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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 2nd, 2010, 06:03 PM   #61
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All good points.

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Old December 3rd, 2010, 11:45 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post

Having owned the PMW-350 and the F800 there is a pretty big difference in picture quality with latitude and motion.
I used to hire a PDW700 regularly before I bought my PMW350 and have done one shoot where I intercut between the 350 and four 700s. To my eye (and the director's) the 350 produced a less noisy image. Apart from that I couldn't see any difference between them. The 350 also appeared to be slightly more sensitive.

I haven't noticed anything inferior on 350 footage compared to 700 footage. Maybe the 800 is better or maybe it requires a side-by-side test to see the difference. Can you elaborate on the differences? Have you got any of the footage still?

Of course CMOS can occasionally cause flash banding, so if I did a lot of red carpet work, I would want the 500. Apart from that and not having 4:2:2 50 Mbps, I prefer the 350. I certainly wouldn't pay double for the 500 unless I knew I would see a return on the extra investment. Most of my clients need persuading to go beyond an EX3.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 11:59 AM   #63
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One problem that I can see with the PMW-350 is the rolling shutter - but not enough to dislike the camera.
Had some clips I needed to stabalize with mecalli and although the softwre can stabilize the rooling shutter too, the rolling shutter cannot be removed completely making the picture wooblig. Tried a clip from my CCD camera and the stabilizer could make the clips work.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 11:59 AM   #64
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Pretty amazing if it's less noisy than the 700 as that's already a really non-noisy camera, I was amazed at it when I had mine. I used to use -6db but it was pointless as at 0db there was virtually no noise anyway. Very different story to the Varicam - still love it but noise is not its strong suit!
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 01:06 PM   #65
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Hi Mike,

I am not cutting down the PMW-350 it is a great camera and still one of the four (350, 500, 700, Panasonic 3000) on my list. I have not shot with the 700 even though it is the same chips as the 500, 800. But what I have found doing side-by-side testing with Doug Jensen using his F800 and my PMW350 the picture is noisier on the 350. But the 350 is still very nice and low noise compared to everything in its price range. And we had to look for the difference in our test since they were static. As we have be saying motion is a different story, and with all my aerial work there is no comparison which one is better, not even close.

The problem I was having with the PMW350 latitude was useable latitude. And this has nothing to do with rolling shutter or skew. Let me explain. When I shot aerial’s of ski areas for HDTV broadcast with the PMW350/Nano at 100Mb/s we had to choose, do we keep the detail in the blacks and loose some in the bright whites or the other way around. Well we kept it in the whites and lost detail in the blacks. The camera could not handle the full range with detail. On similar aerial shoots with the F800, not the same day but bright conditions with blacks in the frame we did not have the same problem. The F800 was noticeably better in all detail, and this was true on all shoots I used the camera on. I have found this over and over between the two cameras. Still not cutting down the 350 just showing the difference you pay for with the CCD. It is a lot of money but for some it matters.

Another example is working for biologist shooting ducks. I changed to the F800 from the PMW-350 and did not tell them 7 month into the shoot. This was a 12-month on going shoot. The head biologist called and said “what did you do buy a new camera.” “Why do you ask is everything OK”, he said “The detail is so much better this month”. They blow the footage up to as much as 400% on a big screen looking at details. Now this was telling. It happened with another client also. There is more detail on the 500,700, 800 chips. It does not have the electronic sharp look the 350 CMOS has but that is not detail.

And as I have mentioned in the previous post fast motion is much better with CCD.

Does that mean I am not going to get a 350 this time, not sure yet, it all depends on the contract amount and demands. I will go with what is demanded by my clients to get the job and what will serve me well in the long run. And will the clients pay the difference, of course they will or I would not spend the extra.

Bo,
I don’t think the fact that Mecalli cannot stabilize the CCD footage has bearing at all on the quality between CCD and CMOS. Mercalli is very nice software but I think editors think it does magic. To me it makes it soft and scales it up reducing the detail, which should help the CCD. This could save a shot and it does often and for that Mercalli is great.

Agree Steve the XDCAM HD 2/3” CCD chips is leading edge, with low noise and amazing latitude. But as we keep coming back to it you pay the price up front to play the game.

Appreciate all the great questions and input helping me decide on the right camera, and camera owners adding their thoughts. It is never easy to decide on a big purchase and return for my dollar is always high on my list.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #66
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Anyone got a PDW700/800 or PMW500 and want to do a side-by-side with my 350? I think Alister Chapman already has a 700 and 350 so maybe he can comment.

I'd be interested to see the differences as I sometimes shoot with both cameras on one shoot.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 06:10 AM   #67
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Paul and I already did that twice last spring and I posted several videos at Vimeo, which I have since removed. I can't speak for Paul, but in my opinion the F800 blew the 350 away. Not only that, but my EX1 looked better than the 350, too. Ask Paul what he did with his 350 after the tests. :-)

If you don't mind doing a lot of grading you can make almost anything look pretty good, but I prefer to get 99% of the look I want in the camera, at the time of the shoot. Unfortunately, I could find no combination of paint settings on the 350 that even came close to a achieving a "look" I could accept as good enough. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing any footage from a 350 that I liked that didn't require grading.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 09:21 AM   #68
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Hi Doug, I remember seeing the videos but I wonder whether there was something wrong with the 350 you used because I use a EX3 regularly and it certainly isn't as good as my 350 in terms of image quality. When we shot with 4 700s and my 350, the 350 was slightly quieter at 0dB but we never had like-for-like shots so it was hard to compare much beyond that. We matched settings as closely as possible although the menus are different. I remember Alister saying he thought his 350 and 700 were almost indistinguishable but I don't want to speak for him, hopefully he will add his thoughts. I watched your Vimeo videos but I wouldn't want to make any kind of critical judgment from Vimeo.

