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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 October 31st, 2010, 11:05 AM   #16
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Cheers for posting Mike, Luc and Doug! What great bunch you are to have around!

So it would seem that the camera I'm looking at is about two grand over priced with an unsuitable SD lens on the front. It would appear however, that the PDW F350 would be a very suitable candidate for our needs with excellent quality pictures and a robust build. The camera we choose will often be in the hands of inexperienced operators (under expert supervision) so it does need to be a solid machine. Doug I couldn't agree more about digital SLR's; the high end stuff is still built like the film cameras of old, such as the Nikon F4. I've got a Nikon D3 which is of course very solid and professional feeling. You just can't beat that metal feel...
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Old October 31st, 2010, 04:37 PM   #17
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This one has been on the market for some time. Perhaps worth while to make an offer?
Sony - PDW-F350 - Sony PDW-F350L - Top-of-the-range XDCAM HD Camcorder

Mind you, I don't know the seller, so you'll have to check him - or her- out yourself.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 03:37 AM   #18
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Those other cameras feel light and cheap, but I'm sure they hold up just fine with normal care.
AFAIK although this might seem to be the case the material is actually stronger than the stuff used on other cameras. Can't remember details though, but it is designed to behave in a certain way during impacts I think.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 08:08 AM   #19
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Maybe the material they are made of is stronger, I won't argue with that, but the EX cameras certainly FEEL cheaper and lighter. I much prefer a camera with more mass and a heavy-duty feel to it. I'd rather have an EX1 that weighed a pound or two more in exchange for a sturdier build and less plastic.

If you compare the switches, knobs, doors, etc. on a PMW-EX1R/EX3/320/35/500 to a F350/800/700 there's a huge difference in how the cameras feel to the touch.

I'm not saying the EX cameras won't hold up (my own cameras have done great), but they aren't in the same league as the optical cameras.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 08:29 AM   #20
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Sorry Doug, I was referring to the PMW-350 not the smaller EX cameras (which can and do crack pretty badly in some cases!) Not sure I've really noticed a difference in the switches. With regard to the PDW-F350 I remember that feeling a bit lighter and cheaper than my old PDW-510 in terms of the body.

But in as far as the 320 and 350 go (and I'd imagine the 500, which is lets face it in the same price range as the 700 and should be its equal in build quality) my understanding is that the material for those cameras is a new type, that might feel lighter and less durable but is in fact much better than the old stuff. From what I gather anyway.

If the camera is lighter, yet stronger I would much rather have those characteristics.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 07:08 PM   #21
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The camera we choose will often be in the hands of inexperienced operators (under expert supervision) so it does need to be a solid machine....
But a PMW has no moving parts, which should give better reliability, and a new camera would give me more confidence than anything that's secondhand. (And better resale value.)

You also need to factor in how you'll get the material off the disc. A separate XDCAM disc reader will swallow up most of the money you're hoping to save, and using the camera to transfer increases the wear on the camera mechanism. (As well as meaning it can't be used for filming at the same time.)

So my feeling is also in favour of the PMW320 if you can't afford the PMW350. The only compelling reason to go with disc for acquisition is if you really want what you shoot onto to be it's own archive.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 10:34 AM   #22
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Many thanks everyone for your posts! I've found another PDW F350 with a Fujinon XS 17 X 5.5 BRM-M38 HD lens plus batteries, charger and a Sony tripod baseplate with 12 months guarantee for 9,400. Is that too high for this kit? The camera has around 600 hours use. Even though we can transfer video files directly from the camera to a computer, I suppose a portable XDCAM disc reader might be preferable... adding to the overall cost.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 03:58 PM   #23
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I've found another PDW F350 with a Fujinon XS 17 X 5.5 BRM-M38 HD lens plus batteries, charger and a Sony tripod baseplate with 12 months guarantee for 9,400.
Once you factor in the U1 drive, that's more that a NEW 320 which IMO is the superior camera. Do you need the disc system? If not, I would certainly go for the 320.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #24
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I'm not so sure that the 320 is the superior camera, imagewise... I still prefer the image of CCD's over those from CMOS-chips. If you add a good lens to the 320, it will cost more than 10.000 . And there are some second hand U1 drives on the market for the moment, so that doesn't have to be such a big investement. But again: the light weight and the low power consumption of the 320 are very tempting. ... If everyone who uses it adopts a rigid back-up disciplin right from the start.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #25
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I haven't used the 320 yet but I've heard it is a little better than the EX3 (due to the processing). I think that the EX3 is noticeably better than the PDW F350, particularly in low light. Not massively difference but noticeably. Of course the rolling shutter can be an issue for certain shooting, so it is a personal choice.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #26
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Once you factor in the U1 drive, that's more that a NEW 320 which IMO is the superior camera. Do you need the disc system? If not, I would certainly go for the 320.
Not me.
Okay, it's a very close call, but in the end, I'd go for the F350 with that XS 15x5.5 Fujinon lens. With that package you get a superior lens, a time-saving and fool-proof optical workflow, a more rugged camera, CCDs, 1080P 60fps overcranking, more professional menu options and other functions, etc.

Yes, the PDW-U1 optical drive will add to the cost, but, you now won't have to spend tons of money on SxS cards (and I don't recommend shooting on anything but genuine SxS cards) or a Nexto, a PXU-MS40, or any other accessories like that. And even if you choose the 320, you're still looking at spending $250 on a SxS reader/writer at the very minimum -- plus tons of hard drives over the course of the life of the camera. The F350 will save you hours of data wrangling every week.

And finally, don't forget that the PDW-U1 drive can be used to safely archive and backup any kind of data files you want to put on optical discs so it's not just for video clips.

Here's my way of looking at it: Shooting on memory cards is a necessary evil for the smaller camcorders because of the size, weight, and power requirements of an optical drive. So if you need a small camera like an EX1R or EX3 it makes perfect sense. But if you're shopping for a shoulder-mount camera, you can't beat optical.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 04:18 AM   #27
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Couldn't agree more with Doug. I wish I had something like the optical disk in my daily work with still camera's... Would take the constant backing-up worries away. Would be just like 'archiving the film negative' in the good old days.

Anyway, if you would prefer the solid state workflow, I'd suggest you take a look at this: here's a PMW-350 for 10.600 (+ VAT): Sony - PMW 350K XDCAM EX - Sony PMW-350K (PMW-350, PMW 350) XDCAM EX 2/3inch 3-CMOS Shoulder-mount camcorder c/w Fujinon 16x HD lens with AF
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Old November 5th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #28
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Many thanks for your posts Mike, Doug and Luc - always appreciated. Luc, I had a look at the advert link that you gave and there is not a price mentioned, as the owner asks for an offer. Did you contact him to find the price mentioned in your post?
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Old November 5th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #29
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Yep, I did and that's the quote I got. It's an asking price, so probably there's still room for negotiation.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #30
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Wow, I'd grab that PMW-350!

In short they are all good cameras with different workflows. I nearly bought an F350 a few years ago but the low light wasn't good enough in the end so I got a DSR450 instead.

There's a lot of good factual info in this thread and in the end it is what suits your workflow best. If low light ability is important, like it is with me, be wary of the F350.

In terms of costs, I think SXS workflow is cheaper than disc. I have about 600 worth of cards - 2 32GB and 3 SD cards for emergency use. I read them on my laptop, so no reader required and copy the BPAV folders to an external drive. From that drive I then use XDCAM Transfer to create .movs on my raid and the first drive is stored as the BPAV archive. The discs are a lot slower, about 2-3x realtime on a U1 but do provide an immediate archive but cost about 20/hour.
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