Sony HDWF900R CineAlta 24P HDCAM Camcorder

Sony Updated: 2008-05-07 RSS
Sony HDWF900R CineAlta 24P HDCAM Camcorder

The highly respected HDW-F900 camcorder has now been refined into the next-generation HDW-F900R, offering a variety of further enhanced functionalities. The HDW-F900R camcorder records images in accordance with the CIF (Common Image Format) standard, which specifies a sampling structure of 1920 x 1080 active pixels (horizontal x vertical). Plus, as well as recording at 24P, the HDW-F900R camcorder is switchable to record at 25P, 29.97P progressive scan, and also at 50 or 59.94 Hz interlaced scan.The camcorder also provides a comprehensive range of features for creative shooting such as enhanced gamma features and colorimetry controls.Plus, the design of the HDW-F900R is highly compact and lightweight, giving users higher levels of mobility and comfort when shooting.To further enhance the creative and operational versatility of the camcorder, a wide range of optional accessories are available. These include a picture cache board, a 2-3 Pull-down and down converter board, and a slow-shutter board.In combination with its renowned 24P capability and attractive cost efficiency, all of these great functionalities make the HDW-F900R the perfect solution for shooting television series , documentaries, commercials, as well as motion pictures.


The Art of Image Making: The progressive scan CCD sensor at the heart of the HDW-F900R marks a significant advance in Sony HAD CCD technology. It is a development that now makes possible image capture over a range of frame rates, and ensures that their quality is at the highest possible level. This progressive scan CCD sensor provides a sensitivity of f10 at 2,000 lux (at 59.94i) providing subjectively noise and grain-free pictures. At 24 fps, with a 1/48-second shutter speed (equivalent to a 180º film camera shutter setting), the exposure index of the HDW-F900R is approximately equivalent to 300 ISO*. It allows the acquisition of gain-free imagery in deeply shadowed areas of a scene. Superb CCD highlight-handling greatly extends the Exposure Latitude of the camera allowing directors the dramatic freedom to shoot and capture extreme highlights in otherwise low-key scenes.

The Mastery of Signal Processing: Picture Tonal Reproduction is substantially enriched by the adoption of an advanced CCD with a wide dynamic range and a 12-bit A/D converter that is then followed by powerful, high-speed, Advanced Digital Signal Processing (ADSP). ADSP allows the active manipulation of many picture parameters to expand the use of in-camera effects.

New Ergonomics: As part of Sony's continuous efforts to make the design of our camcorders to be user-friendly and practical, stylish and appealing, The design of the new HDW-F900R has been greatly refined to increase the comfort and versatility. One of the most significant features in the HDW-F900R design is the camcorder's compact size - the length of the camera body is 20% shorter compared to the previous model. In addition to its compact size, the HDW-F900R provides HD-SDI output directly from the camera body, moving from analog outputs of the preceding model. The more compact nature of the camcorder makes it extremely easy and flexible to use when shooting in space-constrained locations, such as in a car. The HDW-F900R is also extremely lightweight - 2.6 kg lighter than the previous model. Even with the viewfinder, battery, cassette, microphone, and a small variable or fixed-focal length lens, the total weight is only approximately 5.4 kg (12 lb). The streamlined design inherits the superb weight distribution and balance from the previous model, yet provides much higher mobility, making the camcorder particularly suitable for hand-held shots. It also sits comfortably on the shoulder and can be carried with minimum fatigue. The HDW-F900R incorporates a B-4 lens mount that facilitates quick lens replacement, which is also reinforced to support heavy lenses. All switches, meters, and indicators are positioned in the most logical places for optimum functionality and ease of use. It can be readily mounted on a Steadicam™ or mounted on a tripod, geared-head, or motion-control system. This compact and lightweight camera opens new possibilities for creative camera work, while delivering uncompromising picture quality.

Internal Light System: A two-pin socket provides up to 50 watts of power from the attached lithium-ion battery. This can be used to power a variety of ancillary devices, including a front-light that can be mounted on the upper part of the handle. The power can be switched on and off manually or, when in Auto mode, it can be set to be synchronized with the operation of the Record button.

Cassette loading: The cassette loading is fast, simple, and reliable. It takes less than 5 seconds* for cassette change.

