the product are not covered by, and may void, Sony’s product warranty.

As you may be aware, some users are able to modify the All File of the F5 to enable 4K XAVC internal recording. This modification is not authorized by Sony and may cause unforeseen operating conditions as a result of the F5 not being programmed by Sony to perform the 4K recording properly.

Thus, the specifications gap between the F5 and F55 becomes even narrower. However, the appearance of Sony FS7 camera can be viewed as somewhat challenging both predecessors in many ways with its internal 4K XAVC 10-bit 4:2:2, cheaper Dual XQD media, future ProRes and 12-bit 4K or 2K RAW external recording and price of around $8,000 body only. Certainly the F55 for example is in a higher class altogether with an electronic global shutter, and F65 colour gamut, but some shooters have questioned if those two features alone cost $15,000+.

We also have an informative video produced by Sony that will walk you through the features of the brand new FS7 camera:

Sony PXW-FS7 Launch Video from Sony Professional USA on Vimeo.

The official 4K Upgrade of Sony F5 will requires the latest 5.0 Firmware upgrade though. Here are some of the highlights of the upcoming free Firmware 5.0 upgrade:

  • DNR (Noise Suppression) will be available in Cine El mode
  • Memory A/B white balance in Custom mode
  • Assignable Color Bars On/Off
  • Assignable VF Magnification On/Off
  • Direct Changing FPS on Menu Knob
  • Double speed viewfinder setting will remain on when switching HFR On/Off
  • Simultaneous recording with HDCAM SR 422 SQ and MPEG 50Mbps 422 59.94i
  • Support for Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD codecs via the optional CBK-55PD Encoder Board.
  • Support for the new optional Shoulder Mount Dock (CBK-55BK)
    – Assignable EI value for Gain Switch in Cine-EI mode
    – Assignable 3200K/4300K/5500K to White A/B/Preset switch
    in Cine-EI mode
    – Add Wireless Audio setting Menu Page “WRR”
  • Interval Recording
  • F5 XAVC 4K Internal Recording that will require CBKZ -55FX F5 4K Upgrade License

Sony’s Firmaware 5.0 Upgrade is planned to be released in December 2014.

[via Sony Forum]

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