Sony announced it was working on an "affordable" pro-level 35mm camcorder, we knew that would be a very relative term. Now the company has finally unveiled the thing, though it's apparently still deciding just how affordable it's going to be. A price is not yet set, said to be low enough for "indie" filmmakers and others lacking major production house funding, but we have other details on the upcoming PMW-F3, like its 35mm CMOS sensor with recording modes of 1080p at frame rates ranging from 1 up to 60, with stops at important speeds like 23.98 and 59.94. The body can be purchased alone or there's a PL kit that includes 35, 50, and 85mm prime lenses. Again, no cost is known at this point, but expect the MSRP to be closer to Volkswagen than Vaio.
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Sony strengthens super 35mm digital production line-up with groundbreaking new camcorder
Nov 8, 2010
New PMW-F3 joins F35 and SRW-9000L as latest S-35mm innovation, delivering high-end performance at an "indie" price
Basingstoke November 8th, 2010:- Representing a breakthrough for filmmakers in terms of features, performance and price, Sony Professional is adding to its line-up of Super 35mm digital motion picture camera technologies. The family, which includes the legendary F35 and the recently announced SRW-9000PL, is now joined by the all new PMW-F3 camcorder.
Each camera in the line-up is based on a Super 35mm sensor and PL mount technology, and illustrates Sony's unique ability to offer filmmakers access to the highest-quality imaging tools and most complete digital production workflows.
The new PMW-F3 is the latest example of Sony's efforts to combine performance and price into a powerful and affordable production tool. Designed for television, commercials, music promos and budget features, the new camcorder is offered at a price point that will bring Super 35mm shooting within reach of a wider audience.
That, and the availability of a low-cost PL lens kit model which includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses, makes it ideal for use as a 2nd unit 35mm camera or as a B camera to the SRW-9000PL.
"Sony has a long and successful track record of developing digital motion production technologies," said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager at Sony Professional Europe. "Our cameras have shot everything from documentaries to big-budget blockbusters, totaling many billions of Euros at the box office. With the new PMW-F3, we're putting the full power of our expertise to work, to bring precise control over depth of field, and access to the huge range of cinematic lenses available to a wider range of users."
The new PMW-F3 camcorder is based on Sony's XDCAM EX workflow (codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8bit, 35 Mbps), and uses Sony's SxS™ ExpressCard-based recording media format. Its Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers shallow depth of field, with high sensitivity and low noise levels (ISO 800, F11; and S/N ratio of 63dB in 1920x1080/59.94i mode), as well as wide dynamic range.
The camcorder offers a wide range of image creation options, as well as the ability to seamlessly inter-cut PMW-F3 footage with content shot on Sony's F35 or SRW-9000PL cameras - through the use of an HD-SDI dual-link output for external recording (4:2:2 1080 50/59.94P as standard; and RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF as an option).
Additionally, "S-LOG" and "Hyper Gamma" can be selected. This can allow users to take full advantage of the CMOS imager's wide dynamic range, giving them the ability to tailor their images during post-production in the same way they would in a film based workflow.
Recording formats include 1920x1080, 1440x1080, and 1280x720 at 23.98/25/29.97p, 50/59.94i and, in DVCAM mode, 25/29.97PsF and 50/59.94i. Filmmakers can also take advantage of 'slow' and 'quick' recording, also known as "overcranking" and "undercranking" from 1 to 30 fps at 1920x1080 (17 to 30 fps in dual-link mode) and 1 to 60 fps at 1280x720 (17 to 60 fps in dual-link mode).
The PMW-F3's PL mount adapter can accommodate both PL and zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss.
Sony is also announcing its plan to introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. This will add a high-end workflow option as well as full RGB capability providing native recoding in HDCAM SR codec.
"We demonstrated a prototype PMW-F3 on our stand at IBC and have been inundated with requests for more information ever since. It's great to be able to unveil the full list of features, and announce that first deliveries will be made well in advance of what many customers may have been expecting," concluded Drummond.
Two configurations of the PMW-F3 will be available (PMW-F3L body only and PMW-F3K with PL lens kit). First deliveries of are scheduled for January 2011.