Sony introduces XDCAM HD422 camcorder PMW-500 at DVinfo.net

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Old September 10th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #1
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Sony introduces XDCAM HD422 camcorder PMW-500

Itīs basically a PDW-700 recording on SxS-cards instead of Professional Discs:
http://www.sony.co.uk/biz/lang/en/gb...technicalspecs
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Old September 10th, 2010, 02:48 AM   #2
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Very interesting - CCDs with Slow and Quick Motion, I think that's a first for them. We now have a camera at last that will do 1080 1-30fps and 720 1-60fps in the same camera.
Same chips as the PDW700 and 800, really good, they do 720 very well.
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Last edited by Steve Phillipps; September 10th, 2010 at 03:24 AM.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:35 AM   #3
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Hmm... when I saw this post I thought "did I go for the PMW350 too soon" but I think not.

350 + Nanoflash offers more options and I'm sure will be cheaper. Although I haven't done a direct side-by-side, I have used the 350 and PDW700 on the same shoots and often intercut them. The 350 always seems less noisy and may also be a little more sensitive. It also draws about half the power of the 500 according to the specs, which is very handy!

CMOS skew has never been an issue on a single shot, so it is only really flashguns that cause issues.

I wonder whether they'll ever release the 50Mbit 422 card for the 350 now?
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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #4
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And the 350 is cheaper and includes a lens which will be an extra £7-15,000 for the 500, and a viewfinder adds another £3,500-6,000.

Interestingly the 500 also includes the infamous Digital Extender which there was a heated debate about on this forum. I still don't see how this can look any good when even according to Sony's own spec "Use of the Digital Extender function reduces image resolution by half". If that's the case then you'll get exactly the same effect by simply cropping post surely? I suppose the only difference would be that the cropping would be being done pre-compression with the Digital Extender.

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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #5
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Price-wise there's just no comparison. There's a tentative list price here of £21,400, then to get it upto PMW350 spec you'll need a £6,200 colour viewfinder and at least £5,000 even for the dodgy KJ20x lens, so even knocking a few thousand off list price to give a street price you're talking about £30,000 or so vs £13,000 for the 350.

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Old September 10th, 2010, 05:38 AM   #6
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Looks like it can take the 350's viewfinder judging by pics on the Sony site!
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Old September 10th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #7
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I thought the body was the same as the 700 not the 350?
Also it doesn't have all the frame rates of the 800 - it doesn't have 1920 x 540 overcrank to 60fps.
Also it's much more than £10k cheaper even with a Nanoflash.
Just my thoughts.

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Old September 10th, 2010, 08:05 AM   #8
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Can you actually buy the 350 viewfinder separately?
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Old September 10th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #9
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The body looks exactly like the 350 and has identical dimensions. The biggest difference is the LCD monitor on the 500. The 700/800 are quite different because of the disc drive but they all share the same chassis which is great for when switching between cameras. The 500 also has the same VF sockets as the 350 which is interesting.

I'm guessing the menus will be more like the PDW cameras than the Ex line. Personally, I find the PDW menus rather fiddly. They seemed to have avoided a more graphical interface, probably because it is considered amateurish. However, I find the graphical interface far more intuitive whilst retaining all required functions.

You are right about the 1920x540 but in practical use isn't that basically like using the 720 frame rates? I'll add an edit.

It'll probably be about £10K difference (for a 350L with non kit lens) if Sony offers the 350 viewfinder at low cost. We'll have to wait to see the street prices.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 08:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
Can you actually buy the 350 viewfinder separately?
Steve
They have a picture of it, so they must be thinking about it. Maybe as a spare part!!
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Old September 10th, 2010, 05:34 PM   #11
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Video review of the PMW-500
Sony : New Sony PMW-500 XDCAM HD422 Camcorder reviewed : United Kingdom

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Old September 10th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #12
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CCDs and SxS and HD422? it's a winner! (Certainly competiton for the Panny HPX2000 or 3000 series, but should be much cheaper than that)
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Old September 10th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #13
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I had the chance to see the camera today in New York and shoot a little bit of footage with it. I brought an old 16GB SxS card that I've had for almost three years and I was able to record 50Mbps 4:2:2 footage without any problem at all. If you already own older SxS cards, they will work fine.

I am back home now and the XDCAM HD422 30P footage appears in XCDAM transfer just like any other XDCAM footage, and imports directly into FCP. As expected, the workflow is already familiar and works great.

I'm very impressed by the camera and can especially appreciate the lighter weight, slightly smaller bulk compared to the F800, and with about 1/2 the power consumption.

Although there are many differences between the 500 and F800, there are more similarities. If I had to describe the camera in one sentence, Iíd say itís an F800 that records to SxS cards instead of optical disc.

