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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 November 17th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #1
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Have to buy asap, DSR450, XDCAM 350 or 330?

After hoping I could get by with my z1 and cine adaptor it just isn't up to what I need to do for a series I am shooting for channel 4.

I am going to come up with this problem again and again. So I have decided I need to buy a full size pro camera.

They always use DSRs but I think buying a DSR450 now would be daft. Sure its a great camera and 2/3rd inch but with lots of progs being made in HD now surely the way to go is the XDCAM HD line.

Please correct me if I am wrong but the 330 compared to the 350 main points. No sdi. no xlr audio out, 4x3 viewfinder and variable frame rate...any others?

Thanks for your help!

p.s. wide angles are way too expensive right now, would a century optics wangle converter be a good stop gap?

also is the 19x canon lens any good?? If anyone has a link specific to the 330 review that would be great!
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Old November 17th, 2006, 03:37 PM   #2
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You'll save a bundle on the F330 over the F350 but if you need HD monitoring on a field a lot and want a good viewfinder, spend the money on the F350. As far as lenses, I don't think getting a wide angle adaptor is a wise decision. They are cumbersome to use, hard to focus with and probably less than adequate for HD pictures. In the US, you can buy the Fujinon 3.3x13 for around $13,000. That is an excellent lens. For HD standard lense, I like the Fujinon 5.5x18, it has a nice width (equivalent to 7.5mm on a 2/3") and is priced pretty reasonabily.

Thierry.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #3
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has anyone used the bundled lens, is it usable? how much extra is the better viewfinder?
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Old November 17th, 2006, 04:35 PM   #4
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Hi Phil

You are quite right, DSR450 seems pretty pointless considering F330 is same price and HD and shoots to the super sexy XDCAM HD Professional Disc format; that's just the tip of the iceberg.

F330 standard lens is most certainly usable and is far far superior to what you are used to built into the Z1. F350 dosn't come with a lens though. However, a standard def Canon 19x lens will again be superior to what you are used to by a long margin.

If you go for F330 and decide to buy the better native widescreen viewfinder it will cost you about an extra £1200, plus you will be stuck with the lesser one as most people won't want to take it in part ex, or if they do it will only be for £150 or so to go into their hire/loan stock. I would not recommend buying F330 with better viewfinder as for a little more you might as well just get the F350 with that viewfinder to start with. Plus you get the other benifits of Over/Undercranking, HD/SDI out, 5-pin XLR audio out connector on front, 2 BNC timecode I/O connectors. And Black in colour if you prefer this to the silver/grey of the F330.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 04:39 AM   #5
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I would go for XDCAM over DVCAM if I was making my own programmes (as I do). However if you are working as a freelancer in the UK shooting for broadcasters the XDCAM market is very limited at the moment, while the DVCAM market is huge. I'm sure this will change over time as more and more start to see the benefits of file based workflows. Whatever you get you really need the 2" VF. As for field monitoring, well it depends on how much you want to spend on a monitor. There are plenty of cheap HD LCD TV's that could pass for a monitor, but these only have component inputs. In that scenario a F330 may be better. The beauty of the F350 is that you can take it to any HD edit suite (or Digibeta) and use the HDSDi/SDi to export your footage, even if they have not got XDCAM HD compatible plug-ins or software.

I wouldn't buy the lens that comes in the F330 package. It dosn't have a proper focus ring as it uses a servo focus system like the Z1. Focus is everything with HD, if something is even the tiniest bit out of focus it sticks out like a sore thumb. I believe if you budget is tight you should get the Canon 19x6.7 that is being offered by some dealers for around £1000 (or buy mine second hand) over the package lens. Then in the future when you start to shoot more HD upgrade to a HD lens.

One point is that Discovery HD do stipulate that if you are going to use XDCAM HD you MUST use an HD lens. Sometimes it's very difficult to tell if a HD lens is or is not being used, but then on other shots it becomes more obvious.

The 5 Pin front XLR is a stereo audio in for the front mic. The 5 pin XLR out is on the rear on the F350.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 04:47 AM   #6
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I've recently spent 4 months shooting a wildlife programme in various locations and used a 19" lcd TV made by Samsung with Component inputs; cost £225. Not as good as a Grade A monitor of course, but it doesn't cost £20,000 so you wouldn't expect it to be as good. However, I find it perfectly okay for focus, exposure, colour, white balance etc.

Alister is right, F330 has component outputs so a cheaper all-round option. F350 has HD/SDI, which means a very expensive field monitor.

As for DVCAM being more common in the UK over XDCAM, you can always shoot in DVCAM mode with an F330 to disc, then convert it to a DVCAM tape. This also has the advantage of better quality audio as the XDCAM models record to 16-bit, unlike DVCAM tape models like DSR450, which record in 12-bit.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #7
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The DSR450 is 16 bit unless in 4 channel mode then it's 12 bit as with all DVCAM products. There is NO audio advantage to be had by shooting on XDCAM and then outputting to DVCAM tape as you will be back to 2 channel 16bit 48Khz sampling or 4 channel 12 bit 32Khz sampling. You only get the 4 channel/16bit audio advantage if working directly with the XDCAM MXF files with an NLE that supports them.

