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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old July 4th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #1
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FS100 compared to F3

Unofficial, unscientific, chartless and printless results of my friend Ashly and I comparing his new FS700 to my F3. I say printless because we didn't have a whole lot of time and didn't record anything at all, so no frame grabs - you only have our observations. We did both agree though.

We set up his camera next to mine in my living room both going SDI into my Flanders Scientific 17".
there were windows so we could look outside to overexposure and we set up a chip chart to just match general exposure. Both cameras were set to Cinegamma 4 and cinema matrix. We didn't kill ourselves trying to match color. A few simple adjustments got us surprisingly close on the monitor and not far off on the vectorscope. You could use them together for sure.

We did not have matched lenses. He only had the Sony 18 -200 f3.5 - 6.3 or whatever and I had my Nikon zooms. The 18-200 looked pretty decent but we didn't spend any time evaluating it. It looked much better than my Nikon 18-200 3.5-6.3 lens that i use for true run & gun though.
Thus any comparisons for resolution &* even speed are dicey as we would have to trust that my f4 on a Nikon was the same f4 that his camera readout said. It did feel like it was probably accurate though.

We matched midpoints on the chip chart for exposure and the whole chart seemed to line up the same so the gammas were probably very similar, though my blacks were set a little lower.
So results:

1 - Surprisingly the F3 seemed to hold highlight detail out my window noticeably better. Likewise it seemed to hold shadow detail better. This despite my blacks being lower. The darks on the FS700 looked muddier also but that could easily be a set-up issue or maybe they were just darker. (It is conceivable that we weren't careful and he F3 might have been looking at darker foliage due to its angle but I don't think it was.)
- We did not compare DR carefully with charts.

2- The FS700 seemed to be 1/2 stop faster. F3 said ISO 400 at 0 DB and the FS700 said 640 @ 0DB and this difference seemed to hold with our F stops the whole time.

3- At 18DB the FS700 was a little noisier. However it would also be a little faster at 18DB. Withe FS700 a half stop less gain they seemed pretty close . So It looked roughly like at the same ISO they had similar noise - thus in practice they had the same noise, which is pretty damn good.

4- In low light the FS700 dB settings (like the FS100) for reasons that only Sony understands can go much higher -I(was it 32BD?) while the F3 stops at 18DB. However I seem to recall that the FS700 doesn't offer a 1/24 sec shutter at 24fps though it does 1/30 at 30fps. Huh? I always shoot low light at 1/24 or 1/30 for the extra stop. If that's true than at 24fps the FS700 could in practioce be considered a full stop noisier in low light.

5 - We didn't see any difference in the handling of color as we overexposed. Leaves out the window tended to go yellow on both cameras. We overexposed a macbeath chart and hands and didn't see anything odd.

6 - Resolution - Since we didn't have matched lenses its all speculative but the FS700 seemed to have considerably less resolution than the super sharp F3. Even with the detail off, the F3 was sharper than the FS700 dialed up, but different lenses so ......

7 - Moire was lower on the FS700, especially Chroma noise which is quite noticeable on a chart with an F3 even with detail off and we barely saw any on the FS700
- Likewise looking at a MacBook Pro screen the characteristic tight moire patterns that you can get with the F3 were much cleaner with the FS700. It would be a great screen camera if it only had Clear Scan! If you want really bad moire though check out a C300!

8 - General picture quality was good on both cameras though we both thought the F3 looked better. Color was richer and maybe deeper whatever the hell that means and it was a sharper picture. However the FS700 was out of the box, so I imagine we could have had a better color set-up.

We never looked at Faces - (wish we had) never took the camera outdoors, never looked at charts except as an element in a shot.

Nice thing is if you use a 4" Small HD EVF monitor you can output zebras and false color to the monitor which is a big help.

The knob to tighten the handle grip on Ash's FS700 broke within 15 min!!!!

Hope this is helpful info.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #2
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Re: FS100 compared to F3

I think Sony have an issue with that handgrip knob. I've seen a lot of broken ones already.

Best latitude with the FS700 is gained with Cinegamma 4 which gives about 12 useable stops. The out of the box setup is only about 10 stops, so will fall well below that of the F3. I'm very pleased with my FS700's pictures but the ergonomics.... well it's just not normal.

Running some more formal tests myself tomorrow.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: FS100 compared to F3

Eager to hear your results, particularly how the dynamic range compares to the F3.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Re: FS100 compared to F3

Initial results are that the FS700 is remarkably close to the F3. With both cameras using Cinegammas I would even suggest the FS700 has marginally greater latitude. The F3 with S-Log has more useable latitude than the FS700 with Cinegamma 4 by about 1 stop.

I find the FS700 to be noisier for the same ISO/Sensitivity compared to the F3,which is what I expected to find. But the FS700 is not a noisy camera, just not as clean as the F3. I also found little practical resolution difference between the two. I have not measured resolution yet, but in like for like shots I could not see a significant difference.

Overall the FS700 is really impressing me and may well replace my F3's as my goto camera for a lot of the shoots that I do where extensive post work will not be done. The standard FS700 settings are not getting the best out of the camera and I'm working on some Picture Profiles to get the very best from the camera. Cinegamma 4 is a good starting point. The F3's images are so clean and grade so well that for commercials and high end productions it's hard to beat. But as a great all round camera the FS700 is very good indeed, just a little better than the FS100. The 700 does still suffer from a slight issue on over exposed high contrast edges that results in a narrow black or white edge artefact that is not very nice. I suspect this is a result of the limited bit depth of the DSP not coping well with sensor output extremes.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: FS100 compared to F3

Yikes I just realized this thread should say FS700 compared to F3 not FS100.

Alister,

Interesting that your results differ from mine at least in details. I would agree that overall its pretty damn similar.

Did you compare DR of F3 to FS700 in cinegamma 4? I was surprised to find more latitude on both ends in the F3.
Also re: Resolution - your results are much different from mine, but I was comparing the stock 18-200 (probably wide open) on the FS700 to F3 with a sharp Nikon 24-70. Do you think that would account for a large resolution difference? The 18-200 probably was wide open.

BTW - Curious finding today. Last week I compared how both cameras handled chroma in the highlights (cine 4) and they looked very similar. In both I wasn't fond of the way greens foliage tends to get pretty saturated and go yellow when overexposed. Pulled out my EX-1 today and low ad behold the highlights in Cine 4 were much more natural and if anything too desaturated. I was surprised to see much difference at all.
I kept looking for some set-up difference but couldn't find one.

I've thought about replacing my F3 with the FS700 also but lack of clear scan is a big deal as I work in Silicon Valley a lot. Also no 1/24 shutter would bug me because I do shoot in dark spaces relatively often.
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