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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 January 18th, 2006, 10:19 PM   #1
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Sony introduces 1/2" HD XDCAM for $20K

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Jan. 18, 2006 - The next generation of Sony's XDCAM Professional Disc system - a line of high-definition optical camcorders and decks unveiled today - offers cinematographers, broadcasters and video professionals a complete toolkit of flexible, digital production options.

The Sony XDCAM HD family of optical products includes two camcorders and two decks. The same Professional Disc media used in the standard definition version of the XDCAM system is also compatible with the new HD version. Now, professional users can record up to two hours of high definition content on the versatile optical media, maintaining their workflow continuity by combining HD resolution with the same IT-based benefits made possible by XDCAM technology since its initial launch in 2004.

"The introduction of a high-definition version of our XDCAM system marks the continuing evolution of optical technology as users shift from standard definition production," said Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Broadcast and Production Systems Division. "This new XDCAM line-up rounds out Sony's range of HD production tools, filling an important niche between Sony's entry-level and high-end formats."

With the introduction of the XDCAM HD system, Sony is extending its CineAlta family of cinematic, broadcast and professional production systems by giving these new products the CineAlta brand.

The two XDCAM HD camcorders - models PDW-F330 and PDW-F350 - both offer the production features that professional users need, such as true 24P recording in SD or HD, interval recording, and slow shutter.

The PDW-F350 additionally offers true variable frame rate recording capabilities; also commonly known as "over-cranking" and "under-cranking" or "slow-motion/fast motion" functionality.

"This is a much-desired and often critical feature for cinematographers and directors of photography who need the flexibility of changing frame rates to create unique `looks' for their productions or to create special effects," said Robert Ott, vice president of optical and network systems for Sony. "For digital cinematographers, the ability to shoot at slower or faster frame rates than playback gives them the great motion effects often seen in film cinema."

The PDW-F350 enables variable frame rate recording at a range of frame rates from four frames per second (fps) to 60 fps in one frame increments. For example, when viewed at 24 fps, four fps yields motion six times faster than normal. In comparison, 60 fps yields motion at 40 percent normal speed. These effects can be played back in the camera or on a Sony optical deck, without the need for any additional special processing through a non-linear editing system or converter.

The PDW-F350 also enables true 24P, 25P and 30P image capture, without any additional conversion required.

The XDCAM HD products offer the flexibility of recording 1080i video in three data recording rates: 25 Mbps, plus 35 Mbps and 18 Mbps. The system records high-definition content to Sony's existing Professional Disc single-layer media using an HD MPEG-2 Long GOP video compression codec.

The camcorders use three half-inch CCD 1.5 megapixel imagers with a variety of lenses from major manufacturers available.

The PDW-F70 and PDW-F30 decks enable high-speed data transfer between compatible nonlinear devices. Both decks up-convert XDCAM standard definition content recorded in the DVCAM format to 1080i high definition at output, and all XDCAM HD camcorders and decks can down-convert HD material to standard definition in anamorphic, letterboxed or 4:3 format.

"We are also continuing to develop our alliances with 30 leading manufacturers of compatible products to further strengthen the adoption of an optical workflow by a broader audience of customers," said Ott.

Based on blue-laser technology, the XDCAM system's Professional Disc media offers unique benefits in terms of split-second random access to footage in the field or during the post process, and multi-format flexibility and flexible record times (approximately 120 minutes or more of HD content at 18 Mbps or 85 minutes of SD DVCAM at 25 Mps).

The Sony Professional Disc media is re-usable up to 1,000 read/write cycles and up to 10,000 read/write cycles in ideal conditions, based on Sony's own testing. The greater number of repeat recordings possible with the XDCAM Professional Disc allows a production crew to re-use it more often than a videotape and without experiencing degradation after multiple uses of the media.

Additional features of the new XDCAM HD products include:

Expand function - takes a clip that has been initially tagged as a thumbnail and divides it into 12 even time intervals. Each interval also contains its own thumbnail for easy identification. This expand function can be applied up to three times, making it easier to search rapidly for scenes within a long clip, and also allows an operator to drill down into a clip and quickly locate the desired editing point.

Freeze mix - enables a videographer to switch seamlessly between pre-recorded material and live footage by showing these images on the LCD screen or viewfinder. This function also helps adjust the camera's position to set the same framing for the next shot.

Slow shutter -allows a maximum of 64 frames to be accumulated. In low light levels this produces clear and noiseless video, and provides a "fantasy" video effect with a ghost image.

Since 2004, the standard definition version of the XDCAM system has been adopted by news organizations, videographers and for television production, especially in the reality TV genre. Corporations, educational and government facilities, houses of worship and major sports teams have also implemented Sony's optical technology.

The following XDCAM HD products are planned to be available in March 2006, with suggested list pricing of:

PDW-F350 camcorder: $25,800

PDW-F330 camcorder: $16,800

PDW-F70 deck: $15,990

The PDW-F30 deck is planned to be available in June, with a suggested list price of $9,500. The PFD-23 Professional Disc media is available for approximately $30 per disc, with a capacity of 23.3 GB per disc.

