March 6, 2012

Sony Adds S-Log for Free on the F3 (Unless You Already Bought S-Log or Own an F3)

Sony, likely fearing the growing competition from the C300 and all of the new DSLRs coming out, has decided to make S-Log a standard option on all new F3 purchases. It would have made a lot of sense to offer this feature as standard in the first place, but Sony decided to charge $3000 for what amounts to little more than a firmware upgrade. What should be great news is terrible news for those who already own an F3.

This is from Notes on Video:

Sony has announced it has "discontinued" the PMW-F3K, PMW-F3L models and re-introduced them as PMW-F3K/RGB, PMWF3L/RGB with the 10 bit S-Log package as standard, with no price increase.

The 10 bit S-Log package, CBK-RGB01 will now sell for $899.00 (for those existing owners still without it.)

Here's another link to the Twitter CineAltaNews which is run by Peter Crithary, a marketing manager for Super 35mm acquisition at Sony. The product page for one of the newer models is here.

If you go to B&H, the only F3 currently searchable is the 3 lens version that tops out at almost $20,000. If you do a Google search however, you can find that a link still exists to the old version. New F3 owners will not have to pay an increase in price and get the same features that owners had to pay $3000 for only months ago. Current F3 owners have the option of purchasing S-Log for $900 here.

So what does this really mean? It means that Sony is worried about overpricing their mid-range camera, and they either listened to customers or saw the change in the market and decided that it's not a feature new users should have to pay for. Unfortunately, what they have done in the process is upset those who have already paid good money, and for those early adopters of the F3 but not S-Log, they still have to pay almost $1000. It seems that the Scarlet and C300 are really giving the F3 some competition, even if the Scarlet is slightly cheaper, and the C300 is slightly more expensive (basic packages of course - they are really all similar in price).

I don't believe this means we will see a new camera soon - it's certainly possible, but considering the camera has barely been out a year, it would be a huge surprise if they upgraded the current model and released one at a higher price point. We'll just have to wait and see at NAB if Sony decides to upgrade either the FS100 or the F3.

Anyone own an F3 who already purchased S-Log? Let me know what you think.

[via Notes on Video and @CineAltaNews]

Your Comment

29 Comments

Wow. Thank the SCARLET and C300 for this... now you get a mini-ALEXA for the price of a C300. Great move by Sony.

March 6, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Great move, but you gotta wonder how previous F3 owners feel. Cheated.

March 6, 2012

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Sure people can feel that way but we should not live our life based on feelings alone. The fact is, technology is like a train. It prefers to move the general masses methodically to new places in a larger single movement than many individual small movements.

This happens to everyone who needs the latest and greatest first - and sometimes those are legitimate needs (film shoots, ect).

But eventually that train carrying the masses will catch up to you and run you over. And anyone who buys the latest and greatest computer knows the feeling as the top of the line processor eventually gets usurped by a cheap mobile processor...

March 6, 2012

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I'm an "early adopter" of the F3 and S-Log, and I totally feel like it was worth the $3600 purchase. I have hooked a number of DP's hooked on the F3, and I have S-Log to thank for that.

March 10, 2012

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I paid $3400 for my sLog upgrade.

I made that money back in 2 days. No skin off my back.

March 12, 2012

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It really is a pretty fantastic deal. I'm happy with the choice to go with a Scarlet, but this makes the F3 a much better value proposition overall. It's a terrific camera for those who want an Alex-like system that ships with most of what you need to begin shooting right away (even with the option of some decent lenses!) at a relatively modest price. Even if the price were equal I think I would rather have an F3 than a C300 as a primary camera (though, oddly enough, a C300 would probably make a better compliment to a Scarlet if one were so inclined).

March 6, 2012

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think Sony's going to give a credit of some sort to existing F3 owners who purchased the S-Log? I don't own one but this seems like it could certainly piss off a lot of owners and be a potential PR problem if they don't address that matter right away.

