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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #1
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EX3 or HPX500?

Would you consider the EX3 and the HPX500 competitors? Are they aimed at the same users?
Both record to memory cards, both have interchangable lenses. The HPX's 2/3" chips are a big plus, but they use pixel shifting, whereas the EX's 1/2" CMOS chips are true HD. Is the SXS system better than the P2 system? Is DVCPRO HD at 100mbps superior to XDCAM's 35mbps?
I'm not bashing either camera. That's why I'm asking this in the HD "generic" forum. I'm neutral to either, but I'm wondering if they're comparable. Price-wise, they're not that far off. Perhaps the XDCAM HDs are more on the same level with the HPX?
Or, if you could afford either, which would you buy?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #2
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Same thoughts here. I'm looking at something for personal projects, so don't want to spend megabucks on HPX3000/Varicam etc. plus 30,000 or so on HD lenses, so looking at HPX500 and EX3.
I've got a shoot over the next few weeks where I'll have a Varicam kit including HD monitor, so before I head off I'm going to do some tests as I have an HPX500 and EX1 here. Will post results if I get any of use.
From what I've seen of the HPX500 so far it's picture has a nice gentle look to it, but it does seem a little soft, especially in 720 mode. Also the viewfinder is awful, impossible to follow focus pn moving subject.
Steve
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:49 PM   #3
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Steve,

With regards to softness, do you think some thoughtful sharpening in post would improve the percieved detail?

Or help it get close to the EX-1/3 level of detail?

I use Panasonic 1/2" chip DV cameras and have learned over time the best image is when I dial back the in-camera detail and sharpen inside of Edius.

Thanks
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #4
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I'm sure it'd help, but it does have the feel of something that's been blown up a bit from a small original (ie the sensor)! Will compare with the Varicam over the weekend I hope.
Steve
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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:13 PM   #5
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Is the image from the HPX that bad? I've seen a short film posted on this website shot with the Panny and it looked very impressive.

On a side note, we just ordered an HVX200 for our production company. The sales guy we talked to swore the XDCAM EX1s were nothing more than "glorified HDV" (his words) and that the Panny's 4:2:2 color sampling would produce better, more colorful images after it was broadcast. I have my doubts, comparing 1/3" CCD chips to 1/2" CMOS chips, but we'll see.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #6
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I don't think I said that the HPX500 image was "that bad", just that it looked slightly soft. Could be any number of reasons for this, but I know the Varicam is top quality so when I get the two side-by-side I'll get a better idea of how the 500 looks.
I must say that the image quality from the EX1 I tried briefly was tremendous, a really nice quality to it as well as sharp. Not sure you need to look much at chip size (1/3" vs 1/2"), more the codec, pixels on the chip and how they're processed.
Steve
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Old June 1st, 2008, 02:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
"glorified HDV" (his words) and that the Panny's 4:2:2 color sampling would produce better, more colorful images after it was broadcast. I have my doubts, comparing 1/3" CCD chips to 1/2" CMOS chips
Yeah right.... Go find a dealer that KNOWS what he's talking about, that single statement is nothing more than marketing talk. The XDCAM codec is quite different to HDV and there are pro's and con's to both the DVCPRO HD codec and EX Mpeg Codec so you cannot make such a sweeping comment. Besides if that really was the case then I doubt Discovery HD would have approved the EX for 100% broadcast whilst only allowing 20% HVX200.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 05:14 AM   #8
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What makes Discovery HD the pinnacle of HD aquisition? I agree; the EX1 produces better images than the HVX. But now with the new update I believe the HVX has narrowed that gap considerably. Considering that the HVX 200A is over $1K less in price, that now makes it a hard camera to pass up.

With regards to the HPX 500, I believe the 500 looks better. But really it's apples and oranges when comparing those two cams: 2/3rd inch sensors vs 1/2 inch, shoulder mount vs handheld, DVCProHD vs MPEG 2 long GOP, global shutter vs rolling, and over $10k vs under $7K. I don't think you can call those two competitors. I believe the EX1 and 200A are in the same league and are competitors.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 06:44 AM   #9
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Because Discovery HD IS considered the pinnacle of HD acquisition. It has ben generally recognized as having the toughest standards in the industry. If you can pass muster with them, you can go anywhere with your camera. According to what I've just heard, the HPX is NOT cleared for full acquisition for D-HD, but the EX3 and EX1 are, if that matters to anyone. I know, "Deadliest Catch" is shot with the "lowly" Sony Z1, so I guess there's always exceptions.

