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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 March 13th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #46
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Steve: If you can get a 2700 and/or 3700 I'd be glad to spend a day with you putting them and PDW/PMW's through their paces.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #47
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Thank you for doing those tests. I've only just now seen them, quickly...and not in HD, not sure if that matters but I will look at them again in HD.

My initial impression mirrors what Mike Marriage said, at least in SD I didn't see too much to be upset about with any of them or any cam. I do agree with Paul that the "Tom's Best Preset" is hard to use. It's also out of date, I've since gone back to a detail setting much closer to Alister's, also a different knee slope to tone down the highlights, upped the saturation a little bit, but it was still interesting to see.

I also agree with Simon that the more objective test is with ChromaDumonde DSC charts and scopes, although the result would likely be far less entertaining. Was glad to see Paul finally break into a smile at the end.

I agree with Doug about using properly setting the exposure separately for each cam, each shot.

But again, I'm more confused than ever about what the fuss was over. On first viewing, I honestly didn't see huge qualitative differences as much as I see differences in color, gamma, contrast and exposure. If the bogie was to match the exactly the gamma and contrast handling of the 800, we know that would not be exactly possible since it has adjustable gamma curves the others do not, and that Doug chose not to reveal what settings he used. That said, I believe it would possible to approximate it, using Simon's ChromaDumonde DSC chart and scope.

Bob Carver was once boasted to Stereophile magazine that he could duplicate the sound of any amplifier, including tube type amps with his magnetic field effect transistor amp design. They accepted his challenge, whereupon he used a single loudspeaker to amplify only the difference of the summed signals from both amps. He then adjusted a series of nulling pots until the sound from the single speaker fell silent. At that point, they were unable to distinguish the two amplifiers sound from each other when playing program material.

The initial impression I had of the Lizard 1 setting is of rich saturation, deep blacks, and controlled highlights. The impression I had of the EX350 using "Tom's Best" (sigh...) in the same situation is wide dynamic range. There is an cliche', "That's not a flaw, it's a feature!" Sometimes, the truth can be in the jest. Shooting high contrast scenes is something I have experience with, on snow, on water. And when you have a wide dynamic range to start with, there's a technique I've used for 35 years to really put the wow factor in those kinds of scenes, the polarizing filter. You might be surprised how those bright highlights can be turned into an advantage instead of a headache.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #48
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We were closer with the camera setting on this shoot then the past two. I still think it is very difficult to tell much of a difference there really is between the cameras with the low quality from Vimeo, but at least people can see what were have been doing.

Mike would be nice to here if you have some interesting results if you get the chance. Hard taking the time to do such a test on a paid shoot.

Steve I have been trying to find your email on my computer but canít. Could you contact me? 2700, 3700, and HDW790 would be nice to see. Steve what is your primary camera? I know you shoot with a lot of different cameras but what is your primary?

Alister yes what you are seeing is a Vimeo problem. All of the footage has lost a huge amount of dynamic range and latitude with Vimeo nothing like the Panasonic corrected dual SDI monitor on the shoot. We did have Black Gamma On I am positive I checked. Also after the shoot I checked all the settings and Black Gamma was On with your Natural.

I do not agree that the 350 has the same dynamic range as the 800 it does not show this at all with our test. But again this is very hard to tell with a compressed Vimeo clip.

Simon I agree the 3700 always looks amazing to me. Would be nice to have my hands on one for a day. I might just rent to see how it performs. As for the DSC ChromaDuMonde chart testing that was not our objective for this test. And Doug was kind enough to agree to a real world field test to help me out.

Sorry Tom we were using the only current setting I have of yours. With our other test I adjusted both yours and Alisterís to find my happy spot but as I said I am not there. I used a modified Natural on all of my paid shoots with the 350 over the last three months. Each shoot has had a different setting to try and find the right one.

