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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 16th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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NXCAM Questions

Hello,
This is my first post to this group. I have been reading everything that I can find on this camera and trying to decide if I should purchase one or not. I would love to get some opinions from folks who actually have one or that have used one. I'm close to making a purchase, but would like to know it is what I really want/need.

My Question Topics Are:

1) The manual that I downloaded from Sony states that the Macro Focus works (I believe I'm reading this right) only up to about 2 1/2 feet. Is that your understanding of how the macro focus works? Has anyone shot any macro with the camera? Did you like the results? How close to the camera can you focus? If you have some macro footage, could you share it?

2) Are you all shooting (or planning to shoot) on a tripod? If so, how do I connect the camera to a tripod? I can't find anything that explains how that is done or what parts are available for doing so (like a bracket or a shoe so that the camera can be quickly removed from the tripod head).

3) Are you able to record in stereo? I'm not sure how a single mic can be used to capture a stereo sound. Does the camera just use one channel for both left and right? Or, do you need to use the internal mic with the external to get a left and right channel?

4) How good is the active steadyshot functionality? I watched the Sony promo videos and in one of them a guy is carrying the camera around while shooting. It seems to be a pretty good picture (that is, not too jittery). That said, most of what I have researched indicates that HD can't be shot without a tripod because of picture quality. Does anyone have any footage that they can share of using the steadyshot?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice and information that you can provide.

Regards,

Jim
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Old March 16th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #2
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Are you all shooting (or planning to shoot) on a tripod?... Yes, I shoot 99,9% using a tripod.

How do I connect the camera to a tripod? It all depends with the tripod and the head you are using. For example, the Manfrotto 501 head will hooked to the head of the tripod using a special plate which come with the tripod head.

I always leave the plate screwed to the camera, I can then easily removed the camera from the tripod.

http://www.pma-show.com/news_images/...to_501_hdv.jpg

Hope it helps.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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I suggest you read the manual several times as most of the questions you ask about are in the manual.
The macro works over the zoom range so its different distance depending on zoom.
There are two mics. The integrated stereo mic and the camera also comes with a mono shotgun mic that plugs into the one of the two XLR connectors. There are a lots of switching options for audio----All described in the manual. One is to set up mono mic on channel 1 and feed this input to both channel 1 and channel 2. They can be set independently for auto gain or manual gain.
And yes, all my NX5U shots are on a tripod, for hand held I use my Sony XR500.

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Old March 17th, 2010, 06:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Daniel Paquin View Post
Are you all shooting (or planning to shoot) on a tripod?... Yes, I shoot 99,9% using a tripod.

How do I connect the camera to a tripod? It all depends with the tripod and the head you are using. For example, the Manfrotto 501 head will hooked to the head of the tripod using a special plate which come with the tripod head.

I always leave the plate screwed to the camera, I can then easily removed the camera from the tripod.

http://www.pma-show.com/news_images/...to_501_hdv.jpg

Hope it helps.
Hello Daniel,
Yes, thank you, it does. The tripod head I was looking at doesn't have a plate. So I wasn't sure what I would/could use. Perhaps they are all standard and I just have to find one.

Thanks again,

Jim
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Old March 17th, 2010, 07:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
I suggest you read the manual several times as most of the questions you ask about are in the manual.
The macro works over the zoom range so its different distance depending on zoom.
There are two mics. The integrated stereo mic and the camera also comes with a mono shotgun mic that plugs into the one of the two XLR connectors. There are a lots of switching options for audio----All described in the manual. One is to set up mono mic on channel 1 and feed this input to both channel 1 and channel 2. They can be set independently for auto gain or manual gain.
And yes, all my NX5U shots are on a tripod, for hand held I use my Sony XR500.

Ron Evans
Hello Ron,
My experience is with DSLRs and shooting stills. I've never been too serious about video. I have an old RCA Hi8 so this is a big jump for me.

I guess I'm just not sharp enough to understand what it says. :-( Using your description and looking at it again, it does make a little more sense. Knowing that the internal mic is stereo also helps understand the Channel Setting tables. If one wanted to capture good stereo sound with a modicum of separation, would you say that using external mics is recommended?

I did a search and found the minimum focus distance - not sure how I missed that before. Have you shot any macro with yours?

Did you try the steadyshot or do you believe that no hand holding will be able to produce a good quality picture? I'd like to believe that I could carry it around - at least a little - for certain types of clips (e.g. walking around a subject).

