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redimp

C300 vs F3

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Ok, I swear this is the last topic of this kind that I'm making, but I have finally listened to @IronFilm and rent a cam for the actual project I'm going to be involved in, and get something cheaper for small projects and (mainly) rehearsals, pre-production and fiddling with my glass. 

I'm making lots of re-housing work for vintage glass like Lomos or Iscorama 36, so I need a cam to hook up to external monitor and pixel peep for infinity, etc.

But I also plan to do a pre-production run for a project and need to do test shots. Like we're going to shoot inside a car, and I need to know if the lens we want to use will give us the proper FOV, etc.

Also I have a charity shoot planned, with a series of interview/documentary work to do some fundraising for a local hospice. 

I need a PL cam, with big sensor (we will rent Alexa Mini most probably, I know it's sensor is bigger then F3 or C300).

We will be shooting some moody stuff, in low-ish light, going for a gritty/moody looks. 

So I want to understand what cam will serve best for all these purposes.

If I get a c300, it will be just that – a kit that I will rig on 15mm rails. If I get an F3, it will be an F3+Gemini or Pix so I get a 4:4:4 out of it, to test the looks. I will not get a BMVA to record 422, if I go through the whole external recorder hassle, I would want to squeeze the maximum out of it.

Now, would the 444 prores files be more millable in post then the internal c300 codec? I guess so, but would not know how exactly they will compare and how much more flexible the F3 footage will be compared to the c300.

I found an article that had a shootout with a download link, but it's expired. I would really appreciate if someone who maybe owns both cams can provide some side-to-side raw footage for me to play with, but I know it's a really long shot here and too much to ask.

Any opinions appreciated!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Limited experience on the C300, though I have graded travel videos made with it before. Internal 422 held up pretty well, and allowed a dynamic image (~12 stops?) on a bright day, as well as some detail recovery in post from inside cathedrals footage. Biggest thing I noticed was that the detail got a bit fuzzy after too much correction, and could only be pushed so far. Still, if you light your scene correctly, can't see why it would be a bad choice. Files would be easier to handle vs dpx. 

I owned/operated an F3+Gemini kit for several years, and am still blown away by what it could do. 444 is quite an understated upgrade in regards to image detail and colour information, and even though it's "only" 13.5 stops vs. newer cameras with 16, I was easily able to bring the brightest clouds and darkest shadows into proper exposure. Again, the detail pixel by pixel is far better than any .mxf I've seen from a C300...probably something to do that each frame is technically a photograph, not video file. Definitely would recommend this combo. 

In post, dpx can be a nuisance compared to video codecs, and premiere was terrible at relinking image sequences for proxies etc. The workflow I developed for this was:

1) "Develop" Footage (Resolve colour correction-only, export as 10-/12-bit Cineform)

2) Edit and Grade in favourite NLE

3) Export final Project 

Resolve has a strong advantage working with DPX vs. Premiere, as it recognizes any sequential files in a folder as an image sequence instead of having to do a special import in Premiere. When I browse in Resolve, each folder shows up as a clip and a separate wav, easy to link in media bin or on timeline. 

 

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1 hour ago, Riadnasla said:

In post, dpx can be a nuisance compared to video codecs

Thank you for your answer! Replying to quoted above – I think Pix 240i can record to prores instead of DPX, but I am fine anyway since I only use resolve now. I guess the pros of c300 would be the size and ease of operation only? (I've heard people complain about F3's menus so much).

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8 minutes ago, redimp said:

I think Pix 240i can record to prores instead of DPX

Cool....don't know the answer to this, but if IQ is a priority, I would advise against recording ProRes when you have DPX available. With Resolve, DPX won't be an issue, but as a native Edius then Premiere editor, it did cause some annoyances, hence the extra step in the workflow. 

9 minutes ago, redimp said:

I guess the pros of c300 would be the size and ease of operation only?

Canon's C-series has done wonders for ergonomics. Period. The F3 isn't terrible on its own, and is actually really small as far as dedicated cinema cameras go, however once you rig any camera to be film-worthy it's going to be a unwieldy package to heft around. My main reason for selling my F3 was simply that I don't work with crews very often, and when I do, they prefer to rent a shiny new popular camera vs 'old faithful. If you have a crew and proper support gear, you can get away with a very quick and relatively small camera. 

One thing I forgot to mention about the two cameras.....if you do the F3, you will get far more data....like 256GBs lasts 20mins data. For projects that don't need originals, I typically "developed" the footage and added my ownership metadata, then deleted the originals. Even 10-bit Cineform is much smaller than the Gemini sequences. Just be prepared.

