Great Lakes on the Sony F55
Shooting in Canada on the Great Lakes. Beautiful remote waterways, untouched islands and big sky.
The camera package was a Sony F55, shooting 4K in its Raw mode at a base rate of 59.94P.
For glass I utilised 3 new PL zooms for the first time. The Fuji Cabrio 19-90mm T2.9, the Fuji Cabrio 85-300mm T2.9 and the Canon 15.5-47mm T2.8.
Whilst providing an interesting focal range the 85-300 proved quite difficult to focus, its accelerated throw more reminiscent of a stills lens than a cinema lens. This I found a bit debilitating on a long lens, where subtle focus following is usually the order of the day.
The two wider choices were far more versatile. I can see why the Cabrio 19-90 has proved so popular as this extended focal range is great for fast doc style work. The 19mm doesnt quite get you there on a S-35 sensor however... so I lived a lot on the Canon 15.5-47.
Swapping between these zooms regularly made me realise how big a part is played by 'muscle memory' in operating, as the differing focus throws and gear orientation from Fuji to Canon was distracting.
Both of these lenses offer slightly extended focal ranges over many of the zooms out there, and both seem to resolve well. But I must admit to having been spoilt by the Angenieux zooms that I so regularly use. The flair quality, the 'bokeh' and the general 'look' of both the Canon and the Fuji I found diminished by comparison.
But good workhorse documentary focal ranges.
A great shoot with a great team, travelling as fast and light as this package would take us.
Here with some more 'verite' grip choices:
The data challenges of shooting 4K Raw on the F55 were fairly sustantial. Sony's Uncompressed Raw is very data hungry! 26 minutes of record time on a 512G card. We shot an average of 5Tb a day...and over 100Tb across 3 weeks of shooting. This necessitated a back up to LTO and a DIT- heavy approach. 6 laptops, 4 LTO decks and tireless work by the fantastic team doing this.
But its not a solution particularly suited to a documentary workflow. I would say this enormous data flow combined with the 3 second delay in recording when shooting Raw(yes that was 3 seconds!) makes this the wrong choice for anything other than a drama style shoot... and this with a robust data team.
As a cost effective HD solution the F55 is interesting. Its low light performance is great and the ability to change mounts from PL to EF at speed is a plus (although I do worry about 'play' in the Sony PL mount.) I did find the 960x540 viewfinder tricky for focus, this with all of the peaking tools active.
As a 4K solution I would definitely look elsewhere.
That the camera delivers less than 4K after debayering with this truckload of data makes the Red Epic significantly preferable for 4K shooting. Throw in some slowmotion (none available on the Sony at 59.94P 4K Raw) instant recording (rather than 3 seconds later) pre roll if you need it and 6K resolution and the Dragon is a 'no brainer' all day long!