The latest free firmware release for the Sound Devices Pix240, called “Aurora” adds the ability to record 10 bit or even 12 bit ProRes444 RGB or YCbCr. Using the Pix240’s 3G HDSDI input this means that you can record the full 10 bit S-log RGB output of the Sony PMW-F3 (or the F5 if you want ProRes or DNxHD). This makes the PIX240 the cheapest portable recorder that can record the RGB output, previously the cheapest option was the Convergent design Gemini. Of course you must have the RGB option on your F3 for this to work, but with the prices of used F3’s at rock bottom (I’m looking for £5.5k for mine) a used F3 plus a PIX240 works out at about £8k ($13K) which really is a bargain for this quality of image. Full details on the firmware update are on the Sound Devices website. The Pix240 is a good, solid and robust external recorder with a high quality monitor, XLR audio inputs and the ability to record to compact flash cards or SSD’s making it very versatile. It really is quite incredible how little you need to pay these days for top end image quality, more than good enough even for cinema release. I’ve shot several cinema commercials with my F3’s and they have always looked excellent when projected on a big screen.
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