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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
HD recording with a Super35 CMOS Sensor.


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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #121
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...David's comment about the Sony F3 sensor being specifically designed for digital cine might be one of the reasons for the big price difference between the AF-100 and the F3.

I still want to see a proper competitive test between these two cameras, to find out how much performance I might be missing at a $11,000 lower price. ( no way in h*ll I could afford a $16,000 camera body for my type of work )

Personally I think Sony has a tough hill to climb if they don't introduce a more affordable large sensor camera for the prosumer crowd.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #122
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I still want to see a proper competitive test between these two cameras, to find out how much performance I might be missing at a $11,000 lower price. ( no way in h*ll I could afford a $16,000 camera body for my type of work )
If your work is as such it doesn't make fiscal sense at 16K, and you've been using EX1s and such happily, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 11K is not going to be worth it, even if the F3 bests the AF100 with noise levels and latitude, which I suspect it will. Sony is betting on this sensor, more or less, from what I can tell. Panasonic has a history of tuning cameras for higher noise/lower cost, which has actually worked very well in the market they've pursued.

One other note for those considering this for event work with that upcoming zoom Sony's talking about: That zoom is going to be at best an F4 lens to make weight and price work. That essentially puts it back in EX1 territory for how it's going to behave where light is scarce, at best. There's no free rides. You want to shoot F2 with a big 'ole sensor, you have to pay with either weight or money (probably both), or give up zoom. Not to mention how difficult focus is going to be. Think twice about that, Canons might be a better option that way, believe it or not. Or mitigate with an AF100s sensor size.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #123
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For the GH-1 ( and for the new GH-2 ) Panasonic used pixel-binning techniques to reduce the true res of the sensor, which is the main reason why the GH-1 does not suffer the same degree of moire and aliasing artifacts as the Canon DSLRs do.
Yes, and it's pretty certain the AF101 will also have to pixel bin. Because of the optical low-pass filter, this won't give the aliasing here that the sensor gives in video mode in a still camera - the implication of an OLPF is it means the camera then becomes unsuitable for stills use. Not a problem in the AF101, but obviously would be in a GH-1 !

But there's no getting away from the fact that pixel-binning means a high percentage of the photosites go unused - hence the sensitivity won't be what you initially expect from such a large sensor. As the link you post says, the Sony sensor seems to have fewer, larger photosites - though more than adequate for HD video.
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I've heard that the native ISO of the AF-100 sensor is in the 400-640 range, which means that it should compare fairly well against the F3. ( I expect the F3 to have better image latitude at high ISO, but the proof will be in the pudding )
ISO ratings don't really tell you a lot by themselves, as there is no standard for the noise level they get referred to. Hence a given ISO rating for a camera can be quite arbitrary - it all depends what you define as the nominal noise level of the camera.

Early reports seem to indicate an extremely low nominal noise level for the F3. This is important if the high potential advantages of 10 bit recording and S-log are to make any sense. It will be interesting to see if this can be achieved whilst still maintaining a decent ISO figure.

As you say, the penalty will obviously be price. But compare it with decent 2/3" cameras such as Panasonics HPX3700, or Sonys PDW700, and it may be seen as a steal for a lot of work such as budget TV drama, otherwise made on 2/3" cameras.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #124
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I thought the Epic was around $28K, although perhaps a RED One part exchange could be part of the $19.5K equation.

Certainly the Sony price does seem uncompetitive in the current market, which seems to have embraced the flawed DSLRs rather than even the RED One. Although, as has been pointed out there are market sectors in which the F3 has potential and not everyone wants to shoot RAW.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #125
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Interesting that the sensor can actually do 1080 60p... I'm surprised that they don'y all that for external recording. As always I suppose proof is in the images and fingers crossed Sony listen to all the moans and have the cam out for around 11K.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #126
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I thought the Epic was around $28K, although perhaps a RED One part exchange could be part of the $19.5K equation.
The vast majority of people first getting the Epics will be Stage 2 people, who will be getting at $19.5k. That's with a lot of AKS to make the body usable at that price.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 07:04 PM   #127
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IMHO.... too close to the specs of the AF100... too close to the price of RED. Its an unfair generalization, but I think that's what a lot of people will see when they either buy the AF100 or a RED instead of this. Too bad though, I would have bitten at the $10k mark.... maybe. The no-overcrank would make me hesitate.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #128
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Specs of the F3 sound so awesome... too bad none of the people who waited patiently for the news will ever own one.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #129
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We will have to wait and see what Final street price is and how well this Camera performs but I am very disapointed in the fact that you will need to buy a software upgrade for dual link HD-SDI to do 1080p 60 overcrank (who knows what crazy sum of $$ they may charge for that feature as it opens up S-LOG as well) It really needs to be able to shoot 120fps and HDRx for this price...as if they really are trying to compete with RED and it is not even 3K at least... I was thinking my next step is going to be a RED but than heard the rumors of this beast then announcment fizzled on features and specs for the price... Now ease of use compared to RED RAW maybe a year or two ago could have been an argument but now RED RAW has very good workflows in place so tough call... I will continue to use EX and patiently await footage and reviews of this and hoepfully Sony proves us all wrong somehow or they announce another CAM with the features/specs and price we all were hoping for. If I am going to drop 16- 23k though it better be in direct competition with the competition otherwise I drop the additional 10k and get the real deal or jump on the lower end till something better comes along as by 2012 I should be able to shoot the end of the world on a New Mega Epic sensor at 480fps in 5k :)
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Old November 10th, 2010, 02:39 AM   #130
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The vast majority of people first getting the Epics will be Stage 2 people, who will be getting at $19.5k. That's with a lot of AKS to make the body usable at that price.
I suspected that could be a factor in how you came up with the figure.

