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Sony NXCAM / AVCHD Camcorders
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Old November 30th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Michael Murie View Post
Well it could be "company rules" that prevented them from using XDCAM, but it could also be that H.264 at 25Mbit/s has an image quality that rivals MPEG-2 at 35Mbit/s, (at least that's what they'll argue, YMMV) and with flash memory being the medium of choice, smaller is better.
Except that NXCAM still only has a native 960x1080 sensor, meaning the interpolated upscaled image quality is not likely to be much different at 1920x1080 than HDV at 1440x1080, either one will max out at around 800-850 lines. So while I agree the NXCAM is a more capable improvement, with more efficient compression, the final image quality isn't going to challenge the mpeg-2 35/mbps XDCAM-EX which has 1/2 inch full raster sensors in spite of the older mpeg-2 codec.

So is that rivaling XDCAM, 35 mbps mpeg-2? I think so, yes, although the XDCAM-EX is over 1000 lines resolved, with better low light sensitivity. No question h.264 is more efficient, ultimate image quality can be had from the more wasteful codec with full raster sensors. I think the older Z5 image quality will still rival the newer NXCAM, but the new cam is a major advance in features, usability, and potentially workflow.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 09:27 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Steve Nunez View Post
I'm either going to bite the bullet on a video DSLR or wait til RED releases the Scarlet- either way I'm budgeting up to $5G and it wont be on a "AVCHD" only camera!
Steve, I would say save another $1300 and buy EX1. I know ergonomics are so-so, but it is a true pro-camera with great picture quality and codec which is easy to edit. LCD is by far the best on the market. I don't buy into the whole jello effect on CMOS on these cams. You can watch a ton of footage shot with EX1 and unless you are a pixel peeper you won't notice it even with high speed action.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 06:02 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Michael Murie View Post
.......it could also be that H.264 at 25Mbit/s has an image quality that rivals MPEG-2 at 35Mbit/s, .......
It's important to realise that specifying a codec and bitrate does not uniquely define the image quality. Different MPEG2 coders (at the same bitrate) can give widely differing qualities, and the same holds true for AVC-HD. That's why MPEG2 bitrates have dropped dramatically for broadcast digital TV in the last ten years, for roughly the same quality of picture - better technology has meant better coders. (Hardly surprisingly, expensive ones are much better than cheap ones, and new ones tend to be better than old ones.)

Hence any attempt to define AVC-HD (24Mbs) as being better or worse than MPEG2 at 35Mbs is totally meaningless without talking of specific hardware. Compare a cheap 24Mbs AVC-HD camera to a good 35 Mbs MPEG2 coder and the codec may be far worse. Compare an expensive broadcast AVC-HD coder to a cheap MPEG2 coder and it may well be better for the same bitrates.

The more you get into the subject, the more complicated it becomes. For example, it's possible to trade off still frame accuracy for motion rendition. Hence, for a given codec and bitrate, you can trade off detail and artifacting in fairly still images against how fast moving objects get recorded.

My own experience is that the codec used in the HMC150 is roughly equivalent to HDV, and nowhere near as good as 35Mbs XDCAM (as in the EX). That said, it's motion handling seems better than HDV, but with worse artifacting on detailed still images. It remains to be seen how the AVC-HD coder in the Sony NXCAM cameras will compare.

I also think that an EX1 looks a far better buy at present than the announced NXCAM model. But I suspect the EX1 will be the bottom of the XDCAM-HD range, the current NXCAM the top of a forthcoming NXCAM range.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 08:23 PM   #139
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Then again, the HMC150's chips has far less pixels than something like the Z5 so it should prove that it's AVCHD codec is really much better than HDV.
In broad daylight, I don't think there's any HDV camcorder that's nearly as sharp as the HMC40. I can only guess at this stage but I really do think that this NXCAM will be much sharper than the Z5.


