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F55 Sony / Steadicam use


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#1 Remi Tournois / SOC

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 05:52 PM

Has anyone used the Sony F55 camera on their steadicam rig?

I've never seen or touched this camera so far... and it's most likely about to change.

Will appreciate any feedback.

Thank you


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#2 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 09:15 PM

As an operator, I'm asking this question too (although I did use it when it first came out, but I wish to know specifically about modifications from Panavison).  As a Moderator, I have to ask a simple question... WHY, OH, WHY was this posted IN GENERAL DISCUSSION?! I'd think it be pretty obvious to post this in the Camera section, but alas I won't delete the topic and shall move it despite the hopeless laziness that brought it about... in hopes it saves me some time.. cause I'm lazy....


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#3 Afton Grant

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:01 PM

I did a season with one from Panavision.  I don't remember any major recurring issues.  It balanced well on the sled.  To the best of my recollection, using it was a good experience.  One issue with these medium to small size cameras (talking about physical dimensions) is the real estate available to mount all the necessary accessories.  Once all built, the camera itself becomes buried under a nest of gadgets and cabling.  Sony also seems to like to put buttons EVERYWHERE - not to mention the apparent lack of any consistent system of intuitive button layout.  It's easy to hit various buttons you didn't mean to while trying to physically manipulate the camera.  Small annoyance.  

 

It does have a USB port that will charge your phone.  Bonus.  


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#4 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 05:01 AM

Afton, do you remember if you flew it with onboard batteries for weight?  If so, one or two?  I'm also doing an Amazon show, so 4K.  That means the additional, albeit small recorder on the back, yes?


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#5 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:37 AM

I flew it both ways, with and without batteries. The extra recorder will drain a hefty amount of power if I recall while the camera alone is close to nothing. It's 4pin xlr and you can, like an Alexa do a hot swap. The body is fairly light (flies on a zephyr) but the weight goes up if you add all the needed bells and whistles. Also, the body is V mount only so get that Anton Bauer adapter ready. Also, always use SDI 2 for your monitor output if you want to see the menus and all. SDI 1 is a clean output only and it will change the recording if you add a rec709 to it.
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#6 Jarrett P. Morgan

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 10:09 PM

I have used it quite a bit and have some thoughts:

 

-It is way too light for my tastes, unless you are flying a zoom on it there is practically no pan inertia. I always run batteries with it, and often leave the rods and studio mattebox as well, just for weight out front. My favorite times flying it were with a 19-90 and a 45-120. Those lenses seem to have a good bit of weight out front and adds some much needed mass.

 

- I dislike how the thing mounts. the two screw holes for the "cine" base are too close together and I have gotten vibration before. If you can, get the v-lock plate then use the cinematic precision or similar plates to tie down the front and back of the camera. You still get 15mm lightweight rods in the front to mount motors off of, but you reduce overall height and make the mount more ridged.

 

-The 4K recorder is very light and nothing to worry about save for what Victor says with battery runtimes.

 

-The start stop connector is a 4 pin hirose. There is also power out of this and I have seen a couple of guys have a combo cable built for the preston, but I wouldn't trust the output for anything that could draw more than 1.5-2 amps. There is only one power output on the body (I think the recorder may add one?). Having something like a d-tap splitter can be a life-saver at times.


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#7 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 08:16 PM

The camera is available with an anton bauer back instead of V-Mount. Also be very careful when using the 4K recorder. The mounting between it and the body is mostly plastic and then the battery hangs off the back of it. Not sure I would want to put a shark fin on the back of it. 

 

Ive always flown it with a zoom lens. With that and a battery on the back and all the accessories it had enough weight to it.

 

~Jess


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#8 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:43 AM

Thanks guys.  Please keep the tips coming, especially regarding Panavision builds with Primo lenses.   Of course, I'll prep, but its nice to have some homework done.  If you have a single HC on the back of the camera as well as a 4-Pin XLR, what does the camera do?


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#9 brooksrobinson

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 01:06 PM

I don't know if it has changed, but when I flew it a year ago on a show, it only exported PSF. My monitor was okay with this, but several day-players had an issue with their Cinetronic monitors and had to go through a Decimator to see an image. Anton Bauer mount on the US Panavision version.

The eyepiece is a bit of a drag in handheld mode, as the Panavision bracket seems to have been stolen from another camera and not designed from scratch, and I found that in order to use it, my head was always tilted up, causing a sore neck after a while. Perhaps they have modified it since.

I forget what zoom lens we used primarily, but it was fairly heavy, causing the camera to be quite front heavy for handheld, even with two HC's and the deck on the back, and it placed a lot of weight on my forearms. I flew it mostly with one battery on the back for steadicam use. The camera was light, but we frequently did long takes, so the minimal weight was welcome.

There were some quirks with the camera that caused the AC's some frustration, but I don't remember anything that boned me too much as an operator.

Good luck with your job!

Brooks Robinson
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#10 Remi Tournois / SOC

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 10:00 PM

Thank you guys for all the feedback. I'll wait to see what Panavision has done to the body I will get...

Cheers


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#11 Kenny Brown SOC

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 10:45 PM

Hi

 

I've done a fair bit with this camera and it is generally pretty good.  Have to put the battery on the back with 19-90's etc.

 

Another thing to note - when you're flying the 4K recorder on the back is that it doesn't mount very securely to the camera and has about one millions pins of contact to the body.  So if you get an "I/O Error"  plastered across your monitor - it's a show stopper.  The recorder needs to be reseated and a bunch of menu items need to be reset as the camera seems to forget it ever had a 4K recorder.  I know this is AC stuff but it's good to be careful with the back of the camera.  For non steadicam stuff, we often used a long baseplate to stop the recorder ever hitting the ground (rocker plate, camera on a sand bag etc.  

 

Cheers

 

Kenny 


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#12 Aaron King

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 02:05 PM

I am finding the hard way that when doing low mode, the F55 doesn't seem to have a proper image flip. It only wants to do a 180 flip making left-right and right-left. This also becomes an issue with the Cinetronic Gen2 monitor because it doesn't have it's own image flip feature. Oh yeah, and the Production monitors don't have image flip either.
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#13 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 05:33 PM

Can you not just flip monitors? When I go low mode my monitor is already upside down and the ACs just flip the monitors at village. Most village monitor mounts allow for this. 


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#14 Aaron King

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 09:50 AM

When usually doing low mode, that's how I do it and production flips the image in their monitors. The problem on this current show is that the production monitors do not have image flip and they are all bracketed to an ellaborate desk system for the director making it "impossible" to physically rotate. We then decided to do the image invert on the camera and I would rotate my monitor. Once all was said and done and ready to go, I quickly realized that it's not a true image. Left-Right, Right-Left.
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#15 brooksrobinson

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 07:18 PM

Sorry for the old-school reply, but why not mount the camera upside down using a second dovetail plate on the cheeseplate on top of the camera like we did for the first three decades or so of steadicam operating? I've only done the poor-man's low-mode once in my 23 year career and don't anticipate doing it any time soon. Yes it is a tad slower to flip, but the image will be right side up depending on what you do with your monitor (I turn mine over when I flip the camera) and there are zero issues with video village. The rig feels more natural that way to me, and I've never had anyone question the amount of time it has taken. I don't have any idea if my SmallHD can flip the image but I don't see why I'd ever need that function...same with the camera's ability to flip the image. Good luck!

Brooks
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