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Old January 7th, 2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Here's a new video comparison between the 12x Optical and 24x Clearview Zoom on the PXW-X70:
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Old January 7th, 2015, 01:52 PM   #2
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Thanks Rob,

12x optical zoom looks plenty sharp enough to me on one of my 1920x1080p monitors (e.g. the close up head shot of the doll), just from casual web viewing (not ideal, I know).

I can't see me ever using any kind of digital zoom, unless it was a highly unusual situation. The quality reduction is quite marked, to my eyes anyway - but hey, it's better than nothing if it's all you have with you at a time of great unexpected need.

Bearing in mind the PXW-X70 still awaits that 4K firmware upgrade (and no doubt 100Mbps encoding, or better) things can only improve regarding the level of detail this camera will resolve (obviously), especially when having to deal with motion rather than static shots like here. But from this video, it at least already looks to be in the ball park of my C100 and PMW-300. So, I think what I've read about people complaining it's not sharp/produces mud etc. may just be from poor/not sharp focus techniques and/or encoding for web/viewing on web etc. (the mud may be the current 60Mbps encoding limit rearing its head).

Getting more interested in this camera all the time - just want to know how much Sony is going to charge for that 4K firmware upgrade - and what exactly they will bless the camera with. 4K at 50p and 4K 4.2.2 plus some >100Mbps encoding rates would be nice - but probably an unrealistic expectation! (as discussed elsewhere on here).

Oh, and Sony, can I have a big, shiny, stick-on '4K' symbol to put on the side... to try and impress my corporate clients ;-)
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Old January 7th, 2015, 03:03 PM   #3
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Thanks for doing this test. Obviously the digital zoom is not as good as optical, however, in a pinch I'd rather have it than not. For certain ENG things, I could see it being the difference between being able to see what's going on in a shot and squinting at tiny ant figures wondering what you're looking at.

Question: With clearview, is there an image quality difference being at 10% digital zoom and 99% zoom?
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Old January 7th, 2015, 05:02 PM   #4
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Well, I wouldn't call this digital zoom. It just gradually changes to using the entire sensor with no downscaling. There is actually a "digital" zoom on the camera that picks up where the Clearview zoom leaves off. I find the CV zoom better quality than a digital zoom, and better than enlarging in post. I'll probably only use it when necessary though, or for family/travel shooting, but it's nice to have.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 01:00 AM   #5
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

YouTube blurs the heck out of even the BEST quality raw uploads. I uploaded some ProRes 1080p60 footage, and when YouTube was finished with it, it looked like it was smeared with Vaseline! Well, lets say there was some noticeable smear on stationary dark detail.

The downsampling is a MAJOR reason this camera looks as good as it does. Once you start cropping down with ClearImage, you start getting closer to full raster, and the picture falls apart horribly with moderate gain.

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Old January 8th, 2015, 06:33 AM   #6
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Thanks Rob for the test. It would be interesting to see the same test with different levels of gain. That's when I notice the loss of detail in 24x CV.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 03:38 PM   #7
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Have a look at this Tim:
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Old January 9th, 2015, 05:17 PM   #8
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

Hey thanks Rob.

Looks like the picture gets properly exposed around 18dB. Both show noise in the dark areas with CV being worse, which is what we expected I guess. On a shot from the balcony using CV zoomed on the bride & groom, at 18dB, the grain is really bad. With your shot of the face it's not quite as bad. Mostly just loss of fine detail on the face and hair.

Noticed you had the cam on PP4. Is that customized?
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Old January 9th, 2015, 09:32 PM   #9
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Re: Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom

You can definitely see that mosquitoing I mentioned previously in ClearImage with high gain. Also, as I found with my Panasonic X920, that left gain "click-up" is a bad choice. For some reason, these cameras add some sort of Hail Mary extra processing on that last gain up selection, which looks worse than the other 3db stops. I wish I had a 30db AGC option.

Paul
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