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Monday, November 08, 2010

Sony Announces The New F3 Super35 Chip Camera For The Rest of Us

Is the Sony F3 camera the one for the rest of us ?

Lets define who the rest of us are ! 
Sony F3 Super35mm camera
Ok, to some one with a F23 or F35, its dirt cheap. How many folks around here have one of these ? how many rentals houses for that matter ! How many productions that most of us normally or will ever work on are using one ? small market.
Is it  some one looking at a RED ? The F3  is $1k less. for a body, maybe less at street price.  However it doesn't have 4K res, its HD only. It does have S-Log which I assume is like RED RAW giving you everything the chips took in when you shot. However to be able to record it, you'll need the new not even spec'd SR Memeory recorder which will be sure double or more the price of the unit.  Yes you can record that HD SDI signal, but you can't record the RGB formats, for now into something like an MXO2 + laptop.  Only REAL expensive hardware will record it. The F3 doesn't go over 30fps in 1920, RED can do 120fps in 2K. RED wins hands down for cost and practical shooting.
Is it the dslr crowd ? They are laughing at the price, while seriously looking at the much more reasonably priced panasonic S35 chipped camera just because its a more real video camera. At 3X-5X the price, they aren't reaching this market. You can also bet canon isn't standing still either. The test shots I've seen from the panasonic are gorgeous, even at 24mbit AVCHD.
With out external recording the F3 is 35mbit XDcam Mpeg2 8bit, which is about on par with EOS 44mbit H264. I think canon's compression is a bit lacking, so they upped the bit rate. That said it still does MUCH better then HDV. I can do post work with EOS material that falls apart with HDV.
Where does it fit in ? Good question. Maybe the F900 / varicam shooters will like it because its more like a real video camera, but has the bits they need for multi camera to media, or live switched work. Maybe... until they taste how finicky that shallow DoF can be when working with fast moving one take no rehearsals work. This is stuff I've shot many times, and 2/3" cameras can be enough of a challenge, but S35 I may well say no thanks. If you haven't shot race cars, horse racing, or other fast moving things, you won't understand until you try it.
Who might buy it ? maybe the high end production work doing steadicam. Its light weight would make it much nicer to work with. Anyone caught in the stereo craze would love it on steadicam instead of some of the huge insane rigs I've seen. However, this is all a VERY small part of the market. So I have no idea who they are selling this camera to.