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Old April 19th, 2010, 02:00 AM   #1
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my xr520v broken. wait for next model?

Unfortunately my 9 month old sony HDR XR520v video cam suffered internal corrosion due to liquid infiltration. AUD$1,500 to fix it by a Sony dealer.

I can probably buy a new one now for maybe AUD$1,600 plus warranty

I think in June every year a new cam comes out?

Does anyone think there will me a new model that actually advances on this model?

sometimes they just make new models that are a bit cheaper and less specs.

Just not sure weather to wait or get another xr520v.

russ
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Old April 19th, 2010, 03:53 AM   #2
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I also just found out teh 520 is being superseded by a lesser cam 550? a comparisons here reveals Product Comparison : Handycam Camcorder : Sony Australia

the optical for the 550 is only 10x/120x compared to the 520 at 12x/150x yet we pay more for the 550?


looks like the only advancement is the steady shot?
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Old April 19th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #3
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Russell -
The XR500/520 and the CX500/520 have been replaced by the XR550 and CX550, same sensors, more access to manual controls (shutter/iris), and as you note, a new lens range that starts wider, but as a consequence loses tele range, Bigger LCD (3.5 vs. 3.2), supposely also better - the XR retains a HDD, the CX has 64G flash ram. Both have MS Duo AND SDHC capability, use new "V" series batteries, so any you have for the current cam won't work.

Steady shot should be upgraded a bit from your XR, the CX500 is noticeably steadier than the XR500. You can expect a few other "tweaks" and perhaps some minor performance improvements, as Sony fine tunes the firmware over time, even with the same electronics/sensor block.

You'll need a lens hood if shooting outdoors - the new wide lens has some flare issues that are being reported.

There is more discussion on these in the AVCHD section of DVi, if you want more details/info
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Old April 19th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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Hi Dave, thanks for the info.

Technology has passed me again and in only 9 months! I just can't keep up anymore.

I didn't know about the cx500 so i will have to look into that one too.

it would appear that the cx500 would be the new top of the range? slightly better than the XR550?

Although i think i would stay with the hard drive.

i will investigate further.

I already have a wide angle lens VCL-HGAO7 x0.7

will this fit the cx500/xr550?

I also just bought a under water housing sportspack which says it will fit cx100/120/106/105

so hopefully it wil also fit the cx500.

It does sound like improvements overall though.

I shoot outdoors 99.9% of the time. A hood?

russ
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Old April 19th, 2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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maybe i should take a closelook at the flash drive model as less to go wrong maybe?

But i see "Movie Recording on Memory Stick™ and SD/SDHC Memory Card (64GB Built-in Flash Memory)"

It doesn't mention recording in full HD?

also noticed the dimensions are a little smaller and lighter for the cx model.

70 x 74 x 143mm xr550
66 x 74 x 143mm cx500

apart from that they are identical? oh and the cx500 seems cheaper too.

hmmmm....just doing a cpmpare here Product Comparison : Handycam Camcorder : Sony Australia

will my current usb/sd card for my xr520v also fit the cx500?

maybe i wont slash my wrists just yet :)

russ
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Old April 20th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #6
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Hi Russell -

Technology is always changing, and particularly in the consumer end, new cams seem to come out yearly or more often!

"CX" has traditionally been Sony's designation for flash based cams, and in the past, the CX's came out a few months after the XR's or whatever the equivalent camera was. Thus the CX500/520 came out mid model year, after the XR500/520.

THIS year, Sony announced the CX550 and XR550 simultaneously, as the new top of the lines.

Generally, the two are pretty much identical feature wise, aside from internal storage. This year, for the first time, the CX got a viewfinder and the same large LCD, so it's a bit bigger than earlier CX's, that usually had no VF and smaller LCD.

The CX will typically be a bit smaller and lighter, just because flash memory is lighter than a HDD (and it's going to have no mechanical vibration/high spl issues that might affect a HDD).

