Sony Gets Competitive With RED Thanks to Pricing on F5 and F55 Cameras

4K Cameras to take on RED, and also Canon

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When Jim Jannard praised Sony for announcing 4K cameras back in November, he wasn’t really aware that Sony would fire a shot across the bow with pricing that is designed to go head to head with both the RED Epic and RED Scarlet cameras, as well as streaming content by a 4K network. Now Jannard has a heavyweight’s sights on him and it shows that Sony isn’t going to be satisfied with second place either.

Sony has validated what we have believed in all along. 1080P is not a respectful film replacement and 4K (or more) is.  The image needs to get better over time. There was a moment in history when it got worse. It was called 1080P and 2K acquisition. Mercifully that time has passed.  Thanks to Sony for acknowledging this truth. – Jim Jannard, RED User Forums

Of course, Jannard isn’t really one to embrace direct competition unless he has some control over the rules of the game.  But he also can backup his bravado with a fine working camera platform and by the statement above, he’s more than happy to have another player vying for his clientelle.  But the question is, can Sony do it?  Well, according to NoFilmSchool, Sony has released the following pricing for F5 and F55 cameras, and related accessories and it’s darned competitive:

  • Sony F5: $16,500
  • Sony F55: $29,000
  • AXS-R5 Recorder: $5,350
  • DVF-EL100 OLED Viewfinder (1280 x 720): $4,930
  • DVF-L350 LCD Viewfinder (960 x 540): $3,230
  • DVF-L700 7″ Full HD Monitor (1920 x 1080): $5,000
  • Sony 512GB Card: $1,800
  • AXS-CR1 USB 3.0 Card Reader: $550
  • Sony 3 Lens PL Kit: $11,500
  • Sony 6 Lens PL Kit: $20,900

Now RED fans will like point out that the Epic and Scarlet are still even or cheaper, thanks to a “timely” price drop, than the F55 and F5 respectively once you buy everything you need to record to 4K (lenses, external recorders and the like) and that would be a compelling argument.   And with the 6K Dragon sensor coming next month, there’s still wiggle room, but not at that same price.  However, Sony’s design comes with a lot of additional features and the learning curve of using it may be easier than using the RED.  Additionally, the Sony’s allow for attachment of external monitoring solutions beyond HDMI/HD-SDI, giving them options that RED doesn’t offer.

Based on that, I doubt Jannard will lose much sleep.  But Canon, by contrast, will have a good fight on its hands as the Sony F5 and F55 undercuts the Cinema C300 and C500 by price and outputs in 4K, while the C-Series is still stuck in the 1080p ghetto.  And Canon’s only real 4K offering, the 1D-C DSLR, will certainly be hard pressed to deal with an F5 that’s right solid in that pricing ballpark, especially since there is no 10-bit 4:4:4  option coming out of Lake Success right now.

Although Canon can still keep up with lenses, but not by much as Sony’s affordable PL lenses, at $4,000, will certainly  grab the attention of users.   So Sony is declaring that they’re bringing their A game with 4K production options, and everyone should take notice.

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.