Optical Filter Wheels: For the optical picture treatment, two independent filter wheels (each with four filter positions) are provided, one with for Neutral Density (ND) and one with Color Correction (CC) filters are installed.

Extended Clear Scan: The Extended Clear Scan function is particularly useful when shooting scenes that contain computer or TV screens as it minimize the horizontal bars that can appear. The ECS shutter speed is continuously variable. When the camera is operated at 24P with a 1/48-second shutter speed, it exactly emulates the motion blur of a film camera operating at 24 fps with a 180º shutter.

Safety Zone Marker: To allow for individual production requirements, the HDW-F900R provides a Safety Zone Marker user adjustable for any aspect ratio
Balanced Audio Inputs: The HDW-F900R is equipped with a range of balanced audio interfaces; an analog 5-pin XLR connector for stereo audio output, two 3-pin XLR connectors with selectable MIC/Line level input, and the front microphone input. The two 3-pin XLR connectors can also be switched to accept four channels of AES/EBU digital audio input, establishing a highly functional digital EFP audio system using the Sony DMX-P01 Digital Portable Mixer.

Dual HD-SDI Outputs: In response to the strong requirements for convenient and high-quality on-set monitoring, two HD-SDI outputs have been incorporated into the HDW-F900R camera body as standard. This is a great enhancement to the previous model, which offered HD-SDI output only through the use of an external camera adaptor.

Recording on HDCAM SR: The HDW-F950R can feed camera output signals via its HD-SDI connector for recording on external VTRs such as Sony SRW-1 HDCAM-SR portable recorders.

LCD Status Panel and Diagnostic System: All the main operational controls and switches are located on the left-hand side of the camcorder. The LCD panel is on the same side, and shows a wide range of status and diagnostic displays such as Tape Remaining, Battery Level, Audio Levels, etc.

Assignable Function Buttons: You can assign Viewfinder Return, Record, and other functions to this switch.

Electronic Shutter: The electronic shutter helps in capturing clear images of fast-moving objects by selectively minimizing motion blur.

Adjustable Shoulder Pad: The position of the shoulder pad on the HDW-F900R can be easily adjusted - both forwards and backwards - without using a screwdriver. This ensures the operator can always attain a comfortable and well-balanced camera position, even when docked with a range of lenses.

Mic Volume Protection: A protection cover located under the volume knob of the front microphone is provided to prevent operators from accidentally changing the volume.

Contrast Range: The HDW-F900R can handle a very impressive contrast range. For the most challenging of light settings and associated scene conditions, several useful operational features are available that allow image optimization in real-time to help capture the desired mood of a shot. The first of these important functions is RGB Gamma Balance. By changing gamma balance it is possible to change the color balance of the mid-tones without affecting black and white balance. The second feature, Black Gamma allows fine adjustment of tonal reproduction in the shadows (black) to be made. This can help to bring out details from the dark parts of the picture without affecting mid-tones and with the absolute black level remaining unchanged. It is particularly helpful for dark scenes when the black has to stay black, but there is a requirement to pull out more details. The range of creative possibilities offered by modifying RGB Gamma Balance and changing Black Gamma is quite inspiring and, when mastered by a cinematographer, offers a great advantage in achieving a desired 'look'.

Extended Gamma Features: Hyper Gamma//User Gamma Flexibility

Colorimetry: The HDW-F900R produces pictures with astonishing color reproduction accuracy. Its Multi Matrix function also offers unique possibilities for creative intervention by allowing selective color enhancement or alteration. Multi Matrix allows a particular color to be selected and its hue changed over a range of approximately 20 degrees. The level of saturation can also be modified. This permits some very interesting "in camera" effects - similar to the secondary color correction normally reserved for post production special effects work - and is performed at the full bit depth.

