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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 March 13th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #1
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Should I buy now, or hold off?

I was pretty much sold on getting this camera until I started reading all the horror stories on here. Did Sony release this too soon before fixing all the bugs, or is it simply a defective camera?

My wedding season is about to start so I need to get a new camera soon. I was hoping to get the NX5 and save a few thousand bucks, but now I'm leaning towards the EX1r which has proven to be more reliable.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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To my knowledge there have been three issues raised. Adam has had his FMU128 replaced, don't know about the soft image but mine is just fine and expect the camera was dropped, and one with an error message. That's hardly lots of issues on a new camera. I have had my NX5U for about two weeks and have yet to shoot lots but the tests I have done have sharp images throughout zoom range with either SDHC card record( using a Patriot 32G class 10) , FMU128 record or both recording. I am happy with purchase. Only time will tell if performance is consistent. I have many Sony cameras and although I would like better performance at times I have had little or no problems that didn't have a clear reason.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #3
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Hi Jeff

the footage quality is excellent, tho a tiny bit noisier than that from the EX1 (which I like, actually, looks like film grain, not so 'pristine') -- the main issues I still have to work out relate to workflow with Final Cut Pro -- there are transcoding issues with long clips that seem to be related to PCM audio (see elsewhere in this forum) and I have yet to work on archiving and relinking issues workflow stuff. There are also some features that I think Sony should add with a firmware upgrade, like for example you cannot get the cam to fire up the LCD screen and the back viewfinder at the same time, which I find frustrating because I like to switch between them while shooting without having to close the LCD to get the back viewfinder to come alive...

I am just amazed at how good and film-like the footage that comes out of this cam is using plain-old factory settings and shooting progressive. If you want to be a real pixel-peeper you'll find a few 'faults' (alternate frames are slightly grainier than the frames in between when transcoded to ProRes 422, as in grainier-smoother-grainier-smoother -- but this, when viewed normally, just gives the footage a really nice film-like life to my eye) but really, it's incredible what this AVCHD codec can do. It just does not seem to fall apart, even with very harsh whip pans on complex scenes, and it does not look like shiny 'video' at all -- just a really nice quality to the images, they seem to have 'gravitas' which I like as a documentarian. It's a real jump up from HDV. Combine with good sound and you have something that looks like it came out of a far more 'serious' cam.

Also, I like that you can archive these relatively small AVCHD files really easily -- very efficient wrt harddrive space.

In other words, great cam for the money, a few post-prod workflow issues still to be worked out. If you shoot lots of standard def you are going to find that codec on the NXCAM a bit of a pain.

I think it's going to sell well for Sony so I think there's going to be an incentive to upgrade the firmware and for Apple, Adobe etc. to tweak their packages to play nicely with the NXCAM's AVCHD. You might want to wait a few months for that to happen.

Adam
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Old March 13th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #4
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Adam, you can have the viewfinder and LCD on at the same time. Its in the menu under display settings, VF power mode. The default in "auto" but can be set to "on" which has LCD and viewfinder on all the time that there is power on.

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Old March 13th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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If you're making money with a camera, ie: weddings or whatever, I'm always of the opinion you get the best you can possibly afford. If you're even close to being able to afford an EX1R then get that for sure. It depends on how strongly you need to save those "few thousands" and SXS etc definitely adds to that cost differential. Not sure I fully trust the adapters to SDHC etc, although I thought I heard Sony was releasing a firmware update that would officially support that, I'm sure somebody knows about that.
I was strongly considering the NX5 also, but better low light, a little extra dof, fully manual lens and the few other tweaks of the EX1R is really worth a lot to me.
I'm waiting on 2 things:
1. I want to see what Canon's new offering with the 50mbps 4:2:2 is all about.
2. Find out more about how reliable SDHC is with the EX1R
Depends on how long you can wait, but rushing into a big purchase is never a good idea.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Wallace View Post
I was pretty much sold on getting this camera until I started reading all the horror stories on here. Did Sony release this too soon before fixing all the bugs, or is it simply a defective camera?

My wedding season is about to start so I need to get a new camera soon. I was hoping to get the NX5 and save a few thousand bucks, but now I'm leaning towards the EX1r which has proven to be more reliable.
Hi Jeff,

I had an NX5U with the back focus problem, which prevented me from using manual focus with the camera. I thought it was an isolated case, but just tonight a videographer from Wisconsin contacted me saying that his NX5U also has a back focus problem.

If you do decide to get an NX5U, shoot some test footage in maual focus and then bring it into your NLE and make sure it does not have any problems. If you do have a bad unit with a faulty back focus, then contact your dealer right away.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #7
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Thanks Ron!