You can record to both the internal storage and to a memory stick Duo, or on the 550's, a SDHC card.

The CX is usually a bit cheaper.

Threads are still 37mm, so the WA will work (although the 550s lens wide range is the equivalent of the XR520 with the .7x lens), the Sports Packs are pretty universal, you may need to adjust or use a different sled, but the electronics will still interface via the A/V jack.

This year, the CX550 would seem to offer the best combo of features/price.

If you google "blue dot" and CX550V, you'll find a few reports of a seemingly random bright blue dot appearing apparently from nowhere in the CX550V footage. There's one YouTubve video where the guy adds a lens hood, takes it on and off and the blue dot comes and goes, indicating that the new wide lens is more susceptable to lens flare/bright light shining into the lens, thus the recommendation for a cheap eBay lens hood (about $10). I looked at enough samples to be pretty sure it's a nasty and unusual form of lens flare... without having hands on, I'm planning on adding a hood when I pick up a CX550, hopefully won't need french flags!
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Old April 20th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #7
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hmmm.... ok so my wide angle lens won't server to do anything if i put it on then i guess.

Will the hood thingy fit on if it's inside the water sports pack?

jeez, looks like it will be a trip to the Sony store with my bits and pieces to see what will/won't work.

i have the wireless mic also ECM-HW2 which i hope will fit the cx550.

I am actually starting to think to wait a bit and just buy the one i had XR550 at a reduced price.

I know the tech specs may be actually better on the cx550 model but that blue light issues is a major draw back for me because i mostly do not only outside video but outside on the water on boats which is an even brighter environment.

And i am not sure how much advantage the better steady shot is?

what i mean is if i shoot ok now then why would i need it? know what i mean?

the steady shot is more for still photo's?

I know there is nothing steady about taking video on a boat but never had any issues that i can recall.

I guess i will have t weigh up those things as well.

russ
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Old April 20th, 2010, 02:09 AM   #8
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sorry for babbling on here, but after doing some googling on this purple/blue/lens flare issue it does indeed seem to be a big issue for alot of people.

found a video of someone demonstrating the hood and you see the dot disappear YouTube - Sony CX550V blue dot lens hood correction

however i have read now a few threads on other forums where some felt even with the hood they still had the dot under some circumstances.

and some more blue dot video's Terrence B.'s videos on Vimeo

/edit

the other thing i am wondering about is why don't i get this blue light when i always use my wide angle lens on my XR520?
I have been looking through all my videos seeing if i have any blue lights anywhere but none that i can see so far.

Unless its because I naturally don't face the sun? well not unless i can't avoid it. so maybe its just simple habit of actually being a better videography over the years?

also it seems to be related to "STANDARD" steadyshot mode, but not "ACTIVE" mode. in active mode more chance of the blue light. but whats the difference and any advantage using active mode?


Also how do you know when its time to go more advanced like the Fx1000? I know its twice the price but is it twice the quality and everything else?
I have seen peole use these camera's only for the footage to ever be seen on youtube.

/edit

After sifting through a wealth of information on this blue dot issue it would seem that by simply doing a slight "zoom" this blue dot goes away and also no curvature on any edges. that seems fair. here is an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0E4Xz5ofDo


russ

Last edited by Russell Bailey; April 20th, 2010 at 04:49 AM.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #9
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IMO the "blue dot" is a NON issue, but I'm saying that without having had hands on the actual camera. I am pretty sure a hood would fix a good part of the problem, and perhaps even a slight zoom would "fix" the alignment of the internal elements of the lens to eliminate the "problem". It IS apparently related to the new lens system in the 550 series, and was not in the earlier models, althugh I recall a few instances when shooting almost directly into a bright light with the 500 series, that there were some "artifacts"..

