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Sony PMW-F3 with 2500 hours on it. Should I buy it?


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Hello,

I need your advice. I was offered Sony PMW-F3 bundled with Logocam UPL95 battery, D-Tap charger, Cineroid HDMI viewfinder (w/o battery) and Nikon mount adapter. All for $750 (it doesn’t have 444 upgrade). The camera has 2500 hours on it. Should I buy it? Thanks!

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Stills from some past F3 projects, all with Leica R's and the 5" Video Assist. Such a remarkable camera: lovely to use, easy to grade, solid in low light, lots of dynamic range...for the money I paid,

A few more for the road. Damn does the F3 grade well.

Beach food shoot. Both with Nikon 24-70

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2 hours ago, basil_555 said:

I need your advice. I was offered Sony PMW-F3 bundled with Logocam UPL95 battery, D-Tap charger, Cineroid HDMI viewfinder (w/o battery) and Nikon mount adapter. All for $750 (it doesn’t have 444 upgrade). The camera has 2500 hours on it. Should I buy it? Thanks!

$750 for an F3 isn't an exceptional price for an F3 in 2020, but then again you'd struggle to find one substantially cheaper either without a lot of patience / hunting. 

And the inclusion of the viewfinder, charger/battery, & Nikon-FZ mount adapter are nice bonuses which makes this overall package lean into "a good deal" territory.

As for the lack of the RGB upgrade, you've still got 10bit 422 and I don't think 422 vs 444 has to be a deal breaker. Perhaps the biggest negative for you might be not having 1080 60fps output, which needs the RGB upgrade. (you also can't use LUTs for on-set video monitoring without that paid upgrade as another one of the small differences)

The number of hours on a digital camera these days is fairly meaningless, other than being perhaps maaaybe a hint at how much usage the camera has got. (but I'd rather take a camera which has seen 5yrs of usage in a photo studio, never going outside, vs 5 harsh months documenting the Syrian Civil War!)

None of this has yet answered the question "should you get this F3?" Because only you can answer that. 

Does 4K matter to you? Do you care about how big and bulky a camera is? etc etc etc etc, countless questions like this which don't really have a "right" or "wrong" answer so much as they're subjective personal preference questions. 

However, I feel that for most people an alternative camera choice like a Panasonic G9/GH5, Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4, Nikon Z6, BMPCC4K (as any of these could be a similar ish price as a F3 / recorder setup will be in total) will instead be better buy for them unless they really really want a Sony PMW-F3 and are committed to it. 

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For me, you buy what you need when you need it.  

For instance, I might buy something like this if I had a particular client on deck that would be put at ease seeing me run around with a "real" camera.  (That's still a thing in the circles I'm in)

Obviously, you need to know if you're served by playing this sort of game.  I've rented camera gear just to impress clients, not for any particular production need. 

If I was in that situation again, heck, might as well buy a package like this for the same cost.  Also, wouldn't be the last time I'd buy gear only to sell it again quickly.  Which is kind of like renting, just with more flexibility.

Once, a few years back for a client, I borrowed a bunch of unnecessary cinema rigging from a friend/colleague and buried my LUMIX camera under it. Looked cool, but was incredibly gratuitious.  All that nonsense just to do a talking head interview.  Whatever, the client enjoyed the spectacle.  Afterwards I bought my buddy a nice 18 year single malt scotch for that one, which we shared.  Win-win-win.

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7 hours ago, BenEricson said:

It does 60p, you just need the 7Q recorder. The 444 model does 60p to the black magic video assist tho.

I think you don't get 1080 60fps output without the RGB upgrade? (which the one we're discussing doesn't have)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

This thread didn´t help to stop me. As some long time forum enthusiasts @IronFilm :) might remember, I have been thinking about getting a F3 for a while. The term "mini alexa" didnt help me much for resisting. So I just bought an F3 with the 444 update for around 750 eu. It was 200 more than I was dreaming on spending as max. But then I was thinking, when will a 444 model come around again. Plus my FS700 gives 2K aliasing parade over SDI, so I would have to record 4K output to really make it shine.

But then again, how long will I have to wait to find a deal on a 444 recorder.:) Crap, 750, these days, for a 1080p camera! Well, better than spending all on toilet paper. This video gave me the last push towards my weird purchase. Such beautiful colors. Darn, some talented people on this forum can achieves this look with a GH3 or a 5D3. Right? Anyone want a F3 with 444 output? :) I should stay away from dangerious threads like this one. cheers:) By the way, no cheap deals on the OG BM Pockets anymore.

 

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Congratulations!
 

2 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

By the way, no cheap deals on the OG BM Pockets anymore.

