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


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Old January 15th, 2016, 04:28 PM   #1
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Upgrade to F5 or not

I am still on an F3 for most of my work, using a scl-z 18x140 sony lens . I sold my pmw350 and was planning for an update of the f3 soon. First I wanted to go to an f5 but I have some doubts. Is there a huge difference in picture quality beside the codec? I am always recording externally on a pix e5 in s-log. Should I invest in an F5 or would I get more satisfaction out of a nice set zeis cp2 PL mount primes for the F3? I don't care about 4k or slowmo yet. I just want a very nice image in HD. I think the F5 doesn't fully support the scl lens either.
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Old January 16th, 2016, 12:20 AM   #2
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

The big difference is menu snappiness compared to older cameras. The F5 and F55 is WAY slower to navigate the menus than the older F3.

Only get it if you could live with that and want to future proof for 4K and modern codecs. Not to mention RAW recording down the line too.
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Old January 16th, 2016, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

F5 is a different way of working than the F3. I've kept my F3 and most of my clients are more than happy with it. My personal feeling is that if you're recording HD on an external PIX, the images will be pretty close. A few clients want the F5, though some (like this past week) insist on the F55.
F5 is a faster sensor if you need that. And of course the 4K, 422 recording, slo-mo, etc....
From a usability perspective, I miss having real audio volume control knobs when using the F5/55.
However, I do like the new viewfinders better than either my older Zacuto EVF or the built-ins on the F3.
I'm pretty sure your lens should interface properly, though you should test it...
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Old January 17th, 2016, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

Thanks for the replies ! I think the F5 firmware doesn't support the scl lens in terms of autofocus and I need that sometimes. It's a slow lens but it is well suited for run and gun jobs and like having no audio dials, no autofocus, no zoomrocker would be a step down in usability I guess. If image quality is not a big difference between the two maybe it's not wise to upgrade to the F5 right now. I have also been looking at the c300M2 especially for the focus features. Maybe I better save my money for a while...
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Old January 24th, 2016, 01:53 AM   #5
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

Consider perhaps the Sony FS5 with the Sony 18-105mm f/4 lens.
It is a very good HD camera, with 4K as a "bonus extra" if needed (as the 4K is only 8bit 420, thus I classify it as more a "bonus feature" than a core feature of the FS5. If you insist on that you'll need to spend more and get the FS7).
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Old February 10th, 2016, 10:24 AM   #6
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

I strongly disagree about the FS5. It would absolutely be a big step down from the F3 and I predict that the OP would regret that move. The camera he might want to look at is the FS7, but even then, since has said he doesn't care about 4K or HFR, my advice is just to stay with the F3 and enjoy the really exceptional images that camera puts out effortlessly.
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Old March 11th, 2016, 01:43 AM   #7
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

Thanks everyone for the replies. I guess i'll probably upgrade to an f5 in the future (at least after nab :-) ) so I don't have to record externally anymore. Like doug said, the f3 can give beautiful images. I always use the vortex A picture profile from Doug's F3 video. I think this picture profile alone is worth of buying the dvd :-). Doug, if you would read this, is there a picture profile that looks like the vortex A for the f5 or fs7 dvd's also?
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Old March 11th, 2016, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: Upgrade to F5 or not

Hi Jurgen,

Thank you very much for the plug and it's great to hear that you like my F3 profile so much. I do provide some FS5 and FS7 profiles in those training videos that I feel allow those cameras to perform at their maximum potential. But just to be clear, none of the profiles are meant to match one camera to another. I'm not saying they won't be a good match, I'm just saying they were not specifically created to match.
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