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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 July 15th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #16
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However if you do a side by side, same shot comparison the F350 looks a little more enhanced or electronic. Turning the detail down reduces the enhanced look but the images start to look soft compared to the PDW-700. Don't get me wrong the F350 produces a good picture but you can definitely see the extra resolution of both the EX1 and PDW-700.
I've been saying this for a while. In comparison to the EX I found the pictures from the 350 to look 'coarse', and as you say the extra resolution on the EX is noticeable despite what some try to say.

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50Mb 4:2:2 XDCAM certainly appears on paper to have the same compression ratio as 35Mb 4:2:0 XDCAM
Not quite. Remember that 350/355 is variable bitrate while the 700 at 50Mbps is constant bitrate. So in situations where the 350/355 compression gets it wrong, or lowers the bitrate a lot because it thinks there isn't much happening, the 700 will keep a constant 50Mbps (equivalent to a constant 35Mbps but with 4:2:2 colour). So there should be many situations where the 700's compression holds up much better than the 350/355.

Going back to the comparison between the 350 and 700 again for a second. The lower resolution of the 350/355 is one reason I think Sony will, in contrast to what they will say when asked, release a successor to the half inch cameras with a full raster CCD. They will have to upgrade that segment at some point. Maybe not an entirely new camera, more of an update. The 355 was more of a point release too, and is still basically a 350 with a few odds and ends. Really a three year old camera by the end of this year.

If they have the lower end segment covered with the EX series, and the high end with the 700, then it makes sense now to update the mid segment which appears to be falling behind the others. I'm sure there are many who will forego the ergonomics in favour of the picture quality of the EX3 instead of a 335 or 355.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 11:27 AM   #17
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Alister,

We're all of the shots progressive or did you shoot any interlace?
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Old July 15th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #18
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Tom, the camera we had only had the stock firmware so was interlace only. There is new firmware that includes progressive but that was not installed on the camera we had.

Simon: I keep forgetting the 4:2:2 codec is CBR. For a given average bit rate VBR should give a better end result than CBR. However you look at it the compression ratio is roughly the same for 4:2:0 1440x1080 35Mbps and 4:2:2 1920x1080 50Mbps.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #19
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For a given average bit rate VBR should give a better end result than CBR.
Not sure why that should be. VBR is only there to help maximise storage space and only to use the higher bitrates when needed. Most of the time the 350/355 will be on a fairly low actual bitrate even in HQ mode. CBR should give better quality all round because there is no variation or reliance on predicting what needs a higher bitrate or not.

You are right though about the actual compression ratio, assuming the maximum bitrate at any one time. Although in reality the 1440 codec of the 355 has more 'mbits per pixel' available as it were due to the lower resolution. Again assuming the full bitrate is actually being used.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #20
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Good to finally meet you Alistair!

I have done a little blog entry http://web.mac.com/philip.bloom/Bloo...Matte_Box.html

there is also a link there to a cut together I did of a bit of my footage. I shot 60gb at the end of the weekend. Very pleased with results, especially day two for people, but day one for clouds! Will put it up when I get permission from Steve.

Phil
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Old July 15th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #21
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Going back to the comparison between the 350 and 700 again for a second. The lower resolution of the 350/355 is one reason I think Sony will, in contrast to what they will say when asked, release a successor to the half inch cameras with a full raster CCD. They will have to upgrade that segment at some point. Maybe not an entirely new camera, more of an update. The 355 was more of a point release too, and is still basically a 350 with a few odds and ends. Really a three year old camera by the end of this year.
I guess that this update will not happen. If you add full raster CCD's to a PDW-F3xx, then you will be getting in the PDW-700 his water. Why should I buy a 700 when I can get a 355 with that records full raster? I know, 2/3" CCD's vs 1/2" CCD's. But is that going to make such a big difference in the end? I think not. Actually I hope they do release one at IBC this year. ;-)
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Old July 15th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #22
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VBR has the advantage that the bit rate can peak quite a bit higher than the average rate when the picture complexity needs it.

According to Sony XDCAM EX is compressed 21.3:1 and 4:2:2 is 19.9:1

http://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/ext/Broa...mats_Guide.pdf
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Old July 15th, 2008, 03:58 PM   #23
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VBR has the advantage that the bit rate can peak quite a bit higher than the average rate when the picture complexity needs it.
And can actually jump a bit higher than 35mb/s on occasion.

-gb-
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Old July 15th, 2008, 05:15 PM   #24
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And can actually jump a bit higher than 35mb/s on occasion.
That's interesting.

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I guess that this update will not happen. If you add full raster CCD's to a PDW-F3xx, then you will be getting in the PDW-700 his water.
I don't agree. Owners of the 700 want the 4:2:2 colour sampling because their work demands it. So adding 1920x1080 to the 355 style cameras wouldn't affect it because they would still be 4:2:0.

At the moment I would argue that the EX series has seriously infringed on the 300 series market. While ergonomics are one issue it cannot be ignored that the EX series not only has higher resolution chips, but lower noise without the need for noise reduction, slightly better low light abilities because of that lower noise, much higher resolution variable framerate, and no loss of resolution when the shutter is turned on in progressive scan modes.

The EX1 might be a stretch, but the EX3 certainly could dent the sales of the 335. Especially since it can use the same lenses, so the whole optical advantage of the shoulder mount cameras has also been thrown to the wind.

