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


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Old January 28th, 2013, 03:08 PM   #1
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I'm sticking with my F3

I don't know about you, but for anything to be display 2K down I'm sticking with my F3.
I filmed & edited this promo in a couple of hours. I used S-Log recorded to the KiPro Mini ProRes HQ. Graded with Color, sweetened sound in Soundtrack Pro and edited in FCP7. Blowed out are artistic choices in post.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Looks great Doug, as always.

I might agree with you about keeping the F3 - especially after hearing about the firmware delivery schedule and the F5 maybe not being "fully" usable until 2014.

:S
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Very nice done Douglas

I also agree with you about keeping the F3
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Old January 29th, 2013, 10:00 AM   #4
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

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Originally Posted by Rudy Wilms View Post
Very nice done Douglas

I also agree with you about keeping the F3
Thanks Rudy.

I believe that when the actual F5/55 comes out without all the advertise features that the used F3's price will go back up again.
I think that they will provably will be fully functional by NAB 2014 or even later. Look at the F3 how long it has been out and there is still a promised 1.5 update to come. ;-)

And, Dennis remember mid gray is 38% and never use a light meter. It is to hard to use. Hehehe
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

More and more what I am gathering from the firmware release is the F5/F5 will not be up and fully functional with all said features until towards the end of 2013. There are at least 3 firmware updates planned after the F5/F55 ships, and upon shipping for example the F5 will only let you shoot 4k raw (24/25/30/50/60p), HD XAVC 10-bit 1-60p, MPEG 422 30p/60i... and that's it.

Future updates will then unlock: HFR, 2k raw & 2k XAVC, and eventually up to 240p 2k RAW and S&Q HFR's.

Pay now, depreciate now, and you get 5% of the functionality you have paid for. Sorry but this has made me lose all excitement for the new F and I feel it is a big miss by Sony that will cause many to chose another camera if they really wanted those features.

A lot is going to change by NAB 2013, who knows what thunder might be stolen. Panasonic is stepping up to the plate and RED always has some cool & new tricks up its sleeve.

I've taken my F3 off the market and no one could possibly pry it out of my hands at this point. Anyone who bought an F3 for under $8000 should be laughing... and sit tight.

--==--

Yes : ) I love my light meter and once properly setup with your camera and you know what you are doing it is valuable tool. I never shoot without it and get consistent skin tones by using it. But yes a grey and white card is just as good but I find more cumbersome and time consuming to use camera as lighting tool or if camera is not moved to new setup/location. With light meter I can adjust all on my own.

Note however that Sony and Canon have different middle grey values in LOG mode and even the white values are different so it's important to know when you shoot with different cameras you know where the values have been remapped to.

Canon EOS Daily published my latest article on exposing C-LOG with the Canon series C100/C300/C500. It's white is only 2 stops over grey, whereas Sony's S-LOG is 2.5 stops. Canon's middle grey is 33% while Sony's is 38%. Canon 90% white is 63% while Sony's 90% white is 65%. I never believed in these values when I first heard of them so I trust that many others will also not believe. The article is meant to be a good eye-opener and I'm glad Canon published it.

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; January 29th, 2013 at 03:06 PM.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Er, that's not right.

If your talking about reflectance values for middle grey (18%) and white (90%) then the ratio of light reflected never ever changes, it's always the same ratio, so the number of stops between middle grey and white is exactly the same no matter what camera, no matter what gamma because changing the camera or changing the gamma curve does not change how much light is being reflected by the targets or scene. A card reflecting 90% of the light (white) is always 500% brighter than a card reflecting 18% of the light (middle grey), that ratio never ever changes and to suggest that the use of differnt cameras or gammas somehow alters that ratio is incorrect.

What can and does change is the chosen optimum recording levels, 38, 68, 34, 63 etc, but those are arbitrary values determined by the gamma curve and certainly don't change the number of stops between mid grey and white which is not determined by the camera but determined by the reflectance of the objects you are shooting.

So if in your scene there are 2 stops between two objects, there will always be two stops between those objects, whatever camera you shoot with, the camera does not change the contrast ratios in the scene.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:24 PM   #7
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Ah yes thanks for pointing that out, looking at the log charts for both camera log characteristics they read around 2.25 stops for 90% over middle grey but the mapping values I indicated were at least correct.

