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


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Old December 29th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Phil should know better than to shoot at 1/50th with 60Hz lighting ;-) or maybe theres a TV or computer monitor illuminating the background.

It's going to be tough getting a decent distortion free wide for the AF100.
Do you think it could be just compression noise from Vimeo? As the flickering is only happening on the wall, which might be hard to compress uniformly.

And yes, if both those cameras were at the same position, which I'm sure they were, the whole M4/3 ~= S35 is not proving to be true.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:17 PM   #62
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I see no reason why the F3 can't be used for corporate projects. In many cases it should do well. It will allow you to be a little more creative with simple office interviews, making it easier to throw the background out of focus. The high sensitivity will allow for the use of available light or a smaller lower powered lighting kit.

You don't have to use expensive PL mount glass. The MTF Nikon adapter allows the use of much cheaper DSLR lenses, which with well chosen lenses should perform very well indeed.

The F3 crosses many genres and formats. It could be used for low budget features and commercials, TV drama, documentaries and corporate. It's isn't a replacement for the SRW-9000 or F35, they do have better CCD sensors, but it will certainly act as an excellent B camera on high end projects shot with these cameras.

But it's not a one horse fits all camera. Fast moving news or fast action will be hard to shoot because of the shallow DoF. The lack off (or very high cost of) high ratio, fast, zoom lenses means it's not ideal for sports.

I'm starting to plan my 2011 shoots. Many will make use of F3's, especially my 3D projects. But there are still many jobs where an EX1 or EX3 will be the more appropriate camera. For me the F3 is going to take the place of my 2/3" shoulder cameras which I traditionally used on higher budget documentary and corporate projects to gain a more "polished" look. The F3 will also be used for my extreme weather footage where image quality is paramount, even though in many respects it's not ideal trying to swap lenses in the middle of a Hurricane or severe storm :0) I'm going to be using the Nikon SLR lenses that I already have including my favourite which is a Tokina 28-70mm ATX-Pro F2 zoom which is to the same design as the Angineaux 28-70mm. This lens only cost me 200 used, which is really quite affordable.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #63
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I'm looking forward to using it on corporates for many of the reasons Alister mentioned.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #64
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Has anyone heard if the F3 will be 100% content approved out of the box by major broadcasters?

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Old December 29th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #65
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Allister: I'm curious about the Tokina zoom you mentioned. I'm also planning to use the F3 for corporate work, with Nikon lenses. I have 11x16mm, 35x70mm and 80x200mm f2.8 zooms. Haven't seen any Nikon mount zooms faster than 2.8, but if there's a decent one out there, I'd like to know about it. Was that a typo, or is your Tokina f 2.0?
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Old December 30th, 2010, 03:57 AM   #66
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I had to go and check, it's actually f2.6, so f2.8 near as damn it.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 06:35 AM   #67
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2.8 must be the practical limit for zooms with an image circle large enough to cover 35mm.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #68
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pro 2 version ?

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
I had to go and check, it's actually f2.6, so f2.8 near as damn it.
Alister is this version you have (there are 6 versions) the pro 2 version?
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Old December 31st, 2010, 02:53 AM   #69
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I have the much sought after 28-70mm ATX Pro Mk 1. There is a good guide to all the various versions here: NIKON GLASS: Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8
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Old January 1st, 2011, 06:55 AM   #70
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I'm inclined to agree with Doug. The Earlybirds video is somewhat crude and amateur IMHO. It just looks to me as though they were handed the camera and shot randomly with no thought given to the pace or structure of the video. Framing is poor. Many shots are out of focus, overexposed or both. Skin tones are often too high and washing out as a result, so the sky had no chance.

To be fair, if they had only minimal time with the camera before the shoot, which I suspect to be the case, the exposure and focus might be down to unfamiliarity with the VF and the zebra and peaking setup.

As an example of how you can "throw together" a music video then it makes a point, like it or not. As a technology demonstrator it misses the mark by a wide margin. It really doesn't do anything to show off what the camera may or may not be capable of.
Thanks for not slaughtering me too much. Your comments are all very fair. I will refer you to an article we wrote about this shoot that should clear things up.

Trust me, I am not an amateur and am quite capable of better stuff. However, tidy sexy perfect shots was not our goal. There is plenty out there already. The concept of the video, from the band was to shoot an amateur looking video with a shaky look and rough focus. We saw this as a great opportunity to expose the flaws and expose its weaknesses. No rigs, no tripods, just the camera and a few lenses.

Let me tell you it exposed plenty. Firstly, you can't judge sharps or exposure in the viewfinder. Its utterly unusable. The LCD is OK but obviously no good in this situation. I used the red focus indicator and it helped. Everything was set to standard on HG-1. I was expecting much more latitude so being slightly over or under was hard to judge. Impossible to pull without a rig and tough to handhold in that way. I decided to let it all go and look at the footage. Trial by fire, it definitely was.

So this is not a short film to further anyone's career or push a blog or promote Sony; it was a full on flaw exposure. It exposed plenty. We have done some subsequent test, which were also posted on vimeo. We also shot a full on commercial, which we have not posted due to copyrights which will be posted in Feb when it actually airs.

