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Old March 22nd, 2018, 06:23 PM   #16
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
And what we need is 2/3" sensors that get better at HD, and don't chase the megapixels. The PXW-X400 3MOS 1080p sensors are f12@2000 NTCS...when you swap in the 4K sensor package, that drops to f9@2000, or roughly 1993 sensitivity for a 2/3" camera. News will remain 720 and 1080 for at least the service length of the next 2-3 generations of brand new shoulder mount ENG cameras...let's see more s/n improvements and HDR improvements before pushing 4K tiny pixels onto $15,000 broadcast news cameras.

Paul
It seems this segment is pretty stagnant with manufacturers not really throwing many resources into it, HD or 4K either way. The only changes have really only been improvements in built-in network capability for remote control and streaming and internal codec support. I'm hanging onto my PMW-350 until there's an improvement to the actual imaging portion on this product line. It seems like they're happy to trickle down features like the EXMOR RS sensors to the handheld and Handycam line but keep selling the same sensor block in the PMW-400 and PXW-X400. Heck there's still people opting for the CCD in the PXW-X500 apparently, for its global shutter and ease of matching to the PDWs.

The Z450s haven't been flying off the shelf like hotcakes either, if my dealer reps are telling me the truth.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 06:51 PM   #17
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

Yes, except for TV news, I don't see many other users for full size shoulder cameras anymore. I see that in the last year, 60 Minutes on CBS has moved from Canon Cx00 cameras now to Sony FS7's. Before that they were full on Varicam shooters. I use an old PMW320 with KH21ex5.7 lens at work...damn thing is noisy as hell even at 0db, but once you zoom in, it kills anything my Z90 can manage, even in 4K.

If you ever want to see PXW-X500 footage, check out KFMB CBS8's site here inSan Diego, they use them with Canon HJ19x lenses.

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Old March 24th, 2018, 03:49 PM   #18
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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I'm hanging onto my PMW-350 until there's an improvement to the actual imaging portion on this product line.
Then you should run right out and buy a Z450 today because the Z450 absolutely blows the doors off of a PMW-350 or PMW-400. Not even close!! And I'm not even talking about the difference in 4K vs HD. Compare them in HD if you want to, and the Z450 is still an amazing camera that really kills the 350/400. The difference in picture quality is probably much more than you would expect. That single 2/3" 4K CMOS sensor is a beauty.

But, maybe wait a couple of weeks to see what Sony unveils at NAB in two weeks. There are a couple of gaps in their product line and a lower cost 2/3" or 1/2" 4K ENG camera would fill one of them.
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Old March 24th, 2018, 08:09 PM   #19
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

How much is due to the 4K lens Doug? :-)

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Old March 26th, 2018, 01:43 AM   #20
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

I have touched one Z450, at a trade show, so far ...

Apart from loaner demos and people reviewing them, I literally know of no individual, or any organization that has actually committed to purchase one, or are actively using them for anything other than marketing or showcasing the product itself, R&D of accessories (like RF/microwave), and maybe system compatibility testing. Even the folks in live sports industries, which generally have an equipment budget compared to say, local news, haven't shown interest ... they're happily running PDW-700/850 even today. No bites from the shops that also have rental departments - they feel it won't get out enough to make it worth stocking (because I would have rented one to get some of my own hands-on time); at that price they'd rather pick up a couple more PXW-FS7M2's for the inventory which they know will pay for themselves and are meeting their customer requirements for DCI as well as UHD-1/QFHD resolutions. Meanwhile some projects are still insisting on disc-based XDCAM for ease of hand-off and archival.

I'm mainly on here to follow general industry trends (and we have a worldwide user base on these forums) to get a feel for where the market is moving. Apparently it's not very strongly in the direction of 2/3" 4K camcorders, only system/studio models. We'll see whether Sony makes any mention of anything new for this segment or just brings back the Z450 with maybe a firmware update or feature set enhancement promise to show again this year...

I've mentioned this in the other thread, but things like... live output on the Z450 is quad-link 3G (with additional license fee), but will 6G- or 12G-SDI (over copper or fibre) ever get popular adoption and eclipse quad-link much like dual-link HD-SDI was replaced in pretty much all applications by 3G-SDI today? Some other vendors have jumped on SMPTE 2022 SDI-over-IP instead (physical medium agnostic) and are touting that as the next best thing. Couple of standards that aren't clear yet and are not even at a "de facto" point because the technology is so new. There's a lot of supporting ecosystem around hardware that has to come together. It's not entirely unlike how Firewire/i.Link got quietly dropped off most products and are a rarity today - but not too long ago the HDV/deck emulation was necessary to integrate with certain workflows, at the time.