Some footage I slapped together to sell the camera: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=1d3Ll9r5VdQ

Some pics of the camera built and another in action:
IMG_20170218_105957.thumb.jpg.298f26a857a1ac5675d276c969a97087.jpg

 

IMG_20161219_134753.thumb.jpg.2f3777e957c9ded22304031d15ed0f43.jpg

 

 

 

IMG_20170218_105957.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Riadnasla said:

256GBs lasts 20mins data

Wait what? 

That's enormous, I guess that's why people were telling me that single sdi recorders are best for balancing quality with file size, like the atomos models.

Is it 20 minutes is 24p? Or maybe in 60P? 

Thanks for the images of the rig, I have the same manfrotto head, so it's good to know my tripod would do. The video link though is broken, takes me to my studio on youtube, can you please re-link? (I think you copied it from the studio page, you need to go to the page of the vid itself) I'm super eager to see that footage.

Thank you!

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15 minutes ago, redimp said:

Wait what? 

Lol.....yup. The Gemini can do single SDI, however then you might as well record internally on the C300, except for the clarity of each frame as a photo file. Atomos will give you your generic ProRes file that I consider to be the low-end of this cameras output capabilities. The dual SDI image is worth every penny, even if you transcode it down later, the detail from the original does stay better, since the camera isn't doing that processing with a small onboard computer with time restrictions (recording speed) vs. a editing computer taking its time (1 day export anyone?)

15 minutes ago, redimp said:

Is it 20 minutes is 24p? Or maybe in 60P? 

That's in 24 or 30fps. The Gemini doesn't do higher framerates, but if you have a recorder that can, the F3 does output 60i.....The new ninja star (2?) does HDMI ProRes, and while not listed in the features, I do see a light indicator for a "i to p" mode in the images.......

 

15 minutes ago, redimp said:

I have the same manfrotto head, so it's good to know my tripod would do.

It will work, but fully built with PL Lens......mine was pretty maxed out. Stability was acceptable, resistance had to be upped to almost locked. Lock tripod properly before letting go no matter what....etc., etc. If you can rent a beefier tripod, it'd be more reliable, while mine has done the job so far. 

15 minutes ago, redimp said:

I think you copied it from the studio page

Yup......oops. Colour isn't perfect, only spent an hour or two including picking footage, then colouring, but you'll get the idea. Most of this was shot with no light control, lantern shots had zero lights other than the practical, and lit sets were extremely limited by gear, time, and manpower. Seriously, when 20 ppl get together and I'm the only one who can do camera, DIT, and Lighting? Least they had a dedicated sound guy....would've loved to fire the director. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Riadnasla said:

The Gemini doesn't do higher framerates

Another thing that I've missed. Will have to look again for a recorder that can do it. 

And can you please post that link again, still can't see the video :)

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25 minutes ago, redimp said:

And can you please post that link again, still can't see the video

Hmmm.....It appears "Adrev on behalf of Rights Owner" has filed a claim on my video's music.........that I paid $50usd for. Not happy. Here's a link to my reel on Vimeo. 

 

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In my experience the difference is very small between the two, with Canon having better looking colors (just slightly, the F3 beats the F5's SLOG2 for sure) and the F3 having about a half stop more highlight detail. The C300's codec falls apart in high contrast scenes with a lot of foliage. The F3's codec is only suitable for rec709. Both are great in low light. The Canon is sharper, but also noisier in the shadows. Just slightly on both.

Both are close enough to each other but far enough from the Alexa (which is worse in low light, to be fair), that I'd just take a C100 Mk II any day for the ergonomics. But if a big camera is okay for you, the F3 rig offers 60p and a slightly higher quality image technically. It would not be my choice, but I still recommend it to others.

I disagree about DPX files being functionally any different from video files, but that's a digression. The difference between uncompressed DPX and 444XQ or even 444, in my experience, is completely invisible, and I get irritated when clients demand DPX.

I can send some footage I shot with both if you're interested, but can't post it publicly.

Both great cameras at great prices. You can't go wrong!

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F3 is great, and I don't love the C300 but it's very serviceable. You'll likely be happy with either.

I'm considering selling my F3 because I just don't use it all that much. I find the jobs that are big enough warrant Alexa's and the smaller jobs are perfectly serviceable by ny A7sII which isn't quite as nice as the F3 but has 4K, is light, small and nimble and for the kinds of jobs I'd do with it, the picture is more than good enough.

