Finally, a Sony camera with a catchy name instead of a confusing number, which from a marketing point of view, has got to be a good start. Although Venice is Sony’s first 36x24mm Full-Frame digital motion picture camera system, it’s great to see it uses the already established and very efficient 10-bit XAVC or 16-bit RAW/X-OCN with the R7 recorder. So that’s SxS or AXS cards and compatibility with other CineAlta hardware. However, it also looks like a future firmware upgrade will also give the option of internal ProRes which is a format still favoured by many in post production who’d rather not transcode.
In many ways this feels like Sony are aiming to compete directly with Arri in the Cinema market, so the concept of having different licences for various camera features will also be a familiar one. Out of the box, the Venice looks like a 4K S35 sized camera. If you want to try some Full-Frame loveliness or even Anamorphic formats you’ll need to purchase an optional licence. These licences will be available on a permanent, monthly or weekly basis.
Ignoring the expected cost and complication of various licence options, there’s still plenty to drool over. A claimed 15 stops of dynamic range, ultra wide colour space, 8 step ND filters, PL or E-Mount lens options and that lovely Full-Frame shallow look. Venice also has a modular design that apart from allowing additional options like RAW recorders, opens up the possibility of even upgrading the sensor in the future.
In many ways, the fact that this is only 6K resolution on a full frame sized sensor could be seen as a disappointment, especially as Sony already have an 8K CineAlta camera available. However, as we’ve been recently ranting on at extrashot, the race for ever increasing resolution is a big mistake. Smaller resolution gives you larger pixels (photosites) which collect more light and potentially better pictures. We believe 6K is the sweet spot and it’s not as if you can see the pixels at higher resolutions anyway. Much of the quality going forward is going to be about downsampling and colour gamuts rather than a resolution race.
Sony have clearly learned from the F55 and F65 designs and listened to what DOP’s working in cinema production want in layout and ergonomics. This is a great looking camera from a physical point of view and we can’t wait to see what possible with the pictures when people get to use them in the real world.
Will I get one? Probably not…. this is a large camera for a big cinema crew. Do I want one? Of course!
Full Details from Sony here: