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


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Old November 12th, 2010, 04:37 PM   #61
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Craig, I don't fundamentally disagree with your thoughts on the matter. I am putting forward an approach that involves more risk but the possible outcome is better clients, higher day rates & ultimately a better lifestyle at least the way I view it.

Most cameramen I talk to feel the best kind of work is the one where you get hired to do a shoot, hand over the goods at the end and get a cheque. A lot of that kind of work has disappeared as a result of the one man band approach to production but if you can get yourself up to the level with your gear that you get hired as a camera op rather than a jack of all trades with a camera that is truly capable of delivering digital cinema quality footage, you can go after market niches that few can. This obviously means having an outboard recording but many of here have a nanoFlash and will probably get a Ki Pro Mini as well. 2 to 3 years from now, you can bet there will be recorders out that will take full advantage of the what this camera can offer for a couple of grand. I see this camera as one you would want to keep for more than a few years.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; November 13th, 2010 at 12:56 AM. Reason: duplication in previous post
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Old November 12th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Those thinking or hoping that we may see a 4:4:4 Ki-Pro Mini had should consider just how much data is required to record 4:4:4.
That was me. I said PRORES 444, which is about half the data rate as HDCAM SR, or for those of us coming from Red (like me). 220mbit/sec. ~100gigs an hour. About 16 minutes on a 32gb card.

Considering dang near anybody who would care to do record in such a way are probably Red refugees, I don't think this is a big deal. A LOT of people out there are pretty familiar with how you handle data like that, we've been shooting Red for 2.5 years. I'm one of them.

A little much for a Ki Mini+cards at the moment, but not a big deal for KiPro which can take an SSD.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 06:33 AM   #63
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Doug, I saw in another thread where there was an inference to trading up from an EX3. Do you plan to use the F3 in place of an EX3 or in place of your ENG cams? I haven't had enough experience with shallow depth of field cameras to know if I would be able to throw out the DOF enough to do ENG style shooting with the F3. My thought was to have at least one EX cam on a shoot and the F3 for either A or B cam depending on the nature of gig.
I sold my EX3 more than a year ago and sold my EX1R lin July because I didn't need them anymore. The main camera I use on a daily basis is my PDW-F800 because it beats the EX cameras in every way you want to measure it expect for price. And then I still have my trusty EX1 in a back pack when I need to be mobile. Although I think the EX3 is the best all-around camera ever invented -- if you can only have one camera -- I didn't have a need for it in my camera line up anymore.

The F3 certainly won't replace the F800 and possibly not even the EX1. The F3 is going to be used to go in a totally different direction and work on some new projects that the F800 and EX1 aren't suited for. It may end up replacing the EX1, but not right away.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #64
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The camera F3 is a non starter for corporate work unless your client is Fortunate 100 client with money to burn on a project.
I disagree 100% with that statement. THIS IS the affordable and reliable cinema-style camera that the corporate guys I work with have all been waiting for. About $20K for a Super-35 camera and lenses, plus the very efficient and proven XDCAM workflow will be a perfect combination.

If you don't think that is going to appeal to in-house corporate producers and independent production companies that produce corporate video, then you're moving in different circles than I am. This camera is well within the budget of even small businesses and producers who will see the value of how it can change the whole look and feel of their work. This camera is a major game changer at the middle-level of production.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #65
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That was me. I said PRORES 444, which is about half the data rate as HDCAM SR, or for those of us coming from Red (like me). 220mbit/sec. ~100gigs an hour. About 16 minutes on a 32gb card.
I didn't say it was impossible, but is it practical or even necessary for many of the productions that will be shot with a small camera such as the F3? 4:2:2 ProRes HQ is around 220Mb/s, 4:4:4 ProRes is around 330Mb/s (HDCAM SR 4:4:4 video only is 440Mb/s or 880Mb/s depending on quality selection), so that equates to around 11 minutes on a 32Gb card. It is feasible, but you will need the absolute fastest CF cards (x600 or x666) you can lay your hands on to get any hope of reliable recordings. Then you need to consider the extra power requirements for encoding 4:4:4 and driving the dual link interface. Sure anything is possible, but for the many prospective F3 users that are not used to dealing with 4:4:4 and that simply don't need 4:4:4 it isn't just a case of slapping on an extra BNC cable and off you go. Backups and data wrangling will take longer. There is a much greater risk of corruption (the larger the file, the more chance there is of it spanning a corrupt disc sector).

