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HDW-F900/3 - What happened in /3?


James Martin
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Hi guys,

 

I think most of us know the F900 series pretty well - fairly standard cameras. I've recently made the decision to buy myself a broadcast grade camera and due to a varying number of factors (including a couple of stunning deals), I've settled on a F900/3.

 

However... I can find brochures on the F900, and the R. I can find differences between the R and the 900, but nothing which explains the difference between the 900 and the /3. Perhaps someone knows of a document that explains it, even Alan Robert's BBC whitepaper isn't downloading for me (link to a working copy greatly appreciated!).

 

Anyway, here's what I've pieced together:

 

Any help is appreciated

 

- It was a revision made to the camera in 2003 (hence /3)

- It is still the old "large" size case (ie. not the 750/790 size of the 900R)

- It has a 12 bit DAC vs 10 bit

- It does NOT have HD-SDI out as standard (unlike the R)

- It has HyperGamma

- It has Tru-Eye

 

If anyone can tell me if that lot is right, or how one can spot it is a /3 (looking on the internet it seems the model number is just HDW-900 ?)

 

Help much appreciated,

James

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It's basically the original F900 but there was an improvement in the preamp (I believe) that increased its dynamic range a bit and improved the effectiveness of the knee controls. I think the 4-point star filter ("A" I think) was replaced in the filter wheel with a true 85 filter, so you can choose that are the warmer Sony "D" filter for daytime.

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Talking about "stunning deals" for a F900, they have been selling for dirty cheap lately, specially compared to what they used to sell for not long ago. Right now there's one selling for the price of an EX1 on Ebay via "buy it now". Crazy times. I wonder if it's RED or if its the fact that an EX1 or EX3 gets you pretty much the same quality as a F900 or at least close enough. 4:2:0 1920x1080 vs 3:1:1 1440x1080.

Anyways, no matter the reason their price has fallen incredibly fast.

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I just took delivery of my F900/3, when all was said and done I probably paid about two EX3s for it - that includes the HD-SDI board and so on (lots of the cheap deals do not have viewfinders). As far as I'm concerned, it's more than twice the camera. I'll be adding a nanoflash to it so I can have the benefit of high quality solid state recording along with tape backup, never have been a huge fan of exclusively memory based cameras.

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I just took delivery of my F900/3, when all was said and done I probably paid about two EX3s for it - that includes the HD-SDI board and so on (lots of the cheap deals do not have viewfinders). As far as I'm concerned, it's more than twice the camera. I'll be adding a nanoflash to it so I can have the benefit of high quality solid state recording along with tape backup, never have been a huge fan of exclusively memory based cameras.

 

 

Well done James.

 

The one I was talking about actually included a HDVF 20A viewfinder. All for $5,800.

 

Anyways, something to keep in mind when getting a F900 is the lens. Lenses normally don't drop in price as much and you need a great HD lens to use with the F900, unless you just want to keep renting. When all is said and done, with body, lens and all needed accessories one will be at way more than just two EX3s for sure and probably higher than RED ONE territory. But it's just interesting to know you can get a F900 body and finder these days for much less than you can a new XDCAM shoulder body or even a EX3. For a camera whihc used to cost over a $100K not long ago this is sure a huge drop!

As Dylan wisely said, "Times are changing fast".

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Michael,

 

I picked up a Fuji HA14x8EVM lens for £1800 - it has been well used, but is in optically excellent condition. External focus, but it's HD glass. I love digital primos as much as the next guy, but this is a great lens for those low-paying jobs I feel, and documentary type stuff where I want the hand-grip.

 

Tripod I got another fantastic deal on - picked up a Sachtler Studio 9+9 with legs for £2,200! Head is still going for around £6,000 here.

 

Of course I will have spent around £20,000 by the time the dust settles, but I'd say I only spent about £15,000 on getting me an EX3 "equivalent", that's excluding matte box, follow focus and so on. Not bad, methinks.

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Stephen,

 

Thanks for the reply but I'm already using Alan Robert's settings. He mentions in the F900/3 intro that Sony added "custom" gammas curves as an option, but mentioned nothing of hypergamma. This is why I presume the F900R only has it, but I wanted to be sure.

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