Meeting the Designers and Planners
Shinagawa sits on the southeastern shore of Tokyo, just before you hit Tokyo Bay. It’s a collection of modern highrise office towers housing many of the area’s major corporations. The large building with the diamond patterned exoskeleton (above) is Sony’s Shinagawa Headquarters in Sony City. Peter Crithary, Sony’s Manager for large sensor cameras (below, far left), recently took me along on a whirlwind tour to meet the designers, planners and teams working on the latest Sony products.
Our first meeting was with Motoyuki Ohtake (below, left), Distinguished Engineer in the Optical Design Department of Sony’s Digital Imaging Group and the Sony still camera, and the lens teams responsible for the innovative, highly successful, and ever-increasing a7 line of cameras, a6300, E-mount lenses, and the new G Master series of Full Frame lenses.
Our next “class” was an advanced lesson in the theory, design, and construction of Sony’s FS5 camera. It was introduced in September 2015. It is a minimum-sized, handheld, lightweight (less than 2 lb) cinema verité style Super35 digital cine camera. Its revolutionary, electronic, internal, continuously variable ND adjusts from clear to 7 stops, as demonstrated below.
The FS5 camera uses the popular Sony E-mount—the same system used by the a7 Full Frame, a6300 APS-C, and legacy NEX still cameras. Its 18mm flange depth accepts the vast range of E-mount lenses, and pretty much any other lens out there, thanks to readily available lens mount adapters. The design team explained the modular design, magnesium body, and the process of making many clay models to shape the ergonomic handgrip with built-in zoom rocker and function switches (below).
Designing and Planning the Sony AXS-R7
Jin Yamashita and Yutaka Okahashi (above, l-r) taught the next class: Advanced AXS-R7 Recording. Introduced at NAB 2016, it’s the bigger brother of the AXS-R5 RAW Onboard Recorder for Sony F5 and F55 cameras. Jin explained, “The new AXS-R7 doubles 4K 16-bit RAW recording from 60 fps to 120 fps with the F55 camera. It has two card slots, is slightly larger than the R5, attaches more securely to the camera and is more robust.”
“It was developed in response to requests from our customers,” Peter Crithary added. “The docking attachment was strengthened to withstand more rugged production environments.”
The R7 can cache up to 30 seconds, which is helpful for wildlife and action camera work. It is all-metal, dust and water resistant. The cooling vents are on the side, sealed, and separate from the electronics. It comes with a V-mount battery attachment. It will require Sony F5 and F55 Firmware update V8.0.