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Sony NEX-EA50 (all variants)
Including NEX-EA50UH / EA50EH / EA50H / EA50UK / EA50EK / EA50K


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Old May 14th, 2013, 02:39 AM   #31
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

OK, as a former cine cameraman, TV commercial producer and retired broadcast TV engineer, I have a considerable investment in filters and Zeiss lenses. When the VG20 came along 18 months ago, there was no contest. It had all the manual controls I was used to on my Betacams, it suited my purpose and my market and continues to do so even though the 'press' lamented it's lack of inbuilt picture profiles when it was first released. My next camera will probably be a BMC but I should not need to change lenses or filters.

Last year, the UK's BBC produced a very lush HD version of the classic 'Great Expectations'. The German DOP chose to shoot the big budget series on an Arri Alexa. Although great care was taken to set up the camera and specific post production routines were developed by the colourist working with DaVinci Resolve, the cameraman occasionally used filter stacks up to half an inch thick to get the 'look' he wanted 'in camera'. Why do you think he did this? Don't you think the $80K Alexa has picture profiles as well? This is part of the craft of the DOP.

Sure, on 8 bit consumer cameras, presets are a nice, quick and handy feature to help with exposure and contrast but they are not an 'essential' element. I'm not suggesting you go out an buy a stack of expensive filters, all I am saying is filters can manipulate light in a similar way that 'picture profiles' manipulate data. One analogue, the other digital. You can read the tech details on Schneider's filter site to see how the digicon filter for example, compresses the image into a 'flat' picture profile.

With files from an 8 bit camera, there is always a danger that too much manipulation in post production can degrade the image as there is not the latitude to play with and banding can be the result. This is one reasons I use AWPro to immediately transcode my 8bit AVCHD to 10bit DNxHD for editing but getting the right look 'in camera' is important to me as most of my time is spent capturing the image, rather than manipulating it in post production. Generally, the only 'tweaks' I make to the image once shot are minor gain, chroma and black level adjustments.

PS: Schneider's filters are available in various formats including screw on and clip-on
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:16 PM   #32
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Craig,

this is all very true.
When I studied cinematography, we always had a bunch of filters when using 16mm or other film materials.
With Beta and later on DigiBeta things changed. We got a lot of control already in the menus. Espacially with the gamma and the blacks. Later on with knee there also was some highlight control.
I used these options more and more but took the filters with me nevertheless.

Now, with small cameras like the EA50 I did some comparisons with tweaked picture profiles and I must say that I find it a lot easier and more suitable for my low budget projects than buying and changing filters. I don't say it's not worth it, I only found out for myself that I don't want cameras without these controls anymore.

But lenses are still an important thing for the look of your footage too. I would like to have 2-4 Zeiss ZF lenses with declicked aperture. These would fit the small cameras sizewise better then the CP2's or otherPL lenses and still have that certain Zeiss glow...

Last edited by Erik Wittbusch; May 15th, 2013 at 02:49 AM.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 12:59 AM   #33
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Erik, +1 very well said.

Craig, if you have them, like them, and they work for you, then more power to you. I don’t think you’re going to find much of a case for convincing a lot of people here it is the way to go. Especially from those of us that did use them once upon a time. I checked out your article last week. It seems to me your trying to make a case for turning a camcorder into a quasi film camera, which it is not and never will be. But that is my opinion. I am not one of the 5D evangelists either. They spend unreasonable amounts of time and money trying to turn a still camera into a video camera. I just don’t get it.

You mentioned “the craft”, I had to delete a long post I wrote earlier today because I did not want to be offensive. To put it shortly I think our craft is getting lost in all of the interest in the technology. All some guys want to talk about is the gear. Professionals still talk about photography. When I am working an event as a credentialed pro and another pro walks up they almost never ask me about the camera in my hands. Understanding the technology is a given. They are much more likely to ask me what type of shot I am going for. Or we are discussing the lighting situation. Most often we are complaining about flights or hotels. We are never talking about pixels or lines of resolution. First and foremost I am a photographer. Regardless of whether I have a still or moving camera in my hands. Even though still shooting is not part of my living anymore. There are guys on this forum that will argue with you that they are not photographers. If that is the way they feel then so be it, then I am sure they are NOT one. They obviously don’t work in the industry or they would understand why the head MoFo is the DOP ;)

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Last edited by Steven Digges; May 15th, 2013 at 02:48 AM. Reason: addition
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Old May 15th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #34
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

The thing I like about this forum is the intelligent discussion. Sometimes it seems, the more expensive the equipment, the more intelligent the discussion.

