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Old January 15th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #211
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Sony PMW-350

I have just signed up with with dvinfo, I had a good chat with Alister Chapman following a seminar at the Picture House in Bristol last year, he explained that the PMW-350 was a pre-production model, what i would like to know is did he manage to get his hands on a full production model? I plan to buy one soon, i have had prices ranging from 11k - 14k with lens plus vat, i think one price may have been a non europe model.

Last year i purchased a Ex3 and sold it on after 3 weeks as I predicted Sony would release a 2/3 shoulder camera version, I also didn't want to start investing in 1/2 - 2/3 adaptor costing £1500 plus other bits to make it a shoulder camera.

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Old January 15th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by David Hart
i have had prices ranging from 11k - 14k with lens plus vat, i think one price may have been a non europe model.
The prices Gary quoted are accurate - at least from one major supplier in the UK - but the £15,802.58 is with lens and includes tax. Without VAT, the price listed is £13,506.48.

From the same site, the price for a body only 350 is £12,050.28 (£14,098.83 inclusive of VAT). This is not to say you won't be able to get it cheaper.

Compared to a 301, it's also worth noting that all these prices exclude any memory. Add two hours worth of media to a 301, and it's an extra £1,500 (2x64GB cards), add two hours to a 350 and it's more like £650-£750.

But in the rest of this thread, the comparison has been between a 350 and the 2700. Everything I've said has been on the basis of the price of the 2700 having been cut in line with the offer, and an assumption that they have been comparable in price. After hearing Andy say that the offer had ended I had a look to see what the UK price was now on the 2700 - and found that for body only a major dealer lists it for £24,845.96 + VAT.

Yes, £24,845.96 + VAT. Which compares with £12,050.28 + VAT for a body only PMW350. Over twice as much, before memory costs are even taken into account. If I thought the PMW350 offered better value than a 2700 before, it must now be a one horse race.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #213
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I have not been able to get my own 350 yet, I will have one for a couple of days next week and who knows mine might arrive soon. As soon as I get it I will be doing some tutorials and picture profiles.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 03:13 AM   #214
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The prices Gary quoted are accurate - at least from one major supplier in the UK - but the £15,802.58 is with lens and includes tax. Without VAT, the price listed is £13,506.48.

From the same site, the price for a body only 350 is £12,050.28 (£14,098.83 inclusive of VAT). This is not to say you won't be able to get it cheaper.

Compared to a 301, it's also worth noting that all these prices exclude any memory. Add two hours worth of media to a 301, and it's an extra £1,500 (2x64GB cards), add two hours to a 350 and it's more like £650-£750.

But in the rest of this thread, the comparison has been between a 350 and the 2700. Everything I've said has been on the basis of the price of the 2700 having been cut in line with the offer, and an assumption that they have been comparable in price. After hearing Andy say that the offer had ended I had a look to see what the UK price was now on the 2700 - and found that for body only a major dealer lists it for £24,845.96 + VAT.

Yes, £24,845.96 + VAT. Which compares with £12,050.28 + VAT for a body only PMW350. Over twice as much, before memory costs are even taken into account. If I thought the PMW350 offered better value than a 2700 before, it must now be a one horse race.
Yes I understand all that but the 2700 is on the BBC HD camera list and the 350 isn't so it is not a like for like comparison.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #215
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There are many cameras not on the public BBC list that can be used for BBC HD productions. The NHU are in the process of certifying the EX1 with NanoFlash and Gates housing for underwater work. Generally speaking provided you meet the 1/2", 50Mb/s rule you will be OK.

Given the current non discounted price of the 2700, if that's the kind of budget you have to play with then the PDW-700 has to be considered. Full Raster 1920x1080, BBC list, low cost media, 720P50 or P60 if you need it. But if your budget won't stretch that far then a PMW-350K with NanoFlash coming in at around £15K is a steal. Remember that you also have to add a lens and viewfinder to a 2700, even if you already have a lens the true cost of the package is still double that of the 350.

