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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 February 26th, 2010, 11:20 PM   #1
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Soft Images???

I have an NX5U on loan for 48 hours. I was doing some comparison footage with my Panasonic HMC150 and the footage from the NX5U looks really soft. Both cameras were in 1080/30p in the highest quality mode, all manual...focus, WB, f/stop, gain and the Picture Profile/Scene File was set to neutral. I doubled checked everything and even reset the camera, but nothing helped.

Has anyone else experienced this? Last year I compared the Sony Z5 to the HMC150 and the images looked really close, but the NX5U isn't even close. Any ideas on what I could be doing wrong? I will post some footage shortly.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 02:22 AM   #2
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Have you contacted Sony about this?

Also, what's teh serial number and pedigree of the cam -- has it been dropped?

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Old February 27th, 2010, 07:11 AM   #3
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The test footage I have seen so far looked soft too. It's soft enough I would think it has to be a setting issue, and not normal operation. A lot noisier than I would have ever expected too.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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I have only had my NX5U since beginning of the week and the weather here has been snowing all the time so outside shots were through the window. My comparison has been with my XR500. At first I thought the XR500 was better!!!! Analyzing the clips in my NLE scopes the XR500 had a lot more colour. So I added colour and contrast to the NX5U and they looked close to identical !!!! The NX5U now had a little more detail in the shadows than the XR500. This was one of the main reasons to get the NX5U as the picture from the XR500, my full stage unattended camera,was looking a lot better than the FX1!!! Just as with the FX1 ( which has similar characteristics in comparison to the XR500) I think it is a matter of setting up the camera as I want it to be. I have experimented a little with the Picture Profiles and will take time to set some up as I want them to be.
It is easy to apply a little sharpening in post if needed but impossible to take away too much edge enhancement.
As to noise the NX5U is a lot cleaner than the FX1 but not as clean as the XR500!!!!
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Old February 27th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Welz View Post
Have you contacted Sony about this?

Also, what's teh serial number and pedigree of the cam -- has it been dropped?

Adam
Hi Adam,

The serial number is 110010. I'm not sure what you mean by pedigree. On the bottom plate with the serial number it says HXR-NX5U. It was shipped from San Hose, CA and I just picked it up yesterday afternoon.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jeff Kellam View Post
The test footage I have seen so far looked soft too. It's soft enough I would think it has to be a setting issue, and not normal operation. A lot noisier than I would have ever expected too.
Hi Jeff,

Are you thinking that as the camera runs more, it will start looking better? I will give it a try.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
I have only had my NX5U since beginning of the week and the weather here has been snowing all the time so outside shots were through the window. My comparison has been with my XR500. At first I thought the XR500 was better!!!! Analyzing the clips in my NLE scopes the XR500 had a lot more colour. So I added colour and contrast to the NX5U and they looked close to identical !!!! The NX5U now had a little more detail in the shadows than the XR500. This was one of the main reasons to get the NX5U as the picture from the XR500, my full stage unattended camera,was looking a lot better than the FX1!!! Just as with the FX1 ( which has similar characteristics in comparison to the XR500) I think it is a matter of setting up the camera as I want it to be. I have experimented a little with the Picture Profiles and will take time to set some up as I want them to be.
It is easy to apply a little sharpening in post if needed but impossible to take away too much edge enhancement.
As to noise the NX5U is a lot cleaner than the FX1 but not as clean as the XR500!!!!
Ron Evans
Hi Ron,

A sony camera that cost one quarter of the NX5U looked better! That is really wierd. When I got the camera it was set on Picture Profile 5. I returned it to no Picture Profile to do the testing. I also ran the HMC150 at Scene File 1, which is the factory default neutral setting.

I tested each camera through it's various Picture Profiles and Scene Files, but nothing made the Sony look anywhere close as sharp as the Panny. It was at that point that I did a reset, just thinking maybe something has been messed up in the setup of the camera. Nothing, it still looked soft.

After nothing looked better with the reset, I thought maybe it's just my eyes. The picture looked very sharp in the LCD using the Peaking and Expanded Focus to obtain manual focus. The focus distance was about 6 feet. I tried focus with the macro on and off. Nothing. Then I adjusted focus between 4.5 feet and 7.5 feet in .1 increments. Nothing.

I do have an FX1, so I could compare the NX5U to the FX1. Here is another thing that I noticed. When I did a comparison with the HMC150 and Z5 last year, they were very close to each other. Nothing like the NX5U.

I just keep thinking there has to be something wrong with me or this particular camera because it doesn't even come close to the Z5 or HMC150. Anyone can make a mental error and I am certainly not perfect, but I do know a little about cameras. I know the Canon XH-A1 does not look good with the factory settings and it takes some tweeking to make it really sing. Maybe that is the case with the NX5U, but it doesn't follow Sony's track record.

