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Old September 17th, 2004, 08:29 PM   #1
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Joe Bogacz's comments regarding Sony HDV

Hi folks.

I spoke personally with Joe Bogacz at a VIP event in Toronto as part of the Canadian Launch of the XL2 this past week.

For those of you who do not know, Joe is the Assistant Director, Product Development and Support, Canon USA.

Joe's presentation started off simply with a slide that only read "HDV." Before he even got started on the XL2, he tackled the recent news from Sony of the FX1 and re-capped the price, the basic features, etc.

He then emphasized the XL2 was NOT HDV and wouldn't be for the foreseeable future. He proceeded to explain why...

Joe compared HDV to micromv, trying to remind the savvy crowd of the latter's shortcomings and failure in the market. Of course, HDV ISN'T micromv, so not too many of us were buying it. He discussed the "lens" issue and basically emphasized that because Canon first and foremost was a "lens company" rather than a video company, and because low-cost HDV meant you'd have to slap on a "cheap" lens and stand to gain little profit margin, Canon wasn't too keen right now to jump into the HDV fray. Canon wants to continue making high-end HD lenses and basically would hate for low-cost HDV to be a hit.

Joe re-iterated that Canon's corporate philosophy with regards to DV is "wait-and-see" what sticks in the marketplace and then make the best version of it. He conceded that his current assignment is involved with development of Canon's answer to HDV.

Joe said in a one-on-one with me by the coffee table afterward that while the "consumer" HDR-FX1 wasn't of too much concern to Canon, but there was tremendous curiosity from Canon to see what the "pro" Sony HDV model first shown at IBC would offer - especially optically, ie. the quality of the glass.

Because Joe had argued about the high prohibitive cost of a "good quality" HD lens on an interchangeable XL-style HDV cam, I asked him point-blank if that meant Canon would sooner introduce HDV via the "fixed-lens" route ie. GL3 or whatever. He just smiled knowingly.

The presentation included 9 or so XL2 clips that were used at the launch in NY this summer (the "car commercial", the "wedding" the mock NYPD-style cop show, the "Sex and the City"-like restaurant scene, etc.). It was strange to note that the footage failed to impress and more than half of the VIPs in attendance cut out early once they saw a bit of what the XL2 did/did not offer. There was frustration amongst Canon loyalists as to why Canon didn't introduce an HD XL2 since it had joined the consortium with Sony last September - if Sony could do it by now, why couldn't Canon? There was a reminder that Canon had initially scoffed 24p when Panasonic first made it available and now has made it a selling-point of the XL2 - would Canon be doing the same thing in 2 years with HDV?

If the reception at this presentation is any indication of customer response to the XL2 to come, then maybe the XL2 won't be the sure-bet it looked to be two-weeks ago.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 08:43 PM   #2
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I understand the sentiment regarding lens quality, but my Nikon CoolPix 5700 shoots a 2560x1920 image with its "cheap" fixed lens. While it isn't as good as an expensive Canon or Nikon lens, it sure beats anything you can capture at 720x480 on a DV camera....
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Old September 18th, 2004, 06:30 AM   #3
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I suspect Canon's position is to let others do the early R&D and market testing. When a product starts to develop traction, a market is proven, and an industry standard is clearly established they will jump in.

Sony is a large company with a lot of products on the market, and has its share of market place failures and fizzles as they do the market R&D. They can afford it - covering loses on some products with profits on others. Canon's camcorder section being smaller probably does not have that luxury.

If your client base wants to pay for HDTV today, buy the Sony (or JVC?). If not, wait for additional options, some of which might come from Canon in 2-3 years. The GL2 has been out for about 2 years now, will be due for a upgrade in a year give or take if the past is any indication of the future.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 07:08 AM   #4
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Great Post Don.

Yes I agree with the above.

Canon simply doesn't have the R&D money to compete with Sony and thus take a high risk strategy on HD. Remember, the consumer world doesn't even know about HD let alone have the equipment to benefit from it.
In Europe we are only now seeing the last of the 4:3 TVs being sold as transmissions all change to 16:9 SD.

On one hand this makes Sony's decision to offer a more consumer orientated HD camera first slightly odd. You'd expect them to let us (the more savvy) iron out the bugs / issues in a pro version first and let the HD format gain momentum. However the consumer market is where they need to be to get the quicker return on investment.

