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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #1
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Sony AVCHD cams at CES

The new Sony's look really nice. 1920x1080 @16mbps AVCHD, Exmor technology, 3.2"LCD, Memory Stick ProDuo as well as HDD, face detection, 10 Megapixel stills.
http://news.sel.sony.com/assets/CES_2008/index.htm

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Old January 6th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #2
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If that's a manual focus dial- nice touch!
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Old January 7th, 2008, 04:43 AM   #3
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16mbps is a bit disappointing I'm surprised they're still not taking advantage of the full 24mbps
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Old January 7th, 2008, 05:06 AM   #4
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But I do like the sound of 240 fps

Here's the txt on the three camcorders:

HDR-SR12 120GB High-Definition Hard Drive Handycam Camcorder

Available in March for about $1,400

New full 1920x1080 AVCHD™ HD video recording for stunning video and detail
Sony face detection technology for video and photos; identifies up to eight faces and corrects focus, exposure, color control, and when photos are taken, flash control
10-megapixel photo capture with 5-megapixel Sony ClearVid™ CMOS sensor technology
Hybrid movie recording on Memory Stick™ media card and built-in 120GB hard disk drive, which can hold up to 15 hours of video (1920 HD mode)
Records in Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound with new built-in zoom microphone for clear recordings of subjects
Simultaneous dual record mode (movie and 7.6-megapixel photos) and slow motion video (240 fps) with audio recording
3.2-inch, wide, touch panel Xtra Fine LCD (921K) screen and wide color viewfinder
Super SteadyShot® optical image stabilization for smooth video and photos

HDR-SR11 60GB High-Definition Hard Drive Handycam Camcorder

Available in March for about $1,200

New full 1920x1080 AVCHD™ HD video recording for stunning video and detail
Sony face detection technology for video and photos; identifies up to eight faces and corrects focus, exposure, color control, and when photos are taken, flash control
10-megapixel photo capture with 5-megapixel Sony ClearVid™ CMOS sensor technology
Hybrid movie recording on Memory Stick™ media card and built-in 60GB hard disk drive, which can hold up to seven hours of video (1920 HD mode)
Records in Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound with new built-in zoom microphone for clear recordings of subjects
Simultaneous dual record mode (movie and 7.6-megapixel photos) and slow motion video (240 fps) with audio
3.2-inch, wide, touch panel Xtra Fine LCD (921K) screen and wide color viewfinder
Super SteadyShot® optical image stabilization for smooth video and photos


HDR-SR10 40GB High-Definition Hard Drive Handycam Camcorder

Available in March for about $1,000

New full 1920x1080 AVCHD™ HD video recording for stunning video and detail
Sony face detection technology for video and photos; identifies up to eight faces and corrects focus, exposure, color control, and when photos are taken, flash control
Hybrid movie recording on Memory Stick™ media card and built-in 40GB hard disk drive, which can hold up to five hours of video (1920 HD mode)
4-megapixel photo captures with 2-megapixel Sony ClearVid™ CMOS sensor technology
Records in Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound with built-in zoom microphone for clear recordings of subjects
Simultaneous dual record mode (movie and 3-megapixel photos) and slow motion video (240 fps) with audio
15x optical Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar® T* zoom lens
Super SteadyShot® optical image stabilization for smooth video and photos
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Old January 7th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #5
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Info is now up on the Sony site
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...1496&langId=-1
Even has iLink too so maybe one could make a HDV tape backup at the same time. We will have to see what the output from the iLink is when more info is available.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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But I do like the sound of 240 fps
My *suspicion* is that the "f" in "fps" actually means "fields" and not "frames" (and yes i have seen the text on sonystyle.com).

Previous Sony cams that had this feature shot at 240fields per second, equating to 120frames per second, so i doubt that they've doubled that (but i could be wrong).

