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Old July 14th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #1
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Camera for live sport

I'm looking at getting another couple of cameras for live sport coverage, mostly motorsport.

I'm looking for something with auto focus, built in NDs and a clean SDI out (but would settle for adaptors).

I've looked at the BMCC, C100 and C300, and dismissed all as I understand no AF on any of them, and no NDs in the BMCC.

Otherwise it looks like the standard JVC and Sony offerings, the PMW-200, GY-HM650E. Canon have got some really good sales on in Australia at the moment, even had me considering a 5D3 or 1DC, but more limitations. I could also get a couple of NX5s to match with what I've got.

What would you look at for those requirements, under $10-20k?
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Old July 14th, 2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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Re: Camera for live sport

I have two PMW-200s on the way. No 60 frames per second is a drawback for live sports, but everything else is there for me.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 08:17 AM   #3
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Re: Camera for live sport

Ryan - if you're looking for a large sensor camera with HD-SDI, built-in NDs and autofocus, you have 2 choices:

The venerable Panasonic AG-AF100 series, and the Sony NEX-FS700.

You can find a few Australian spec AF103s on eBay.au.

Here is what the AF100 can do at the track:






The other large sensor camera with all of the features you want (plus amazing in-camera slow motion) is the Sony NEX-FS700. Again, there are a few listed on eBay.au.


Here is what this camera can do at the track:





Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old July 14th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: Camera for live sport

I really like the XF300. Great auto focus and IS. Are you hand holding? I have not held a PMW-200 but I thought the EX-1 was the worst ever for hand held shooting. The XF series is pretty nice to hold and its servo motors are smooth and responsive, closer to a broadcast lens than a handicam.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 04:35 PM   #5
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Re: Camera for live sport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Jones View Post
I'm looking at getting another couple of cameras for live sport coverage, mostly motorsport.
By "live sport coverage" I assume you mean via HD-SDI to a mixer and link for live transmission?

In which case, I'd avoid the large sensor cameras - the shallow depth of field can work well for pre-planned work, but I'd say is likely to just make finding focus difficult for live coverage. Likewise, the cheaper large format cameras like the AF100 tend to have poor quality viewfinders which make it even more difficult.

It's not due for sale until October, but have you thought about the PMW300? A bit more expensive than such as the PMW200, but better ergonomically and supposed to have a far better viewfinder. If that's too late/too expensive I'd tend to go for the PMW200.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: Camera for live sport

Thanks for that guys.

David, you're spot on, they will get used a fair bit running SDI to a mixer. PMW300 was dropped off the list because we're tendering for work in September with it.

Won't be handheld Tim, we will get a couple of extra tripods for them.

One of the concerns we had was shallow depth of field making focus a pain, but expected a good AF system would lessen this.

Bill, I have the FS700 on my list, but hadnt thought about the AF100. I think the FS700 takes the same batteries as my NX5 too.

I was hoping to get away from AVCHD but I guess with SDI out it doesn't matter, and I can easily run recorders on them.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 06:20 PM   #7
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Re: Camera for live sport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Jones View Post
One of the concerns we had was shallow depth of field making focus a pain, but expected a good AF system would lessen this.

Bill, I have the FS700 on my list, but hadnt thought about the AF100. I think the FS700 takes the same batteries as my NX5 too.
I personally would be very concerned about relying on auto-focus for something like sport, especially if live. (Certainly without a lot of tests.) Problem is it can be fooled easily (focus on something other than the point of interest) and cheaper systems may not respond quickly enough anyway, add to that hunting for focus and it maycause more problems than it solves.

The other problem about cameras like the FS700 or AF100 may be lens availability for what you want. I'd have thought a decent zoom range was one of the most important factors for something like motor sport - and they are much more likely to be found on smaller sensor cameras than the two above. Out of the two, I'd say the FS700 would probably be by far the better bet - the AF100 viewfinding is pretty poor, and for non-live work the extreme slo-mo facilities of the FS700 may come in pretty handy?