As the co-owner of a production company where we produce corporate training content a small HDV camera from sony does interest me as our stuff has to be shot at the highest possible res makinig it easier to downscale to PAL, SECAM, NTSC etc... without much loss, until a time when we just leave it HD native. However we are along way from that and as the saying goes, pioneers have a nasty habit of getting shot in the back.


Best

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Old September 18th, 2004, 08:05 AM   #5
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...."pioneers have a nasty habit of getting shot in the back."

You stole my line man!!

But seriously, the fact is that XL2 is SD and FX1 is HD. No matter what way you slice it...XL2 owners will typically own that camera for a couple years. That stinks in my opinion - standard defintion in 2005, 2006, 2007? Not for me, no way...it's not practical when you can now buy an HD "prosumer" camera for LESS than the XL2 right now! The FX1 is on sale. You can order it online....just wait until they start shipping.

It stinks, but Canon users have been jerked this time. It really stinks bad for them because they are loyal users. They have to be because Canon has made them addicted to "interchangable" lenses. I've got a few friends that are literally saying they "have" to stay with Canon because they invested in lenses for the XL1. So, they are STUCK with SD rez for the next 3 years?!!!

Sony is going to corner the market fast for 2005, and everyone else is going to have to play catchup. JVC's cam, which I own, obviously made an impression on Sony. They probably listened to everyone on these boards here....because everything we asked for is basically on this new FX1....AND MORE! It's got to be a huge blow for XL2 purchasers. It all comes down to 4 letters.....SD and HD. One is low rez, one is high rez. The low rez works in the old school world, the high rez will work in the new one. Both will transfer back and forth, but the fact is that HD can be downconverted to look great....but, SD can't be upconverted to look great. It's a no-brainer for a professional to see it clearly.

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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:18 AM   #6
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Chris,

You sould awfully confident for someone who is purely speculating. The Sony HDV camera selling now is a consumer camera; it just doesn't have the options professionals need. And at this point, no one knows enough about the professional version of that camera, to carry on any sort of conversation not based on speculation and wild guesses. Why don't we just all wait and see. In the meantime, I think you are going a little too far in saying "it's got to be a huge blow for XL2 purchasers." No, I'm sure it's not. Most people in this forum seem to be pretty happy with their purchase. I haven't bought mine yet, as I'm waiting for the body only version, but this news of a Sony HDV cam doesn't change my plans at all. The XL2 puts out a really great picture, with great colors, has 16:9, 24p, and interchangable lenses. The introduction of the pro version of the Sony cam will not be a revolution, just like the Canon XL2 was not the revolution many were expecting it to be. Newly released products don't just suddenly become obsolete and useless; it's what you make of what you have. Just look at how many people are able to still make worthwhile stuff with the Canon XL1. The release of the XL2, just because it's better, didn't suddenly make their work worthless and out-dated. If you think you're being left behind, that Canon has betrayed you, that you won't be able to make good stuff with the XL2 because it's not the newest thing of the marketplace, then you probably shouldn't buy anything at all. Because there will always be something newer, and if you're relying on the technology that much in the first place, then where does your talent come in? Sorry about the length of this, but I just think this whole thing is absurd. Just idle speculation.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:37 AM   #7
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Christopher, I see your point but think you're probably a little over-zealous. However I will say that the FX-1 interests me much more than the XL-2. I'm sure the XL-2 will have its place though and there will be plenty of satisfied owners.

But I'm wondering if Canon will quickly drop the XL-2 price if the FX-1 catches on? That would certainly alienate the early XL-2 adopters....
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Old September 18th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #8
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<< stinks, but Canon users have been jerked this time. It really stinks bad for them because they are loyal users. They have to be because Canon has made them addicted to "interchangable" lenses. I've got a few friends that are literally saying they "have" to stay with Canon because they invested in lenses for the XL1. So, they are STUCK with SD rez for the next 3 years?!!>>

Christopher, the point is that the world is "stuck" with SD. What exactly would you do professionally with an HDV camera right now or next year? Making a living in the feild, or doing good creative and distributing it to the masses at some level is what it's all about. How would you distribute your HDV for people to see. The vast majority of people (vast) only have SD veiwing capabilities.

A high end SD camera like the XL2 only dissapointed people with unrealistic expectations...meaning expectations that don't match up with real world aquisition and delivery systems. An enhanced definition camera like the XL2 IS the future, in so much as it takes the current real world scenario and provides a better creative tool. And remember we're not talking 6 figure or even 5 figure budgets, or feature films etc., when we talk about the $5K XL2, or anything in this range of equipment.

