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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 23rd, 2009, 12:20 PM   #16
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Hi Nathan,
I bought a second hand 350 and love it. I also own a EX1 and this has not been used since I purchased the 350. When I purchased the 350, I knew that re-sale vale will be nil in the future but I dont care as I got a great deal on this cam and yes things to consider are the extra cost's such as tripod, batteries etc... but now that I have these I'm able to upgrade to another Sony cam later.
I have to say I prefer the images out of my 350 over the EX1 even though the EX1 is cleaner, I really prefer the look of CCD's vs CMOS.
Having the 350 on the shoulder is great and easy to use and dont forget 4 channels of audio which for me is fantastic. I use the 350 for SD shooting as the production that I'm working on is going out to SD DVD and to TV and to be honest after working with HD from the EX and also from the 350 for my own productions I dont see much of a difference in image at the final product going out to SD interlaced.

If SD and a shoulder mount is what your after get the Sony F350 and I see Doug still has his for sale.

For me the let down is my lens with the 350 as I have the low end Fujinon glass on front and to get better glass this will cost more than what i paid for the cam.

Good shooting
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:28 PM   #17
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"I don't find it credible that the EX3 has depreciated to half its value. My judgment is that the EX cams remain extremely popular..."

Pick up the telephone or send off an e-mail to B&H, Adorama or any one of the other large buyers of used camera equipment and see what they offer you; I'll bet that the best you'll be able to negotiate is within the ballpark of $4500.00. A simple business principle dictates that when supply exceeds demand prices must drop to balance the inequity. Now, it is possible that since my sale the demand may have changed and price that they are willing to pay may have increased but I doubt it as much as you question my credibility.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:44 PM   #18
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Well that explains the descrepancy in used prices.
Obviously if you're going to sell something through a 3rd party broker you're going to get a lot less than the true "used" price of anything. Try bringing a new car back to the dealer 30 days later and see how much you lose in the deal. In hind sight, perhaps you would have been much better off selling directly to an individual buyer. If you still had the camera, I could give you the names of at least four people who would have paid at least $5.5K
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 04:19 PM   #19
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kind of imaging that I do it renders a more pleasing result without the oversharpened appearance of the EX3's output but that is my opinion and you are free to disagree.
A bit of a bizarre statement considering that the EX can be finely tuned and even have all detail enhancement turned off.

Any of the cameras mentioned is capable of producing an amazing picture. Your lighting, your composition, your exposure, your editing, your handling of sound, all will have a far, far more profound effect on the quality of the video that comes out at the end of production than changing your camera.

There's no doubt that a shoulder mount camera, especially one with 2/3" chips is highly desirable. Things are a bit slow around here so I'm holding off on new camera decisions for the time being, even though my intention with getting an EX3 originally was to wait and see what Sony did. My EX3 however has paid for itself very nicely, but any new investment at the moment will be put into auxiliary gear.

If I was in camera buying mode now though I would buy two camcorders. A PMW-350 and an EX-1R, plus a CD Nanoflash. No other camcorders would be on my radar. I could cover all situations with those two.

But you need to make sure the camera does what you need it to. Remember that the EX series has made things possible that weren't previously at that price level. For many situations they really do take a place of a full sized camera.

Speaking of selling cameras, does anyone know anyone in a country that hasn't heard of HD that might want to buy my 510!? I'm at pains to know what to do with it. I only occasionally get SD work now, and for that stuff it is amazing. But in reality it is only taking up space. Bloody annoying as I love using it when I get the chance.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ron Wilk View Post
What? You have a problem with AVC-Intra?
That's absurd! It is arguably a better codec than XDCAM EX but I will leave the explanation to the techies.
Nobody should have a problem with AVC-Intra (at least the 100Mbs version), but versus XDCAM it's arguably better in some respects, worse in others.
But if it's the cost factor, i.e. SXS Vs P2, you must be aware of the fact that their current costs are comparable.
That needs a host of caveats. Comparing like for like cards, then per GB there's not a lot to choose between them, though SxS generally seems about 10% cheaper on average. But per recorded minute there's a lot of difference due to the bitrate difference, and on that basis, media for an SxS camera works out more like a third to a quarter the price.

