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Old November 24th, 2011, 05:48 AM   #16
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

Yes, yes, know all that David, I was just querying your statement that '1920x1080 on 1/3" starts to cause diffraction issues'. Now I see that it's the chip size, focal lengths and aperture diameters that you were meaning.

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Old November 24th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #17
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

Interestingly looking at the data code on the Sony's in auto the small cameras do their best to stay in the F3.5 to F4 range by manipulating the iris, gain and shutter speed. I assume this is to get the best depth of field for the faces in the scene etc as well as keep the lens in the sweet spot. Initially I was setting my NX5U in the F4 to F5.6 range in an attempt to get good depth of field etc. I have now moved this down to the F3.5 range with much better results for sharpness and grain. Would be nice to know the exact sweet spot for each zoom position. I have played around looking at what the NX5U would set the auto in Spotlight ( all my shoots are in the theatre ) compared to my manual control. Been surprised that a few times I have gain at 3 db but auto has it at -3db with more open iris. Real differences in crispness of the image at the extremes !! Still learning the camera after 2 years !!!

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Old November 24th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #18
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
.........I was just querying your statement that '1920x1080 on 1/3" starts to cause diffraction issues'. Now I see that it's the chip size, focal lengths and aperture diameters that you were meaning.
To put it another way, a system is only as strong as it's weakest link. In the days of SD cameras (1/3") then except at very small apertures, the weakest link tended to be standard definition resolutions - so generally diffraction effects could be ignored.

Move to HD and that changed. The weakest link then started to be diffraction limiting at apertures that had previously been no problem - and the higher the resolution, the wider the aperture at which problems started to be seen. With a 1 megapixel imager, that may be around f4-5.6 - with a 2 megapixel imager, it may be more like f2.8-4. Hence, with a 1/3" 2 megapixel, there may be little sharpness advantage over 1 megapixel once you start stopping down below the f2.8-4 level. To get the most out of it, you're restricted to a very narrow band of iris settings.

And hence the feeling that fullHD sensors have far more value when 1/2" at least, ideally bigger. Marketing ("big numbers equals better!) is another thing again!

Add in all the sensitivity factors, and 1/2" becomes even more desirable. All that's the basis for for what I said earlier - try and scrape together the cash for an EX if possible!
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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:09 AM   #19
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

Good points David, and an excellent conclusion (re the EX range). Seems strange then that both Panasonic and Canon are pursuing the 1''/3 chip on their expensive 130 and 305 models, both of which have zooms that ramp down to the f/3.5 area. It's all very well to have high mbps capture and 4:2:2, but if Jo Blogg the cameraman doesn't understand diffraction losses he'll surely be sacrificing resolution by closing down by even half a stop.

So you stay wide and accept the inevitable softening that miss-centered elements bring, not to mention the unavoidable vignetting and more pronounced CA (or is this CA not aperture dependent?)

Interestingly my SD900 Panasonic (smaller than '' chips) shoots wide open till it needs an aperture smaller than f/5.6 to control the exposure. So when the aperture readout shows f/8 it's actually shooting one stop down from its (ramping induced) max.

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Old November 25th, 2011, 05:18 AM   #20
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

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Seems strange then that both Panasonic and Canon are pursuing the 1''/3 chip on their expensive 130 and 305 models, both of which have zooms that ramp down to the f/3.5 area. It's all very well to have high mbps capture and 4:2:2, but .......
And that's the $64,000 question. If I had to guess at the answer, it's probably got a lot to do with the fact that for the likes of you and I, it's very easy to be armchair generals and discuss all these specifications on a theoretical level - but designing cameras on the front line brings up all manner of issues. What we gloss over in a second may have meant many man hours of design effort.

And I suspect designing a camera with a 1/2" chip, with the constraints of price, size, weight etc that apply to this sector is a far more difficult task than we can only guess at. I suspect it's a manifestation of Sony having more R&D and design facilities to be able to throw at the task than Panasonic or Canon. (Though Canon have overcome it to an extent by aspects of the optical design - which maybe a sign of their key R&D being solidly towards lenses?)

