The last firmware update for 2013 arrived today just a few days after Christmas. Version 3.0 ads some very exciting features for owners and users of Sony's F5 and 55. While some of the new additions are far from earth shattering and don't feature new technology they are none the less great to have.
The most exciting one for me is the 2K center crop mode. This is a feature that has been seen in quite a few cameras before. What it allows you to do when shooting 2k, XAVC HD, MPEG HD or the SR codecs in HD the ability to do a center crop off the cameras 4k sensor. It gives you a 2x crop. Which means a 200mm lens becomes a 400mm lens. Now the center crop mode was really designed for you to be able to put old Super 16mm glass or broadcast B4 2/3" lenses on your camera. It is however not limited to those types of lenses. Any lens whether it be PL or Nikon etc. will work. For news, documentary and wildlife shooters this is a huge feature. The ability to have a virtual doubler on any of your lenses creates a lot of flexibility. Even better news is there is no loss of light, quality or sharpness as it's just cropping the 4k sensor and using a part of it. If you use a B4 broadcast lens with an adapter you will lose some light depending on which one you use.
Other key features include the ability to name your files. Something that was a pain before the new firmware. There is also user programable LUTs finally as well as monitor LUTs too. Slow and Quick motion has been expanded to include 4K XAVC 1-60fps in 1 frame steps. In 2k and HD modes both the F5 and 55 can record up to 180fps (in NTSC) and 150fps (in PAL). There is also a ton of other high speed frame rates in small increments that can be recorded too. Also a new colour gamut and log curve has been added. Slog-3 and S-gamut3 Cine. This will only work in Cine EI (exposure Index) mode. The camera will record at a fixed ISO and you will be able to monitor exposure changes in your viewfinder to see what the corrected image will look like in post.
For owners of the Sony FZ zoom lens there is now the ability to use auto iris and with an optional controller box control the lens through a broadcast zoom rocker controller.
There is tons of other features in the firmware that can be found on Sony's website.
Here is a small video showing how some of the features of version 3.0 work, most importantly the 2k center crop mode. I did repeat a few things in the video so I do apologise for that!
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