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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 22nd, 2009, 07:14 AM   #1
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After a lot of reading...

I've spent a great deal of time reading the dv forum over the past month. Learned a lot but I still have some questions, mainly related to Sony.

I'm a freelance journalist, mainly print and radio. But I'm getting into video\news\doc production and I need my own gear. I've been trained on old Sony Betacams, and love the form factor of a shoulder mounted camera and the professional layout.

I can budget around twelve grand Cdn money for a camera\lens and tripod.

I'm leaning towards trying to locate a used F350\5, or F330\5. I really like the idea of a hard disk archive. I still use a Sony minidisc recorder and it's an amazing piece of gear, like a pro-studio in a cigarette package. The non-destructive aspect appeals to me.

I'll be delivering short news pieces (standard min-thirty to upwards of four minutes), and potentially half hour newsy docs, for broadcast on cable. I'm also going to produce similar pieces for net delivery.

The broadcast material will be SD with a potential need for HD capabilities, looking ahead.

I'd love to buy a 350K, going by the reviews, but that would wreck my budget. I figure there will be some older cameras hitting the marketplace in the new year that will fit my needs for the next year or so while I establish myself.

Probably going to use Sony Vegas, since I understand it has a strong audio package and I can use it for straight audio work.

Thoughts?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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The F350 is definately out of your budget.

It looks like I'm selling my mint condition F350 this week for $8K and that's as cheap as you're going to find. Sony has some b-stock units they're selling for the same price, but I was told they came from CNN. Enough said.

A decent lens will set you back another $5K - $12K. A used tripod that will be good enough for an F350 will be another $4K at least. Also add another $2K for batteries and charger. Your $12K budget was blown before you even added a lens to the camera.

I would suggest you seriously look at the EX3. The only drawbacks are that it's not a true shoulder-mount, it can't do 1080 slow-mo, and it uses SxS cards instead of the superior XDCAM optical disc recording media. But you're just going to have to get over those shortcomings if you want to stay in your budget.

An EX3 will come with a lens, battery, charger, and an SxS card so you can start shooting without bying anything else. You can also cut your tripod budget in half because of the lighter weight. You could definately put together a new or used EX3 system for under $12K.

And when it comes to picture quality, the EX3 wins. I stopped shooting with my F350 when the EX3 arrived even though I did prefer operating the F350.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 08:58 AM   #3
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Thanks, Doug.

Guess I should have re-read my post before posting! Meant to nix the tripod part of the budget.

Revised total budget, for camera-tripod-batteries, will clearly need to be 20 Cdn.

I assumed that the optical disc cameras, being "old" technology, would have an ever decreasing price point, especially with the 350K coming into the market. There's a used 350 with lens for 7200UK in the classifieds section right now. That's around 11K Cdn. I was, perhaps wrongly, using that as a gauge for the used market.

I'll read up on the EX. But I'm heavily favouring a shoulder mount camera. And in the 12K range that puts me into a new Panny HPX300 or JVC HM700. I'd like to keep my Sony fanboy status intact but money might become a stumbling block.

Apologies for turning this into something of a "which camera should I buy?" thread.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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If you're going to start looking at the the JVC or Panasonic, you've really taken a step down just to get a shoulder-mount. In my opinion, that is like going from a 2-door BMW to a 4-door Kia and ignoring all the other differences. Is it really worth it?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 01:11 PM   #5
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I think Doug is right. If you buy a F350 now it will be worth almost nothing in another year or so. HD sensor technology has really moved on since the F350 was launched over 5 years ago. The EX series cameras produce a far superior picture, especially in low light or challenging light. As much of what you do is SD then consider the EX1R as this will do SD when the EX3 will not. Also with 20Cdn to spend can you stretch to the PMW-350K, that will then give you a reasonable lens as well. Either way an EX or the PMW-350 will have some reasonable resale value in a couple of years.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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Curious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
If you're going to start looking at the the JVC or Panasonic, you've really taken a step down just to get a shoulder-mount. In my opinion, that is like going from a 2-door BMW to a 4-door Kia and ignoring all the other differences. Is it really worth it?
Just curious, step down from what? F350 or EX series? And in regards to either, are you referring to chip dimensions or CCD Vs CMOS? And by the way, speaking of resale value, it took less than 6 months for an EX3 to lose 1/2 of its new cost price and with technology necessarily marching ahead due to planned obsolescence and other factors, IMO, it should continue to slide like the hillsides of Northern California following a rainstorm. But just in case you Sony fans are loading your trusty 44s while reading this post... I'm wearing armor.

