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Old September 23rd, 2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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nanoFlash and Sony NX5 (similar to Z5): Power recommendation?

Hello!

This is my very first post in what appears to be the hub of all nanoFlash discussion on the Net, so hopefully my scenario hasn't been addressed 1,000,000 or so times already (I did poke around first!). Here goes...

I'm very near to ordering a nanoFlash to pair with my Sony HXR-NX5U, and am curious to know what you all would recommend for a power option for the least cumbersome handheld setup. Near as I can tell, no DV-style Sony batteries have sufficient power to run both the camera and nanoFlash (i.e., like what so many EX1/EX3 users are doing with their Swit batteries). Too bad. That leaves me to contend with add-on batteries.

The batteries available for the nanoFlash, being relatively... "naked"... seem to rely a bit on the creativity of the buyer. My current thought is to purchase one of the available nanoFlash "kits" and use the hotshoe mount to place the nanoFlash on the front hotshoe of the NX5, then simply velcro the small two-cell nanoFlash battery pack to the bottom of the nanoFlash itself using adhesive velcro strips. Has anybody done something similar and found it to be good/bad? Any better ideas? I like the looks of the brackets people have made, but the fact that they would need to be removed in order to fit in any of my camera bags, reattached before shooting, etc., is a problem for me. I'm very attracted to the easy-on/off factor that the hotshoe mount promises.

Very best,
Aaron, Consummate Video Hobbyist
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Dear Aaron,

Welcome Aboard!

Yes, our batteries are "naked" at this time.

Many use velcro.

The hotshoe ball mount works great with the nanoFlash.

I will send you an email with my phone numbers so I can answer all of your questions interactively.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 04:41 PM   #3
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Aaron,
I sometimes mount my Nano using the hotshoe on my EX1, but I also bought tne VF Gadgets HDV Handle Bracket (I got mine from Abel Cine, but they are probably available plenty of places) to put several thread mounts on my handle. You may find that with the NX5 using the hotshoe with something larger than a sungun will get in the way of opening and closing the flip out screen.
I've also found that mounting on the handle gives me a better balance (less front-heavy) and leaves the option open for using the hot shoe for an on-camera light.
If you do decide to use the hot shoe, you might want to safety the mount. (If you are doing a lot of moving around things attached to the hotshoe have a tendency to get a bit loose over time.)
Once you know how you're mounting the Nano (and see where you have space) you'll be in a better position to figure out your powering options. Nice thing about the Nano is its range of operating voltages, so you have several options.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 05:44 PM   #4
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Dear Dave,

I agree with your advice.

On some cameras, a hot or cold shoe is available in the front.

On others they may have two, or a 1/4" x 20 threaded hole in the back. This works with the hotshoe also.

What is nice about the Hotshoe Ball Mount is that you can pivot the nanoFlash to suit your needs, and it is a low cost mount.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 05:46 PM   #5
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Dan and Dave, thanks very much for your replies!

For the battery, I think I'll proceed with ordering the two-cell pack and try the velcro approach. I also like the idea of having the battery somewhat fixed to the nano for ease of using as a playback device, so this doesn't seem like such an awkward solution.

For the mount, Dave, the HDV Handle Bracket looks awesome! I'd been worrying about the flip-out screen problem, too. Do you have a suggestion for a mount to go with the bracket? Also: The NX5 and Z5 have an accessory shoe mount near the back of the handle which has a 1/4" threaded hole in the middle (if you don't attach the shoe, which I haven't). I'm guessing that a mount that works with this Handle Bracket might also screw right into the handle of the NX5 as-is.

Again, thank you both!
Best,
Aaron
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 06:02 PM   #6
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Several companies make ball (and similar) mounts that will screw into a 1/4" - 20 thread on both ends. It's really nice to have a ball mount, as Dan said, since you may want to configure the Nano's position for ease of use depending on camera angle/ position.
There are a lot of mounting options available for browsing at the Nebtek website.
I also carry a Manfrotto Nano-clamp most of the time if I want to mount something to the tripod. (It's a little like having a mini-mafer clamp, and it has both 1/4" and 3/8" screw threads.)

Last edited by Dave Sperling; September 23rd, 2010 at 06:03 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 24th, 2010, 02:59 AM   #7
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Why bother with nanoFlash on an NX5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Holmes View Post
Hello!
I'm very near to ordering a nanoFlash to pair with my Sony HXR-NX5U, a
Very best,
Aaron, Consummate Video Hobbyist
Honestly, I wouldn't recommend adding a NanoFlash to this camera.
It's already file-based, it's not full res sensor, and to be really frank the 24Mbit AVCHD recording isn't really the weakest link here.

