by Doug Jensen, Vortex Media
In recent months Sony has introduced two new affordable camcorders with super-35mm size sensors: the PMW-F3 and the NEX-FS100. Although many people assume that the cameras are basically the same because they share the same sensor, that is incorrect. Everything behind the sensor is different. In my opinion, as someone who actually owns both cameras, as the producer of training videos for both cameras, as the instructor of workshops for both cameras, I feel they are each designed to meet the needs of different types of video professionals.
Unfortunately, many of the differences between the cameras aren't so obvious when you're trying to decide which of the two cameras would be best for YOU. A camera that might be the perfect choice for one person, might be the wrong choice for someone else -- and vice versa. Contrary to popular belief, there is no single "best' camera for everyone. In fact, for some people, an NX5, Z7U, EX1R, EX3, 320, 350, 500, 700, or F800 might actually be a better choice than either of these super-35mm sensor cameras. Just in case you haven't noticed, Sony has literally dozens of professional camera options to choose from!
As interest in the the FS100 and F3 has been building, many people have been contacting Vortex Media and asking us which camera we would recommend for THEM . . . and that is simply impossible to do unless we invest a lot of time analyzing their needs, budget, shooting style, and experience level. At Vortex Media, we are in the business of training people HOW to use their new camera -- not recommending which camera to buy. That is supposed to be the job of Sony and your favorite authorized Sony reseller.
Okay, if you want to hire me as a consultant to help you make your decision, we can talk about that, but I thought a free online questionnaire might be a more cost-effective way of pointing you in the right direction. Based on your answers to 25 simple questions (which you may or may not see the relevancy of) I think I can give you a pretty good recommendation as to which camera would be best for YOUR needs.
Before we proceed, there are few of things to keep in mind:
- In the interest of keeping things simple, the only two cameras that are included in this analysis are the FS100 and F3. If some other camera, such as the EX1R or F800, would suit your needs better, you'll have to arrive at that conclusion on your own.
- This analysis is designed to only take into account the features of the basic camcorders with no upgrades. So, if you already know that you need the dual-link RGB 4:4:4 S-LOG or 3-D options of the PMW-F3, you can skip this analysis and just go ahead and buy that camera now.
- The questionaire is programmed to give the answers to some questions more weight than others when it calculates the recommendation.
So, without further ado, here are the 25 questions: