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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old March 31st, 2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Handholding an F3?

What is the feasibility of using the F3 as a handheld camera, assuming one uses light primes?
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Old March 31st, 2011, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: Handholding an F3?

I shot a full day hand held for a run and gun web spot. It can work, but just needs some fiddling with. I had a Zacuto base plate, Cineroid EVF, Zacuto shoulder pad, and a Red rock handle and cheese plate off the back. Put a Dionic on it (lasted a most of the day) and that acted as my counter balance on the back. I wanted the shoulder pad further forward, but it can be tweaked. Also had a Crosziel follow focus with reverse drive, and used a Tokina 28-70.

It was a mish mash of stuff but worked for what we needed. I think some more tweaking will help. Also I think there are some 3rd party manufacturers working on F3 specific shoulder mount systems.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Hi Nigel,
Thanks for the rely,but I was referring to handholding the camera without any attachments other than a lens. If I had to add a shoulder mount and all the other accessories seen in your photo I would scrap the idea of an F3 and simply use my PMW-350 ... it's already a shoulder mount camera.

With that in mind, how handhold-able is the F3 with only a prime lens attached. I recall from an earlier and disappointing experience with a EX1, that hand holding was not really ideal, if not downright uncomfortable.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Without accessories, the F3 is very difficult to hand-hold. If you have really massive arms, you might make it work, but eye level shooting without a brace doesn't work for me. I've ordered an EasyRig. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: Handholding an F3?

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Originally Posted by Ron Wilk View Post
What is the feasibility of using the F3 as a handheld camera, assuming one uses light primes?
As a strait shooter (not editor, colorist, producer or director that I am not) I can say that this camera sits in my arms much better than EX1 did. With the lenses I currently use (Tokina 20-35/2.8 and 28-70/2.8) and smallish Genus wide angle matte box on Genus GMB/A rails, Redrock follow focus and Sony 60 battery camera is more balanced and easier to hold using viewfinder or LCD. The shoot I did yesterday was a "run and gun" 2 segments custom homes renovation involving interviews and B-roll of various trades working inside and outside the house in construction. I was basically able to do the whole day of shoot with only one lens (20-35) with out really need to change lenses in "dangerous" (dusty) environment.

My new set up on tripod sits far better than EX1 did. With Genus/RR kit EX1 was always "nose heavy" and sitting funny on the tripod. F3 is much better.

I hope this helps...
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Old March 31st, 2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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Re: Handholding an F3?

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Originally Posted by Jim Tittle View Post
Without accessories, the F3 is very difficult to hand-hold. If you have really massive arms, you might make it work, but eye level shooting without a brace doesn't work for me. I've ordered an EasyRig. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.
Thank you for your reply. I suspected as much, as the form and shape differs little from an EX1. I don't need another shoulder mount camera, already have one,albeit a 2/3 sensor as opposed to 35mm and am not interested in building a "rig" as was required for the EX1 and 3. I am searching for a high quality hand holdable camera ... guess I'll have to wait for NAB or the NEXCAM HD35.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 01:06 PM   #7
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Ron, there are enough videos out of the NEX FS-100 (aka S35 NXCAM), that you can get a good sense of what this camera is like. In short, it is not heavy, the viewfinder with the diopter attachment would be good if you are holding the camera mid belly height or lower, as the LCD is perched on top of the camera. Think Hasselbad in terms of form factor. However, it is lacking in built in NDs although you can use a screw on variable ND filter on their e-mount lenses that work with this camera.

Have a look around there are a number of threads on this FS-100 cam that show the camera and the ergos with relation to the viewfinder.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 02:29 PM   #8
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Re: Handholding an F3?

The F3 can be work handheld in a very stipped down version with a light DSLR wide lens but it is far from ideal. Once a sturdy, compact third party EVF comes to market, this coudl drastically change the hand holding abilities of the F3. I am thrilled by neither of the current offerings from Zacuto or Cineroid but see a great potential in RedRockMicro's MicroEVF as long as it effectively come to market and offer HD-SDI connection with loop through.

