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Old June 7th, 2018, 07:06 PM   #1
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Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Time for another cam and it’s decision time.

I now this board is all about cams, and basically the more Pro-type cams; however, I would like to get an Action Cam that would keep my other cams company and where it’s footage would join in on the timeline. The primary use will be for recording footage on a sailboat where being close to the water and in sometimes wet situations it can capture footage that the other land-loving cams won’t (because I don’t want to ruin them).

By the way, this is in the not-so-balmy Northwest where the water in the summertime runs around 40ºF so it won’t be used when swimming or under water (at least not intentionally!). Life expectancy without a wet suit in the water is typically less than about 30 minutes (or maybe less) so this would definitely not be used for under water use. Oh … maybe for examining the underside of the boat, like maybe the prop or knot meter, but that is all I can think of.

The short list I’ve been looking at is the Sony FDR-X3000 and the GoPro Hero 5. I really like this Sony model because of the BOSS (Balanced Optical Stabilization System) lens but it is, or was until a week or so ago, about $150 (US) more than the GoPro bundle. The GoPro bundle includes a small case, small tripod, and a couple other little items. Also in the past couple weeks Sony has been offering a $30 rebate on the X3000 which brings the price down to $370. Best Buy (maybe some stores) is offering a free Sony PFVCTSC1 suction cup mount ($30 value) and $25 to spend in store. Personally, I can’t think how the suction cup could be used in my situation but there are accessories the money credit could be used for. Best Buy does have a standard open box price of $313.99 with limited availability.

Reading the tea leaves: There is only one new news item about a possible new Sony action cam that I’ve been able to find and that has to do with a FCC application. On the other hand, all this discount activity at the beginning of summer season (at least we’re approaching it here) causes me to think there may be a new model around the corner. In fact, A Best Buy sales person said there appears to be a limited supply of the X3000. Hmmm… Hot item and they’re getting sold out? Or inventory reduction?

What to do, get the current discounted model or wait for the replacement (that may never come this summer)? And what would the replacement offer? HDR? Color LCD screen? More menu options like better face tracking? Better focus? The AX700, compared to the AX100, has a large addition on the side of the cam which is probably to process all the new electronic menu features. If a new X3000 model came along it would probably have either limited menu features or need to be slightly larger.

Better price?, They probably won’t go that far! The AX700 was the same price as the AX100 (if I remember) but added more features.

It’s all about trade-offs. And what do I really need? The existing Sony model is good enough and I’ve finally come around to feeling that the additional cost for the BOSS is worth it over the Hero 5. The boat has a lot of movement due to wave action and the BOSS will really help in that regard. When it starts getting rough the helmsman won’t be holding a cam and none of the crew (or the Admiral) will, either, so the cam decision is going to be for the x3000. It’s stable mates the footage will have to cut with are the AX53 and the AX700. Can’t wait until August 31 for the IFA show (this is a deal breaker).

In use, the focus in tight quarters where people may be moving around will be important. The footage cutting together will be very helpful. The iPhone can be used for basic remote control (I’ll probably have to rig up some kind of a sun shade so see the screen better). It’s battery system is different from all my other cams but it’s USB micro cord for transferring footage may be the same (not verified yet). The white case is known to show scratches easily (real bummer - I like to keep my gear in nice condition).

I know this was a long post but wanted to cover all the bases to minimize speculation. There is no way they can put a big slab on the side like on the AX700 and still call it an Action Cam. Just wondering if there is anything I may have overlooked that might affect decision making and also wondering about any limited cam or menu capability.

Management: if there is a better place for this thread please feel free to relocate it. Over Water???

Last edited by John Nantz; June 7th, 2018 at 07:15 PM. Reason: FDR > HDR
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Old June 8th, 2018, 12:32 AM   #2
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Hi John,

Just wanted to point out that the X3000 does not have a screen for composing or reviewing your shots. I love the X3000. Got five of 'em. I suction cup them to drift cars and I can sort of get them lined up close enough without a viewfinder, but I got a Zacuto EVF to hook up via micro HDMI to make it more precise.

Another thing I would consider... the X3000 will overheat in the waterproof case, which you would probably use if out in the weather and on the water.

I have the GoPro Hero 5 as well. The touch screen and ability to accurately compose a shot is great. I haven't tested for overheating because the image stabilization that they introduced proved to be not as good as the BOSS (no surprise there I suppose). So I haven't used it much.

The X3000 can take a drop and keep working. I had two of them fall off a vehicle while doing my stabilization testing in Guam, where I put them on a Hummer and drove the back roads. Suction cup came loose twice and it fell on the road. No damage. Had one get flung off a drift car rather violently and it still works. Lost the battery cover and has some road rash, but works just fine.

