Incredible New Sony F5 Package Includes a7SII Camera, Viewfinder, and More.

We’ve partnered with Sony and unveiled one of the most aggressive and interesting packages on the F5 CineAlta camera, ever. The going price on the PMW-F5 camera body has always been $16,490…. until now! We’re excited to announced a promo called the “Production Crew” bundle.

The “Production Crew” bundle sells for $15,995, or can be financed for $0 down and 0% interest over 24 months for $667 a month. Included in this bundle is the F5 camera body with the internal 4K recording firmware. Also included is an NEW a7SII camera body, the LCD viewfinder for the F5, the shoulder pad/VCT tripod mount for the F5, an SxS card reader, and a full copy of Davinci Resolve 12.

We’re essentially providing the viewfinder, the shoulder pad, the a7SII camera, and the rest for $500 less then the camera body before. This all adds up to thousands of dollars of savings.

The price of $15,995 is surely no coincidence (hello C300mkII). If you prefer to upgrade the viewfinder to the amazing OLED viewfinder its only an additional $1000, making it $16,995.

This is truly the best time to be looking into a Sony 4K camera, specifically the F5. For more details on financing options please contact me. Let me know if you have any questions at all. Thank you very much.

Here’s a quick breakdown with a bit more detail.

The previous pricing of the individual components would have gone as follows:

PMW-F5 camera body $16,490
VCT-FSA5 ENG shoulder pad/VCT baseplate $975
DVF-L350 LCD viewfinder $3,230
CBK-Z55FX 4K recording ‘upgrade’ key $998
SBAC-US30 SxS USB reader $319
TOTAL: $22,012

NEW F5 ‘Production Crew’ package price: $15,995, ($6,017 less then above total)
Also includes an a7SII camera body and a full Davinci Resolve 12 copy worth, $2999 and $949 respectively. Combine the savings on the F5 package components, the a7SII, and Davinci and you’re looking at about $9,965 less then the same individual components would have run you prior to this package. If you add the OLED viewfinder the dollars saved actually increases as you’re only paying an extra $1,000 for the upgrade but the regular price of the OLED is $4,930, normally a $1,700 upgrade over the standard LCD.

With nearly $10,000 in total package savings the F5 is now positioned to be one of the greatest sub-$20K cinema cameras options on the market. You can finance the F5 over 24 months at 0% for only $667 or $479 over 36 months. Apply for Sony Financial Services here. Buy the F5 + a7SII combo bundle on-line now.

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Atomos Shoguns Are Now Shipping

I have great news. We’ve received our first batch of Atomos Shogun 7” monitor and 4K video recorders. This has been a very hotly anticipated product. It offers 4K recording via HDMI and 1080p recording up to 120 frames per second. It is a naturally perfect match for the Sony A7s as well as the Panasonic GH4.

My first wave of pre-order customers already have theirs in there hands. I have a few more pre-orders to fill and then I’ll have them on the shelf ready for sale or rental. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Shogun first batch

Why Sony is Set to Take Over the Cinema World

Here’s an interesting editorial by Noam Kroll.

Since their release of the initial 5D MK II and continuing on until just a couple of years ago, Canon had the strongest foothold in the low-budget market. In 2011/2012, just about everyone I knew owned a 5D, and many of those shooters eventually moved on to Canon’s cinema lineup (namely the C100 and C300). Once Canon’s development and innovation started to plateau though, lots of shooters started looking for other solutions. Many went to smaller companies like Blackmagic/RED, others turned to Panasonic (in particular the GH4), and some have simply been hanging on to their Canon gear, waiting for something else to come along. For those that are in the latter category – it’s looking like Sony may be offering the exact tools that they have been waiting for.

My rationale behind that is pretty simple – Sony is covering every last corner of the camera market, and doing an exceptional job at it. They now have one of the best DSLRs (or DSLMs) out there – the A7s, the incredibly powerful and affordable FS7, numerous broadcast cameras, and their cinema lineup (F5/F55), just to name a few key highlights. The fact that they are not only covering the needs of such a wide spectrum of filmmakers, but also pushing ahead technology (by offering unmatched lowlight performance, high frame rates and more) is simply staggering.

Read the rest here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Alister Chapman Shows us S-Log2 on the A7s

Alister Chapman has written a very useful guide to shooting in S-Log2, specifically on the A7s. The A7s has it’s own unique ways of utilizing S-Log color space and there are some tricks that are specific to that camera. Read a sample below and the full article here.

The post production adjustment of S-Log2 is very important and one of the keys to getting the very best finished images. The S-Log2 recording acts as a digital negative and by “processing” this digital negative in post production (normally referred to as “grading”) we manipulate the large 14 stop dynamic range of the captured image to fit within the limited display range of a Rec-709 TV in a pleasing manner. This may mean pulling up the mid range a bit, pulling down the highlights and bit and generally shifting the brightness and colour levels of different parts of the image around  (see PART 2 for more post production information).

