Sony Unveils First Super 35mm Professional Portable Camcorder

Sony is unveiling its first professional handheld digital production camera, the PMW-F3 with a Super 35mm imager.

Latest PMW-F3 a breakthrough in price, performance and portability

Representing a breakthrough for independent producers and filmmakers in terms of features, performance and price, Sony is unveiling its first professional handheld digital production camera with a Super 35mm imager.

Taking its place among the pinnacle of digital motion picture production cameras; Sony’s flagship CineAlta™ series, the PMW-F3 is the latest innovation on Sony’s digital 35mm roadmap. It continues the leadership position that was solidified by “film style” cameras like the F23 and F35, and most recently with the first camcorder to integrate the HDCAM SR format, the SRW-9000PL.

“Sony’s cameras have played a leading role in digital production technologies for decades giving producers the highest imaging tools to work their magic and to translate their creative visions onto big screens around the world. Our cameras have shot everything from documentaries to big-budget blockbusters totaling more than USD$6 billion at the box office and winning countless industry awards. With the new F3, we are putting Sony’s rich expertise in the hands of all producers, a powerful high performance digital imaging tool with utmost flexibility and creative control in a tiny form factor for ease of maneuvering even around challenging locations,” said Chris Grey, Head of Broadcast & Content Creation Solutions, Business & Professional Products, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific.

“The new PMW-F3 camcorder is designed for a range of digital production applications -- from commercial, documentary, television and feature film production,” Chris Grey adds.

The availability of a low-cost PL lens kit which includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses, extends the camcorder’s range of potential applications and gives users more flexibility in lens selection.

The new F3 camcorder is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow and uses Sony’s SxS™ ExpressCard-based recording media format. Its Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers shallow depth of field, with high sensitivity and low noise levels (ISO 800, F11; and S/N ratio of 63dB in 1920x1080/50i mode), as well as wide dynamic range.

The camcorder offers shooters a wide range of image creation options through the use of an HD-SDI dual-link output for external recording (4:2:2 1080 50/59.94P as standard; and RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF as an option).

Additionally, “S-Log” and “Hyper Gamma” can be selected; significantly increasing the camera’s performance of dynamic range. S-Log is Sony’s unique approach to the raw “Digital Negative,” allowing access to the full dynamic range of the Super35mm imager for maximum flexibility in image manipulation during post production. This capability combined with the widely used SxS recording lets users take advantage of already well-established XDCAM EX and HDCAM-SR workflows.

Recording formats include 1920x1080, 1440x1080, and 1280x720 at 23.98/25/29.97p, 50/59.94i and, in DVCAM mode, 25/29.97PsF and 50/59.94i. Shooters can also take advantage of “slow” and “quick” recording, from 1 to 30 fps at 1920x1080 (17 to 30 fps in dual-link mode) and 1 to 60 fps at 1280x720 (17 to 60 fps in dual-link mode).

The PMW-F3’s PL mount adapter can accommodate both PL and upcoming Sony’s zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as ARRI, Cooke, Fujinon and Zeiss.

As with all its digital motion picture production technologies, Sony is also planning to introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. SR Memory, Sony’s new high-speed, high-capacity card format, will give users the ability to record directly to the industry standard HDCAM SR codec using the SR Memory Portable Recorder connected to the F3 camera’s single-link and dual-link output.

The camera will also support Look-up Table (LUT), unique for dailies and on-set colour management. Up to four LUT’s can be stored in the camera and stamped onto the footage on the SxS card, simultaneously using the camera’s dual link output with S-Log for the unprocessed image. This creates the perfect off-line, on-line workflow combining the SxS and SR codec, with the SR Memory Portable Recorder connected to the F3 and recording to the SR codec.

The PMW-F3 camcorder will be available in Asia Pacific in February 2011, for a suggested list price of USD$17,000 (PMW-F3L, without lens) and USD$25,000 (PMW-F3K (with PL Lens kit).

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