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Rickard Aall

Sony F3: Different versions?

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Looking at the F3 as an option for ‘upgrading’ from a GH5. I’m all for IQ and HD is completely fine, at the same time I want the functionality of a proper cinema/camcorder camera. But I’m a little confused if the F3L is another version, or if it’s the same. Prices on eBay depending on the L is also two completely different worlds. Can’t seem to find info on this. Can anyone enlighten me?

Much appreciated

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I think F3L was a marketing model, same camera but just came with the Sony cine prime lenses.

I know a guy in New York who can modify F3s to record 4:4:4 internal to SxS Pro+ cards if you were trying to find a better version of the camera.

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I see! Thank you. I was a little quick on the trigger. One of the listings I was looking at appears to be for two cameras.

I’m thinking to use the Odyssey 7q as recorder, but it could be interesting if I’ll be going to the states sometime.

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7Q would be overkill unless you have the SLOG 444 upgrade. Make sure they're promising that upgrade in the listing!

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6 hours ago, Max Field said:

I think F3L was a marketing model, same camera but just came with the Sony cine prime lenses.

I know a guy in New York who can modify F3s to record 4:4:4 internal to SxS Pro+ cards if you were trying to find a better version of the camera.

Huh?! How?

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I'm not an engineer by any means but essentially he routes something directly from the sensor to an internetal chip/converter thing, then runs that to the SxS slots.

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What condition is the camera in after the mod? Does he have to crack it open? I just dropped the dime on a Gemini REcorder thinking if there was a way to do just what you have spoken of. Have you used one of his mods? What happens to the menus??

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2 hours ago, Max Field said:

I'm not an engineer by any means but essentially he routes something directly from the sensor to an internetal chip/converter thing, then runs that to the SxS slots.

Fascinating. Could you PM me his details?

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With the fx9 coming out .. there are alot and will be more f5/55,s for sale at very reasonable prices .. IMHO thats a better road to go than an F3... unless the f3 is really dirt cheap..

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13 hours ago, Max Field said:

7Q would be overkill unless you have the SLOG 444 upgrade. Make sure they're promising that upgrade in the listing!

That's what I'm looking for. Also to make use with a f35 down the road 🙂

 

3 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

With the fx9 coming out .. there are alot and will be more f5/55,s for sale at very reasonable prices .. IMHO thats a better road to go than an F3... unless the f3 is really dirt cheap..

Aha! That's a good tip! The global shutter on the f55 is a big advantage, but how do they compare image wise? I read some prefering the f3 to be more towards the f35 (highlight roll of etc). I've stared and read myself a little blind, but do really like the images I've seen from all of them

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57 minutes ago, Rickard Aall said:

That's what I'm looking for. Also to make use with a f35 down the road 🙂

 

Aha! That's a good tip! The global shutter on the f55 is a big advantage, but how do they compare image wise? I read some prefering the f3 to be more towards the f35 (highlight roll of etc). I've stared and read myself a little blind, but do really like the images I've seen from all of them

F3 is a very old camera .. you  could argue the f5/55 are too !.. but really you want to go with Slog3 these days .. Im no expert but Im sure the f55 or also the 5 is as "good" or better that the f3...much more would depend on the lenses you are using .. depends your final goals .. if you want to be out there freelancing the f5/55 is 100% the better choice IMHO..

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On 12/3/2019 at 4:29 AM, Max Field said:

I think F3L was a marketing model, same camera but just came with the Sony cine prime lenses.

I know a guy in New York who can modify F3s to record 4:4:4 internal to SxS Pro+ cards if you were trying to find a better version of the camera.

TELL US MORE!! :-o

Being able to record 10bit 444 (or even 422) internally without an external recorder, would make the F3 almost perfect for me!
 

On 12/3/2019 at 7:24 PM, Robin R Probyn said:

With the fx9 coming out .. there are alot and will be more f5/55,s for sale at very reasonable prices .. IMHO thats a better road to go than an F3... unless the f3 is really dirt cheap..


F3 is dirt dirt cheap!

Easy to find a F3 for sub US$1K, while even the cheapest F5 will be over US$4K

That's a huge price difference. 

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30 minutes ago, David Peterson said:

TELL US MORE!! 😮

Being able to record 10bit 444 (or even 422) internally without an external recorder, would make the F3 almost perfect for me!
 


F3 is dirt dirt cheap!

Easy to find a F3 for sub US$1K, while even the cheapest F5 will be over US$4K

That's a huge price difference. 

Sure thats true .. it depends on your use.. if its your main money maker camera in a freelance market it would be a gamble .. as a B cam... shooting your own projects why not .. 

