December 6, 2010

Super 35mm Professional Portable Camcorder

The new Sony professional handled digital production camera, the PMW-F3 camcorder, with a Super 35mm imager

Sony PMW-F3 Camcorder. Photo courtesy Sony

The SONY PMW-F3 camcorder is designed for a range of digital production applications. Photo courtesy of Sony Electronics Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.


Representing a breakthrough for independent producers and filmmakers in terms of features, performance and price, Sony announced its first professional handheld digital production camera with a Super 35mm imager.

Taking its place among the pinnacle of digital motion picture production cameras; Sony’s flagship CineAlta series, the Sony PMW-F3 is the latest innovation on Sony’s digital 35mm roadmap. It continues the leadership position that was solidified by “film style” cameras like the F23 and F35, and most recently with the first camcorder to integrate the HDCAM SR format, the SRW-9000PL.

“The new PMW-F3 camcorder is designed for a range of digital production applications -- from commercial, documentary, television and feature film production,” said Chris Grey, Head of Broadcast & Content Creation Solutions, Business & Professional Products Asia Pacific (BPPA), Sony Electronics Asia Pacific.

The availability of a low-cost PL lens kit which includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses, extends the camcorder’s range of potential applications and gives users more flexibility in lens selection.

The new F3 camcorder is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow and uses Sony’s SxS ExpressCard-based recording media format. According to Sony, 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 1920x1080/50i mode), as well as wide dynamic range.

The camcorder offers shooters a wide range of image creation options 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; significantly increasing the camera’s performance of dynamic range. S-Log is Sony’s unique approach to the raw “Digital Negative,” allowing access to the full dynamic range of the Super35mm imager for maximum flexibility in image manipulation during post production. This capability combined with the widely used SxS recording lets users take advantage of already well-established XDCAM EX and HDCAM-SR workflows.

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. Shooters can also take advantage of “slow” and “quick” recording, 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 upcoming Sony’s zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as ARRI, Cooke, Fujinon and Zeiss.

As with all its digital motion picture production technologies, Sony is also planning to introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. SR Memory, Sony’s new high-speed, high-capacity card format, will give users the ability to record directly to the industry standard HDCAM SR codec using the SR Memory Portable Recorder connected to the F3 camera’s single-link and dual-link output.

The camera will also support Look-up Table (LUT), for dailies and on-set colour management. Up to four LUT’s can be stored in the camera and stamped onto the footage on the SxS card, simultaneously using the camera’s dual link output with S-Log for the unprocessed image. This creates an off-line, on-line workflow combining the SxS and SR codec, with the SR Memory Portable Recorder connected to the F3 and recording to the SR codec.

The PMW-F3 camcorder will be available in Asia Pacific in February 2011, for a suggested list price of USD$17,000 (PMW-F3L, without lens) and USD$25,000 (PMW-F3K (with PL Lens kit).

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