Joining the F35 and SRW-9000PL in Sony's lineup of CineAlta 24p digital cinema cameras, the PMW-F3L Super 35mm Full-HD Compact Camcorder continues the democratization of high-end image capture. The camera's newly developed Super 35mm-size CMOS sensor offers a variety of advantages over smaller sensors, including increased control over depth of field, higher sensitivity in low light, lower image noise, and an exceptional dynamic range. Unlike smaller, broadcast-style sensors or the larger "full-frame" sensor found in some DSLRs, the PMW-F3's chip is on a par with Hollywood film cameras, in terms of field of view and depth of field. That means complete compatibility with cine-style film lenses and consistency of vision for cinematographers used to shooting on 35mm film.
Another advantage of the camera's highly efficient sensor is its low power consumption--only 24 watts. Not only does this mean a standard 12V battery can last nearly 3 hours, but the low amount of heat the sensor generates offsets the need for an internal fan--contributing to the camera's extremely light weight (just over 5 lbs). As a result, this is the first CineAlta camcorder designed with a handheld form factor.
Using a solid-state workflow based on the XDCAM EX platform, the PMW-F3 records natively to professional SxS media, using the MPEG-2 long GOP codec in an 8-bit 4:2:0 color space. More demanding applications can utilize the camera's dual-link HD-SDI ports to output to an external recorder in 10-bit 4:2:2 or 10-bit RGB (with upgrade). Meanwhile the combination of four HyperGamma settings with optional S-Log and LUT capability provide RAW-like flexibility to the image data, allowing for increased picture control and dynamic range.
An included PL mount adapter strengthens the link between digital cinema and traditional film, providing an efficient means for using any number of professional PL-mount cine lenses--including full compatibility with Cooke /i and Arri LDS technology. Beneath the removable PL adapter, the camera's native, stainless steel F3 mount provides a foundation for future versatility. Its short flange distance will allow for the development of smaller, lighter zoom lenses as well as compatibility with a wide array of both cine and photo lenses (using optional adapters).
Other features--such as variable frame rates, multiple-format recording, slow shutter, and uncompressed PCM audio--make the PMW-F3 an impressive companion to its larger S-35 brethren. Not only will it intercut perfectly with the F35 and SRW-9000PL as a 2nd unit or B camera, it can easily stand on its own in applications as diverse as indie film, television, commercials, music promos, and education. In the world of digital cinema, these are indeed interesting times--and the PMW-F3 represents another revolutionary stride toward affordable, motion-picture quality imaging.
In addition, Sony's advanced accumulated sensor technologies provide an excellent sensitivity of F11 (ISO 800) and a remarkable signal-to-noise ratio of just 63dB (measured at 1080/59.94i and typical value). A unique Exmor sensor offers exceptional noise reduction and greatly reduces power consumption.
*In 1440 x 1080/23.98p (SP) mode, images are handled as 23.98p and recorded as 59.94i signals through means of 2-3 pull-down.
The PMW-F3 can capture images at frame rates selectable from 1 frame per second (fps) to 60 fps in 720p mode, and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode--in increments of 1 fps--onto a single card. With the Slow & Quick Motion function of this camcorder, images are recorded natively without interpolating the frames. This means the quality of the slow- and fast-motion images is extremely high and superior to those created in the editing process. In addition, these slow -and fast- motion images can be played back immediately after shooting, without using any converters or processing on nonlinear editing systems.
In addition, 59.94p and 50p progressive recording is available in 1280 x 720 mode. The SxS memory card can simultaneously hold multiple files of any of these recording formats, allowing for flexible use of the memory card.
*In 1440 x 1080/23.98P (SP) mode, images are handled as 23.98p and recorded as 59.94i signals through means of 2-3 pull-down.
The Dual Link HD-SDI option enables 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB 23.98/25/29.97PsF or 10-bit 4:2:2 108050p/59.94p uncompressed external recording--ideal for integration with highest quality production workflows such as HDCAM SR. The PMW-F3 also supports selectable gamma, four levels of HyperGamma and optional S-Log for a wide range of shooting conditions from standard to wide latitude. The PMW-F3 can simultaneously record LUT (Look Up Table) information onto the internal media for additional workflow flexibility.
3G-SDI is available for 10bit RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF or 10bit 4:2:2 1080 50/59.94p output.
In addition, with an optional MEAD-MS01 or MEAD-SD01 Media Adaptor, a high-speed Memory Stick or SD memory card can be used as emergency or alternative recording media. (Slow Motion and the Salvage function are not supported.)
File-based recording allows material to be handled with great flexibility in an IT-based environment--easily available for copying, transferring, sharing, and archiving. All these operations are accomplished without any digitizing process required.
File-based data copying allows for degradation-free dubbing of footage, which can be performed easily on a PC. The file-based recording system also allows for material to be viewed directly on a PC--simply by inserting the SxS memory card into the ExpressCard slot on a PC or Mac, or by linking a PC/Mac to the XDCAM EX unit via a USB2 connection. This file-based operation can dramatically improve the efficiency and quality of your workflow.
The Expand function allows one selected clip in the thumbnail display to be divided into 12 even-time intervals, each with their own thumbnail identifier. This is useful if you want to quickly search for a particular scene within a lengthy clip.