With this kind of price tag owners of such equipment will want to get at least several years of use out of it... (this is a nearly $30k CAD product in body-only configuration) even future resale prospects are concerning if they were never really popular when new, anyway. First-to-market, first on the block is always going to be a premium priced technology that will typically mature and decrease in price over time. I'm not knocking the Z450 at all especially given my limited personal experience with this model, but what I am saying from my observations, it doesn't seem to have to be getting very much industry attention or otherwise there are people who feel they can achieve similar or better results with other models or makes. Paul was commenting earlier (which is what spurred this discussion on the X400/Z450 conversion) that the users don't want to sacrifice sensitivity or dynamic range with higher-density, higher resolution sensors which is a interesting point, for the news and television segment that this class of camcorder seems to be aimed at, that could be one of the deal breakers. Is it the capability or lack thereof, is it the price tag of the unit and its accessories, is it the lack of desire to go to a 4K acquisition? Ahead of its time or has the market moved on to other things?
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Old March 26th, 2018, 06:01 AM   #21
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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How much is due to the 4K lens Doug? :-)

Paul
Almost nothing.

I spoke to the Fujinon guys at NAB last year when I wanted borrow a lens to shoot demo footage for Sony after NAB with the Z450 I was demonstrating in their booth. Fujinon told me flat out that there is virtually no difference between a lens with a 4K label and an HD label. They told me you MIGHT see some differences around the perimeter of the frame in some circumstances, but the center would be identical. In my opinion, they were not even fully convinced of that themselves. They didn't try to convince me that a 4K labeled lens would be worth it, and ultimately they gve me a HD lens to use for shooting the Z450 demo footage.

Last month I was shooting for three weeks with a Z450 for OBS at the Winter Olympics and we had Canon 4K lenses. I could see no difference in image quality vs. the "HD" Fujinon lens I had already spent a couple of weeks using after NAB. If I owned a Z450 I would not waste my money on lens with a "4K" label.

All shot with an ordinary HD lens . . .

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Old March 26th, 2018, 06:16 AM   #22
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

Kevin, you seem much more concerned with the direction of the industry, what other people are buying, etc. that I am. In fact, I apologize, but I can't even get through your entire post because you are discussing issues that mean nothing to me as an owner operator who is more concerned with choosing the right tools for my own use than what other people are using or what capabilities a camera may or may not have that I wouldn't use anyway.

In a previous post you said you'd be interested in a new camera that improved upon the PMW-350. Well, the Z450 is a huge step up. Huge. The 350 and 400 are two of the ugliest looking cameras Sony ever made. I know two friends who returned theirs because we could never get an acceptable picture out of them. I would take a 1/2" PMW-320 over a PMW-350 any day. I don't mean to rag on the 350/400, but my point is that if you're really looking or a better ENG camera, then the Z450 is here today. What difference does it make if other freelancers buy one or not? I could shoot stuff with a Z450 (particularly sports, documentary, news, wildlife, etc.) that a super35mm camera could never dream of.

If you think that an FS7 is a good substitute for a true shoulder-mount ENG camera with nice 22x lens and built-in a 2x extender then we must have different criteria we are judging by because they are not the same league at all. Different tools for different jobs. There is no way we could have shot the 4K ENG coverage at the Olympics with any other camera on the market. The Z450 has no competition at all, and no other camcorder comes close to the features and over-all look that it provides.

If I was not so heavily invested in my F55 package, I would be a happy Z450 owner right now with my FS7 relegated to mostly being used for interviews or HFR. But that ship has sailed and I am too deep into super35 to go back to 2/3" now at this stage of my career. Whether or not the Z450 is getting traction with other people or orgnaizations would barely be on my radar. Let's face it we are still in the early days of the 4K transition. Most of the Olympics' live coverage was produced in HD only. Almost zero 4K cameras or infrastructure and almost zero 4K feeds to rights holders. So if the Olympcis aren't doing 4K yet, then you can be sure the rest of the world isn't there yet either. Investing in Z450 is like getting a F800 ten years ago. Forward thinking for the right person, or a big mistake for someone else who waits for some else to request a particular camera.

