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Old January 13th, 2015, 05:23 PM   #1
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PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for this forum and all your contributions to it.

Could you please help me sort out some concerns about the PXW-X70? I'm debating between it and the JVC GY-HM600 or similar.

1. Highlight Handling. I know all cameras blow highlights, but the X70 seems to exhibit particular difficulties (from the online samples I've looked at). I would describe the transitions to white or blown out as "bit crunching," like reducing a video card to 256 colors, making the image look "cheap" when it has any large blown out areas, and to me this almost negates the benefits of the 10-bit 4:2:2 codec. Can this be fixed in-camera by tweaking the exposure, picture profiles and/or gamma curve, and directly record an acceptable image without having to fix in post, or is the only way to under-expose and fix in post? For news shooting, it would seem more convenient to be able to get decent levels and colors straight out of the camera.

2. Dynamic Range. It's hard to tell from online videos, but, despite the specs "on paper," is the dynamic range (and color) of the X70 noticeably better in practice than that of 1/3" 3-chip cams such as the JVC GY-HM600? The HM600 does seem to blow highlights more smoothly than the X70, IMHO.

3. Ergonomics. How is holding the X70 for longer shoots such as street interviews? And, how is the responsiveness of the X70's focus/zoom ring as opposed to larger cameras such as the HM600? I've read it takes a much larger turn to focus/zoom than other cams. What about not having three rings -- do you miss that feature of other cams?

4. Aesthetics. In terms of news shooting for an independent journalist not affiliated with a major organization, and the point of view of the public around you, what are the pros and cons of the smaller form factor of the X70? I've read about the "pros" of being low-profile and appearing like a tourist, but what about the cons? Do you feel to appear less professional because of the smaller cam? Is it easier or more difficult to gain media access with it, or the same? How do people react to this camera as opposed to a larger cam? Or, is society getting used to pro shooters carrying smaller and smaller gear nowadays?

Thanks so much for your time and input.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 11:07 PM   #2
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

I think the big thing with the PWX 70 is it's a 1inch chip 4:2:2: 10 bit camera. I was also debating the same question and going on numbers, 4:2:2: 10 bit is a winner.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 12:28 AM   #3
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Grushka View Post

1. Highlight Handling.

2. Dynamic Range.

3. Ergonomics.

4. Aesthetics.
#1 and 2. This was my major concern initially which I have answered to my satisfaction with certain settings I use for extreme highlight and dynamic range scenarios. Various modifications to which suit other shooting situations like indoors using different black level settings etc. An example of extreme outdoors highlights with demanding dynamic range can be downloaded from here.

www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/t9yiwl

#3. I've had a few sideways glances from some other TV crews and clients when I drag this little thing out but they know me well enough to know that I won't turn up on a shoot with tools that won't do the job. I have now used it on numerous corporate shoots, concert shoots and a number of national press conferences and everybody has been happy with the results. Looks fine on TV. I use it handheld or with a small shoulder mount. If it's a longer shoot then a Miller 10 sized tripod or Manfrotto's chicken foot monopod does the job very well. I enjoy working with a lightweight kit again.

#4. I really don't pay too much heed to others perceptions based on 'size.' I'm after functionality. If you have the confidence in your own judgement and ability and know what the camera can do and your clients trust in that judgement of yours then there is nothing stopping you doing a job with this camera. Its not for all jobs for sure but there are many instances where it can be used to achieve the same or similar results as a traditional larger ENG type camera. As far as speed of use and deployment goes, once you get your head around how to use its controls, you will find the camera offers you more flexibly in many instances than a large camera in many tight crowded presser type situations.

If you hunt back through the X70 posts on this forum I think you will find enough links to footage that could help you in your decision making process.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old January 14th, 2015, 01:55 AM   #4
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Sony X70 Image stabilization and 4K

Greetings to the members of the X70 fan club on dvinfo.net! I've been lurking here for several weeks and this is my first post. I've read most (if not all) comments/reviews about the X70, NX30, AX100 and the just announced AX33 all from Sony. I'd like to add my two or three primary key points to the original request:

(o) Stabilization for handheld steadycam-style of shooting
I've bought Joe Caneen's (The Video Whisperer) book "Run and Gun Videography" (runandgunvideography.com ) and there he wrote "I did a side-by-side comparison for stabilization in a test with both [X70 and NX30] cameras on the same mount and there was no discernible difference in the stabilization characteristics, though each camera achieves the result using different technologies." Here is a nice demonstration

(o) 4K (with image stabilization)
Since the X70 doesn't have internal 4K at the moment, the big question how (non-BOSS) image stabilization is going to work in 4K shooting. The just announced AX33 has BOSS and 4K, but none of the reviews covered it deep enough to judge.

4K would be great help to the kind of videos (multiplayer card/board game instructional, for example) I am making. Ultimate image stabilization is not really required for my 4K videos, but I terribly need it for workshop videos.

Thanks, Miki

Last edited by Miklos Nemeth; January 14th, 2015 at 03:19 AM.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 02:16 AM   #5
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

I shoot LIVE SHOTS with my X70 and my stations HM650 nightly. The 650 handles highlights better, the X70 blows out fast and hard. The 650 also has better colors. Reds on the X70 cut orange, and blues cut green.

