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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 August 12th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #1
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Wildlife

Is anyone using the NX5U for wildlife and birds?

Any thoughts?

Suggestions?
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Old August 12th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #2
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I did some wildlife shooting with the NX5 when I first got it, mostly with the slow smooth record mode.

You can see the best of the footage here: YouTube - SFP: Sony NX5 test day 2: Duckpond
and some more here: YouTube - Splinter Faction Productions: Sony NX5P/NX5E test footage

I'd only had it a few days so was still getting to grips with it but it seemed to perform pretty well, but im no wildlife cameraman
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Old August 13th, 2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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I'm hoping so, taking mine to Vietnam next month expressly for nature work. It's longer zoom than the competition and the GPS that were the deciding factors for me.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #4
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Wildlife

Hola David,
I live in Costa Rica and just switched from a Sony HDR-FX1000 to the NX5U for my wildlife and volcano videos. For my purposes, I find the AVCHD format perfect as I can set up the camera on the volcano or bird's nest and let it run as long as necessary. If nothing happens, I just dump the clip and start over. For birds, a teleadapter is a must in my opinion. Don't waste your money on one of the cheaper ones as the peripheral sharpness is not acceptable. The Century Optics (Schneider) is expensive but worth every penny. I leave it in place most of the time and the image sharpness in full zoom is exceptional. Naturally it vignettes at wider angle zoom, but you never need a wider angle when shooting telephoto.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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I'm looking real hard at the NX5U or spending the extra money on the Canon xf300.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Wildlife Cam

The Canon does look nice but not sure if it is worth paying more than the NX5U. For the $2800 price difference, you could trick out the NX5U with the flash memory unit, lots of SDHD cards, the teleconverter and still have a few bucks left over for bird food to entice the little buggers into camera range.

The Canon doesn't have the flash memory option that the NX5U does, but that may not be a problem for you. It is nice in the field to be able to dub clips from the A and B cards to the flash drive or use it for immediate backup or simultaneous HD/SD recording. Also I might be concerned about the proprietary Canon codec and how it might work in your NLE editing system. The Sony has a nice software system for loading the files into your computer and you might want to make sure that the Canon data management software works as well. Either way, I think you will have a nice piece of gear with which to chase the birdies.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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Tough decision.

The flash unit will not be needed at this time.

The Canon has a built in 1.5 extended lens so I won't need the teleconverter. Plus it has the higher data rate.

About five years ago I got burned by Sony with a warranty issue. So I'm still a little gun shy to return to Sony Camcorders.

I'm using Sony Vegas Pro which I do love. The 24 mbs files work fine. Even the 35 mbs from the Ex1 work fine in Vegas. Canon's higher data rate might be a problem.

Decisions, Decisions.

I'm getting older, and experiencing some vision problems.

How is the auto focus on the NX5U?
Decent pre-sets?
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Old August 13th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #8
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condor flight with the nx5

David.

This is a shoot of an andean condor made with the NX5 and the Century 1.6 teleconverter full zoom. I'm still testing the camera for wildlife, so far is working right. The original 20x lens plus the 1.6 optical telephoto gives you a very good zoom (32X, comparable to 940 mm (35mm). For the price of the camera and the telephoto I couldn't find a better option than this. (I was looking the canon you mention at BH and didn't see the built in 1.5 extended lens ???) The NX also has a 1.5 digital extender that I hardly us, but in some test I can't see the any noise or grain in my macbook pro 15". With that feature I was able to film a bear far, far, far away.

You can see the condor video in HD and have a bit o more info. at vimeo :


Any comments are welcome.

Chao
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Old August 13th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #9
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Wildlife Cam

The 1.5 digital zoom on the canon is a digital zoom, enlarging the subject by digital and not optical means with the attendant increase in noise in the digital enlarging process. With regard to the NX5U, the 1.5 digital extender is not a zoom but a very useful feature for focusing, allowing you to see an enlarged image in the viewfinder or screen which makes fine focus much easier. In HD cameras, getting the focus tack sharp is even more important than SD cameras and any softness is magnified in the final HD image. When the actual video is taken there is no increase in focal length over the optical lens +/- the teleconverter.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #10
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Phillip,

The Sony NX5 has both a 1.5 digital extender and the expanded focus as well. And you are right is a very useful feature for focusing.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #11
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Alfredo,

Great video. What was the frame rate?

Here's a more technical question.

The NX5 currently shoots at 24 mbs. Do you think the NX5 data rate could be increased at a later date? Say to 35 or 50?

My next camera purchase may be my last. I would like to purchase a camcorder that will last at least 5 years this time.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #12
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24Mb/s is the limit of the AVCHFD format, so unfortunately it won't be increased in the future. The only way to get higher bitrates (and 4:2:2 colour space) with the NX5 is via the HD-SDI or HDMI outputs and a capture card or nanoFlash at the moment.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #13
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I'm sure one would like to have 4:2:2 color, etc., on principle but I'm trying to figure out why really one needs it. I understand when you intend to do a lot of additional work, color grading and complicated compositing and the like but nature work usually isn't post produced all that much. I think most of the limitations are in the 1/3" chips. Adding more color space won't do much to help one out with noise in low light and the like.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:07 AM   #14
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Im sorry but you mix up two or more different things.

4:2:2 is not color space but the scheme of video signal compressing.

Experiments show that we more sensitive to variations in brightness (luma component Y of the video signal) than to the color variations (components Cb and Cr of the signal). Therefore, we can reduce the color information virtually without any visual loss noticeable.

Thus, three part ratio J:A:B (i.e. 4:2:2) describes the number of luma and chroma sampling (sampling is the reduction of a continuous signal to a discrete signal). For example, the 4:2:2 YCbCr scheme means reduction in one third comparing to the full (4:4:4) R'G'B' signal.

In the 4:2:0 sampling, the color components Cb and Cr are each subsampled at a factor of 2 both horizontally and vertically.

Therewithal, the color space is such mathematical description of colors that represents them as numbers (typically as 3 or 4 values). For example, in three-dimension color space RGB (red, green, blue), each color can be considered as a point with R, G, and B coordinates.

Usually the RGB color model is implemented with 8 bits, or 256 discrete levels of color, so this model is limited to a range 256*256*256=16.7 million colors.

There exists a new digital video color space, named xvYCC or x.v.Colors, which supports a gamut 1.8 times as large as that of the RGB color space.

The camcorder NX5/AX2000 shoots video in the 4:2:2 sampling but before recording onto media converts video to 4:2:0 sampling using AVC/H.264 codec. You can film in standard color space sRGB or switch to the new standard xvYCC.

And all this has nothing to do with the cams sensor size and neither with noise in low light.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 08:10 AM   #15
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You're absolutely right about color space and the bit depth of recording but you've missed my point. Even if you record uncompressed by some method you face significant limitations if you are using smaller sensors. In my day job I shoot with EX1's. I've captured via SDI from them and from my NX5U and recorded both via the same codecs. No secret that the EX1 has a full stop advantage. Also not secret that if you crank the NX5U to match the EX1 the picture is nosier.
This is not a knock on my camera. I get what I paid for. All I'm saying is the benefits of less compressed recording might be more in the eyes of the beholder.

Last edited by Marc Myers; August 17th, 2010 at 09:13 AM.
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