Thread: Would you shoot with a Sony PMW-F3, a ten year-old camera that now costs $800?

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  1. #1 Would you shoot with a Sony PMW-F3, a ten year-old camera that now costs $800? 
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    It's ten years old and you can get it for under $1,000. But what's it like compared to a modern S35 hybrid?

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  2. #2  
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    Got one, and yes I still do use it! (in fact just used it yesterday for shooting voxpops in town)

    But I do not use my F3 professionally. As I'm specialized instead as a production sound mixer, my F3 is just for fun / personal / no budget stuff.

    The F3 is best suited for those types of shoots, or for learning on, or as a very capable but ultra low budget B Cam to something better (like a Sony FS7/F5/FS5).

    Although the recent up tick in interest in the F3 means they're going for 2x or 3x what they used to be! I'd be tempted to consider a Sony FS700 instead for a similar amount, or spending the little extra to get a FS5.
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
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    Senior Member Michael Hastings's Avatar
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    Not to hijack the thread but I have one of these that I bought B-stock in the camera/3 pL lens set package - mainly for the lenses - if anyone is interested. As B-stock it was either used for Demo at a show or simply repacked after a return. Not sure if it was ever used - will have to check the hour meter but it is in like new condition. May even be eligible for warranty (realistically prob not after 10 years) since I'm a dealer for a lot of products and a former Sony systems integrator dealer.

    Have to say it is a pretty cool camera - lots of nice features.

    BTW the lenses are pretty nice - they are the original plastic versions - optically very good and I am fine with the plastic given the super low price they go for - actually like the much lighter weight and since I don't use PL that often I'm not too worried about the possible lack of long term toughness.

    High quality 1080P is nothing to sneer at. I wouldn't hesitate to use the F3 professionally on a music video, YouTube, or corporate video. The IQ and overall handling is still probably better than anything you can buy today for the price they go for.
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    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    It's a good camera, my father has several and uses them on docs. They are quite popular still in Spain, on jobs that can't afford Alexa, etc.
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  5. #5  
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    Glad to hear they're still keeping some pockets of popularity in the professional world! And I totally agree, if you can't afford even the rental fee for an ALEXA Classic and just want very good 1080 then the Sony PMW-F3 is a fantastic choice.
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
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    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
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    DR is a bit a problem as I remember.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Mark K.'s Avatar
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    Well you get a proper PL-mount, internal NDs, good XLR inputs, along with timecode and a bunch of SDI ports (HDMI as well). So there's MUCH less rigging pain than you'll have with a stills camera of any kind.

    External recording is essential though

    Ergonomically it's not great compared to more modern offerings, but if you setup your preset white balances with a bit of forethought, you can make it pretty painless to switch between a range of WBs (not just Daylight and Tungsten), and if you can find one with the Element Technica Body Armour and the RGB 4:4:4 upgrade - it gets much better to use.

    As a sensor in a box it's pretty terrific though. Terrific DR and nice skintones. We called it a "Baby Alexa" for good reason. Here are a few shorts I shot on the F3:





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