You have to question what the 2700 is really worth? If it is really such a good camera, selling really well, why discount it by such an enormous amount? Sure Sony, JVC and others offer deals and discounts, but not anything quite like that. Too me it looks like a drastic measure to counter flagging sales.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #216
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Yes I understand all that but the 2700 is on the BBC HD camera list and the 350 isn't so it is not a like for like comparison.
But since the 350 is so recently released, would you really expect it to be on their list? (Yet.) I would assume that any camera included on their list has to undergo a fairly thorough evaluation, and it's not possible to do that before it's even available!

I appreciate you may have a valid reason for considering the 2700 as you already have two 301s - it's back again to legacy issues - but if you were about to start from scratch, would you still feel the same?

On the current pricings, the VAT free cost of two 350K's and an EX3 is about £32,500. For a 2700 and two 301s, reckon about £25,000 for the 2700, say £5,000 min (?) for a lens, and about £13,500 for two 301s - £43,500 in total roughly. By the time you've got 2 hours of memory for each camera, I make it about £48,000 for the 2700/301 package, about £35,000 for the 350/EX3.

And the 350/EX3 route gives you two 2/3" cameras instead of one, and in the EX3 a camera that can be used when a small camera is essential (such as in car work).

Or maybe get one 350 and two EX3s? I reckon that would be about £24,500, or about £26,500 with memory.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 08:26 AM   #217
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Good valid points guys and I may just wait to see if the 350 gets more adoption in broadcast, we have to bear in mind that Dvcam is 25mbs for SD so 35mbs may be acceptable in time due to the effects of the cost factor of the 350.

Broadcast is the declining part of the market for me here in the north and it may make sense to just keep hiring 2700 and 3700's at the moment until they sort themselves out.

As said 75% of my work is done on the two 301's and I am very happy with the results and the form factor.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #218
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T
But in the rest of this thread, the comparison has been between a 350 and the 2700. Everything I've said has been on the basis of the price of the 2700 having been cut in line with the offer, and an assumption that they have been comparable in price. After hearing Andy say that the offer had ended I had a look to see what the UK price was now on the 2700 - and found that for body only a major dealer lists it for £24,845.96 + VAT.

Yes, £24,845.96 + VAT. Which compares with £12,050.28 + VAT for a body only PMW350. Over twice as much, before memory costs are even taken into account. If I thought the PMW350 offered better value than a 2700 before, it must now be a one horse race.
David,

Funny how you and Alister go out of your way to denigrate Panasonic's pricing of the HPX2700 and 3700. If they have a trade-in deal going it must be, "because the 2700 is a native 720P camera", conveniently leaving out the native 1080P 3700 that had the same trade-in program. If the cameras go back to normal price(and NOBODY pays that price), they are overpriced.

So, where does that leave the Sony PDW-F800? That camera is over $40K with B&W viewfinder. Surely the PMW-350 will halt all sales of the 700 and 800?

Currently, in the U.S., the HPX3700 with color viewfinder lists for $36K with trade-in. This camera offers 4:4:4 10-bit output in addition to internal 4:2:2 10-bit recording. It has a proven track record on docs, commercials, features and episodics. Does that make the 800 a good value now? Or should the maximum price for a 2/3" camera with lens be $20K going forward? Panavision in LA offers the 3700 for rental--there must be a reason.

Alister,

A rental house competitor of mine who owns an F35, Phantom Gold, 3700, F900R's, Varicams, EX3's, etc, saw a pre-production 350 and said there was a whole lot of aliasing and moire in every image he looked at. He found it to be very unfilmlike. Hopefully, this will not be the case for the production versions. I will be seeing a 350 at a trade show this week, hopefully.

Regarding bit rate of AVC-Intra 100 in 720/24PN, what's different about that codec vs. XDCAM EX is that as the frame rate and resolution increases, so does the bit rate. The latter is normally under 35Mbps most of the time, it just does more compression when the resolution, frame rate and motion are higher.

So, while the PMW-350K may become the "new DVCAM DSR-500" in the UK, that is definitely not the market level that the P2 Varicams are aimed at. Those looking for a Varicam tend to be in the higher-end segments of production and appreciate the film like imagery of Varicams. From the perspective of clients used to shooting 10-bit, 4:2:2, the 350, or any XDCAM EX variant is not in the race, despite David's and your assertions.

