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Sony NXCAM / AVCHD Camcorders
Sony HXR-NX100, HXR-NX70, NX30, NX5, NX3/1, HXR-MC2500, HDR-AX2000, etc.


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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #46
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The only disappointment I see with these new cameras are:

1. The sensors are not 1920 x 1080. According to Sony's own spec's they are 1,037,000 pixels, so however they are arranged, there is some sort of uprezzing going on to get either 1920 x 1080 or 1440 x 1080 recording.

2. There is something very funny about both Sony's and Canon's new topline CONSUMER cams getting bigger screens (3.5" vs 3.2") than these far larger and more expensive professional cameras.

Other than that the NX5 and AX2000 both look great to me.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #47
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Bill, you may want to look at Sony's info on the sensors Sony Global - Technology - ClearVid CMOS Sensor Writeup is for single chip systems but the array is the same for 3 chip single colour arrays.
The array can be thought of as having sensors that are twice the size of the pixels in the array. The 1920x1080 is made up from both sensor sites and interpolated pixels sites as can be seen in the Sony write up. The interpolated sites are created from 4 surrounding sensor sites.

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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:56 AM   #48
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Heavy

At 2.7kg, this is a 'heavyweight' of a camera. Heavier than the Canon XH A1 that I lug....:-)
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Old January 16th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
According to Sony's own spec's they are 1,037,000 pixels, so however they are arranged, there is some sort of uprezzing going on to get either 1920 x 1080 or 1440 x 1080 recording.
What you basically have is best thought of as two arrays of 960x540, interleaved. The pixels are square, but with the straight edges at 45 degrees to the horizontal and vertical - I like to think of floor tiles to visualise it, half white, half black, the rows laid diagonally across the room.

It took me a while to get my head around it, but it's actually very elegant, and lends itself well to processing in a 1920x1080 matrix. Count down a row, and you'll count 1080 (960 white, 960 black, in the analogy above), and count along a row and you'll get 1920. But they will be overlapping each other, so the resolution will be reduced compared to 1920 photosites in a conventional row, or 1080 in a column - this is where the ACTUAL resolution of 1440x810 comes from.

But unlike a sensor with 1440x810, this arrangement is easily processed in a 1920x1080 processor - as easily as 1920x1080 or 960x540 chips, whilst having a pixel count and resolution halfway between the two, and symmetrical about H&V. (Which wouldn't be the case for, say, a conventional 960x1080 arrangement.)

It's a good compromise for 1/3" chips between sensitivity and resolution. Just don't expect full 1920x1080 resolution, it won't be as good as an EX.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #50
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Hmm...well I'm still trying to get my head around it.

I think the ClearVid CMOS page is actually not that relevant, as it's about a single chip, whereas these are three chip cameras.

So they must be offset from each other (but still overlapping.) Are all three offset from each other, or is it two and one (perhaps Red and Blue aligned while Green is offset?) This would give you accurate brightness for a 1920 x 1080 grid, but color would not be as accurate as a true 1920 chip.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 07:46 PM   #51
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I think the ClearVid CMOS page is actually not that relevant, as it's about a single chip, whereas these are three chip cameras.
I did read the article.

I do believe you are exactly right, Michael. A prism is being used to do a three-way color split of the incoming light to the three imaging chips in the NX5 and AX2000, so talking about how the Red, Green, and Blue pixels are interleaved on a single chip is irrelevant.

My concern, if I were in Sony's shoes, is that Canon will come out with a camera with a 1920 x 1080 sensor block, and a codec engine derived from the Canon 7D/5DM2/1DM4, able to go all the way up to 40+ Mbps. There are indications Canon is going to make a major announcement around NAB.

I think the chances of Canon going 1920 x 1080 are high, given the XH-A1/G1 had a sensor block of 1440 x 1080, natively supporting the full resolution of HDV.

The thoughts about the codec are pure speculation on my part.
But it certainly would be a pro bitrate in a pro video camera.
And they have already demonstrated the technology in real products.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #52
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B&H has already cut the pre-order price of the NX5U to $3990. That was an awfully quick $500 price drop! For goodness sake, the cam hasn't even not been out yet for a couple weeks! They also cut the price of the 128GB recoding memory thingy by $50 (to $750) and now there's a $500 mail-in rebate on it, making it a whole whopping $250 when all is said and done. That's cheaper than using SDHC cards even. Apparently Sony wants to enter the professional AVCHD camcorder marketplace a wee bit aggressively.

With the NX5U priced at slightly under $4k already (and what amounts to an all-day recording memory module available for it cheap-a-cheap), the stripped down AX2000 starts looking pretty lame at $3500. I've got to think the AX2000 and HMC150 might just wind up well below $3k by the end of the year, especially if Canon comes out with a real strong offering too (and they usually do, on those rare occasions when they introduce an entirely new prosumer camcorder).

It's only January 16th, and this is already starting to look like a banner year for prosumer HD video cams!
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
My concern, if I were in Sony's shoes, is that Canon will come out with a camera with a 1920 x 1080 sensor block, and a codec engine derived from the Canon 7D/5DM2/1DM4, able to go all the way up to 40+ Mbps. There are indications Canon is going to make a major announcement around NAB.

I think the chances of Canon going 1920 x 1080 are high, given the XH-A1/G1 had a sensor block of 1440 x 1080, natively supporting the full resolution of HDV.
All good speculation, and I'm interested to see what Canon does too. Though if their camera is a replacement for the XH-G1s and is priced similarly, then it will be around $7,000, which places it in the category of the EX1.

Similarly, at $4,000, the jump from the NX5U to the EX1 is much further (and interestingly, that's basically the same drop from list to actual selling price as the HVR-Z5U, and I think suggests that the AX2000 will be about $3,000 too.)

As interesting as all this is, I'm trying to figure out if these cameras are evolutionary or revolutionary.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:33 PM   #54
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You are correct in that reference is for the single chip version however the layout is the same, there is no offset for the three chip version. There are less sensors in the 3 chip version. It takes a little bit to understand how the extra pixels are interpolated but once you see how its done its obvious. Looking at the array its like a set of diamonds. Imagine a smaller square in the middle of the diamond which then leaves 4 corners, top, bottom and sides. Now add the corners from the adjacent diamonds and you will get another square of the same size as the one in the center of the diamond. This is the pixel that is interpolated from the four surrounding diamonds. When you add the squares in the center of the diamonds and the squares created by adding the corners left from the diamonds after taking the center square, you will get 1920x1080 pixels. The advantage is the diamonds are large for light gathering and the DSP creates the pixels from the data. The square will be simplistically half the level from the diamond the DSP then has levels from 4 adjacent diamonds to create the level for the interpolated pixel. I am sure its a lot more complicated but that is the core of what is happening. This is true for all primary colours which would not be the case for pixel shifting.

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Old January 17th, 2010, 12:51 AM   #55
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Hmmm, the only issue I see with it is it is AVCHD. Let's see...when I have a dozen 3 cam weddings waiting to be editing, I'll be transcoding, wasting time while my tape brethren are happily editing away.

No thanks...you're better of with the Z5, IMO.
Your tape brethren have to first capture that footage at real time which in my experience take way longer than transcoding... then editing in a much friendlier format will save time compared to HDV editing...
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Old January 17th, 2010, 12:54 AM   #56
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when HDV came out a few years back people were bemoaning the fact that it was very hard to edit in it's native form & now it's just as easy as DV was before it.
Not to put too fine a point on it but correct me if I'm wrong:
Is there an NLE solution that allows for ingestion of HDV material over Firewire, straight cut editing that requires neither rendering or a degradation of image and subsequent output of a full quality signal again over Firewire to a record deck?

That's what I was able to do almost exactly 11 years ago with an Apple G3 Blue and White at 450 MHz with DV. My HDV experience is certainly more complicated than that today.

