B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77 at DVinfo.net

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Old July 12th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

The main point of the NX70 is that it is tough: waterproof and dustproof. Now Sony has come up with a consumer waterproof model that has most of the features of the NX70, but substantially smaller and tougher, specifically almost identical in parts and capabilities to the new mid-range Sony HDR-CX580: same sensor, 10X optical zoom, active mode steady shot optical, 3" 920k screen, touch focus, mic level adjustment, 108060p mode, f1.8-f3.4 G lens, etc. But waterproof here means actually means submersible to 16 feet.

Given the upgrades in resolution in the 2012 camera line, I would suspect that in good and moderate light the GW77 resolution and color will be the same, if not better, than the NX70. The stabilization is the same; the power zoom is probably superior.

What the GW77 lacks is all of the manual controls: you can have manual WB and focus (including finger spot focus), and there is control over exposure. But no fixing the shutter or aperture. But this is a tough-guy B-roll, not a substitute.

Here is a video straight from the camera, using the telemacro mode, which allows close-ups with narrow dof:


Here are frame grabs from the video straight from the camera:






Now, in tele macro mode, I am not sure whether you are seeing extended zoom or purely optical zoom (active mode was on), but the resolution and color looks good. If this is extended zoom, I would supect that the resolution would be even higher without active mode.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Looks like it might share a lot with the future POV camera Sony announced. Both look interesting.

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Old July 15th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Of course, the main advantage is you can take videos when it really rains.

A GW77 frame grab in very wet conditions:

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Old July 16th, 2012, 04:08 AM   #4
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

‘What next’ springs to mind! I love it; shirt-pocket 60p HD. I want one. I need one. I must have one! (I never go out in the rain.)

Questions Mark, if I may. How does the video image quality compare with the NEX 5n (which I find not so wonderful) and how good is the image stabilization compared to Sony’s other small sensor cameras such as the HX200v or the CX700v, do you know? And how do you find the pistol grip compared to the two handed approach when using a dslr type camera?

Cheers...
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #5
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

1. Stabilization. It is exactly the same as the big, small sensor Sony camcorders and the Hx200v, except for the new CX760, which has the new "balanced" stabilization. Same as the CX580 - steady-shot optical + active mode + 4-way roll stabilization.

2. How does it compare to the NEX-5N? I am not sure what you do not like about that camera's video. If it is moire, the GW77 has none. TheGW 77 is sharper. You can view and download comparable videos. The video above (GW77)


and this video (NEX-5N),


are videos taken of the same garden with the GW77 and the NEX-5N (one year apart). You can directly compare - same photographer, same concept video, same place, same lighting conditions. You can certainly see some dof differences.

3. The form factor I find comfortable - you can shoot stably with one hand, and it is no less steady. It is not only smaller, it is much lighter than the big ones that have the exact same capability and quality. And no worry about bumps, dust or water.

One difference is that the GW77 video is shot almost all in max telephoto mode; I believe it is even sharper at normal focal lengths.

Having just viewed these videos, it is clear the GW 77 is visibly sharper, and even the bokeh is not that different.

Last edited by Mark Rosenzweig; July 16th, 2012 at 12:09 PM.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Thanks for your reply, Mark; the HDR-GW77 appears to be a great little shirt-pocket video camera - a nice addition to the kit bag. The NEX is a great stills camera but I find it a bit soft when it comes to video. I was thinking it might be a one-device solution; that is a good video cam and a good photography camera but for my type of shooting it is not the answer. I have the E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS and while it delivers very good photographs I am less than enthusiastic about the video. I conclude that it is not the lens that leads to softness but rather the post capture processing. Whatever, it has its place. For my wildlife walk-abouts I much prefer my HX200v (reach and stabilization) but often end up taking both; the HX200v for video and the NEX 5n for stills. If for whatever reason I can only take one then it’s the HX200v as it does shoot half-decent stills also.

But a shirt-pocket HX200v (nowhere near the reach admittedly) is interesting.

Again, thanks.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 05:51 AM   #7
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

It does permit videos of wildlife in the rain (which are rarely seen)! You do get good quality extended out to 17X.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #8
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Some human urban wildlife, including in the rain and at night:

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Old August 10th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #9
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Clean HDMI 1080 signal straight from the sensor from the GW77

The Sony HDR GW77 puts out an HDMI signal straight from the sensor, with no icons or anything ("clean"). The signal continues to go out in record mode as well. Clean as whistle.

Here is video proof:

Sony HDR GW77 Test: Does the Sony HDR GW77 have clean HDMI output? Yes! - YouTube

The first part of the clip shows the output on an HDMI monitor; the next shows both the GW77 and monitor: the LCD on the GW77 has icons. The HDMI-attached monitor screen does not.

You can thus attach an HD recorder, and record at 250Mbps, not just the 28Mbps the camera does! And of course an external (portable) monitor with focus peaking, zebras, false color; the works.

The video was shot with the Sony Hx9v. Its HDMI out signal is unclean (icons) and, when you go into record mode, HDMI out stops completely. Most DSLRs do not have clean HDMI out signals. Most camcorders do not either (maybe the red record dot
shows up externally).
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Old August 21st, 2012, 05:00 AM   #10
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

That's really something Mark. I have a Sony PJ740 (CX720, CX730, CX740, CX760 etc)
Do you think it allows clean HDMI recording to an Atomos Ninja or HyperDeck Shuttle as well?
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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:02 AM   #11
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Very likely - easy to check, just attach an HDMI cable to the camcorder and an HDTV (set auto HDMI out) and look at the screen. Disable any viewfinder guidelines if you have them. The GW77 does indeed work with the Ninja 2, and one can record simultaneusly AVCHD and the high-bitrate codec of the Ninja on its storage.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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Audio from the Sony HDR-GW77

Most pros know that audio in video is very important. Turns out the GW77 has a remarkable ability to capture audio - the full dynamic range.

This short video includes clips (from one event) with sounds ranging from a distant ship's bell, a soft harmonica playing, through a capella human voice, chorus, steam engines and then the start of an airplane engine shot about 8 feet away.

Here is the video:


Here is a computer screen shot of the audio track, where you can see the dynamic range captured:

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Old September 12th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #13
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Actually, maybe it's more than a B-camera:


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Old October 24th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #14
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

Hi Mark. Been reading what you have to say about the GW77. Am seriously thinking of getting it. I shoot a lot of scenery, some wildlife, and lots of trains (real and model). I currently have a Sony SR11, Sony FX7. Would the GW77 compliment my camcorders? Could I use it for good scenery shots with a tripod Yellowston NP and Grand Teton NP?

Thanks.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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Re: B-camera to accompany the NX70: the Sony HDR-GW77

The GW77 would be sharper than the two camcorders you have, but the colors would likely match well. One issue is that the GW77 can shoot at 108060p, and the other camcorders cannot, and it is at that spec that you get the really great performance. Indeed even at 108060i the GW77 can shoot at a higher bitrate than the SR11 (24Mbps versus only 17Mbps). You would then have to mix the 108060p with 108060i in editing, but this is readily done (the FX7 actually can only shoot at 1440x1080 interlaced). Being sharper really matters for scenics, where there are a lot of small details.

I do not know how dim light performance would compare - there has been a lot of advances in sensor and processor technology since those camcorders were released.

Here is a dim-light GW77 video:


108060p original, no post-processing.
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