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Sony PMW-F3 price drop.

David Peterson

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The current price for a new F3 is only US$3,995 now, a huge reduction from its original price:


I can tell it dropped from US$4,995 sometime in the last 48hrs based on Google's cache:

I was hoping Archive.org could give me insight into the price history over the past year. But sadly the most recent copy it shares at the moment is from October 2014 when it was $14,995:

Adorama sadly doesn't sell it currently, just a kit for $13,800:

But it does have three in used condition (V condition $2,100, E- condition $2,400, E condition $2,575):

And on eBay I can see sold listings for US$2K. I believe if people look around at their local private sales they'll find it even cheaper, I picked up one myself three weeks ago for US$1.2K via that.

Incredible price drop from 2011 when the Sony PMW-F3 first came out and it was nearly $20,000! ($16K for the body plus initially US$3,800 for the firmware upgrade)

It has had a far faster price drop than similar cameras of that era (give or take a year) which were priced similar (or even cheaper than the F3 was), such as: Canon C300, RED Scarlet, RED One, Sony FS700, BMCC. They've all seen big price drops, falling half in price, or even more. But none have seen the price fall to a tenth of the original cost! (or even less!)

I wonder why. I've got a few theories, it is was a rather popular enough camera in its niche (TV / documentaries / etc). Thus lots of F3 cameras were sold, which is causing mismatch in supply vs demand. As there is low demand because it never caught on amongst amateur/indie filmmakers (because they too quickly got distracted by the next shiny item, such as RED or BMD), who'd be the people who could soak up the supply of F3 cameras on the second hand market. As professional TV crews wouldn't be buying up F3 cameras in large numbers, they'd instead be moving on to an F5/F55. So why are there not more indies picking up these cheap F3 bodies? I'd say there are a few reasons: its bulk, it is "only 1080", no raw, PL mount (too pricey for many indies), and SxS cards are pricey. (last two reasons are non issues, as under that PL mount you've got the FZ mount, and there are dirt cheap adapters for SxS to use standard SD cards. But many people won't realise this initially, and just be put off from getting an F3)

Makes you wonder what camera now which are priced way outside our reach will then be very affordable by 2019?

Alexa Mini? Doubt it, it will still hold onto its popularity and prestige for a long time.

Sony F5? Well... is the one directly after the F3, kinda makes it the obvious candidate to keep an eye on. The F5 after all is already feeling pricing pressure from Sony's own cheaper FS7, URSA Mini and other cameras will keep up the pressure.

KineFinity KineMAX 6K? Doubt it will sell enough to create a future large supply vs demand in balance.

Sony FS7? Perhaps this is the one to watch for 2019 deals, but it is already starting from a very affordable point. So it surely will fall to a similar price point by 2019 I guess, but it certainly won't fall to being a tenth of its original price.
AJA Cion? Eh, I suppose it might... but I doubt I'd pick it over my own F3!

Other candidates? Thoughts?

Edited by David Peterson
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Agreed, Cion only makes sense if you *MUST* have that 4K. In every other way it feels worse than an F3 (well, I suppose raw is another tick in favour of the Cion too).

And getting Cion only for the 4K will just still make a small amount of sense for a few more weeks...... once the URSA Mini 4K ships I expect it will obliterate all reasons to get a Cion.

Got to feel sorry for AJA, if they're just come to market a year earlier (and not been stuck with the PL mount for so long, but directly provided other alternatives themselves from the start) then I think they could've had an indie hit on their hands.

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