Dynamic range? I like it better than my 650 or 790. They have bigger chips but the X70 settings can allow more usable variances than my JVC's. On the JVC's, even going up or down one step on a gamma or black level renders the image "graded" (almost an effect) and not really simply adjusted like the X70.

Weight? I use a heavy 16x9 EXII wide converter and a large CN302 LED on the front end, lots of weight out front, but I can hand hold it for over an hour without any real strain. The handgrip really is nice in this respect, and I mostly put my left hand under the wide angle barrel to keep it steady. You can also convert the handle 1/4"-20 hole into another standard shoe using an included bolt on shoe provided as standard. Putting a heavy light further back balances better, but you loose easy access to the carry handle.

I wear station clothing, with logos and such, and in this case, most of the time the size of the camera is ignored.

Paul
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Old January 14th, 2015, 10:37 PM   #6
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Here is an example of the X70 being used for run and gun news, with a 16x9 EXII wide converter. Shot this last night, on FAW, night at a gas station, stressful lighting and contrast. And yes I sound like a bumbling fool all the time, I'm a photog not a reporter dammit! :)

http://www.10news.com/news/driver-tr...?autoplay=true
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Old January 14th, 2015, 10:59 PM   #7
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Hey Paul - don't be so hard on yourself. I watched the news clip after your disclaimer. You told the story well with your images, and then backed that up with your eye witness verbal account which sounded quite believable. This from someone who toiled in the trenches of radio news for 20 years :)
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Old January 14th, 2015, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

You can make out a scanner in the background, it's difficult to do a "look-live" talking walking recorded spot while trying to be the assignment desk all by yourself in the field at night......I just realized that web clip is extremely low quality, I can post some of the RAW footage if the OP is interested in seeing how it handles those intense highlights and contrast.

Paul
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Old January 15th, 2015, 07:40 PM   #9
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Hi Paul,

Quick question in regards to both the JVC650 & X70. I know its a loaded question but out of the two which is winning for you on picture quality and ease of use.

I was very close to getting the JVC650 as my second run around cam but now the X70 is making me think.

Cheers,
Simon
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Old January 15th, 2015, 09:50 PM   #10
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

I HATE the 650. Yeah, it may have a technically better picture, does better in low light, has much better color and highlight handling, can shoot 1080p60 XAVC S, has better switches, but for what I do with it, it is horrible. First off is the terrible image stabilization, it might as well not have any. I thought the X70 has poor OIS. The LCD on the 650 is yellow/green, and the peaking is so wreched it feels like looking at 36db gain even at 6db gain on the LCD. The EVF has a gamma problem, blacks and greys are both deep black. I use these cameras mainly for hand held walking live shots with a wide converter, and use the X70 as much as possible. The only things going for me for the 650 are the PHYSICAL gain switch, and the color superiority, red car taillights stay deep red, not orange, blue LED lights are blue, not cyan, etc. Here is a clip I shot on the 650 with a custom calibration. You can see what I mean by color handling in those taillights. They have me moving to the 650 more now for it's built in Zixi live function, which has about a 25% success rate in the field BTW.

Robbers pistol-whip Rolando pot shop employee - 10News.com KGTV ABC10 San Diego
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Old January 15th, 2015, 10:22 PM   #11
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Thanks for your feed back Paul, I use the JVC700, 750 for a lot of gigs through a client that owns them here and find there ok for what we do. I noticed one of the big Networks here also using the 650 for locked off shots around the grounds.

Cheers,
Simon
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Old January 17th, 2015, 07:17 AM   #12
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

For those interested in flatter settings like the OP, I posted some examples I'm testing over in the main X70 forum.
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Old January 19th, 2015, 05:51 PM   #13
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Everyone, thanks so much. Just figured out how to subscribe to this thread and that it's not automatic.

Chris, thanks for the footage. Saw it on Vimeo but thanks for posting the "raw" edit. Beautiful job on these shots. Did you shoot this handheld? The highlights are really well controlled and the other parts don't look too dark. By "All other settings as per default in PP4," do you mean some or all of these were applied in post in Premiere, or all in the camera and no post processing?

Paul, that was a great report, and you did an excellent job on the narration. The lights are still blown a tad but look a bit better to me than in your earlier night news footage. Did you change any picture settings? Or maybe the web compression is blurring them a bit? Yes, please, it would be great if you could post a less compressed version.

A pro news shooter using this cam for broadcast work really lends credibility to it. Right now our options for smaller pro cams are a bit limited, but I'll bet we'll see more and more of them out there.

Has anyone tried green screen yet? Wonder how the 10-bit 4:2:2 will work for that on this cam.
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Old January 19th, 2015, 06:18 PM   #14
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

... um ... oops! I guess PP means Picture Profile, not Premiere Pro ... ?
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Old January 19th, 2015, 08:40 PM   #15
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Re: PXW-X70 Highlight Handling / Dynamic Range / Ergonomics

Tom, I have access to the weather center green screen at my station, if you want, I could maybe shoot some of that and upload a RAW XAVC file for you to play with? I guess I would need to make someone stand in front of the camera and move around wouldn't I?

Paul
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