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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #219
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David,

Funny how you and Alister go out of your way to denigrate Panasonic's pricing of the HPX2700 and 3700. If they have a trade-in deal going it must be, "because the 2700 is a native 720P camera", .......
It's not a question of "denigrating the pricing policy", as much as simply stating what the prices currently are at UK main dealers, working out what it means for packages, and letting people make their own minds up. Or do you think any of the prices I've quoted are in any way inaccurate?

This entire thread has been on the basis of comparing the 2700 and 350 with the assumption of comparable cost. It was a valid assumption whilst the 2700 was slashed in price at the end of last year, and I'll confess I didn't expect the price to go back up again.

Gary brought up the subject of "B" cameras, which raises an interesting point. In his case, the 301 serves as the B camera, but for many people the reason for a B camera is for a small camera for reasons such as unobtrusiveness or in-car etc use. If anyone is going with a 350 as main camera, the B camera is obvious - an EX1 or 3. Same codec, same memory, same chip resolutions - I wouldn't expect it to be quite as good, but I would expect it to be a pretty good match.

But what do you go with if the 2700 is your main camera? A 171 is the obvious choice, but now we have a different codec (DVCProHD), different (and lower) chip resolutions, 1/3" chips (not even 1/2") - well, at least it uses the same memory cards.

Surely it's overdue for an updated 171? With full 1920x1080 chips and AVC-Intra 100, even if they can't manage 1/2"?
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:24 PM   #220
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David,

I certainly agree that Panasonic won't be selling many 2700's or 3700's back at the original price point, that's why the 3700 is now on a trade-in deal with the $8K color viewfinder for $36K. This would normally cost $68K! I fully expect the 2700 to have some kind of special deal again prior to NAB. These cameras came out in 2008, at a time when the F900R and original Varicam were the price point targets. Much has changed since then--HDX900, RED One. I posted many months ago on other forums that the price premium of an HPX2700 over an HPX2000 or HPX3700 over an HPX3000 was excessive. I haven't changed my position and Pansonic's actions have proven me correct.

One can certainly make the point that a Sony 700 or 800 sport a pretty high price differential over an F355 or EX1 or 3. The 350 brings this into stark relief. The difference with Panasonic is that they put their best codec in cameras that cost as little as $8K, with Sony, if you want 4:2:2 and 50Mbps, (no 10-bit) you have to go with the 700 or 800, a long way from $8K. Which small B-camera do you choose for those cameras, certainly not one with 4:2:2 or disc based. So there really was no obvious B-camera option for XDCAM 422. I agree that a 350 as A camera and EX1 or 3 as a B-camera is a good combo.

The HPX170 was just released in late September, '08, about the same time as the 2700 and 3700. The 170 or 200A is still a decent B-camera if both shooting DVCPRO HD. A replacement with AVC-Intra and at least a 720P native imager would be nice, but I'm not sure I want it to be CMOS. I have no doubt that Panasonic will be showing new cameras at NAB, including a large sensor camera(which most likely means CMOS).

I very much look forward to seeing the 350 this week.

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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #221
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The difference with Panasonic is that they put their best codec in cameras that cost as little as $8K, with Sony, if you want 4:2:2 and 50Mbps, (no 10-bit) you have to go with the 700 or 800, a long way from $8K.
You can put the best codec in the world on the back of a poor sensor and the camera will always be a poor performer and there will be nothing you can do about it. I don't like not having 50 Mb/s 4:2:2 on my EX1, but at least I can do something about it. Even on a B camera I would not want to go back to 1/3" or 1/4" sensors and all the restrictions they impose.

The pre-production PMW-350 did not have a correctly functioning detail correction circuit. Initially I too thought the camera had issues with aliasing and moire. Some of this was down to my monitor not coping terribly well with the high resolution images. So to be sure the camera was OK we had it on an optical test bench with a very expensive full HD CRT grade 1 monitor and it was fine with all detail disabled. None of the many users of the 350 that post on these forums are complaining about aliasing, and the one I picked up yesterday appears clean.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #222
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Alister,

I'm hoping somebody will review the production version of the 350 because there are some unanswered questions based upon issues seen with the pre-production units. This from Adam Wilt's review on ProVideoCoalition.com:

"To my eye, the 1080i performance is extremely good, and the 1080p only slightly less so, with a bit more vertical aliasing than I like"

'While the HyperGammas should offer the same or better latitude compared to the standard gammas, I only saw 3-3.3 stops of overexposure before grays clipped. Sony tells me that the HyperGammas weren’t yet dialed on in this prototype."