So I think a 1920 version of the half inchers is definitely on the cards. Sony won't be standing still otherwise they won't have anything to announce at NAB :-) I'm also reminded of the number of times I've suggested possibilities to Sony employees only to have them tell me something will never happen, and then 3 months down the line they announce what I predicted. I still think I'm going to have fun with this one, even if it doesn't turn out to be a disc based camera :-)
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Old July 16th, 2008, 01:59 AM   #25
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I think Simon is right. With one Proviso. Will Sony keep more than 1 tier of XDCAM HD?

If you look at the DV and DVCAM lines there has always been a range of cameras. Large tape 2/3" DSR-450, Large tape 1/2"DSR350, Small tape Shoulder mount fixed lens and handycams. I see XDCAM becoming a similar range so it would not surprise me at all to see further 1/2" cameras disc cameras. I would also expect any further mid-range cameras to be full raster but still 4:2:0.

But this may be some way off. I think the R&D guys at Sony have been flat out getting the latest cameras out and are still working on firmware. So it could be a while before we see a true F355 replacement.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 02:30 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post

But this may be some way off. I think the R&D guys at Sony have been flat out getting the latest cameras out and are still working on firmware. So it could be a while before we see a true F355 replacement.
No disrespect to anyone, but whatever the Sony engineers are doing, they need to KEEP doing it. They are kicking everyone's butts right now. Panasonic shook up the market with the DVX and HVX, but really let them languish. Only the smallest upgrades. JVC really edged in with a network ready 720p camera, but kinda held there. Sony seemed to be stumbling, but they have leapfrogged everyone in the past year from what I see.

About the only thing I wish was that Sony would go to open market recording technology, at least on the consumer and prosumer cameras. If the Ex1/EX3 had come with SDHC, I can't imagine how much more I would have been thrilled. Panasonic with the P2 card kinda hits me the same way. Panasonics new releases though do seem to leverage common storage which I think is terrific.

I guess Sony have always played by their own rules though when it's come to storage. Whether its Beta, minidisc, bkuray, or whatever. I'm on board for the SxS ride for now I guess.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #27
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I'm just about to buy an EX3, but I won't be getting rid of my F350. The F350/F355 is still a good work horse. The pictures are excellent and I prefer the Disc based workflow over the SxS workflow (either is sooo much better than tape!). The EX1 and F350 are different animals and both have strengths and weaknesses. The f350 has cache record, CCD's shoots SD and HD, and is a proper shoulder mount. On the other hand the EX1 is higher resolution, smaller and lighter. It really depends on what you need the camera for. I would suggest that for corporate work or work where you must hand over your material the F350/F355 is the better bet, while for in-house projects the EX1 might be a better choice. It is not a simple choice. If it was purely a picture quality choice I would go with the PDW-700 first, EX1 or EX3 second then F350. But if I could have only one camera and the 700 is too expensive then I think it would have be the F350/F355 as it is possibly a better all-round camera. I still need a camera that can shoot SD and my clients like to walk away with the Discs.
So do I understand that EX3 is better than 355 ? now I m thinking of choosing sony equipment, 700, 355 and EX3. we are working on a project and I have to decide which sony ?
I read all of your comments Alister, but my biggest concern is EX3 CMOS with rolling shutter. I ve told some people and read some thread here that fast moving objects and fast pans a kind of "motion artifact" called "judder ?", seems like hdv codec with fast actions.

I ve used XLH1 with 5 months and didn't like its codec and dynamic range because of fast pans and motion artifacts.so I wont use it and will jump to sony. 355 has ccd and ex3 has cmos. could you please comment this issue.

Yesterday I ve already sent the equipment list to the sony turkey; if they have 700 they will suply, but as a B cam I choosed ex3. But, in case of they dont have 700 yet, I wrote 355 as a A cam.

so is it useless or unlogical to have both ex3 and 355 ? and also small and light ex3 save me a lot in the field,

thanks,

alkim.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 06:40 AM   #28
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Thanks for all the great information.

I cant wait to get my PDW-700 even more now :)
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Old July 16th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #29
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I think the dividing line is CMOS/CCD.

Until they can make the CMOS imagers bulletproof in all shooting situations, I don't think they will put them in the broadcast tier.

What I notice is most of the camera offerings of all companies seem to be at each end of the spectrum, 1/3" under $8,000 or 2/3" over $20,000.

The middle segment is a bit empty, which would seem like the 1/2" chip world will get some attention in the near future.

CMOS seems like the future with its lower heat output and cost of production.

Maybe they will come out with RSC - rolling shutter compensation!
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Old July 16th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #30
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Alkim, I wish I had the answer for you but I don't.

In most shooting situations I think picture quality wise the EX1 or EX3 will outperform the F355. Rolling shutter is not really the big issue many are making it out to be. Unusually fast pans may reveal a bit of skew and flash or strobe lighting can give part exposed frames. If you slow the shutter speed down the strobe and flash issues all but go away. I've shot hundreds of hours of footage with my EX1 and have no issues with the rolling shutter.

I prefer the Disc workflow to the SxS workflow, but both do work and work well.

The F355 is going to be easier to use with heavy lenses than the EX3. The EX cameras only have a single 1/4" screw for tripod mounting while the F355 has a proper sony snatch plate. The F355 is a lot more robust than the EX and will take knocks and bumps better.

It really depends on your shooting style, whether you need to be light weight and portable or need compatibility with industry standard batteries and accessories plus the credibility that a large camera like the F355 brings.
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