Thanks for your help.

Regards,

Steven
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Old March 17th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #6
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Yes, if you want good sound use a professional mic connected to the XLR plugs, this can be mono or stereo of course. A mono XLR shotgun mic comes with the NX5U but not with the AX2000.

The steady shot works very well in both normal and Active mode. The active mode reduces the resolution a little as it is EIS on top of the OIS. This is the same system as on the Sony consumer AVCHD cams, my XR500 works the same way and it is very stable. The newer CX550 and XR550 are even more improved and I am not sure what vintage the NX5U is in camparison to these, maybe more like the XR500 than the later one.

Yes you can hand hold the camera but I wouldn't want to do it for very long without some other support.

The Sony manuals are not very well writen, they need to be read several times before one gets an idea of what is actually there. I have a lot of Sony equipment and they are all the same!!!

The other thing to consider is your PC and software. Your PC needs to have a lot of power to edit AVCHD( power and hard drive space if you are going to use an intermediate format to edit) and you will need a compatible NLE to work with.

Ron Evans
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Old March 17th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #7
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Manuals? We don't needs no steenk-ing manuals!!

Seriously, the manuals for most things are usually badly translated from Chinese/Japanese... and may not have been that well written originally. Sonys manuals are better than a lot of them I see (like 1 page "manuals", fortunately with pictures so you have some idea what they are talking about...). Ultimately, it helps a lot to either have experience with a specific line of cameras (if you've run one Sony, you have a good chance of being able to stumble your way through the menu system on the cam and figure most things out), or take some "hands on" time before you buy and definitely before you shoot anything serious.

Frankly, the hands on time is important, as is some research online - I find so many errors in specs, reviews, and "opinions", that I often wonder whether they even had the camera or tech specs available. This is particularly true in "internet time" where accuracy comes a long second after speed...

Ron - easy way to check which "generation" active stabilizer the NX5U has - jiggle/rotate the camera around the lens axis! When I tested the XR500 against the CX550, which got the "new improved" IS, there was a noticeable difference in damping of the rotation about the axis - you could easily see the difference in the image on the LCD.

The XR500 had amazing overall IS to start with, and can easily be shot handheld if you have reasonable camera technique, add a basic stabilizer rig of some sort, and it's very close to steadicam stable. The CX500 bumped it up a notch by "fixing" the tendency of your wrist to wobble slightly while holding a camera for a while.

Both the XR550 and CX550 also are supposed to have this enhanced IS, might even be better, as they've had time to tweak it, and I would be surprised if the AX/NX didn't get at least equivalent to the CX500. That said, if going handheld with a bigger camera, it's probably worthwhile to go with some sort of support/stabilizing rig if you're shooting long takes or don't work out a lot <wink>! Something like a DV MultiRig is a handy thing to have, and turns the camera op into a "mobile tripod", a good thing for more dynamic video and rapidly changing shooting conditions.

Earlier HD cameras practically REQUIRED a rig of some sort for steady video if you weren't on tripod, but these newer ones are getting pretty refined with their IS...
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Old March 17th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Has anyone posted any hand held videos of the nx5's digital and optical IS in action?
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Old March 17th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #9
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Stabilizer seems much like my XR500. There are several settings for Steadyshot "soft, standard,hard and Wide angle" but for Active there is just standard and wide angle. However the response seems similar to my XR500 with no noticable correction for any angular movement.

Ron Evans
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Old March 17th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Manuals? We don't needs no steenk-ing manuals!!

Seriously, the manuals for most things are usually badly translated from Chinese/Japanese... and may not have been that well written originally. Sonys manuals are better than a lot of them I see (like 1 page "manuals", fortunately with pictures so you have some idea what they are talking about...). Ultimately, it helps a lot to either have experience with a specific line of cameras (if you've run one Sony, you have a good chance of being able to stumble your way through the menu system on the cam and figure most things out), or take some "hands on" time before you buy and definitely before you shoot anything serious.

Frankly, the hands on time is important, as is some research online - I find so many errors in specs, reviews, and "opinions", that I often wonder whether they even had the camera or tech specs available. This is particularly true in "internet time" where accuracy comes a long second after speed...

Ron - easy way to check which "generation" active stabilizer the NX5U has - jiggle/rotate the camera around the lens axis! When I tested the XR500 against the CX550, which got the "new improved" IS, there was a noticeable difference in damping of the rotation about the axis - you could easily see the difference in the image on the LCD.