Now that we have some fresh prices on the Scarlet, a fully working 2/3", interchangeable lens version wont be anywhere near as cheep as this NXCAM. Even a fully working fixed lens version wont be as cheep. Now compare it to cameras that are much more expansive, then theirs some competition, but one thing is certain, it's not as ENG friendly. I still want one badly.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 09:57 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
My own experience is that the codec used in the HMC150 is roughly equivalent to HDV, and nowhere near as good as 35Mbs XDCAM (as in the EX). That said, it's motion handling seems better than HDV, but with worse artifacting on detailed still images. It remains to be seen how the AVC-HD coder in the Sony NXCAM cameras will compare.

I also think that an EX1 looks a far better buy at present than the announced NXCAM model. But I suspect the EX1 will be the bottom of the XDCAM-HD range, the current NXCAM the top of a forthcoming NXCAM range.
David, I also think a big role here plays glass quality. HMC150 has the same chip as HPX 170, however 170 lens seems to be better. Another example was JVC's HD series with Fujinon 16x lens. Now fit the same camera like HD100 with Fujinon 17 or wide 13x lens and we are talking different picture quality all together.
I think EX1 and NXCAM will have 2 different applications, with NXCAM destined for corporate/event video, EX1 for broadcast/documentaries.
Personally for me (as a Mac user) this is a non starter, since it would force me to either transcode all the footage (large files for storage, inability to preview footage on the computer, quality and time loss on transcoding) or get a PC- which I simply will not do. If they just put XDCAM codec into HMC150 body I would be the first one to buy it.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 01:29 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
Just hope Sony have included the features that are on the consumer models such as touch spot focus and exposure etc.Ron Evans
What about the face detection (FD) that the little 3 chip Panasonic HMC41 has, Ron? I was mightily impressed by that when I used it, as it's faces I'm filming, not the contrasty, well lit brickwork of the church behind them. Only snag as implemented on this particular camera is that you can only have FD operating if the whole camcorder is in the auto mode - so as good as useless in my view.

Oh well, shows those designers don't use the cameras much themselves.

tom.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 07:14 AM   #142
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On my XR500 the face controls still work with AE shift on for example. Smile shutter works too. The Sony MBS software is really good for logging files. I just assembled the annual video of my grandsons combining all the shots from my daughters SR7 and my SR11 and XR500. It was interesting to see the MBS highlight all the faces in a selected clip along the bottom of the preview window especially when there were about 20 kids in a classroom video my daughter shot on the SR7. The SR7 does not have the GPS location that the XR500 has which would have also given the GPS coordinates as well as the faces. Sorting by face is real easy not that I am expecting Edius ( my main NLE) to do this!!!!
I am looking forward to see what Sony will actual announce as products. My FX1 will certainly be replaced as most of the time now the XR500 has a much better picture.

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Old December 2nd, 2009, 04:43 PM   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Hence any attempt to define AVC-HD (24Mbs) as being better or worse than MPEG2 at 35Mbs is totally meaningless without talking of specific hardware. Compare a cheap 24Mbs AVC-HD camera to a good 35 Mbs MPEG2 coder and the codec may be far worse. Compare an expensive broadcast AVC-HD coder to a cheap MPEG2 coder and it may well be better for the same bitrates.
Very true.

Quote:
My own experience is that the codec used in the HMC150 is roughly equivalent to HDV, and nowhere near as good as 35Mbs XDCAM (as in the EX).
I would disagree very much with that, having put the codecs to the same test. I used the HMR10 external SDI recorder, connected to an EX1, and shot XDCAM-EX HQ on the SxS cards and ran the SDI out to the AVC-HD external recorder. And I tried very hard to put the camera into situations that would "break" the codec. And on normal scenes they were practically identical, and in codec-breaking circumstances the h.264 was better every single time.

This was the first time I've been able to single out the codec away from the camera head for a true comparison, and I came away with the certainty that yes, h.264/AVCHD at 21mbps (average) is certainly the equal to, and in fact superior to, XDCAM-EX at 35mbps.

