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


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Old February 24th, 2011, 06:28 AM   #1
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Sony f3 vs pana af-101

How do these two camera compare...I have just sold my ex-1 kit and I am looking into investing into a new camere...

Plus Minus chart for sony
Sony double the price
bigger sensor
true pl mount
less frames per second in 1080p
slightly better codec performance
true 10bit output


Plus minus chart af-101
one time cheaper
better overcranking capabilites in 1080p mode
smaller sensor
slightly more compressed codec
only 8-bit output through hd-sdi

any other thoughts...where would you put your money on?
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Old February 24th, 2011, 07:27 AM   #2
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

The F3 can do 1080/60P over dual link or 3g to an external recorder. Based on what I've read, the F3 is 2-3 stops better and near twice the ISO. Has far more professional options, and is just in a different class.

Basically, if you only have $5K, buy the 101, if you have more, buy the F3. If you have even more, buy the Alexa. That's digital cinema in a nutshell.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 10:36 AM   #3
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Similar reaction to above - the F3 is a far better camera than the AF101, in a lot of ways that are only just becoming clear - but the F3 is a lot more expensive.

A third alternative to the above may be to wait until NAB and see what the large format NXCAM turns out like. It may turn out to be a similar price to the AF101, whilst offering a lot more for your money. (Especially if it shares the F3 sensor.)
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Old February 24th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Yea hate to say it.....

The F3 is fully different creature. The AF100 is more in the "HVX200, HPX170, 5D" Crowd.

The F3 is more in the HPX3000, RED, Alexa Crowd, despite its price. This is what makes it so amazing. It really is giving you incredible performance for the $.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #5
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drazen Stader View Post
How do these two camera compare...
I don't think they do ...
If it fits the budget F3 no second thought,
in any case i wouldn't replace EX with AF, but that's me
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Old February 24th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

I/we just got rid of our AF101 but I've used it quite a lot. I've only ever used the F3 in a demo, though. The 101 is excellent for the price but nothing to get too excited about when you compare to other cameras. The full 1080 over-crank isn't really any kind of advantage since - in our tests - the camera struggles to resolve over 700 lines anyway. The EX1 and 3 are just as sharp over-cranked in 720p and I expect the F3 is too. Just because it's shot in 1080 mode, doesn't mean it's actually resolving 1080 lines!

The 101 also has poor high-light roll-off in any mode, has limited dynamic range, excessive noise for the sensor size, visible banding, trailing artefacts (almost certainly from built-in NR) in low-ish light. It's also just a bit too soft when you start to shoot deep focus wides.

It also has a pretty poor viewfinder and questionable ergonomics but then this is true of the F3 as well.

Having said that, the F3 certainly SHOULD be a lot better because it is way more expensive.

As an aside, I just brought back some footage from an Alexa shoot (we may be doing the post for a client) and I cut into a camera test sequence we have archived here (we add to it as new cameras come out) To my surprise, the footage that cut in best with it in the sub 10k bracket was from the XF305, which may not be fashionable but it has great IQ from a really decent lens... It's not all about shallow DoF and changing lenses! I'm not sure I could live with a built-in servo-driven lens but in good hands and decent light that camera can produce very, very pretty pictures and is definitely worth considering [flame suit on].

Oh, and I wouldn't replace the EX with the AF either.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #7
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Mr. Wilson, I am in the same camp!
My AF100 took a prompt trip back where I got it. *HOWEVER* I think it's a big step up from DSLR's. Not necessarily from the image quality, but from the onboard tools.

In my opinion the dollar value over DSLR:

SDI Out: +$2000
Audio Meters: +1000
Scopes: +1000
XLR in: +1000

Right there is enough value (in my opinion) to justify $5K+ over DSLR.
And no, I'm not a Sony Fanboy...made my living with a 5D for nearly 2 years.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Agree to all of the above.

From what I can tell, about the only thing these two cameras have in common is their size, shape, and larger sensors.

