350 or Panasonic HDX900 at DVinfo.net

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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 25th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #1
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350 or Panasonic HDX900

I am trying to decide whether to purchase the 350 or a HDX900. I see a previous thread but there appeared to not be much response. My experience is that Sony makes the most reliable product. I wonder whether the 2/3" chip makes a real difference in final picture quality?


David Wright
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Old January 26th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #2
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I went through the same thing. Trying to choose between the Panasonic 900 and the Sony 350 cameras.
We needed 2 camera kits for a HD doc series we are producing. There were pros and cons for each camera. In the end we went with XDCAM. We got 2 PDW-F350's with Canon KH10ex3.6 glass. We also got a PDW-F70 deck.

The things that sold us on the Sony was the tapeless workflow. We are using Avid Media Composer to edit with proxy files. That means no digitizing. We just got back from a shoot in Venice, Italy. The editor was able to injest 18 hours of footage in about 2 hours. For finishing we re-import the High Definition media into our finished sequence and send it to an Avid DS Nitris suite for Online.
Of course you can always just digitize the old fashioned way and use the disks just like tape.

We liked how cheap the disks are ($30 for 23GB.) You can shoot a disk and put it on the shelf for archiving. No Transfering to a hard drive or tape like P2 workflow. working as an editor since 1996, I don't trust Hard disks.

Some other features we like:
Flip out color LCD screen along with the B&W viewfinder.
Ability to produce easy timelapse with extensive Interval record function.
Overcranking to 60 fps to get slo motion.
4 audio inputs channels.
Firewire, HDSDI and Video Out.

But one of the biggest factors was that Discovery HD has accepted this camera for full HD aquisition.

We are not freelance cameramen so it may be a little different for us. Our decision was based on deliverables rather than how much work we would get for this camera. You can argue the 2 cameras until you're blue in the face. 1080i vs. 720p, Tape vs. Disk, etc. At some point you have to go shooting. We find the 1/2 inch HD lens and CCDs are providing stunning pictures.

Good Luck.

Last edited by Matt Trecartin; January 26th, 2007 at 09:04 AM.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #3
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If you have the money, and the tape work flow doesn't bother you, then go for the Panasonic. There equipement is just as reliable as Sony and the 900 is a fantastic camera--particularly for th e kind of work you seem to do.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #4
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SDX900 issues

Thanks for the replies. One big factor for me is the ability to overcrank or do timelapse. That makes the Sony attractive, I do own other gear however that would fit the 2/3" mount on the Panasonic. My biggest concern is that I have had a series of SDX900's on rental for the last six months and I am currently on my fourth camera as problems occurred in the field. I have had track 2 on the audio go out twice due to the board giving out, a viewfinder stop working and an issue with the camera shutting down unexpectedly due to it having problems reading the battery voltage. This may all come down to rental cameras that have been not taken care of by other operators, but the bodies have all been quite new. I wonder if the HDX900 is better, especially if used by an owner / operator.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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Panasonic isn't known for problematic Varicams or SDXs, so I'd chalk that one up either to bad luck, or lack of work on the part of the rental house.
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