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Old December 27th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #106
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I'd have the cam on tripod or a shoulder mount or some other system if I were using the LANC anyway... it's just one heckuva odd placement choice!
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Old December 27th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #107
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Here's another - my favorite because the glider wiggles his wings up and down for in-flight adjustment. Not sure if this will come across OK with the cropping but hopefully so.

YouTube - Sugar glider jumping (eight repeats) Sony CX500V slow motion
And here's the last in the series - 14 fresh jumps from this morning.

YouTube - Sugar glider Spartacus jumps and jumps and jumps in slow motion
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Old December 27th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #108
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After a little more time with the CX, I've got some more observations...

OIS - this definitely has an upgraded OIS from the XR500, I tried "wiggling" the cameras, up and down, side to side, and also around the lens axis (typical of the sort of handheld bouncing you'll get)... up and down and side to side, the two were fairly similar, not enough difference to my eye to quibble over, BUT when wiggling the camera slightly around the lens axis, the CX was distinctly & effectively adjusting for the motion! The XR500 OIS was already quite impressive, the CX is astounding - you wouldn't want to video an earthquake with it, you probably wouldn't even see anything going on...

Low light - Doing a bit of testing in a fairly dark room with little ambient light and dark walls... worst case scenario, I can't see much with my bare eyes, although it's not entirely dark and I can make out objects. They definitely "hopped up" the gain on this pup... maybe good, maybe not so much. On full auto, low lux, it produced a quite bright image, significantly brighter than what I could "see". At these highest gain settings, there's a LOT of noise, reminiscent of the old "blue snowstorm" of the HC1 in low light. Not exactly my idea of "good", BUT perhaps if light is so low as to be impossible to get footage any other way, it could come in handy. I tried using -4 on the AE shift, and it still was a bit noisier and "brighter" than it really needed to be... using exposure and going 3 "steps" was better, and most of the noise was gone or not objectionable (and very close to the XR picture). Perhaps a combination of the two adjustments would be best in "live" conditions.



Looks to me like Sony is still in a learning curve with these new "R" sensors, now with 4 cameras with them (and a couple with the "old" CMOS tech), there's quite a range of results... the XR500V seems to yield the most balanced results, very low noise signature, and not overly bright image. The CX500X "pushes" the image a bit much IMO, but if you want a bright, punchy (color wise) image, it's got that, even more than the XR, which now appears just a tad "flat" color wise.

In comparing to three Sony still cameras (that also can shoot either 720 or 1080 video), both the XR and CX make a better go of it in low light. The HX1 (non-R CMOS) couldn't see much of anything - just a few indicator/display lights, the rest was pretty much black mush. Same for the TX1 (R CMOS), wich was hobbled by it's small lens and size (although it takes some decent video considering, now if I can just get Vegas to properly recognize the mp4 files...). WX1 (R CMOS)was slightly better (I'm guessing it's got about 2-3 stops on the TX from a larger lens, even though I think they use the same sensor), I've found the WX tends to "overexpose" in general use, similar to what the CX seems to be doing, so there's a common thread there.

I think it's safe to say the "R" CMOS represents an overall improvement in performance, but there's a range of implementation that comes as a bit of a surprise - and sometimes with noise that isn't a welcome addition.
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Old December 27th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #109
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After a little more time with the CX, I've got some more observations...
...
Low light - Doing a bit of testing in a fairly dark room with little ambient light and dark walls... worst case scenario, I can't see much with my bare eyes, although it's not entirely dark and I can make out objects. They definitely "hopped up" the gain on this pup... maybe good, maybe not so much. On full auto, low lux, it produced a quite bright image, significantly brighter than what I could "see". At these highest gain settings, there's a LOT of noise, reminiscent of the old "blue snowstorm" of the HC1 in low light. Not exactly my idea of "good", BUT perhaps if light is so low as to be impossible to get footage any other way, it could come in handy.
..........
This touches on something I was suggesting before - that the Low Lux mode is definitely noisier than having it turned off in low light, enough so that I prefer the regular auto exposure indoors and at night instead of turning Low Lux on. My YouTube videos of snow at night and the gliders indoors show the difference clearly.

I'm not sure Low Lux mode is much different from what the CX12 produced in low light regularly - I never used the 12 much indoors because of the noise. But the CX500V on full auto without Low Lux mode on seems far superior to the CX12. Did you try variants of filming in low light (but not "almost missing" light) without invoking Low Lux mode? If you do, does that seem noisier and brighter than the XR as well?
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Old December 28th, 2009, 01:14 AM   #110
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What it looks like to me is that Sony added about three to four steps of gain (with the added noise!) over the XR.

