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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old March 4th, 2011, 06:49 PM   #1
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Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

On another list, a DP from AU reported that his knowledgeable client thought the F3 has a very similar look to the EX3, this even though he had a Cooke S2 on the F3.

I am using EX3s daily and find them to be an excellent camera, so
I am hoping for thoughtful comments and replies gained from those with actual experience with both cams.

TIA!

Jacques
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Old March 4th, 2011, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

I'd say by default it does, especially in highlight handling.

The tools are there though to make it very Alexa or F35 like, which is my intention when I get mine.

When S-Log comes about, it will be a new ball game all together, as it will take the standard Sony color matrices out of the mix, along with the gamma we're all used to seeing and the detail (S-Log dispenses with detail circuit)

So if you like the EX3 look, then you'll be happy. I myself don't care for it, and plan on doing some extensive matrix tweaking.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:23 AM   #3
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Yes, the F3 looks very much like an EX1. That's because they share very similar matrix and colourimetry settings. I know I've had then side by side. If you wanted to mix and match on a shoot you would not have any big problems. The default F3 is more highly saturated than the EX and looks slightly richer, but it's not a big difference. It's hard to say whether the F3 has greater lattitude with the built in gammas, it hints that it does, but the stock gammas are limiting the lattitude, we will have to wait for S-Log to see how much better the F3 is.

The big differences are the lack of noise and ability to easily get a very shallow DoF with the F3. The ultra clean images from the F3 will make grading easier and the shallow DoF... thats what separates a 35mm sensor sized cameras from the everything else.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #4
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Alister once again knocks the ball out the park ;).
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Old March 5th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #5
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

What is the Dynamic Range of each camera?
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Old March 5th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #6
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

The Cinegammas limit the recorded range to around 11 stops.

Standard Rec709 Gamma (similar to EX1 Std 3) with no knee will give about a 7 stop range irrespective of the DR of the sensor. It is limited to this to ensure compatibility across transmission systems and monitors. If you were to record a greater range and then squash it into a REC709 signal then the pictures would look flat and washed out. The knee, helps you gain a few extra stops as it only operates in the highlights.

Cinegammas work by recording an increased dynamic range (460%) in the standard 0 - 109 IRE range. Given that 1 stop = a doubling of the input, you can see than 460% x 7 stops give something close to 11 stops. The sensor might be capable of more, but at the moment the gamma is restricting the range that can be passed through the system. Perhaps S-Log will show a greater dynamic range, I am expecting that it will.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #7
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Obviously, one of the big advantages of S-Log is its ability to extend the recorded dynamic range of the camera. The curves from Peter Crithary's posted presentation seemed to indicate S-log dynamic range around 800%, of course these curves are already a couple of months old and done with 'preproduction' models. We'll have to see where it all lands when the official version of the S-Log upgrade becomes available.

I, for one, like the idea that the F3 natively has a similar 'look' to the other Sony cameras both below and above it on the price/pecking order. It means that not only can the F3 act as a nice B-cam (or lightweight steadicam body) on an F-35 or 9000PL shoot, but that on a lower budget production where the F3 is the 'A' camera, an EX1r or EX3 can be used for additional footage without looking totally out of place!
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Wonderful discussion everyone. Yes, there are many reasons why the F3 should look like an EX coming out of the box. I get that strategy. That is where it starts and then come the cool extra features that make it stand out. Being able to output and capture to higher bandwidth formats beyond 4:2:2 is fabulous.
Quick question, how does the F3 compare to the EX in low light? I hear that it is cleaner, but how would it do in say a small room lighted with candles? Think seance or palm reading.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #9
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

The look of the EX3 would presumably trail the F3 by a fairly wide margin in super-low light / candle-lit situations.
Going on the assumption that you are mounting some really fast glass on the F3. Perhaps a T/1.2 or lower lens. (Yes, fast glass can also be adapted onto EX3, but may be harder to find appropriate focal lengths because of the chip size factor.)
F3 large sensor is an inherently faster chip, so '0 db' ISO rating for F3 is higher .
F3 S/N noise level is low enough to allow you to add significant amount of gain to image without becoming a 'field of grain'
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #10
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Candlelight is a huge challenge, but the F3 does the best I've ever personally seen, and it absolutely blows away the EX1/EX3. Not only does it gather more light, but the gain can be boosted with very little noise.

Here's a test that was done:

And keep in mind, that was done at T2.8. Get some Superspeeds and you'll really be cooking.

Certainly, for the money, the lowlight capability is stunning.

Seeing as the NXCam35 will have the same sensor, this advantage may very well pass on to that even lower pricepoint.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #11
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

"Seeing as the NXCam35 will have the same sensor, this advantage may very well pass on to that even lower pricepoint."

I tend to agree, I think the NXCAM35 may end up as the B camera to my F3 on some lower light projects.
Truly a bonus that you'll be able to mix and match the F3 with EX1/3. as well as with the F35 and 9000PL.

Nice to not have the older cameras become totally obsolete for a change.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #12
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

I went to Vimeo and found some F3 footage.
I am VERY impressed. Yes, it does blow away the EX3 and really can achieve a look that's cinematic.
Right now, the F3 is on the top of my 'almost able to afford it' - next camera to buy.

Some of the responses deride the viewfinder and 35mbps on board recorder.

Well, on a controlled shoot, i would want a big monitor anyway and have a HDSDI nebtek.

What would be great feature, something similar to AJA's Ki Pro that could record S-log to SSD drives
and for a reasonable price. I think it is time for the Ki Pro to take a price drop.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #13
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau View Post
What would be great feature, something similar to AJA's Ki Pro that could record S-log to SSD drives and for a reasonable price.
Upcoming Sony Products: PMW-F3 & SR-R1 Deck - Negative Spaces - Ben Cain

although the price may not be "reasonable" it will record S-Log 4:4:4 to flash media.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #14
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau View Post
What would be great feature, something similar to AJA's Ki Pro that could record S-log to SSD drives
and for a reasonable price. I think it is time for the Ki Pro to take a price drop.
We will see devices just like that at NAB and the price will be very attractive, of that I'm pretty sure.

The F3 is amazing in low light. I too love the fact that it is such a close match the the EX1/3. This means I can use the most appropriate camera for each shot.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #15
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Re: Report: F3 looks almost the same a EX3

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Houk View Post
Candlelight is a huge challenge, but the F3 does the best I've ever personally seen, and it absolutely blows away the EX1/EX3. Not only does it gather more light, but the gain can be boosted with very little noise.

Here's a test that was done: Sony PMW-F3 Candlelight Test on Vimeo

And keep in mind, that was done at T2.8. Get some Superspeeds and you'll really be cooking.

Certainly, for the money, the lowlight capability is stunning.

Seeing as the NXCam35 will have the same sensor, this advantage may very well pass on to that even lower pricepoint.
James, thanks for this real world test. Sure beats the pixel counting chart testing. Really nice images !!
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