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


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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #1
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The new Sony PL Mount Primes... hmmm

What I am so interested in is that Sony has made 3 PL mount primes for the new camera and yet I don't believe I've seen any footage from these lenses!

Or have I? Is there any info out there on these lenses other than they are T2 and 35mm 50mm and 85mm?

Will they eventually make an 18mm or 20mm?

Will they be available to buy separately outside of the package with camera?

So far it seems the price for each lens is $2,300 or possibly a little more/less depending on how you look at breaking down the 23k package to street prices.

Can anyone confirm or post any video that was definitely shot with these primes on the F3? Would love some answers to the questions if anyone can dig something up haha
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:52 AM   #2
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Here's some more on these lenses:

Sony PL Primes Film and Digital Times: Blog
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Old November 20th, 2010, 12:26 PM   #3
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I saw them in person, they appear to be Fujinon made, if I had to guess.

Regardless, I'm sure they are sharper than anything else you can get at that price range, and they'll match too, unlike a set of Canons or Nikons.

In addition, they all had the same size fronts (looked to be 95mm), and had gears in the same places which is important for working efficiently.

Having worked with all the popular sets out there (Old speeds, new speeds, Ultras, S4s), these look like a tremendous deal, except 35 ain't that wide and it's only a 3 lens set. Shoulda been a 25.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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Sony lens ...

A colleague handled these lens in Tokyo at InterBee the other day. His take ... the focus ring was sticky and ground during the turn. It felt like cheap plastic. On the other hand, the key is the glass. He had no comment on that point.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 01:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
I saw them in person, they appear to be Fujinon made, if I had to guess.

Regardless, I'm sure they are sharper than anything else you can get at that price range, and they'll match too, unlike a set of Canons or Nikons.

In addition, they all had the same size fronts (looked to be 95mm), and had gears in the same places which is important for working efficiently.

Having worked with all the popular sets out there (Old speeds, new speeds, Ultras, S4s), these look like a tremendous deal, except 35 ain't that wide and it's only a 3 lens set. Shoulda been a 25.
These are pretty much my thoughts too, I like to work with the older super speed set, which I've grown to love, as well as some of the newer ones. I'd love to see how they stack up against the older super speeds at T2. Its interesting that you mention you think its fuji glass, how'd you guess, the front coatings?

My main use of these would be to have a nice matching set that I can "afford" to own. For clients that are big, I rent, but its nice to get great quality for the smaller sets.

and yeah I was disappointed that they didn't go wider than 35mm, though I have a feeling they are testing the waters and I'm sure they will introduce an 18 and 25 if the others sell well. They might have opted out of the wider angle because they couldn't make it to their standards at those prices yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Harrington View Post
A colleague handled these lens in Tokyo at InterBee the other day. His take ... the focus ring was sticky and ground during the turn. It felt like cheap plastic. On the other hand, the key is the glass. He had no comment on that point.
Hmm I was wondering if the housing was metal or some kind of composite plastic, I hope they end up smoothing out the focus rings I'm pretty sure those ones he hand held were not the finished production models. And worst case scenario you can always have them re-worked by duclos lenses to have better movement.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 01:25 AM   #6
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Dean, the units making the rounds are prototypes. The one I handled, a 50, was very stiff as well.

After handling one, I was told not to make any judgments of them because of that.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 02:01 AM   #7
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lens ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
Dean, the units making the rounds are prototypes. The one I handled, a 50, was very stiff as well.

After handling one, I was told not to make any judgments of them because of that.
I figured as much and I trust that they will put out a very good lens with proper action when they are re-leased. We all really just have to wait till February to see.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 02:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
Dean, the units making the rounds are prototypes. The one I handled, a 50, was very stiff as well.

After handling one, I was told not to make any judgments of them because of that.
excellent news. Thats what I figured. Could you happen to tell me what the housing is made of?
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Old November 21st, 2010, 02:54 PM   #9
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No doubt that when we do see first footage shot with these lenses, it will be either handheld shots of pedestrians in Tokyo or "a really quick test--sorry" from someone random in a far-off country, which will consist of racking in and out of focus on a badly lit object on their desk (yet nicely edited, with a fantastically hip soundtrack and lovely graphics).

Looking forward to ignoring both.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 03:28 PM   #10
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I must say, the primes look fairly underwhelming, I can't imagine any ACs looking forward to working with them and if you're self-shooting you may as well slap a Zeiss ZF on there. Also, I'm not sure three medium focal legnth lenses comprises a set...
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Old November 21st, 2010, 03:45 PM   #11
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Upon which people will speculate endlessly about how sharp they are based on compressed and recompressed Vimeo video.