I would certainly expect that the NXCAM's 24mbps should perform comparably, but that will of course have to be put to the test to see.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 06:55 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
I would disagree very much with that, having put the codecs to the same test. I used the HMR10 external SDI recorder......
Ah, but I did say my experiences were specifically with AVC-HD as output by the HMC150 - it's quite conceivable the coder in the HMR10 is better than that in the HMC150, even if the same codec, same bitrate, etc. It's also conceivable that AVC-HD performs well with a "clean" input, badly in the presence of noise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
And I tried very hard to put the camera into situations that would "break" the codec. And on normal scenes they were practically identical, and in codec-breaking circumstances the h.264 was better every single time.
To be more specific, the problems I found were artifacting around edges, especially such as right angles, the sort of thing you may expect on a too highly compressed JPEG still photo of something like a page of newsprint. This was in 1080 mode, and displayed on a Panasonic 42" 1920x1080 plasma, the original recording replaying directly via the TV SD slot.

The artifacting was quite low level, but made much worse subjectively by it's nature, flickering a couple of times every second (likely at every I-frame) - it would have been barely visible if it changed on a frame or field basis. It was also exacerbated by being present on still images - motion artifacts are often masked by the motion blur in normal replay. (My impressions were the codec handled high motion quite well, which makes me think bits are being weighed towards coding the difference frames at the expense of I-frames.)

So my first test to try and break the codec would be a scene with a lot of fine detail, something like filming the front page of a newspaper, and see what happens around the edges of letters.

I'll freely admit that I can't say whether what I saw was due to the codec, the coder as used in the HMC150, or the front end of the camera giving the coder a hard time, maybe due to noise. (Visible, though it was at 0dB.)
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 12:35 PM   #145
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Are you 100% sure you didn't have DRS on? Depending on the contrast difference of that right-angle edge, that's the kind of thing DRS can do, it can exhibit some oddness at harsh transitions of contrast...
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 03:00 PM   #146
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Anyone noticed the new Panasonic AG-HMC151

I see several references here to the Panasonic AG-HMC40 and the Panasonic AG-HPX150, but I just stumbled onto a description of the Panasonic AG-HMC151. That’s a new one to me. See it at

Holdan Limited - Panasonic AG-HMC151 Professional 3-CCD Handheld AVCCAM camcorder


It may increase the price pressure a little on the new SONY. I am anxious to see what the cost in the US will be for both the Panasonic AG-HMC151 and the new SONY XDCAM. Was struggling between Panasonic AG-HMC40 and HMC150 for Christmas, but decided to wait and see how the new Sony fit in cost-wise. Now I need to add the AG-HMC151 to the equation. I worry that neither the HMC151 nor the new XDCAM will be available for “Santa” to wrap this year. Thoughts?
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:32 PM   #147
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HMC151 is the same as the HMC150, with the exception that it can switch between pal and ntsc systems.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 05:31 PM   #148
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hmc151

Sorry Randy but you are right only on the first part. HMC151 is the same to the HMC150 because it is the PAL version of the HMC150 but it doesn't have a pal/ntsc switch. I noticed there are HMC152 and HMC153, the numbers represent a specific zone of the market.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 02:06 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Richard Sharum View Post
Was struggling between Panasonic AG-HMC40 and HMC150
What wildly different cameras to have up against each other Richard. (BTW, it the HMC41 here in PAL-land).

The 150 is a full manual control camera with far bigger chips that the HMC40's " variety. The latter has auto ND filters (ug!), a wide-angle (Ha!) of 41 mm (as against 28 mm) and CMOS (which I dislike for various reasons).

And my beautifully produced 12 page brochure on the HMC41 is very coy about how you add gain up and (crucially) how you lock the iris and then make controlled adjustments of same.

Face detection is all very well, but to have it working only in the full auto mode makes it good as useless in my view.

Not much camera for a lot of money it looks like. But the results are good, that's for sure.

tom.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #150
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Face detection uses exposure, white balance and focus to optimize for faces in the scene. If all these are locked off in manual there is nothing for the camera to control! In AE shift it still works since all controls are available to the face detection but with the selected bias ( lighter or darker). Don't know whether HMC40 has AE shift as the face detection may work in this mode.

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