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Posted (edited)

Of for sure, if you're being hired as a cameraman for the camera you own than an F5 is going to be better than the F3 which has no demand whatsoever for it at the moment. Heck, it probably makes better financial sense with your ROI to own even a FS7 instead rather than either a F5 or F3! As the FS7 is the most popular in demand camera ever at the moment, and their prices are becoming incredibly affordable at the moment on eBay

Edited by David Peterson

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1 hour ago, David Peterson said:

Of for sure, if you're being hired as a cameraman for the camera you own than an F5 is going to be better than the F3 which has no demand whatsoever for it at the moment. Heck, it probably makes better financial sense with your ROI to own even a FS7 instead rather than either a F5 or F3! As the FS7 is the most popular in demand camera ever at the moment, and their prices are becoming incredibly affordable at the moment on eBay

I don't think its just getting hired for the camera you own..  a decent shoot they will have checked your work too..or spoken to a director on your CV.. but they will often usually have a preferred camera  / workflow ...which is basically Sony or Canon in the doc/corp work now..  . although shooting log now makes them pretty much the same at a certain price level..   I did a BBC shoot with the dir shooting Canon and me F5.. and they were fine about it and you couldn't tell the difference after a grade ..  turning up with an f3 un announced might raise a few eye brows though I would think..  unless you were charging a low rate .. doing someone a favor .. 

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7 minutes ago, Robin R Probyn said:

I don't think its just getting hired for the camera you own..  a decent shoot they will have checked your work too..or spoken to a director on your CV.. but they will often usually have a preferred camera  / workflow ...which is basically Sony or Canon in the doc/corp work now..  . although shooting log now makes them pretty much the same at a certain price level..   I did a BBC shoot with the dir shooting Canon and me F5.. and they were fine about it and you couldn't tell the difference after a grade ..  turning up with an f3 un announced might raise a few eye brows though I would think..  unless you were charging a low rate .. doing someone a favor .. 

It varies massively depending on what you're doing. You're doing mainly corporate and documentary work. Other people might be shooting endless music videos, in which case you may be the only person involved who even knows what an F3 is. Yes, that may be more common at the lower end, but it is probably possible to make a living doing that - I know people who do - they're not rich but they live indoors and eat food. One thing I've learned through ten years of writing, now, is that different parts of this industry behave vastly differently to each other, and it's often hard not to project one's own experience onto other people.

I call it "you can't grade on a computer monitor" syndrome because I've been told that so often. Er, actually you can, I have, we got paid and everyone was happy; I later saw the DVD on sale*. Maybe not if it's a Marvel movie, but can you? Yes, you can.

P

* in a pound shop, but still!

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

It varies massively depending on what you're doing. You're doing mainly corporate and documentary work. Other people might be shooting endless music videos, in which case you may be the only person involved who even knows what an F3 is. Yes, that may be more common at the lower end, but it is probably possible to make a living doing that - I know people who do - they're not rich but they live indoors and eat food. One thing I've learned through ten years of writing, now, is that different parts of this industry behave vastly differently to each other, and it's often hard not to project one's own experience onto other people.

I call it "you can't grade on a computer monitor" syndrome because I've been told that so often. Er, actually you can, I have, we got paid and everyone was happy; I later saw the DVD on sale*. Maybe not if it's a Marvel movie, but can you? Yes, you can.

P

* in a pound shop, but still!

Fair enough .. yes good points .. I just try to give advise from a general freelance perspective .. there was a time when directors and producers didn't know much or anything about the camera / lenses being used ..  but Ive found thats changed alot .. many shoot too now.. and most do have a knowledge of camera,s ,lenses .lights and audio... I noticed this started with HD.. suddenly I found directors looking at my lenses .. and they were making sure I was using HD zooms ! as alot of people were using their SD zooms on HD camera,s..  I believe they had actually been told to check !.. they want to know what they are paying for these days .. Im always asked now quite specifically what camera and lenses I have ..they want to hear the usual very short list of suspects .. if I said an f3.. to be honest 99% would knock it back .. doc,corp,music video, short film ..anything .. unless I was giving a really low rate .. it just wouldn't be a good investment for a jobbing DP.. better to spent a few grand more and get a fs7/f5 purely on a staying alive paying the rent front .. thats my main point .. 

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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Posted (edited)
On 4/11/2020 at 11:07 PM, Robin R Probyn said:

I don't think its just getting hired for the camera you own..  a decent shoot they will have checked your work too..or spoken to a director on your CV.. 


Of course it isn't just the camera which matters.

But you'll often see jobs advertised in which it says something like "Sony FS7 owner/op wanted", of course if you don't have the experience / showreel appropriate for the job then you won't get it, no matter what camera you have. 

But likewise if you've got a C300mk1, or EVA1, or heck even an AMIRA (!) you're likely to face a steep uphill battle to be hired over someone who does tick all the boxes without any fuss. 