Erik, I agree with you about lens choice. I used to own a selection of 15:1 and 18:1 Fujinon ENG servo zoom lenses and I missed the control I had there so I sold the VG20's kit SEL18-200 zoom and chose instead to go 100% prime and manual. (apart from my little SEL16-50 motor zoom which I use for portable 'handycam' applications) I love the 'look' of my vintage Zeiss SLR lenses on the Vg20 and purchasing these old lenses today, can be very cost effective as they can be used on many modern cameras via simple or complex adapters. Although my 300mm telephoto is 'only' F4.0, it weighs 1.6Kg and the front glass is nearly 100mm in diameter so it certainly 'seems' faster.

Steven, you'll need to forgive me for sometimes 'stirring the possum' to generate some debate (a thing we Aussies like to do) and I agree with you about the DSLR crowd's determination to turn their 'still' cameras into Hollywood 'frankenrigs' but you need to take pity on me as I come from a 'nerdy' broadcast engineering background so all this talk of pixels and sensors is fascinating to me. Most camera people I meet whether they be still or video professionals, have little real interest in the technology. Their gear needs to work for them reliably and earn an income.

I guess my brief is to get the best out of my camera with the least resources and it was initially purchased for a National Parks website 'stills' contract plus "a bit of video". My current project has me backpacking the entire camera/lens collection into remote Blue Mountains locations, assembling the rig on site and waiting for just the right light to get the 'shot' I want. Part of the appeal is the 'wilderness experience' and a nice thing about hybrid cameras like the VG20/30/EA50 is that if you set up to capture a great 'video' image, then acquiring a high resolution still frame or time-lapse of that same scene through the same lens is simply the flip of a switch.

PS: Here's a 30 second Blue Mountains clip I posted to Vimeo recently. Pan is too fast and shutter speed was incorrect but I put it up so another engineering mate could download an original 50P .MTS file. (vimeo.com/64781266)
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 03:44 PM   #35
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Hi Craig. Regarding the Digicon filter that you use on your VG20, what grade would you recommend for general use?
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 04:46 PM   #36
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Hi James, if you are considering purchasing one grade of digicon to start off your collection, I would suggest the "1/2". I use mine in a 4x4" matte box but I believe they are also available in 'screw-on' rounds to suit several popular lens diameters. The digicon was developed especially for modern 8 bit cameras and DSLRs which record direct to heavily compressed codecs like AVCHD or H.264.

Schneider catalogue info: "DigiCons are a revolutionary new filter recently added to the Schneider line of filters. DigiCon characteristics: Raises black levels while lowering highlights. Combined with in camera gamma settings and/or post production, a higher dynamic range can be recorded. The result is more detail in highlight and shadow areas with no loss of resolution or softening of the image. Filter produces no color shift and highlights are clean and halo-free.

They are available in 6.6 x 6.6" , 4x5.65", 4 x 4" and many other sizes by special order. They are offered in five strengths : 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 and 2. The filters are used in a matte box mounted to the camera and are geared toward digital shooting."
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EA50 - B camera ideas-nex-vg20-zeiss-prime-tripod-rig-2.jpg   EA50 - B camera ideas-interview-3.jpg  


Last edited by Craig Marshall; May 23rd, 2013 at 03:05 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 02:30 PM   #37
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Many thanks for that information, Craig. I will look into getting something sorted out.

Regards, JAMES
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Old May 26th, 2013, 07:13 AM   #38
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Just to get back to topic.

Before a burgler motivated a major rethink in equipment used a Canon XA10 as B-cam for a Panasonic HMC-150. Worked perfectly as both cameras was set to ITU-709. gamma and matrix. As long as both cameras was set to same WB, there was no problem in intercutting the footage. The XA10 is a gem for B-camera, as is super on a Magic Arm and can be placed nearly everywhere.

I expect the XA20 to be even better as it can be controlled by Wifi. Furthermore Canon has upgraded the camera considerable per ex with dual format recording.

My plan is to get an AE50 and a XA25, and match the EA50 to the Canon using ITU-709 as base.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 12:56 PM   #39
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

A issue you might encounter is differences in sharpness and by that I mean that the xa25 might be noticeable sharper, if I shoot side by side with my ea50 and my sony cx730 I can pick out the cx730 shot out easily as it has more resolution which you mainly see in wide shots with more fine detail.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 02:41 PM   #40
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Jos,

My thinking on “B” cameras for the EA50 was recently changed. At first, I did not get all of the posts here raving about the VG 20 or VG30. How could an overpriced consumer handycam be worthy of use in a professional environment when your main camera isn’t even truly a pro level camera? It is a HANDYCAM and it lacks the control I need on my shoots…..right?