Just my 2 cents. Not trying to argue, just sharing my thoughts.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 05:02 PM   #23
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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Kevin, you seem much more concerned with the direction of the industry, what other people are buying, etc. that I am. In fact, I apologize, but I can't even get through your entire post because you are discussing issues that mean nothing to me as an owner operator who is more concerned with choosing the right tools for my own use than what other people are using or what capabilities a camera may or may not have that I wouldn't use anyway.

In a previous post you said you'd be interested in a new camera that improved upon the PMW-350. Well, the Z450 is a huge step up. Huge. The 350 and 400 are two of the ugliest looking cameras Sony ever made. I know two friends who returned theirs because we could never get an acceptable picture out of them. I would take a 1/2" PMW-320 over a PMW-350 any day. I don't mean to rag on the 350/400, but my point is that if you're really looking or a better ENG camera, then the Z450 is here today. What difference does it make if other freelancers buy one or not? I could shoot stuff with a Z450 (particularly sports, documentary, news, wildlife, etc.) that a super35mm camera could never dream of.
All good points and I respect your opinions of the products. I'm happy to have a discussion about this too because as you can tell I'm on the fence about what my next move might be. I'm just bringing up a couple things that stick for me, thinking out loud, but not trying to sway anyone to or from the product. I've just bought into too many technologies in the past which turned out to be unsuccessful, rapidly discontinued by manufacturers, and are shelved today well before their useful life.

I agree the 350 is old and lots of other models do better, today. However it was also Sony's first response to the solid-state workflow movement back in 2009/2010. Despite the "only" 4:2:0 chroma and "only" 35Mbps MPEG-2 codec... it is physically well-built, like you expect from Sony, and there are still many of them out there in use every day right now. I expect that because all the usual wear items are removable (ExpressCard/SxS media) that the actual camcorder hardware should last for many more years compared to previous models with moving internal parts for the disc/disk or tape drives. So I don't think its time is up yet in the way that I should be looking to change hardware ASAP before this thing crumbles on me one day. As they say the best camera is the one you have, as opposed to the one that you don't, and are dreaming of or can't justify... will the step to the Z450 now really give me the competitive edge that people will notice or care about? Can I move over my DWX receiver and 26-pin viewfinder or have to buy all new accessories too? Will another year or two drop a QFHD/UHD-1 product that is closer to the price point of say today's PXW-X400? That's why I'm watching the industry, versus just going off and doing my own thing regardless of what anyone else is doing (if I didn't care about anyone else's experiences, I probably wouldn't be on here). I want to say the HD to UHD movement is a lot 'softer' than the SD to HD movement we just went through - like in ways that even the attempted stop gap technologies of that era, like native 16:9 SD sensors (which all my later model tape cameras had) weren't able to fill. Paul's comments earlier in this thread I'm interpreting along the lines of: No, we don't really need a lot of extra pixels right now, it doesn't enhance the coverage nor does it make it any easier to transmit over the network infrastructure we have in place today. Improved quality to some, does not necessarily just mean more pixel count, higher bitrates, or larger file sizes.

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Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
And what we need is 2/3" sensors that get better at HD, and don't chase the megapixels.
Of course, no one device will meet the needs for 100% of users or owners, it's why we have choices, but generally speaking equipment helps meet a technical requirement, thing is we're not sure what those technical requirements are. I know some other folks on here bring up the EBU R118 spec for discussion often. I'm not bound by that at all, but sometimes other standards are developed based on published documents such as R118. Apparently there are environments where they fret over WHAT the equipment is, as opposed to what you can DO with the equipment. Anyway, having something to go by not only makes life easier if you're handling the project end-to-end or whether you're just handing off the day's content to the client only. Sometimes those requirements drive buying decisions. People don't want to spend extra time transcoding content into a different format or dealing with external recorders because they got a model that couldn't do the required format internally. H.265/HEVC is starting to gain adoption even on the consumer end; how will this fit in to the pro market for recorded content as well as IP-network streamed content? To me I would also consider the internal streaming/network capabilities as that is becoming an increasing want from clients especially corporate event, announcements and launches type of situations. I've toyed around with the Ustream and RTP/UDP support on my X70 and I hope they evolve that further across the product line. I do realize that's a feature others would never touch even once.