I searched thru the menus and manual for ages and somehow skipped over that changing 'VF POWERMODE' from AUTO to ON turned both the flip-out screen and the eyepiece viewfinder screen on. Why not call the menu item something else? Urgh. Also, Sony has done their normal thing of producing a really badly written and presented instruction manual. They really could use an improved team of technical writers and info presenters!

Cheers

Adam
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Old March 15th, 2010, 02:54 AM   #8
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Buy now or wait is the never-ending question. You could look at it this way - you've been waiting for the NX5 in your jump from the PD170. Go for it. But if you already have a Z5 then wait just a bit longer to see what Canon is smiling about.

My gut feeling is that the EX1R is an improvement on an already great camera. It's heavy and expensive and may be more than your client base is prepared to accept and pay for, in which case I'd say that the simpler NX5 is Sony's best-ever 1"/3 chipped camcorder, and that's high praise indeed.

tom.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #9
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Of course this is my personal opinion but I am holding off for now and sticking with my Z5.
Same lens and sensor. Plus I have the CF unit attached to the camera to quickly transfer files w/o real time tape transfer if I choose.

Why not change right now?: I have a Hybrid system. Tape rolls at the same time my CF unit is recording in synchro. mode. Tape is a cheap alternative. I once had a corrupted file on my CF card and used the same scene which was corrupted once located on tape.

Yes, it is HDV, but I properly boost and adjust the Profile colors plus HDV works much faster than my AVCHD camera. I know the future is all solid state. But, for now I am sticking with a proven method that works for me.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wallace View Post
My wedding season is about to start so I need to get a new camera soon. I was hoping to get the NX5 and save a few thousand bucks, but now I'm leaning towards the EX1r which has proven to be more reliable.
I don't think there's any doubt the EX1R is the better camera - not just in itself, but as regards editability. It's natively editable with a less powerful system. But (as you say) it's more expensive.

I think a lot depends on your business. If weddings are your main business - so the camera gets used a lot - then the extra cost isn't very much at all when spread over all the jobs in several years. And compare to other "tools" you need to do your work. Presumably a car to get to them? Would you automatically go for a cheap model, or might you think that a bit better one for a few thousand dollars was worth it?

The only thing I would say is to agree with Tom that if you can afford a couple of weeks (until NAB) that may be worth while. I do feel that the EX is easily best in class at the moment - but let's see what Canon do.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the advice! As much as I would love to hold out for Canon's next big thing, it could be several more months and I don't think I can wait that long. I bet it's going to be an awesome camera though from what I've heard.

It's really a shame about the NX5... it seems like such a killer camera for the 1/3 chip class. I'm sure the next generation of this camera will fix all the problems but that could be another 6 months.

The only things that kills me about the EX1r is that when you add up the camera + all the peripherals... like batteries, SXS cards etc. we're talking about $7500. I have room on my credit card for one, but don't like the idea of having to shoot a few weddings for free to pay for it. One thing I liked about the NX5 is that it takes the same batteries as the old PD170s / VX2100s so that's a nice little savings.

I might just have to bite the bullet and go for the Ex1r, but I'm trying to hold out for as long as possible, even it means renting a cam for the first few weddings.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 03:14 AM   #12
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Good thinking Jeff. You've extrapolated forward and realise that all of us freelancers need a backup camera that we'd be perfectly happy to use as the main camera on the day should things go belly up. And as you say, buying two EX1Rs plus their accessories will mean working for weeks just to pay off the outlay.

Much better (I feel) to trim the cloth to match the budget (er?) and go for the face-lifted, refined and updated Z5 - the NX5. If you waited for the Canon offering you'd be an early adopter, paying the price (literally) and facing the recalls (maybe).

tom.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 07:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lou Bruno View Post
Why not change right now?: I have a Hybrid system. Tape rolls at the same time my CF unit is recording in synchro. mode.
For me that's also a big advantage with my xh-a1/hvr-dr60 combo, having simultaneous recordings on 2 different formats gives a certain peace of mind when doing one-time events. Especially because I lost a whole hour of footage on a mini-dv tape last year due to serious drop-outs, unfortunately I did not have the dr60 back then.

If it is possible my next cam should have a dual recording option as well.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #14
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If you need the extra quality of the NX5's AVCHD clips, go for it. Otherwise find a good, used Z5 until the software issues with the NX5 are resolved.

I'm still not sure what is causing my buffer overflows, and today I had a weird thing happen with the timecode on my NX5 -- it just refused to advance, in any mode (REC RUN etc.) until I reset the cam using the minute little reset switch (activated with a ballpoint or paperclip end or whatever) on the top panel... I have clips, but they have no timecode!

Am I radioactive or something? Why am I having such grief with the NX5?

Fun fun fun...

Adam
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