There's three drawbacks I find using the F3 in 2017:

-being forced to use a recorder to make the image quality worth the investment can be frustrating at times. Needing to rig it out every time gets annoying if you're on a job by yourself. It's also kinda big and unwieldy, though it sits okay on your shoulder 

-the menu system is one of Sony's worst ever. This in itself makes me reluctant to pull out the F3 sometimes

-you can't record any higher than HD resolution. For me, this will likely be a big thing that kills it as an option for many jobs going forward. 

If you don't mind those things, you can get a really great picture out of it. Go for it, you'll be happy. I'm always happy with what I get out of it, I just find I use it less and less these days.

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On 11/1/2017 at 1:03 AM, redimp said:

If I get an F3, it will be an F3+Gemini or Pix so I get a 4:4:4 out of it, to test the looks. I will not get a BMVA to record 422, if I go through the whole external recorder hassle, I would want to squeeze the maximum out of it.

Ah, see I completely take the opposite approach!

As using a Gimini/Pix with it defeats the core benefit of a F3 in 2017: it is INSANELY GOOD VALUE!

And I reckon 422 => 444 is marginal gains, while 420 => 422 is a big leap. 

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

Ah, see I completely take the opposite approach!

As using a Gimini/Pix with it defeats the core benefit of a F3 in 2017: it is INSANELY GOOD VALUE!

And I reckon 422 => 444 is marginal gains, while 420 => 422 is a big leap. 

Is there a recorder that can record prores 422 in both 24 and 60P?

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6 hours ago, BenEricson said:

Black Magic Video Assist works great if you have the 444 model, 7Q will do 24/60 with dual SDI and the 2016 7Q firmware.

I think on reduser I’ve read that BMVA can do 60 as well, thi I’m not sure how that’s possible.

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14 hours ago, redimp said:

Is there a recorder that can record prores 422 in both 24 and 60P?

Yes, the BMD VA can do 1080 ProRes HQ 60fps. It is right there on the spec sheet.

On 11/1/2017 at 1:03 AM, redimp said:

I need a PL cam, with big sensor (we will rent Alexa Mini most probably, I know it's sensor is bigger then F3 or C300).

So? Even if the Arri Alexa Mini is a couple of odd millimeters or so bigger (and I'd have some health skepticism as to if that is even true, recommend double checking it) , *so what*?? 

Doesn't matter. 

I'd be very worried you're wasting money in places if you're basing your hiring decisions on factors such as "having a bigger sensor than the F3/C300".

As for PL mount, why? Do you own PL lenses?

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Yes, the BMD VA can do 1080 ProRes HQ 60fps. It is right there on the spec sheet.

I know it's listed in BMVA specs, but I've read that F3 can only output 60p via dual link SDI, while BMVA only has one SDI input. I found this thread at reduser http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?143260-Sony-PMW-F3L-w-RGB-444-Blackmagic-Video-Assist-10-bit-422-60p-amp-Accessories where seller claim there is a "hidden feature" to record 60p footage to BMVA from F3 via single cable. It's also mentioned in comments on this page https://disqus.com/home/discussion/cinetechnica/sony_f3_signal_routing_101/

Did you test it personally? Does it work? Any footage to share?

Answering your other questions – yes I do own PL glass, and yes sensor size does matter, as 1.5x crop (with around 14mm height) is the max my glass can handle without vignetting, but we've already figured that mini can crop into it's sensor for 2k mode and provide exactly 14mm of sensor height, so that is not an issue anymore.

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1 hour ago, redimp said:

I know it's listed in BMVA specs, but I've read that F3 can only output 60p via dual link SDI, while BMVA only has one SDI input. I found this thread at reduser http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?143260-Sony-PMW-F3L-w-RGB-444-Blackmagic-Video-Assist-10-bit-422-60p-amp-Accessories where seller claim there is a "hidden feature" to record 60p footage to BMVA from F3 via single cable. It's also mentioned in comments on this page https://disqus.com/home/discussion/cinetechnica/sony_f3_signal_routing_101/

Did you test it personally? Does it work? Any footage to share?

Answering your other questions – yes I do own PL glass, and yes sensor size does matter, as 1.5x crop (with around 14mm height) is the max my glass can handle without vignetting, but we've already figured that mini can crop into it's sensor for 2k mode and provide exactly 14mm of sensor height, so that is not an issue anymore.

Yes, I own that setup and have used it for about a year. I am working on a long form project, but have done a few random freelance jobs with the setup. I some b-roll here. The first 15 and last 15 seconds have some examples. 

There is one flaw. The bottom line of pixels flickers in 60p. You have to zoom in to 100.5 to remove it. Other than that, the 60p is not much different than the C300ii in 60p. 

 

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