For the many people that are looking at the F3 for corporate work the internal 35Mb/s 4:2:0 may well suffice just nicely, especially as the super clean camera output will minimise the stress on the codec. For broadcast 50Mb/s 4:2:2 should be enough, but being realistic 100Mb/s Mpeg 2 or regular ProRes 4:2:2 would be more than adequate.

There is an obsession with "bigger is better". While I fully agree that 4:4:4 is better than 4:2:2 in terms of image quality (assuming the source is good enough). You have to consider the whole workflow and convenience taking into account media costs, storage requirements, render times etc. For many a barrier to XDCAM EX and P2 based cameras has been the cost of media. With an decent 32Gb x633 CF card costing a minimum of $500 USD, for 4:4:4 your looking at over $41 per min for recording media which is ten times the cost per minute of SxS-1 media at 35Mb/s (approx $5 per min). Even180Mb/s 4:2:2 using CF in a NanoFlash or KiPro with a $95, 400x CF card is still only around $5 per minute.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #66
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4:4:4 is for visual effects work, for other material 4:2;2 can do the job. Most productions have never been shot using 4:4:4.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #67
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It's not the 444 that's such a big deal (personally, anyway) Its the access to unbaked log images that people will want, I think. Personally, ProRes HQ in LOG is what I'd want.

Just saying there's a whole market of people who have been using the Red that will be interested in working this way. The things you rightfully note as being overkill for some users are absolutely no big deal to others, and I'm not talking about huge TV shows on F35s.

In my neck of the woods, Red has been ruling for quite a while, but not without a lot of groaning about post. F3 will solve a good portion of that, not having to debayer later.

You are right though, 75% of users of this camera will just not go there. Its really a question of if the job is getting graded on good gear after, nobody will want to feed a DaVinci XDCAM when they could have had LOG for a $150 extra rental.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #68
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It will be interesting to see what the ramifications of the F3's, 63db noise figure using standard gammas and hypergammas, vs the 57db nf using S-Log.

S-Log on the F3 will give you almost an extra stop of dynamic range but doubles the amount of noise. In most grading situations noise is the defining factor as to how far you can push the image in post. At 57db the noise level is at the point where 10 bit recording brings little advantage as the noise is still around the minimum sample size. At 63db there will be a definite advantage to recording 10bit.

Time will tell, but I'm thinking that with this particular camera the best results will be obtained by using hypergammas and not S-Log.

The noise behaviour suggests that the true zero point noise level for the F3 is 57db, but that for "normal" use, due to the sensors very large dynamic range I suspect that Sony have chosen to reduced the gain by 6db, thus reducing both the noise and dynamic range. In effect the camera is operating with -6db gain switched in as default. However the sensor is sensitive enough to still give excellent low light performance despite the reduced gain and has more than enough dynamic range to still give the 11 stops that can be recorded with Hypergammas. This points to excellent low light performance as with +6db of gain switched in (with standard or hypergammas) your still going to have a 57db noise figure and at +9db gain it should have about the same amount of noise as an EX1 at 0db! Ah.. the delight of big pixels.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #69
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Pretending I could afford one. A couple things I don't like. I have been spoiled rotten by the EX3s form factor. Having a viewfinder at the back of the camera seems so yesterday to me and makes it seem handycam-ish, but then it has no built in microphone which gives it a cinema camera vibe...LOL Sounds like a board room full of suggestions all crammed into one camera.