AVCHD at 24Mbit is arguably equivalent to MPEG2 at 50Mbit, so there's no gain there, and unless you're starting with a full-res sensor like the EX1 etc, then you aren't going to see a big difference.

I don't mean to be rude, but you would be much better spending the $2000 on something else to help your videography - Like a Canon Ti220 DSLR with video shooting and a nice lens? Or some lights? or a better radio mic etc. etc.

Just being honest.

Dave
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Old September 24th, 2010, 07:18 AM   #8
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Dave,
I wouldn't sell the NX5 so short. Starting back with the V1 camera, Sony has been installing their 'lower res' sensors at a 45 degree angle to allow for creation of 'virtual pixels' - and processing everything internally at 1920x1080. I've found the resulting image to be better than expected.
Adding a Nano to the system gives more options - particularly for blue or green screen shooting - plus the fact that most editing systems handle the files from the Nano more easily than the AVC compressed files, which often need to be transcoded to edit with multiple layers.
My personal experience with the DSLR's - beautiful images, but an absolute pain to work with from a cameraman's perspective if you're in a standard client situation. Just shot 3 videos (multi-day shoot) with 2 DSLR's and had major overheating problems (essentially I would just go back and forth between the two bodies as I got the overheat warnings) and I hated not having a full res image for the viewing monitors. Admittedly I was in a client situation where we needed to feed multiple monitors (plugging into the HDMI out on the DSLR turns off the viewfinder on the camera) and the art department needed the camera on almost constantly to be able to dress the setups - hence the overheating. Seriously, working with an EX, being able to judge focus accuracy during takes on a large monitor, and using a Nano for client playback (instead of tying up the production camera or trying to shuffle cards) probably would have saved us at least an hour or two of overtime a day. (Multiply that by a crew of 12+).
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Old September 24th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Chalmers View Post
AVCHD at 24Mbit is arguably equivalent to MPEG2 at 50Mbit, so there's no gain there, and unless you're starting with a full-res sensor like the EX1 etc, then you aren't going to see a big difference.
.
Dave
The more compressed the in-camera format, the more reasons are to use the NANO.

Aside of that you can not compare the AVCHD you talk about (YUV 420) with the YUV 422 of the NANO, even at 50 Mbps. And if is not enough you can go to the 280 Mbps.
About the need of an EX, I have an EX and an small EVERIO (AVCHD/24Mbps) and I use the NANO with both and you may see more difference in the EVERIO.
Had you ever tried a NANO?
About DSRLs, that is to make stills.
Rafael
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Old September 24th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #10
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RE: nanoFlash with NX5: Why bother?

Hi Dave and Dave:

Thanks for your replies. This is drifting a tad off topic, but is probably a worthwhile discussion as I do very much value the opinions of the pros here. To help put things in perspective: I do mostly very casual shooting. I don't get paid for what I do with my camera; I'm a software engineer by day (weekday, anyway). My mission is to shoot a lot of video of the things I enjoy doing, family, etc., and get it onto Blu-ray, YouTube, etc., without a lot of hassle. Earlier this year I moved from a Z5 to an NX5. There were two main reasons for this: Having less and less spare time in recent years, the added time required to deal with tape has steadily become a major barrier to extracting value from my camera. Or perhaps: I'm getting lazy! Secondly, I really wanted 720p60 (the reason I went for the NX5 and not the AX2000), and this is the only mode I shoot in with the NX5.

Unfortunately, shooting in AVCHD has led to the remarkable revalation that, even after being in the market for years, AVCHD has little meaningful support in most serious NLEs. Not even the latest installment of Premiere Pro deals with it smartly, and whereas Premiere was my best friend back in my SD days, I've actually begun working on my own software tools for cutting/merging AVCHD clips seamlessly! I'd rather just be shooting in a well-supported format. After seeing two major installments of Adobe Premiere and MainConcept MPEG Pro HD go by without first-class support for AVCHD, I'm beginning to believe that having faith in my fellow software developers to bring about proper support of AVCHD as a source format was a bad idea. :-)

So my plan is the use the nano for 720p60, probably 50Mbit/s. 100Mbit/s if I can see the difference. I may use the nano for other recording tasks as well, as I have other more consumery cameras that would at least benefit from the enhanced editability of the result, if not improved picture quality. And then, of course, there's the possibility that I might swap out the NX5 for something even more serious in the future. If I can put the source format problem behind me, I'll be able to focus on other much more interesting problems, I think.

That's the hope! Advice welcome, though.

Best,
Aaron
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