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Old May 22nd, 2010, 04:13 PM   #46
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I have a bad feeling I already know the answer but...

The CX550 isn't compatible with NP-FH batteries, is it?
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 06:42 PM   #47
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Physically incompatible, but I may grind a bit of plastic off an FH just to see what happens <wink>.

Tried it with the FP-FH transition, and it wouldn't work, but the tab are awfully close this time around... mighty tempting!!! I think I've got some knockoff FH50's sitting around here...

On the plus side, even the "tiny" FV50 they include with the CX550 seems to be good for around 110 minutes, the FV70 for around double that. And I noticed that the time indication was almost instantaneous, where you used to have to wait a while for the camera to figure out how long you would have. They definitely improved the "info" speed, quite noticeable. The FV packs also work in the older cams fine.

As I typed this, an uncontrollable urge came over me and I just couldn't help myself...

Sony will hate me, BUT... I modded the tabs on the aforementioned knockoff Chinese FH50 - and popped it into the CX550V....

.....


....



...


..


.

IT WORKS!!!!!!!

No nasty message, no shutoff, came right on, registered the time remaining, stayed on, did a test clip and played back...

Now to go hack a genuine FH series BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 06:57 PM   #48
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Just hacked a FH70 (needed a dremel, the genuine Sony plastic is TOUGH compared to the knockoff, X-Acto knife wasn't "cutting it", maybe with a fresh blade!)...

And it appears to work just fine! Apparently there isn't a firmware lockout like there was when they replaced the FP with the FH series...

Time to go get out the pile of batteries and "upgrade"!!!


Just thought I should add:

Don't try this at home, kids, I'm a trained perfesshunal <wink>... seriously, I'm surprised this worked, and wonder if it will work on other models that require the FV battery, but I'm happy since the FV batteries are expensive (new toys always are!), and not as available as the FH's, which I've already got laying about for the earlier XR and CX cameras! Guess this time it really WAS worth a shot, thanks for reminding me to play mad scientist!

Last edited by Dave Blackhurst; May 22nd, 2010 at 07:19 PM. Reason: disclaimer!
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 03:54 AM   #49
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Any chance of posting a few demo clips Dave or is it against forum rules here? I too have a number of expensive genuine FH batteries lying around. Will be more than willing to take the risk to "upgrade".

Cheers
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 04:17 AM   #50
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I can probably put together some demo clips - any particular subject or condition? I'm thinking of various stuff I might shoot, based on something Chris mentioned in reference to another thread. One of the regulars has posted some nice footage of Hawaii in the AVCHD forum.

Turns out the firmware takes a while, but eventually refuses the hacked battery... PHOOEY!@#$)%(*&@!

Still like the camera though! Hoping to be able to go find something interesting to shoot...

Last edited by Dave Blackhurst; May 24th, 2010 at 03:38 AM. Reason: New data...
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 11:08 AM   #51
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Thanks Dave, I really appreciate the info. I have an NP-FH50, NP-FH70, and NP-FH100 battery in my kit.

As for Sony hating you(us), they'll get over it in equal measure to you(us) getting over possibly having to buy new batteries because...Sony felt like it. Sony is real proud in there advertising of 15% MORE for the new FV batteries. If I've invested in an NP-FH100, I really don't care, Sony...I'd still like to use the old battery that lasts for hours either way.

In this case I would be sure the modification works because Sony chose to maintain backward compatibility, ie my understanding is NP-FV batteries will work without modification in a NP-FH slot.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 01:59 PM   #52
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Hi Bill -

SEE MY UPDATED POST below - Sony did it again...

It's certainly frustrating to have to "upgrade" perfectly good batteries, even if they do have higher capacity or better features.

I've no doubt that the Chinese are already modifying their molds and graphics so knockoff "sony" FV batteries will be flooding eBay any day now... lots of stuff like batteries and memory sticks with "sony" logos that are just knockoffs from China, and no sign they can even slow it down. It did take the Chinese a while to get around the lockout with the FH series - for a while they just added a dongle to the DC in jack to bypass the circuit!


I'm all for "new and improved", otherwise I wouldn't even have picked up a CX550 to evaluate, the 500 series cams are certainly "good 'nuf", no real complaints about them, they have served my purposes well, I'd planned to just keep them unless the 550 is noticeably superior. Part of the equation was cost to upgrade all the batteries, if that's not a factor, the upgrade starts to make more sense (well there's a perfectly happy theory down the drain, see below...), and I do like the the 550 so far.

Lens range is my remaining "question mark"... the wide end of the CX550 makes my WA lenses "negotiable" (unless you want a "super wide"!!), and I won't complaint about not having to mount a WA "most" of the time to get the field of view I really wanted/need. The tele end seems to be workable, but I'm still nervous about losing so much on that end. They altered the "digital zoom" settings to only have one setting, a "120X" (used to have a "24x", which would equate to a 20x digital doubler on the 500/520, and a "150x"). I used to go ahead and set the 24x, since I could see the line on the indicator, and if I really need it, it was there in a pinch - now the indicator line is moved well to the left (with 120x), but if you can live with the pixellization at the long end, it's surprisingly effective - was able to read small text from clear across the room...

I have mounted WA and tele adapters, the WA you get just a tad of vignetting (and you get to see the OIS "work"!) at the widest settings, but it's tolerable. A Sony VCL-HG2037x (High grade lens) was pretty heavy on the vignette (you can see the "insides" if the lens!), but worked, as did a strange old VCL-2037K I have laying about (regular grade lens). One interesting note is that when I switched on the "conversion lens/teleconverter" feature, the camera was able to noticeably alter the OIS to take out the typical small "twitches" that plague the use of the long end of the range.