IF it's lens flare, which by all reports iit is, it can be reduced or eliminated, but you need to be aware of it and take appropriate countermeasures - a basic hood for $10 should help a whole lot, but some people won't be willing to take that step, and will instead blame the manufacturer for a "defect". Something to be said for proper shooting technique as well... CCD's used to blur/flare, you just had to avoid the situation... In this case, the particular lens element arrangement in the 550's is susceptible to this aberration, be aware and act accordingly. Personally, I'm hoping to pick up a "defective" camera returned for this reason on the cheap <wink>!

Sony has closed out "last years models" at good prices, and the prices have now gone back up... WAY back up,.. probably in response to people deciding the new top of the line have "issues", and last year's model was pretty good.


I've got a little Sony P&S camera that also reflects the new "wider is better" lens range philosophy, and honestly, I'm not so sure... for some purposes it's "better", for others, I think it's worse. I've actually gone back to "last year's model" for some of my still camera use, and am not quite sold on the "new" lens range (DSC-TX1 vs. TX7).

You can still mount your .7x lens, and get a "superwide" out of it, probably approaching a fisheye! If my calculations are right, it'd be about a 21mm equivalent!

The active image stabilization is an additional layer of processing on top of the improved OIS, supposedly it softens the image a bit, but if it takes out the shakes, rattles and rolls, it might be worth using.

FWIW, the XR500/520 had an excellent stabilization system. The CX500/520 improved it a bit in the "roll" axis (wobbling back and forth around the lens axis), noticeably better than the XR500. I'd expect further refinements in the 550's. IMO, when shooting handheld, I'll take all the help I can get to get a steady shot... I hate wobbly video.

Again, aside from the batteries, which are now "V" series, everything you've already got in the Sony accessory department will bolt right onto the 550's, no problemo. It's one of the reasonas I'll stick to Sony myself unless someone else comes up with a really compelling camera, though I do find it annoying that they change the battery standards!


When to "step up" to a bigger camera is an increasingly difficult question. What you get in image quality from these "pocket rockets" is ofter nearly as good as the "big boys" (until you go WAY up the price schedule). You sacrifice manual control surfaces, but these little guys are optomized and when you learn how to use the features that are there, they are mighty effective. The intelligent auto functions are going to be faster to adapt than I could be in probably 90% + of the shooting situations, even if I HAD manual controls. For those few times I am not happy with what the cam decides, it's easy enough to adjust a bit to get a better result.

Once I decided I preferred tapeless, I waited for Sony to release something "big", and only recently have the AX2000 and NX5U come to the market, but I'm not convinced they offer 3 - 4x "better" performance/ capabilities/ image for my purposes (I usually shoot multicam). Whether or not a big camera is "better" depends on your needs. It's hard to argue with the results you get from these small cams, they are significantly less expensive by the time you factor in the accessories, and there's something to be said for a compact rig.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:54 PM   #10
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Hi Dave, after reading some 48 pages on another forum specifically about this CX550 & the blue dot I have also come to the same conclusion as it being a non issue.

In all fairness though i think it was a mistake to introduce a wide angle lens be default. If you want to use wide angle thats what accessories are for.

In fact i am starting to think the by using a wide angle lens over a standard lens actually decreases any possible lens flare effect simply because i believe the wide angle lens is also acting as a hood over the default standard lens. I am probably 100% wrong but thats how i currently see it based on my experience of using a wide angle lens permanent on my XR520. Once i put the wide angle on it just never comes off.

Having said that, will i get the same hood protection effect in my theory on the CX550?
Although I am not sure i want to go that wide by adding my x0.7 lens but it will certainly something i will be trying because I have the lens already.

Also the sports pack comes with a set of hoods which by the way none fit my wide conversion lens. This is to reduce lens flare from being in the container. M30x62, M37x55, M30x58, M30x47 M30x43, M30x50.

For me I original purchase the wide conversion lens because when filming from inside a boat it was simple better capturing more. Having said that I also found it useful when trying to capture 2 events occurring on the water some distance apart that only the wide conversion lens will capture.

So for me the wide angle wasn't for panoramic views but rather a specific purpose to capture more events & detail that are separated by a small distance.

