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I got to fon­dle test the new Sony PMW-F3 dig­i­tal video cam­era tonight at Z Sys­tems and I won’t bore you with still pho­tos of the device, main­ly because you can look up a lot of them your­self (and the ones with me in them are NSFW — F3 is sooo sleeek, sooooo sexy!). The things I did want to bring to your atten­tion, though, were the camera’s very impres­sive low-light/high-gain per­for­mance and the juicy tid­bits I got from Sony’s presentation.

Oh, go ahead, take a quick peek at the video clip. It isn’t very sci­en­tif­ic, just me get­ting a few sec­onds at 0db, 6db and 18db of gain. On the Sony ref­er­ence mon­i­tors, the image was super clean. So clean, in fact, that I had to double-check that the gain was indeed turned on and was set to 18db! We were all col­lec­tive­ly impressed. I can see a tiny bit more noise now in FCP, but still, at 18db, the image is pret­ty nice! Cer­tain­ly leaps and bounds bet­ter than the noise from using gain on the EX3 camera.

The juicy bits are as fol­lows (via Sony):

  • The firmware update for 4:4:4 / SLog in April 2011 will cost mon­ey (updat­ed: about $3300)
  • It should be capa­ble of f16 / ISO 1600
  • 13 stops of latitude
  • Footage does not need any de-Bayer
  • It can do 1920x1080/60 4:2:2 via HD-SDI output
  • It will do 1920x1080/30 4:4:4 via dual HD-SDI output
  • Records both HD-SDI and SxS (if cards present)
  • It sup­ports Cooke and Arri PL mounts
  • The Bp-U30 bat­tery won’t work, larg­er ones will
  • It has five 1/4″ mounts on the top
  • Stur­dy han­dle and stur­dy mount­ing plate on bottom

Thanks to Z Sys­tems and the Sony guys for bring­ing the work­ing cam­era to Min­neso­ta. As they men­tioned, it is two cam­eras in one — you can use it imme­di­ate­ly as a Super35-sized EX3 SxS cam­era, and you can also use it as an HD-SDI out­put Super35 pro camera.

Also, I was unable to glean any good infor­ma­tion about the sup­posed NXCAM HD cam­era, but I am curious…