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


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Old November 10th, 2010, 12:44 AM   #16
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I think you are right. All these sneak peaks and "oh you are gonna love this" announcements and they weren't even talking to us.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 04:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
I'm concerned that the F3 sounds like it is PL mount only which I think means it won't accept most SLR lenses like my Nikons.

Anyone know more about this?
No, it's not PL only, see the Sony site: Sony : PMW-F3K (PMWF3K) : Features : United Kingdom
Quote:
PL Mount Adapter for compatibility with 35mm Cine Lenses
The PMW-F3K is supplied with a PL Mount Adapter to provide immediate compatibility with the huge range of filmic 35mm lenses, including prime, digital cinematography and even still lenses. There are also hot shoe electric interfaces for Cooke/i and ARRI LDS.

Sony F3 Original Mount for Zoom Lens
Sony plan to introduce a range of zoom lenses directly compatible with the F3 mount. More details will be revealed shortly. Zoom lens compatibility expands the operational flexibility of the F3 so it can be used for almost any application.
Natively, it's an F3 mount, but comes with an adaptor for PL compatability.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 06:27 AM   #18
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I've used it for about a month.
It's quite a sexy, new concept, little camera.
It's a lot of fun, and produces beautiful images, but is basically a consumer cam and is missing a lot of features an EX user might feel pretty naked without.
It's got the EX1r VF, and a similar HD LCD, but no focusing aids- peaking, focus assist image zoom, etc.
So, with the shallow DOF it's a job to keep it on target.
The lenses are actually DSLR camera lenses- AE, AF is good, but zoom is strictly manual.
The sensor is optomized for dual use (video/still), so moire is an issue for video.
Has a very good onboard mic for a cam in this price range.
IMO, it's a good value for the $$$, and an easy way to get your feet wet re large sensor shooting.
I'm guessing that Sony will yet unveil a bigger APC cam- maybe NX sized- with more pro features, and in the $6-$7K price range. Something between the VG10 and the F3K.
We'll see...
Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying the VG10.
Also, Sony is supposed to be coming out with several new E series lenses for this camera in 2011.
Lack of things such as XLR inputs aren't so much of a problem as you'd use it as a visuals only camera.

I guess everything missing is only stuff that would be missing from a DSLR anyway. Of more concern is the moire patterning.

I think the moire problem is the real killer here. I always thought Sony would solve this with a proper video camera but apparently not.

Still tempted. Just not as tempted as I was before.
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Last edited by Marcus Durham; November 10th, 2010 at 07:08 AM.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #19
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I'm not convinced the F3 will successfully compete against the RED (or Alexia?). Keep in mind Dual Link is not yet implemented either. It records to 35mbps 4:2:0 so of course you'll need your attachment. Once you add things for it to compete it may start to lose it's "ease of setup" advantages.

Given the features vs price, I'm not sure what they'd strip off to bring to within the EX3 price range either.

It certainly does seem to be a mini F35. It looks to me to be a Reality TV Show cam where using an easier to set up F3 would have big advantages over RED and 4:2:0 might not be a serious handicap. It might battle on some lower budget TV series that don't have budgets for F35 but RED feature set and setup time might be problematic. Keep in mind that budgets continue to drop and productions are looking for lower cost alternatives.

Meanwhile Sony has nothing to compete against the AF100 which may greatly diminish EX1 and EX3 sales. The 320 and 350 are not seriously affected since they're shoulder mount ENG style cameras. That's a different market.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #20
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Interesting points Craig, but I'd venture a guess that this camera will compete just fine in a broadcast market or cine market where 4K is neither needed or would cost too much for the specialized workflows involved. Basic SDI out to a Nano or Ki Pro is going to be all that is required for even the most stringent broadcast apps, and that is hardly a complex setup. Put a nice piece of glass on the front and you're in business. Toss in a couple of SxS cards and you've got your proxy's or instant backups ready to go. I'd LOVE this thing for about 80% of what I shoot.

