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Sony to develop Super-35mm pro camcorder

Sony Corporation announced today that it is developing a new type of E-mount interchangeable lens camcorder for professional use that is equipped with a Super-35mm equivalent large format CMOS sensor. This new addition to Sony’s professional “NXCAM” line will be available in the middle of 2011.

Editor’s Note: Super-35mm is not full frame 35mm. The 35mm movie format is what we call half-frame in still photography, or a little over 18 x 24mm – a size very close to the nominal 16 x 24mm of the DT/DX format used by Sony for APS-C sensors. Sony may decide to use a normal APS-C sensor for this, or to use a true 16:9 ratio for HD Video. However, Super-35mm normally means a squarer image format. No doubt internet forums will be full of folk claiming that Sony has gone full frame frame on the E-mount just like they said, etc etc – well, that is not the case. Super-35mm does not mean full frame (technically, double frame 35mm).

But this sensor may be significantly larger than existing APS-C, at a possible 25 x 18.5mm rather than 23.5 x 15.5mm or thereabouts (please note that one APS-C sensor is already quoted as being 16 x 24mm). Alpha A-mount lenses will of course cover this easily; E-mount NEX lenses may have been designed to do so from the start, though it may be pushing it to expect corner quality unless OS is disabled. By definition, all OS-type lenses must have a larger circle of coverage than the format they are designed for – often considerably larger. Turning off OS would enable any properly designed OS lens to cover a bigger sensor without any corner vignetting or loss of sharpness.

Remember where you read this first – 17.30hrs on November 17th! – DK
Here is the rest of Sony’s release:

Already a key player in the 35mm digital cinematography business with the highly acclaimed “CineAlta” F35 and SRW-9000PL for high-end digital cinema production, Sony has just strengthened its lineup in this category with the recent PMW-F3 announcement. In addition to this, with this new “NXCAM” HD camcorder now (still under development), Sony looks to further strengthen its position in the entry-level segment by providing an affordable yet highly capable professional solution for many applications including independent film, music video and corporate communications all looking for the cinematic look.

This “NXCAM” HD camcorder under development will be equipped with a Super-35mm equivalent sensor, a widely used film stock size in the film industry that is perfectly designed for capturing motion picture. This new sensor will have extraordinary performance in terms of picture quality and sensitivity, and is able to create rich “Bokeh” effect (beautifully defocused image) that is perfect for artistic story-telling in motion picture.

Thanks to the adoption of the E-mount interchangeable lens system that is identical to the “α” series NEX-5, 3 and “Handycam” NEX-VG10, the E-mount lenses will be compatible with this new professional camcorder. In addition, a very short flange back distance (the distance between lens mount surface and sensor surface) let various “α” A-mount lenses be mounted via a mount adaptor (LA-EA1). Furthermore, it is also possible to attach many other lenses using third-party mount adaptors*1. With such flexibility, users will be able to experiment with various creative expressions by exploiting the characteristics of different optics.
* 1: Not all types of adaptors and lenses are guaranteed.

The recording format for this new HD camcorder will be AVCHD, a widely supported format by many non-linear editing software vendors and the same format as HXR-NX5 “NXCAM” camcorder. There is also a plan to implement 1080p (60p / 30p / 24p*2 or 50p / 25p) recording modes (MPEG4-AVC/H.264 compression will be used for these modes.)
*2: 59.94p / 29.97p / 23.98p respectively

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