F-350/355 vs. HPX500 low light performance at DVinfo.net

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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old January 1st, 2008, 03:49 PM   #1
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F-350/355 vs. HPX500 low light performance

Has anyone here compared the quality of low light footage from a Sony F350/355 XDCAM HD versus low light footage from Panasonic HPX 500 ?
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:37 AM   #2
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Unfortunately it's a no-contest winner: The F350/55 are much better/cleaner in low light. However in SD mode the HPX500 is the clear winner. The main reason is that just like the HVX200, the 500 is using spatial-offset to achieve HD resolution (remember, it's not a native HD chipset) and that electronic interpolation creates more noise than a native HD chipset.

The HPX2000 and 3000 would be a closer comparison in noise - but yet not the same since the chip sizes are different.

The not-yet-released PDW700 would be a direct competitor to the 2000 and 3000 cams from Panny, but it will be sometime - as in late this year - before anyone can make head-to-head comparo's on that.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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low light

During our recent 355 demo, we adjusted the Low Noise feature between 2 different settings, and that seemed to clear things up considerably when gained up.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:23 AM   #4
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Hi James,

can you give further infos on your experience with the Low Noise feature?
How does it affect overall resolution and did you try it with settings of +12dB too?

Thanks

ULI
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 01:39 PM   #5
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The low noise mode has 3 settings, Off, 1 and 2.

In mode 1 there is a tiny reduction in dynamic range and a very slight reduction in sensitivity (half a stop ish). The reduction in noise although only small is apparent at all gain settings especially in dark areas, however I would probably only use setting 1 if I was using gain above 0db or if I was shooting scenes with large areas of low key.

Setting 2 offers a large amount of noise reduction but at the cost of a not insignificant reduction in dynamic range and around a stop reduction in sensitivity. IMHO this mode would be best reserved for when shooting with more than 9db of gain. The few times I have played with the noise reduction it appears that at 9db with setting 2 you get a similar amount of grain as you would have with NR off and 3db of gain. At +18db it gives a comparable noise level to 9db with no NR. I don't see the loss of dynamic range as a problem as if you are having to use high gain settings then it is unlikely that your scene will be high contrast.

I have believe this firmware will become available to all owners some time in the near future.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #6
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When I was messing around with the settings, I did like filter 1 better as well. Then again when shooting news or sports at night, the added grain is to be expected from the viewers so any reduction will suffice. The F355 was a sweet camera overall!

On another note, Panasonic is coming in next week to try to talk us out of our upcoming purchase. Good Luck to them!
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Old January 4th, 2008, 10:29 PM   #7
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Beneath the cam itself the Prof.Disk was one of the main reasons to go for the Sony (F330). I also had a HPX500 here for 2 days and liked to shoot a ballett show with both cams to compare how they perform.

After having 4 16gig cards from the Pana dealer I decided against the hpx: I simply needed MUCH MORE Memory for such a show - and didnt want to make a "copy night" to reuse the cards the next day since I found that on a good PC (PCMCIA Slot) it took about realtime (DVCPRO HD) to copy the P2 cards off.

My 2c:

HPX PROS:
- great codec(s)
- 2/3"
- good sensivity due to pixel shift
- dvcpro hd out via firewire
- 4ch audio with manual / automatic gain each

HPX CONS:
- bulky and heavy (heavier than the sony... and no mechanical rec...)
- expensive memory cards = no "long time recorder" for concerts etc.
- no different hd codecs (no "HQ", "LP" or less memory consuming hd codecs)
- very power hungry

PDW-F PROS:
- great codec quality vs memory (35mbits mpgHD VBR)
- Pro Disc: Cheap, reliable (see dishwasher test in this forum)
- Pro Disc: Easy & fast transfer of files
- Proxy Editing : even on the SLOWEST Computers...
- different HD qualities (for longer recordings or HDV compability)
- stereo mic build in
- Firewire DVCAM realtime conversion (behaves like a dvcam camcorder)
- Cache recording up to 12s
- thumbnail viewing / instant replay
- very detailed menu / pain / cam settings

PDW-F CONS:
- 1/2" (though I can live with it fine)
- F9 @2000
- noise in black/dark pic portions (especially low key rec)
- 4ch audio: 2 Ch man/auto , 2 ch auto
- no HD stream out via firewire (File transfers only)

In the end , the sony was the much better concept to me.

I own a pdw-f330 with the 23GB drive.

ULI
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Old January 5th, 2008, 03:15 AM   #8
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Uli,

What about editing XDCAM HD footage vs. DVCPRO HD footage?
I will try both HPX500 and F350 in a couple of weeks, and the dealer says that it is MUCH faster to edit DVCPRO I-Frame footage with FCP on a Mac Pro, versus editing XDCAM HD with the LongGop coded, that needs to render all the time.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 03:41 AM   #9
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I am editing on a Sony Vegas8 System - xdcam hd is implemented very well into Vegas. Its just a bit slower (or taking more CPU %) than HDV.

Importing dvcpro hd into Vegas is only possible by workaround with RAYLIGHT, which works fine.

Better ask a FCP User... To be honest, I cant imagine that decoding XDCAM HD is a big problem...

Anyone?

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Old January 5th, 2008, 05:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
and the dealer says that it is MUCH faster to edit DVCPRO I-Frame footage with FCP on a Mac Pro, versus editing XDCAM HD with the LongGop coded, that needs to render all the time.
Your dealer is talking rubbish.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 09:12 AM   #11
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Simon,

Maybe. I look forward to try both systems in a few weeks.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #12
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You don't need to render XDCAM material in order to edit it in FCP. I doubt in reality there will be much difference between editing IVC-I and XDCAM with FCP.

Have Panasonic released the FCP IVC codec plugin yet?
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #13
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Chiming In

Since the talk here is delving into editing systems, I have to chime in and share.

Initially after purchasing an F350, I was unhappy with the options available on Windows to edit Sony XDCam HD .MXF files.

However, after much research, I discovered that Avid Liquid Chrome Xe is a pretty terrific system for editing XDCam HD. I have anHP xw8400 workstation tweaked to Avid's certified standards and though I had a rough start at first (incompatible graphics card), now everything is working very nicely.

On the windows side, I think it's tough to beat. I'm editing a feature with 55 hours worth of material and I must give Avid credit. I'm pretty happy with it. Only trouble is that the system drops frames once you add too many real time effects, but it's a minor complaint.

I don't know why there isn't more information out there about the Liquid Chrome Xe option. For the money, it's pretty sweet. I've only been using it for a couple months, but I've already given it a serious workout and my complaints are minor. The Liquid interface is also very intuitive IMHO.

This post is mostly for those who are looking (like I was) for a reasonable alternative to Final Cut Pro. You can check the Avid web site for approved configurations.

Also, some of you may recall that I had sound troubles and time code troubles a couple weeks back. Liquid turned out to be the best solution to solve these problems.

Cheers,
Mike
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