All those years ago when I purchased my brand new BMPCC for US$500, I would have bet that by mid 2020 we could possibly buy a secondhand BMPCC for a couple of hundred bucks or less!

But no, it took a long time before you could easily get a secondhand BMPCC for cheaper than what I paid for my new BMPCC! Took the release of the Pocket 4K to really give the prices a good shove down, but even that wasn't enough. 

Look at eBay currently:
https://www.ebay.com/sch/625/i.html?_fsrp=1&LH_PrefLoc=2&_sop=15&_sacat=625&_nkw=pocket+blackmagic&_from=R40&rt=nc&LH_TitleDesc=0&LH_ItemCondition=1500|2000|2500|3000|7000|10

Only three pockets are listed for sub $500! And not by much, with the way bidding is going I expect they'll sell for more. 

Has my OG BMPCC held on to its value better than any other camera I've ever got??

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8 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

 

This thread didn´t help to stop me. As some long time forum enthusiasts @IronFilm :) might remember, I have been thinking about getting a F3 for a while. The term "mini alexa" didnt help me much for resisting. So I just bought an F3 with the 444 update for around 750 eu. It was 200 more than I was dreaming on spending as max. But then I was thinking, when will a 444 model come around again. Plus my FS700 gives 2K aliasing parade over SDI, so I would have to record 4K output to really make it shine.

But then again, how long will I have to wait to find a deal on a 444 recorder.:) Crap, 750, these days, for a 1080p camera! Well, better than spending all on toilet paper. This video gave me the last push towards my weird purchase. Such beautiful colors. Darn, some talented people on this forum can achieves this look with a GH3 or a 5D3. Right? Anyone want a F3 with 444 output? :) I should stay away from dangerious threads like this one. cheers:) By the way, no cheap deals on the OG BM Pockets anymore.

 

Looks so good. I love the images from this camera.

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6 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Has my OG BMPCC held on to its value better than any other camera I've ever got??

Indeed! They went below 300 USD just a while ago then, with batteries. And often below 500 with speedbooster, cage and batteries and are now up again at 500 with batteries!

But mate, I need to read some kind word on my purchase, some more of that claim of that 444 beast of the mini alexa :)  I should just have been happy with my FS700 plus Shogun. Instead both are catching dust.

Are you using a F3? What is your take on it compared to a FS700? I turned into a weirdo by your guys´psalms about the "mini alexa". Guess I read Alexa Mini.:) @BenEricson

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I was very tempted to purchase one of these recently. Just wish it didn't need an external recorder. Its definitely the most affordable Cine body with a decent image though. I'd say the OG Canon C300 is a nicer image out of the box. There is no ability to record external 10 bit or 444 though which really gimps it. From what I've seen the skin tones and color out of the F3 really trump the newer Sony cameras, much closer to the beautiful F35 colors. 

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8 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

Are you using a F3? What is your take on it compared to a FS700? I turned into a weirdo by your guys´psalms about the "mini alexa". Guess I read Alexa Mini.:) @BenEricson

I mostly shoot with the C300 Mk2 right now. (Or when we were shooting more.) I actually probably like the F3 image about the same, maybe better. The C300 Mk2 is just so easy to use and does really good in mixed light. Great baked in options and 4k without a recorder. 

I never had good experience with the FS700. I could never get the color to look right. I suppose it looks really nice with a speed booster at f2 on a 50mm, but you can't shoot everything like that. 

My F3 is sitting on the shelf. Let me know if you need a back up. :)  Anyway. Your footage looks awesome. Keep it up.

If you think the black magic pocket is bad, try looking for a used digital bolex. Those are like 5-7K.

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9 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

Indeed! They went below 300 USD just a while ago then, with batteries. And often below 500 with speedbooster, cage and batteries and are now up again at 500 with batteries!

Yes I remember it dipping down low! Was mildly flirting with the temptation of getting with a 2nd BMPCC if it went any lower. 

Don't understand the rise in BMPCC prices, any theories??

Ditto the Sony PMW-F3, last year I noticed that it was common to see them selling for sub $600 with a couple even for sub $500!! Had decided next time I saw a sub $500 F3 camera I'd go for it to get myself a 2nd F3. 

But since then? Average prices seems seem to have come back up again for the F3. 
Currently the cheapest F3 on eBay are priced: $600, $700, $800, $850 (and from there it just getting more and more expensive, someone even has an F3 listed for $12K!!).

Personally I find it hard to justify a barebones Sony F3 for $800 when now a FS700 costs a similar price (and an FS5 are sub $2K! But heck, I'm even more excited to see that FS7 bodies are now going for sub $3K, that tempts me to job back into being a camera op but would be dumb to spend $3K in this current economic environment).

 

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