Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC? at DVinfo.net

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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:04 AM   #1
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Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

Alright guys, help me with my math here... I'm not interested in starting a flame war with the RED folk, but because the pixel pitch of the two cameras is so drastically different, it's an issue worth exploring. I'm not an engineer and math isn't my strong suit -- so is this right, wrong, or somewhere in between?

Does the Sony F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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Re: Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

"When it comes to pixel pitch, bigger is better. Think of the pixels as if they were buckets, and light as if it were rain. If you’ve got larger buckets (pixels), you’ll catch more rain (light)."

But if you have more buckets you catch more rain also. And the Red has a lot more buckets (pixels) than the Sony does. Put another way, if you had to catch rain, would you rather have 2 five gallon buckets or 17 one gallon buckets?

Because Sony makes great chips, I do expect them to have an advantage in this area, but not anywhere like you're suggesting/asking about.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

The F3 has a similar ISO 800 rating to the RED MX sensor. Because it records 1920x1080p, doesn't mean that's the number of pixels on the sensor.

There has been some speculation on the number of pixels on the F3, but the numbers discussed are much larger than the 2 million mentioned. It would need to be to achieve a high resolution with a Bayer variation sensor. However, someone did get a horizontal pixel figure of "about 2500" from a Sony Guy.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #4
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Re: Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

Right Brian, the Sony probably has more that 2MP, but it doesn't have 14MP. The number I've heard thrown around is 3.6MP. But who knows if that's right.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #5
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Re: Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

Sony published the sensor resolution of the F3 online. If I recall correctly, it was around 3.36 megapixels.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: Does the F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

The two are probably within a stop of each other.

The thing that comes to mind for me though, to get the best looking/lowest amount of noise when you're pushing the ISO on the Red, is that you have to spend the time to full resolution debayers. Half res debayers, which are acceptable for a lot of 1080p work, look worse when you boost the Red's ISO to numbers like 3200.

So in one sense, there's a time penalty (or money, to use a Red Rocket in real time) to get the best high ISO images out of a Red..where the F3 does it real time to cards.
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