Have only once (twice if you also count a web series shot on an FS7, which did the pick ups on my F3) done a job which was advertised as "FS7", but I convinced them my F3 is just as good as it was just being shot in HD.

Edited by David Peterson

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Posted (edited)
On 4/11/2020 at 11:13 PM, Phil Rhodes said:

It varies massively depending on what you're doing. You're doing mainly corporate and documentary work. Other people might be shooting endless music videos, in which case you may be the only person involved who even knows what an F3 is. Yes, that may be more common at the lower end, but it is probably possible to make a living doing that - I know people who do - they're not rich but they live indoors and eat food. One thing I've learned through ten years of writing, now, is that different parts of this industry behave vastly differently to each other, and it's often hard not to project one's own experience onto other people.

I call it "you can't grade on a computer monitor" syndrome because I've been told that so often. Er, actually you can, I have, we got paid and everyone was happy; I later saw the DVD on sale*. Maybe not if it's a Marvel movie, but can you? Yes, you can.


In general I agree with you. 

And if you're working in house / producing your own work, then you can use almost any camera under the sun! Even your iPhone????

Although  I would make a point about this: "Other people might be shooting endless music videos, in which case you may be the only person involved who even knows what an F3 is." 

I'd definitely got for a Sony FS700 over a F3 for only a couple of hundred bucks extra. As slow motion is so so so essential for most folks who are "shooting endless music videos". (while the genlock  / timecode / etc features of the F3 doesn't matter for low budget music videos)

  

On 4/11/2020 at 11:51 PM, Robin R Probyn said:

Fair enough .. yes good points .. I just try to give advise from a general freelance perspective .. there was a time when directors and producers didn't know much or anything about the camera / lenses being used ..  but Ive found thats changed alot .. many shoot too now.. and most do have a knowledge of camera,s ,lenses .lights and audio... I noticed this started with HD.. suddenly I found directors looking at my lenses .. and they were making sure I was using HD zooms ! as alot of people were using their SD zooms on HD camera,s..  I believe they had actually been told to check !.. they want to know what they are paying for these days .. Im always asked now quite specifically what camera and lenses I have ..they want to hear the usual very short list of suspects .. if I said an f3.. to be honest 99% would knock it back .. doc,corp,music video, short film ..anything .. unless I was giving a really low rate .. it just wouldn't be a good investment for a jobbing DP.. better to spent a few grand more and get a fs7/f5 purely on a staying alive paying the rent front .. thats my main point .. 


A Sony F3 could potentially still be a good investment for a jobbing DP, so long as they've already got a FS7/F5 as their A Cam, then a F3 for next to nothing could be a good bargain by to throw up a B or C Cam for interviews. 

Personally my limited camera work is plays distant second fiddle to my work as a production sound mixer. I purchased my Sony PMW-F3 years ago, just at the point at which the F3 had lost the bulk of its value. While my F3 has continued to decline in value over the years, it has been a very gentle decline. So was a good timing for me to buy in on the F3 when I did!

Suspect that time will be soon for the FS7 as well, sooner rather than later (before this coronavirus inflicted economic crisis is over) we'll be seeing FS7 cameras sell for sub US$2.5K but they'll still have a lot more life left in them.

Edited by David Peterson

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9 hours ago, David Peterson said:


In general I agree with you. 

And if you're working in house / producing your own work, then you can use almost any camera under the sun! Even your iPhone????

Although  I would make a point about this: "Other people might be shooting endless music videos, in which case you may be the only person involved who even knows what an F3 is." 

I'd definitely got for a Sony FS700 over a F3 for only a couple of hundred bucks extra. As slow motion is so so so essential for most folks who are "shooting endless music videos". (while the genlock  / timecode / etc features of the F3 doesn't matter for low budget music videos)

  


A Sony F3 could potentially still be a good investment for a jobbing DP, so long as they've already got a FS7/F5 as their A Cam, then a F3 for next to nothing could be a good bargain by to throw up a B or C Cam for interviews. 

Personally my limited camera work is plays distant second fiddle to my work as a production sound mixer. I purchased my Sony PMW-F3 years ago, just at the point at which the F3 had lost the bulk of its value. While my F3 has continued to decline in value over the years, it has been a very gentle decline. So was a good timing for me to buy in on the F3 when I did!

Suspect that time will be soon for the FS7 as well, sooner rather than later (before this coronavirus inflicted economic crisis is over) we'll be seeing FS7 cameras sell for sub US$2.5K but they'll still have a lot more life left in them.

Totally agree .. B or C camera ..if the camera is very low price in the first place .. I thought I had already said that .. if not I should have !..  just not your main money maker .. Im glad the fs7  claimed such a massive market share as it saved the arse of all the f5 owners like myself !.. although I didn't really like the fs7 as a camera myself and never bought one .. there fs7 Mk1 are also now cheap as chips ...  as you are a sound recordist I dont know why you just dont go out and buy a Venice from cash you will find down the seat of your Bentley 🙂 

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4 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Im glad the fs7  claimed such a massive market share as it saved the arse of all the f5 owners like myself !