One more thing, the OP seems to be searching for a shoulder-mount camera and neither EX offering can meet that requirement regardless of how much extra aluminum you attach to them... once again IMO, they remain unwieldy. So, I ask you, what's more important? A good camera that you will feel comfortable using or one with a slightly larger chip that you might learn to despise.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 06:25 PM   #7
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What do you mean, step down from what?
The Panasonic has 1/3" chips, shoots AVC-Intra, and records on P2. What else do you need to know?
The JVC HM700 also has 1/3" chips. Enough said.

Any "professional" who is looking at buying a 1/3" camera today is out of his mind.

Why do you think your EX3 lost value? Partly because it's used!!! But also because the new PMW-350 has 2/3" chips and people are upgrading, that's why. So why would someone want to go all the way down to 1/3". Those cameras are a joke.

And in the six months that your EX3 lost half its value, didn't it pay for itself several times over in that time? Mine did.

BTW, I sold my EX3 a couple of months ago for $5500 and I had five people wanting it badly at that price. I could have gotten at least $6K if I had originally asked for more. So I don't know why yours has lost 1/2 it's value. Mine was 15 months old.

There's no reason to despise the EX3. I found it a great camera to shoot with. But to answer your question, what is more important, having a shoulder-mount or accepting cameras that are totally inferior? I believe I made myself clear earlier.

I've owned an F350 since March of 2006, and yet I never used it again when I got my EX3 -- despite my preference for shooting with a full-size shoulder-mount camera and XDCAM otpical discs. It was worth it to get the better quality of the EX3.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; December 22nd, 2009 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Horrible spelling
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 08:27 AM   #8
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Re. the F350... from being far out of my budget to worthless in less than a year is a steep drop! Looks like Doug is selling his camera at the right time, haha.

To clarify a little.

HD is a ways off being professional broadcast standard in my area. So SD is going to be around a while... or longer given the state of the local\regional broadcast industry. I want an HD capable camera to shoot specialty projects and to get myself accustomed to the future of HD. I figured an F series camera, reasonably priced, would at worst end up being a very good SD unit with HD capabilities that are good enough for net work. But at current prices I can see where Doug and Allister are coming from.

The shoulder mount issue is mainly personal - the layout\ergos just feel right - and partly "professional". Dragging around a tripod and setting up shots perfectly doesn't always happen in my kind of news gathering. The camera eventually will have to come off the sticks and when that happens, I want a shoulder mount.

Guess I'll have to break into my piggy banks and start budgeting for a 350K.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 10:51 AM   #9
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First off, let me say that I detect a modicum of unnecessary and unprofessional anger! It is obvious that you are a Sony supporter and have a vested interest but that said, I would like to respond, briefly, to some of your vitriolic comments.

1."The Panasonic has 1/3" chips, shoots AVC-Intra, and records on P2. What else do you need to know?"

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. And P2, simply a matter of choice for stability but I guess you prefer consumer grade CF or SD cards. 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.

2. "Any "professional" who is looking at buying a 1/3" camera today is out of his mind."

Another attempt to strike below the belt and very "unprofessional" of you! Who elected you as the final arbiter of who should purchase what and why? There are many factors that enter into a decision making process one of which is the cost factor. I'll grant you that there is a considerable difference between 2/3" and 1/3" chip in terms of image output but the difference between 1/3 and 1/2 is much less significant (see other posters for verification). Therefore, for some, that particular issue is moot.

3. "Why do you think your EX3 lost value? Partly because it's used!!! But also because the new PMW-350 has 2/3" chips and people are upgrading, that's why. So why would someone want to go all the way down to 1/3". Those cameras are a joke."

You sir, definitely need a course of anger management! (LOL)
I find the above explanation tacitly absurd. How can you possibly assume that "people" are upgrading from an $8300 camera to a $20,000 camera? Of course there are some whose businesses can support that expense, and loss, but I would be very surprised to learn that in this economy, hoards of EX3 owners are rushing out to purchase the 350. NO, sir, I posit that the depreciation is the result of market saturation, the economy and in small part to owners trading into other cameras... not necessarily within the Sony line-up.

