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Pro and consumer versions including PXW-Z150, PXW-Z100, PXW-X70 / FDR-AX100


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Old March 9th, 2017, 12:42 PM   #1
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Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K


This winter I spent most of February working in central Florida where I was able to take advantage of the nice weather and go out and shoot wildlife stock footage whenever I had some spare time. Shooting nature and wildlife at various locations around the USA is something I really enjoy. It is great when you can a make a business out of something you’d do as a hobby anyway! I am not a full-time wildlife shooter, nor do I want to be. I freely admit that I do not have the patience to trek thousands of miles and spend weeks sitting in a blind waiting for some eggs to hatch. I would describe myself as a “casual” wildlife photographer who usually spends no more than 2-3 hours on a typical outing. Sometimes I don’t even know that I’m going to go out shooting until a few minutes before I leave.

Normally I shoot my wildlife footage as 4K RAW with my Sony PMW-F55, my O’Connor 1030D tripod, and a giant Canon telephoto lens. But that is a very heavy rig (about 45 lbs.) that doesn’t allow me to venture too far off the beaten path when I’m working by myself. So last month I decided to take out my tiny PXW-Z150 and see what I could get with a small inexpensive camera and my lightweight Sachtler FSB6 tripod. I like using the FSB6 with my smaller cameras because it provides the kind of silky-smooth pans and tilts that are necessary when shooting the unpredictable actions of wildlife. A tripod that only allows locked-down shots won't suffice.

As expected, the smaller size of the Z150 and FSB6 allowed me to hike into some places where I wouldn’t have been able to go with my bulky F55 -- and I think I got some nice 4K stock footage that should sell very well over the next few years. In fact, based on my experience with stock footage sales, I am confident that the 4K footage I shot with the Z150 last month will ultimately justify the entire the cost of the camera and tripod. Amazing but true.

Technical Details:
Camera: PXW-Z150
Codec: XAVC-L 4K UHD @ 30 fps
(all slow-motion is 1080P @ 120 fps up-rezzed to 4K)
Lens: 12x f/4 zoom lens that is built into the camera
Tripod: Sachtler FSB6
Graded in DaVinci Resolve and Edited in Adobe Premiere on my MacBook Pro
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Old March 10th, 2017, 06:51 AM   #2
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

FYI. Could be my end, but I do not observe nor can I click on the included Vimeo link.g
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Old March 10th, 2017, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Sometimes I have to click on the description at the top of the video frame.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Bruno View Post
FYI. Could be my end, but I do not observe nor can I click on the included Vimeo link.g
I see an embedded video player in my first post above. Is that not what you see?
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Old March 10th, 2017, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Ok...I had to tap/click on the main top heading. The box itself is empty...no large thumbnail.

Excellent video.....looks like a more expensive camera. Nice work!!
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Old March 10th, 2017, 09:26 PM   #6
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Agreed, it is an excellent video but that speaks more about the man behind the camera than the camera :-)
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Old March 12th, 2017, 09:13 AM   #7
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

GR8 video!

The Sony F55 is obviously superior to the Z150 in many ways in terms of image quality. But the Z150 does beat it on one category: "Resolution".....

The F55,F5, FS7, FS5 and FS700 all, do a 1:1 sensor readout that is effectively 8 million pixels.This is just enough to deliver a "4k" image. However, the Z150 scans about 14 million pixels (16x9 crop from it's 20mp sensor) and then scales that down to 4k. That additional 6 million pixels makes a huge difference in fine detail delivered in in 4k.

The Bayer and de-Bayer problem: 8 million pixels is the absolute MINIMUM pixel count needed to make a 4k image. If you look at the Bayer pattern layout, that puts us at 4 million green, 2 million red and 2 million blue pixels. For those readers that don't know, the green channel takes up HALF of the image sensor, leaving the other half divided by red and blue. In other words:

F55 and other FS series:

Green = 4mp - Blue = 2mp - Red = 2mp (rounded to 8mp)

Z150 and other 1inch-type cameras:

Green = 7mp - Blue = 3.5mp - Red = 3.5mp (rounded to 14mp)

This over sampling technology that Sony has developed is truly stunning. It's something that Sony has been able to do to mitigate and recover the resolution loss that single chip Bayer pattern sensors cause. If you look at the A6300 and A6500, Sony has been able to scan and read out DOUBLE 4k pixel count, process that image in 6k and reduce it to 4k for delivery to the CODEC and HDMI port. This is stunning! If you do the math, that's roughly 8mp green, 4mp blue and 4mp red.

