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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 April 12th, 2011, 03:45 AM   #1
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The five years between cameras

A few days ago I used my 2005 FX1 (having sold my Z1 some time ago) alongside my 2010 NX5. I've never really thought to compare their picture qualities - after all they're both 'hi-def' and I remember being gob-smacked at how superb the FX1 HDV footage looked after shooting SD for years with my VX2k. And for so little extra - the FX1 was PD150 money.

Well, the five years that separates the two HD cameras is very plainly obvious on a full rastor TV screen. It's not to take anything away from the FX1 because at the time it was pretty ground-breaking technology. It used carry-over tapes running at DV speeds yet recorded eye-popping pictures with ease and reliability, and a minor pc upgrade was all that was needed to handle the footage.

Then I bought the NX5 five years later and with the battery removed the back of the camera was one gaping hole where the tape deck used to be. For most of the last year my delivery has been on DVD and after down-conversion the difference between these two cameras was effectively zilch. OK, the NX has a longer zoom, some slo-mo wizardry, a useless-in-sunlight top screen, but overall the cameras are very similar to use, though the NX's AVCHD compression has required a big pc upgrade.

But back to the point of this post folks. The NX5 hi-def footage looks startlingly better than the FX1's. The sharpness increase is immediately noticeable, so full marks the Sony G; nothing's to be had by paying Zeiss for their name. The NX barrel distorts less than the FX and switching A/B between cameras on the timeline shows all the other advantages of AVCHD vs MPEG2. Of course it's 1920 vs 1440 right out of the starting blocks, and 5 years of technological advances in all sorts of other areas all bring their presents to the party.

tom.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 08:03 AM   #2
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Re: The five years between cameras

Tom , I changed from my FX1 to the NX5U because the other two cameras I use in multicam are the XR500 and SR11 single chip Sony AVCHD they were making the FX1 look like a consumer camera !!!!
Downconvert is very critical and I always use TMPGenc to downconvert and encode for DVD as I have found this superior to any other method. I edit in Edius in HD, export a HQ file for TMPGenc to encode. On an upscaling DVD player the picture on my Panasonic plasma or 240Hz Sony LCD is almost as good as the Bluray.

Ron Evans
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Old April 12th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: The five years between cameras

Interesting. So you find TMPG noticeably better than the freebie VirtualDub? If so, can you tell where you spot improvements?

I too upscale into a big LCD, but what the Blu-ray does with disarming ease the upscaled DVD struggles to do by huffing and puffing. At viewing distances greater than four screen heights the upscaled SD looks pretty damn good, but get closer and you'll realise there's no substitute for cubic inches.

tom.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #4
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Re: The five years between cameras

Yes of course the Bluray has lots of detail when you look close but from 14 feet away the SD upscale is very impressive.

I edit with Edius so for VDub would export a HQ file to downconvert, bring back into Edius to an SD project then encode for SD DVD. The VDub video in my mind lacked detail and colour so had to have sharpening and colour boost to be acceptable to me. I have also done this from Vegas too with same results. The TMPGenc process is simpler, faster and for me gives a better result. Just bring file to TMPGenc and go straight to files for DVD authoring. TMPGenc has a batch process so files for SD DVD and Bluray can be done in one batch. The difference on the upscaled video between VBub and TMPGenc is also noticable. I think there is more detail in the TMPGenc encode for the upscaling to be more effective.

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Old April 13th, 2011, 12:06 AM   #5
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Re: The five years between cameras

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
Yes of course the Bluray has lots of detail when you look close but from 14 feet away the SD upscale is very impressive.

I edit with Edius so for VDub would export a HQ file to downconvert, bring back into Edius to an SD project then encode for SD DVD. The VDub video in my mind lacked detail and colour so had to have sharpening and colour boost to be acceptable to me. I have also done this from Vegas too with same results. The TMPGenc process is simpler, faster and for me gives a better result. Just bring file to TMPGenc and go straight to files for DVD authoring. TMPGenc has a batch process so files for SD DVD and Bluray can be done in one batch. The difference on the upscaled video between VBub and TMPGenc is also noticable. I think there is more detail in the TMPGenc encode for the upscaling to be more effective.

Ron Evans
Which resizing algorithm do you use in VDub Ron?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 12:44 AM   #6
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Re: The five years between cameras

The FX1 was certainly a ground breaker, and delivered the crispest images you could get out of a camcorder anywhere near it's price point, when it was introduced, and is/was a very good camera - a respectably well designed, solid and dependable workhorse. I know I was thrilled with the images I got from the FX1! 5 years later though, I sort of look at the FX1 as something akin to a good SD camcorder on steroids, resolving some more detail than could be recorded using an SD format, but not by a whole whale of a lot really. Viewing a really well produced DVD didn't exactly look awful by comparison.

Now we really do have camcorders in the same price range as the FX1 when it first came out, like the NX5, quite capable of recording detail unmistakeably beyond that which could possibly be recorded using an SD format - even rivaling broadcast quality footage on occasion. I know some of the images I've shot with the NX5 (and the low-cost HMC40 for that matter) do indeed look better, coming straight out of the camera, than some of the broadcast images I see on my television - which really isn't all that surprising when you stop and think about it. The hit on quality, simply from the final image compression for HD broadcast television (especially when delivered by cable-tv and satellite companies), is far and away more brutal than the quality hit that results from the in-camera AVCHD compression with the NX5. Now I'm finding it a little harder on the eyes to watch even the best made DVDs anymore - they just don't look quite as good as they used to anymore.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 08:43 AM   #7
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Re: The five years between cameras

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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
Which resizing algorithm do you use in VDub Ron?
I used the Lanczos-3 the same as in TMPGenc. Tried several of the others too. For me TMPGenc is much better and a lot easier.

Ron Evans
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