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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 November 17th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #1
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F900 or pdw-700...? please help =)

Good day all.

I am in need of some assistance.. We have a couple of f350s, and we love them, love everything about them.

of course, time has come to add another camera to the fleet, and we are having a very hard time deciding between the f900 and the 700..

I have tried to compile a list of pros/cons of both, but really still can't decide. Most of our clients already have HDcam decks, so that is a plus,, in addition the price of a decent used f900 is hard to pass up.

any help is greatly appreciated,

Ryan
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #2
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Ryan, for what it's worth from the rumor mill and the word from people I trust and who are in the know is that once Sony sells off their remaining stock of F900's that model will go away. Sony wants all of us to go tapeless.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:33 PM   #3
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Ryan, for what it's worth from the rumor mill and the word from people I trust and who are in the know is that once Sony sells off their remaining stock of F900's that model will go away. Sony wants all of us to go tapeless.
that is what I was affraid of Rick; they don't even list any HDcam cameras on the sony website anymore..
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #4
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There's a lot to like about the XDCam workflow, tape seems really archaic these days. If you're shooting with F350s now then surely your clients must be geared up for it? But of course if you're on file-based media you can very easily dump to hard drives or discs to supply to your clients.
With the 700 you also get the option of 720P and an SDI input option.
Price of 700 really isn't that bad I don't think for what you get. I got the EVF200 rather than the EVF20 which saves you 1000 too, and there's nothing in it really as I tried them side by side.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #5
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There's a lot to like about the XDCam workflow, tape seems really archaic these days. If you're shooting with F350s now then surely your clients must be geared up for it? But of course if you're on file-based media you can very easily dump to hard drives or discs to supply to your clients.
With the 700 you also get the option of 720P and an SDI input option.
Price of 700 really isn't that bad I don't think for what you get. I got the EVF200 rather than the EVF20 which saves you 1000 too, and there's nothing in it really as I tried them side by side.
Steve
Thanks for your input Steve. Tape does indeed seem very dated.. Xdcam has been a sort of tough sell up here, anything different from the "norm" people seem to get all worked up about. But the ones who have tried it, LOVE it. Thats what I am hoping with the 700, more and more will catch on.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #6
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The f900 is a superb camera no doubt about that, especially if you can get a 900R. The 900R allows you to create custom gamma curves. Other 900 plus points are dual filter wheels with separate ND and CC filters, 24P, 23.98P and as you said the fact that HDCAM is widely supported by facilities houses.

The down sides are that if you want cache record/timelapse or SD downconvert you have to buy add-on cards for each one. Slow shutter is another expensive option card. It records 1440x1080 and not 1920x1080. The HDSDi output is designed for monitoring only and is reported by many as being noisy compared to playback from a deck. I have not seen confirmation of this noise issue but it is widely reported. You will need a good HDSDi based workflow. You will need a deck to get remote control and thus accurate timecode. Don't forget that the heads, pinch rollers and other parts of these cameras wear out and there are going to be some pretty big maintenance bills every 1000 hours or so. You should have the tape transport serviced every 500 hours.

For me I would go for a 700. The 700 optics are stunning sharing the HDC1500 optical block and sensors. You get timelapse, cache record and SD downconvert as standard. The disc workflow is easy and fast and you can write your finished programmes back to the camera. No need to buy or hire expensive decks. It's 1920x1080 at 4:2:2 with the option to record off one of the two HDSDi outputs to HDCAM SR or a Flash XDR if you want even higher quality (although you'd be hard pushed to find any real improvement). No heads to clog or replace every 1000 hours, no problems with dew and condensation and little to no maintenance costs. HD or SD recording. Do you really want to go back to a tape based workflow? There are lots of small enhancements in the pipelines for the PDW-700. Everything I've shot with a 700 has looked stunning. Don't forget you will need a very good lens to get the most out of either of these cameras.

Downsides are that 24P is an expensive option, only a single filter wheel.
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Last edited by Alister Chapman; November 17th, 2008 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Error over bit rates
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #7
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I think some of the resistance was the added oddity of the F350 etc. only having 1/2" chips, and am sure Sony are really pushing the 700 and its 2/3" chips to get it accepted. I love the disc workflow too, but there is an SxS card module very close in the pipeline if you want solid state (which I don't!)
As for the "norm", I think that it is much less of a reality than it used to be, there is just such divergence out there now. What is the "norm" would you say, I don't even know what you're thinking - HDCam tape, P2, SxS, DVCPro HD? There's not even close to be a standard now, certainly as far as acquisition. Delivery, maybe, with HDCam SR seeming to be a favourite.
One downside with the PDW700 that I'm finding is power consumption, it seems to be very thirsty. I've used BP60s (even these are rated above the 44W consumption of the camera), but also IDX Endura 10 (way above) and they seem to die worryingly quick.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #8
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While Sony may well want us all to go tapeless don't forget that they have just launched the new HDW-650 HDCAM camcorder. Same optics and body as the PDW-700 but recording to HDCAM tape.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #9
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AFAIK HDCam is 8 bit, it's SR that's 10 bit.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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On the power side I found that the 700 draws a similar amount of power to an HDCAM when recording, however in standby the batts on the HDCAM seem to last a bit longer.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #11
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Quite right Steve, don't know why I was thinking 10 bit, I stand corrected.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #12
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I posted results of my tests with IDX Endura 10 battery and the HDCam lasted about 50% longer in both modes I seem to recall. It seems to me that when it shows most is in actual shooting, where you are turning on and off, recording and stopping etc., and they seem to run down horrendously quick, the indicator will say 80% and then about 5 minutes later it'll be flashing 10%. I don't know anything about voltages etc., so still can't work out if the Endura 10s are being pushed by these "power spikes" whatever they are and are being overtaxed causing them to lose more charge than they do at a steady power draw.
Not had a chance to try it yet, but wondering if I stack two Endura 10s (doubling amp rating I think) would that last longer than using 1 at a time?
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:05 PM   #13
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It came to mind about HDCam being 8 bit as I was recently at a seminar where the new P2 Varicams with AVC Intra were being discussed and the 10 bit thing seemed to be creating a lot of interest, mainly because of the extra dynamic range it would give (this was a wildlife festival so DR is very relevant).
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #14
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Thanks guys for your input, it is greatly appreciated.

I am definately leaning more towards the 700, especially with your guys feedback... It would make things soo much easier, if there was a "standard" and if Sony actually put everything into one camera.. that would be too easy I guess.


in regards to lenses, We were thinking the Canon KJ16x7.7b-krsd lens.. any thoughts?

would prefer to stay with Canon, and definately need the 2x extender with the work we do.

thanks again all!
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Old November 17th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #15
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Lenses are a very tricky subject, see recent posts.
I just tried a couple of "buget" Fujinons against the HA22 I have (costs about 13 000 I think, so is fairly pricey) and there's not much in it, just worse chromatic abberation on the cheaper lenses (purple fringing). Have tried SD lenses (quite old ones) an again, there's not that much in it, in fact my old Fujinon 8.5x5.5 was the best of the lot. Also tried the Canon HJ22 vs the Fujinon HA22 and they were identical.
I'd be very tentative about putting one of the "cheaper" HD lenses on the 700, and would probably feel happier with a decent SD lens, and for less money, maybe a J16x8?
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