:)
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Old January 29th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

I'm sticking with mine, possible grabbing another one if the price keeps dropping!
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Old January 30th, 2013, 02:30 AM   #9
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Log and gamma curves can make ones head hurt ;-0

F3 is still a great camera. The F5/F55 didn't suddenly make an F3 a worse or less capable camera. I'll probably keep one of mine as a B camera to the F5. The F5 is bigger and bulkier and needs a more expensive support kit. One of the great things about the F3 for me is that I can get the camera, a couple of lenses, batts and charger in a standard airline carry on bag. I can't do that with the F5 (mainly due to the larger batts and charger).
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Old January 31st, 2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

Having great success with two F3's in a 709 world via 2 Nano Flashes, causes pause when considering adding a F5/55. Yes the new cameras record 50 422 LGOP, my main client request, but my base requires that the files be delivered on an archival medium XD DISK. So I would be doing the same drag and drop as I do now.
But I really like the native ISO of the new issues, especially the 5. 10 bit is very tempting as well. For that I use the Gemini/f3 combo. HFR is very attractive.
Until I have a collection of files that I shot, graded and matched to my existing camera collection, I'll reserve my purchase decision.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 10:27 AM   #11
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

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But I really like the native ISO of the new issues, especially the 5. 10 bit is very tempting as well. For that I use the Gemini/f3 combo. HFR is very attractive.
The native ISO of the F5 is actually 800, and the F55 is 500.

The initial values announced by Sony were as I suspected at the time, SLOG modes.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 11:53 AM   #12
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

But what does native ISO mean?

Once upon a time it simply meant the sensitivity of the camera with no added gain applied or no unusual processing push of the film stock. This is also almost always the point where the best dynamic range is achieved as adding or subtracting gain reduces the dynamic range.

These days it's all much less clear as very often the sensitivity setting of 0db may not actually mean that no gain is being added as much is made of sensitivity when it comes to marketing. So if a camera manufacturer can add a bit of gain and then sell the camera as a seemingly more sensitive camera, this is what they may do.

With the F3 the best dynamic range is achieved in S-log at 1600 ISO. It would not be unreasonable to assume that this is close to no gain applied. When in normal gammas, when you look at how the recommended mid grey point shifts up from the 38% of S-log to the 46% of 709 it is obvious to see that there is quite a big gain difference between these two settings. My bet would be that the standard gammas are actually getting negative gain applied, which would e xplain why they are so noise free and why you cannot get quite as much dynamic range and that in S-log mode the cameras is at or very close to unity gain.

But what about the F5 and F55? Theroretically they should be less sensitive than the f3, they have much smaller pixels. Even if you allow perhaps for some improvement in the sensor technology, I really wouldn't expect them to be more sensitive than the F3. They do have more sophisticated noise reduction circuits and that might be allowing a little more to be pulled from the darkest parts of the image, which might be why you can use 2000 ISO as the optimum setting for best dynamic range on the F5. Given that S-log2 has a recommended mid grey point of 34% all of this does point to the true sensitivity of the F3 and F5 being very similar and then the F55 being a little less sensitive.

Of course the F5/F55 with their better (and adjustable) noise reduction do have an edge over the F3 at higher gain/ISO settings, but in real terms at the nominal 0db settings the difference is small. I also think that the native ISO is the S-log ISO as this is where you have the best dynamic range rather than the non s-log ISO.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 12:15 PM   #13
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

For me in this case I simply mean the camera in its default or standard gamma mode. Ie. Rec709 at zero db gain.

People can not say the F3 is ISO800 but the F5 is 2000. This is apples and oranges comparrison. I'm simply trying to clarify what Sonys initial marketing announcement had (and still have) many confused over.

Surely no one working ENG for TV/broadcast is going to shoot SLOG2 are they?

I do see the other way of looking at "native ISO" - the one that isn't the marketting ISO and looks more at the acceptable quality of an image at a specific ISO. This is more apparent with RED where most DP's don't like shooting over 400ISO with it but others push 800 and sometimes 1600 if needed, but admit to needing noise cleaners at the higher range.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:44 PM   #14
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

What I am suggesting is that the native ISO of the f5 is around 2000 ISO, after all this is the zero point for the raw recordings, which should represent the pure sensor output with no gain applied.

But I am also suggesting that the F3's native ISO is about the same. So in terms of real sensitivity there is little between them and true native ISO would be at the maximum dynamic range point. Sony did also market the F3 as being 1600 ISO, which in S-log it is.

Now what gain levels Sony choose for other gammas, well those are decisions made by the engineers for good sensitivity and noise performance, and may not actually reflect the true native ISO of either camera. As I said the nominal ISO used for the standard gammas is I believe quite likely actually -6db gain in both cases. There are no reasons that I can think of to have a different ISO for log other than to maximise dynamic range and dynamic range is normally best when you have no added gain. For standard gammas where dynamic range is not critical a little bit of negative gain giving 800 ISO offers good sensitivity with very low noise and a one stop loss of dynamic range is irrelevant.

The noise reduction processes in the F5 are very good and this means that in most cases it will have a better signal to noise ratio than the F3, so higher gain settings produce a cleaner result from the F5 than F3.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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Re: I'm sticking with my F3

There's a beautiful example of the way skin tones improve when exposed lower at 0.54 in the video. As the exposure level drops the skin tones become so much better. Plasticky, texture free and video like turning to natural and rounded. That's log compression doing its thing, nice to see it happening within the same shot. Good example of why you don't want to push your exposure too high in log and why it's vital to keep skin tones on the low side of the curve.
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