In a stunning announcement, Sony revealed plans to allow their 4K PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 cameras to record in the most popular editing codecs directly to the internal SxS cards. Here is a screenshot of the ‘Format’ menu after the hardware upgrade allowing these new codecs has been performed (note the last 2 options):
Sony just took a huge step in the right direction: customer satisfaction. They know we don’t just shoot, we have to edit too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client call and say ‘I have this or that footage and I need it converted to ProRes’.
What remains to be seen is the cost of the upgrade, and the procedure. Users were not thrilled to learn the infamous ‘ND Filter Wheel Upgrade’, as well as the NEX-FS700 4K Raw (3G-SDI) upgrade required a shipment to a Sony service facility. The cost of insurance alone on the shipment of a $40,000.00 camera can be a serious obstacle.
Still, their heart is in the right place. Early adopters of this democratized 4K acquisition system can rest assured their camera will not end up a doorstop in a few months, requiring the purchase of yet another model. Sony’s commitment to hardware and software upgrades reveals sincere empathy with the end user, and a return to camera longevity reminiscent of the BetaSP days.
After all, isn’t ProRes the BetaSP of the digital revolution? If you didn’t think so before, talk to me after you upgrade your F55.