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Old March 31st, 2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Thank you all for your thoughts.
The Fs-100 might be a good choice for my stated purpose, but while I could deal with the absence of self-contained NDs, I'm not at all thrilled with its intended codec or the absence of SDI. However, I was surprised to learn that HDMI can carry a 10 bit signal. Anyway, with NAB only weeks away, it makes sense to wait and see if any surprises surface.

That said, it seems that the manufacturers, either by design or absent the comprehension of the needs and desires of the purchasing public, have endeavored to excel at imperfection. Either they offer a camera with great or almost great specifications, while ignoring ergonomics or do just the opposite. I would love to have 5 minutes with any of their design teams just to get a handle on what they are or are not thinking. Of course, somewhere in the equation sits cost of production and, the holy grail—profit—but I would venture to guess that most, myself included, would be willing to pay for a better and more complete product. After all, would you find solace in the availability of high quality aftermarket racing tires for your just purchased Ferrari that came with factory supplied bicycle tires? Not me. It should never have left the factory with such inadequate rubber. I'm certain you get the metaphor
Sorry for the rant, but I just don't get it. Why make excuses for these inadequacies by siding with the manufacturers with one inane excuse or another? We know they can do better, but if we continue to accept less than what we need or desire, then that's all they will give us.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Ron, if one complains all the time people stop listening. Don't think that we are letting the manufacturers off. For many of us, it is a combination of feigned resignation, choosing one's battles and getting on with it. I agree with what you are saying.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 07:23 PM   #11
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Of course, criticism and complaining are two different things. The best way to show disapproval is to take your money elsewhere. Or, just make something that's better.

There's a reason why there are so many Red cameras out there (not trying to make camera comparisons--just making a general point.)
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Old March 31st, 2011, 07:30 PM   #12
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Re: Handholding an F3?

A lot of little annoyances in design are usually rooted in costs and practical mass production decisions that are totally hidden and opaque to the end user. The accountant says you have to re-use that production line to save X millions in retooling, the engineer says but if we retool we can make the product X centimetres longer at the back and it won't fall off the tripod when the user blinks, and so on.

Companies like Sony are an entire ecosystem of design, resources and production. The decision they make may sometimes bewilder us, but I'd bet there is always a reason why, and sometimes it might be the simple but complex butterfly effect.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 10:50 AM   #13
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Re: Handholding an F3?

[QUOTE=Jim Tittle;1633870]Of course, criticism and complaining are two different things. The best way to show disapproval is to take your money elsewhere. Or, just make something that's better..."

I agree in totality!
But there are a bevy of individuals who, for reasons beyond comprehension, persist in supplying excuses on behalf of the manufacturers. While an explanation for a given producer's (manufacturer) omissions would make for a nice read, as an enduser, I care only for the product in my hands. And any device, camera or otherwise, that requires a conglomeration of add-ons to bring it to the state that it should have been from the get-go seems senseless to me. You just have to take a gander at the photo several posts above this one to see what I mean. The user has taken a less than 6 lb. camera and created what I would guess to be at least a 20 lb. behemoth. Is that what Sony envisioned when they commissioned this product? It reminds me of days gone by when some VW Beetle owners installed Rolls Royce facsimile grilles on the front of their tiny vehicles.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 10:58 AM   #14
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Re: Handholding an F3?

"...it might be the simple but complex butterfly effect."

I suspect the butterfly flew off before anyone actually got to test the finished product!
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Old April 1st, 2011, 04:00 PM   #15
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Re: Handholding an F3?

Ron

Just got a chance to handhold the FS 100 at the EC Pro video event in NYC yesterday. Much better than the F3, and lots more ways to use it in that configuration, viewfinder, LCD, hand grip and small package. It worked much better than a DSLR, and felt comfortable with only the camera and lens
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