HDV editing has come a long way but DV became a standard for a decade due to the straight forward nature of acquisition, edit and output, NOT it's "outstanding" quality - DV is certainly inferior in quality to the BetaSP format that DVCam has pretty much replaced.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #57
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... They also cut the price of the 128GB recoding memory thingy by $50 (to $750) and now there's a $500 mail-in rebate on it, making it a whole whopping $250 when all is said and done....
I would have expected the price on this to come down.
Given you can already buy 32GB SDHC cards at very reasonable pricing, and the camera will accept two of them, that gets you almost six hours of record time. So how many people were going to buy the unit at $800? or even $750? They were never going to get what they charged for the MRC1K, which broke the far more severe time constraints of a tape for HDV shooters.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #58
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As interesting as all this is, I'm trying to figure out if these cameras are evolutionary or revolutionary.
Evolutionary.

They took a HVR-Z5 and ...
1) They updated the codec from HDV to AVCHD.
2) They updated the recording medium from tape to flash MS Pro Duo / SDHC.
3) 16 bit PCM audio isn't just for DV anymore.
4) They updated output options with HDMI + HD-SDI.
5) They removed FireWire but added USB.

That's it. The lens and sensor block, for instance, appear to be the same.
It's still a pretty good list.

I do think it announces the day of the XH-G1, were Canon initially charged ~$3000 USD premium for the Jackpack, is over. For that kind of extra money people will go to the EX1. In a pro video cam, this is becoming the kind of stuff people simply expect to be there.

In fact, checking prices (B&H), I see the XH-G1s is $7000 and the XH-A1s is $3400, the Sony PMW-EX1R is $6300.
Good luck with that, Canon...

Last edited by Bill Koehler; January 17th, 2010 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Added Sony PMW-EX1R pricing.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #59
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Pretty amazing that Sony ha already dropped the price by $500 on the MX 5.
I originally saw the price of the AX2000 at Sony listed as $3,199, so I wouldn't be surprised if the AX2000 came down to that price.
EDIT: Just a not that Sony has seem to have taken down it's pricing on the AX2000 on their site. So a new price might very well be in the works before it's released.?

I was originally leaning towards the AX2000 at the current pricing. But if the NX 5 stays at it's B&H price point, I will pick this up with no hesitation. As a $500 price difference between the two is a no brainier for me and I send a little more for more camera.

If Sony doesn't drop the price of the AX2000 now to around $3,199, then I feel that many like me will bypass the AX2000 and go the NX 5 route. As a result Sony might very well be killing potential sales of the AX2000 before it's even released.

In any way I think that with the upcoming camera crop from Canon, that Sony might very well be getting into a price war with Canon and Panny. But then again Sony might not even care, as they always seem to release a large crop of cameras that seem to compete against each other. Sort of a throw everything against the wall and see what sticks sales approach. I guess this approach works for them somehow, but seems like a waste of company funds and time. Canon seems to take the opposite approach and bides it time before releasing only a small amount of cameras.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 08:26 AM   #60
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Is there an NLE solution that allows for ingestion of HDV material over Firewire, straight cut editing that requires neither rendering or a degradation of image and subsequent output of a full quality signal again over Firewire to a record deck?
Womble as a low cost and Vegas will both do editing without re-compress. There may be others but they are the one's I have on my PC. Clearly if the cut is in the middle of a GOP a new GOP will have to be rendered. Vegas will even do a fast re-compress from CBR HDV to VBR for Bluray. I mainly use Edius as an editor and edit native HDV, multitrack, as fast as I did DV. Same is true for Vegas. I will accept that for DV I would output back to tape and to do this for HDV is slower since the NLE's all create a file first and then export to tape whereas I could go straight from the timeline to tape before with DV. But since I don't go back to tape anymore but to some disc format( or backup to LTO3 data tape) this is of no concern to me. Ingest time, editing speed and encode to format for disc is more important. Tapeless is much faster ingest to the point that transcode to an intermediate ( Cineform or Canopus HQ in my case or I imagine ProRes for MAC) is still faster than tape ingest by a considerable margin for a 2hour program. On my Q9450 Quad Core I can ingest over 2 hours of AVCHD and transcode to Canopus HQ in about 1 hour and 20 mins. I then have easy editing just like DV in a format that is better for effects etc. For single track editing I just edit native AVCHD in Vegas. Edius Neo with Booster will edit AVCHD native at full resolution and I can't wait for this booster technology to be available in Edius Pro.

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