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Old March 28th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #1
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Store comparison SR11, XR500 and CX100

I thought I would do a simple test of the XR500 and CX100 to see how different they were to my SR11. Went to the Sony store with my SR11 running off a Memory Stick and shot the same scenes with the SR11, XR500 and the CX100 on the same Memory Stick. Not very scientific but I wanted to see how they would look on my plasma. All shots on full auto. Data code showed the SR11 and XR500 to be identical for all the shots. Visually most also looked identical. Closer examination revealed a little more detail in the dark areas and light areas with the XR500. I am sure my wife would not notice even if it was pointed out to her!!! I shot a very dark area to make the shots go to the limit. SR11 as usually was brighter than reality, XR500 had a similar tendency so this has not been addressed but the noise was much less . CX100 was at least 3db slower than the other two cameras as expected but a very usable picture and so small. Will definitely look into this cam for my skiing trips.
All these shots were in a dark Sony store in a mall so the exposure never got better than F1.8 at 6db on any of the cameras. Considering this fact the pictures were very impressive considering the price of these cameras.
To me the XR500 is a marginal improvement over the SR11. Steady shot is better and noise better too. The increase in detail is important to me so I may get one but will miss the zebras. I really wish Sony would make an AVCHD version of the FX1000 to compete with the Panasonic HMC150. For the price I was impressed with the CX100. Staying with Sony is important for me because of Lanc control as well as a lot of accessories that I have like batteries and chargers etc.

Ron Evans
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Old March 28th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #2
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Hi Ron -
Just curious, did you find the XR to be a bit smaller/lighter than the SR - it looks to be a fair amount narrower and a bit shorter - I'm still expecting it to be bigger than the CX7-12 series, but almost looks like it's enough smaller to make it an improvement. I'm sort of hoping that the XR might be enough smaller that if they don't bring out a CX12 replacement with the "R" sensor, the XR will be adequately small. I really like the CX12 for casual use and "stealth cam".

I'm sort of in the same boat - lots of Sony accessories, so lean that way... I like the looks so far of the lowered "creepy crawly" noise that tends to show up in low light in the SR's - it's not bad, but the XR's look quite a lot better in samples I've seen. Found some side by side UToob video shot by someone in Japan (they get all the cool toys first!), and the differences were pretty clear.

I too would love to see Sony do something to compete with the HMC150, but would like to see them keep it smaller (ala TRV900/HC1). Give it real manual controls on all the basic functions, use these new "R" sensors, I think it'd be a winner. The limited manual control to please the "easy" market is really a marketing blunder IMO - there are too many of us out here who would like to be able to tweak settings, yet still like the small form factor.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Dave, the XR felt much the same as the SR11. It may be just a little narrower maybe 5mm. From a distance in the store they look the same. The CX is very small in comparison much smaller than the CX12.
The LCD on the XR500 looked sharper than the SR11 though it may well be that my LCD needs cleaning!!! One interesting fact is that the white balance at SP is warmer than at the HQ position. This was true of both the XR and the CX. At first they were at the standard speed and I redid them at the highest data rate which is what I normally shoot at. The noise level difference is very noticeable but only above 9db. At 6db there is very little difference in the picture. The XR deals with the shadows and highlights better but as I said most people would not notice this in a dark room but outside in sunlight this may be more noticeable.
For the money I was impressed with the CX100. It was a little slower to focus than the SR11 or XR500 and fast pans caused a little pixelation problem compared to the SR11 and XR500 until motion stopped. Considering that it was always at least 3db more in gain for all the shots ( so at 12 to 18db for the CX100) it was very acceptable for something one can put in a large shirt pocket.
IT will be interesting to see what comes in the prosumer level. The HMC150 is not too far off the price of the FX1000 with more capability. I too wish Sony would come out with something like a HMC150. With their introduction of the latest HDV models I am not sure they will want to introduce something that would potentially be better at a lower cost!!! Maybe Canon and Panasonic may force them into competing with an AVCHD model!!


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Old March 29th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Ron -
I know smaller is better, at least when it comes to actually having a camera in reach when something worth shooting happens! I've found the SR11 is just a "smidge" big, and the CX12 has been great as the "pocket" cam. I'm guessing the CX100 has similar optics to the CX12? And I think they had a CX200 as well, with a few more features.

I'll probably upgrade my SR's to the XR's, but I'm seriously looking at the HF-S100 vs. the CX12.

I'm confused by Sony's "strategy" - I understand the "webbie", and the low end offerings (HD for the masses), but once they are hitting the $1K + MSRP, I really think they should be putting a few bells and whistles to appeal to the "pro" crowd who knows that shutter gain and f-stop mean something other than "something on the windows", a detergent and... um never mind...

Sony needs to get with the program on the midrange... an AVCHD FX7 in a slightly smaller lighter package would be a hit if they'd bother to put one together and make it available... I'd buy one!
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #5
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Ron, I've seen a real CX100 and the size is tempting. I want to have one for casual candid shooting. As you mentioned, the low light capability seemed adequate and the slower AF as compared to the XR520 also seemed OK. One thing I'm concerned about but you didn't mention, though, is whether the electronic stabilization is good enough. I don't expect it to be as good as the OIS system on the XR520 and other higher-end cameras but I'd like your opinion if it's effective enough for casual use.

I own a Sony HC1 and I have to say it's probably the weakest feature that this great camera has.

Thanks for your hand-on reviews for us new video gear geeks!

Wacharapong
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Old March 29th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #6
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For simple hand held shooting OIS is great but there are lots of posts from skydivers and offroad sports enthusiast where OIS is a handicap because of large movements etc and the preference is for EIS. It isn't as good as the XR500 but then what is at the moment. I would think the bigger problem is holding it steady as it is very small and light so one would need to use a wide angle or brace if one is really zooming in close. It was comparable to the others with my hand held shots in the store though which were mainly wide angle.

Ron Evans
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