I don't think Sony have given detailed specs for the sensor, so you can't really tell if it's 4k, 3k or 2k. In the past, Sony have gone with their RGB stripe design on their professional single sensor video cameras, rather than a Bayer design.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 06:05 AM   #131
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Great points Jason. At that price I would expect at least 120fps if not higher. Even the Scarlet will be 120fps and burst to 150fps. And this should be out similar time.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 06:43 AM   #132
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Here's some comment on the F3.

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Old November 10th, 2010, 08:41 AM   #133
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Some light has been shed on the intended use and market of the F3 by Sony's workflow diagram. It is very clear indeed that this is aimed at serious filmmakers who are using big gear like the F35 alongside it. In the diagram the 35Mb/s SxS footage is designed to be used as proxy files with a burned in LUT for offline editing, and isn't intended at all as the main recording method.

This makes much more sense now. The camera was designed to be used alongside cameras like the F35, companies that already use HDCAM SR, and rental houses. This is made clearer by one of the marketing managers at Sony who said "We want every SRW-9000 renter to own this camera," and "If you have a first-unit F35 or SRW-9000, this would be a perfect second camera." They are also developing cards for the system that will record SR directly.

I think in this case the people who are complaining about the price are trying to fit what they think the intended market for this camera should be to themselves, while in reality Sony is intending this for a totally different market altogether. A market that thinks 15k is pocket change for a cheap second camera. With 63db S/N ratio that makes it far less noisy than even a PDW-500. With S-log capture outputted at 10-bit 4:2:2 the grading capabilities of it will be absolutely immense.

Remember, we're talking about a second camera here for HDCAM SR shoots, that perhaps could be repurposed for indie use by some who have money, and *not* an indie camera in the first instance. You *could* record to the SxS media as your main recording, but that isn't how the camera was intended to be used.

I can further understand it too because I know companies like the BBC who have been shooting on the SRW-9000 have been using cameras like the EX1 and EX3 as a camera for specialist instances, but don't like using them due to the limitations of matching cameras and the compression. So the F3 is probably a camera that they could use very well (and may even have asked Sony for) as it will integrate seamlessly into the HDCAM SR workflow and camera capabilities. Something that the AF101 cannot do due to the lack of dual link SDI, and lack of LUT output abilities etc.

I also still think that Sony will announce a low cost camera very soon to properly compete with the AF100. Sony will be well aware that sales of the EX line will drop as a result of it and will have to compete with their own product. I'm even more convinced due to the mysterious thing under the cloth in the F3 teaser photo.

Mark my words, there'll be a Sony version of Apple's "One more thing" moment quite soon. It's too predictable (in a good way).
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Old November 10th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #134
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Spot on Simon.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 09:05 AM   #135
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I don't get the comparison between the F3 and the AF100. The F3 is better compared to the F35 or Alexa. For the money you get a camera that will work with 35mm cine glass, the AF100's 4/3" sensor kills off that option. The F3 supports Cooke/i and Arri LDS, no other camera at anything like this pricepoint does that.
The F3 will be huge for rental houses. The one affordable body will work with a large range of choices in lenses at various pricepoints. Out of the box it records to an acceptable codec that's easily handled on average computers. You want something better, a considerable range of recording options will be available.
It is too early to tell what the PQ of the F3 will be, I doubt it'll be a dog though. The bigger issue through is the flexibility of the camera and how easy it will be to quickly get a ROI.
This camera should also do very well with film schools, it has everything any of the more expensive cameras has. Students get to learn about all of it with a camera that doesn't have to have a zillion bits hung off it and a camera that can be repaired in any Sony authorised repair centre. That's a big feature for a rental house as well if they're outside the USA.
I can't say for certain just yet but I'd expect the F3 to rent for much the same money as the AF100. The lack of flexibility with the AF100 means less rentals, more time to recover the capital investment and hence a higher daily rate to try to recoup investment.
Sony have done their homework and built a camera to service a market and priced it aggressively. Perhaps not as aggressively as some would like but they have not made the mistake Panasonic have of reducing functionality and price to the point where roles for the camera are limited. To the best of my knowledge a set of 4/3" matched prime lenses does not exist anywhere. A set of 35mm primes can be rented in most cities, they are a staple, they are tough, they are repairable, they simply work and there's quite a range of quality at matching prices.
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