Final thought may be the PMW320 with kit lens? You're then into true shouldermount, but still not that much more expensive - not 2/3" pricing, anyway. The weight/inertia may be a huge benefit to smoothness on the longer end of the lens, great viewfinder, and better ergonomics than any of the smaller cameras. And if you're mainly using the HD-SDI out, then no reservations about the 35Mbs codec. (Which is far better than AVC-HD for any pre-recorded work anyway.)
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Old July 14th, 2013, 06:54 PM   #8
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Re: Camera for live sport

Hadn't looked at the PMW320 David, but as you said decent zoom range is a concern, and the kit lens on the PMW320 is 16x, and the PMW150 is 20x. Not sure in the real world that will really matter.

I'll go and have a talk to the guys at my local dealer and see what it's like. Pricing is pretty good if you shop around it seems. Price varies by $4k dealer to dealer.
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Old July 14th, 2013, 08:47 PM   #9
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Re: Camera for live sport

I've shot NASCAR (Robotic cams on the walls) We used 16, 18, 20X . Obviously those cameras and lenses don't have AF and never had a problem with focus on cars running 180+ coming at you down the backstretch and thru the turn. I don't know that AF is really the thing to use in auto racing. It's to easily fooled. I've said before practice practice practice with manual focus and if you set the back focus correctly and focus at the right spot the DoF will carry you thru with only small focus adjustments as the cars pass thru the zone.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 02:22 AM   #10
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Re: Camera for live sport

Hi Ryan,

I would look at the JVC GY-HM750 HD Camcorder with Canon 14x4.4 Lens.

* 1/3" Progressive 3CCDs
* Shoulder Mount Form Factor
* Bayonet Lens Mount
* 4:2:2 Color Space, Up to 35Mbps Bitrate
* 1080i/p, 720p, 480i Multi-scan
* Native MOV, MP4, AVI Capture
* Dual SD/SDHC Simultaneous Recording
* Variable Frame Rates
* 68-pin Chassis Connector
* HD/SD-SDI, FireWire Output
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Old July 15th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #11
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Re: Camera for live sport

Ryan,

You are getting a lot of varied answers here. Maybe you could provide us with some more information regarding what you are using now, how you are shooting, is this for television, manned unmanned etc...?

If you are live switching my first thought is to have matching cameras so the colors are consistent.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 02:11 PM   #12
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Re: Camera for live sport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Jones View Post
Hadn't looked at the PMW320 David, but as you said decent zoom range is a concern, and the kit lens on the PMW320 is 16x, and the PMW150 is 20x.
Yes, but 16x is WAY more than you're likely to be able to get for any large format camera, and practically 20x isn't that much greater than 20x. Also beware in cameras around this sort of price that a longer reach lens may come at the expense of ramping, softness or other lens issues. But being able to put a big number on your marketing looks impressive......
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Old July 16th, 2013, 08:51 AM   #13
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Re: Camera for live sport

AMA Pro rider Jake Gagne and the Red Bull team at High Plains Raceway in Colorado. 95% was shot with the PMW350K on a tripod, 1080/29.97p, hypergamma 4609 with color grading in post. The other 5% is a sprinkling of handheld shots with the AG-AC90.

Don't use auto focus. Pick your spots and angles carefully, when the races are underway moving about is hampered.

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Old July 17th, 2013, 05:34 AM   #14
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Re: Camera for live sport

Thanks all.

Tim, I'm shooting motorsport. I'll be mixing it live relatively often, the rest of the time it'll be edited later. Of course if it's all about matching for a live mix I could always get two more matching NX5s, but three PMW320/350s sounds like a good plan and is much cheaper than I was expecting when you shop around.

My plan so far is to run the three cameras around the race track, should provide ample coverage on the tracks I'm covering, and run SDI out back to a mixer. Hadn't considered unmanned.

This is all for live web, with possibility of TV.

One of my concerns with a lot of these is if I'm taking 2-3 with me every shoot, and using contract camera operators locally, transport is going to be an issue. Initially I thought if I could get a set of BMCCs, they'd be much easier to put in a case and take with me on aircraft. Not sure if there's an easy way to transport three big shoulder mount cameras.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 08:57 AM   #15
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Re: Camera for live sport

Thanks for the info Ryan. From what you stated, I would go with 3 XF305s, or 3 PMW-200s or 3 AC-160s

All have SDI and are much more portable than shoulder mount cameras. For web production all three will have plenty of image quality. It would come down to camera features and image you like the best.

I would stay away from the large sensor cameras for this application.
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