I was asking whether the EX3 was comparable with the HPX, not the EX1. I agree, the EX1 is more aimed at the 200a.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 08:02 AM   #10
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Still can't make my mind up about the HPX500. Just had a look at some side by side shots with the Varicam and I'd say that when the HPX500 is set to 1080 then there's not a lot in it. But at 720 (ie if you want the variable frame rates which I do) it does look pretty soft.
The colour quality and overall look to the pictures is nice. The main problem is that the HPX viewfinder is dreadful, have yet to try the optional 2" one, but at about 2000 it'd add significantly to the cost.
Also did some comparisons with HD and SD lenses. I've got a Canon HJ11x4.7 and HJ18x28 and tried them against a Canon J14.5x8.5 (quite old SD lens). On the whole the HD lenses were better, but not by leaps and bounds.
Sorry I can't give a bit more by way of detailed and scientific analysis!
Steve
ps I must say that after using P2 for a bit, it felt a bit odd messing about with tapes!
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Old June 1st, 2008, 12:11 PM   #11
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I guess what we need to do is get all these different cameras side by side and do some real world tests. Paper specifications are one thing but real world tests are the only way IMHO to discover what each camera is good and bad at.

On the lens front it is much less clear cut. With some HD lenses being no better than 10 year old SD lenses you absolutely need to try before you buy. I have an ancient 14x Fujinon with a 2x extender that seems to be almost as good as my 20x HD Canon lens, it's certainly better than my 4 year old Fujinon Aspheric IF SD broadcast lens!

Once you go file based for any period of time tape just seems clunky and awkward. Can't believe that I used to spend days digitizing tapes for edits. Now I just pop in a disc or card and off I go.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bosco Jr. View Post
I agree; the EX1 produces better images than the HVX. But now with the new update I believe the HVX has narrowed that gap considerably. Considering that the HVX 200A is over $1K less in price, that now makes it a hard camera to pass up.
Picture quality is one matter - a true manual lens another. And a lot of people would feel that in itself is worth a lot more than $1k, over a camera with servo driven controls. Add in other factors, and it becomes quite easy to pass up the HVX200A for an EX1.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 01:26 PM   #13
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The manual lens controls are worth $10,000 if your ask me! How long has it taken for Sony to hear what thousands of people have been saying for years - servo lens controls are somewhere between dreadful and unuseable!
Apart from the focus ring being a little slim, the manual lens controls on the EX1 are really good.
Steve
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Picture quality is one matter - a true manual lens another. And a lot of people would feel that in itself is worth a lot more than $1k, over a camera with servo driven controls. Add in other factors, and it becomes quite easy to pass up the HVX200A for an EX1.
Yea... and a lot of people would feel that the servo lens on the HVX200A, although not perfect, is good enough.

The point that I was trying to get across is before the HVX went through its update, there wasn't any contest; the EX 1 was the only consideration between the two. But, now, those with a limited budget will take that extra look at the HVX because of the lower price and basically... it's good enough.

Now if the budget is there, the choice is easy in my opinion; it would be the EX 1 for the lens (as you brought up), the 1/2 inch sensors, and HD-SDI out.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
The HPX's 2/3" chips are a big plus, but they use pixel shifting...
Pixel Shift is a benefit, not a drawback. It's something you want. Most all three-chip cameras, with very rare exceptions, use Pixel Shift or some other form of pixel offset technology. It's very much a good thing, not a bad thing.

Quote:
... whereas the EX's 1/2" CMOS chips are true HD.
Not sure what you mean by "true" HD, but I don't think it's been conclusively stated that Sony isn't using some form of pixel offset in the EX series. They haven't said they are using it, but neither have they said they're not using it. Pretty much a non-issue relative to other major differences anyway.
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