"Unfortunately, this prototype camera inherits the saturated-highlight knee cutout problem of the EX1 and EX3: if a bright area has a color, the knee “gives up” after its initial compression, and the bright area crashes hard into clipping, with the problem roughly proportional to the saturation of the highlight."

"Sony may fix this before the PMW-350 is released. I hope so, because it makes use of the standard gammas much more problematic. While I use Cine gammas on the EX1 exclusively, and HyperGammas on cameras that have ‘em, many folks prefer the standard gammas for their more saturated highlights on skin tones. Having a dodgy knee circuit on a $6400 EX1 or an $8300 EX3 is one thing; you get so much performance in those packages that you’re willing to put up with a problem or two. In a $20,000+ camcorder, though, that knee circuit had better work, or those who depend on a properly working knee will stay away in droves (yes, I’m talking primarily about news shooters, and they’re the biggest single market segment for a camera like this)."

"The EX1 and EX3 have an extended red response; under hot lights (those with a lot of red and IR energy, like tungsten lamps emit) they tend to see some black fabrics as shades of blue, purple, or brown, depending on the amount of far-red and near-infrared light they reflect. The PMW-350 reins in this tendency considerably, though it’s not entirely neutral:"

End quotes.

The first time I saw footage from a Canon 5D, the aliasing on some edges completely ruined the organic shallow DOF the camera had. I find both the 5D and 7D to be too video like, despite the selective focus. My EX1 out of the box looked like a typical news video camera and required custom scene files to look pleasing to me.

The question I would have of the 350 is can the image be made to look like what I expect from any Varicam I've seen out of the box? I know the camera will have the proper handles to tweak the image, but things like aliasing or chroma clipping on knees can be more difficult to get around. I have seen the latter with HPX500's and it screams low-end video camera to me.

The 350 has enough resolution to bring down the detail circuit or even turn it off, but aliasing is not necessarily due to detail, just exacerbated by it. I have seen(owned) certain Sony cameras that seem to have more diagonal stair stepping(aliasing), moire, overly sharp mid-blacks, big detail over-shoot on the edge of faces. Some of this can be reduced or removed, but not all of it, even with detail off. Interestingly, my experience with most Panasonic and Ikegami(this goes way back) cameras has shown their models to have a less "processed" look, with or without detail on.

Sony cameras tend to look more clinical to me(F35 being an exception), Panasonic cameras, even my HPX170 has a more pleasing, less video-like feel. Yes, it's soft compared to an EX1, and noisier and slower, but it has a very alluring quality to it, like almost all Panasonic cameras I've seen from the original Varicam and even the SDX900.

The kind of artifacts I'm talking about don't typically bother many corporate, news and sports shooters, but really look anything but film-like to my eye. This is what attracts me to Varicam series cameras, the tonality, fleshtones, highlight handling, colorimetry, edges that look more natural--with or without detail. A natural, alluring, less video-like look, IMO. My biggest complaint about Panasonic cameras is that they're noisier than I like. I typically shoot at -3db with my HDX900, HPX2700, although the latter is a bit quieter.

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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #223
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I haven't got much more to add to this, a lot of arguments are going over the same (relevant) ground, and I've given my thoughts.
Now the 350 is available I'll be interested to see who starts using it in the NHU. The new mega Africa series is in pre-production and when I spoke to them last they were certainly set on the 2700. Seems crazy they'd not ditch all that and just go with 350s doesn't it?
Anyone want to bet?
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Old January 19th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #224
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OK I bet that something called a 600/601 comes out soon!

P2 10 bit 1920x1080 AVC Intra 100 with 2/3" cmos chips at around £15k inc a fujinon lens!

Sorry I am dreaming again!
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Old January 19th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #225
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That actually sounds reasonable Gary and it's what they'll need to do to compete in that market. I still wouldn't buy it as CMOS still has big issues for wildlife (IMHO). Be interesting to see what the RED Scarlett CMOS is like. With 120fps, 2/3" and a tiny price it could be interesting - maybe!
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