As far as the people who keep complaining about the versatility and strength of an interchaneable lens system...well they grew up on a diffferent planet than any of the people working in the real creative world. There isn't a pro photographer or film maker that doesn't understand the obvious importance of this feature.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Canon simply doesn't have the R&D money to compete with Sony and thus take a high risk strategy on HD.
Canon has been much more profitable of late than Sony. Canon has a huge R&D budget, but they choose to take a conservative approach to their video line. This is unlike many of Canon's other divisions, which are market leaders. Canon is pretty much leading the charge in digital still photography, leaving traditional leaders like Nikon, in their dust.

People with a strong background in imaging don't have unrealistic expectations of Canon or their video offerings. Their expectations are for Canon to be a market leader in this segment, like they are in most other segments they compete in. Canon just chooses to be conservative and let others lead in prosumer video for whatever reason, be it to protect corporate profits or other reasons known only to Canon.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 07:58 PM   #10
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"It was strange to note that the footage failed to impress and more than half of the VIPs in attendance cut out early once they saw a bit of what the XL2 did/did not offer."

Is this footage available online? I'm thinking to use the XL2 for a TV series and would love to see what it actually does.

It failed to impress because it looked like crap or people just got bored easily?


Also "because everything we asked for is basically on this new FX1....AND MORE! It's got to be a huge blow for XL2 purchasers. It all comes down to 4 letters.....SD and HD. "

HOW can we be sure that the FX1 will have widescreen and 24p? It's not confirmed. When is this coming out anyways?
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:12 PM   #11
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We can be sure that the FX1 does have widescreen, but does not have 24P. Sony has announced the camera and detailed its specs. It has native widescreen 16x9-shaped CCD's (the first 1/3" camera to do so) and it has no progressive-scan recording modes.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:42 PM   #12
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Good discussion. I can understand Canon's dilemma when it comes to HD interchangeable lenses. In talks with technicians at Panavision, where the lenses ARE the company, the techs always mention the more stringent standards for Hi Def lenses versus their motion picture lenses. We are talking serious outlays in R&D monies to create these babies, just as Canon and Fujinon must rachet up their broadcast lenses for HD.

It's a little easier to bite the bullet when a company like Sony comes to Carl Zeiss and says, "Build us a single HD lens we can mount on a consumer camera and its professional brother. Oh, and let's have an initial order of one million units, OK?"

Now, if you were Canon, would you want to make the necessary investment to create interchangeable lenses for the limited market of prosumer HD? I personally, don't know the answer to that question, but I think the Canon executive hinted at their conclusion.

Maybe an HD version of the GL2 in the visible future, but I sure wouldn't wait for the XL2 in HD. But it is, just my opinion.

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Old September 18th, 2004, 10:56 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jim Giberti :

As far as the people who keep complaining about the versatility and strength of an interchaneable lens system...well they grew up on a diffferent planet than any of the people working in the real creative world. There isn't a pro photographer or film maker that doesn't understand the obvious importance of this feature. -->>>

i'm a long time xl1 user and i understand what you are saying, but if you told a pro photographer or filmaker that you only had a choice of 4 lenses and only one is wide, with no primes...then i think your better off with a built in system

can you slap on a 20mm or 35 onto the xl1? not without the x factor you can't

or pay 10,000 for a mini, but then again you can get a mini for just about any other 1/3 camera

until canon builds an eos adapter that has no multiplier effect, i will take a sharp built in wide like the dvx
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Old September 19th, 2004, 12:25 AM   #14
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I've noticed this thread go from a debate about HDV and it has slowly become about HD. Is it true that the only difference between HD/HDCAM and HDV id that HDV uses MPEG 2 compression so it can lay to DV tapes? Is this why the colorspace is different HD being 4:4:4:, HDV being 4:2:0?
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Old September 19th, 2004, 08:43 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Boyd Ostroff : I understand the sentiment regarding lens quality, but my Nikon CoolPix 5700 shoots a 2560x1920 image with its "cheap" fixed lens. While it isn't as good as an expensive Canon or Nikon lens, it sure beats anything you can capture at 720x480 on a DV camera.... -->>>

Good point, but I think a video lens needs to be a heck of a lot faster than a still lens to get that 1/48th or 1/60th shutter speed indoors. My $200 zoom lens stops down only to f3.5, but the Canon GL2 lens (a lower end vidoe lens) stops to f1.6. Also needs to zoom to 10-20x, something only very expensive still lenses can do.
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