So perhaps adding my wide conversion lens to the CX550 actually might be useful to me too. perhaps jsut a slight zoom in to prevent too much fish eye effect.

Now if this active image stabilization works as well as what people are saying then i guess that will help me out on the boat as well as i am sometimes in situations where i am using digital zoom to the max and by jingo thats hard to get a steady shot!!

an example of my digital zoom XR520 from about 2KM away hanging the cam out the car window YouTube - AussieCommunity's Channel

this one is even better example as i was at least 3KM away using my old DCR DVD201e sony handy cam digital zoom was 150x i think? YouTube - AussieCommunity's Channel

So if this new active stabilization improves on that then that has to be a positive :)

I think this incomparability battery issue is probably more to do with manufacturers inventing new battery types and to make people use them they have to obsolete the old type by making them incompatible. Probably nothing to do with Sony making that decision.

I tend to agree with you on how these handy-cams are quite often just as good as the big boys. I guess i rarely make manual adjustments on the handy-cam simply because on auto pilot they work extremely well. Others will no doubt balk at the idea of a handy-cam being even close to the ball park of a pro video cam.

Well i can surely say at this point i am definitely looking into the CX550 to replace my broken XR520 :(

I couldn't find the specs on how many HD hr capable on the 64G flash drive? I must admit i never did fill up my 240G hard drive on the 520G(not even close) I i shoot video everyday.

I do however want to be able to do around the 1hr and 30mins as i steam across the ocean or rivers filming as i go along.

I really miss using my cam! currently i must be a video nut because i sue my mobile phone to take video now while i am deciding on the next cam. I simply like taking video of events or unusual events to be more specific. Some clips i have taken have also ended up in court for water police to use to prosecute others involved in incidents that i happen to capture. And more recently an incident involved is a sinking boat. the police love this type of video evidence.

I once pulled up in my car beside the water edge over looking a sea way. I was about to simply point the camera to take video of nothing but water in front of me but then decided nah that would be pointless. 5 seconds later a Great White Pointer Shark (a good 3m+ in length) came shooting up out of the water in front of me no more than 3m away! teeth/jaws the whole bit and half his body came out! no doubt chasing a fish coming up from the bottom.

So form now on i film everything! just in case :)

russ
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Last edited by Russell Bailey; April 20th, 2010 at 07:21 PM. Reason: added pic
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Old April 20th, 2010, 05:34 PM   #11
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[QUOTE= Whether or not a big camera is "better" depends on your needs. It's hard to argue with the results you get from these small cams, they are significantly less expensive by the time you factor in the accessories, and there's something to be said for a compact rig.[/QUOTE]

I agree Dave. I used to use my FX1 as the main camera and the SR11 and XR500 fixed cameras in my theatre shoots. The SR11 set full manual and the XR500 set at AE shift -4. That way almost whatever happened to the lights I had a usable shot from one of them!!!! I upgraded to the NX5U partly because the picture from the SR11 and XR500 was so much better than the FX1. The NX5U is very nice but the difference in good light from the XR500 is marginal and the automatic features on the XR500 are superior. The NX5U wins on closeups at some distance with really good manual control which is it's intended use as the main camera. At the same zoom ratios its difficult to tell them apart, if anything the XR500 has a cleaner image.
An XR500 with bigger lens and manual control would be a great camera!!! I don't think we will see that though.
Ron Evans
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Old April 20th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #12
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Ron -

Glad to hear I'm not entirely crazy when I begin to suspect the image quality is as good or better from these little single chippers. And I'm still waiting for that slightly larger cam (something along the lines of the Panny HMC40 maybe?) that justifies the price/quality ratio.


Russell -
You are correct about the WA acting as a lens hood, it should have exactly that effect, and you'll have one heckuva wide angle, but you'll lose a lot on the "long" end... I'm still debating the net results, I'm a bit less than thrilled with the DSC-TX7 which has a substantially wider wide end than the TX1 - for stills, it just seems TOO wide unless you're able to get close to the subject, but it is pretty good for video, which that cam also shoots in 1080...