I've moved back to the Pacific Northwest now, up on Whidbey Island. Great to be back, finally!

Mark
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:41 AM   #3
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

For the limited shooting I have done while on the water I have used a Sony AX100 and more recently a Lumix G85 with a wide angle lens attached. Now let me hasten to point out that I'm sailing in protected waters and not the open wild Pacific ocean. I have been contemplating getting a x3000 but as yet have not pulled the trigger. I also have a drone, a Phantom Pro Plus which shoots 4k 60p and I plan to get that thing flying alongside one of these days.

I believe the Sony FDR-X3000 to be a very good choice for an action cam to have onboard and is on my shopping list.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 06:56 AM   #4
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Hi John,

Thanks for the email. I have two 3000 and still use my 1000. All kinds of mounts. Use them as C-cams for my show, "In and Out of the Boat Shop". Which I know you have viewed.

Worth going through all the settings and finding what works best for your use. The 3000 tends to lose connection to the wrist remote more then the 1000 which I why I still have the 1000. Since at times I have it on another boat I am filming to have a close up of the driver or some detail. Lets me start rolling at the same time.

Thanks for inviting me to the thread. DVinfo is great
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:22 PM   #5
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
Hi John,
Just wanted to point out that the X3000 does not have a screen for composing or reviewing your shots. I love the X3000. Got five of 'em. I suction cup them to drift cars and I can sort of get them lined up close enough without a viewfinder, but I got a Zacuto EVF to hook up via micro HDMI to make it more precise.

Another thing I would consider... the X3000 will overheat in the waterproof case, which you would probably use if out in the weather and on the water.
Got 5 of 'em??? Wow! Any more and you’d have to get a second Live View wrist strap!

Overheating in the waterproof case: That is a concern and raises some questions. The cam is advertised as "splash resistant", so where is the dividing line between "splash" and the next level, like really wet? Since it has a microphone would water getting in past the little mic holes ruin it?

The cable connectors are behind a cover with an O-ring seal so they should be reasonably protected from something slightly more than a splash. The mic holes are facing forward where the spray would likely come from and I don’t think there is a work-around. Perhaps some tape over the mic holes and record audio on another device?

I would anticipate some salt-water splashing, drizzle, and rain, but nothing beyond that, and if I needed to do any underwater video then it'd be with the case and not for very long, such as doing a look-see at the prop for example, with it on a boom-pole. I have some wet suit gear on board but would prefer not to suit up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I have the GoPro Hero 5 as well. The touch screen and ability to accurately compose a shot is great.
The ability to compose a shot is a nice feature. I’d plan on using an iPhone to find out if this works well enough but the Wrist Monitor while having a smaller viewing area would be handy for being more hands-free. Wouldn’t want my phone to go overboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
The X3000 can take a drop and keep working. I had two of them fall off a vehicle while doing my stabilization testing in Guam, where I put them on a Hummer and drove the back roads. Suction cup came loose twice and it fell on the road. No damage. Had one get flung off a drift car rather violently and it still works. Lost the battery cover and has some road rash, but works just fine.
Dang, that cam is rugged! I was concerned about the BOSS system because of the gimbals perhaps being delicate so that’s good news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I've moved back to the Pacific Northwest now, up on Whidbey Island. Great to be back, finally!
Welcome back! And it probably a relief that the Korean issue is winding down.
While you’re more in to motor sports, for info, the Race to Alaska (R2AK) is kicking off in Port Townsend on June 14 at 5 AM but a lot of the action will be on the 13th, so if you have any sailing buddies that might be interesting for them.

Thanks for all the good feedback.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:38 PM   #6
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

John -
Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
I also have a drone, a Phantom Pro Plus which shoots 4k 60p and I plan to get that thing flying alongside one of these days.
Having a video of one's boat under sail would be a dream come true. I've go lots of videos of other people's boats but for ours, only views from the deck.

I've seen kite and drone videos others have taken (boat selfies?) and they're really nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
I believe the Sony FDR-X3000 to be a very good choice for an action cam to have onboard and is on my shopping list.
I'm wondering if a new model is just around the corner so waiting for spring (down under), who knows, it just might happen.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:42 PM   #7
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Management: if there is a better place for this thread please feel free to relocate it. Over Water???
Just noticed there is another (maybe better?) place for this thread - under Micro / POV Camera Systems

-= John =-
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:44 PM   #8
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

John,
The Sony is waterproof. I have had all of mine under water for long periods of time. Some in prop wash filming drives in action and never had a problem. Also put them under filming foils on boats while sailing in the clear ocean water and again never a problem. Just don't ever store them closed up.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Also just received notice from B&H there is new firmware for all their POV's.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 03:05 PM   #10
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

John N.,
Yep, glad to bug out of that part of the world.