Even that's not the full story, as buying into the SxS system allows the use of media other than SxS - and that obviously gets a lot cheaper still. Sony having now brought out their own adaptor makes alternative media to SxS even more interesting, as they guarantee reliability if used with their recommended media and their advice taken. (Don't use for overcrank etc.)

Alternatively, the latest cameras allow shooting to SxS for ultimate reliability, then doing a card to card transfer in camera. That can obviously be to an SDHC card, which could then be handed to client, the original recording kept as backup.

It's not just the per GB cost of the respective cards - SxS systems allow a far greater degree of flexibility than P2.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #21
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For older models, such as the PDW-F350, there is always the non-professional market: as a hobbyist I bought a mint PDW-F350 yesterday, with very low hours on the laser and for me it will be my 'favourite toy' for the next few years. I compared different HD-camera's (Z7, S270, EX1, F350) on my 42-inch HD-tv and the difference in image quality - for what I do - is neglectable.

As I hate non-shoulder cams from the bottom of my heart (and even more so of my wrist), the form factor played an important role in the decision making process. It had to be a shouldercam. I had the S270 before, which is also a remarkable and very good camera, but focusing with the standard viewfinder is sometimes painstaking and I wanted interval recording. So I the F350 became my final choice. I'm sure, even if it's value may decrease rapidly from now on (I'm not even sure it will, after all it's HD), for me it's what I want to play with in the years to come.

As a professional still photographer, I had two incidents where my compact flash cards let me down and all my pics were lost (at one time a few hundred of the start of the Tour de France), so I'm very glad I have a file based system with reliable Pro-disks now. The S270 was even better in that aspect: file based CF-cards AND back-up on tape. The perfect anti-stress machine!
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:46 PM   #22
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So I've been doing even more reading, and more and more... and I'm still not sure what I'm going to buy.

I was offered a really good deal on an F350 with batteries and charger. I'd almost be able to keep to my original budget with that deal.

But the businessperson lurking in the background has some problems with that purchase. At twice the price, a 350K would have dealer\factory support, would be as up to date as it gets, and would be a capable unit for the forseeable future. The F350, as everyone has mentioned, is older technology and will only become more outdated. And it's not as if I'd be investing a couple thousand dollars: even a used unit will be spendy. And I'll still need a tripod and pick an NLE.

I have been considering purchasing an SD camera, like a used DSR400. That would get me into the game with a good camera at a low price. Then, in year's time or in the fall, depending on how things are going with the work, I could look into a higher end camera like the 350K or even try and pick up an F350 at that point... or whatever else is on the market at that time. Biggest downside, obviously, is no HD whatsoever.

I haven't ruled out the Panny 300 or the JVC700. There are too many people using these cameras to good effect for me to discount them entirely. The price point is attractive and would serve a similar stop-gap while I figure out whether a really high end camera is going to pay off. The pro audio shop I deal with carries HM700s. Maybe I'll rent one for a week and see if it's a good tool.

I'm open to suggestions.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 02:57 AM   #23
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One consideration is that prices for used DSR400's etc are pretty much rock bottom. If you buy one now, in 6 months to years time I doubt it will be worth a lot less so there would be no great loss.

One thing I always tell myself is "don't do it unless you are absolutely sure". Especially if it means parting with a lot of money. Unless you have a client waiting for a specific job there is no big rush, the industry is not going to disappear overnight.

If you are buying a used camera make sure you check for hot pixels. Let the camera warm up for at least an hour, cap the lens and turn up the viewfinder peaking. At 0db gain there should be no visible white dots. It's quite common to get them on older cameras. In many cases they can be removed by black balancing 5 times in a row, but the cameras have a limited amount of memory for pixel masking and once that's full you can no longer use the black balance routine to get rid of them.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser My XDCAM site and blog.
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