Appreciate all the input.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Steve: If you can get a 2700 and/or 3700 I'd be glad to spend a day with you putting them and PDW/PMW's through their paces.
It would be nice to do that, but I don't have my 2700 any more (or my PDW700!). Would have been good if I had an overlap period where I owned both, but I traded the 700 for the 2700.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #50
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I've looked at these now in 720p, and it does change my observation somewhat. I'm honestly not liking the edge enhancement especially of the Lizard 2, or the Lizard 1 and even the 800 standard looks oversharpened to me, as does the EX1 to a lesser extent. If that is caused by Vimeo, it's not doing any favors. I took some screen grabs, but I don't think I'll post them. It's not my intent to pick apart the hard work spent compiling this. But you can see in the upper left corner, the background with the house in the scene where the blue car is in front of the trailer, that there is an enormous disparity in the depth of field between the scenes.

In the pictures with Paul at the last, you can really see edge enhancement outlines around the blue cap (hugely so on Lizard 2), but still on Lizard 1, even the 800 standard, and the EX1. And black outlines around the collar of the white jacket. Is that Vimeo? I don't know. To me, edge enhancement artifacts are the scourge of video, and the reason why I tend more conservative. I like sharp pictures. One reason we shoot 2/3 inch, is because we want some parts of the image to blur gracefully to highlight the subject. This happens well in the case of the scene of Paul. But when everything is in razor sharp focus front to back (blue car in front of trailer), that look I can get from 1/3 inch. And one of the problems with excessive edge enhancement, is that it will sharpen up those areas outside the circle of confusion equally. So when you look at the background of those pictures with the blue car, is excessive sharpening being applied in background areas that should be soft? Or were the shots stopped down more? Vimeo was not responsible for all of it.

Again, thanks for the work and the time spent doing these tests.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #51
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A few points here:

1. We do use filters on our paid shoots but not on this test. We are trying to test not impress.
2. I will use a polarizer but only at close to 90 degrees to the sun anything else does not work well.
3. 1/2 ND, Grad ND, and ND along with Polarizer are normally in Doug's Matte box and my kit all the time but off for the test.
4. DOF had nothing at all to do with the test. We are not trying to make video we can use only video so we can evaluate camera settings. Neither of us would ever use any of this footage for anything but this test.
5. We set all the shots at f/8 to f/5.6 so we felt we were in the sweet spots not caring about DOF.
6. Tricks for dynamic range well we all have them and we all know how to deal with them but again not part of this test. If you want to see nice footage just look at Doug's clips on Vimeo. His stuff kicks butt.
7. By the way the 800 and 700 have +19 difference in detail settings. The 700 is set sharper due to the different market. (This is straight from Sony)
8. We still stand by our eyes the 800 is the clear winner when viewed on a proper monitor might be hard to see crushed on vimeo. But glad it has stirred interest and we did this knowing in advance the 800 was better and happy we proved it. Also knowing the 350 cannot be better then the 800 in our eye's.

Back to agreeing to disagree.

Thanks guys for your input.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #52
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Any chance of some frame grabs as the vimeo clip makes it appear that the 350 has greater dynamic range. The 350 in the vimeo clips is retaining much more shadow detail while highlights seem similar and as both are encoded the same I would expect any crushing or distortion to be the same for both cameras. The shot with the blue car and trailers would be interesting to see as frame grabs.

I'm going to take a look at both the 350 and 700 tomorrow using a simple black to white grad on a computer monitor. This will give good reliable insight into the relative dynamic ranges.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #53
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800 on the left, 350 on the right.

Paul, in regards to point #4. above, are you saying the softness in the corner is not dof? I have never seen f5.6 this soft. Something is wrong.

Edit:

Actually it should be softer because it's 720p not 1080p. I still think the image on the left is oversharpened, at least for my taste.
Attached Thumbnails
Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-comparison.png  

Last edited by Tom Roper; March 13th, 2010 at 07:45 PM.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 10:42 PM   #54
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It's just processing

Same split image as before, 800 on the left, 350 on the right. This time the 350 image was photoshopped to match the contrast, brightness, hue, and sharpness of the 800 image.
Attached Thumbnails
Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-crop.png   Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-comparisonadjusted.png  

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Old March 14th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #55
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Tom there are multiple thing going on here.

