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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 23rd, 2008, 12:43 AM   #1
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Low Light / Variable Lighting

I am strongly considering purchasing the PDW-F355 XDCAM with the Fujinon XS17x5.5BRM-M. This will be primarily for shooting video in an Operating room setting where light levels will vary. I have no control over the lighting. Has anyone used this or an older model in lower light conditions indoors where the light level varies a bit? If so can you tell me what I should expect noise wise with this camera? Also please post some frames if possible.

Also can you describe what kind of life expectancy you expect from your XDCAM HD system? I am hoping for 8-10 years with proper maintenance.

My final few questions: Are you guys using the DIONIC-160's or are you using the battery from Sony? How long does the battery last in the field (normal everyday use)?

Thank you!
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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Your best bet would be to get a demo unit from a dealer to try in the operating room.

My camera (F-350) does exibit some noise in lower contrast portions of the picture, reds and other muted colours, in the form of blackish looking grain. It is not that noticeable unless you look for, it but is there. Apparently the 355's have some noise correction to help in that department.

As to durability, mine works daily shooting sports news in an NHL hockey arena, and has been flawless.

I power it primarily with a Dionic 90, and run a 20w ultralight-2 for interview clips. I can shoot all morning approxiantley, 2 hours run time(b-roll and clips), as well as screening and editing the clips in-camera, and feed the material, and still have enough power for post-game clips and feeding that night. I use a Hytron 140 as backup and for when I need to use a 50w light for stand-ups in the arena. My Dionic 90 is now about 16 months in service, and has recently begun to exibit some shortening of it's duty cycle, and when it is time to replace it I will look into the Dionic 160, but if it is a lot more expensive, I will go for another 90.

Overall, these are very good cameras, and I doubt that you would have any problem working in an operating room environment.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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Every operating room I have ever filmed in has been very well lit. The biggest problem is normally the fact that the main light used for illuminating the surgery tends to create a very bright hot spot. Contrast and highlight handling would be more of an issue than low light. The F3** cameras have pretty good highlight handling and the roll off adjusted in the menus. Ive had mine almost 2 years and had no issues. I hope to get 4 years out of it, although I may be upgrading to a 700 this year. I see no reason why it should not last 8 years with a little bit of maintainance here and there.
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Last edited by Alister Chapman; January 23rd, 2008 at 01:21 PM. Reason: system life
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:38 PM   #4
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They do sometimes turn off over-head lights for particular procedures, it has happened to me once half way through a live shoot, which was fine, but required a little gain. Best to check with the doctors/nurses before hand.

Doctors tend to get there hands in the way as well!
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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Yes, they normally turn the overhead lights off and just have the lights pointing onto the patient so they can better see the monitors. Yeah actually I am probably going to get a jib arm or at the very least a spider pod because in a OR doctors and nurses tend to get in the way and its not like I can say move :)

At the very least I know I am not going to get the HVR-Z1U as it looks like crap in that environment. My 4 year old sony DV handycam looked better.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 09:32 PM   #6
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My Sony rep trotted out the XDCam EX for me the other day, and I was very impressed. If I were going to put a jib arm in an operating room, I'd take an EX any day of the week. Had (seemingly) all the features of an F350 (my day-to-day camera) in a Z1U-like body. I was stunned.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 10:53 PM   #7
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I like the Pro Disc solution better because I need to have a physical archive of everything and going from a flash based media to my workstation then archiving that onto disc would be a pain. Also with the EX i would need quite a few cards if I am in the field or have to carry a laptop and an external raid configuration. I agree that the EX is great for smaller applications but I tried to handle that sucker and it was very heavy. There is no way I could hold that thing for an extended amount of time without using a sholder brace or the like.
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