NAB 2016: No New Super35 Cameras from Sony; FS5 Firmware 2.0 Details Plus 4K and 2K Raw Update

Well here it is. Sony has just made their NAB announcements. It’s not too much, a bit boring unless you are a high-end broadcaster, but for those of us who were holding out for a new A7 camera or a new Super 35 4K camcorders in the PXW (FS5 and FS7 range), we only have some firmware updates for the FS5 and FS7 to cheer us up. You know, that Firmware version 2.0 for the FS5 that leaked weeks ago – the one we told you about here. Turns out it was actually true – the Sony FS5 will get 2K and 4K Raw recording through the 3G SDI port out to a compatible recorder such as the Odyssey7Q+ or Sony’s much more expensive AXS-R5, which requires expensive media and a special interface to be used with the Sony FS5, making the setup ultimately too expensive. Just go with an Odyssey7Q+ if you are an FS5 owner planning to get the Raw license for the FS5.

Here’s the important bits that might be of interested to you folks:

Odyssey7Q+ Sony FS5 Raw

1. Sony FS5 Firmware Update v2.0 – May, 2016 / Cost: Free 

  • AUTO ND: Electrical Variable ND filter can automatically keep the best exposure while keeping the aperture and depth of field.
  • GPS function is activated
  • Expanded Zebra – two zebra points can be switched swiftly.


2. Sony FS5 RAW Upgrade Option (CBKZ-FS5RIF: Available in May, 2016) – Cost: 500 Euros / $600 

UPDATED 18-04-16:

  • 4K (4096 x 2160) Raw up to 50 and 60p continuous
  • 4K RAW up to 120fps in a 4 second burst – giving you 20 seconds in real time
  • 2K/FHD Raw up to 240fps continuous
  • Requires external recorder – either Sony AXS-R5 ($5,350) + HXR-IFR5 ($2,200) Interface or 3rd party:
    • Convergent Design Odyssey7Q+ ($1795 + $995 RAW Bundle) or
    • Atomos Shogun/Flame/Inferno (frame rates and format depending on recorder specs see manufacturer)


2.1. Sony FS5 and PXW-X70 can also get an optional 1080p MPEG2 422 50Mbps codec for integration with broadcast workflows and documentary productions. The firmware will be paid (separate license from the RAW Update) and cost around 500 Euros. Available in Late May 2016.



3. Sony FS7 Firmware Update 4.0 – Free / Available in June 2016

  • Flexible Spot Auto-Focus – Selectable Spot AF in any area of the screen
  • 4K at true 24fps in XAVC-Intra 

axs-r7 raw recorder

4. Sony F55 Compressed Raw with new AXS-R7 4K Raw recorder – Price TBD, Avail. – TBD

  • 2 x New Compressed Raw codecs – XOCN ST and LT – Extended Original Camera Negative codec for Compressed Raw
  • 16bit Compressed Raw
  • 30% smaller file size compared to current Raw recording from F55
  • 50% smaller than Apple ProRes 4444XQ
  • Approximately same size as XAVC Class 480 (that is the X-OCN-LT which has higher compression than ST)
  • XAVC Class 480 will be available to F55 owners in upcoming firmware version 8.0

Compress RAW Sony F55 AXS-R7 raw recorder

More on the rest of the announcements – the new PXW-Z450 2/3-inch 4K shoulder camera and the new HDC-4800 High Frame Rate 4K System camera that can do 400 fps in 4K and 800fps in HD a bit later on in a separate post.

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  • The FS5 raw upgrade is pretty interesting. I didn’t think 3G-SDI could handle the bandwidth that 12-bit 4K at 60FPS would require? It’s also a little surprising Sony would offer 60FPS in 4K on this camera, since that’s one of the big differences between it and the FS7.

    If only Odyssey made a 5″ monitor…

    • Noah

      It’s the same as the fs700 4k RAW over SDI feature, it’s apparently lightly compressed and 12b log encoded so it fits. It works great in my experience but you do need to make sure you use good cables that are fully up to spec. I’m surprised I’ve seen no mention of 120fps 4k burst like the fs700 has.

      • it has the 120fps in 4K burst for 4 seconds. The FS700 raw is identical to the FS5 raw

        • Noah

          Yeah CD mentioned that in their more recent announcement, but oddly Sony’s announcements never mentioned 120fps bursts. Glad to see it included. Still wondering how the FS700+7Q image quality compares to FS5+7Q…

          • this remains to be tested, but I’d be surprised to see any difference between the two

    • tyger11

      12-bit? I thought the FS5 was only capable of 8-bit when in 4K?

      • the Raw is 12bit as the raw comes of the sensor directly as data before compression

    • Thomas Duvrai

      This is often misunderstood, but RAW is actually surprisingly small compared to the more popular (debayered) YUV format:

      8-bit YUV 4:2:0 = 12 bits/px
      8-bit YUV 4:2:2 = 16 bits/px
      12-bit Bayer RAW = 12 bits/px

      Until recently we didn’t have RAW over SDI, and the only reason for that is lack of standards.

      • Interesting. This is something I’m unfamiliar with. You’re referring to UHD data rates/bit rates, right?

        So how does Sony plan on making 60 FPS raw work on the FS5 since it uses a 3G SDI cable (if I understand correctly)?

  • Marius

    no Flexible Spot Auto-Focus on FS5 ??

    • The FS5 already has more advanced AF specs than the FS7 (like face detection, etc.).

    • Not with this firmware, maybe in the future. Auto ND is big though

  • Since shogun update 6.3 can already convert FS-Raw to prores, can we assume with the paid upgrade the shogun can do the same with the Fs5? If that’s the case the upgrade price is fine by me.

    • With the FS5 you don’t have to buy the big, fugly $2,000 raw/ProRes attachment that the FS7 needs, so that’s far better. Until the latest Shogun Inferno, however, the only way to record raw to CDNG raw from the Sony FS700, and FS5/7 was to buy Odyssey’s ~$3K recorder package. So this is a big step forward in terms of value and performance.

    • Yes as long as you have the FS5 raw license, the 4K raw to ProRes conversion with the Shogun should work

  • Oliver Shahery

    So, just to clarify, the FS5 will be able to shoot 4k @12bit as long as the user grabs an external recorder, right?

    • Correct – with the O7Q+ at the moment you can 4K in 12bit raw from the FS5 when the raw license is released in May. later in the Summer the Atomos Inferno will be able to record the 4K raw as well.

  • Frederic

    Does anyone know if the codec remains as long gop?

    • Yes internal recording is still long-gop

      • Frederic

        Thanks for the reply. If I understand correctly, the camera will write 12 bit raw (slightly compressed) data in long gop format. Is that so?

        • Ken Azure

          no, the raw is raw. The internal codecs are still long gop though. If u shoot raw u can make it proves 🙂

  • Peter Loft

    Is the FS5 raw upgrade a hardware-upgrade or firmware+license upgrade?

    • It is a license update, not a hardware board install as it was with the early FS700E versions. Don’t need to send the camera to sony , can be done by the user

      • Peter Loft

        Nice! Thanks for clearing that up 😉