Over the past couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of shooting on the Canon 7D, 5D Mark II, Red One and Arri ALEXA. What’s missing? Yep. The Sony F3.

The project was a drama shot with two cameras – two F3’s, RED PRO zooms and Zeiss primes. Just like everyone we considered every digital cinema option going – from 5D’s to ALEXA’s. Why the F3? Because it was the most cost efficient package with a dependable easy-to-grade look and a pain free post route.

Those kind of things sum up the F3 for me. It’s the thinking man’s choice. Easier to work with than the 5D if shooting with a full crew and critical sound. Significantly cheaper than the ALEXA (especially if you need two!). AND all the reassurance and dependability of a Sony camera.

How’s the look? Pretty good. It digs into the blacks brilliantly, great resolution and workable dynamic range. Is it as nice as the ALEXA? For me. No. The ALEXA’s drop off to white I find much more pleasing and with LOG-C we have much more dynamic range. PLUS I prefer the look – it’s just that much more filmic and beautiful. The F3? Much more ‘Sony’ – which for me is a slightly clinical look. Still great but different.

So when would I choose the F3? When I needed a dependable solid camera, a consistent look and manageable workflow. If I was shooting a crafted commercial – I prefer the ALEXA. A doc? I love the 5D for docs. But what is really, really exciting is that we have ALL these cameras to choose from.

Rule 1. The right camera for the right job.

But what about film?

An article at the moviemaking technology website Creative Cow reports that the three major manufacturers of motion picture film cameras — Aaton, ARRI and Panavision — have all ceased production of new cameras within the last year, and will only make digital movie cameras from now on.

As the article’s author, Debra Kaufman, poignantly puts it, “Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”

Sad news indeed.