The new PMW-F3 is the latest example of Sonys efforts to combine performance and price into an 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.
The new PMW-F3 camcorder is based on Sonys XDCAM EX workflow (codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8bit, 35 Mbps), and uses Sonys 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 inter-cut PMW-F3 footage with content shot on Sonys 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 imagers 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-F3s 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 also plans 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.
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.