So it's sort of a tradeoff - with the low lux mode on, you have to pull back about 3 steps on the exposure manually (or use AE shift + exposure), unless you're willing to put up with the noise. Subjectively the XR "looks" cleaner in it's low lux mode, but it's also not as bright. FWIW, the noise seems worst against dark backgrounds... not as visible with a light background for some reason.

Not sure which is "better" - instinct says it's handy to have the extra plunge into the depths of darkness when wanted, yet I'd rather have a clean but still usable image - that's what the XR manages, even in low lux mode...

When I had a CX12 and SR11 vs. the XR500V, there was no contest, the XR was significantly cleaner and sharper in low light, period - that's why I upgraded rather quickly.

The CX500 is a bit of a throw, simply because the "auto" choices seem to add a lot of noisy gain, yet if you back that off, you get a pretty nice (and bright, colorful) image... going to have to do some general shooting with it to see what the final verdict is... I like the size and OIS, and if I can tame the low light (and there isn't a general overexposure bias I can't adjust around), I can see using the CX500 for some things. Otherwise, I may just go back to the XR's. I'm a little concerned by the color differences, but those can be tweaked in post fairly easily, and aren't much different from the CX12/SR11, which exhibited the same minor differences.

Unless you really need (or want) the small size or flash memory/no HDD, the XR500V is still probably the better all around camera. The CX500 has it's nifty features though too...
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Old December 28th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #111
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What it looks like to me is that Sony added about three to four steps of gain (with the added noise!) over the XR.
I want to totally ignore the Low Lux mode for a second because I prefer not to use it unless there's no other choice. Given that we're ignoring it, how does the full auto low light performance of the CX500 compare to the XR500? We're in an indoors room with regular lighting, say. Is the CX500 still set brighter than the XR500? Do you still perceive noticeable noise in the CX500 video in absolute terms? Or relative to the XR? I think it's very clean compared to all prior cams I've owned but I don't have an XR to use for comparison.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #112
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Hi Tom -

I'd have to sit down and turn off the low lux modes on both side by side - don't have both handy right at the moment, but the best way to describe is is there's a slight overlap, with the CX having 2-4 "steps" more brightness. When the XR is on max luw lux it's about the same as the CX backed off 3 clicks on the exposure - those last steps look like "pure gain", with attendant noise to me, where the XR remains clean. I suspect the CX might be a hair brighter with low lux off, and should produce a very clean image.

I prefer to leave the low lus set to on, and back it off manually...
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Old December 29th, 2009, 07:19 AM   #113
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Low lux still - don't get Quote as a choice argh

Dave, doesn't using the slower "shutter speed" to get Low Lux mode affect the effective frame rate negatively in some way? I know the actual output frame rate is fixed, but doesn't low lux essentially take fewer measurements per second than regular filming? Most of my indoor filming is of the sugar gliders who are moving very fast a lot of the time. Do you get more motion blur in Low Lux mode for fast-moving subjects?

By the way, I've given your recent comparisons a plug over on the AVS Forum as they address some of the questions bouncing around there from people looking at these Sony cams.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 02:58 PM   #114
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I have to speculate a little bit on how low lux currently operates...

In the HC7/9 they had a mode that automatically went from 1/60 to 1/30 shutter when needed to get that extra low light performance. Given the noise, I have to wonder if (at least with the CX500) they went a different direction, i.e. electronic gain instead of shutter adjustments.

I know you were using the high speed mode for the sugar gliders - I presume the Low Lux is disabled in that mode?

I'm still just starting with the CX500, so have to do more shooting with it - got some footage I want to check out, but it looked good on the LCD...
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Old December 30th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #115
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I have to speculate a little bit on how low lux currently operates...

In the HC7/9 they had a mode that automatically went from 1/60 to 1/30 shutter when needed to get that extra low light performance. Given the noise, I have to wonder if (at least with the CX500) they went a different direction, i.e. electronic gain instead of shutter adjustments.

I know you were using the high speed mode for the sugar gliders - I presume the Low Lux is disabled in that mode?

I'm still just starting with the CX500, so have to do more shooting with it - got some footage I want to check out, but it looked good on the LCD...
Per Steve Mullen, "Shutter speed" is a euphemism for "cmos integration period" in these chips. There is a physical iris but no shutter - it's a question of what portions of the chip accept light inputs and how long they do that before they shut down the inputs. So we're talking electronics either way, whether it be boosting gain or adjusting the apparent shutter speed. Don't know if that helps with your wondering... <g>

Don't know about the slow motion / Low Lux assumption. I'll have to check that out. I don't like Low Lux mode much if there's halfway decent light, so I never thought to try to combining it with the slow motion mode.

Low Lux mode is documented in the manuals as being what you describe for the HCs, I think - leaving the "shutter" open twice as long as usual. Though from everything Steve documented, I really have to think the "shutter speed" is never fixed that completely as you manipulate exposure. That is, I think it's convenient for them to say it that way but I suspect the reality of the CMOS integration period is more subtle.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #116
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i`v got 500v and i find on first sighting it is mediocre camera in many respect.