Since a lot of people seem to stich the WA on the front and leave it there (and I always carry mine with the cam, taking on and off as needed), having a wide lens "built in" probably is a decent design decision, I'm sure I'll be missing the tele end though.

There's a collapsible lens hood that caught my eye, and if it doesn't show up in the corners, I think that will be a good hood option - used to have a similar hood on an old Panasonic I owned for a while.

Those "hoods" with the sports packs are actually intended to cover any shiny chrome-y parts of the front of the cam, to prevent reflections from the front glass. You "might" be able to squeeze the HGA07 into the pack, I've done it with earlier cams and WA lenses.

The rough calculations for memory use were 8Gb = just about an hour. WIth the new higher bitrate of the 550's, I'd expect that to reduce somewhat, but you'll run out of battery before running out of onboard memory, add a couple cards and download regularly, you should be set.

ALL the blame for the battery revisions lies with Sony - they do this every few model years in the consumer space, this is the third version of basically the same battery physically. The "FV" battery will fit in an "FH" or "FP" camera's battery slot, and charge on the same chargers, BUT the earlier batteries will be locked out on the latest cameras, and if you physically bypass the tabs so the older batteries fit, the camera will give you a razzberry, and shut off, while ridiculing you for being such a cheapskate and not buying new $100 batteries (scenario enhanced for dramatic effect, but you get the idea!). I find it frustrating that they do this, when batteries aren't cheap, and I typically have a few in "stock". In fact it will be one reason I may well NOT upgrade more than one of my cameras to the 550's... I doubt the upgrades will be so compelling as the changes between the SR11 and the XR 500, but until I get a CX550 in hand, I can't say for certain.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #13
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The HMC40 still doesn't have independent gain control which is what I want. Just like the Sony's gain starts when iris is full open. Except Panasonic is sensible enough to state when gain starts and indicate the level!!!
The picture from the XR500 I use as a full stage fixed camera is a good match for the NX5u and the EX3 or FX1 that are used as medium and closeup cameras. The XR500 is very clean even at the AE-4 when the lights go to black and it opens up to 18db gain !!! The SR11 is not as clean and is why I use this in full manual ( one advantage of the Zebras on the SR11) so I don't get the gain issue when lights go to black.

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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:40 AM   #14
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Dave, i always have batteries that can last at least an hour. the 2 I have for the XR520 is the FH60 and FH70. i think the FH70 gave me 90mins? anyhow it was a fair bit and i would have to purchase a couple of large batteries again if i go for the CX550.

I don't general do anywhere near a full hour but wanted to experiment with that time.

I generally do lots of small clips anyway and then download to the laptop for editing and storage on a daily bases. So i guess that kind of makes the purpose of the XR520 storage ma moot point.

So i should get it out my head any idea of actually needing an on-board HDD on the handy-cam.

If 8G covers an hour of HD/1080i and i can also use my 2 x 4G duo cards then i should have plenty of room.

I will have to see how the cx feels though in my hand compared to the XR550

russ
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Old April 21st, 2010, 02:43 AM   #15
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The cam would come with a FV60, should be good for an hour since you're not powering the HDD, FV70 is the equivalent to your FH70, I usually pack two of those, haven't run out of juice yet. Then there is the FV100, but like the FH100, it's big, heavy, and will stick out the back of the cam (while lasting about forever!)

IIRC the 64G internal is rated around 5 1/3 hours at 24Mb recording rate (the max), Figuring the data will be about 50% more for a given clip, that's about right - so at full data rate, an 8G will gve you around 40 minutes with the 550, vs 60 with the XR520.

Personally I tend to prefer the feel of the slightly lighter/smaller CX's, although the 550 is a bit larger than previous CX series (and it gets that big 3.5" LCD!).
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