Hope this clarifies a few things. Most of this information on the Vimeo page.

crews.tv | Local freelancers, worldwide. for full background story.

FYI, I do not disagree with any of your opinions, just thought I'd set the record straight. Cheers.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 07:31 AM   #71
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So where does this camera now fall ?? with what crowd ??

13.3k without glass, almost 19k with the kit 35,50,85mm lenses, And then there is the tripod, mandatory external monitor and the other standard have to have accessories, external recorders, audio etc. All this for a single camera setup. Nice camera, can certainly go places with grace and class as long as it is pampered. But now that we see what it takes, what crowd does the F3 favor, a small one ?? a very small one ?? Would it be indy's, small budget corporate, big budget documentaries ?? To me it seems to be stuck in between them somewhere.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 02:19 PM   #72
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Let me tell you it exposed plenty. Firstly, you can't judge sharps or exposure in the viewfinder. Its utterly unusable.
Sharpness is one thing - exposure quite another. My own feeling is that the only ways to judge exposure are via a high quality external monitor in controlled lighting, or by the use of zebras. It sounds as if you're trying to judge exposure just by the "look" in the v/f (?? correct me if that's wrong) and in my experience that is well nigh impossible, even in far more expesive cameras.

In this respect, I believe the F3 shares the double zebra arrangement of the EX, and previously only found on far more expensive cameras. That gives two simultaneous patterns, which might correspond to IRE values 85-90% for zebra 1 and 100% for zebra 2. It may sound complicated written down, but with practice can give highly accurate results. And obviously it is independent of the quality of the viewfinder, or even whether it's set accurately.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 03:02 PM   #73
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Yep fair enough.

Zebras are horses for courses and yes the double zebra system can work well. In this case, Zebras on the viewfinder are not legible let alone double zebras. In my experience, I sometimes use zebras but once I know the viewfinder I usually turn em off in favor of looking at other stuff. Some viewfinders just can't carry it very well. I'd say this one.. not at all.

In the case of the LCD I shot one take with them on and the other off.. it simply got too hard and too much going on. LCD cannot be gauged properly.

So I ask, what is the use of a field camera if you need external monitoring? At this price I expect to look down the viewfinder and set my sharps and gauge my exposure. Perhaps this is more of a RED type camera and run and gun is simply a job for EFP/ENG cameras.

What really surprised me here is how I really could have used DCC here, some of it is slightly over but this should have been handled ok, not blow out as it did. It was extremely bright and highly overcast but I expected much more latitude.

Anyhow, I'll look at doing a technically flawless showpiece on the next cam in Feb, should I get more time with the other one.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 04:34 PM   #74
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Oh yuk, please no DCC auto knee. Why not just use auto exposure and be done with it? Instead learn how to use your gamma curves correctly.

Yes Cinegammas make fine tuning highlight exposure tricky as between 80% and 109% you can have more than 6 compressed stops of lattitude to deal with. Thats why with cinegammas and hypergammas you need to watch your exposure very carefully and in most cases you want to underexpose by a stop and then use your grade to sort skin tones and mid levels out. Remember Cinegammas are designed to be graded, if your using them correctly, then your pictures will look wrong when you shoot. They should look slightly under exposed and flat. If you don't allow for the cinegammas mid to high end compression you will end up with hot skin tones and blow out highlights. Also remember that if you don't sort your excess levels out in post, you risk loosing your highlights as they may get clipped at 100%

If you want heavy uncontrolled variable highlight compression just the same as DCC then use a standard gamma with the auto knee set to on, it's the same thing. Otherwise for normal mid tones and skin tones but with some highlight compression use a standard gamma with a preset knee point and slope tailored for your shooting conditions.

Zebras are accurate and reliable on all the EX cameras. Even if you were using an external monitor you should consider using zebras with cinegammas to monitor your highlight behaviour and keep your important mid tones out of the compressed part of the curve.

The EX and F3 LCD while not the biggest screen in the world is accurate. The coloured peaking is an excellent focus assist tool, even when using much larger monitors I often check back on the EX LCD to confirm my focus point using the peaking.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 05:59 PM   #75
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Don't disagree.

All I'm suggesting is that perhaps using a standard gamma with DCC could have yielded better results in this situation.

RE: Zebras, good for you, there is lots of ways to judge exposure and yes perhaps leaning on underexposing may have been smarter. At the time, on the LCD it did look ok, perhaps a bad call. You can decide when you use the camera yourself. Since my light was flat and pretty consistent, I thought I'd get away with it. Clearly not.

All I am saying is that Zebras alone would not have helped me. The viewfinder in my opinion is not easy to use and in that environment the LCD was difficult to see. It needed modification to work properly but since we only shot two takes and was less than 30 minutes out of the box, I thought we did ok for a camera test.

Look say what you will, we post this stuff to share failures as well as victories so everyone can learn through the process.

Me personally, looking at perfect shots, perfectly graded doesn't tell me a lot. I would rather look at rushes or experiments to see what works and what doesn't. Like I said, there is plenty great stuff out there, I was really keen to put it under everyday stresses.

I hesitated putting it up as it was pretty ropey but the group was really keen to dissect the issues, pretty much confirmed all of our suspicions.
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