Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

It’s very strange but from the word go the Sony F3  has landed itself in a fierce debate with DPs all over the globe, our main head scratching is Sony’s design team’s decision to make such a Hi-end product 35Mbs, 4:2:0. Now I have been told it gives you a very good quality off line editing format that wont tax your computer but I must add that an extra 15Mbs would not have taxed any fairly decent spec NLE either.

So why did Sony decide to make the F3 a glorified EX3 spec camcorder…you must take on board that any camera takes a minimum of two years from design to production so the F3 was being designed as far back as 2008, saying that so was the PMW-500 which is 50Mbs so was there a clash of the two camcorders to be avoided, we will never know.

Sony are bringing out their own “S1” recorder for the F3 which will allow you to record via the dual HD SDI sockets up to 1080 50p, 4:4:4, 50Mbs and possibly 100Mbs or more so all is not lost. It would have been far more convenient if the F3 had recorded at 50Mbs 4:2:2 out of the box.

Back to my original title for this blog “Design a camera”…so if we take the Canon XF305 which has just been approved by the BBC for HD broadcast at the starting line for 2011 then all camcorders should now come with a minimum spec of 50Mbs, 4:2:2 and please if you are going to design an HD camcorder do not bring it out without a decent HI-Rez viewfinder.

Philip Bloom was more than disappointed with his “almost finished” Panasonic AG AF101’s viewfinder, he could not find critical focus, it beggars belief that any video manufacturer dares to produce an HD camcorder without pricing in a Hi-Rez viewfinder, we are all in agreement that an extra £500 on to the price would be money well spent to get a decent viewfinder.

The other thing that gives one of my DP pals a problem is the insistance on producing a PL mount camcorder in a hand held format, what’s the problem in making it shoulder mount and having the XLRs feed out of the back…as is normal, his worry with the F3 and the AF101 is if you attach XLRs into the side of the camcorder it will give the camera a tendency for pulling to the side of the XLRs, not good for panning shots.

The poor designer what they must go through knowing that the press is just waiting to pull their hard work to bits…it was a very poignant part of Philip Blooms blog when watching Filippo Chiesa’s footage Osaka day 2 that we get to see some of the hard working team behind the Panasonic AF101, all in the company uniform.

We are told that both Panasonic and Sony sit down with DPs when taking the first steps in designing a new product and discuss the technical issues as well as the practical one’s, so far I have never met such a DP, that is not to say they don’t exist.

You can bet another FilmLike camcorder is now one year away and it will come with more bells and whistles or maybe the cutdown “Lite” version who knows but it’s a cert that somewhere in Japan there are designs for many new camcorders and we will get to play with them in due course.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on “Design a Camera “What the designers should know”

  1. 2 Things bad from your article.
    1)1080 50p, 4:4:4 and possible 100Mb.
    NOT 1080 50p 4:4:4
    YES 1080P 50P 4:2:2 or 1080 24..P 4:4:4.
    Also both can be recorded without the new mem recorder, through the dual HDSDI output.
    2)Sony don’t tell anything about any F series new camcorder (except F3) so please don’t confuse people regarding F5, f1.5 and so on ..

  2. Also no word on Mbps was said, so, unless you’re sure, don’t said possible 100Mb, ..
    I don’t want to see your website like canonrumors. I also hate red neverending stories related to products that currently aren’t available.
    Please be a litle more professional writting article, you’re done, but make a litle best as i think you’re really can be.

  3. Thanks for your input Alejandro but I must take exception to your 1080p 50p as this does not exist…you can have 1080 50i or 1080 50p you do not put the “p” in twice it’s either Progressive or Interlace using a small “p” or a small “i”.

    I have taken out any references to phantom camera numbers.

  4. Once again I see no reason for a small bit of speculation after all Sony read this blog and I would prefer them to know the general feeling so by saying “possibly 100Mbs” allows them to re-think if it’s not 100Mbs. If the item is as professional as we are led to believe then 100Mbs will be small fry and thats me being Conservative.

  5. Hey there,
    if i had the cance to design a camera, it would be something like:
    A big chip, exchangeable lenses, the ability to record paralel on two cards (savety first 😉 ), the ability to change the cards during the recording (some internal buffer.. 32GB or so), a USB host connector, the ability to mark clips direkt wile shooting(mark a in and out point and mark some interesting spots in the clip during the recording and during the playback in the camera) some SDI, HDMI, TC, A/V, IN and OUTputs, 4channel xlr, AVC-Intra with some 4:4:4 50mb/s and some 4:2:2 35mb/s, framerates from 1 to 250 (yes, i know…) and to make phillip happy a viewfinder in high res.. oh, and a monitor with waveform..

    all this packed in a housing not so ugly like the af100, more like the sony, but with a lot of hot and cold shoe, the body would be made from metal (magnesium or aluminium.. no plastic)

    well i think, thats it…
    i will go on an dream a little more… c-ya

  6. Back in 2008 when in IBC, I asked a Sony tech why they didn’t put 50mbs on EX1. He reasoned that 1/2inch chip plus 50Mbps would generate so much heat and it would have required a much bigger form factor. Considering that the Canon is 1/3+50Mbs, maybe the technology is not ready for a S35+50mbs camcorder and maybe thats the reason RED is keep postponing their Epic and Scarlet.

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