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


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Old March 4th, 2011, 09:37 PM   #1
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PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Wait or not wait? That is the question...

I was about to jump on the PMW F3K when I read this article:

Sony?s Big (NAB Show) Reveal ? Part I

Price-wise , the difference is huge

but technically , what are the real advantages of the F3K over the NXCAM super 35mm, which would
be launched in 2011 apparently ..

Also the new firmware update for the F3 with S-Log sounds good. Will the NXCAM super 35mm
have this too?

thank you for your help!
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Old March 4th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #2
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

As always, this is a question of which tool is right for the job. Some of the NXCam35 specs have yet to be released or clarified, but you can expect it to be missing some major features that the PMW-F3(K or L) has.

First and foremost, the S-Log mode and 4:4:4 output featured on the F3 will *not* be available on the NXCam35. Nor will the NXCam35 have the DualLink SDI capable of 1080 60p (although, it will have an internal 1080 60p recording mode, apparently).

The PMW-F3 has a 10 bit HD-SDI output. It is unclear whether the NXCam35 HD-SDI will be 8 or 10bit.

The PMW F3 also has TC in & out, as well as Genlock. The F3 additionally has paintbox and remote control support, and can be bridged for 3d work easily.

The F3 also has a zoom motor rocker which currently does nothing - but Sony intends to release compatible zoom lenses.

Additionally, the F3 makes use of SxS cards and BPU-60 batteries. If you own an EX1/EX1r/EX3, this could be an advantage.

Does your workflow need these sort of features? If not, the NXCam35 may be a good call.

They're being positioned in the market differently, and until the NXCam35 is released we won't know for sure how it measures up.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:39 PM   #3
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

I definitely don't critically need most of the features. So I guess that for the kind of work Im going to do the NXCAM super 35mm will be a good choice.

Thanks for your quick answer, James!
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:16 AM   #4
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

No ND filters on the NXCAM and no HDSDI either. It will have HDMI.

The lack of ND filters means the need to use front of lens ND's to get shallow DoF in many situations. I'm using ND1 and 2 for almost everything I shoot with the F3. It's not a deal breaker, but front mounted filters can lead to reflections and other issues. Your also going to need good 4x5.6 or 6x6 filters if your going to use PL glass.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #5
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
No ND filters on the NXCAM....
Hey Alister did you see the working model? From the prototype images it shows a switch very similar to ND filter switch on all sony camcorders. If what you say is true that really makes me think twice about that camera.

Edit: I attached a picture of what I'm talking about.
Attached Thumbnails
PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?-nd.jpg  

Last edited by Monday Isa; March 5th, 2011 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Picture added
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Old March 5th, 2011, 08:55 AM   #6
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

With NAB a short 5 weeks away, I think many of the answers will arrive at that time. From my perspective, the PL mount, HD-SDI, S-Log option, and dual link/3G outputs, combined with the SxS data flow, place the F3 into the lower price range of the 'Big Boy' cameras, while the expected options of the NX35 place it at the high capability range for the low cost big-chip cameras. I have a feeling the image will be amazing, and that it will probably blow the AF100 out of the water while staying in that price range. If that's the range you're trying to stay in, then the NX35 may be for you, but if you aspire to more professional features, particularly higher end data recording, the F3 is the way to go.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #7
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Alister, a fair number of shots of the pre-production S35 NXCAM that floated about a few months ago clearly showed an HD-SDI output on it and Sony reps even made mention of it back then. I did not see any evidence of an ND switch on the unit so this aligns but it is a very odd decision given the AF-100/101 has a few built in NDs.

To further go against the lack of an HD-SDI port Sony would be ceeding a good portion of the 3D filmmaker market. This unit will be a "knock it out of the park" camera for 3D use which can also be repurposed for 2 or more camera shoots within the same production house. Why would Sony provide such a disincentive to such a large portion of the market for this camera?

Last edited by Andrew Stone; March 5th, 2011 at 11:33 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Sony have made it very clear in discussions that I have had, that the NXCAM will not have HDSDi, even if it does I doubt it would be 10 bit. There is no ND switch, the barrel that the sensor is in is too small to incorporate an ND filter.

There are likely to be several key differentiators between the F3 and NXCAM. I believe 10 bit HDSDI to be one of them as well as the obvious codec and recording differences. The lack of HDSDI would not be that big a deal. The camera will have HDMI and the quality of the HDMI output is not really any different to that of an HDSDI output. The main difference is the lack of time code in the HDMI, but that's not going to be a biggie as most external decent recorders either generate their own TC or can be fed an external TC input.