But, it seems to me this might well be the start of nailing the coffin for the XDCam Optical series. The EX3 offered a lot of the same quality for a lot cheaper price. And the optical disks, though lovely for archival use, are a bit spendy in the days of solid state.

The RED, on a real film shoot, might be fine. But if you've got 10 minutes to gear up and shoot, this looks like a much better prospect. I'm thinking VIP interviews in their offices (which is my bread and butter) or impromptu speeches, press releases, etc. If I was a stringer I'd be looking HARD at this thing.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:52 AM   #21
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Perrone, that's why I'm calling this the "Reality TV" camera. That's where the other digital cinema cameras fail because the setup time is longer and recording features are overkill. It can be a B camera in Episodic TV as well as Sony mentions. It might even be the A camera as budgets plummet.

I don't think it's the "indy filmmaker" camera because, depending on the budget, they're going to head to the AF100 on the low end or RED/Alexia cameras in the next price bracket.

The other market is TV Commercial production. Does the F3 have an advantage vs RED or Alexia there?

BTW I'd note that we've seen HDSLR creep into some areas of TV production already. They certainly can replace that with AF100 if they don't mind its own set of drawbacks compared to APS-C or full size sensor. Would those same productions pay the much higher price for the F3?

Just my opinion, the F3 seems to be a RED/Alexia competitor which fails in some cases and succeeds in a few others. It's a nice option for some but it's not the "leader" camera I would have though Sony would have come out with.

In the mean time I don't think it gives them much room to strip off many features to make a $6K-$8K camera to be the "better" alternative to the AF100 as the EX1 was to the HVX200.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #22
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Hi Craig,

A couple of days ago I was of the same mind as you but a few things have come to light about quality of the sensor and the S-Log color workflow ability that has put me in a place now where I am taking a wait and see approach. A few things remain unknown. One, the actual street price. Two, the quality of the relatively inexpensive cine primes and the (off in the future) zoom lens. Three the cost of adding full functionality to the dual-link HD-SDI. They may in fact have two levels dual-link HD-SDI functionality and it may not be as cost prohibitive as many (all) are expecting.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that having the camera's default capture at what is now considered a plebeian datarate is absurd from almost all vantage points. The only reason I can see they chose this is to have it match the EX1/R and the EX3 which may seem sufficient in their minds but obviously to most of us it seems absurd when new cameras are coming out using the XDCAM EX codec but at higher bitrates and some with higher chroma sub-sampling rates.

I have parked my vitriol until the 17th and even then I am prepared to move on. We've said our bit and if no amount of argument by now has settled in then let Panasonic dance on their grave as they will undoubtedly continue to roll out new cameras similar to this in the various market segments and get the price/performance ratio bang on and exceed customer expectation which they have with the AF100.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #23
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duplicate post

Last edited by Andrew Stone; November 10th, 2010 at 01:23 PM. Reason: duplicate post
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Old November 10th, 2010, 12:26 PM   #24
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The only reason I can see they chose this is to have it match the EX1/R and the EX3
No, in the Sony workflow charts for the F3 it is clear that the 35Mbs footage on the SxS cards is intended to be used as offline proxy files with burned in LUT while the real footage that will be used in the online is recorded to HDCAM SR.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 12:29 PM   #25
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Moire issue on NEX VG10

Marcus
Do you think the moire will be an issue if you go out through HDMI to a Nanoflash? I understand it is pre-compression.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Terrance Odette
Do you think the moire will be an issue if you go out through HDMI to a Nanoflash? I understand it is pre-compression.
The compression is irrelevant in this respect. Moire/aliasing can only be overcpme in one of two ways - use an optical low-pass filter in front of the chip, or read out the whole chip each frame, then do a high quality software downres and downconvert.

In a consumer camera, the latter is likely to be out of the question because of cost and/or power heat issues. Put an OLPF on the chip, and you get rid of the aliasing - but also get rid of the detail that is wanted in stills mode.