Doesn't the 800 have additional paint settings over the 700? That probably helps. Also, I tend to shoot a lot of dark, contrasty interiors, whereas your tests that I saw were exterior.

IMHO image quality wouldn't be the driving factor in choosing between a 350 and 700 (and probably the 500 as it is the same CCD block). The workflow, total cost, features, rolling shutter and power draw would be more important... I think that's the point I'm trying to make :)
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Old December 4th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #69
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Hi Mike,

We discussed if there could have been something wrong with my camera. But we never did anything about this, and there were times I had nice footage with the camera that Doug has not viewed. So I did not think there was a problem with the camera.

I think it would be interesting if you did another test. But one thing is as you said in your post it is very hard to tell in heavily compressed Vimeo or Exposure Room, which I prefer. Also pulling stills is hard, the best way is big corrected monitors which we did in the field with our test.

The 800 does have user gamma that gives the camera some extra options. But Doug was shooting with normal Sony HG’s, which are also on the 700. IMHO the optical filters on the 800 do make a difference. I know Alister prefers the 700’s in camera CC filters according to his review from the air show work. Would also be interesting if Alister still has his 700? He was talking about selling it and just keeping the 350, not sure if this was really due to cost or he could not see the difference.

Understand your final points and total cost of course is a big one. I think if the 350 and the 800 were within $5K most everyone would buy the F800.

I have to decide in the next three weeks. Planning on shooting demo footage on both the 350 and 700 in that timeframe
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; December 4th, 2010 at 12:30 PM.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Patrick McLoad View Post
The only REAL problem I experienced with my 350 w/ stock Fuji lens was the lack of space between the lens and the big-honking color viewfinder. I determined I could make a bracket that raised the VF up by one inch.....so with that in mind, I bought the camera. And the one-inch bracket has made all the difference in the world. I can now operate my lens at speed without taking my eye away from the eye-piece.
Details of Patrick's solution located here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/article/acquis...acket-kit.html
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Old December 6th, 2010, 02:10 PM   #71
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Very nice fix Patrick,

Thanks for posting the link Chris.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Details of Patrick's solution located here:

Sony PMW-350K Viewfinder Bracket Kit at DVInfo.net
I thank you as well for the link. It is an elegant solution for the stated problem but I wonder how the elevated VF will mesh with the VF protective cocoon on the available carry cases (i.e. Petrol, Porta Brace, etc.)?
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Old December 6th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #73
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That is a good question Ron. I personally don't use the tight-fitting "skin" for my cameras as they retain heat (more of an issue with my prior Beta rig), and I've heard they scratch the camera, but I could be wrong about that.
I only have a rain cover, but haven't tried it. Camera covers aren't built to very exacting specifications anyway; most are loose-fitting.

I do know it doesn't interfere with my soft carrying case (PortaBrace). I would expect some disassembly may be required in the form-fitting ATA cases, but I always remove the VF when shipping via hard case anyway, and carry the VF in a more protected carry on.
But I would rather have to alter "camera clothing" than to put up with an operating issue that can make or break a shot in the heat of the moment.

I offer a 100% money-back return for any reason, so if it doesn't work out, no big deal....you've got nothing to loose.
It's not like this is a big monetary gamble or anything like that.

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Last edited by Patrick McLoad; December 7th, 2010 at 10:11 AM. Reason: spell
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Old December 8th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #74
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Hi Patrick,

Actually, I was referring to the camera carry bags rather than the skins that may tend to scratch the camera body. My current favorite carry bag is the Petrol PC005, and after taking measurements of the VF cocoon height with the 350 inserted, I was disappointed to find that an extra inch in VF height would make the bag unusable ... same for several of the Porta Brace contenders.

But I agree with your take in regards to the advantage your mod kit provides. Just not certain my current portage and shooting needs would allow for the required assembly and disassembly.
Regards.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #75
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Ron: Please see my blog site where I have inserted a new photo of my 350 in a case:

Sony PMW 350K Viewfinder Adjustment Bracket | Adjustment bracket for the viewfinder on a Sony PMW350K camera.

I use the PortaBrace CO-OBB (pictured) or the CO-OB, both of which are designed for the PMW-350 (and probably other cams as well). The camera with VF extension fits just fine, and the VF fits into the sculpted side-pocket. It even fits with the bottom plate still attached.

I am not familiar with Petrol cases. But the extended VF isn't any higher than the handle itself, so if the handle fits in your case, then so should the VF.

Ron, we're only talking about a 50 dollar bracket here, not a 1000 dollar accessory that you have to eat if there's a problem. If you don't like it or if it doesn't fit, send it back and you'll get your money refunded. It's probably one of the cheapest parts you'll ever buy for your camera.

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