The XR500 had amazing overall IS to start with, and can easily be shot handheld if you have reasonable camera technique, add a basic stabilizer rig of some sort, and it's very close to steadicam stable. The CX500 bumped it up a notch by "fixing" the tendency of your wrist to wobble slightly while holding a camera for a while.

Both the XR550 and CX550 also are supposed to have this enhanced IS, might even be better, as they've had time to tweak it, and I would be surprised if the AX/NX didn't get at least equivalent to the CX500. That said, if going handheld with a bigger camera, it's probably worthwhile to go with some sort of support/stabilizing rig if you're shooting long takes or don't work out a lot <wink>! Something like a DV MultiRig is a handy thing to have, and turns the camera op into a "mobile tripod", a good thing for more dynamic video and rapidly changing shooting conditions.

Earlier HD cameras practically REQUIRED a rig of some sort for steady video if you weren't on tripod, but these newer ones are getting pretty refined with their IS...
Hello Dave,
Wow, thanks for the tip on the DV MultiRig. That's cool! I've seen a couple of things, but nothing that's looked that good. Do you have experience with one? I'd love to know how well it works walking around outside - say on an old, bumpy, gravel, fire road or through a mucky swamp. Maybe combined with the steadyshot, that could be a solution for getting mobile clips. I have bookmarked their site. :-)

Regards,

Jim
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Old March 17th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #11
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I'm not Dave but I've been using a DVmultirig for 3+ years and 100% swear by it. While it does not replace an actual Steadicam nor does it replace a tripod (each tool has a job and one cannot use a hammer to remove a screw) BUT....It can replace a tripod for certain things, like at a wedding, I use it for the entire reception, from cocktail hour thru the first dance, other special dancing right until I packup to go. I carry my wireless receiver on the back as it's made for that and with the sprung stab rod it keeps my walking and circling shots pretty steady. I good for toasts for about 30 minutes before my body starts to feel it a bit but keep in mind I'm an old guy and my body is pretty worn out anyway.
It's not a smooth as a steadicam but with practice as all new tools need, it can work out quite well with moving shots. Walking, circling, going up and down stairs, but remember it takes practice but then so does working a Steadicam or a monopod to get reasonable footage.
AAMOF this is the 2nd product I own from Danny at DVTec (I also had an ENG Rig for my full sized cameras-worked great). The multirig is one product, that IMO anyone that uses a small form factor camera and needs some sort of stabilisation, and can't afford or need a full steadicam, should have.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #12
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Jim, the NX5 is the first (proper) Sony cam to employ optical image stabilisation as well as electronic image stabilisation. The OIS uses vibrating internal elements and has very little effect on picture quality - it's almost totally transparent a technology. Best switched off when you're on a tripod because sometimes you can see tiny little 'jerks' it will put into otherwise smooth pans or tilts.

The EIS is cruder but nonetheless effective. When you switch it on you'll notice that you lose some wide-angle, gain some telephoto. This is because the camera is 'zooming into' the image on the chip, and allowing that image to dance around on the chip, thus stabilising it. This mode will lose you wide-angle coverage as well as some quality, but the combination of OIS and EIS gives quite amazing stabilisation, and for some shots the quality hit will be well worthwhile.

tom.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #13
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Dual screws triopod plate

Folks.

I have a Manfrotto 501 Head and the release plate that came with it. The NX5U has dual screws so I am looking for a plate that would give me dual screw and also fit on the 501 head. Can some one recommend one?
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Old March 25th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #14
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The EIS is cruder but nonetheless effective. When you switch it on you'll notice that you lose some wide-angle, gain some telephoto. This is because the camera is 'zooming into' the image on the chip, and allowing that image to dance around on the chip, thus stabilising it. This mode will lose you wide-angle coverage as well as some quality, but the combination of OIS and EIS gives quite amazing stabilisation, and for some shots the quality hit will be well worthwhile.
When you talk about EIS, are you talking about the Active Steadyshot mode, or something else? Sony told me that the Active mode, though it does crop part of the image, is an optical system, not electronic.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:54 PM   #15
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Folks.

I have a Manfrotto 501 Head and the release plate that came with it....?
Hello Allan,

Any professional video store should have what you are looking for. If you do not have a professional video store closed to your area, just email B&H and they should be able to help you out.
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