Part of any camera purchase/upgrade is evaluating the necessary accessories for a full kit. Sony keeping a 37mm thread on the lens helps, got lots of filters and lenses, batteries are a big expense, and IF they were compatible it would help. LANC controller remaining standard helps (A/V interface), as does compatibility with the Sport Packs and any rigs I use (have to modify the sleds/mounts some because of the peculiar tripod hole placement...). The addition of the SDHC slot in the 550s helps a little bit, but I already had quite a few memory sticks (still need to test for speed with the 24 Mbps - should require "fast" memory).

Last edited by Dave Blackhurst; May 24th, 2010 at 03:35 AM. Reason: new data...
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Old May 24th, 2010, 03:27 AM   #53
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Bad news upon further testing...

Finally got a chance to run some other tests on MS Duos, so I was running the camera for longer clips...

There IS a firmware lockout on the FH batteries... unlike earlier cameras that announced it right away, this one kicks in after a couple minutes (that'll teach me not to run longer term tests when I've got a busy weekend!!). So the camera "works" with the FH batteries after the mods, but only for a couple minutes, then even if you're recording or playing back a clip, it says "cannot use this battery in the camcorder", and shuts 'er down.

SO, yep, once again Sony wants us to go buy all new batteries... and the "upgrade" begins to favor keeping the older cameras. GRRR...

My apologies for the premature reports on the hack <sound of head hitting desk>

It's obvious the camera WILL run on the FH batttery just fine (records and plays back short clips), and all they did was disable the functionality.

I did get to test the reported battery life, and the FV70 reported aproximately 230 minutes vs. 195 for the FH70, so you do get more run time for the "upgrade". I'm suspicious of the 100+ minutes the stock FV50 reports though. Will have to test that some more...
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Old May 24th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #54
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My apologies for the premature reports on the hack <sound of head hitting desk>
Don't worry about it. To my way of thinking it's piss poor on Sony's part to give you enough time to get cranked up & doing something and then pull the rug out from under your feet. And it really gives the lie to them not being able to run on the older battery.

I wish they understood that this sort of nonsense is hell on customers brand loyalty. Or maybe they don't care. I'm looking real hard at the Canon HF-S200. I've got a Wishlist of camera+accessories already prepared at B&H just begging to be turned into an order.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #55
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Well, I still like the camera overall, probably will replace my other XR500 when the opportunity arises, but won't be in a hurry to replace the CX500's that seem to be a pretty good match performance wise - they suffice for C/D cameras. Honestly the XR500 does feel a bit "dated" when put alongside the CX550, but it still is a workhorse, nothing to complain about.

The 550s big 3.5" LCD is easy to love, and the camera somehow feels more comfortable to me, but those wouldn't be "gotta upgrade" things for most people - last years cameras deliver the same image quailty for the most part (as they should with the same sensor block and general guts).

There's some tradeoff, as I think I can trim down the WA lens collection... I think that as often as I had to mount a WA on the 500's, I can live with the new lens range for most purposes, though I still wish they had left the 2x digital tele button in there - it's pretty easy to cross the "digital line" and slip off into the noisy range when the 120x is set.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #56
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Dave - i have a WA lens quiestion for you when using it with your new cam.
a what point in the focal-length range does the recorded image vignette? Can you make an estimate please?

I am particularly interested in at what point it vignettes with a 0.7x WA converter. if you can give an estimate or a sense of how far from the max.wideangle end of the optical zoom you are when it STARTS to vignette that would be great.
I guess that, like most SLRs, the observed vignette in the LCD screen (viewfinder on SLR) is not necessairly 100% of the image, so i suppose it's possible that any vignette'ing that appears (when going towards the max. wideangle end) will appear in the recorded image slightly *before* the image seen on the LCD?
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:27 AM   #57
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Stu -
I'll try to pop off some stills and upload them so you can see for yourself - I also want to play with the OIS settings, as I suspect that may reduce the vignette a bit as well. You can definitely see the OIS at work when in "active" mode.

From what I saw in my brief tests, the corners showed just a bit - outside the "safe area" brackets on the LCD if you turn on the gridlines, so not too bad. It was a bit worse with an HG0737C than with the Y version of the same lens, but it looked like the ".7" was lighlty wider with the C... have to revisit, I was just quick swapping glass to see what the general results were. You will of course get some barrelling mounting a WA on top of the already wide stock lens.

My reservations on the new lens range are fading, and you can go some way into the digital zoom before significant image degradation (they claim to have improved it, and looks like they might have). As I've thought about how often I HAD to mount a WA adapter, I'm seeing the value.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Not likely it has 1/2" sensors, should have the same 1/2.88 (IIRC) or roughly 1/3" EXMOR R, same as the XR500, CX500, and the XR & CX550. Not that it's a bad sensor by any stretch - still a significant step up in performance from the SR series, and keeps up pretty well with the 3 chippers with much bigger glass.
According to the Sony Pro Website, which now finally has the camera on their site, the HXR-MC50 has a 1/2.88" Exmor R sensor.

Sony Product Detail Page - HXRMC50U


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Old June 21st, 2010, 12:00 AM   #59
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IOW, it's a CX550V in fancy clothes... I'm not seeing any other firmware "feature adds" from that limited site listing, unless there's more to the story before the official release.

The CX550 is nice, to be sure, but a hood is $10-20, a good mic isn't terribly expensive, and you should have the FH70 battery anyway. IMO, gonna need a more convincing "package" for that extra $500.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 03:49 AM   #60
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And a bit more info from Sony UK:

Sony : HXR-MC50E (HXRMC50E) : Product Overview : United Kingdom
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