Why are you glad? Thought most F5 owners were upset the FS7 undercut them? Or do you think the immense popularity of the FS7 helped extend the lifetime of the old F5 to longer than usual? 

 

4 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

as you are a sound recordist I dont know why you just dont go out and buy a Venice from cash you will find down the seat of your Bentley 🙂 

Ha! No, we struggle too. 
Plus I still care about ROI, and spending any more than a few thousand dollars for something (camera work) which I only do a handful of times a year means I'd have a very very poor ROI indeed in the end

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3 hours ago, David Peterson said:

Why are you glad? Thought most F5 owners were upset the FS7 undercut them? Or do you think the immense popularity of the FS7 helped extend the lifetime of the old F5 to longer than usual? 

 

Ha! No, we struggle too. 
Plus I still care about ROI, and spending any more than a few thousand dollars for something (camera work) which I only do a handful of times a year means I'd have a very very poor ROI indeed in the end

The massive success of the Fs7 gave the XAVC codec a massive boost ..in the early f5/55 days, many productions and post didn't know about XAVC and weren't setup for it .. the c300 had ruled for so long in that market .. f5 was always a better camera to work with that the fs7 Mk1.. and as long production realized the codec , sensor and color science was the same , they didn't care it was an f5.. which many had not even heard of .. more of a problem was the release of the fs5.. I then had many young production staff thinking my f5 was an fs5. and not good enough for their  shoot .. that was happening alot and was a nuisance .. 

But yes the fs7 saved the f5 market .. plus the hack that forced Sony to sell a $1K electronic key to unlock internal 4K in the f5.. which Sony had always said was impossible due to hard ware limitations .. large Japanese company telling lies about their product  .. who would have thought 🙂 

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19 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

The massive success of the Fs7 gave the XAVC codec a massive boost ..in the early f5/55 days, many productions and post didn't know about XAVC and weren't setup for it .. the c300 had ruled for so long in that market .. f5 was always a better camera to work with that the fs7 Mk1.. and as long production realized the codec , sensor and color science was the same , they didn't care it was an f5.. which many had not even heard of .. more of a problem was the release of the fs5.. I then had many young production staff thinking my f5 was an fs5. and not good enough for their  shoot .. that was happening alot and was a nuisance .. 


Ah yes, your point about XAVC makes sense!

And yes, I agree, was unfortunate/dumb of Sony to name the FS5 what it did! Why not "FS3" or "FS1"??? Or perhaps "FS70"?? (keeping with a general trend across many companies for the more digits a body has, the lower end it is to be. For instance D5 vs D500 vs D7500, or 6D vs 60D vs 600D, or a7 vs a600)

I've often heard the F5 and FS7 color science / sensor is the same, but recently I had a cameraman friend looking for a 2nd shooter with a FS7 and I recommended a mate with an F5, but he got turned down because he had shot with F5 cameras before and struggled to match them exactly with his own FS7????

 

 

19 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

But yes the fs7 saved the f5 market .. plus the hack that forced Sony to sell a $1K electronic key to unlock internal 4K in the f5.. which Sony had always said was impossible due to hard ware limitations .. large Japanese company telling lies about their product  .. who would have thought 🙂 


I remember that! I actually started (never finished, because the Director broke up with his fiance so this got put on hold) shooting a feature film with a hacked F5

Because we had "sourced" an F5 to be loaned to us, yet shockingly it had never been upgraded it!! Soooo.... I went through the process of hacking it for myself (no point paying for the upgrade, as we'd just be returning it, and we had almost no budget). 

Needing to use my Atmos recorder for checking playback was mildly annoying, but at least it automatically triggered over SDI

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Surprised he couldn't match an f5 and an fs7..same sensor .. processing different , but I imagine they used the same color filters ..  ND maybe a little different .. but there must be many tens of thousands of productions that have mixed f5 and fs7 in REC709 and Slog.. Ive worked on many shoots with my f5,that had other segments shot with fx7.. hundreds I would think over 7 years I had the f5..almost all requests were for fs7 but they were fine with f5.. maybe he needs to have a few sessions with a colorist  to get some pointers .. 

For me the hack was manna from heaven .. $999 to turn my HD camera into a 4K .. I had already realized 4K was coming on much faster than I thought ,and was steeling myself to have to sell the f5 and buy a f55.. so $1K was a total bullet dodge ... Kudos Paul Ream  UK DoP who did the hack ! which wasn't even a hack .. nothing illegal about it .. Sony hadn't protected the code in any form.. ..but it voided the warranty and as you say no playback etc .. 

Just wish I had work for my new fx9 beast !!  

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