Sony has upgraded its flagship cinema camera from 6K to one with a 8.6K sensor plus internal X-OCN recording and ability to interchange sensors between models.
The Sony Venice 2 which ships from February has the option for two different sensors: the newly developed full-frame 8.6K sensor or the original 6K one. The Venice 2 also inherits features from the original camera including color science, Dual Base ISO and 8-stops of built-in ND filters.
Paired with a newly-developed 8.6K (8640 x 5760) full-frame CMOS sensor, the Venice 2 offers 16 stops of total latitude. It claims a unique dual base ISO of 800/3200 “which allows filmmakers to capture incredibly clean, film-like images under a wide range of lighting conditions.”
Claudio Miranda ASC, ACC used the original Venice on Top Gun: Maverick and tested the Venice 2 against the original in the pitch darkness of the California desert. He offered this assessment:
"The 3200 ASA is incredible. I think how clean it is – is definitely a big deal," said Miranda. "In the film, there is still fidelity in the shadows, and the wide shots are pretty spectacular. There were no film lights on this shoot at all. There were just headlights of the car, the fire, and that was the point. It was to go to the middle of nowhere and put a big fire and see how far the new sensor could light up the mountain, without noise."
Rob Hardy, BSC, also commented: “I'm used to using the original Venice and I would say, I am a pretty much an advocate of that camera. The opportunity to use Venice 2 is actually a really fantastic one. This is the first time I've ever used that larger sensor and we were lucky enough to get some anamorphic lenses that were set for the full cinematic effect and that really utilized that whole sensor. The ISOs have been bumped up so that enables me to shoot at a higher speed in the low light levels which is something what wasn’t really an option before, and that’s the big gain for me.”
Sony says with the 8.6K sensor providing ample oversampling, images will benefit from less noise and enriched information in a 2K or 4K production. It also means the camera is well suited for VR, in camera VFX and Virtual Production setups.
Its chassis adds the unique feature to interchange the image sensor block. The camera can be used with the 8.6K sensor as well as the original 6K sensor block. The camera body automatically recognizes the change and will start-up without any firmware exchanges or re-installs, adding more flexibility on-site. The original 6K sensor will allow higher frame rates.
The camera body uses high-speed 6.6 Gbps AXS card AXS-A1TS66 for 8K 60p recording. Existing AXS Memory Card Readers including AXS-AR3 via Thunderbolt 3 interface are compatible with the new media.
Additionally, the Venice 2 user interface is the same as the original Venice but incorporates improvements to make it easier and even more intuitive to use.
The Venice 2 with 8.6K image sensor is scheduled to start shipping in February 2022 and the pre-installed 6K image sensor in March 2022. In addition, a new Extension System for Venice 2 8K is planned to be released by early 2023.
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