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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 20th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #1
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Steve F700 Ownership Questions

Steve – How are you getting along with F700 ownership? Been doing any work with it recently? I hope you don’t mind me asking, but there seems to be so little information about folks who are using this camera on a regular basis.

I put our order in for the F700 and apparently it won’t be available till some point in January or possibly later.

I will be taking a trip down to the dealer to try out various SD lenses up against the budget HD lens, rigged up to a display to see what route we are going to take in regard to lens choice. If a decent priced SD lens will do a good job in regard to general commercial work then we will go that route to start, and keep the pennies under the mattress for a rainy day. We may have a couple of shoots coming up that will require the best we can shoot (with an F700) and for that we will either hire a high quality HD lens or purchase it depending on the length of those projects.

How are you finding the camera for:
1: Reliability (same as F350?) – any overheating?
2: Battery power, any more experience on the longer jobs, did you piggyback 2 IDX 10s to see if it helped with the power spikes? Or did you make that menu alt that was suggested by one poster to help with power consumption?
3: Quality of image, you mentioned before that you are often given a Varicam for broadcast work, how do you feel the images compare?
4: You mentioned you use the budget viewfinder, how do you get on with it? We have ordered the high quality finder but I am not sure if it’s really worth it since most of our work calls for us to use a separate monitor.

Is there anything you don’t like about the F700 compared to the F350?

Thanks Steve… been watching your lens threads but sadly no one has picked up on the latest ones yet.

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old December 20th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #2
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Hi Stewart,
All going OK so far, though I'm not using it that much as still tending to use other folks' kit on most work (750s and Varicams).

Reliability - Had no problems at all so far, all seems pretty robust
Battery Power - tried various things, and no matter what I do I'm not getting anything like as long as I do from the Sny 750, probably half the running time I'd estimate. It is a pain
Image Quality - not really been able to look at it on a big screen yet, but certainly seems similar to the 750, a bit brighter, more lively maybe, where the 750 seems to have slightly deeper tones. You can see a slight bit of extra res on the 700. But not much in it
Viewfinder - Personally I can find no difference between the two, either when both are used on the 700 or 750 (the 750 has an HVF-20 on it so I can try them both side by side)
Compared to the 355, nothing really that I don't like (except battery life), the 700 is all round a really nice camera.
Mine is going in for the v1.2 firmware imminently (seems to be a queue), so that'll be interesting trying the 720/60P. Also going to get an SDI In board (about £550, cheaper than I thought).
As for lenses, have been doing more tests, and the more I do the more the SD lenses do seem to lack a little. Finally got round to shooting side by sides with an HJ40 (vs my standard Fujinon HA22x7.8 which I consider a decent benchmark). The HJ40 was sharper, but CA was a bit iffy (blue compared to the Fujinon's purple - anyone know why, coatings?)
I'm going to get an HJ9x5.5 I think, it performs very similarly to the Fujinon, and you can pick them up for about £6k or so, handles nicely and good range.
A few people I know really like the new Varicam (2700), and if it wasn't for the fact that it's just 720 I'd have been tempted by that, but couldn't spend that sort of money on a camera might not be in favour within just a couple of years, I still think the 700 could give the best of all worlds/compromise.

Best wishes,
Steve
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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Stu,

How much time are ou getting with your batteries on the 700 vs. the HDW-750? The 700 being rated at 40W, it should be in par with the 750. I am using 160W/Hr. Lithium Ion packs and would not use anything less on the 700.

Thierry.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:17 AM   #4
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Thierry,
Why would you not use anything less on the 700? Surely if the camera is using 40w then anything over that should work OK? I use Endura 10s and BPL60s which work fine on the 750, I just don't understnd why they don't do nearly so well on the 700. And it's not my camera, the demo one I had was just the same.
Was thinking of getting some SWIT batteries, there's one that rated at about 160w and not too heavy, but not sure if it's worth it.
Have you got your v1.2 firmware in yet, anything shot on 720/60P?
Steve
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:22 AM   #5
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The other thing that happens with my BP60s (which I admit are getting on a bit) is that as soon as you put a fully-charged one on the camera it frops from 4 bars (max) to 2 bars instantly. Why should this be, it doesn't happen on the 750?
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Old December 21st, 2008, 11:13 AM   #6
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The drop on the charge level indicator is a bit odd but that said, with PBL-60s, you are definetly underpowered for that camera.

Thierry
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Old December 21st, 2008, 02:28 PM   #7
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Steve, batteries on the XD are subject to more stress than on other cameras. My XDCAM is one of the first SD versions that came into the UK and has a higher draw than the later SD and HD models since Sony made a few minor improvements along the way.