Picture Sharpness: The HDW-F900R produces extremely delicate pictures with fine detail. The CCDs, each with 2.2 million pixels, faithfully capture images with natural sharpness. The HDW-F900R also incorporates some new and innovative image enhancement functions, allowing very precise control of the way the picture texture and edges are represented. The first of these new features is Soft Focus. The Soft Focus adjustment is particularly convenient for those who find conventional digital images to be too sharp and allows cinematic pictures to be created. In concert with optical filtration, this additional digital filtration can add a new creative extension to the treatment of image softness - and it can be optimized in real-time on the shoot. The second feature, Adaptive Detail Control (also known as Knee Aperture), allows the image detail enhancement in the highlight areas to look more natural. The third featureis Skin Tone Detail. This controls the detail level of objects with specific color tonality. It is particularly useful when shooting talents with the intent to creatively alter and soften the texture of their facial appearance while the remainder of the scene retains its full crispness. Within selected areas, details can be enhanced as well as softened. This can be a powerful imaging tool not available in film shooting. Three sets of such correction parameters can be applied simultaneously.

Picture Stability: By its very nature any digital or video camera delivers rock steady pictures. The HDW-F900R is no exception. The picture stability is particularly relevant for productions incorporating multi-layered compositing special effects. Image weave, compounded by noise, is the enemy of all compression algorithms. The emergence of highly compressed MPEG-based delivery systems, including DVD and digital transmission using multiple GOPs (Group of Pictures) calls for a high level of picture stability to maintain picture quality - and digital acquisition is a major boon.

Texture: Because of the very good signal to noise ratio performance, the HDW-F900R delivers subjectively noiseless and grain-free pictures having the finest, most delicate and almost transparent texture. This can exploit the use of subtle cosmetics on the human face, as well as superb reproduction of fine-textured materials. This is extremely beneficial in commercial production. It is also particularly useful when working on productions that require multi-layering and blue-screen effects. The separation between useful information and unwanted grain or noise is straightforward and delivers accurate and spectacular results.

Stop Motion and Time Lapse: With the HKDW-703 Picture Cache Board equipped, the HDW-F900R offers a frame-by-frame recording capability that provides stop-motion and time-lapse modes of operation in-camera. This offers new and innovative creative opportunities in both animation and model shooting. *The tape requires to be pre-striped on its LTC (at the desired frame/field rate) by the HDW-F900R that will be used in the actual shooting.

Down Converter Board: The HKDW-702 Down Converter Board* provides down-converted standard-definition (SD) output from the 1080/59.94i or 1080/50i HD signal with four-channel embedded audio. This makes it possible to monitor recording on-set using a conventional SD-based monitor. SD-SDI or analog composite can be selected via the camcorder's set-up menu.

Picture Cache Board: The HKDW-703 Picture Cache Board, which was originally developed for the HDW-750 series camcorders, is now compatible with the HDW-F900R. It provides up to eight seconds of loop recording using solid state memory. Thus, when the REC start button is pressed, everything that happened up to eight seconds before that moment can be recorded to tape. In addition, time-lapse and frame-by-frame recording capabilities, known as the interval recording function, can be provided by this option board.

2-3 Pulldown Converter Board: the HKDW-902R* is also available, which down-converts 1080/23.98P HD signals to SD signals via 2-3 pull-down circuitry. Thus, it allows on-set SD monitoring of 1080/23.98P signals on a conventional NTSC monitor. This board also enables SD output to the camcorder's viewfinder or a monitor connected to the camcorder during 23.98P recording. With this function, users can check images on the viewfinder or monitor without the flickers that usually occur from 23.98P recording. For the down-converted SD signal, SD-SDI or analog composite can be selected via the camcorder's set-up menu.

Slow Shutter/Image Inverter Board: The HKDW-905R Slow Shutter and Image Inverter Board** powerfully enhances the operational and creative versatility of the HDW-F900R camcorder. With the HKDW-905R equipped, the camcorder can slow its shutter speed down to a 64-frame period*. During such a long frame period, electrical charges accumulate on the CCDs, dramatically increasing sensitivity. This helps camera operators to shoot in extremely dark environments. In addition, because more picture blur occurs when shutter speed is reduced, the HKDW-905R allows operators to produce creative pictures when shooting moving objects, through the intentional use of blurred images. The image-inversion function of the HKDW-905R board also allows the use of a variety of image-inverting lenses, the Anamorphic Lens Adaptor, and cinema lenses with 2/3-inch adaptors. *The slow-shutter function and the image-inversion function cannot be used simultaneously. The shutter speed can be adjusted to a 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 16-, 32-, or 64-frame period.