AF100 vs F3 in the marketplace at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Digital Cinema Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 4th, 2011, 10:44 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
AF100 vs F3 in the marketplace

I guess this is a bit premature, but I'm wondering what kind of thinking is out there. I've been excited about the F3 for a while now. For me it would be a main camera not a B cam and probably with Nikon glass unless work for it really took off.

I had completely discounted the AF100 in my thinking because I like the larger sensor and better codec of the F3, until a friend reminded me that many of our clients have gotten used to the rental prices for Canon DSLR's , EX-1's and HVX200's etc. I'm wondering how much of the industrial and documentary, music vid market will be willing to pay $3-400 more a day for an F3 over an AF100?

If you add a Nanoflash into the mix then the codec on the AF100 gets better. Of course the Nano on the F3 gets you up to 10bit which is very nice , but only for people who give a damn. I mean these people are thrilled with the Canon right now.

Will the F3 only be for people willing to pay more for the quality? Then will it only occupy a niche between the RED, Alexa, F35 etc and the AF100 and Canons which will work all the time?
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2011, 11:49 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Posts: 114
I'll be using my F3 with Nikkors, mostly for corporate work. From my perspective, it doesn't seem like a very expensive camera--complete rig for under $25k. My HPX-500 package cost about that much, and that seemed like a bargain, compared to previous 2/3" cameras I've owned.

I have clients that are thrilled with my 5D right now, but I'm not. No matter how you cut it, a DSLR as a video camera is a kluge. Period. And, I've never been too crazy about shooting double-system sound.

I didn't discount my rate for the 5D, and I probably won't raise it (much) for the F3. I figured that the 5D wouldn't be around long, so, with all the extra gadgets and lenses, plus the aggravation, it wasn't really a cheap alternative to anything.

Of course, if I find that clients are willing to pay a premium for the F3, I'll adjust. But, I think it's going to quickly become a standard.
Jim Tittle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 12:37 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Tinton Falls, NJ
Posts: 749
Too many questions to try to compose a real answer, so here are a few impressions fron my POV...
First, my feeling is that it's always reasonable to spend a little more to get better quality, assuming that quality is what you want.
I personally am extremely tired of the limitations of the DSLR's in terms of being able to reasonably monitor (and consistently feed a decent signal to director and client monitors). For me, any camera that doesn't output a full res signal while recording, particularly one with a large chip where focus is critical, is not a professional production tool. It's just a focus problem waiting to happen.
Any camera that overheats and has to be shut down and cooled off is also just a non-professional tool. If overheating delays (which on certain shoots have cost me as much as an hour of down time/ overtime a day, even with multiple camera bodies) are figured in terms of overtime cost, I think you'll find yourself saving plenty with an F3 system rather than a dslr.
Of course I tend to buy and own equipment, so I'm not really up on the 'going' or predicted rental rates of the F3 or AF100, so I can't comment. I try to provide enough gear to do the job the client needs done, which probably means that I bring more equipment than most would rent 'a-la-carte' from a rental house. Of course this also means that the camera rental itself is not the largest part of the 'value' of the rental package. I can't imagine going out on a shoot with less than 5 hours of cards (the equivalent of a case of Beta SP tapees), HD monitors for director and clients, a NanoFlash, NEXTO drive(s) and of course a variety of Divas, LEDs and Tungsten lights. I also like to bring a backup camera, which for the F3 would probably start out being my EX1.. I'm guessing that the big additional costs for an F3 package will be the lenses, though like many others, I do have a shelf of Nikon lenses I used as fast primes for my 16mm camera back in the day.
I suppose that when I look at a package and see that the rental value of the camera body is maybe 25% of the package, switching to a lower quality camera doesn't really save me much, or make much sense.
I've been very happy with the SxS card workflow, which is another plus for the F3 over the AF100. I was particularly impressed when the speed rating of the latest generation of SxS cards went up from 800Mbps to 1200Mbps. The fast SxS card speeds mean less time downloading at the end of the day, and that is something that saves ME time!
Of course much of it will still come down to what the client needs or wants. I have some clients who are VERY interested in the F3, while another client (who after one shoot with a RED said 'never again') wants to stick with the EX cameras for portability and ease of use.
I'm interested in finding out what others consider a 'basic package' -- does it include follow focus/ multiple lenses / high end zooms / etc?
From everything I've seen thus far, the F3 is more than worth its cost. Will our clients agree? - I suppose it's partly up to us as camerapeople / salespeople to convince them...
Dave Sperling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 01:02 AM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
I've been collecting footage from both the AF100 and the F3 and doing split screens on the DaVinci...looking at things pixel-for-pixel on a properly driven HD-SDI Dreamcolor rig.