Remember when Homer Simpson was allowed to design the car of tomorrow?



I would really like the option of removing rear mounted viewfinders.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #70
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I sold my EX3 more than a year ago and sold my EX1R lin July because I didn't need them anymore. The main camera I use on a daily basis is my PDW-F800 because it beats the EX cameras in every way you want to measure it expect for price. And then I still have my trusty EX1 in a back pack when I need to be mobile. Although I think the EX3 is the best all-around camera ever invented -- if you can only have one camera -- I didn't have a need for it in my camera line up anymore.

The F3 certainly won't replace the F800 and possibly not even the EX1. The F3 is going to be used to go in a totally different direction and work on some new projects that the F800 and EX1 aren't suited for. It may end up replacing the EX1, but not right away.
Doug, do you still have the Canon XF305?
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Old November 14th, 2010, 04:56 AM   #71
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I disagree 100% with that statement. THIS IS the affordable and reliable cinema-style camera that the corporate guys I work with have all been waiting for. About $20K for a Super-35 camera and lenses, plus the very efficient and proven XDCAM workflow will be a perfect combination.

If you don't think that is going to appeal to in-house corporate producers and independent production companies that produce corporate video, then you're moving in different circles than I am. This camera is well within the budget of even small businesses and producers who will see the value of how it can change the whole look and feel of their work. This camera is a major game changer at the middle-level of production.
I agree with this entirely, I'm looking forward to seeing pictures from it soon.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 05:51 AM   #72
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Doug, do you still have the Canon XF305?
Yes, but I haven't used it since I completed my training DVD on that camera.
Mastering the Canon XF305/300 Camcorders training DVD

It's a very nice camera in many ways, but I just don't have a need for it in my line up.
I suppose I'll end up selling it sometime this winter once I'm certain I really don't need it anymore.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 07:28 AM   #73
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Here's a more detailed review at FD Times

Film and Digital Times: Arri ALEXA Factory Tour

Ignore the Alexa reference it takes you to the F3
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Old November 14th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #74
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Brian, thanks for posting up Jon Fauer's follow up article on the F3. I am sure most here will read it but there are a few takeaways that either have been only touched on over the past week or are new things that some may be interrested in.

Here are a few things of note:

He and Sony are correcting the way they are referring to or rather comparing it to a 35mm film neg. In past references, it has been said it was similar to a "super 35" imager size. Now they are saying is is closer to the 35mm 3-perf motion picture format;

The PL mount is actually an adapter having electrical pass-through connections for some Cooke and ARRI lenses. Benefit of the PL mount being an adapter is there is an F3 mount closer to the sensor plane allowing one to use a myriad of lenses once you have the appropriate adapter. It will also allow Sony to manufacture inexpensive lenses with the sensor plane being so close to the start of the lens removing a lot of lens design obstacles. Most know this but worth mentioning as not much noise has been made of this;

Equivalent ISO around 800 has been reported but it may actually be higher;

Mention of a Sony branded dual-link HD-SDI recorders, the SRW-1 and the SRPC-1. Guessing the pricing will have that Hollywood taste to it. Hopefully I will be proven wrong when the new units are released in a year;

Color tables or paint box paradigm is selectable to either Hyper Gamma or S-Log as has been reported;

Records in the usual pixel ratio and frame rate HD flavors but also records in DVCAM PAL or NTSC in etiher film or broadcast framerates;

The slomo specs are still confusing on first glance but what you need to know is it will do up to 60 FPS in 720p;

The big point made here at the end of the article is "3D link" as a future option for stereo syncing of cameras with genlock & timecode as well as Metadata. You will be able to do 3D recording of both cameras to one card, if you wish.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #75
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Sony claim the native ISO to be 800 asa using Hypergammas and standard gammas and 1600 asa when using S-Log, which adds further weight to my -6db gain theory.

The sensor is much closer to 3 perf. It can't be Super 35 as this is anamorphic with a near 4:3 frame size.
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