No, I'm NOT saying the Z150 is better than any F or FS series camera. The larger F and FS series sensors have allot more dynamic range and many other factors too. I''m only saying that the Z150 has superb detail, that's all.

I would love to see Sony build an FS5 "brother" camera that uses A6500 technology with a modern sensor, stabilized and with Sony's latest 6k readout mathematics. Yes, this camera would lose it's FS raw protocol, I know. (Sony would need to develop a new raw data stream that is much larger than the current FS protocol) but I'd still buy it anyway!

Nice video Doug! Carrying your F55 rig through the bush wouldn't really have made your video any better. (dynamic range argument aside if you are just delivering in rec709 anyway)

CT

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Old March 12th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #8
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Thank you very much for the compliments, but if you think that the Z150 is anywhere near in the same league as my F55, or even my FS7, you are sadly mistaken. I'm not saying it isn't good enough for what I'll use the footage for, but it is a big step down. It's like comparing a Ford Fiesta to BMW 700 series.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 10:06 PM   #9
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Doug,

Can you go back and read what I wrote? I think I was being super clear when I said this:

"No, I'm NOT saying the Z150 is better than any F or FS series camera. The larger F and FS series sensors have allot more dynamic range and many other factors too. I''m only saying that the Z150 has superb detail, that's all."

Just because the Z150 scans about 14 megapixels versus about 8 for the F and FS cameras....does NOT make it a better camera. No, no,...I am merely highlighting Sony's incredible, latest generation (up to) 6k sensor scanning, processing and scaling mathematics.

This represents Sony's latest, cutting edge work. It's something they are very proud of and it achieves it's goal of capturing extremely detailed imagery that cant really be done on a standard 4K, 1:1 readout. (RGGB = 25%, 50%, 25% Bayer readout.)

That's all I'm trying to say. Yes, the F and FS series are far superior cameras for MANY other reasons not listed here.

I'm sorry that you misunderstood that.

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Old March 13th, 2017, 06:04 AM   #10
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
Carrying your F55 rig through the bush wouldn't really have made your video any better. (dynamic range argument aside if you are just delivering in rec709 anyway)
Cliff, I understood what you were saying but it was your last sentence that I take issue with. If I wasn't too lazy to drag the F55 through the bush I would now have a much superior video. Choosing to take the smaller camera is most definitely a compromise that makes a big difference on screen. You are entitled to your opinion, but I wanted to make it clear that I don't share it. :-)
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Old March 13th, 2017, 12:15 PM   #11
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Re: Z150: Florida Wildlife in 4K

Im not arguing against anything you say. I could easily list 20 different reasons why the f55 is a better camera than your Z150.....its just that detail and resolving power is not on that list.

Also, where can you find a a super35 lens that has the Z150's wide to tele range? So while we are changing our lenses, our wildlife takes off and we miss the shot.

I think the bigger question is the use of "consumer" cameras on professional projects. We all like to say that is a sin to use consumer camera for anything "broadcast". YET!....look at the Sony A7s with its INCREDABLE full frame, state of the art image sensor. Phillip Bloom was not ashamed to admit the he used his A7s many times for CNN's gorgeous "Wonder List" series. Even the mighty BBC clearly explained they used the A7s for its 4k "Planet Earth II" series. And believe me, nobody is more strict about broadcast standards than the often snooty BBC.

The problem is, Sony is now putting much of its most advanced imaging technology in its Alpha cameras. These cameras are refreshed almost every year and they just keep adding more intense tech on every new model.

There are shots that an A7s can get that no other camera can. Not even an F55 or F65 today!

Rumors say Sony is going to drop another Alpha, super high tech industry bomb at NAB this year. Watch as the line between "professional" and "consumer" get further destroyed.

Last edited by Cliff Totten; March 13th, 2017 at 03:04 PM.
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