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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 19th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #76
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David, obviously there would be a preference for a 1080 slomo Varicam rather than 720, but I don't think they'd use the 2700 if it really wasn't good enough.
The RSPB did buy the 2700 before the 350 was out but it wouldn't have changed their decision, trust me. The EX3 was around and for wildlife, as I've said before, it's massively superior to the 350 for reasons of weight and lens power, and image quality between the 2 is apparently very close.
A company I work for a lot has a Sony 750 and an EX3 but even when slomo would be advantageous they don't get me to use the EX3, they just don't think it's good enough, they call the 750 the "proper camera" and just use the EX3 when ultra portability or other special needs arise.
If the 350 makes big inroads into blue chip BBC NHU productions I'll eat my words, but I just don't see it.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #77
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Steve I agree with most of what you are saying. Though I have to disagree when you say the 350 is close in picture to the EX3. I think the 350 is a nice step up and the 2/3" sensor has many advantages.

Also I am surprised they would choose the 2700 over the 700 but that could be due to the 700 not having proper over/under cranking. The optical disk is a fantastic recording media.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #78
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Well the 2/3" chip has advantages and drawbacks - better light gathering but less magnification so it's a trade-off.
From what I've heard the EX3 was reviewed as being very close to the PDW700 and the 350 is too, so it follows that they are all fairly similar - ie similar enough for it not to be a massive deal.
To be honest, I think one of the reasons the RSPB chose the 2700 over the 700 and many other is that they looked at the pictures on a big HD monitor and thought the 2700 just looked better. No scientific instruments involved, it just looked better.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #79
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Just checked my emails from Mark at the RSPB, he confirms that they "preferred the look of the Varicam" over the 700.
They also just bought an EX3 as a B camera to the 2700!
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #80
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"Life" probably tells a better story at lower resolutions. The enhanced color palette of the Varicam is appealing, but not explicitly faithful. I think if you shot in low light, the 2700 would get killed.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #81
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We shoot plenty of stuff in low light Tom. In fact when the Varicam first came out one of its big selling points over film was its low light capabilities. We did use 500 ISO stocks but they were pretty grainy, and the Varicam was a revelation.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by ""Life" probably tells a better story at lower resolutions".

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Old March 19th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
To be honest, I think one of the reasons the RSPB chose the 2700 over the 700 and many other is that they looked at the pictures on a big HD monitor and thought the 2700 just looked better. No scientific instruments involved, it just looked better.
Hmmm. I wonder how much thought was given to the way the cameras were lined up.......

From what people have said earlier in this thread I think that's the real lesson here. Factors like chip resolutions affect resolution, but the primary factor determining "look" is probably more line up than make, model etc.

I've found some of the images earlier on very interesting (especially Alisters) and am left with the feeling that between such as the 350 and the 700/800 I doubt I'd be able to tell them apart in isolation - split screen, maybe. Any choice between them would be far more influenced by factors such as solid state or disc? Cost? Maybe absolute build quality? Importance of power consumption ? Etc etc with "look" a secondary factor.

And bring the 2700 into it, and I think the BBCs remarks are telling. Here it's what it looks like in varispeed that is of big importance, to the extent of being more so than absolute resolution in normal speed filming. At least for wildlife etc programmes. Hence it wins out over the 700. But compare it to a 350 and it may be a different story.

From the remarks I quoted earlier, it's also clear that for the 350 to be accepted it would need a separate recorder such as a nanoFlash. The "no-go specifications" for acquisition include .... "compression at less than 100Mbps (intraframe) or 50Mbps (interframe)". Also interesting to note that whilst they consider AVC-Intra 100 acceptable for acquisition, it isn't for post - "NLE codecs operating below 160Mbps" are also considered no-go.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 05:33 PM   #83
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I think you're barking up the wrong tree David. "Look" was just as much the way it handled motion as the still frame look, that's what Mark told me, he thought the 2700 had much smoother, nicer motion.
And I think your idea of looking at split screens to tell the 350 and 700 apart tells a lot of the story, you're talking about still frames and peeking at the pixels. I think you'd tell them apart OK if you watched 2 shots of birds flying.
Could be wrong though.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 06:14 PM   #84
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If two frames taken from separate streams look the same, it follows tht the motion will look the same if the framerate and shutter are the same.