March 6, 2012

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They already do in the form of a shitty rebate for their crappy external recorder or their proprietary servo zoom lens. They should really refund the difference in the form of a cash rebate. :/

March 6, 2012

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unhappy customer

Hopefully all the early adopters have made their money back many times over. Sony only owes them a thank you. I have a 58" plasma on my wall I paid $3800 for which was a killer deal at the time. Walked into Costco yesterday and a 60" was $899. I'm not crying to Samsung, though I might have cried a little inside...

This is a great move by Sony and now throws another monkey in the wrench in my camera quest for my next movie...

March 6, 2012

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Lance B

The prices are falling!!! Muah ha ha ha ha (evil indie filmmaker laugh)

March 6, 2012

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Ryan

From the Outside looking In, Sony sucks for not doing the right thing for its customers that bought the camera early or already purchased the update, what a joke Sony is.

March 6, 2012

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Baron

I doubt Sony predicted this ahead of time. Most likely the decision was based on competition and positioning. This move repositions the F-3 and makes it more relevant now that there is competition in the space. Before your only choice was an F-3. Hopefully its free because they created something better.

March 6, 2012

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Gary

I'm sorry, but what is "the right thing?" They put a product on the market and people purchased it. That means they thought it was worth that price at the time (and it was). We can't expect Sony so give people their money back every time they lower the price on something. I purchased my F3 and paid $3600 for S-Log, and it was totally worth it.

March 10, 2012

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I find these complaints bizarre. Early adopters always pay a price premium. If you want great value NEVER buy a product when it comes out, whether it's a car, a camera or anything else. The AF100 now comes with substantial discounts, as do many other cameras.

Think of this as a $3000 discount on an incredible camera. People who've owned their F3's for some time should already have made far more than $3000 off the cameras and be smiling all the way to the bank anyway. Competitive pricing skirmishes between camera manufacturers is great news for us as consumers... we should be delighted at the way the market is going!

March 7, 2012

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Ian

Sorry if this is a dumb ass question! So how much would a new ready to shoot F3 with s-log cost now then?

Thanks :)

March 7, 2012

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Kraig

I own an F3 and am thrilled with this. Even though it's going to cost me $900 as an early adopter, I don't feel too cheated. It does seem strange a little greedy that they are going to charge us. If they are giving it away to new buyers, why can't they give it to us? But, technology does march onward, markets change wildly quickly and everything is in constant flux. Yes, I wish they would offer it to owners for free but, hey, I thought about buying it a full retail a few months ago. I, actually, was holding out thinking something like this would come along. This is great and I'll write it off.

March 7, 2012

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and I think this is going to kill the C300 and rightly so.
The F3 was already so much more capable anyway and with this upgrade, you'd have to have taken a ride on the Disoriented Express to buy a C300 now.

March 7, 2012

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I'd like to retract that slightly... I handled a C300 today and I must admit, it is a very neat little package. if you need run and gun in a compact form-factor and the 8bit codec is not a problem, the C300 might be just the camera for you. I just happen to think it is way overpriced for what it is and all the hoopla surrounding it.

March 7, 2012

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I think its a move they had to make, and as someone making that buying decision RIGHT NOW, who has friends who have jumped to both Scarlet/Epic and the C300, this now makes the F3 a serious contender for me. I prefer the lens options, I'm sick of shooting DSLRs lovely as they are, and I like that I can step up to full 4444 and ARRI Ultraprimes if I want. It should of course be free, but you know, Sony. I think Panasonic will release something terrific at NAB, and Sony will fill their 8k gap, but I can't wait the extra 3-4 months for that to ship. I have work for this now. It will have paid for itself with one decent job.

March 8, 2012

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mark london

I got this from the Vimeo Sony PMW-F3 User Group and (unless I misunderstand) it appears to have been posted 1 month ago. How did he know? Anyway, thought it might be useful.

