Sony F5 Hacked, Can Shoot 4k Internally

The Sony PMW-F5 has just been hacked to shoot internal 4k XAVC video. This is big news, of course, because one of the biggest differences between the F5 and the more expensive (almost twice as much!) F55 was the ability to shoot 4k internally, without needing to purchase a separate AXS-R5 4k recorder. There has always been speculation that the F5 was capable of internal 4k, and this new discovery proves both that it’s capable, and that Sony has intentionally disabled the functionality of the F5. See cinematographer Paul Ream’s short Vine video below to see the 4k resolution readout on the F5 screen.

Ream, who discovered the hack, goes on to explain the process of hacking the camera on the ExtraShot podcast here. Start listening around 19 minutes to jump straight to his explanation, which is remarkable in that he does not change the firmware nor tweak the physical hardware of the camera in any way. Instead, he merely edits the camera settings via a text editor on his computer.

Of course, we’ll need to wait and see if others can replicate his results, as well as wait for Sony’s response. The company may choose to not respond at all, much like Canon and the Magic Lantern firmware hacks on their DSLRs, but the debate will continue about the ethics of artificially limiting a camera’s capabilities only to sell more higher-end models and accessories. Futhermore, if there’s enough backlash over this discovery, Sony may choose to update the F5 firmware to allow internal 4k, essentially making the F55 obsolete (at least for the price) and alienating F55 owners who’ve already made the purchase. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out.

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