These cams shoot in black and white. The color is added by digital processing. If the Varicam has a uniquely desirable palette and gamma, you wouldn't dare correct it in post. On the other hand, if you do correct it in post, you are applying a more desirable palette and gamma, which can be done with any of the cams. What you can't do, is add resolution where it didn't exist.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #85
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Steve no doubt the varicam 2700 looks nice. I understand your point and know the Panasonic right out of the box looks nice. What still puzzles me to this day is why the 3700 does not have over cranking?

Hard to tell a client who says I NEED 1080p that a 720p camera will do the job. We get stuck in the position that the client/producer is always right.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
And I think your idea of looking at split screens to tell the 350 and 700 apart tells a lot of the story, you're talking about still frames and peeking at the pixels. I think you'd tell them apart OK if you watched 2 shots of birds flying.
Could be wrong though.
Steve
No you are right.
Humans ( brains ) don't see pixels we see and understand shapes, outlines, motion and how all that combines, and are extremely sensitive to details that can not be explained at the pixel level. Which is why this is difficult. With technical screenshots and not so artistic looking images cameras may look the same. Push things into something more interesting looking, do serious color-correction, shoot strong backlight, nit-pick on skin-tones, etc, differences become clearer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccade#Spatial_updating
"...Humans and other animals do not look at a scene in fixed steadiness; instead, the eyes move around, locating interesting parts of the scene and building up a mental 'map' corresponding to the scene..."

Last edited by Joakim Sandstrom; March 19th, 2010 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Added link Spatial_updating
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
I think you're barking up the wrong tree David. "Look" was just as much the way it handled motion as the still frame look, that's what Mark told me, he thought the 2700 had much smoother, nicer motion.
"Smoother, nicer motion"? Following on from what Tom says, I'd only add that such as rolling shutter effects could also make a difference to how motion was portrayed - but in a comparison of the 2700/700 we're talking about two CCD cameras, so that can't be applicable here. So the only differences I can think of that would affect motion handling are framerate, shutter angle, and interlace/progressive.

If we assume we're talking about both cameras shooting 720p/25 (not a lot of point doing anything else if we want varispeed), that fixes everything else except shutter angle as far as I can see. Is it possible we're just talking about the way the 700 derives varispeed? If so, what's the argument? We're in agreement that the Varicam does it better than the 700 - it's why the BBC chose it for these programmes in spite of it's resolution. My question was what when the comparison is the 2700 v the 350?
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And I think your idea of looking at split screens to tell the 350 and 700 apart tells a lot of the story, you're talking about still frames and peeking at the pixels. I think you'd tell them apart OK if you watched 2 shots of birds flying.
No, it doesn't tell any of the story - split screen can just as well apply to split screen moving video as still images, and that's what I was thinking of. Yes, it's conceivable that the CMOS/CCD difference could theoretically make a difference to how flying birds looked - but I'd suspect it would be a small order effect, and even if there was any difference, would one look absolutely "right", the other "wrong"?

Whatever you think of the 2700, I doubt you'd deny it would be even better if had 1920x1080 chips and offered full resolution at 1080p/25 in addition to it's current abilities. There shouldn't be any doubt that it would be better still if it offered full varicam frame rates and cranking at 1080p resolutions. That's obviously what such as the BBC want, from reading that quote.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #88
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David beat me to it as I was set to argue against myself with a point about rolling shutter versus global shutters, in lieu of the psycho-optical phenomenon, which while likely, points only to a subjective judgment.

We know the rolling shutter fills the frame at least 2khz. I don't know how fast a hummingbird beats its wings, but the rolling shutter would seem likely to render that motion unfavorably in comparison, agreed.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:00 PM   #89
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Hi guys,

I'm watching this thread and loving the banter going on here. I have a question about the 2700, does this camera do SD or is this a HD only camera.

Thanks
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Old March 20th, 2010, 01:51 AM   #90
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HD only Simon.

We use the 2700 on commercials, edit native 720P in Final Cut Pro, export to ProRes 422 HD, then import that file to Windows Procoder and downrez to SD for H.264 transmission Master. You may have seen some Swisse Vitamin commercials featuring Rick Ponting and Sonia Kruger which we produced on Tony Brennan's 2700. A new bucnch of Swisse ads with footballer Tom Harley start next week on Seven which we also shot on the HPX2700 in 720P.

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