Sony Electronics Unveils 4K Digital Cinematography Camera at NAB

"It's only a mater of time before 4K becomes a standard in cinema," a Sony exec says during a standing-room-only press conference.

Sony Electronics unveiled its anticipated prototype digital cinematography camera -- dubbed the F65 and designed to handle true 4K and higher resolution imagery -- at a standing-room-only press conference Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.

To showcase the capabilities of the camera, Sony also debuted a six-minute short that was written, directed and lensed with the prototype camera by director of photography Curtis Clark, who was in attendance at NAB.

The Hollywood Reporter got a preview of the camera and the live-action short, titled The Arrival, earlier this week as postproduction was being completed. 

"It basically opens up the possibility of a whole new photographic canvas," Clark said of the new camera. He lauded its 4K resolution -- four times the more commonly used 2K -- as well as the camera's wide dynamic range, wide color reproduction and low light sensitivity.

The camera is developed to record uncompressed 16-bit 4K raw to Sony's recently launched SR memory format. The 16-bit color means that there is more nuanced color reproduction than is typically available in digital cameras today, Clark said. A new magazine will have a direct communication link to the camera.

The camera accepts PL mount lenses. A detachable camera head enables use with Steadicam and 3D rigs, Sony reported.

The heart of the camera is a newly developed 8K 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, meaning that it could be upgraded to go as high as 8K resolution to meet any future needs of filmmakers.

Sony's full vision is the promise of shooting, posting and projecting in 4K. "It's only a mater of time before 4K becomes a standard in cinema," said Sony senior vp sales and marketing Alec Shapiro during the press conference. "We'll be able to have an end-to-end 4K workflow for the first time."

The rival Red camera claims that its digital cinematography cameras can handle 4K and higher resolutions, although that has been questioned by many industry leaders.

Dalsa, another company, previously offered a 4K digital cinematography camera to Hollywood cinematographers, but it was pricey to use and arguably ahead of the curve, and the technology was abandoned a few years ago.