- auto focus is awful,
it is irritating, i put my hand over 95% of the screen and he focus on 5%, how did she figure that out i don`t know. i have played with all AF options. it is just one example. it is incomparable with canon AF

- the color rendering was calibrated by some color blind folks in sony, the camera has no color at all. all is washed away like t shirt after a 20 years. the `axrvtrtmrt` color space is just for the camera user guide - to say it exists, the use of it i did not find.

- contrast is non existing, the worst picture i have ever seen. i don`t see any white in the picture, just whitish gray to cal it...

- the menus is more capable on my nokia camera in the telephone

- wb has out door and indoor, how conviniant - and custom WB. oh thank you sony, how noble of you.

- the OIS seems the only good thing on this camera.

canon hv30 wins this camera in all respect out of OIS. and to say my canon sx200is video is straight out of hollywod for this 1000$ sony cam.

i hope i am just disappointed since it is a new camera, and i have not get to know her, but i don`t see anything in menus of the camera to play with, and get other thoughts.

here is a screen capture of sony and my sx200is video. the color on the 200is is miles away from sony. left is sony...

i see the sony is not on 100%, so i put another grab. but still no difference
Attached Thumbnails
Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-color.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-100percent.jpg  

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Old January 15th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #117
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Milutin -

You can't expect the AF to match the IAF active system Canon uses - it can't and won't, as the principles are different. OTOH spot focus is fairly effective, something Canon doesn't have.

After playing with the CX500V, I'd have to agree the XR looks a bit flat for some reason, by comparison... although I've found you can punch it up in post if need be. Frankly, looking at your color samples I see the overly "hot" Canon reds, which I personally dislike immensely, as they will tend to bleed - sure it looks vibrant, but I'd rather not have color bleed. X.V.Color, to which I presume you referred, is subtle at best, and if I understand the function correctly may not even show up under a lot of conditions - I just turn it on and leave it on, no harm from it so far.

You didn't get into low light, but in tough lighting, I'd take the XR anytime... it will be cleaner, have better color and give a more usable image hands down...

Contrast is again another area which bugs me when I look at Canon footage - it looks more contrasty because the blacks are crushed, but you'll have lots less detail in shadowy areas to work with in post - yes blacks may "look" blacker in the Canon under some conditions (except at night or in low light where the noise will make the Canon footage much less acceptable while the XR500 will outperform), but after adjusting the XR500, you can get a good picture - try using AE shift set -2 to -4, and tweaking exposure after that if/as needed - Sony tends to lean towards overexposure, and it's always been something you should be prepared to compensate for - the CX500 is even more agressive, IMO, but looks more punchy than the XR500 when dialed back appropriately.

Menus take a bit to learn, along with how the camera functions... I can't say I'm a huge fan of the Sony menus, but learn the interface and you'll find it capable of more than you expect.

Who needs more than 3 WB settings (and of course "auto")?? I know Canon likes to give you a pile of options, but again, you don't NEED them if you are tweaking in post. I prefer simple over "let's throw lots of options at them"... For that matter, there is "WB shift", which will give you virtually infinite WB control!

If you learn the menus, they are effective and offer surprisingly adquate control. When I tested the HV20, I saw LOTS of options/settings, making it appear like you had control, yet VERY limited control was ACTUALLY available IMO when you wanted to tweak their presets - it felt very constricting to me, but perhaps with more time... I couldn't get over the cheap plastic-y construction, so wasn't interested in taking a lot of time to fiddle after that - the audio was so noisy as to be unusable with all the chassis noise, something I've NEVER had with a Sony...

Yes, the OIS is superior on the XR500, and has been further improved on the CX500V. The "image stabilization" on the HV's was horrid, not even in the same league, let alone ballpark.

Having tried the HV20 (basically the same cam as the HV30), it's a toy by comparison, sorry. Noisy, cheap build, lack of low light performance, and to my eye the crushed blacks, and hot colors that may look good at first glance but will bug you once you catch on to them... The XR500 should give you more usable footage to work with in post once you know how to use it.

Sony and Canon have very different approaches to how the image is processed and will appear. Different strokes as the saying goes. I tried the HV20 when it was the "hottest camera ever", and just didn't see it...

In the end, you may well prefer the Canon philosophy, which is of course perfectly fine! The XR500V kept pressure on Canon and the HF-S11 and upcoming HF-S21 have numerous upgrades intended to "keep up with the Sonys". In turn, Canon keeps pressure on Sony to improve, so I LOVE Canon too! I wouldn't mind trying the HF-S21, but I suspect it will have the same things image wise that have always tilted me towards the Sonys, but that's what keeps the gear side of this interesting.