I would recommend getting the protective cover for the lens. I found it also helps with allowing me to tape a variable ND to the front of that front glass. Just adds a level of protection in the event your camera gets dropped on the lens.

All the access covers (battery, memory card, HDMI/USB port) have 0-rings, I've just never submerged the camera except while inside the waterproof case. From what Paul says, I guess you have nothing to worry about.

If you're looking for suction cup options, I have tried several types and I like the Gecko and the one provided by Sony for this camera. That sucker really sticks, almost too well. But keep the sticky surface clean and dry. For ones like the Gecko, I know somewhere it says to make sure the surface is dry, but I've done tests which show a slightly damp (as in wet it and wipe it nearly all off) surface creates a better adhesion than a completely dry surface. This goes for metal or glass. But do your own testing. On cars, I tried to always use a safety lanyard where practical.

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Old June 8th, 2018, 03:12 PM   #11
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Mark,

I might not have been clear, but I only use the camera in the waterproof case. And of course fresh water it after use, since I use it in saltwater.

Interesting attachment without case. Be nice to add ND's.

Agree on the suction cups, I wet my finger and run it around the edge of the suction cup right before applying. And also always use safety line.

Some of my attachments are:
camera on end of short carbon pole
Camera on end of mono pod
Camera on gimble mount on stern rail
Camera on stanchion mount custom
Camera on spin pole
working on a half dozen more for this season

They are tough little cameras
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Old June 8th, 2018, 05:03 PM   #12
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

The BOSS is really great on those cams. Some 3rd party software I sometimes use is Dashware. Takes the GPS file recorded by the camera and can be used for putting speedo gauges and route maps in your videos. Might be other software that does the same, but the price was right (free) and it was easy to use.

I don't think you can buy the wrist watch remote all by itself. I had to buy it as part of a package deal with another camera. Fortunately, the watch can control up to five cameras. Haven't tried it with a smart phone, maybe that method works better. I got too many dropped connections to be able to use the remote reliably.

Mark
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Old June 8th, 2018, 05:09 PM   #13
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Paul - question here ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
John,
The Sony is waterproof. I have had all of mine under water for long periods of time. Some in prop wash filming drives in action and never had a problem. Also put them under filming foils on boats while sailing in the clear ocean water and again never a problem. Just don't ever store them closed up.
Question: Because you say to don't store the cam when it is closed up is it safe to say it was in the waterproof enclosure when doing those videos?

Since you have three cams and Mark has five of 'em (but he's using them on cars so his setup may be different), for sailing videos (not prop or fin keel testing) have you used any of them together as in Multicam or B-roll? If so, was it advantageous?

Reason I'm asking is I'm kinda thinking about getting a used/open box item for this season to have something to play with then waiting for the new model when it comes out.

Edit: just read your newer post about using the waterproof enclosure when underwater.

Last edited by John Nantz; June 8th, 2018 at 05:47 PM.
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Old June 8th, 2018, 05:59 PM   #14
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

Mark - Great idea there ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I would recommend getting the protective cover for the lens. I found it also helps with allowing me to tape a variable ND to the front of that front glass. Just adds a level of protection in the event your camera gets dropped on the lens.
... about the ND filter addition. Based on the weather forecast it wouldn't be needed for the next week but maybe, hopefully, next month ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
If you're looking for suction cup options, I have tried several types and I like the Gecko and the one provided by Sony for this camera. That sucker really sticks, almost too well. But keep the sticky surface clean and dry. For ones like the Gecko, I know somewhere it says to make sure the surface is dry, but I've done tests which show a slightly damp (as in wet it and wipe it nearly all off) surface creates a better adhesion than a completely dry surface. This goes for metal or glass. But do your own testing. On cars, I tried to always use a safety lanyard where practical.
I've also noticed that a slightly moist or damp suction cup tends to hold better. After reading your post above, yes, the extreme field testing one, ;-), being experienced in this we can definitely trust your advice!
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Old June 8th, 2018, 06:41 PM   #15
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Re: Sony FDR-X3000 - any input?

About multi-cam with the wrist band remote...
I did shoot a band one time and I set up two of the X3000 cams to get an angle of the keyboardist and lead guitar player from the back and it worked out pretty good. I was able to prolong battery life by remotely turning off the cams in between songs. The remote let me switch between cameras and see each camera's view and turn them on/off, record/stop independently. But even with them just being 25 feet away, I still had occasional dropped connections. With all the time code options, multi-cam syncing was easy. (Set camera time/date to match to the second, and then set time code for free run.)

Mark
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