Panasonic's AJ-SDX900 - Page 4 at DVinfo.net

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Old September 30th, 2003, 06:02 PM   #46
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Very interesting links, Jan. Thanks for passing those along.

Glad to hear you stopped at Lady X Films. Yes, we're having a great deal of fun with this project.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 06:23 PM   #47
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I think that this page on Abel's site provides a very concise, informative technical comparison between the DVX100 and the SDX900.

Abel Cinetech site's SDX900 pages, overall, are very informative.
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Old December 4th, 2003, 01:26 AM   #48
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SDX900 Update

I have been meaning to post an update to this thread for a couple of weeks and finally remembered to do so.

At the recent ShowBiz Expo here in Chicago I had the relatively unique opportunity to see Panasonic's DVX100, SDX900 and Varicam HD shooting side-by-side at the Panasonic booth. I also had the opportunity to finally meet Panasonic's Jan Crittenden in-person. She really is a very special person, extremely knowledgable and enthusiastic on her product line and was very generous with her time in showing me the fine points of the SDX900. Her participation here at DVInfo is a real treat.

I certainly cannot match the SDX900 reviews in Videography and now in DV magazine. They tell most of the story. But I can add a few of my impressions,for whatever they may be worth, perhaps to supplement those published reviews.

The setting I viewed had all three cameras shooting the same scene; a model train set with plenty of color and contrast variations and a bit of lighting. The motion of the train served to highlight the differences in progressive and interlaced modes as well as in 30 and 24 frames per second modes.

In brief, some impressions.
  • The SDX900 is one tremendous camera. I don't think I've ever seen a better all-around image, certainly not on a SD camera.
  • The camera's menu system is deep and relatively complex but is constructed in a logical, progressively detailed manner. It actually bears some similarity to that of the DVX100, although is far deeper.
  • The camera's ability to store and use SD cards to store/retrieve all of its settings makes the this complexity downright convenient. Jan was able to demonstrate perhaps 6-8 completely different "looks" within a few minutes simply by loading them from SD cards. (Jan noted that they're planning to offer a downloadable library of presets on Panasonic Broadcast's Web site soon.)
  • The basic controls on the SDX900 are very conveniently located and would take only a short time to master "blind".
  • The images from the SDX900 and Varicam were certainly different, but not breathtakingly so. Also, the cameras seemed nearly identical in physical size.
  • Footage up-sampled to HD from the SDX900's DVCPRO50 format and viewed on an HD deck looked very, very good and clean.
  • Finally, I was struck by just how much value the DVX100 really represents for a fraction of the cost of its biggger bretheren. While it's imaging is not quite in the same arena as that of the SDX900, it is certainly not a laughable straggler by any means. Those who cannot justify or afford the $50,000+ it would take to grab the SDX900 can be consoled with the knowledge that the DVX100 can produce pretty darn good results according to a side-by-side comparison.
So there it is, one fellow's impressions. I don't think that there's any question that the SDX900 will quickly become the camera for independent video-based productions.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 07:16 PM   #49
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To be honest, this may be my next camera. I don't think I would upgrade my XL1S to XL2 if it's going to still be a DV25 camera.

This isn't a knock to Canon, who I still think made the best dv25 camera on many levels, but unless the XL2 comes with some serious feature pushing the boundaries of the dv25, I think I would go with a DVCPRO50 range.

I've invested a lot in the XL1S, and I don't plan on retiring it even after aquiring the SDX900. The XL1S shoots too damn good for certain projects, and married to the mini35, its unbeatable for most SD projects. I also have a concern about compressed HD formats, so I don't know that that is a viable route. (I look at that as consumer, not prosumer or professional)
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Old February 9th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #50
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I certainly don't think you'd be disappointed, John. It will, however, be a capital-intensive jump, particularly if you're not already equipped for DVCPRO50.

I get the impression that the SDX900 is selling most widely to rental houses. So, being in NYC, you may have a good opportunity to rent it for a trial before taking the full plunge.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 07:37 PM   #51
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Yes, I am going to rent it for a commercial I have to lens. If all goes well thru shooting and post, I think I'll make the investment into that and a deck.

I run Avid MC and Avid Xpress Pro. I understand that Avid *might* have a dvcpro50 update for Avid Xpress Pro and higher systems.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #52
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Keep your eye out for some announcements around NAB this year. Panasonic may be introducing a new DVCPRO50 deck with Firewire built-in (something not offered now) at a lower cost than their current full deck offerings.
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Old February 10th, 2004, 12:13 PM   #53
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I have seen footage shot with the sdx900, and it looks great. Super 16mm quality. Of course it should, since the cam cost 25k+....I'm stunned how much difference a 2/3 chip makes over a 1/3....

The shoot was indoors. I still have doubts on digital footage on anything with a great deal of distance, say over 50 feet. Even HD looks a bit hinky on landscape shots.

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Old February 11th, 2004, 10:51 AM   #54
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I am hoping Avid announces DVCPRO50 support in the Avid lineup from Xpress Pro and Up. THis will make a difference in bringing some of the cost of aquisition of DVCPRO50 for my workflow.
It looks like a great interim format for when you never want to be analog, but when HD is still costly and cumbersome technically to deal with on fast shoots.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 11:00 AM   #55
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I believe any Avid above Xpress pro will take DV50 via SDI. With the Mojo box on Xpress Pro I think you can get it in, but only via component...could be wrong there. It would be nice to have the option with the cheaper systems. We sold our old (7.2) Media Composers and went with Xpress Pro because it did everything our old systems did but faster, and we're shooting only DVCAM now, so why spend money on new Media Composers (although the new systems have some more features that would be nice, they weren't all that significant for us, considering the cost and how good Xpress Pro is now).

I thought about going to a DV50 format when I switched to DVCAM, but decided to spend less money, because DVCAM looks good enough with the DSR500, and then by the time we're ready for another upgrade, HD for the masses ought to be here. That was my reasoning 4 years ago, and HD for the masses (by my definition--ie., an HD camera for the price of a DSR570 and decks for the price of the DSR2000's) still isn't here, and Panasonic has done great things with the SDX900...so maybe DV50 is going to stick around for awhile, who knows...our next upgrade could be to DV50 instead of HD, and that would make your suggestion very good.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 11:24 PM   #56
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Yeah.. I am looking at it for $10,000 - $20,000 range music videos, because the aquisition cost of footage will be low, and the post path will be cheaper as well.

HD takes a lot of work to get right, and the post is just as expensive as everything else. In fact, right now, it price in post seems to match whatever you would have saved by not having to do a 16mm one light transfer to tape for editing. The guys who know what they are doing in HD and the HD rooms are going for a premimum at the moment.

So staying in SD video that is more than broadcast worthy and can match 16mm is excellent for music videos going to broadcast.
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