Try spending some time with the XR500 menus - I hated the "new" menus at first, and found the "even newer" redesigned menus in the CX500 frustrating too, but after a little time, you should "get" what they can do. It is a shift, but it's just like driving a different car, you just have to find everything!
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #118
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Dave, thank for your answer and comforting words and advices. i still have not played with sony enough and hope it will surprise me opposite.
the thing that i really like is picture motion browser, really cool think for download and sorting of the files, as preview also, with cool options.

maybe you can share a advice on AF, i have not manage to bridle it. simple panning makes you lose the focus in anything than wide angle. focus is definitely slow, when you move the camera he just loses it and starts to goes from another end to other. canon af is really good.
i have also tried color correction on premiere cs4, and no easy solution i have found to boost the contrast and color correct it...? any post production tip?

i will post my thoughts when i have some more experience with it. on first sighting i was very disappointed with it`s performance.

Oh, and no shoulder strap!? i know sony is thinking that once you have it cam in the hand you don`t want to leave the beauty, but some times i would like my hands free and table is not the option :)
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Old January 19th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #119
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I haven't found the focus to be that big a problem, but if you're used to Canon's active system, I'm sure it would seem slow. If I'm shooting something where I am trying to focus on a certain object, I switch spot focus on - it still may "hunt", but is usually better when it's not trying to figure out what to lock on to.

Focus is always tough, as if there are multiple objects/targets, it may take a while to sort out which to focus on. Canon using an active system is great, as it's at least somewhat likely that the "target" will be the closest object in focal range...

Whereas Sony is using algorithms to analyze the image and decide what the target is - there have been some complaints in Sony's high end cameras deciding a wall behind the subject is the "target"... it happens, thus spot or manual/assisted auto focus is a highly desirable feature for eliminating the misunderstandings between camera and operator!

I've actually been fairly happy with the footage in post, but I definitely see the CX500 having more bold colors... enough to make the XR500 look a tad flat - I'd suggest booting saturation a bit, actually want to take a closer look at that as I'll be trying to match the XR and CX, and I like colors to be a bit more bold. It's not that the XR is "bad", but I suspect it was tuned more towards a flatter look. When I've looked at unprocessed footage from movies, I've always noticed it looks terribly flat if it's from early enough in the process... perhaps that was an influence...

Easy solution for the shoulder strap - these are light enough that a lanyard clipped to the "D" ring in the handstrap is perfect! I made a couple custom ones that I can change the length, but you can find lanyards for keys, etc., and if the length is good for you, you're all set! Get one with a metal clip, I've seen some plastic ones, and wouldn't trust the camera to those.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 08:55 PM   #120
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the thing that is missing is definitely the WB stuff. however canon colors may be, it has at least 8 common presets, that are accurate or less accurate. but sony WB breads all the time, it is vary bad for the consistency. in general under the sun/outdoor it is OK. the only shure thing. the rest is a bit of gamble. so it is a vaste, that it has not a locked set of presets. it would make her a more powerful camera.
the focus is not as good, in many respects. first is a constant lack of avernes and not focusing on the front subject. some times front is 80% of the footage, and he lockes on the rear!? in low light especially. very annoying.

Raynox RAHD5050PRO HD-5050PRO, 37mm, 0.5x, Super Wide Angle Conversion Lens
is a bad peace of glass or plastic for that matter, at least on this sensor under all the aperture settings it is bad so f8 doesn help, the corner vignetting is very `loud`
before i had some no name glass, but less wide - it was marvels.
raynox is destroying the picture in a manner, where it only use is where widdens is needed for the sake of the quality.
but it is very wide. somewhat like 24mm on 35mm lenses (the marvless one was 35mm). that is really great and i am sorry for the less wide angle lens that i will have to carry on this sony camera most of the time

the pavement is nice example of raynox lens. corners are in heavy spherical aberrations - more tele and the things gets worse, even in strong light, makinging sure that Fstop is high.
you can also see how cops are unsharp. etc..

two pictures of the sony original lens, the difference is huge. /flag, shopwindow/ (all the pictures are in the zip, in original size.. they are sorted in the folders))

Download sonyxr500.zip from Sendspace.com - send big files the easy way

the last one is captured photo/video in trolleybus, and you can see how sony xr500 video did not do the mat for the WB, since it is yellowish, but the sony xr500 picture that i took in the same moment is pretty good.
but much sharper one is from the video grab :)

that is the problem with the sony WB lack of options. since it is pretty bad in the artificial lighting
Attached Thumbnails
Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100120093408-2-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100120093408-1-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100121123057-1-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100121123642-1-.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100121171902-2-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-dsc00031.jpg  

Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100121123726-1-.jpg   Canon HF-S10 vs Sony XR500-20100121123211-1-.jpg  

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