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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 December 5th, 2008, 02:34 AM   #16
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I agree Thierry, I think the optical disc scenario is the best of both worlds. Sure gives confidence seing that solid disc coming out of the camera and going on the shelf, as well as being simpler and less time-consuming.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 05:29 AM   #17
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Nick - I did a review on the F350 being used in various countries and on a wide range of jobs, review gives plenty working pics and how we get on with it. You may find it helpful.

http://www.studioscotland.com/SonyF350_review.htm

I have considered getting an EX1 for those jobs where a little camera would be easier to travel with, use in difficult environments and where you are trying to keep a low profile. But for our business, the EX series camera system would not be a main camera choice.

Working extensively in various countries next year, I decided not to purchase an EX3 for these jobs and settled on taking our F350 with us - our F700 if it arrives on time, (sadly on back order) because I prefer the optical system which gives us an easy and cheap way of storing original footage which our clients want, and pay for us to retain.

The F300 series is in my opinion one of the best all round workhorse cameras available and the optical system has never let us down. You could try and pick up an EX demo or a good used one? find someone / studios trading up to the F700?

Course, the best of all worlds is to have both...

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Old December 5th, 2008, 07:32 AM   #18
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I think the advice coming from everyone here is remarkably consistent.

The F350 is a good workhorse and good all round camera. While it may not be the absolute best in terms of picture quality it does a good job and more than anything else the quality of the lens you use will make a difference to the results you get. It offers both HD and SD and the workflow, while not the fastest is totally dependable and faster than real-time. The discs are not expensive compared to any other professional grade tape yet you get the benefits of a file based workflow without the need to make backup copies.

The EX1 is small and very portable and offers quite remarkable picture quality. However the ergonomics are not the best. There is no standard definition record option and the SxS cards are very expensive compared to tape. The workflow is very fast but you do have to consider how you will store you material long term. You could consider using cheaper SD cards but this is very much at your own risk and is certainly not recommended by Sony. However those that are using SD cards are finding them to be reliable.

The EX3 offers the same remarkable picture quality as the EX1 but sits somewhere between the F350 and EX1 ergonomically and has the same workflow as the EX1.

I have been using the 700 and I love it. But it's a lot more money and I can barely see the quality difference. Also I travel a lot so portability is important and a bigger (heavier) camera also needs a bigger tripod and more, larger batteries with bigger chargers so the whole package get substantially bigger and heavier.

The F3** cameras do represent good value for the money. My F350 is 3 years old now and has been through some hellish environments without letting me down. However I want the best picture quality I can afford, that's why I choose the EX3 for most of my work. I'm not sure I would buy one now unless I could get a very good deal as I think this is a line that really is due for a major upgrade. Whether Sony will bring out a replacement I do not know. But there is a fairly large base of F3** users that will be looking to replace there cameras is the next couple of years.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 08:31 AM   #19
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Just for reference

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/private-c...m-350-kit.html
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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #20
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when choosing also consider the f-3xx series are 4 channel 16bit while Ex1 + Ex3 are limited to two.

Big story when you are recording events.

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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:59 PM   #21
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Definitely agree, I do a lot of performing arts work with my F335, and I make full use of my four channels of audio.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:53 PM   #22
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The 4 audio channels is a real bonus. Can Final cut import theses four channels?
Image wise, I think both cameras, EX1,3 and the F350 are more than up to the job.

I like the storage on the f350 and loath it on the EX1,3. If Sony could bring down the cost of cards for the EX series this would make the EX a bit more user friendly for me ( I have been looking @ the post on this fourm for a substute card ) as I do a lot of long form shoots and having to lug around a MBP and leave it safe somewhere is a real concern for me.

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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Stone View Post
like the storage on the f350 and loath it on the EX1,3. If Sony could bring down the cost of cards for the EX series this would make the EX a bit more user friendly for me ( I have been looking @ the post on this fourm for a substute card ) as I do a lot of long form shoots and having to lug around a MBP and leave it safe somewhere is a real concern for me.
Nick looks like you have missed an important topic on the EX forum. You want to check out this thread on using high speed SD cards with your EX camera. You can get 16gig cards for under $100 bucks. All you need are these inexpensive readers to go along with them.

The solution is inexpensive and simple.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #24
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My personal choice is also the PDW-F3xx serie. In the beginning of this year I owned an EX1, and sold it right away after two weeks of use. For me it was a way too heavy camera to shoot handheld. And it is the worst balanced camera I have ever used. I also found the viewfinder very crappy, and focussing on the LCD just wasn't my thing.

After renting lots of months I ordered a new XDCAM HD with a Fujinon lens mid september.

So I guess that everyone has their own story about wich one to choose. For me ergonomics are more important then a little bit more resolution.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #25
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Should have tried the EX3 Ivan, could have got the best of both worlds.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #26
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Thanks Andy,
I have read that post and that solution is great if only I could get some of the readers mentioned.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #27
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Late to the party, but some solid advice here. I only have the F350, and prefer the disc over the card. Aside from price, a disc is much harder to physically lose track of than a small card. I've done two trade shows now for Sony in the EX demo area, and I don't like being responsible for expensive little cards that can easily sprout legs and walk off.