The giveaway for me is the text :
"By increasing the record rate from 60 frames per second (fps) to 240 fps, you can capture 3 seconds of fast motion and play the video back in 12 seconds. "

The cam will be shooting at 30frames -per-sec in "normal" mode, not 60. So i think someone at Sony has goofed on that wording, and its (probably!) still 120frames per sec in SSR mode, and not 240frames per sec.

just my opinion.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #7
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Info is now up on the Sony site
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...1496&langId=-1
Even has iLink too so maybe one could make a HDV tape backup at the same time. We will have to see what the output from the iLink is when more info is available.
Ron Evans
I'm curious about the mechanical shutter they mention. Either that could eliminate the rolling shutter effect or it stays the same. If it makes the rolling shutter effect totally unnoticeable, I'm in.
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I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #8
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My only concern with these cameras is those 5+ megapixel sensors.
As those pixel-sites get teeny-tiny, does that mean video noise goes up and low light sensitivity goes down?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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sensor noise

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Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
My only concern with these cameras is those 5+ megapixel sensors.
As those pixel-sites get teeny-tiny, does that mean video noise goes up and low light sensitivity goes down?
I suspect there will be a slight noise introduced due to the smaller pixels. However, I think Sony is banking on Exmor and other improvements in their sensor to make up for this.

In short, they want to maintain the status quo as far as noise and low light capabilities and not improve on it as to offer a cleaner image by making the sensor bigger. They are playing the I have pixel count game and try to get as much out of the sensor as a marketing tool. A pity because, they could stop at 3mp or 4mp as long as they increase the S/N on video.

But I suspect they don't want to make their consumer cams or to be so good that serious consumers start wondering whether it's worth at all now to get the A1 or their more expensive cameras.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #10
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If that's a manual focus dial- nice touch!
Yeah, the silver knob just below and to the left (operator's perspective) of the lens is the focus knob.

I tried it at CES. It was a bit stiff. It would be fine for setting a fixed focus, but not for tracking a subject. I tried rolling my finger alongside the knob, but I wasn't able to get a smooth and consistent action. Maybe it would loosen up with use. (Just this weekend I filmed a friend at a swim meet with my GS500. It was no problem tracking the swimmer with the focus ring.)

Also, according to the rep, it doesn't support 24p.

24p and a focus ring are two of my requirements, so it's off my shopping list.

(Your requirements may vary. It's still a viable HD cam.)
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Old January 15th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mel Enriquez View Post
I suspect there will be a slight noise introduced due to the smaller pixels. However, I think Sony is banking on Exmor and other improvements in their sensor to make up for this.

In short, they want to maintain the status quo as far as noise and low light capabilities and not improve on it as to offer a cleaner image by making the sensor bigger. They are playing the I have pixel count game and try to get as much out of the sensor as a marketing tool. A pity because, they could stop at 3mp or 4mp as long as they increase the S/N on video.

But I suspect they don't want to make their consumer cams or to be so good that serious consumers start wondering whether it's worth at all now to get the A1 or their more expensive cameras.
So you think it will do as well or better than the HDR-HC9, which has a slightly larger sensor with fewer pixels? And Exmor as well?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #12
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Point of no return

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So you think it will do as well or better than the HDR-HC9, which has a slightly larger sensor with fewer pixels? And Exmor as well?
Likely.

As far as consumers go, when they see they can go tapeless, or even discless, that is already a plus, regardless of how the IQ of the new videos will go. After all, in spite of our protestations, even valid arguments, video with DVD storage did sell. Using SD, MS duo or CF with 2 hours or more in storage certainly more appetizing.

As far as what the offering goes, the fact that Sony and Canon , only put out 1 tape HDV camera, with 2 or more for non tape media (with Panasonic to new a few who did this), shows already the direction the big names want to go. Noise, is the least of their concern as long as it is within acceptable bounds.

It's not any different with DSLRs now. Rumour has it that Pentax and some others are scheduled to release a 14mp dslr on a APS-C sensor. Even with better processors, sensors, there is still no substitute for a larger pixel. But dam the torpedoes! As long as the noise levels are about the same as the previous model, or at least not as horrible, they'll push the megapixel count as a leverage.

Going back to video. Let's not kid ourselves. These new HD cameras are feature laden. Think about the Panasonic GS-400 about 3-4 years ago, and they basically are very close with their offerings. And some of them are in the sub-U$1,000 range. The GS-400 was about U$1,500 in its heydey, if I recall correctly. This lower price is commoditizing these products and they are becoming more affordable.

As far as these company goes, removing that tape assembly does lower the cost, the size, the weight of these cameras, which is why they are priced as they are now. With the US economy adding to the problem, there is also an impetus to come up with lower priced cameras.

What I am saying is that we basically don't have a choice. The battle isn't really about sensor size, AVCHD vs tape, or BD vs HD-DVD or any technical standard. It is just the right time now to switch and most consumers wouldn't know the difference about these things as long as they are moving away from SD or DV as we know it.

