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Top-end Sony F23 camera arrives

21 December 2006

Sounding more like a fighter aircraft than a camera, Sony has introduced the F23, which will support full 4:4:4 1920 x 1080 RGB imaging. The new camera will join the HDC-F950 camera right at the high-end of the company’s CineAlta line, writes Andy Stout.

The F23 uses three 2.2 megabit 2/3-inch type progressive CCD imagers and a 14-bit A/D converter. The system will support 1080/23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 50i and 59.94i formats.

“With this new system, content creators and programme producers will have one more extremely versatile high-end production tool in their arsenal,” said Rob Willox, Sony’s director of marketing for professional content creation products. “Developed for cinematographers, this system will offer the technical and mechanical flexibility they need, as well as a compact and rugged design to withstand the challenging conditions often encountered on location.”

The new system will share the HDC-F950 camera’s 1920 x 1080 RGB 4:4:4 design, but also incorporate several new features, the direct result of feedback from production professionals.

The SRW-1 digital 4:4:4 recorder will dock directly to the top or to the tail of the new system. This eliminates the need for cumbersome cable handling between the camera and recorder. When more mobility is required, the recorder can also be tethered using a ‘dual-link’ cable connection so the camera is as small and light as possible.

In order to be film user-friendly, the camera body will be compatible with a variety of film camera accessories, including bridge plates, matte boxes and follow focus units. These can be attached to the unit without modification. For increased durability and reliability, and to withstand the numerous lens changes that often happen on location, the F23 system will use a harder material for its lens mount (B4 type).

When used with Sony’s SRW-1 VTR, the new camera system can capture and record variable speed images from 1p to 60p (1p to 30fps at 4:4:4 and 1p to 60fps at 4:2:2) at the full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This allows for undercranking or overcranking to produce special motion effects commonly used in high-end production. These variable speed images can be played back by the SRW series of VTRs immediately after shooting.

The system’s control surface layout, indicators and menu system were designed to give film camera users a familiar and intuitive user interface. Users can operate the system with the supplied Assistant Panel remote controller. This device connects to the camera with a single cable and allows users to remotely execute basic camera and VTR operations, such as REC/STOP, changing frame rates and shutter angle. The CVP File Editor, which is the Windows PC running gamma creation software, is also supported.

The F23 is expected to be available from Q2 2007.

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