I believe the cache record time is longer on the F350 vs. the EX cameras. As mentioned, 4 channels of audio, archiving already done, full size form factor, etc. You take a slight hit on picture quality and sensitivity, but you won't have any rolling shutter issues with the F350. Also look at durability. The EX cameras aren't built to the same ruggedness of the full size cameras.

Another note, the F350 has IR remote control capability. This IR capability was removed on the F355. A producer can hold the remote and mark the shots with Shotmark 1 and Shotmark 2 buttons on the remote.

Just more food for thought...

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Old December 6th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #28
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There's a downslide to the XDCAM discs I don't think anybody has mentioned. I just did a post job where most of the material was shot on a PDW-530 (so I won't talk about quality as the material was SD).

You, or the client, need an XDCAM deck (or the "dumb" drive). The client had no ability to screen the camera masters they had. I didn't have a deck. No big deal as I had the material dumped to drive out of house and the file transfer was inexpensive. From what I've seen, import from SxS is much faster than from the XDCAM disks.

With the EX I can hand the client a portable hard drive (on their dime of course) or I can burn to DL-DVD. They can then view the clips on virtually any modern computer.

Given my client's experience with the XDCAM disks vs my use of SxS (just for a couple of pick up shots on this job), they're moving their shooting over to me too.

Also when shooting with an assistant the SxS is offloaded to laptop during the shoot. Back at the studio I just ethernet the files to my edit workstation. That's FAST and if my clients have lived through other workflows, this really makes them happy. If it's a long trip back to the studio I may even screen (and even rough out some things) on the way back.

It depends on your clients and your workflow but the XDCAM disks can have their downside compared to SxS. Sure archiving SxS is a downside but my clients don't have to watch that.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #29
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I like facts and figures so I want to look at the F350 vs. EX1,3 purely on numbers alone so here I go and if I’m wrong sorry.

- inch sensor: both cameras
Difference being CCD (F350) vs. CMOS ( EX1,3
Both 8 bit
F350. = Y, @ 1440 X 1080, Cb @720 x 540, Cr @ 720 X 540
Ex1,3 = Y, @ 1920 X 1080, Cb @960 x 540, Cr @ 960 X 540
Both 35MBits/sec @ HQ MODE
Audio sampling the same

The only difference I can see favoring the EX1,3 is sensor resolution is 1920 x 1080 @ 35Mbits/sec and of course, Cb @960 x 540, Cr @ 960 X 540.

So image quality… or the camera that has a better resolution, picture is EX1,3 am I correct.

I’m just looking at image quality form a numbers point of view.
Sorry to put you through this but when purchasing the next camera I do not want to make a wrong decision between these two. I’m after the highest quality between these two and I know lights,etc…. make all the difference but I’m not concerned with this now.

You people use these cameras so I’m after just a bit more advice.

Thanks
Nick
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:11 AM   #30
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Nick, the numbers are correct and you can see the resolution difference.

Yes the F350 is CCD so there is no skew, but CCD's can produce smear so there are pro's and con's to both. As I said in my earlier post the really noticeable difference in picture quality is that the EX produces a very clean, natural looking picture. It also has CA correction with the standard lens. The F350's pictures always look processed or sharpened even if you turn the detail off, add a but of CA to that and the pictures just don't look as good as the EX.

I spoke to a Sony engineer from Japan once that told me that the F350's look the way they do because they were aimed at DVCAM users who are used to seeing lots of hard black edges so the F350 was set up to give a similar image. Don't know how true that is but when you look at the F350 pictures it seems to hold true.

So.... having said all that I was going through footage shot earlier in the year with both cameras on the same event but at different locations. There is nothing wrong with the pictures from either camera and they cut together without any issues.

As for the advantage of being able to pull of the footage from SxS cards without an additional hardware other than a laptop, well that is true and the SxS off-load is fast. The way to do it with the Discs is to pull off the proxies (using the camera) to a drive or onto the computer and the client can log and preview them. The proxies take up very little space compared to the full HD files and it takes just a couple of minutes to off load an entire discs worth of proxies. If your on a network and have everything set up correctly your proxies can stay on the network and be accessed by anyone on the network and as they are small they wont bog down the network or need huge amounts of storage. With Avid and Vegas you can then do an off-line edit and re-link to the full res files when finished. With FCP you can choose to keep the proxies from every disc you shoot on your hard drive. So if you ever need to find a clip you can search through thumbnails and the proxies to find the footage you want. Then you just go and get the appropriate disc when you need the full res files. While storage is getting cheaper all the time the logistics of keeping hundreds of hours of full res media is tricky, while storing hundreds of hours of proxies is a breeze.

So both work flows have pro's and con's.

It's not an easy and straight forward choice. I think there is a strong argument for larger organizations that are shooting lots of material that will be cataloged or be required over a network to go with the XDCAM HD optical disc system. Smaller companies or individuals may find it easier and quicker to work with the SxS workflow.
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