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Sony PMW-F3 price drop
  • The current price for a new F3 is only US$3,995 now, a huge reduction from its original price:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/848144-REG/Sony_PMW_F3L_RGB_PMW_F3L_Super_35mm_Full_HD.html

    I can tell it dropped from US$4,995 sometime in the last 48hrs based on Google's cache:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:f3DRVKbhbYQJ:www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/848144-REG/Sony_PMW_F3L_RGB_PMW_F3L_Super_35mm_Full_HD.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz

    I was hoping Archive.org could give me insight into the price history over the past year. But sadly the most recent copy it shares at the moment is from October 2014 when it was $14,995:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20141006031730/http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/848144-REG/Sony_PMW_F3L_RGB_PMW_F3L_Super_35mm_Full_HD.html

    Adorama sadly doesn't sell it currently, just a kit for $13,800:

    http://www.adorama.com/SOPMWF3G444.html

    But it does have three in used condition (V condition $2,100, E- condition $2,400, E condition $2,575):

    http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=recommend&sku=US_VDCSOPMWF3

    And on eBay I can see sold listings for US$2K. I believe if people look around at their local private sales they'll find it even cheaper, I picked up one myself three weeks ago for US$1.2K via that.

    Incredible price drop from 2011 when the Sony PMW-F3 first came out and it was nearly $20,000! ($16K for the body plus initially US$3,800 for the firmware upgrade)

    It has had a far faster price drop than similar cameras of that era (give or take a year) which were priced similar (or even cheaper than the F3 was), such as: Canon C300, RED Scarlet, RED One, Sony FS700, BMCC. They've all seen big price drops, falling half in price, or even more. But none have seen the price fall to a tenth of the original cost! (or even less!)

    I wonder why. I've got a few theories, it is was a rather popular enough camera in its niche (TV / documentaries / etc). Thus lots of F3 cameras were sold, which is causing mismatch in supply vs demand. As there is low demand because it never caught on amongst amateur/indie filmmakers (because they too quickly got distracted by the next shiny item, such as RED or BMD), who'd be the people who could soak up the supply of F3 cameras on the second hand market. As professional TV crews wouldn't be buying up F3 cameras in large numbers, they'd instead be moving on to an F5/F55.

    So why are there not more indies picking up these cheap F3 bodies? I'd say there are a few reasons: its bulk, it is "only 1080", no raw, PL mount (too pricey for many indies), and SxS cards are pricey. (last two reasons are non issues, as under that PL mount you've got the FZ mount, and there are dirt cheap adapters for SxS to use standard SD cards. But many people won't realise this initially, and just be put off from getting an F3)

    Makes you wonder what camera now which are priced way outside our reach will then be very affordable by 2019?

    Alexa Mini? Doubt it, it will still hold onto its popularity and prestige for a long time.

    Sony F5? Well... is the one directly after the F3, kinda makes it the obvious candidate to keep an eye on. The F5 after all is already feeling pricing pressure from Sony's own cheaper FS7, URSA Mini and other cameras will keep up the pressure.

    KineFinity KineMAX 6K? Doubt it will sell enough to create a future large supply vs demand in balance.

    Sony FS7? Perhaps this is the one to watch for 2019 deals, but it is already starting from a very affordable point. So it surely will fall to a similar price point by 2019 I guess, but it certainly won't fall to being a tenth of its original price.

    AJA Cion? Eh, I suppose it might... but I doubt I'd pick it over my own F3!

    Other candidates? Thoughts?

  • 6 Replies sorted by
  • Got this camera and it is FANTASTIC! Been scouring and reading all sorts of forums from EOSHD to DVXuser, and I'm so glad that I bought the F3 over the a7S II. Hated the a7S II's microHDMI, 8-bit 420 output, miniscule batteries, and lack of pro audio. E-mount is pretty good, but is not that secure. Plus, other than the F5, F55, and F65, the new generation of Sony colors and motion cadence is not as good as the F3 and F35 generation.

    So for the same price as the a7S (paid $2,000 for mine w/ RGB 444), I now have a legit CineAlta with proper PL mount (on FZ mount), SDI out, 10-bit RGB 444 output, XLR audio, bigger battery and the ability to attach AB or V-mount bricks via 4-pin XLR, color bars, and internal ND!

    Oh, and the colors and cadence is definitely much more preferable. There's a reason why this is affectionally known as the "Baby Alexa."

    Will I miss 4k? Not really. Been around many Alexas and no one every misses 4K around them.

  • Remember to post here some samples, ok?

    Do you have some plans to upgrade to F5? Especially for its auto ND?

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Do you mean FS5? I don't think the F5 has auto ND.

    I too would like to see your F3 samples here.

  • Just got back from a night shoot tonight with my Sony F3 :) Good stuff! Been shooting with an F3 for well over a year now. A small part of me wonders/wishes I'd gone for broke and got an FS7 / UM4.6K instead, but I know for where I am now (in terms of knowledge/skill/talent/finances) that the F3 instead was the right choice.

    Maaaaaybe if life goes well then sometime in 2017 I'll upgrade to a F5/FS7/FS5/FS700/Terra5K/"something". But I doubt it. Might even buy a second F3 in early 2017 instead! As looking to get a second camera alongside my existing F3 for a feature film I'll be shooting (because I have one F3 now, and will have access to a F5 until Xmas, so we can shoot with two cameras at once for the film during the 2016 part of its filming), either that or cheap out and use the BMPCC I already have.

  • Yes, FS5. Auto ND is very useful thing.

  • It is not just that, the crazy crazy small compact size of the FS5 is very appealing! Plus you can bulk it up a bit with a recorder and tap into its powerful raw capabilities. Which makes it a very flexible camera, for either small shoots or when more is required.

    One day it shall be mine!! ha