4. "BTW, I sold my EX3 a couple of months ago for $5500 and I had five people wanting it badly at that price. I could have gotten at least $6K if I had originally asked for more. So I don't know why yours has lost 1/2 it's value. Mine was 15 months old."

Yes, but that was a "couple of months ago," and as I suggested, its value, like anything else of technoloigical nature, will continue to slide.

5. "There's no reason to despise the EX3. I found it a great camera to shoot with. But to answer your question, what is more important, having a shoulder-mount or accepting cameras that are totally inferior? I believe I made myself clear earlier."

As for "inferiority," you are entitled to your opinion but aside from the argument that you will undoubtedly mount vis-a-vis chip size, IMO, the Panasonic HPX300 is superior to the EX3 on many levels, not just ergonomics and outside of this forum I'm certain that you will encounter others who are in agreement with this sentiment.

So, although I began by stating that my reply would be brief, as I wrote and re-read your post I felt compelled to address your comments in their entirety, with the exception of your last paragraph, which I will avoid since I have no experience with the F350.
But allow me to close with an observation: It was my understanding that this, and other forums of similar ilk, existed for the purpose of information exchange rather than schoolyard brawling. Suffice it say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but an opinion is just that and it does not necessarily equate with fact. To deride other equipment and the decisions of those who have chosen that path, to the extent that your verbiage has accomplished, is to malign all individuals whose views are not in alignment with your own; how sad.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:07 AM   #10
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Hey Ron, lighten up.
I assure you, my posts were not made in anger. I have strong opinions about some things -- but I try to back them up with explaining my reasoning. When I offer advice, it is the same advice I'd give a close friend who is about to make a poor decision. Anyone is free to take my comments with a grain of salt and pit my thoughts against someone on the other side of the fence. Whether you want it to be or not, it is a debate. Anytime some is going to plunk down $12K or more on gear, they probably want some straight talk. I own an EX1, EX1R, F350, F800, Z1U and used to own an EX3 and Z7U so I have a little experience with these cameras.

I'm not angry, and I don't retract anything I've said or how I've said it. Ultimately it makes no difference whatsover to me what someone buys. But I know I've avoided several bad buying decisions myself when other people have the spoken up and and pointed out some things I wouldn't have found out until it was too late. If you think that 1/3" sensors are good enough, and that AVC-Intra is better than Long-GOP, and P2 is equal to SxS, then than you are welcome to make your case. The OP can decide who is right.

If you disagree then disagree on the facts, and leave the personal comments at home. You, my firend, are the one who is out of line here. I have not said one word about you until this paragraph. It's all in your head.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
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. And P2, simply a matter of choice for stability but I guess you prefer consumer grade CF or SD cards. 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.
There is little if any picture quality difference between AVC-I and XDCAM HD. Both have pro's and con's, both do some things very well, both can be made to break down.

With SxS and P2 media costing similar amounts per Gb this makes EX more cost effective as you need half as much of it.

Are you suggesting that SxS is in some way unstable?


Quote:
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I'll grant you that there is a considerable difference between 2/3" and 1/3" chip in terms of image output but the difference between 1/3 and 1/2 is much less significant (see other posters for verification).
But what about diffraction limiting? Can you seriously work at a professional level when the picture becomes soft below f5.6? There is a very big difference between 1/3" and 1/2", shallower DoF, better low light performance etc, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Wilk View Post
4. "BTW, I sold my EX3 a couple of months ago for $5500 and I had five people wanting it badly at that price. I could have gotten at least $6K if I had originally asked for more. So I don't know why yours has lost 1/2 it's value. Mine was 15 months old."