So far, from what I can tell, the two cameras are not in the same ballpark.

Strangely enough, well-shot GH2 footage is looking amazing next to the Alexa and Red footage I'm using as a benchmark. Not in the same league of course, but they could cut together.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 898
Nanoflash ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
I guess this is a bit premature, but I'm wondering what kind of thinking is out there. I've been excited about the F3 for a while now. For me it would be a main camera not a B cam and probably with Nikon glass unless work for it really took off.

I had completely discounted the AF100 in my thinking because I like the larger sensor and better codec of the F3, until a friend reminded me that many of our clients have gotten used to the rental prices for Canon DSLR's , EX-1's and HVX200's etc. I'm wondering how much of the industrial and documentary, music vid market will be willing to pay $3-400 more a day for an F3 over an AF100?

If you add a Nanoflash into the mix then the codec on the AF100 gets better. Of course the Nano on the F3 gets you up to 10bit which is very nice , but only for people who give a damn. I mean these people are thrilled with the Canon right now.

Will the F3 only be for people willing to pay more for the quality? Then will it only occupy a niche between the RED, Alexa, F35 etc and the AF100 and Canons which will work all the time?
I agree with what you are saying in general ... a little correction though ... the nanoflash is 8bit not 10 bit HD/SDI and HDMI is 8bit out as well. You'd have to get the AJA Ki Pro mini to have 10 bit and that could make a difference on how a client responds to you. My Nanoflash has produced excellent quality 4.2.2 at high bit rates so I'm not knocking it but it's not 10bit. As for design problems ... the viewfinder is not the best on the F3 and that's a shame but price and image quality make it a winner! If you've got 35mm lens ... as many who have 35mm adaptors do ... you can set this camera up for a song and a dance!
__________________
Sony EX3, Panasonic DVX 100, SG Blade, Nanoflash, FCP 7, MacBookPro intel.
http://www.deanharringtonvisual.com/
Dean Harrington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 04:30 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
[QUOTE=Leonard Levy;1604533
Will the F3 only be for people willing to pay more for the quality? Then will it only occupy a niche between the RED, Alexa, F35 etc and the AF100 and Canons which will work all the time?[/QUOTE]

The F3 will also be in the same sector as the Epic S (the old Scarlet S35) when it comes out.

It really depends on the requirements of the market you're dealing with. In lean times, you'll have a hard time persuading clients to go for a higher quality (more expensive) camera if they're distributing on the web. It's the same reason why 1/3" cameras become popular for many productions - lower costs.

I'm not sure if clients worry too much about 10bit or 8bit, unless you're dealing with high end clients. Historically, 8bit DV did well against 10bit Digibeta. I asked a well known drama producer why they didn't shoot Digbeta as against DVCam on a feature film. She didn't reply, but I suspect the answer was in how much money was left when they finished the production - under £100.

Sony is bringing out its own competitor to the AF100, so they see the cameras being in different markets.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 08:33 AM   #7
Telecam Films
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 723
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
I've been collecting footage from both the AF100 and the F3 and doing split screens on the DaVinci...looking at things pixel-for-pixel on a properly driven HD-SDI Dreamcolor rig.

So far, from what I can tell, the two cameras are not in the same ballpark.

Strangely enough, well-shot GH2 footage is looking amazing next to the Alexa and Red footage I'm using as a benchmark. Not in the same league of course, but they could cut together.
I assume the F3 looked better right?
__________________
Thierry Humeau, DoP
Télécam Films
www.telecamfilms.com
Thierry Humeau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 02:07 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
Nate,
what have you seen re the AF100 vs the F3?
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 05:52 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
Well I got to play with an AF100 today and had it up next to an Ex-1 and an EX-1 with an SGPro adapter with their RR2 screen. We were moving fast and didn't try to shoot accurate side by side shots, but it was enough to give me some general impressions. Somebody looking closer with a bigger monitor and really observing recorded footage might find alot that we didn't.