And THEN decide they aren't good enough for their first film, because they don't have the same chutzpah as S4s.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 06:01 PM   #12
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Charles ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
No doubt that when we do see first footage shot with these lenses, it will be either handheld shots of pedestrians in Tokyo or "a really quick test--sorry" from someone random in a far-off country, which will consist of racking in and out of focus on a badly lit object on their desk (yet nicely edited, with a fantastically hip soundtrack and lovely graphics).

Looking forward to ignoring both.
You are probably right ... I live in Japan and can say it's all about connections around here. My connection to Sony consists of taking equipment to service centers to have them fixed and that's about it. Sony is a big company and my general feeling is that getting authorization to have outsiders do a test with charts in a controlled environment would require someone high up in Sony Japan to take the heat if the tests results didn't shape up to Sony propaganda on the product. Heads might role ... or harakiri might be required ... taking the heat around here is serious business ... so my guess is nobody wants to take the chance.

Takeshi Fukushima went to InterBee and talked to the sales rep and handled the camera (not ideal settings to do so) to gets answers to questions I and others posed ... here's his report :
"Got some 5D video, but Not as clear an image of buttons switches etc. as the following link...
Sony PMW-F3 layout review | Paul Joy
There were no english speaking reps, so just in Japanese... I might not go through the trouble of putting sub titles on them...

Just to answer some of your questions, You nailed some crucial points B.T.W.,,, I was excited at first, but the more I find out, the more far away the product seemed to me...

The Camera seems primarily a B cam for the F35s, like you said. The Sony rep. mentioned that the ideal usage would be when the main camera is a F35, and when the small size of F3 is absolutely necessary. Another cool workflow is, recording dual SDI out uncompressed into SR recorder, whilst recording onto SxS in EX. Ex footage can be taken into a MacBookPro and for a quick off-line edit, SR footage being master. They Seem NOT to be developing other means in recording 4:4:4, for a while, according to the rep.

Productions who own the SR recorders will make great use of it, some people with 4:2:2 recording device could make good use of it, but if you just have the camera, in the end it's only a 4:2:0 35Mbps XDCAM EX format recorded onto a Sxs. The camera itself will capture beautiful Dof shots, but in the end the camera is only a XDCAM EX camera with a very expensive high class output box.

(Even) Sony did not really fix the problem of CMOS's rolling shutter. Not as apparent as 5Ds, they are noticeable. Sony's say is if they don't like it, use the F35 or SRW-9000 (talk about heavy metal)

The short time I had to handle the camera, (it stayed on the fluid head) it had a good feel to it, buttons in the right places, a lot of screw holes to mount accessories, great images even in low light, (could not see any grain at18db gain!!) it was a good feel except the lousy fluid head it was on, and the lens... Those stock lenses 35, 50, 85mm lenses were really cheap ass. The unpleasant feeling of plastic rubbing against plastic. Heavy to turn focus too. Especially after my touching the Zeiss Compact primes (mounted on a 5D) , they were complete non-sense.

On Dean's question about Zoom lenses, the Sony rep did remind us of the zoom rocker located there like the smaller sony cams, but he could not say more. Apparently it's still a secret... As for now, it's a camera for PL mount lenses with a zoom rocker there doing nothing... I asked Fujinon, and the rep mentioned there are talks of it, but no real production happening. I did not have time to ask Cannon or Carl Zeiss...

Camera does ramping but it's only from 1 - 60 FPS at 24Pn at most, as far as I seen... But they do that in Full 1080 HD. It has a dial on the side that you can dial through under/over crank frame rates as in EX3s.
A lot of specs are left closed, and some functions as rolling shutter frame rates, view finder quality are to be revised.

I did not ask about Slog or film out, since I am not so aware of that field so much. Sorry..

When I asked where he though the product stand in the production field, He said something in the line of,,,
Sony presented some of their targets of movies and Commercials, but they were surprised to see so many other areas in production showing interest in the camera as well, all the feedback was making Sony realize they can use this camera for a much more wider area of production. That the users are the ones who can shape the possibilities of what the camera can do.

I wished I had one to search the possibilities... Not so fast.
I had way too few time to see the other booths! Wish I can go tomorrow too!"

