PMW-F5 and F55 firmware released. 4K shooting in Myanmar, Saigon Film School.

I’m currently sitting in the airport lounge at Bangkok airport, on my way to Taiwan for a training event tomorrow (teaching local camera operators to become trainers). So I thought I’d take a few minutes to catch up on things.

The big news is the release of the firmware version 2.0 for Sony’s F5 and F55 cameras. All I can say is wow! A huge number of new features, way to many to list here. Of course the biggie is 240fps super slow-mo 2K raw. Also we get XAVC high speed at up to 120fps (eventually this will go up to 180 fps). There’s the ability to use XQD media which is a fair bit cheaper than SxS and a great new focus tool. The focus assist mode provides you with a “sharpness” bar graph that you can use to check the focus of objects in the center of the field of view. It’s much more precise than peaking and a really great tool to have on a 4K camera. For exposure there is now a very clear waveform monitor display as well as a histogram. If you have the OLED EVF then there is also the addition of false color (although the EVF has to go back to Sony for an update to enable this).

The Audio control button for the side LCD now works and you get easy, direct access to all the major audio functions. In addition you can now change the EI gain from the side LCD. All 4 HDSDI outs now work together giving you two clean HDSDI outs plus two with overlays. Furthermore S-Log2 has been added as a new Look Up Table when shootin in EI mode (don’t forget ¬†you also get S-Log2 out of the AUX HDSDI on the R5 anyway, one way of having 709 + S-Log together). You can also now get standard definition out of SDI 3/4 and the Test out.

For the DiT’s out there there is now a user gamma page where you can roll your own gamma curve, although I have not had time to play with this function yet.

All in all this is a massive update for these cameras and really transforms the camera (not that is was bad before hand). All I need now is to get the new 2K Optical Low Pass Filter. You can download the update files from here:

PMW-F55 V2 Update.

PMW-F5 V2 Update.

AXS-R5 V2 Update.

Do note that you must do an “All Reset” immediately after the update and this update cannot be rolled back!

One of the many temples at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Myanmar. This is a 4K frame grab.
One of the many temples at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Myanmar. This is a 4K frame grab.

Last week I was in Yangon, Myanmar running some short half day workshops on Sony cameras. We had about 200 people through the workshops over a couple of days. In between I was able to go out and shoot the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in 4K. It’s a beautiful place, covered in gold bars that sparkle in the sun and diamonds that refract the light from the lights at night into a myriad of colors. I did a quick edit in Myanmar to show at the workshops, but as soon as I get home I’ll finish it off and get it up on to YouTube in 4K. It looks fantastic. A big thank you from me to the team at TMW Enterprises for looking after me so well.

Before that I was in Vietnam running a 3 day workshop for Saigon Film School. What a great bunch. Had a really good time and the 3 short films that the students produced over the course of the workshop all look great. Nice to see such enthusiasm and nice to see many of the techniques I taught put to good use in the films. I hope to go back in the new year to do something even bigger, but only if the faculty staff promise not to get me quite so drunk with “bottoms up” giant glasses of wine at the after school party.

Coming up: I’m preparing some articles on the difference between “Scene Referred” and “Display Referred” shooting and workflows. This is very relevant to anyone shooting raw or looking at implementing an ACES workflow. Also a back to basics tutorial on getting the very best from a lens, whether thats a built in zoom or a prime lens. These should go online in the next week. After that I have a big TV commercial shoot.

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