First I didn't see any noise problems with the AF100 and playback at least on a 17" Panasonic monitor seemed pretty clean and not much different than the direct feed. Even shooting a very detailed resolution chart that would have looked like hell played back from a Canon looked pretty clean.

I didn't see as much resolution as I expected though and actually there was even more detail in the SGPro on the EX-1 than there was on the AF100. Personally I like to see resolution in the picture as it just makes it look denser and richer to me, but it didn't bother the other guys doing the test though. To my eye it was akin to what I've seen with the Canon DSLR's only not as pronounced. I would still tend to call it "HD light".

It had higher DOF than the SGPro did but that's to be expected since the SG was a larger sensor (somewhere between full frame and academy) and because the screen itself seems to drop the apparent DOF. Still it was a very pleasing low DOF image.

Of course its much easier to use than a 35mm adapter and much faster. My guess is that the F3 will blow it away in the resolution department and that will hopefully give a look with more texture and power - full HD.
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 06:33 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Monument, CO
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
I've been collecting footage from both the AF100 and the F3 and doing split screens on the DaVinci...looking at things pixel-for-pixel on a properly driven HD-SDI Dreamcolor rig.

So far, from what I can tell, the two cameras are not in the same ballpark.

Strangely enough, well-shot GH2 footage is looking amazing next to the Alexa and Red footage I'm using as a benchmark. Not in the same league of course, but they could cut together.
I'd also love to hear details here Nate. If you could show screen shots along with your observations that would be very helpful as well. Pushing pixels to the max on a DaVinci is something many of us aren't privy to but we'd certainly value your insight here. I'm guessing any tests I could do on my humble system with Color Finesse and After Effects wouldn't quite be the same.
Steve Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 07:29 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
I've been collecting footage from both the AF100 and the F3 ... So far, from what I can tell, the two cameras are not in the same ballpark..
Nate, which ballpark is which one in?
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Malibu, CA
Posts: 480
People on this board who are interested in the AF100 (just to note, I am not a fan of the 4/3 format) might want to look at this web page;
Birger Engineering, Inc.

The video is especially interesting, but the adapter and remote won't be cheap.
Bruce Schultz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 11:09 PM   #13
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thierry Humeau View Post
I assume the F3 looked better right?
By quite a bit. Sorry that wasn't clear in my ramblings.

I think when looking at these cams, the only real way to compare them is on a 1920x1080 LCD broadcast monitor. Noise levels, moire, etc really just get hidden on anything else (in particular the Panny production LCDs)

To my eyes, the AF100 just looks extremely *video*. I tried to dial out the typical video camera trappings (edge enhancement, overly zealous matrices, etc), but it looked like an HVX despite my best efforts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Nelson View Post
I'd also love to hear details here Nate. If you could show screen shots along with your observations that would be very helpful as well. Pushing pixels to the max on a DaVinci is something many of us aren't privy to
It's not that the Davinci has some magical powers, it's just a convenient tool to do split screens and see just how far you can bend each image before it falls apart. It's really good with saving stills and having fast access to compare them (something colorists need).

Its more about just seeing full images on a proper calibrated monitor on a proper SDI video output that is not smoothing over noise by scaling the image down, etc etc. I can't really replicate that experience with screenshots.

I will tell you this: the Alexa makes some of the most technically perfect images I've ever seen. It's quite something, and even just the ProRes 4:2:2 mode the cam shoots holds up better to color correction than Red.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 5th, 2011, 11:43 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
and even just the ProRes 4:2:2 mode the cam shoots holds up better to color correction than Red.
So you're saying that ProRes holds up better to grading than REDCode... that's quite a statement.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 6th, 2011, 12:21 AM   #15
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
So you're saying that ProRes holds up better to grading than REDCode... that's quite a statement.
Not really. More like that the Alexa is a lower noise sensor, and Prores is more than up to the challenge of not making the situation worse. Especially the 444 version of the codec. Lower noise means cleaner mucking about when coloring.

[edit: most of my experience is with the original Red sensor. not the MX. The MX was a big leap forward]
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Digital Cinema Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:27 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network