Object of Desire: Sony CineAlta F65 Camera

November 22, 2011

By Dan Havlik

A little company called Red caused a stir a few years back when it introduced a camcorder that could shoot 4K video (i.e. four times greater than full 1080p HD) at a price in line with some low-end medium-format digital camera systems. Photographers, then just discovering the joys of shooting HD with their Canon 5D Mark IIs, were understandably interested. We wonder whether the Sony CineAlta F65 might pique similar interest?

No—at a starting price of $65,000, the 4K-capable F65 is not nearly as affordable as the Red One ($25,000)—and yes, it has a much more traditional design than the run-and-gun style of the Red. But the Sony has a few things the Red One and its more modular sequel, the Red Epic, don’t. Namely, the F65 uses an 8K image sensor with 20 megapixels to capture 16-bit RAW at 14 stops of dynamic range. The F65 also comes with a viewfinder and is markedly lower in cost than its predecessor, the F35, which sold in the $300,000 range.

One of the most intriguing features of the F65 is an optional built-in mechanical Rotary Shutter, which helps prevent the wobbly, Jell-O-like “rolling shutter” effect that occurs when you aggressively pan while shooting video with a CMOS sensor. Upgrading from an electronic shutter to a mechanical shutter does push the price up to $77,000 but if it works as advertised, it’s worth the extra dough.

Other cool features of the F65 include the ability to control the camera via an iPad across a WiFi network and a 120 frames per second high-speed capture mode when shooting at 1080p HD.

Cost: $65,000 (includes viewfinder); $77,000 (with rotary shutter)
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