And that really is why the EX was such a big leap forward. We shouldn't underestimate the difficulty of getting the bigger chip and associated lens into a cost and form factor that had previously meant 1/3". And it's something that no other manufacturer has so far bettered Sony on, even several years later.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #21
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

As a Sony NX5u owner, I am a little biased, but a couple mounths ago I was asked to lead a team of three camera operators for a polit being produced by a local company for the Discovery Channel.

The production company had a technician on site with 4 Pano 160 (upgrade of the 130).
Here are some of the more major problems we ran into:

1. Manual focusing was really tough. The LCD is horrible, and the AVF was not much better. 2 of the 4 had back focusing issues with using peaking.
2. Battery life... For the two hour shoot, we lost battery on all four cameras and had to move to AC power supplies and extension cords all over the set.
3. Card space, there were 32gb cards in each camera. Again, just two hours in and all cards were full! To the point where the technician had to tell the host, he could not ask his last question, because he was out of card space.

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Old November 25th, 2011, 02:49 PM   #22
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

That is odd because it's counter to everything I've been reading. . .

The flipout LCDs on the 130/160 are supposed to be miles improved from the HVX/HPX LCDs. And those SD cards should hold hours of footage on one card (depending on size of course).
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Old November 25th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #23
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

Surely the card space issue would have been the same for the NX5 as the AC130? It's the same codec, so surely same run time for the two?

(I'm assuming the best quality codec for both those cameras - 21Mbs AVC-HD (peak 24Mbs)? Or have you got used to a lower bitrate on your NX5?)
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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #24
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Re: What to buy? Panny AG-AC130 or the Sony NX5U

I feel I can write from experience. Having owned the Z-5,Z-7, HVR-270 FLASH, NX5....the CANON XF-100 and recently the XF-300. I now have the Panny AG AC-130. The camera is fine.

1. "Manual focusing was really tough. The LCD is horrible, and the AVF was not much better. 2 of the 4 had back focusing issues with using peaking."

TOUGH? THERE IS AN INTERNAL SETTING THAT ALLOWS PINPOINT FOCUSING WITH JUST A SLIGHT MOVEMENT OF THE FOCUS RING. BETTER THAN MY CANON CAMERAS.

LCD: OK....WISH IT WAS 4" LIKE THE XF SERIES. MANY FOCUS ASSISTS VIA MENU AND EXTERNAL MEANS. THE EVF BLOWS AWAY THE XF-100.


2." Battery life... For the two hour shoot, we lost battery on all four cameras and had to move to AC power supplies and extension cords all over the set."

HUMM...OVER 3 HOURS ON MY BATTERY. MY BATTERY WAS FULLY CHARGED HOWEVER AS I ALWAYS LEAVE A BATTERY ON THE CHARGER AN EXTRA HOUR.


3." Card space, there were 32gb cards in each camera. Again, just two hours in and all cards were full! To the point where the technician had to tell the host, he could not ask his last question, because he was out of card space."

PH MODE IS GIVING ME A LITTLE OVER 3 HOURS ON EACH 32GB CARD. I USE THE PANASONIC RECOMMENDED PROFESSIONAL SD CARDS. EXPENSIVE BUT RESILIENT AND THEY CORRECT POWER-DOWNED ERRORS!!! HOWEVER, I MISS THE EXTERNAL 128 DRIVE ON THE NX5. BE CAREFUL WITH SOME SD CARDS. IF THEY ARE PARTIONED FOR SPECIAL FEATURES, SPACE IS USED UP

I will give credit to SONY in regards to allowing an adjustment for finding the 'sweet spot' on the iris vs. the Panny 130/160. The iris adjustment via the internal menu on the PANNY does not display properly on the EVF/LCD readout after internal correction. Even though it can be adjusted the IRIS may read .8 and really be different. Also....I have to use ND filters in tandem with built-in HD filters to lower the iris setting outdoors.

The picture quality is very good on the Panasonic 130/160 series.
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