From the standpoint of the major players there reall is a need to get into these markets asap because this point in time is where the High Def standard gains momentum. This is the time the break from the past reaches a point of no return. No company can afford to be left behind. With the BD vs HD-DVD basically a done deal, and the switch to HD in tv broadcasting in Feb 2009, all variables are really in place.

For those who us who are more discriminating, or who care about such issues as noise, DR, etc. all we can do now, is wait. There is still no substitute to field testing or those sites who do tests no matter how imperfect.

Personally, I am eying the Canon and Sony offerings. I think the Panasonic models, though also feature laden, is overly compromised with 1/5" or 1/6" sensor size.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:05 AM   #13
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My checklist for any of these cams is as follows:

Required:
* Focus ring. If I can't control the focus manually while shooting, forget it.
* 24p. We want a film look, and we shoot for the web. No need for 30p/60i here.
* Zebras or some other way to check the exposure accurately.
* Microphone input. Camera mounted mics are so "America's Funniest Videos." Gotta have a boom/lav/handheld. Camera recorders are "good enough" at this level, and have a much simpler workflow (fewer people, less money, less time) than double ended sound recording.
* Built in mic, when we know we will replace the dialog/sounds anyway.
* Headphone out would be nice too...
* HDMI input. We greenscreen. Having the opportunity to record HDMI to a RAID is REALLY attractive.
* Manual shutter.
* Manual iris.
* Manual video gain.
* Manual white balance and quick presets.
* Manual audio gain.
* Threads for filters and lens attachments.

Subjective:
* 3CCDs vs. CMOS. Whatever it uses, I don't want rolling shutter problems.
* A big enough sensor. Forget depth of field. I just want decent signal to noise. I can always use a 35mm adapter - if the S/N ratio is high enough.
* A decent encoder. With enough cash I can record from HDMI - but only in a fixed location. We're stuck with the encoded video on the road.
* Good optical stabilization.
* Good optical zoom ranges.
* "Low" cost. I don't mean $199. But it should be under $1,500 for sure. Under $1k is better, but not if required features and performance are compromised.
* 1080p is nice, but 720p is good enough. Again, we shoot for the web. As long as we can pull clean keys, we're happy. Whatever has the best S/N at low light.
* Menus that let us quickly access key manual features quickly. I don't expect the usability of a pro cam, but please don't bury the good stuff.
* Inexpensive storage. SD cards are fine for our narrative work. Woo hoo! We don't have to buy boxes of tapes!
* Good optics. I like lots of glass.
* Good, *smooth* signal processing. Don't over process. I'll do that myself in post!
* Good battery life without connecting Hoover Dam to the thing.

Yep. The GS400 was darn good. (We have a GS500.) We need a true HD successor to the handheld throne.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #14
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My checklist for any of these cams is as follows:
Good, succinct checklist. I would add 24-Mbps bandwidth and pulldown flags for 24p if it's inserted in a 60i stream. I'm really at a loss as to why the AVCHD consortium specced 24 Mbps if no one had any intention of implementing it. After all, it's been a while since AVCHD cameras were first introduced. And as for pulldown flags, what's the point of 24p on 60i if you can't easily extract it? How much could including flags add to the cost of a camera?
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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #15
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I'm really at a loss as to why the AVCHD consortium specced 24 Mbps if no one had any intention of implementing it. After all, it's been a while since AVCHD cameras were first introduced.
They hadn't thought through on the fact that 24 Mbps AVCHD would rival 35 - 45 Mbps HDV, possibly? AVCHD is a more efficient codec, and at this point it could rival what an XDCAM-EX can do (35 Mbps MPEG2) for significantly less money.

Looking at the previous posts, I think the focus is on 'what is good enough'. 15 - 17 Mbps AVCHD should be approximately equal to 25 Mbps HDV. And by staying with the lower bitrate, they get to advertise a longer maximum quality record time. What buried Beta during the old VHS/Betamax wars.

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And as for pulldown flags, what's the point of 24p on 60i if you can't easily extract it? How much could including flags add to the cost of a camera?
As to the cost of adding flags, it is...zero, zip, zilch, nada. Just which way do you set some bits in a digital bitstream. And someone, somewhere, for some reason, decided they couldn't be bothered.

As for me personally, I brought up the issue of noise because of the review of the HC7 elsewhere,
they slam the camera for its poor low light performance. So I am very interested in finding out if they improved this issue.
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