Source: Sony News & Information

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan.../pdwf350.shtml

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan.../pdwf330.shtml
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Old January 19th, 2006, 01:33 AM   #2
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I'm not really educated about the cinealta line. Could someone tell me the hirarchy of cameras? What makes an F950 better than this(if it is)?
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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:19 AM   #3
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Whats really interesting about this new HD XDCAM camera is that not only can it do variable framerates, but they can be adjusted in 1fps increments.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 07:07 AM   #4
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Very nice and great pricing - just remains to be seen what the quality of 35mbs HDV looks like

All framerates on one camera as well, no regional differences.

HD SDI out too!
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Old January 19th, 2006, 08:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve Connor
just remains to be seen what the quality of 35mbs HDV looks like
Interesting......I never really thought of that. In essence, this is just another HDV camera, no?

The HDV format must be better then some people think it is. There's a big secret that they are slowly letting out. Because if Sony is willing to put the HDV format on a $26k thousand dollar camera and stamp it with their famous "CINEALTA" label and then give it SELECTABLE frame rates 4p-60p, then they must be on a mission with this HDV stuff. Then ofcourse you have other major brands like Canon right there besides them and then ofcourse JVC (who started it all) is right there with them with their hd100 and their forthcoming $20k dollar HDV camera too.......

Things are going to get interesting for HDV.

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Old January 19th, 2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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No, not quite HDV. It uses the same type of compression, but as well as constant bitrates the HD XDCAM can record variable bitrates in realtime.

Also, the audio in the HD XDCAM video is uncompressed.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #7
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"What makes an F950 better than this(if it is)?"

What is better a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Lexus LS? And that is the answer, neither. There are many needs and many price categories. HDV is a consumer format. XDCAM the bigger brother is an open architecture broadcast pro format. HDCAM is brodcast/film. None is better just different for different crowds. In fact part of the marketing of the XDCAM format is to first make a1/2" version and then a 2/3' version meaning more cameras and more niches to fill. The terms salesman are using is "cine-sumer" and "cine-pro" for the different niches.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #8
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Yep. I can see the HD XDCAM being popular with event shooters that want a shoulder mount like the JVC5100 style series, but with high def 16:9. At $16k with a lens, the lower HD XDCAM looks pretty good value.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #9
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Also, the audio in the HD XDCAM video is uncompressed.
I think people are misusing the term uncompressed. 16 bit, 48K audio is compressed audio. Yes, XDCams audio is less compressed than HDV, it is still compressed.

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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #10
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Thats a bit pedantic. You're talking about quantisation.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #11
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"I think people are misusing the term uncompressed. 16 bit, 48K audio is compressed audio. Yes, XDCams audio is less compressed than HDV, it is still compressed. "

They also use that term "uncompressed" for 4:2:2 but folks get the idea. How about this way, the audio specs are perfectly acceptable for use in broadcast and professional scenarios.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #12
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Walter,

While I agree that they are different products marketed toward different users, I completely disagree that there is no difference in quality! There's a reason the F900 & F950 costs as much as it does. It IS better. Superior in many ways. The F950 in particular coupled with HDCAM SR recording is significantly better than what the current XDCAM system is offering.

I do like the specs of the new XDCAM cameras. And I think they are a quantum leap forward for the low end arena. But they aren't going to put the higher end guys out of business.

And on a related subject, the whole argment that Sony or any other manufacturer handicaps cameras for fear of losing sales on the higher end cameras is ridiculous. The guys who can afford the high end gear and have the means to work at that level are always going to. Having shot with the F900, F900/3, F950, and 27F, I would never consider shooting a project with a lower end camera without good reason. Different projects require different gear and different methods. But if given the choice based solely on image quality capability between the F950 and an XDCAM, I would choose the F950.

None of this is ta say that the XDCAM options aren't excellent. But yes, the F950 is superior.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 11:38 AM   #13
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"While I agree that they are different products marketed toward different users, I completely disagree that there is no difference in quality!"

I never said there was not a difference, only that they market different products for different needs. A Toyota is not a Lexus, just a different car for a different crowd.


"And on a related subject, the whole argment that Sony or any other manufacturer handicaps cameras for fear of losing sales on the higher end cameras is ridiculous."

And I hope you do not think I said that as I never did. That is usually said by guys who own a DV camera, don't really work in the business, but think they are going to take over the industry.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #14
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"I never said there was not a difference, only that they market different products for different needs. A Toyota is not a Lexus, just a different car for a different crowd."

Agreed. But your original statement was to which was "better". I understand what you pointing out. And I agree that both are tools that meet different requirements. But when it comes to image quality, there is a definite difference. In that arena, the F950 is "better.

"And I hope you do not think I said that as I never did."

Indeed. And I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. I was merely commenting on an argument that is often made when people get into a feature debate on various model cameras.

My apologies if my comments steered in the wrong direction...
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Old January 19th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #15
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I guess I miss the benefit of being able to vary framerate by 1. I can see upping the framerate to produce a smoother slo mo, but why vary it by just one frame? Wouldn't that cause issues when working with your NLE?
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