Sony have announced VENICE, their first full frame camera designed for high end film production. Pitched as a camera “created by and for the cinematographer”, VENICE has had a cracking reception so far, including a winning review from Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda.
As NewsShooter point out, VENICE doesn’t feel like a traditional ‘filmmaker’s camera’, including as it does several of the popular features from the F55 and F5, chief among them the built-in variable ND filter. However, its most radical departure from tradition is that the entire front sensor block is user-removable. Sony plan to release different sensor blocks optimised for different types of shooting, which users will be able to swap in the field, without the need for a clean room or paid upgrade from the Sony team.
The camera has a full frame 36 x 24mm sensor. It supports full frame, anamorphic and spherical Super35 framing, with additional modes slated to be added in future upgrades. Natively, VENICE uses E mount lenses, but is designed to work with adaptors to give you access to PL lenses – Sony’s end goal is to make a camera that’s lens and aspect ratio agnostic. You get 15-plus stops of latitude, and while the decision to limit the camera to ISO 500 has been slightly controversial, Sony insist that this limit gives you the best performance from the camera.
The camera captures footage in 16-bit Scene Linear RAW and X-OCN formats, and that NewsShooter interview reveals that ProRes is set to join the party either before shipping or slightly after as a free upgrade. It supports dual card recording, and will work with your existing R7 recorder.
Other nice touches include dual menus – one for you and one for your assistant, on each side of the camera – and an advanced cooling system that means the camera runs very little danger of overheating, despite its small form factor (133 x 159 x 172 mm and 3.9kg).
Sony say they chose to limit the camera to 6K rather than 8K because at 6K they can deliver better skin tones, richer colours which blend more smoothly, and more detail in the highlights of your shot. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll already know our team’s feelings about shooting over 6K, but to reiterate: we support Sony’s decision to go with the wider colour gamut over the additional Ks.
While final pricing and a release date are yet to be 100% confirmed, the estimated release date is next February.