I have owned a lot of Sonys, DSR250, PD150, FX1, and Z1. I have shot with the EX1, Z7 and Z5. All of those cameras looked great, straight out of the box. I used Picture Profiles to make them look a little better to my liking, but nothing like what I am seeing with the NX5U.

I double checked all of my manual settings and I have shot with Sony's long enough to know what I am looking for. In the LCD is see gain at 0, shutter at 60, f/stop number, manual focus, no steady shot. I tried some with the steady shot and it did not make a difference. I switched the auto/manual switch over auto and I saw the "A" show up by the manual readouts, which is a cool new feature, but it did not improve the quality of the picture.

I can see that Sony has really dedicated themselves to some really cool features on this camera, so it makes no sense why the footage would look so bad. It came with the 128 Gb Flash Memory drive, which is really cool and light weight. I plugged the Flash Drive into my laptop and grabbed footage from it, just thinking maybe it was my SDHC card, but no. The footage looked exactly the same as the footage from the SDHC card.

If it wasn't the weekend I would contact Sony and I have to return the camera to my local rep Sunday evening, so I would really like to get to the bottom of this before my time is up. Does anyone else have a NX5U and an HMC150 or even another HD Sony cam that they could post some footage of? I am hoping I just got a bum unit.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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Mark, as you see here
the NX5 is not as good in low light and in details compared to EX1, but it's not too bad either.
It will be helpful if you can upload a side by side test with NX5 and HMC150.
From what I can see here nx5u.com the quality looks very good in my subjective point of view.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Here is the comparison footage.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #10
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I think there is a lot of edge enhancement with the 150, and there is something not right with footage from the NX5, they are stretch horizontaly, and when something is stretch from its original aspect ratio it will look soft, make sure your project is the same as what you are recording.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #11
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In the comparison the footage from the Sony looks out of focus. Obviously, the camera was in focus. Maybe you just have a bad camera?
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Old February 27th, 2010, 12:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khoi Pham View Post
I think there is a lot of edge enhancement with the 150, and there is something not right with footage from the NX5, they are stretch horizontaly, and when something is stretch from its original aspect ratio it will look soft, make sure your project is the same as what you are recording.
Hi Khoi,

Both cameras were in 1920x1080 30p. I setup an Edius project in 1920x1080 30p. The Sony was on the right and the Panasonic was on the left, which is why they have a slightly different angle and perspective. Do you have any other ideas? Thanks.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #13
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In the comparison the footage from the Sony looks out of focus. Obviously, the camera was in focus. Maybe you just have a bad camera?
Hi Jordan,

That's what I thought to, so I went back and rechecked my focus. I used both the expanded focus and peaking to manually focus the Sony. Both cameras showed about 6 feet, so then I took the Sony from 4.5ft to 7.5 ft in .1 increments to see if I could find the spot where it looked in focus, but no luck.

The image on the LCD as well as an external monitor looked very sharp, so I was really suprized to see the image look so soft when I brought the AVCHD files into Edius.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 12:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
Hi Khoi,

Both cameras were in 1920x1080 30p. I setup an Edius project in 1920x1080 30p. The Sony was on the right and the Panasonic was on the left, which is why they have a slightly different angle and perspective. Do you have any other ideas? Thanks.
Just pause vimeo and compare the first 2 pict by clicking between the 2 cam on the first comparison, even if they are side by side and have different perspectite, it wouldn't stretch that much, I'm thinking you accidently recorded the Sony on HDV 1440X1080 and so that is why it stretch on the 1920X1080 timeline and make it soft, another reason they look so much different is that the Pany has so a lot of edge enhancement, look at the white dvd cover at the edge againts the black background, do you see a black halo?
Do you see a black halo around the outer edge of the letter F? and white halo on the inside edge of the letter F? that black&white halo is not supposed to be there, it is only there because of edge enhancement to enhance the contrast of the edge so that people think that it is sharper image, back to the Sony, Adam Wilt has tested it and it has 800lines+, and so 800+ camera for sure don't look like that unless it is defective or user error, I'm thinking the later because at 9db gain it is so noisy and I know that it is not that noisy at 9db, I see that noise on my edius also when I put my HDV clip on a 1920X1080 timeline.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #15
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Just a word of caution. Check your footage with BOTH stabilizers set to OFF.

Yes, I have been receiving a few e-mails in regards to a softer NXCAM picture than my Z5U and past Canon XHA-1S.

However, I am wondering if it is a CODEC issue and not so much a hardware situation.

Class 10 cards for downloading compared to Class 6?

Any input?
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