Sony 4K Camera To Ship in January, Starting at $65,000

F65 previewed at Hollywood events.

Sony’s anticipated F65 4K digital cinematography camera will available in January for a lower than expected list price of $65,000.

The manufacturer revealed this information Tuesday for the Hollywood community, in advance of its planned announcement later this week at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. Sony's Tuesday itinerary in Hollywood included a lunch at the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Clubhouse and a screening at the DGA theater. On hand was Takao Yoshikawa, who is head of Sony’s Content Creation Solutions Center in Japan and who led the development of the F65.

During the screening, guests were presented three new shorts that were lensed with the early F65 camera technology by Kees Van Oostrum, Brad Ohlund and Paul C. Babin. The shorts were created to demonstrate such camera attributes as its wide dynamic range, color reproduction and resolution.

Sony also discussed its plans to develop an open system for F65 production through postproduction.

The camera--which is being developed with an 8K sensor and capable of handling 16-bit 4K and higher-resolution imagery--was one of the most talked about announcements of the 2011 NAB Show, where the prototype was first unveiled. Most current digital-cinematography cameras support 2K resolution. By comparison, 4K offers four times the amount of picture information.

"It was (Sony co-founder) Aiko Morita’s vision to design a digital motion picture camera that retains all the quality of a 35 mm film camera but adding the creative capability and functionality of digital technology." said Sony senior vp sales and marketing Alec Shapiro, calling the camera launch "historic."

The rival Red camera company claims to offer digital cinematography cameras that can handle 4K and higher resolutions. The package for Red’s Epic M--currently in use on movies such as The Hobbit--lists for $58,000.

Sony is beginning to take pre-orders for its F65. The camera and viewfinder can be purchased for $65,000. A $85,000 camera package includes the camera, viewfinder, and an SRR4 SR memory recorder.

The first batch of F65 cameras have been sold to Los Angeles-headquartered rental business Otto Nemenz International.

In related news, Sony also revealed plans open a Sony Digital Cinema production center during early 2012 in the Hollywood area, which would include a stage, showroom and training facilities.

Sony has long been working toward the goal of shooting, doing postproduction work and then projecting a movie in 4K. It launched its 4K theatrical projection system in 2005 and reports that about 9,000 projectors are currently installed worldwide. Adding to the base of 4K projectors, Texas Instruments more recently introduced a 4K DLP Cinema chip, which can be used in projectors made by Barco, Christie and NEC. The F65 is aimed at completing the 4K picture.