Always been a fan of detailed pictures and this blog is no exception, I was wrong about my price of £6,500 but when you read the specs on this camcorder you understand why it’s a cut above the competition.
Firstly it uses a Super 35mm CMOS sensor which will output 4:2:0 onto the SxS card running up to 35Mbs, 4:2:2 out of the HD SDI socket and here is the best news 4:4:4 out of the dual link HD SDI option. ISO equivalent in standard mode is ISO 800…SONY “Supported as standard is 4:2:2 50P via dual-link HD-SDI. For 3G-SDI you need to add the 4:4:4 Option” This sounds like the PMW-350 SD option, you get Sony to insert an extra PCB when you order the camera at extra cost. UPDATE…4:4:4 is available via dual link again in April 2011 price tbc.
The back of the camcorder has the usual suspects apart from the Dual link HD SDI sockets that when connected give 1080 50p if you have chosen the optional 4:4:4, now that’s impressive, I don’t know what Sony have up their sleeve for that Dual link HD-SDI but you can bet it will record 4:4:4 at 1080 50p. The battery compartment is interesting as it looks and indeed uses BP- U60 batteries as seen on the EX3.
The spare socket intrigues me but I will make a stab at a connector for the record unit that the Dual HD SDI sockets plug into that will control record, on and off, timecode and supply power…only an educated guess.
A brilliant bit of genius is the zoom rocker switch, now from day one this camcorder will only take prime lenses but Sony are designing a new zoom lens for this camera that can be used with the rocker switch. That single addition gives the cameraman two camcorders in one, thinking about the freelancer who can’t justify two cameras, one for drama and one for television news coverage. As we all know you don’t send a cameraman out on a news job with a camcorder that has one focal length, this type of camerawork suits the zoom lens. As you would expect we have two XLRs with MIC, LINE and 48V phantom. As Sony had some space left over they have included two phono outputs.
On the business side of the camcorder we see a switch for instant 5600K, a sensor plane guide used for focus pullers, a cache record indicator which may light when you have cache record switched on. As seen on the EX3 we have the Slow & Quick control knob which will be useful for instant access to this particular feature. Sadly I can report one switch that did not please me in the mock up and that was the 3 position ND switch, now Sony may have something up their sleeve to help this but most professional camcorders have 4 positions of ND in fact the Panasonic AF101 has a 4 position ND filter ring !
Not the biggest LCD in the world but I am assured it has the same pixel count as the EX3s LCD and that’s a dammed sharp LCD. I am not sure about 2 channels of sound though for most jobs I take on 2 channels are usually more than enough.
You have 2 options when buying this camcorder in January 2011…There are two models, one PMW-F3K with three lenses (35, 50, 85mm F2.0) – Euros 20,700 (£17,814), and a body only version the PMW-F3L BO model – Euros 14500. (£12,511).