Yes, but that was a "couple of months ago," and as I suggested, its value, like anything else of technoloigical nature, will continue to slide.
My EX1 is worth almost the same used now as it was new when I purchased it 2 years ago. Unlike tape cameras solid state cameras don't really wear out. When I purchased my EX1 it cost me 3,800. Since then exchange rate fluctuations and inflation has seen the price of the EX1 rise to nearly 4,400 (EX1R's are 4,600). Used EX1's currently sell for between 3,200 and 4,000. This is perhaps slightly unusual, but compared to say a PDW-F355 purchased 2 years ago, that would have cost 14,000. Now you would be lucky to get 8,000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Wilk View Post
the Panasonic HPX300 is superior to the EX3 on many levels, not just ergonomics and outside of this forum I'm certain that you will encounter others who are in agreement with this sentiment.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but IMHO the HPX300/301 is not superior to the EX3 in any of the areas that matter. Have you used them both? Have you compared the viewfinders, picture quality, skew, sensitivity, noise, dynamic range, speed of workflow? Yes the ergonomics are possibly better, depending on how you shoot, but what are you paid for when you produce a video, camera ergonomics or video quality?
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:55 AM   #12
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Hello Doug:

You may not detect anger in your post, perhaps that is your means of expressing yourself and your "strong opinions," but taken on balance, by someone who does not know you, it does seem to portray anger.

"Anytime some is going to plunk down $12K or more on gear, they probably want some straight talk."

But the straight talk is your opinion and, once again, not necessarily fact.

"If you disagree then disagree on the facts, and leave the personal comments at home. You, my firend, are the one who is out of line here. I have not said one word about you until this paragraph. It's all in your head."

Well, sir, as for facts, where are yours?"

As for personal comments, I was merely reacting to your statement which attacked both on the personal and common level, when it indicated that "any professional who purchases a 1/3 camera is out of their minds..." or something to that effect.

No, sir, it is not "in my head," it is printed for all to see in clear black and white text.
But, I have said my piece and anything more would surely lead to a repetition of same.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
There is little if any picture quality difference between AVC-I and XDCAM HD. Both have pro's and con's, both do some things very well, both can be made to break down.

With SxS and P2 media costing similar amounts per Gb this makes EX more cost effective as you need half as much of it.

True, but that's only because of the 35mbs vs 100 or more. This topic has been beaten to death elsewhere, so, I'll say no more.

Are you suggesting that SxS is in some way unstable?

No, I was referring to the SD and CF cards.

But what about diffraction limiting? Can you seriously work at a professional level when the picture becomes soft below f5.6? There is a very big difference between 1/3" and 1/2", shallower DoF, better low light performance etc, etc.

In my comparison I did not find the DoF to be an issue and it may not be for others depending upon the kind of work that they are called upon to do. But, then again, there are 35mm adapters.

My EX1 is worth almost the same used now as it was new when I purchased it 2 years ago. Unlike tape cameras solid state cameras don't really wear out. When I purchased my EX1 it cost me 3,800. Since then exchange rate fluctuations and inflation has seen the price of the EX1 rise to nearly 4,400 (EX1R's are 4,600). Used EX1's currently sell for between 3,200 and 4,000. This is perhaps slightly unusual, but compared to say a PDW-F355 purchased 2 years ago, that would have cost 14,000. Now you would be lucky to get 8,000.

Many of us do not live in England, check the prices in the U.S.A.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but IMHO the HPX300/301 is not superior to the EX3 in any of the areas that matter. Have you used them both? Have you compared the viewfinders, picture quality, skew, sensitivity, noise, dynamic range, speed of workflow? Yes the ergonomics are possibly better, depending on how you shoot, but what are you paid for when you produce a video, camera ergonomics or video quality?
Yes, I have. Sold the Ex3 as stated in a prior post for half of its cost but before discarding it I had purchased and still own an HPX 300, so, yes, I did make extensive comparisons. From my perspective, with the exception of about a 1 stop difference in light sensitivity, I found and continue to find the 300 to be more a much more pleasant camera to use ergonomically and for the 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. As for who pays for what and how much, the 300 clearly looks more professional than an Ex3 even if the EX is accompanied by the varied attachments required to make it comfortable for use when off the sticks. In re image, well, that is in the eyes of the beholder.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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Ron, I agree. Addressing your comments point-by-point would not be constructive. I'll let my previous posts (and the countless others I've made on this forum) speak for themselves.
It is not my intention to piss people off.
You have a happy holiday, too.

Doug
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:34 PM   #15
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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.

I am upgrading to the PMW350 from the EX1 but am adding the cam to the line-up. There is nothing at all obsolete about the EX1/3 full raster image quality, which is superior to upscaled images in my opinion.
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