My response to Takeshi:
Dean Harrington • Takeshi thanks for the report ... seems pretty clear that this cam for the moment will have limited use. It's a good beginning but as some have noted cannot be used for broadcast with the internal codec ... it should be 4.2.2 not 4.2.0. I checked with others inspecting the camera in england and they said they couldn't tell if the camera ramped as that feature was off. What I suspect, but hope is NOT the case, is that the same set-up might be used as it is on the EX3 where you can't ramp but we'll soon find out. Sony White Paper on S-Log : http://www.aipcinema.com/ficheiros/C..._001_IO_EN.pdf

Now to get someone to put some black material in front of that sensor to check the IR on the camera. I have a tiffin IR filter on the EX3 but at a 1 stop loss of light. Hope that's fixed as that would be a no brainer! Skew and camera flash is something I've not really run into yet but then again, I don't do work where this type of problem exists. There are software solutions for these problems as well so I don't worry about them.
Too bad about the cheap lens package ... thought they were made by zeiss? I certainly don't like the view finder and wonder why they didn't use the same set-up as the EX3 ... that's an excellent view finder and more in keeping with traditional cameras but if it works ... well, it works.
All in all though, this camera has the possibility to be used in low and high productions. Sony is going in the right direction here.
Beautifully shot short film 'Convergence' DPed by Steve Lawes and directed by Martin Scanlan :

Philip Bloom's piece on the presentation in England with the F3 and the upcoming NXCAM ... both have the same sensor : http://philipbloom.net/2010/11/17/f3nxcam/

all the best

This is up on a private "link-in' group of videographers in Tokyo
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Last edited by Dean Harrington; November 21st, 2010 at 06:43 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 01:58 AM   #13
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The lenses are a mix of plastic and aluminium. It's hard to be sure but from what I could see the core of the lens appears to be aluminium but all the external rings are a high grade plastic. Remember that many applications will see this camera being used handheld so the weight of the lens is important. They don't have the feel of a zeiss but the images coming from them appear to be very good. You have to remember that these are low cost lenses. If you want the quality of a zeiss, then use a zeiss, that's the beauty of a PL mount camera.

I checked out the cameras skew with a series of whip pans and other generally bad camerawork and found nothing that gave me any concerns. It's at least as good as an EX1/EX3 in that area, so it's only going to be strobe and flash lighting that will be a problem for most. Rolling shutter is not just a Sony issue. It effects virtually all CMOS cameras.

The F3 has a full 10bit 4:2:2 output as standard. You can get a range of external recorders if you want to raise the quality above that of 35Mb/s XDCAM. NanoFlash, Ki-Pro even the soon to be released $1000 USD Ninja can be used. For most users 10 bit 4:2:2 will produce superlative results. Add the 4:4:4 option and it will really fly. Your not tied to using HDCAM SR, again there are many other recording options for 4:4:4.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:29 AM   #14
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Alister ...

I realize the important aspect of these lens is the glass and the quality of image coming through them, so, I'm personally not so concerned with plastic as apart of the lens unit and I expect the action on focus and such will be smooth on production units. With the addition at a future date of a zoom that is likely to allow for ENG type shooting, if all the talk on this is right, is one major plus. It will allow this camera to have a range of uses. I personally like that idea.
We now know that this camera will do 4.4.4 out of HD/SDI and that is very interesting and very enticing. Not sure if the camera will ramp. That's something that would be an additional quality that would set this camera apart from any others in the price range. We don't know how the IR contamination is yet as no one has tested that but someone will soon enough. As for the cost of the lens. $7,000 - 3 lens ... cheaper than RED primes at around $5,000 each or $19,000 for a set of 5 basic prime lens. So yes, these could be a good purchase.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:16 AM   #15
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The lenses are a mix of plastic and aluminium. It's hard to be sure but from what I could see the core of the lens appears to be aluminium but all the external rings are a high grade plastic. Remember that many applications will see this camera being used handheld so the weight of the lens is important. They don't have the feel of a zeiss but the images coming from them appear to be very good. You have to remember that these are low cost lenses. If you want the quality of a zeiss, then use a zeiss, that's the beauty of a PL mount camera.
I completely agree about if you want zeiss quality just use zeiss. You'll never see my complain and compare like you do from others. Obviously the quality will be less than zeiss, that goes with out saying, so I'm still interested in these lenses. There is a lot of smaller productions that would love to have the proper use of PL lenses without having to rent, in which case that helps my clients and ultimately keeps my clients happy and also my wallet. For the ones who can't afford I can provide an alternative of lenses to where there once was none. I think thats great.

As long as they focus to infinity well, and have reasonable amount of sharpness and matching color between them all, that will be worth enough for the price tag, considering the whole set of these is the price of 1 normal lens. They are also "fast" considering. Not everyday someone makes cheap fast PL lenses.

I just wish I could see what these shoot, we have some great footage from Master Primes, of course they always will look good. I'd like to see what these would look like at the same T stop as the primes. Would be really cool to see them put a 50mm Sony prime against a 50mm Master Prime just for the hell of it.
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