"H. Paul Moon plus 1 month ago
Timed against the Canon Cinema EOS C300 launch, Sony have brought their PMW-F3 S-Log/RGB444 firmware finally down to Earth at $899 (from almost $4k!). Owners who had shelled out that nearly $4k will get a nominal discount of $2.5k off the $12.2k SLCZ18X140 zoom lens, or off the $17.6k SRR1 recorder. I'm not sure how that makes the $4k spenders before February 1st feel, but there you go. I suppose we'll look back on this very soon and laugh about how companies priced the eventually baseline technology of S-Log and RGB444.

According to a Sony employee's Tweets, you can call Sony service and book it: NJ 201-833-5300 or LA 323-352-5000 (whatever that means)."

March 8, 2012

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Don't forget to add and extra $1,600 to the price of the new F3 for the external 10bit 422 recorder(Atmos Samurai).

March 8, 2012

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Try $400 for the Blackmagic Shuttle 2

March 8, 2012

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Oh yeah! forgot about that one.

March 9, 2012

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just heard about the Sony F5 coming soon to replace the F3 ... The NAB 2012 will tell us more ... Wait and see.

March 8, 2012

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Menelikk

The claim in the original article: "...the Scarlet is slightly cheaper, and the C300 is slightly more expensive (basic packages of course – they are really all similar in price)." - is quite incorrect. The real comparable prices are more like:

C300: $16,000
F3L (PL Mount): $13,000
Scarlet: AT LEAST $21,000

The key here is to compare apples to apples. Scarlet "Brain" on its own is just a paper weight. Once you add EVF with its accessories (arm, cable), side handle, and I/O module, the price goes up significantly. And we are not even talking about recording media and batteries. I realize of course, that it's also comparing 4k to HD, but as far as the cameras alone go, Scarlet is by far the most expensive option. I did a "working configuration" comparison between the c300 and Scarlet (sans lenses) and the rough numbers for a package that allows a full day of shooting (batteries and media), as well as all basic required accessories, the prices were more like this:

C300: $18,500
Scarlet: $29,800

Different tools for different uses. But also a certain level of misleading marketing by Red.

March 9, 2012

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I meant basic package to get the camera shooting. Anyone can spend any amount of money adding to their camera package - I'll bet you there are those out there who've put almost $30,000 into a C300 package without blinking an eye. Regardless, you should read the post I referenced in that quote (in blue), that's the reason for what I said.

March 9, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

If anybody wants to know what I paid....

F3 (after rebate) $13,160.
MTF Nikkor Adapter- $495.
AJA Ki Pro Mini- $2000.
(2) SanDisk 64GB 90MB/s CF cards - $760. (Current B&H)
Cabling- $30.
__________
Total: $16,445.

I have ordered the S-log upgrade at $899 which, will provide me with Alexa-like quality at a total cost of $17,344. I don't think you can do much better, at this point in time.

March 9, 2012

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Of course new things cost more and prices drop and early adopters can expect to pay more... (This is why I always buy vehicles about 2 years old...the biggest dip in depreciation is early on...)...but Sony's not exactly building any brand loyalty.

When the iPhone upgraded and dropped in price (I forgot which one, now, whether it was iPhone 2 or 3 or 3s...), they gave a big amount of Apple credit to offset the cost to those who had recently purchased the old phone (and what do you do with that credit?...buy *more* Apple products and get further enmeshed with them and their products! I got a newer Shuffle and a bunch of iTunes music/video...). Yes, Sony has dropped the price for s-log, but they're still making the early adopters (often the biggest fans of products) shell out more.

I was at the camera rental house today and forwarded them this article (they have 3 or 4 F3's)...they were not happy. They were on the phone with Sony within minutes.

It makes you think either they were really pushing the profit margins super high, or they're losing their shirts to Red and Canon (or are worrying they're about to). It's probably a little of all of the above.

March 15, 2012

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Daniel Mimura

If you bought the f3 camera from B&H photo/video in the last 60 days or so you can call them and they'll refund you $900 so you can go get the S-Log upgrade later. I did this and it was super easy.

April 9, 2012

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kevinklar