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If you think that an FS7 is a good substitute for a true shoulder-mount ENG camera with nice 22x lens and built-in a 2x extender then we must have different criteria we are judging by because they are not the same league at all. Different tools for different jobs. There is no way we could have shot the 4K ENG coverage at the Olympics with any other camera on the market. The Z450 has no competition at all, and no other camcorder comes close to the features and over-all look that it provides.

If I was not so heavily invested in my F55 package, I would be a happy Z450 owner right now with my FS7 relegated to mostly being used for interviews or HFR. But that ship has sailed and I am too deep into super35 to go back to 2/3" now at this stage of my career. Whether or not the Z450 is getting traction with other people or orgnaizations would barely be on my radar. Let's face it we are still in the early days of the 4K transition. Most of the Olympics' live coverage was produced in HD only. Almost zero 4K cameras or infrastructure and almost zero 4K feeds to rights holders. So if the Olympcis aren't doing 4K yet, then you can be sure the rest of the world isn't there yet either. Investing in Z450 is like getting a F800 ten years ago. Forward thinking for the right person, or a big mistake for someone else who waits for some else to request a particular camera.
I would never consider a FS7 to be comparable either. I am personally not looking at getting that model, but I can't ignore the fact that it exists and seems to be quite popular. Again chatting with other people involved in the industry, that's the model many clients are asking for by name. It delivers a certain technical performance at a price point people are willing to go for. I'm here considering and discussing this model as more than just a passing glance because I do love the traditional form factor and controls layout, and the long reach of zoom lenses made for B4 mount. It certainly seems the closest to something *I* would enjoy using. There is a stigma these days, the shoulder-mount form factor is inflexible and old-school (paraphrasing) relegating it to a small niche. I'm glad there's a couple of us on here who at least appreciate their benefits, but if enough people say that and translates into actions - voting with their wallets, that also influences manufacturers and what they spend more resources developing, therefore what they end up releasing. Ya, it's here today on paper, but no one has one on hand, nor a demo - it's a pretty substantial product to get sight unseen. One of the local chains just took down their online product listing for the Z450 as well. What is that saying?

As an aside example, I see on the used market today, PMW-TD300 cameras that were built for three dimension video. Despite manufacturer fanfare and marketing efforts, apparently those didn't sell very well at all either and are now discontinued with no replacement. Again, a unique model - the special tool for the job - to meet a specific technical or creative requirement with no real competition either. But if you picked one up when it came out, expecting the market to demand the creation of more and more 3D content, then that might not necessarily turned out to be the right path today. Like any other product, support and parts are going to get scarce for an item that never sold well and got discontinued early, compared to a model which has a vast user base all over. I would be more comfortable buying into the latter.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 07:55 PM   #24
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

I know very little about the Z450 today. But if Doug says it's all that and a bag of chips, I dont doubt that it is a very good camera. It's just that having a single small 4k ENG camera is generally a tough sell to allot of people.

Let's face it, bigger sensors and the benefits they offer are sexy as Hell today!

As far as the FS7, that thing has become an EXTREMELY popular camera in just about every way you can use them. Heck, I'd "almost" call it a quasi-industry standard. I really do love that camera quite a bit.

The company I work for specifically asks many of our production crews to shoot with the FS7. It's not that other cameras cant deliver the same quality, it's more that they trust what they are getting form it and they know the quality very well. SLog is even preferred for many original productions too.

Today, a single 2/3rds sensor in 4k is pretty small. Three chip cameras with optical blocks were all the rage for 1080 not that long ago. Again, I dont doubt that it looks great but I have never ever worked with any of it myself to know about it.. As far as Z450 vs. FS7, I dont think FS7 sales or it's place in the industry is going to be hurt by the Z450 in any way at any time down the road.

Doug, why not just sell your F55 and super35 equipment and move into the Z450? Your F55 and other super35 supporting gear should still hold pretty good value.