If youíve got SD cards with SxS adapters, they arenít going to work in the XDCAM HD422 modes because of the file structure on those cards. In order for HD422 files to work, they must adhere to the same file size rules as the optical discs use, and that means the SD cards canít work. Itís my understanding that you can use the 500 to shoot normal XDCAM EX 35Mbps footage on SD cards but I forgot to test that myself. Sorry.


As for external recorders, you can always hookup a NanoFlash, but I donít know why youíd bother. The camera already does 50Mbps 4:2:2 so there isnít much to be gained my using a Nano. Even Convergent Design admits the ďsweet spotĒ is 100Mbps recording Ė and I doubt there are too many people who can honestly tell the difference between 50 and 100 split screened. I know I couldnít unless it was a green screen shoot or some other unusual type of situation.


If I didnít already own an F800, Iíd probably buy a 500 because of the benefits Iíve already mentioned. The CCD imaging block and other electronics are exactly the same as the F800. I can even use my $12K C35W viewfinder on the PMW-500.

If I did own a PMW-500, my workflow would be to shoot on the SxS cards and then come back to my studio and immediately transfer the cards to XDCAM optical disks. After the footage transfer, youíd never know that the footage wasnít shot on the disc originally. So, you get advantages of SxS cards in the field (lower power consumption, mixing formats, lighter camera, etc.) but retain all the advantages of archiving on XDCAM optical. Itís really the best of both worlds.

As you browse through the menus and change settings on the 500, itís really apparent the camera is a hybrid of an EX1R and F800. The menus look more like an EX1R, but the options you have and the functions that are available are stolen right out of the F800. Itís a hybrid, and itís done very well.

What didnít I like? Nothing major. I love my F800 and the 500 is just a lighter, cheaper, F800 knock-off so whatís to complain about? I didnít like the B&W viewfinder they had on the camera (not sure which model) and I thought the Canon lens had pretty sloppy focusing compared to my Fujinon lenses, but neither one of those accessories is included anyway, so no need to say too much about those.

You canít send proxy files to an attached USB drive like you can with the F800. And I didnít see any menu that would allow me to show the current clip name in the viewfinder, but I may simply have overlooked it.

Scene files are NOT compatible with any other Sony cameras, although all the familiar paint menu settings are there. You just canít share scene files or picture profiles.

Another difference from the F800 is that you canít overcrank above 30fps in the 1080 modes. You canít do that on the EX1R/3 cameraís either, but with the F800 you can. If you want to overcrank above 30fps, you must use a 720P mode.

The 64GB cards should be priced under $900. That sounds high compared to SD cards or CF cards, but youíre talking about SxS where you have 100% total peace of mind. Iíve never had a single clip or card problem with SxS ----- ever! Rock solid in every way. Spend $1800 on a couple of 64GB cards and youíll have about 5 hours of on-board recording and never need to spend money on tape again.

If you think this camera is comparable to a PMW-350, then you donít really understand what the camera is all about. Besides the body size, and SxS card slots, itís nothing like a 350 inside. The 500 is an F800 in a 350 shell: 4:2:2 color , 50Mbps, CCD, proxy files, more menu options, more paint controls, seamless transfer of native files to XDCAM optical, etc. In my opinion, the stock lens and the viewfinder on the 350 arenít anything Iíd ever want to use so itís a waste of money to even get them ďfreeĒ with the kit. At least you can outfit the 500 the way you want it.

One of the best things about my F800 is the custom User Menu Iíve built for my camera so I have the perfect menu system that fits my needs. That will also be possible to do with the PMW-500 after a firmware update before NAB. Donít overlook the value of that feature.

Sony was willing to let me go out and shoot with the camera around NYC for a couple of hours, but why bother? Image-wise itís an F800, and I already know that camera looks fantastic! I donít have to even spend 5 minutes shooting with the 500 to know exactly what it is capable of. If you want to see tons of F800 video, I can post the links to my Vimeo site.

Once again Sony has shown they are the only company to offer multiple products for every budget. If one camera costs too much, step down one rung. If one camera doesnít have the features you need, step up one rung. Really, theyíve got a camera and WORKFLOW to fit everyone.

Sony invited me to come see the camera so I can be the eyes and ears of other professionals, so feel free to ask me any questions you have about the PMW-500. Iíll try to answer them if I can, or get the answers if I canít.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #14
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Nice write-up, Doug.
This camera seems comparable to the new Panny HPX3100.

The amount of new cameras being released now is staggering. It seems every few weeks we get a new toy to play with - provided you can afford the price.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 11:30 PM   #15
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Thanks for the write up Doug. It looks like a very promising camera.

Do you know where it will be priced? At, below or above the PMW-350? Sony seems to be firing on all cylinders right now. Depending on the pricepoint, this camera could be a real punch in the gut for Panasonic's line.

Inclusion of the 1/2" chip models really brings the owner operators into the mix. As you say, Sony is offering an entire line one can build upon and work into.
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