Sony F65 4K camera, hands-on with the camera used to shoot Oblivion and After Earth
If you truly want to embrace the 4K "experience" as a moviemaker, adopting a fully digital workflow makes sense.
Announced in 2011, the Sony F65 is the big daddy of the 4K camera world, capable of shooting at 8K resolution and coming with a number of bolt-ons to make it even more impressive.
It goes up against the RED range of cameras, however Sony (which is currently being sued by RED) believes its full workflow experience from capture to cinema offers a much better experience, but what's it like to play with the new state-of-the-art movie camera?
Pocket-lint was invited to Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles to learn about what the company has in store 4K for the movie theatre and the home and have a play with the F65, the most expensive camera we've ever played with.
Used exclusively to shoot the new Tom Cruise film Oblivion and the upcoming After Earth starting Will and Jaden Smith, the camera captures RAW footage way and above what is currently needed for 4K movies (it's a 20-megapixel sensor that can capture 8K footage, 8K footage is four times that of 4K which is four times that of 1080p), but allows for plenty of wriggle room when it comes to shooting in different aspect ratios including the anamorphic picture ratio.
In the flesh and the camera as you might expect is a beast, and an expensive one at that.
The camera currently retails in the US for $80,000 for the body alone. Add the memory pack and viewfinder and that quickly goes up to around $100,000. Then there is a new bolt-on, as seen here in the images, that allows a feed to be outputted to an external monitor so the director or cinematographer can see what's going on without looking down the viewfinder. This bolt-on, which costs a further $20,000, and the professional monitor, another $25,000 soon help rack up the total cost to just short of $150,000.
Our model had a 18-85mm lens on the front - a cool $125,000 - and then for ease of use our camera and lens were mounted on a fully functional dolly that would set you back another $100,000 if you walked into a shop and said yes please.
Yes, total cost of what is featured in the pictures is around $375,000.
Of course we are neither a Hollywood director nor really competent to know what we were doing apart from jumping in the hot seat, pressing record and getting fellow journalist and occasional Pocket-linter David Phelan to do a screen test for us on one of the Sony Picture Studio soundstages.
What we are able to tell you however is that the quality we then saw played back on a large cinema screen at Sony Picture Studios is fantastic, with the ability to manipulate the colour quickly and perfectly - ideal for those filmmakers keen to change the colour of their movie in post production without destructively affecting the original RAW footage.
A rough screen test is one thing, but we then went to watch Oblivion at a local cinema near Sony Picture Studios in Los Angeles on a 4K projector.
Oblivion is shot with the new Sony F65 at 4K, but because of time and budget constraints is actually shown in 2K (slightly better than Full HD).
Looking solely at the performance of the picture quality, the results are stunning - especially the scene in which Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are having dinner. It's lit with nothing more than a single candle, and the amount of detail captured is amazing without the noise levels getting anywhere close to detracting from what is on screen.
Thankfully for many filmmakers, Sony also offers a rental service for the camera.