CT

Last edited by Cliff Totten; March 26th, 2018 at 08:25 PM.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 08:17 PM   #25
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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I would never consider a FS7 to be comparable either.
Just for the record, I think the FS7 is the best bang for the buck camcorder in history. No other camera does what that camera can do -- and looks as good as that camera -- for anywhere near that price. I'm not saying it is the best camera, but it is the best value camcorder ever brought to market by any manufacturer.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 08:30 PM   #26
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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Doug, why not just sell your F55 and super35 equipment and move into the Z450? Your F55 and other super35 supporting gear should still hold pretty good value.
CT
Good question. I would love to have a 22x (or more) lens onboard a 4K camera, but for my purposes, the F55 beats the Z450 in the areas that matter more to me. First, I must have 16-bit RAW. And second, I must be able to do 4K @ 120 fps and HD @ 240 fps. 90% of everything I shoot is using one of those modes, and the best the Z450 can do in 4K is 60P. That won't meet my needs anymore.

But the main thing holding me back on a Z450 is the cost of the lens. I sold my last HD 2/3" lens with my F800 four years ago and I don't really feel like dropping $40K into another lens and $25K into a Z450 for the type of work I'm doing today. If I didn't already have $120K invested into the F55 and 35mm lenses, maybe, but not now. As much as I would love to add a Z450 to my stable of cameras, it would be a very dumb business decision.

Keep in mind that the only reason I got into this conversation in the first place was just to let Kevin know that if he is really waiting for a camera that beats the hell out of a PMW-350 . . . it is already here.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 08:42 PM   #27
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

You just coaxed me into checking the Z450 price on B&H....

WOOF!...that baby is $25,000...yikes!

Yeah, I can see if you had the lenses already but wow,...that's up there for a camera like that.

I wonder how it is selling for Sony. ENG guys don't broadcast 4k live. ENG is solidly 1080 and that really wont change for a while. I'm guessing 4k is the biggest selling point. I dont see allot of people wanting this camera for scripted or reality work too much. (That is definitely more FS7-ish territory)

I can't see any news managers wanting to buy that when there are plenty of 1080 options available. That's all these guys really want. 1080.

I guess there are good opportunities for telephoto in 4k for wildlife documentaries with the Z450? I just can't see the nightly news crews ever wanting this. It might be just "too much" camera for that market??.

CT

Last edited by Cliff Totten; March 27th, 2018 at 06:48 AM.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 08:43 PM   #28
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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Just for the record, I think the FS7 is the best bang for the buck camcorder in history. No other camera does what that camera can do -- and looks as good as that camera -- for anywhere near that price. I'm not saying it is the best camera, but it is the best value camcorder ever brought to market by any manufacturer.
Yup, that sums up what I said in the 3rd sentence after that quote - "It delivers a certain technical performance at a price point people are willing to go for." which definitely explain why people specifically ask for them. Resellers keep quantities of these on hand, and it's very readily available.
You might hear some negative commentary from time to time about the design of the locking mechanism on the arm (especially the redesigned setup on the -M2), but people are very happily looking beyond that, not letting that ruin their overall experience.

For me that model seems to be more cinema market oriented, and doesn't include things I consider important like good multi channel audio (especially the auto limiter), and not quite the same level of wireless mic receiver integration as available in other XDCAM products (there's no way, AFAIK, to hook up a DWX receiver to MI shoe and have control and status via viewfinder menus/super and auto audio latency compensation). Also still no live 4K output over SDI, even with the I/O extension adapter (only HDMI). Those are some reasons why I'm not considering it very closely, plus I have the X70 for situations requiring compactness. I encounter them pretty often though, again very popular and commonplace these days.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 08:46 PM   #29
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

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Keep in mind that the only reason I got into this conversation in the first place was just to let Kevin know that if he is really waiting for a camera that beats the hell out of a PMW-350 . . . it is already here.
I'll try it again, but literally the last time I called around to resellers and distributors the sales reps were either not familiar with the product "Oh I might have seen that on a price list somewhere" or else they had literally never moved a single one through the door to provide real-world feedback on it. Couple other RFQs just remained un-responded to. Just feels like no one wants to, or knows how to sell one of these.
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Old March 26th, 2018, 09:14 PM   #30
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Re: PXW-Z90 4K night ENG demo clip

Ok, I was able to dig up this press release about 5 of these Z450 units going to cover the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Apart from that, still nothing much apart from the official marketing material and pictures, no independent reviews about this product from actual owners.

https://www.tvtechnology.com/the-wire-blog/9327-509327
Supposedly this is expected to be popular for over-the-top and social media/internet distributed content.


At the rate this is moving I might as well hang on until the trade show demo one runs its course and ends up on the B-Stock clearance list.
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