Yes you could shoot on XDCAM and then dump to tape, but if you've shot 2 or 3 hours of rushes the last thing you want at the end of every shoot is to have to dump it all off. It would be fine for occasional jobs but if you are hired by a broadcaster they will normally want you to just hand over the tapes at the end of the days shoot. You may also find yourself having to supply a news truck or news pool that can only accept tape.

I am not knocking XDCAM in any way. All I'm trying to say is that if your market wants DVCAM/Betacam/Digibeta then be very careful about choosing XDCAM if it is your only camera. The right tool for the job etc. In a year or two's time things may be reversed and XDCAM may be the dominant format, who can tell. But until then if you are a UK based freelancer you need to consider what will bring the best return for your investment. The camera you like the most or the camera in most demand.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 11:42 AM   #8
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Alsiter, Phil needs HD here so DVCAM is out of the question.

As for the audio, DVCAM is 12-bit audio, even in 2-channel mode. But you are right, dumping back to DVCAM tape will revert the 16-bit to 12-bit anyway.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
Correct me if I am wrong but the DSR450 is 16 bit unless in 4 channel mode then it's 12 bit as with all DVCAM products. There is NO audio advantage to be had by shooting on XDCAM and then outputting to DVCAM tape as you will be back to 16bit 48Khz sampling.
The DSR450 would force you to use 12 bit/32khz audio if recording 4 channels. The XDCAM can record 4 channels at the full 16 bit/48khz resolution. But yes, if you then delivered by dubbing to DVCAM tape using 4 channels, the audio would suffer a downsampling hit (I think you meant back to 12/32 in your post). But you still might benefit from capturing a higher resolution audio at the source before downsampling at delivery.

If the client is editing with an NLE, they should be able to accept delivery via an external fw drive with the files unwrapped and ready to edit, maintaining the full audio fidelity on all 4 channels.

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Old November 18th, 2006, 03:50 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the info guys.

I bought the 330 in the end. I tried the lens in the k package...oh my god, why?!?! Did Sony at any point let a camera try the lens out?!?! The optics are fine, it's sharp, infinity ring is crap, but that is not the realy problem. It's the ZOOM!!! There is no manual backfocus on this lens, it is permanently set to auto, so whenever you crash in, or even just do a zoom, the focus completely goes then adjusts itself. TOTALLY useless. Unless you are going for some wacky effect!

I bought the HD lens on the strength of the strength of Alister. Discovery HD factor is a big concern.

I have a dvcam deck, so yes, for clients at the end of the day it''s a drag, but I generally work in blocks, from one series to another. So the one off days are limited. Also, the series I am currently shooting for Channel 4 is being produced and edited at Mentorn, they get charged quite a lot in house for machine time so it's great that I can just plug the firewire into the edit suite and dump the stuff over. Sure SDI would be nice too, although it would mean dumping stuff over real time. For the money the 330 was the best, especially as I needed 5k for the lens.

it's such a lovely camera, I absolutely cannot wait to start shooting on it.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #11
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Congratulations on the purchase of F330 Phil; you'll love it. I'm not far behind you.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 04:31 PM   #12
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I am curious as to why Simon Wyndham thinks the 330 is more for corporate and the 350 for broadcast work. I see no reason other than the sdi out that the 330 is different to a digitbeta or dsr 450 in it's features, it has all of them and more, am I wrong?
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Old November 18th, 2006, 10:02 PM   #13
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Even if you have 330 and need HD-SDI, u can still buy AJA compact converters to connect from HD-component to your HD-SDI machines. The AJAs costs about $750 USD as i recall...
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Old November 18th, 2006, 10:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Bloom
It's the ZOOM!!! There is no manual backfocus on this lens, it is permanently set to auto, so whenever you crash in, or even just do a zoom, the focus completely goes then adjusts itself. TOTALLY useless. Unless you are going for some wacky effect!
The lens has an auto flange back adjustment routine. See 'Adjusting the Flange Focal Length' topic in the owner's manual. There is a button on the lens that you push after setting up on a well lit Siemen's chart which is included with the camera.

A good read of the owner's manual is recommended as this is a very complex camera.

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Old November 19th, 2006, 04:36 AM   #15
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I would go along with Simon in so much as the F330 features tend to be more suited to corporate work. For example the component outputs allow the use of low cost non broadcast LCD's. Not many corporates make use of slow mo and the perception is that corporate budgets are smaller than broadcast (these days though it's often the reverse) so a cheaper camera may make you more profitable. If you were working for a broadcaster and need to integrate into multi-camera shoots then the F350's HDSDi would be an advantage as well as TC in and TC out at the same time to allow loop through. So I can see Simons point.

At the end of the day you must choose the features that suit you and your application. Everyones needs will be different. As there is no picture quality difference between the two it's actually a tough choice as I have often wished for component out on my F350, but then I have made good use of the HDSDi.

Anyway Phil, welcome to the growing XDCAM HD club. I'm sure you won't be dissapointed. Before you start shooting for real I strongly recommend you play around with the different gammas as it's my opinon that the out of the box gamma 1 dosn't do the camera any favours. My preferd gamma is gamma 3.
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