The Sony VENICE 2 – Highly Anticipated, Full-Frame Follow-UpBy Bokeh Rentals | December 7th, 2021
After decades of DSLR production, Sony made a splash with the VENICE cine camera back in early 2017. The original VENICE was lauded for its incredible color accuracy and built-in flexibility for filmmakers.
And five years later, the full-frame professional camera body finally has a follow-up in the Sony VENICE 2. The Sony VENICE 2 comes in two versions: Either a 6k or 8.6k (usually simplified to “8k”) sensor.
Interestingly, the sensors are built as interchangeable “sensor blocks”. Users can swap out their 6k sensor with the 8k, or even slide in a sensor block from the 2017 VENICE without any additional firmware. In the moment, some view this as the digital equivalent to swapping out different film stocks. Long-term, however, the interchangeable image sensor is a signal that Sony is future-proofing its products and looking to build longstanding relationships with cinematographers; instead of paying full-price for the VENICE 2, users of the original VENICE only need to purchase the new VENICE 2 sensor.
[A caveat: The original VENICE sensor can be put on either VENICE 2 model, the two VENICE 2 sensors are interchangeable, and the VENICE 2 6k and original VENICE sensors are swappable—the only limitation is that the VENICE 2 8k sensor cannot be placed onto the original VENICE body.]
As a full-frame shooter, the VENICE 2 has a lot of image flexibility for filmmakers, including anamorphic formats with the use of anamorphic lenses and additional firmware. Even if full-frame delivery isn’t a particular fascination for some filmmakers, having full-frame capabilities can open creative opportunities for wider frame capture and better low-light performance.
The VENICE 2 can shoot frame rates up to 120fps at 4k and 90fps at 6k on the 6k sensor. On the 8k sensor, it can capture 60fps at 8.2k and 90fps and 5.8k. When the 6k sensor is used in combination with a purchasable anamorphic license, it can shoot up to 75fps at 4k 4:3 and 72fps at 4k 6:5.
Following off the successful innovation of the VENICE, the new VENICE 2 will also have dual base ISO. The 8k sensor has Base ISO3200 and Base ISO800, and the 6k sensor has Base ISO500 and Base ISO2500. This means that at the two base ISOs, the noise levels are nearly identical—a massive improvement in capability from the standard ISO system of DSLRs. At the end of the day, the dual Base ISO system give the VENICE 2 excellent low light capabilities. This, on top of a 15+/16+ stops of dynamic range, gives the VENICE 2 sublime low light performance suited for digital cinema.
The VENICE 2 allows internal recording of X-OCN or 4K ProRes footage onto AXS memory cards—a considerable workflow upgrade, as it allows file formats to better retain dynamic range and color capture. Additionally, the X-OCN accommodation is more practical for filmmakers, as it has faster file transfers and smaller file sizes. Beyond the technical pluses, internal recording with dual AXS slots cuts down on any extraneous cables and added weight the camera would take on, as unwieldy form factor was a complaint noted by users of the original VENICE.
Because Sony prides itself on color capture, the Sony VENICE 2 can apply 4K or HD LUTs to the monitor output. A remarkable convenience, you can also import LUTs, CDLs, and ART files to the VENICE over a WiFi or Ethernet connection without removing any SD cards. CDLs can even be applied via a web interface and embedded in clip metadata.
The Sony VENICE 2 already has some glowing reviews from legendary cinematographer on its site, including Claudio Miranda ASC, AIC and Rob Hardy, BSC, ASC. It’s among the most anticipated cameras to be released and plenty of gorgeous demo footage is being circulated online, such as this beautiful, oceanside promo shot by Claudio Miranda:
Rental houses are scooping up the VENICE 2 in response to its high demand, especially after the massively successful VENICE release.
The VENICE 2 main unit costs $54,270 for the 6k sensor and $59,500 for the 8k sensor. Bad news for all the smart shoppers out there—Sony confirmed that the price of the VENICE 1 will not be reduced alongside the VENICE 2 release, as some have hoped. However, anyone with the original VENICE can buy a VENICE 2 6k sensor block and install it onto their VENICE body.
The 8.6k VENICE 2 is shipping in February 2022 and the 6k VENICE 2 model will be following in March.
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