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New broadcast technology at IBC 2015: 4K cameras

Friday, September 25, 2015 1:30 PM

WTS Sales Manager Duncan Payne was at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam to assess the latest broadcast technology hitting the market. In this blog, he looks at some of the new 4K cameras set for release in the coming few months.

Sony PXW-FS5 4K camera

As far as the latest broadcast technology and production technology is concerned, I’ll remember IBC 2015 as the show with no theme.

Last year, the stand-out product was undoubtedly the Sony FS7, and in 2013 all the hype was around the possibilities of 4K acquisition generally, but this year, no single product landed with such a thud that all the other new broadcast technology was knocked off its shiny new shelves.

Sony announces FS5 4K camera for videographers, corporates, gimbal use

Sony FS5 4K handheld camera

4K acquisition is now firmly established in its various guises. With the Sony FS7 doing so well, what the production world didn’t really need was another small camcorder. But enter the PXW-FS5 handheld camera, a smaller, and slightly cheaper, brother to the FS7.

4K acquisition in 8-bit, 4:2:0, Long GOP files may not be to everyone’s liking but Sony clearly identified a gap in its product range, and has gone up against the Canon C100 Mark II and the Blackmagic Ursa Mini.

More baffling than the launch was the name itself. With a '5' looking like an 'S' on a scribbled kit list requirement, let's hope everyone gets the Sony FS5 handheld camera they wanted and not a Sony F55 cinema camera – at five times the price – by accident.

Panasonic launches AG-DVX200 4K handheld camera

Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K camcorder

Launched to no less of a fanfare, the slightly less expensive - and for no apparent reason, partially red - Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K handheld camera looks like a viable 4K option with its 4/3” sensor and fixed 13x Leica lens, aimed at both broadcasters and cinematographers, in the tradition of its predecessor, the DVX100. The indications are that the DVX200 has borrowed some technology from the Panasonic VariCam, which really is a quality 4K camera.

Panasonic VariCam 35 produces fabulous images

VARICAM 35 5000 ISO AERIAL TEST from Brownian Motion on Vimeo.

Visitors to the VariCam stand will have seen how the minimal set lighting really showed off the camera's highly impressive low-light sensitivity. For real top-end 4K, the images look fabulous, maintaining the VariCam 'look' from the original much-loved tape version. The current BBC drama Doctor Foster is the first big mainstream outing for the VariCam 35, and it hasn’t been caught out, unlike the leading man in the programme.

Canon's C300 Mark II 4K camera in high demand

Demand for the Canon EOS C300 Mark II has already proved strong, ahead of its imminent delivery. Why Canon decided to call it a Mark II, rather than giving it a new name, is unclear; comparing the C300 Mark II with the C300, it’s a totally different camera.

Delivering a great 4K feature set, with EF mount initially, and PL mount to follow in the new year, 15 stops of dynamic range, 4:2:2, HDR, and 10-bit compression, the C300 Mark II is a great 4K camera. I like it. And so did Atomos, Vocas and many more who had it on their stands. Almost anywhere I turned, I felt I saw a C300 Mark II.

4K High Dynamic Range looks truly amazing

The advent of HDR continues apace and there were a number of impressive displays showing the vibrant benefits of this technology. For me, HD with HDR makes as much of an impact as 4K without it. Several stands were showing 4K HDR which is truly amazing. The challenge for the manufacturers now is to incorporate this in to live sports production.

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