Came across this page by chance and thought I would chirp up as a new PMW-F3 user. I'm a long time staff and then freelancer working in the UK for 41 years on broadcast news, on XDCam EX since about 2012. My son's followed me into the game and as I do less for TV and more and more web stuff, I gave him my kit and looked for something a bit more er, compact.
Initially I was using a C300 for the occasional regional BBC day and sailing features and web adverts (I'm refitting a 45 yr old yacht for retirement). I had a couple of Nikkors converted to EF mount and de-clicked, a 16-35/2.8 and 70-200/2.8, and I used an EF 24-105 for run-n-gun. All okay, but I hate the C300 form factor and all those buttons just got on my man-boobs!
Looked for something more viable and stumbled across the F3. Managed to grab one for 800 quid off eekBay and got very lucky: the thing was unmarked and had only 147 hours on the clock. Had it a few months now and it really has grown on me. The menus I'm familiar with obviously and don't mind their foibles. I shot a sailing doc in S-log for the first time recently, and it's due out in December so I'll put a link up in due course.
I've perfected my setup (see pics) and what I like about this is that I can do all the things a proper shoulder camera can do, and then break it down into the simplest, lightest, setup for stumbling about a foredeck with one hand on the camera only. I'm a bit of a fettler, so you might notice a few things. Viz: built-in viewfinderectomy. Custom mount for the Alphatron 035 VF (which I love using). Power via a Hawk-Woods V-Lock adapter plate meant for an FS5 - only needed the output lead swapping for a 4-pin XLR to go into the F3 - that Alphatron is a power-grabber. Custom extension bracket from the Tilta baseplate to the Movcam wooden grip (another eBay bargain for 50 quid) although the record button is non-functional as of yet with no LAN port on the F3. Custom bracket to get the right height off the baseplate for the Vocas matte box and rails. I think I spend more time building this stuff than actual filming these days!
Very pleased with it all and giving 35M/bit in the camera, still fine for local BBC, not that anyone asks. I gave my Black Magic Video Assist to the lad, but I'm highly unlikely to get called on for high end broadcast. No 444 key installed but no biggy. For quality web production and some news squirting, the camera is great, and I will be playing with this for hopefully a few years yet.
FX6? FX9? Nah, sod that for a lark. Happy as Larry here 😉
Cheers, Cotty (Steve Cottrell)