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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 25th, 2008, 04:32 AM   #1
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Potential future of F3xx

Though it's impossible to predict the future, wouldn't this make sense:

Since the low and high ends of the XDCAM line have been updated most in the last year, the middle of the XDCAM line would need an update for this coming NAB.

The update that seems to make the most sense, and wouldn't step on the toes of the PDW-700, would be to give the F3xx line the 1/2" full raster 1920X1080 CMOS chips of the EX line, staying with the 4:2:0 sampling and the data rates of 25 and 35Mb/s.

This should remove the image quality differences between the EX and F3xx lines that were shown quite clearly in the other thread.

Relatively speaking, it would seem to require minimal R&D as well, working from the EX line's existing design.

Cause though the other features of the F3xx line are important to me, it's really hard to not put image quality as the most important feature of any camera.
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Old December 25th, 2008, 05:18 AM   #2
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My personal feeling is that they will update the line, perhaps not this coming year, but certainly by the next.

A 2/3" HD shoulder mount that records to 35Mb/s VBR and 4:2:0 colour wouldn't step on the toes of the 700, just as the 510 didn't step on the toes of the 530, or the DSR570 didn't step on the toes of the Digibeta cameras.

The only stumbling block here is the number and market for 1/2" lenses that has developed since the introduction of the 1/2" cameras. So we are probably stuck with them for a while, unless Sony extended the lower end EX line with interchangeable lenses for that purpose while redeveloping the 3xx series.
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Old December 25th, 2008, 06:53 AM   #3
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I wouldn't be surprised if we see a full on the shoulder EX, maybe along the lines of the S270. With the F3** series the main thing that is lacking is the picture quality, but if you put an EX front end on a F350 back end, even though it would only be 35Mb, I think it would impact the 700 especially as the 700 doesn't do variable frame rates.
The more I use my EX3, especially as I now have a reinforced base plate, a good supply of SxS and SDHC cards the more I prefer it over my F350. Going back to a mono viewfinder on any camera is not something I am fond of!
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Old December 25th, 2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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I wouldn't be surprised if we see a full on the shoulder EX
I could see that happening if they replaced the 3xx series with something else. Sony seem pretty adamant that they will not use CMOS on cameras like the 355 due to the issues they create.

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I think it would impact the 700 especially as the 700 doesn't do variable frame rates.
For the time being. Remember that the CCD in the 700 is fully capable of 60fps 1080p if they so wanted it to. The only limit is the throughput to the recording medium.

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a good supply of SxS and SDHC cards the more I prefer it over my F350. Going back to a mono viewfinder on any camera is not something I am fond of!
I certainly agree with that.
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Old December 25th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #5
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This may be wishfull yuletide dreaming, but wouldn't it be nice to think that any possible F3XX update could be retro-fitted to the older models. Oh well, if you still believe in Father Christmas.......
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Old January 4th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Godfrey Kirby View Post
This may be wishfull yuletide dreaming, but wouldn't it be nice to think that any possible F3XX update could be retro-fitted to the older models. Oh well, if you still believe in Father Christmas.......
Believe it or not, some of the improved features of the 355 have been added to the 350 via firmware updates. I asked at NAB07 if the 350 could be upgraded to dual layer drive (like we do with computers all the time). Unfortunately, they said no. Also can't get SDSDI out of a 350.

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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #7
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Greg - How about the following:-

1. Colour HD viewfinder to fit 3xx & 700 series.

2. Up-dated CCD chip, still 1440x1080, so not poaching 700 work, but 'faster & nicer'.

3. An external(?) recorder at 50Mb/s - Convergent Design have let the cat out of the bag with the XDR so why not play 'catch up'?

4. And.... eerrrr - there must be something else we would all love. A P&S 1/2" Pro35 not costing a King's ransom for instance?

Happy New Year to all,

Last edited by Godfrey Kirby; January 5th, 2009 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Spelling...Sorry
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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Godfrey Kirby View Post
Greg - How about the following:-

1. Colour HD viewfinder to fit 3xx & 700 series.
The 700 already has one the C35, the F355 has a different fitting and only SD.

A real good upgrade of the 355 would be variable frame rates without resolution loss!

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Old January 5th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #9
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A real good upgrade of the 355 would be variable frame rates without resolution loss!
Yes, that is one issue that needs sorting. As does the loss of resolution that was discovered when the shutter is turned on in progressive scan mode.

Having 1920 chips wouldn't impinge on the 700. I don't know why they don't just scrap the 350 etc, and just take a 700, restrict the recording to 35Mb/s 4:2:0 and take a couple of other features off. I always use the 510 and 530 as examples because the 510 was identical in every single respect to the 530 apart from only having a single ND wheel (compared to two filter wheels on the 530) and DV25 recording compared to 50Mb/s IMX on the 530. Those were the only differences yet the 530 sold for 22k while the 510 sold for 12k.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 05:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
As does the loss of resolution that was discovered when the shutter is turned on in progressive scan mode.
That's one I've never understood. There is a logical reason for halving the resolution on overcranking (processing limitation), but gating the CCD charge before the end of a full frame should not impose any higher requirements because the frame rate hasn't actually changed.

