Sony unveils VENICE – full frame 36x24mm digital cinema camera

Sony Venice CineAlta Camera

Sony just unveiled it’s new full frame (36mm x 24mm) CineAlta 6K cinema camera called VENICE! This is Sony’s new flagship model for the CineAlta line and features a full frame size sensor with 6K resolution in full frame mode and 4K in super35 windowed mode.

At a first glance here are some of the details which have been released for the new camera:

Full Frame Sensor 24×36 mm
6K Full Frame 6048 x 4032 maximum resolution
4K Super35 window
Full Frame, full 6048 photosite width of the sensor
Widescreen spherical 2.39:1 or Large Format Scope
Super35 full height 2.0x squeeze Anamorphic
8-Step, 8-Stop Internal NDs (0.3 to 2.4)
PL and Ruggedized E-mount (E-mount native)
Spherical FF & S35
Anamorphic FF & S35
15+ Stops of Exposure Latitude
Native ISO 500
Retains highlights and color detail 6 stops overexposed and 9 stops into the shadows
Power: both 12 VDC and 24 VDC

Sony-Venice-assistant-panel

Outside of the initial specs looking at the camera body we see the main side panel on the “assistant side” of the camera (something that was highly desired and complained about with the F5 and F55 cameras). The operator side features a small display for convenience. There’s a single XLR input, HDMI port (wasn’t available on the F65), and the viewfinder design allows the VF to be placed on either side of the camera.

Recording formats on the VENICE include internal SXS cards for compressed XAVC in 300Mbps or 480Mbps bit-rates, and for RAW uses the AXS-R7 16-bit RAW recorder which features full RAW 3:1 compression and the newer X-CON codecs (X-OCN ST and X-OCN LT) which reduce RAW file size by 30 – 60% respectively but maintain 16-bit fidelity.

Most interesting about the native lens mount is that it’s an E-mount, but there’s a PL mount which bolts directly over top of the E-mount using 6 hex screws. So don’t think of this as a traditional lens mount adapter system. Think of it more that Sony has hidden away their E-mount underneath for a much wider support of lenses on the market. Very clear move here by Sony.

Right now it appears that the camera only goes up to 60p. I suspect higher than 60p frame rates may be unlocked in the future, as the R7 on the F55 camera is capable of 120fps at 4K. If it’s a matter of the current sensor not being able  to read fast enough don’t worry, the sensor block on the Sony Venice is user swappable! This may unlock higher resolutions or higher frame rates in the near future – time will tell!

The native ISO is 500 which seams rather low, but Sony claims this is in order to obtain the most optimal performance and look from the sensor delivering 15 stops of dynamic range and what Sony calls a smooth and organic look. Regarding the image, Sony Manager Peter Crithany calls it “a refined picture and painterly look”. Claudio Miranda described the look of Venice as “having a very cinematic look, with beautiful colors and that it has a sort of softer, cosmetic, tonally well round look with skin tones that are gorgeous.” He says, it didn’t feel video-like and is not harsh. Could Sony have tapped into the mojo from the F35 that so many have been longing for?

Shipping in February 2018 the camera body only will sell for around $45k USD with super35 in 4K enabled, and the full frame or anamorphic options can be licensed on a temporary basis (cost unknown) or be purchased as permanent licenses at approximately $6K USD for FF and $4K USD for anamorphic – both arriving later in the year. The AXS-R7 16-bit RAW module sells for $7000 USD and an extra $1800 USD per 512GB AXS card. Don’t forget the $300 USD USB reader.

My thoughts

I’m very interested to see where Sony is heading with this one. I like hearing there is a lot of emphasis on highlights, color rendition, and organic texture. I really hope they borrowed some mojo from the F35 as that would really make this a truly amazing Sony digital cinema camera. I was initially a bit torn in feelings that it is not an 8K camera, but I suspect Sony went performance and image quality this time around instead of worrying about the resolution race. Sony has even gone as far as calling the image “painterly” – have a look at the demo film titled ‘THE DIG’ shot on the Sony Venice by DP Claudia Miranda.

Demo video shot on Sony Venice

http://ps.sony.co.kr/pro/article/broadcast-products-venice-videos

Sony Venice related videos

Removing the sensor block in the field:

 

Specs

Sony-Venice-Specs

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