Which, all sarcasm and humor aside, is a little confusing for somebody just now familiarizing themselves with the two cams.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 01:43 AM   #9
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

I just helped out on a test shoot for my school, were we tried among other cameras, the AF-101 and the F3, with Zeiss Compacts. We shot more or less with straight out of the box settings on the cameras, with no intention for color grading. We then quickly reviewed some of the footage in the school cinema.

Not considering price.

The Sony had much better skin tones, when overexposing. The AF would get "pastel" and overexpose/color clip the skin much faster.

A candle light test showed the AF was much noisier, the F3 was actually less noisy than the Alexa on ISO 3200 (I think that or 1600).

When the candle at 800 ISO was taken closer to the face of the talent the AF would color clip and start banding a bit.

The AF showed a little bit more aliasing (but, we didn't muck around with detail settings on the cameras so might be it) as well, but bear in mind that i sat about 8-9 feet from a 12-15' screen and was very nit picky.

So if price is not an issue, I would say F3, if money is an issue, then both are good.

I will be able to really review the footage later this week or next week...
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Old March 30th, 2011, 05:23 AM   #10
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

ROROflix: Sony F3 & Panasonic AF100 Comparison shots

here is the test. they look comparable, I prefer the look of Panasonic, for skin rendition,
F3, imho the camera that was rushed to the market with "old" Mpeg2 codec, with problems with croma clipping and aliasing that shows in this test, by Adam Wilt ProVideo Coalition.com: Camera Log by Adam Wilt | Founder | Pro Cameras, HDV Camera, HD Camera, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, RED, Video Camera Reviews. was ready to buy it, now have to wait, gather more money for the Scarlet, Alexa, for more serious, indi film production,

here test by the German colleagues, http://www.videoaktiv.de/Praxis+Tech...ny-PMW-F3.html


http://www.aktiv-verlag.com/~webvide...3_Bahn_25p.MP4
http://www.aktiv-verlag.com/~webvide...3_Bahn_50i.MP4

chronic chroma and white clipping on beige walls, does anyone thinks it looks like Canon HV30, which is a great camera in its market?
For wedding, corporate AF100 is a way to go, again all imho, personal conclusions.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 05:40 AM   #11
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Just a couple of comments.

1) I don't think your F3 is setup properly. The right PP settings make all the difference. All Sony camcorders look terrible "out of the box" and nobody I know would shoot with one that way. Even if you do intend on grading, you still have to set some parameters. Not doing basic camera setup, invalidates the comparison.

2) "We tried to keep the FOV as similar as we could between the 2 cams".
Well, this eliminates one of the big advantages of the F3 over the AF100. Micro 4/3 is not a big sensor compared to Super35. Why not compare the F3 to a XF305 or EX1 if you're going to eliminate DoF from the test.

Just my impressions about the testing.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 06:22 AM   #12
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

I've shot comparisons between the two in low light and there's NO comparison. The AF100 is noisy, noisy, noisy. For the $$$ though, it's hard to beat.
I'll take my F3 though.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #13
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg Kalyan View Post
ROROflix: Sony F3 & Panasonic AF100 Comparison shots

here is the test. they look comparable, I prefer the look of Panasonic, for skin rendition
On your test I would say the AF "looks better", it is closer to what I would want the final image to look like, but I bet the data isn't as fun to play with as on the Sony, since the Sony seems to have more "low contrast/higher DR", and just better gradation.

I just get the feeling that with the AF, you really need to protect highlights.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

Bad comparison. The AF100 is consistently at a longer lens and has a softer more pleasing set-up. But that's the set-up. If you put them side by side to shoot the same shot, dropped the detail on the F3, set up a nice scene file and adjusted the iris so that they were both the same it might be quite different. I could have done the same with an EX-1 or HVX if it was far enough back.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 09:07 AM   #15
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Re: Sony f3 vs pana af-101

I'm working on a series of tests that will compare my PMW-F3 to a potato. Preliminary results show that, if cooked at the same temperature, the potato tastes better, and looks better, too. And it costs far less. There's only one problem: there's no decent way to mount the potato on my tripod. Does anyone know of an adapter I could use?
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