Put simply, you've got a problem if you want ANY camera to shoot both video and high-resolution stills.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #27
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No, in the Sony workflow charts for the F3 it is clear that the 35Mbs footage on the SxS cards is intended to be used as offline proxy files with burned in LUT while the real footage that will be used in the online is recorded to HDCAM SR.
I stand corrected. Makes sense on paper but the reality is, the public makes the association (and rightly so) to the cheap EX line. Sony has done little to prevent that misconception and in fact have encouraged it by touting this as an "affordable camera" in the mainstream tech media. Most of the signals given out by Sony have this camera as a higher end camera in their EX line rather than a cheaper F35. If they kept their major marketing efforts in American Cinematographer and the like the situtation would have been different. Just look around at all of the people who are confused by what Sony is doing with this camera.

There is no excuse for marketing that is unclear especially of this magnitude.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; November 10th, 2010 at 02:12 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #28
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The compression is irrelevant in this respect. Moire/aliasing can only be overcpme in one of two ways - use an optical low-pass filter in front of the chip, or read out the whole chip each frame, then do a high quality software downres and downconvert.

In a consumer camera, the latter is likely to be out of the question because of cost and/or power heat issues. Put an OLPF on the chip, and you get rid of the aliasing - but also get rid of the detail that is wanted in stills mode.

Put simply, you've got a problem if you want ANY camera to shoot both video and high-resolution stills.
David
Can a filter on the lens help this somewhat?
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Old November 10th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Terrance Odette View Post
David
Can a filter on the lens help this somewhat?
Yes.
A Caprock filter can help supress the moire.
While we are on the issue of filters, there is another problem with the VG10- it has no internal ND filters.
It adjusts exposure like a consumer cam, changing iris, shutter, and gain as needed.
If you want to shoot with fixed shutter (1/60 for ex.), you need to use a variable ND filter for all daylight/bright light shots. Set your shutter, then adjust the ND filter to provide the desired f-stop.
The moire issue is the same that is seen on the DSLRs and has to do with the absence of a low pass filter on the sensor- good for stills, but bad for shooting video.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #30
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David
Can a filter on the lens help this somewhat?
The simple answer probably has to be " not very much".

It's important to understand a little of the theory about what aliasing is. Basically, it's caused by high frequency information being sampled at too low a rate. In this case, "high frequency" means fine detail, and too low a rate means pixels spaced too far apart - it's spatial aliasing.

In a pixel based imager, for optimum results, you want the lens to deliver detail as fine as the distance between pixels - but absolutely nothing finer. A diffusion type filter will obviously lose some of the detail that will cause aliasing - but to have any significant effect will also get rid of a lot of WANTED fine detail as well. It will get rid of the bathwater - but the baby as well.

An analogy may be to think of an audio source - clean up to (say) 7kHz, then with a lot of HF noise in the higher frequencies. How would you make it sound better? The obvious answer is to use a high-cut filter with a very sharp roll-off around 7KHz - pass pretty well all sound frequencies below 7kHz, virtually nothing above. That's the analogy to an OLPF.

You also COULD have what in 1970's amplifiers I'd call a "tone control". You COULD turn that all the way towards "bass", and I suspect you'd hear nearly all the HF hiss die away. But I guarantee you'd also lose a lot of wanted information, and could end up with something more like telephone quality - albeit noise free. :-)

In this case, an OLPF will give you a very sharp spatial cut-off, a diffusing filter a far more gradual slope. It MAY well get rid of the aliasing, but (like the tone control) at the expense of wanted detail.

You might be interested in Anti-aliasing filter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia the second paragraph giving an idea of how an OLPF works, and why it gives the sharp cut-off effect. The mechanism requires it to be right next to the image plane, which could be seen as an advantage in that the final image resolution is then independent of any lens settings such as zoom, focus, iris etc.

So the simple answer to your question is that for a filter on the lens to be have a significant effect on aliasing and moire, it will also make the image undesirably soft. It may help a little, but it's not a real solution.
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