Originally Slog-2 was designed for use on high end digital cinema cameras such as Sony’s F65 camera. These cameras have the ability to record using 10 bit data. A 10 bit recording can have up to around 1000 shades of grey from black to white. The A7s however uses 8 bit recording which only has a maximum of 235 shades from black to white. Normally 8 bit recording is perfectly OK as most transmission and display standards are also 8 bit. Shoot with an 8 bit camera and then display that image directly via an 8 bit system and nothing is lost. However when you start to grade and manipulate the image the difference between 8 bit and 10 bit becomes more significant. Reposted by Eric C. Petrie

S-Log2 Exposure

Buy the Sony A7s From Us & Get the Best Price

Even though we like DSLRs and we know a lot of our customers use them we don’t normally sell a lot of DSLR equipment. This is typically because most DSLRs are sold through their respective companies consumer photo divisions, not through their broadcast and industrial divisions. It’s harder then you would think to get two different divisions with in Panasonic or Sony to talk to each other.

Luckily, Sony had the foresight to know that the A7s was being targeted at a more niche group, mostly of professional video acquisition people. Sony has partnered with their CineAlta dealers and has requested that we distribute this camera as part of their CineAlta line. And if you’ve ever played with the camera you would know why. The A7s features S-Log2 dynamic range, 120fps over-crank, XAVC-s 50mbps codec, and a photo-size Full Frame sensor. These are incredibly powerful tools, most of which you would typically find in a true professional camcorder.

We have the A7s in-stock today. We sell the Sony A7s and a lot of the higher end Sony lenses in both the E & A-mount series. We’re very familiar with the advanced video features and deep video menus in this camera because their so similar to what we know from the FS700. And we know the 4K workflow. We’ll be selling the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder that has been designed specifically with this camera in mind. We’ve been working with 4K ProRes capture for years now, beginning with the Canon C500+AJA Ki-Pro Quad. We have a demo model of the A7s. Come on in and try it out.

Other then our knowledge and experience why else would you buy a Sony A7s from us? We also sell the Atomos Shogun and Odyssey 7Q 4K recorders We’re familiar with how they will work together and we always guarantee the best price on these 4K recorders.

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Sony Introduces Low Cost Cine-Servo Zoom Lens

The struggle to get ENG-style lens flexibility on large sensor cameras came about as soon as people started shooting video on 5DmkII cameras. Traditional video shooters who shot before the large sensor revolution were very used to having huge magnification ratios. Video lenses with a 14x, 27x, or even 22x were common. These lenses also featured very bright apertures, usually holding near f/2.2 through the full zoom range. The feature that completed the package was powered servo motors with pressure sensitive rocker control. Usually the zoom, focus, and iris could all me motor controlled. Typically these were very precise motors that could go from a super slow crawl zoom to a turbo snap zoom just with the flick of the pressure rocker. These lenses were taken for granted as just being part of shooting video.

Most large sensor shooters use photo lenses. These lenses have zoom ratios of 2x, 3x, 4x, often have floating apertures as bad as f/6.3, and have no powered zoom. Lenses that combine the best of both worlds do exist but they are very expensive. Cine servo zooms from Fujinon, Canon, Zeiss, and more usually start around $35,000. Sony has attempted to provide low cost alternatives in the past. Previously the took their 18-200mm photo zoom and attached a small powered motor to the bottom of that. The results were less then impressive. The less drops to f/6.3 very quickly as you zoom and the motor has two speeds, slow and less slow. You can’t get a beautiful crawl nor can you get a snap zoom.

Sony’s taking another stab. This time they’re introducing a lens designed from the ground up to fit this niche. It is a 28-135mm f/4 constant zoom lens with powered zoom, focus, and iris. It has image stabilization and autofocus. It is an E-mount lens that will cover up to photo full frame sensor size. That means you could actually attach this to nearly any E-mount camera including the A7s. Since the lens has it’s own zoom nob on the side the camera itself doesn’t have to offer a rocker (though that is preferable). Only getting one in hand will let us know how the glass and motors actually perform. Sony says the lens will have 8-level variable speed control so that should help compared to the earlier attempts. The lens will be sold in a kit with the new FS7 camera or stand alone for about $2,500. It should ship before the end of 2014.

Sony 28-135 hood Sony 28-135

Sony A7s: Now Taking Pre-Orders

We are extremely excited to announce that we will be selling the forthcoming Sony A7s 4K photo-full-frame SLR-type camera. This is a very exciting new camera that, while technically not an SLR, features a full frame sensor capable of extreme low light capture. The camera has a max ISO in video mode of 409,600. That number is crazy big. To put it in perspective thats about 5x more sensitive then the class-leading Canon EOS C100. Sony has custom designed this sensor to offer premium video quality at 4K resolution. Because it is only a 12 mega pixel sensor it has virtually no aliasing effect when shooting in 4K. The relative low pixel count (compared to many 24+ mega pixels DSLRs) and the sensors large surface area allow all the photo sites to be bigger. Thus it is more sensitive in low light and picks up more detail on every pixel.

