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Qualification of Thoughts on Sony F3 Footage


First of all, I’m not a chart holding, ASA rating, noise watching, same-condition camera geek uber-tester DoP. I’m a colorist and doc film producer; a guy that likes flat images with lots of color information and limited motion artifacts. And I AM comparing to other codecs/cameras because that’s what we have available to us. So that makes all of this my impression. I’ve never used the camera, seen it in person or anything like that.

Now that that’s out of the way, I said it wasn’t impressive, I didn’t say it looked like crap. The images were nice and flat and didn’t take up lots of space in my histogram. I don’t know if that’s the camera, or the way it’s shot, or built in profiles or what (probably a combo of all). It’s a great image though. Perhaps better than anything we have now at 8bit 4:2:0 at 25Mbs (wouldn’t mind seeing someone do an 35Mbs XDCam comparison). The 35mm sensor does a lot in terms of looks. But it doesn’t help the capture or information the camera pulls in.

That’s where it didn’t do much for me. It didn’t have the range or smoothness of uncompressed, or Cineform RAW, CinemaDNG or RED naturally. The gradients and edges were as smooth as stuff I’ve worked out of an EX1, 3 and *gasp* even HDV. The color range, information and detail is all about the same (8bit 4:2:0). There wasn’t any fast motion in the footage I was playing with so I don’t know how it handles motion artifacts.

This where it was better than the other stuff: it broke down farther down the line as I moved colors around. At least, I could push it a bit father than HVX/EX1-3 stuff I thought. Pulling keys was a bit better, but nothing noteworthy. (This could all be in my head since I WANT it to be better).

And those are my thoughts. Codec alone, certainly not worth the $13K pricetag when you can get the same quality (or negligible) out of a much lower priced camera. 35mm sensor + S-Log RGB 444 out HD-SDI certainly makes it worth $13K. But you be your own judge. I certainly can’t inform you as to what you want or like.

Which leads me to tomorrow’s post: where I think the state of the market is and where it’s going…

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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