The trouble with them is that they have a very high power spike when you start recording. Often above 70w! Li-ion batteries don't like this one little bit, and it was one of the reasons Anton Bauer advised me to get Hytrons rather than Dionic 90's.

Quote:
The other thing that happens with my BP60s (which I admit are getting on a bit) is that as soon as you put a fully-charged one on the camera it frops from 4 bars (max) to 2 bars instantly.
Have you got the camera in Standby mode or Power Save? I used the 700 with my Dionics and didn't notice much difference, possibly because my camera is of a closer power draw to the 700 than the 1/2" HD cameras. But make sure you have delved into the power save menu as well to turn off any unneeded functions.

The other thing is the age of your batteries. If they are over three years, regardless of usage, they will be on the wane. With Li-ion's I was told "Use 'em and lose 'em. Don't use 'em and lose 'em".
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Old December 21st, 2008, 04:12 PM   #8
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Thanks Simon,
Thing is whatever the age of the batteries etc., I'm surprised that they're OK on the 750 but not on the 700.
Have you measured this "70W", I do believe you and maybe that would explain a lot, might try to get some higher powered batts to look at.
Would you go for Hytrons of whatever wattage rather than say a Swit 8160 that's rated at 190W?
Steve
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Old December 21st, 2008, 05:32 PM   #9
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Have you measured this "70W", I do believe you and maybe that would explain a lot, might try to get some higher powered batts to look at.
The 70w figure was given to me by an AB engineer when I had a long discussion with him about the lifespan of my Dionics. I felt that they were not giving me the working life I would have expected. His specific advice was to have two Dionics and two Hytrons.

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Would you go for Hytrons of whatever wattage rather than say a Swit 8160 that's rated at 190W?
Personally I wouldn't touch the SWITs even though I know people who are fine with them. For Li-ions I would probably go with Hawkwoods now.

However the issue here is with Li-ions, which I was told do not like the sorts of power spikes that XDCAM can place upon them. The AB Hytron is Nickel Metal Hydride which I was told copes far, far better with high power draws and spikes. Especially if you are mounting extras such as video lights etc. So it isn't so much the wattage rating of the battery, but how well that battery type copes with the demands placed upon it.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 12:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
Personally I wouldn't touch the SWITs even though I know people who are fine with them. For Li-ions I would probably go with Hawkwoods now.
Have you had problems with Swit batteries. I have 2 of the 190Wh and they seem fine - ie they power stuff for ages with no issues.

My Swit charger has just packed up though, so I wouldn't recommend that, although I did get it for £50 secondhand so can't really complain!
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 02:17 PM   #11
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190 Wh batteries from Globalmediapro

We are the owner of PDW-700 since Avgust this year and we have shot several long projects with it since then. We use Globalmediapro Li190S Lithium ion Battery 190WH (245 EUR) and charger Globalmediapro SCA4S 4-channel Charger/ AC Adaptor (261 EUR) and up to now the operators have not report any problems about DC supplay of PDW-700 camcorder (they have a lot of experinces with IMX, Beta SP and DVCAM cmcorders).

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Old December 22nd, 2008, 02:30 PM   #12
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Matjaz, how long roughly is one battery lasting in normal use?
Steve
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 03:35 PM   #13
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I use DSM 98Wh Li-ions on the 700 and I get about between 95mins and 2 hours of continuos use, which is about right in my mind, certainly comparable to what I get on a 750. When you start and stop recording the 700 has to write very quickly to the TOC on the disc as well as the clip data files. This means the deck has to move the laser from the outside of the disc to the inside and back very fast, at the same time it will buffer any video and be closing the video files and proxies. All this takes a lot of power but only for a fraction of a second.

If I ran a 30w battery lamp of the D tap on my F350 you could see the lamp dim quite noticeably during the seek cycles. I have not tried the same on a 700 yet but I suspect it will be the same.

Also if your batts are on the way out, or past their best it could be that the voltage is getting below the low batt cut-off earlier on the 700 and the 750. You should check what setting you have for low batt and cut-off. Don't take it too low or you risk corrupting discs if there isn't enough juice to correctly close any files.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 03:49 PM   #14
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My Swit charger has just packed up though
Exactly ;-)

I don't want to rip into the company here as I have not physically taken apart any of their gear, but I haven't been hearing good things about the build quality of devices such as their chargers.

Although another reason is because of where Hawkwoods source their cells compared with the other companies.

Quote:
I use DSM 98Wh Li-ions on the 700 and I get about between 95mins and 2 hours of continuos use, which is about right in my mind
Yes, this is what I would expect from a decent well conditioned battery on that camcorder.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 03:55 PM   #15
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Alister, is that continuous use starting and stopping, turning on/off etc.?
They seem pretty reasonably priced, worth looking at.
Steve
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