This was on show at IBC, but no details were available. Today Sony issued a press release with in depth information about this new 35mm camera. It’s a little disappointing that it only records at 35Mb/s 4:2:0 internally (just like an EX), but encouraging that there will be a dual link HDSDi option do full 4:4:4 external recording will be possible (hmmm thinks NanoFlash at 180Mb/s). The pictures I saw from it at IBC looked amazing and reading the specs I note that the noise figure is 63db which is astounding. An EX3 is 54db and PMW-350 is 59db, so the F3 has around 40% less noise than a PMW-350 and around 70% less noise than an EX1 or EX3. For me picture noise is crucial as the noise in an image will limit what you can do in post. Another important note is that when you use S-Log gamma curves you get 800% Dynamic range (PMW-350/PMW-500 maximum is 640%) or around 12 stops. The numbers are remarkable close to those for the F35. The price is very attractive at 14,500 Euros List for the body only, so expect a street price of around £11k to £12k.
The camera has a special Sony lens mount but is supplied with a PL mount adapter. A range of low cost PL mount lenses will also be available and as most of us used to working with TV broadcast cameras these lens kits will be a good option as to buy a set of PL mount primes is a major investment. PMW-F3K with three lenses (35, 50, 85mm F2.0) – Euros 20,700. At NAB next year Sony will also show dedicated zoom lenses for the F3.
In addition there will be a ’3D link” option for stereoscopic applications. Will it sell? Well I’m sure it will, but there will be some stiff competition from Red with Epic at 4K and Panasonic with the much cheaper AF100.
I hope to get some hands on time with one at Interbee in Japan next week and then on the Sony Roadshow event in Oslo on the 23rd of November. I’ll keep you posted!
Well one of the big NAB announcements was the intention by Sony to release a compact 35mm equipped camera. A prototype unit was briefly shown at the press event but little details were given. I’ve been trying to find out more but Sony are being very tight lipped. It was announced that it will be available prior to next NAB, so that means that there is likely to be some other launch event in, at my guess 6 to 8 months time, of course there may be more news before then. Last year Sony announced the PMW-350 at Satis which this year is October 19th/20th, so I would expect more news by then. What I would say is that the prototype appears to be more than just a simple mock up as it shows some new switch and control designs that I’ve not seen on a Sony camera before. It has also been stated that this new unit is just part of Sony’s 35mm road map so perhaps there will be more than one new camera. As for pricing, well all that Sony will say is “affordable”. My guess is it will be in the XDCAM EX1 price area depending on lens options. If it uses DSLR lenses and can be purchased without a lens, my guess is that it would be cheaper than an EX but more expensive than a Canon 5DMk2, my guess would be £4k.
So what features can we expect to get? The sensor should have large pixels so it should be good in low light and offer high dynamic range. As it has a 35mm sensor I expect it will shoot 24P, 25P, 30P plus I would hope over-cranking at up to 60fps. It would be really nice if it did 1080P60. It should have decent audio controls and it’s going to need a really, really good viewfinder. I would imagine that you will have a number of different lens options via some form of adapter, possibly being supplied with a Sony Alpha lens mount. The prototype was shown with a PL mount lens and very few users will be able to afford to use them, so there will have to be a lower cost option.
These are exciting times. In the next 12 months we will see a huge change in the tools available for video production. The new 35mm and 4/3? cameras from Sony, Panasonic and Canon will change the way TV is made forever. They won’t be ideal for some applications such as news or run and gun, where you don’t want the focus problems that a big sensor will bring, but for drama, documentary and low budget movies I think we will see a dramayic change in the way things are done.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.