The A7s does not record 4K internally. Rather, it has already been shown featuring the Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI recorder. Atomos and Sony partnered early in the development process so that these tools would fit together naturally. The A7s also features an optional XLR module that can provide 2-channel balanced phantom power audio with hard gain control.

We are currently taking pre-orders for the A7s and the Atomos Shogun. The A7s will sell for $2,498 body only. The Atomos Shogun will sell for $1,989. To pre order with us give us a call at 503-780-6293 or send us an email at epetrie@provideoandtape.com . It’s also worth noting that we will not only be caring the A7s but also the full line of pro Sony A-series and E-series SLR bodies and lenses.

Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Shogun

NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie

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What is Sony’s XAVC?

Over the last 2 years Sony has slowly began to roll out a new format, XAVC. What began with the F5 & F55 cinema cameras is now a format that is used in multiple ENG cameras, DSLRs, broadcast decks, and more. It’s clear that Sony intends XAVC to be the do-it-all format for the next generation. But what is it?

The core technology of XAVC is h.264 mpeg-4 AVC, the same technology that is used in AVCHD cameras and DSLRs. But while AVCHD typically runs between 24 and 35mbps and is 8-bit 4:2:0 Long-GOP, XAVC aims much much higher. The reason XAVC was invented was Sony needed a next-generation format to be able to deliver 4K content with. It needed to be high quality in order to appeal to the commercial and cinema world. One important aspect was moving up to 10-bit recording. Sony’s also not a big fan of licensing existing codecs. So, in 2012 when they were getting ready to launch the F5 & F55 they wanted to have their own high quality deliverable native editable format that could encompass 4K workflow. Hence XAVC was born.

There are a few current flavors, or implementations, of XAVC. The first is full quality XAVC. This is a 1080p, 100mbps(at 30p, 200mbps at 60p), 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame format. It’s extremely robust. It can also be 4K, 300mbps(at 30p, 600mbps at 60p), 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame format.

There is another flavor that is very similar but it is Long-GOP. This is a 1080p, 50mbps(at 30p, 100mbps at 60p), 4:2:2, 10-bit, format. So you still retain much of the detail but you lose motion information. It can also be 4K, 150mbps(at 30p, 300mbps at 60p), 4:2:2, 10-bit. This flavor of XAVC hasn’t been put into use yet but it is expected to be made available as a firmware update to current XAVC hardware during 2014.

Lastly, Sony has began to ship cameras that use what they call XAVC-S. This is a 1080p, 50mbps(at 30p, 100mbps at 60p), 4:2:0, 8-bit, LongGOP format. It can also be 4K, 150mbps(at 30p, 300mbps at 60p), 4:2:0, 8-bit, LongGOP. It’s very interesting that this format offers no real data savings compared to XAVC-LongGOP, both run at 50mbps. This is probably a case of Sony using the lower end format as a tool to divide markets, consumer compared to broadcast. Another way to think of XAVC-S is it’s just a 50mbps of AVCHD. Both are 4:2:0, 8-bit, LongGOP. But AVCHD maxes out at 35mbps (under the new AVC2.0 guidelines).

A few interesting side notes on all of this. There is also an emerging 4K version of AVCHD. It doesn’t have an official name, some call it AVC4K. We’re seeing it on cameras like the Panasonic GH4, which can record 4K internally to SDHC cards at 100mbps, 4:2:0, 8-bit, LongGOP. Sony’s XAVC format technically has the capability of reaching up to 1200mbps, 4:4:4, 12-bit. But nothing uses this at the moment. After Sony held out for 2 years they’ve finally succumb to user wishes and have licensed ProRes (and DNx) recording for their F5 & F55 cameras. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Sony xavc Codec

The 4K SLRs Continue: Sony’s A7s

Sony has announced their hotly anticipated A7s SLR camera. This is a retooled version of their existing A7 SLR camera, now optimized to be a 4K video tool. The camera offers several compelling features. Sony has lowered the resolution of full frame 35mm photo sensor to 12 million pixels. Why? Two reasons. This allows the sensor to generate a 4K signal with minimum “pixel skipping” thus virtually eliminating moire that often plagues photo sensor when used for video. This increases the perceived detail and sharpness of the images. The other effect of having less pixels on the sensor is it allows for the sensor to be far more light sensitive. The A7s can shoot video at up to ISO 409,600. That’s almost 5x higher then Canon’s industry leading ISO 80,000 on the C-series cameras.

The camera can record XAVC-S, 50mbps, 4:2:0, 8-bit, Long-GOP 1080/60p & 720/120p internally to SDHC memory cards. It can output 4:2:2, 8-bit, 30p 4K UHD resolution video from it’s HDMI port. Got that, internal recording is 1080p, 4K is available via live HDMI output only. The other big key spec is it features S-LOG2 color space. That’s amazing and unheard of in a camera of this price and configuration. The camera also offers standard AVCHD internal recording as well. There is also an XLR attachment module. Currently Sony has not released the exact pricing but it is speculated to be around $2,500 for the body. Availability is unknown. Post by Eric C. Petrie 

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