1. The 350 was about 5-6 feet left of the 800 so what is framed in the top left is different subject. You can see the 350 has the tree and 800 does not.
2. Exposure is not exactly the same but both are within our f/8 - f/5.6 range that we discussed.
3. Vimo does not handle any of the clips well on the edges.
4. You can’t take a heavily compressed still pulled from a vimeo clip, put it in photoshop and have it mean anything to us.

Again 800 wins in OUR eyes! No problem that you disagree but you won’t change our minds.
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; March 14th, 2010 at 10:19 AM. Reason: clearer wording
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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #56
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I tried my usual grey scale latitude test on the 350 and 700 this morning, but my computer monitor does not have enough contrast to highlight any difference between the two. Both have more latitude than my EX1. The test did show up some more interesting behavior in the detail and aperture circuits with the 350, but I'll discuss that over in the Picture Profile thread.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
4. You canít take a heavily compressed still pulled from a vimeo clip, put it in photoshop and have it mean anything to us.

Again 800 wins in OUR eyes! No problem that you disagree but you wonít change our minds.
The vimeo clip is all I had to go by, Paul. I have no doubt the 800 is better, I've said that. But the difference I see is just its unique processing, ergo sharpening.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #58
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Further Samples

I had a few minutes today, a nice sunny day, to grab some further frame test shots and these I believe are quite telling, and perhaps give a good idea of the differences between the PMW-350 and PDW-700.

There are 4 grabs with standard settings (2 standard gamma, 2 Hypergamma 4), same lens on both cameras, both cameras set to 5600k white. Looking very closely at the pictures what I see is practically identical dynamic range. The white van in the distance is blown out on the PDW-700 standard gamma shot, but this is I think just slight differences in the knee, on the Hypergamma shots it appears about the same for both cameras.

What is interesting is the slightly better chroma clarity from the PDW-700, if you look at the distant red cars and the yellow bushes there is more clarity to the PD-700, but then this is to be expected as the 700 is 4:2:2 against the 350's 4:2:0.

So I chose to do one further test this time with both cameras recording on to a NanoFlash at 100Mb/s. These grabs are quite revealing as the chroma resolution is now much more evenly matched. If anything now I prefer the 350 as the specular highlights on the distant red car (behind green box) look better from the 350

So my conclusion is that the recordings from the camera are superior from the PDW-700, no surprise there, but add a NanoFlash and the difference between the cameras is tiny. You just have to be happy with CMOS over CCD.

Stop Press: Just as i was about to post this I noticed on the NanoFlash grabs that the 350 appears to be holding on to highlights better than the 700. Look at the white house doors on the distant houses and the white vans. I can see details of the door frames in the 350 shots that are lost on the 700.
Attached Thumbnails
Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pmw-350-hg4.bmp   Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pdw-700-hg4.bmp  

Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pdw-700-std.bmp   Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pmw-350-std.bmp  

Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pmw-350-acrich.bmp   Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pmw-350-nano.bmp  

Pdw-700, pdw-800, pmw-350-1pdw-700-nano.bmp  
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Old March 16th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #59
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Thanks Alister for the grabs,

Both theses cameras look close in image quality but I still prefer the 700 over the EX, I'm a fan of the CCD. The 700 chroma wins of course but considering the cost between them the EX is so close.

Cheers
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Old March 16th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #60
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The build quality of the 700 is nice, it's like a tank compared to the 350 which doesn't quite have that same high end feel to the switches, but then the 350 is a lot lighter. The differences between the 350 and 700 in the grabs is mainly white balance, but the slight color differences should be easy enough to match via the matrix. I like the 350's picture as they seem warmer. At the same time there is still a little too much yellow/green in both for my liking.
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