What we have yet to see is the viewfinder and handle arrangements. Looking at the pictures that we have seen of the sensor module it would be very easy to configure the camera in a multitude of ways if Sony have been clever with an external viewfinder, which it sounds like they have. We'll all know a lot more on the 23rd, there will be videos and more info on the Pro.Sony.eu from the 23rd.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Sony have made it very clear in discussions that I have had, that the NXCAM will not have HDSDi, even if it does I doubt it would be 10 bit. There is no ND switch, the barrel that the sensor is in is too small to incorporate an ND filter.

There are likely to be several key differentiators between the F3 and NXCAM. I believe 10 bit HDSDI to be one of them as well as the obvious codec and recording differences. The lack of HDSDI would not be that big a deal. The camera will have HDMI and the quality of the HDMI output is not really any different to that of an HDSDI output. The main difference is the lack of time code in the HDMI, but that's not going to be a biggie as most external decent recorders either generate their own TC or can be fed an external TC input.

If this is true, the Panasonic team must be doing handsprings right about now.
The lack of an HD/SDI is a very big deal to some production teams. I bought an XF305 over the XF300 because one group I work with won't use a camera without HD/SDI. It's not a big deal to me, but they hire me, not the other way around.

It's odd that the other NXCAM, the NX5U, does offer 10-bit HD/SDI, and for a cheaper price.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #10
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Stone View Post
Alister, a fair number of shots of the pre-production S35 NXCAM that floated about a few months ago clearly showed an HD-SDI output on it and Sony reps even made mention of it back then. ?
Where did you see this photo? Can you provide a link? The pics and video I've seen show nothing more than a single XLR input.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #11
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Sony have made it very clear in discussions that I have had,... There is no ND switch, the barrel that the sensor is in is too small to incorporate an ND filter.
Bummer. Thanks for the info Alister
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Old March 5th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #12
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

But the other NXCAM products have 1/3" sensors which differentiates them from the XDCAM EX line, so even though they have HDSDI the images coming out of the back of the camera are not at the same quality level as the EX cameras.

Sony don't produce cameras that directly compete with each other. A 35mm NXCAM with the same sensor, same output options etc would be a direct competitor to the F3. The 35mm NXCAM is most likely going to be a lower spec'd camera, at a budget price to compliment the F3 as a "B" camera or for those where cost is more important that having HDSDI or built in ND's. Many people that use cameras at the NXCAM level only have monitors with HDMI inputs as HDSDI monitors tend to be significantly more expensive due to the added cost of the HDSDI chip set.

IF the camera does only have HDMI and you need HDSDI then there are plenty of mini-converters to choose from.

I doubt the lack of HDSDI would be seen by the competition as a reason for celebration because at the end of the day the success or failure of the camera will most likely be down to the image quality. We know the F3 sensor to be very good and I see no reason why the NXCAM should not also produce beautiful images.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #13
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Sony have made it very clear in discussions that I have had, that the NXCAM will not have HDSDi, even if it does I doubt it would be 10 bit. There is no ND switch, the barrel that the sensor is in is too small to incorporate an ND filter.
I have to say I find that odd. (And yes, disappointing.)

Like Glen, I think it odd that it wouldn't have HD-SDI when the (cheaper) NX5 does. Yes, you pay more for the sensor versus the 1/3" chips of the NX5, but why should that then lead to lesser features in other ways?

The ND aspect is even stranger. Assuming the same sensor, then unless it's treated in a completely different way it should have the same (extremely good) sensitivity of the F3. So, as it stands, without built-in ND it would be completely unable to record in normal daylight lighting settings out of the box!

OK, it could be got round, but it seems a lot of extra, unnecessary, expense for something fairly basic that is the norm on the vast majority of other camcorders, to say nothing of inconvienience. In many situations swinging a filter is vastly easier than physically changing filters in front of the lens.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #14
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

I'm not saying this guy knows more than Alister, or has better connections, but he seems to think the NXCAM will have HD/SDI. He doesn't give any indication as to where he got this info:

I just got my AG-AF100 (video) - The Steadicam Forum

Quote:

"Sony's to be launched S35 NXCAMs will spit out 10bit 422 through the HD-SDI jack and will be small bricks when stripped down like some of the rigs you have been sporting recently. The S35 NXCAM is slated to come out in summer of this year... or so they are saying."

Last edited by Glen Vandermolen; March 6th, 2011 at 10:08 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:35 PM   #15
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Re: PMW F3k or NXCAM super 35mm?

Glen,

I was the one who posted that info on the Steadicamforum. I got my information from a Sony promotional video At the time the prototype showed a single XLR connector and what I thought was a BNC connector on the back of the brick. I don't have a photo of it. Tried to find a shot of it tonight and couldn't.

Subsequent to that there were a couple of quick media interviews with Sony reps that led one to believe there was going to be HD-SDI on this unit.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; March 6th, 2011 at 12:21 AM. Reason: Removing info that could be misleading
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