Then someone loaned me one for a month. I am not a big fan of “B” and “C” cameras being anything but an identical model of the “A” cam. But, if the EA50 is the “A” cam and one or two more of them is not an option please consider the VG20 or VG30. Here is why:

We all know about the sensor, and that is the big one. Forget about all of the painful tweaks and endless matching issues. It shoots the same image as the EA50. What more can you ask for?

Interchangeable lenses. I put the same array of Canon glass on it I use on the EA50. And again the image matches. What more can you ask for?

A benefit the EA50 can’t do for me…..I have a blackbird stabilizer. The EA50 is too heavy for me to fly handheld. The VG20 was a dream. Perfect fly cam to match my EA50. What more can you ask for?

I am a keep it simple guy. After a lifetime in this business I suffer from software overload. I am not into complicated tweaks and adjustments that must be dealt with every time you fire a camera up. My goal is the same now as it always has been. Get it right the first time and every time! I generally do not re-hire any crew member that looks at me on set, when I have questioned something, and says to me “fix it in post”! See my signature. I read so much stuff on this forum about tweaks and adjustments during acquisition (the worst) or in post (PITA to me) I wonder if it is an obsession, a compensation, an over dependence, or just a pain lack of understanding of how to acquire good video on set? Good video on set starts with matching images by utilizing proper cameras. Not by using a mix of technological adjustments to compensate for poor equipment decisions. In my not so humble opinion.

Yes….in the same post I just recommended a hanycam and went on a rant about quality….WOW….I better go eat lunch!

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Old May 26th, 2013, 03:17 PM   #41
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Jos,

You said “your plan is to get a Canon and a Sony” and adjust them to be a matched set. That is beyond my comprehension. If you have not made the purchase yet, why would you set yourself up from the start with a poor match? Electronic compensation is not a good solution for me.

I have fifteen years of experience working on video projects of all budget types. When we are working in a truly professional environment with broadcast cameras, CCUs, and a proper budget mismatching does not exist. We never hand an editor or client a bunch of footage and say “Oh by the way, it all came out of good cameras, but you will need to adjust them all in post”. It just does not happen. These days, with everything a NLE can do, and the cameras abilities to adjust, it may be tempting to rely on technology. But in my experience that is still the realm of the semi-pro or amateur. Professionals get it right in the acquisition phase. And that is not hard for us to do when budgets are small and we are working with pro-summer gear.

So Jos, I am not picking on you…..I AM questioning your choice of cameras you have not purchased yet. Save yourself now, before you take the plunge.

Steve
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 02:24 PM   #42
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Hi Steven,

No offence, and I fully understand your helpfullnes. But I might have been unclear. I have no intention of match anything in post. This would be a clean disaster, as you describe.

I had a XA10 end a Panasonic before, and they where matched up as cameras. What I did was tweak the picture profile of the Panasonic HMC151 to match the Canon XA10. This worked nicely. I had another profile matching a Sony.

I am doing events and stage performances with one total camera and one for close ups. The Canon XA10 was doing the total shots . And here the sharpness was an extra help here. I did borrow a EA50 before my cameras was nicked to see if I could tweek the profiles to match. And it was indeed possible.

I will be doing corporate video as well and the EA50 on its own are very nice for that. Especially as I have some emount optics.

But I have just been able to try a XA25 today and Canon seems to have seriously improved the image quality, so it might not as easy to match the two cameras.

The best
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:51 AM   #43
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Hi Steve, I too own both an EA50 and a VG30 plus a CX730. I love the VG30, however, I don't always find it to be the perfect match to the EA50 as I have dampened the colours a little using the picture profiles on the EA50 and I can't do that with the Vg30 and so am left with its rather high contrast image. I am talking with Schneider about the possibilty of them making me a 1/2 Digicon filter that Craig has referred to and they can do so for $140 but so far only offered me a 67 or 72mm thread and I want a 49mm for my 35/1.8 that normally sits on this camera. How do you get around the problem, perhaps you don't bother with the PP on the EA50? Do you have the cinematone turned on or off on the Vg30?
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Old June 5th, 2013, 05:21 AM   #44
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

James, why don't you simply use a filter thread adapter on your lens? (ie: 49mm>67mm) I use them all the time as one of my Heliopan Skylights is 67mm and I adapt it to the 40.5 thread on the SEL16-50mm motor zoom.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 05:25 AM   #45
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Re: EA50 - B camera ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Hollingsworth View Post
Forget about all of the painful tweaks and endless matching issues. It shoots the same image as the EA50.
James, what preset do you need to use in the ea50 to match it with the image from the vg30?
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