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Old January 5th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
Having 1920 chips wouldn't impinge on the 700. I don't know why they don't just scrap the 350 etc, and just take a 700, restrict the recording to 35Mb/s 4:2:0 and take a couple of other features off.
Another alternative would be to have 1920x1080 1/2" chips (as the EX), have full 50Mbs 422 recording, and make it SxS only.

Broadcasters with deep pockets may then still want to pay the extra for the 700, to have 2/3" glass, CCDs and the ability to use discs. Others may find the EX 1/2" CMOS chips more than good enough, discs unnecessary - whilst the 50Mbs conforms to broadcast standards in a way the EX1/3 doesn't quite.

Such a camera, if shouldermount, would be much lighter than a 700, far less power hungry, and if they kept certain features such as the ability to take integral digital radio mics, would be almost ideal for such as news. The 700 may still be desired for higher end feature type work, with quite a lot of compatability between the two.

That's what I'd like to see, anyway!
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Old January 5th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #12
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Sounds about right to me David. Is the SxS capable of 50 mb/sec, can't remember if I've seen reference to it somewhere on DVInfo? Did I even hear talk that it could do 100 mb/sec?
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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #13
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Sounds about right to me David. Is the SxS capable of 50 mb/sec, .....? Did I even hear talk that it could do 100 mb/sec?
Should do 100Mbs easily, let alone 50Mbs - and a lot more. The theoretical max of SxS Pro is 800Mbs and of P2 640Mbs, so a lot in hand for each. (Theoretically!)

What may be of interest is whether SDHC cards in a Kensington or MxR adaptor will work at such speeds. The cards are known to be fast enough, it seems to be the USB that is the bottleneck. Even so, overcranking at about 40fps seems to be about the reliable limit, which seems to correspond to a data rate of 40/24 *35, or about 60Mbs.

Even with the same electronics as the EX, that should give cause for optimism that 50Mbs could be recorded to SDHC via an adaptor. Unless Sony deliberately disallow it. Even in that case, all it needs is an ExpressCard version of the MxR, and SDHC use should become possible again.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #14
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Another alternative would be to have 1920x1080 1/2" chips (as the EX), have full 50Mbs 422 recording, and make it SxS only.
Hmm. Thing is though that it leaves people who are DSR users and SD XDCAM ops like myself who are used to using 2/3" glass and chips, and who make the most of them for creative purposes out in the cold.

While I love what my EX3 can do for the money, it is still quite limiting when it comes to interviews for example. I need a much larger room to get that background nicely out of focus. The default glass on the EX3 becomes noticeably soft wide open, so the ability to be able to use top quality 2/3" glass that suffers less from this with no magnification factor would be useful to me.

Having a 4:2:0 2/3" camera at a PDW-510 price and a 4:2:2 at a PDW-530 price would be a direct parallel. I think that having 1/2" 4:2:2 at 50Mb/s available for the price of a DSR-570 would impinge much more on the 700's market than a 35Mb/s 4:2:0 with 2/3" chips. Sony's own past sales strategy with previous cameras shows that they must think the same way.

Also having 2/3" available at the low end means that people can keep their investment in glass more easily if they decide to upgrade. With my 510 I knew that if I needed to use another 2/3" camera I only need hire in the camera body. Owning a 1/2" camera would mean hiring both a camera body and lenses.

Sony should incorporate SxS into all their disc cameras as standard. It wouldn't really cost them much to do so.

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Unless Sony deliberately disallow it.
It appears that Sony quietly approve of the SDHC method. As we talked about the other week it would be nice if someone would make an SDHC card in an Express card form factor so there was room to write on it, and to give things a bit of 'weight' with regard to most camera ops clumsy fingers!
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #15
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I hear what you're saying, Simon.

To try to explain my logic, it's that 50Mbs 422 has now been established as a minimum for long-GOP acquisition by the EBU, and endorsed by such as Discovery and the BBC. Consequently, it seems sensible for any camera above the EX3 level/price to have that as a minimum - if it doesn't, it doesn't meet that current "broadcast" criterium. Same with resolution - now the EXs are 1920x1080, let alone the 700, surely any camera between the two must have comparable figures?

So what's left for any new camera not to have to position it below the 700? Making it SxS only, and 1/2" are the two that come to mind most obviously. Doing away with the ability to slot digital radio mics in may be another - but that may backfire against the sales of just such equipment.

The advantage of doing away with the disc recorder for a cheaper than 700 camera is not only to do with making it cheaper, but also size, weight and power. And power may be another reason for staying with half inch chips, if you accept the reasoning that it realistically has to be 1920x1080. Wasn't power consumption given as the main reasoning why the 330 and 350 were 1/2" in the first place?

That's why I think something along these lines could be as close to the ideal news camera as we may get. Though indeed it needs the memory to be formalised along the lines you suggest, SDHC cards and adaptors are great for individual operators, but I doubt major broadcasters would find them acceptable for general use.
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