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Sony NXCAM HXR-NX5U
Including the consumer version HDR-AX2000 AVCHD camcorder.


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Old November 18th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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AX-2000 vs MC5OU vs wait for the XF100

My firends and I are getting more into shooting dirt bikes and quads. We are playing with the idea of actually investing in a really good camera.

Currently I have a FX7 and a HFS20, i really want to stick to one type of media and that is looking less and less like tape.

The MC5OU looks nice cause its small, light to handle and would be easy to run and gun with. The price is consideration. A 2000$ consideration but I am looking at making a go of this and the final product could be something that gets sold. Even if its just for the racers wanting a piece of history for themsevles I would want what I put together to look the best it can. Is the MC5OU even on the same level as the AX-2000?

The big step up in price to the AX-2000 gets me tons of options in tweeking just about everything. The weight makes me wonder how this would be hauling it around it all day. Of the stuff I have shot in the past about 20% of a 5 to 8 hour race would be on a tripod. The purchase of a high end sony or canon would wipe out the budget so not stedicam lol.

The canon apeals to me due to the dual CF card clots. I already own tons of CF cards since I shoot with a nikon dslr. in a pinch i always have cards. The specs look similar but being newish to camera equipment I was wondering what the real deal is.


Im kinda new to all this so looking thru the info the thing that condfuses me is the CMOS. School me. which is going to give me the better performance. I cant really find a for sure price for the new canon but i assume its going to be in the same price range with the AX-2000.

finally. the HXR-NX5U. is there any major difference that i am missing to go from the AX-2000 to the NX5U? the only thing i am seeing is the GPS. dont need it, i know where i am at lol.

thanks
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Old November 18th, 2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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The post below gave a good comparison of the AX-2000 vs the NX5U:

Should i buy HDR-AX2000 or HXR-NX5U?

I got the NX5U. The thing that sold me were the included shotgun microphone, LPCM audio, Marco focus, 720 60p and many more image tweaks. I was also concerned about focus issues which appeared to be fixed by the firmware update for the NX5U.

It is heavier than my previous FX7, but I have no regrets. I haven't had time to try it yet, but I hear the 720 60p is great when shooting fast action.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #3
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Im in PAL land. Using 720p is good really good on fast speed. Others like 1080p HD or SD Both work great on picture profile setting.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #4
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Brian:

Both the HCM50U and the AX2000 can make excellent pictures but they are very different kinds of cameras.

The HCM50u is tiny and is basically designed for automatic modes. The HCM50 is a CX550 dressed up with a lens hood and an external microphone. I like the CX550 a lot. I've got two of them and use them regularly for locked-down b-roll cams in multi-cam shoots (weddings, stage and dance performances), They are so small and make such good images that I've found myself hauling one along all the time. They are great to take for, say, mountain biking and general scrambling around.

The active steady shot is amazing but the camera is so small that I find I want a monopod or a shoulder brace for help in keeping the camera stable for extended periods of of hand-held event shooting, especially where I might want to use the zoom. The reach of the zoom is pretty limited, but the wide angle is as wide as that on the AX/NX, which is very wide indeed.

The AX2000NX5 cams are a completely different kind of camera. Your FX7 is probably about mid-way between the AX and the CX. The AX/NX cam is larger and heavier than your FX but otherwise similar enough that it will be easy to pick it up and start using it right away.

For differences between the AX and NX, see the link that Victor posted. (I was one of the posters in that thread that explains differences and also discusses how to decide which differences will or will not matter to you). For your dirt bike and quad shooting, one thing the NX is the ability to record 720/60p, which is a great format for video of high-motion activities.

You indicated that the Canon XF100 might be attractive because of the ability to use two CF cards. Be sure to check the specs before re-using the ones you got for the still camera.

Both the AX and NX use SDHC cards, With the NX, you can get an FMU --- for about $750 --- which can give you a full day's worth of shooting on internal memory. (Whether that would be worth the extra money is a different question and ne you have to answer for your situation). You can hot swap memory cards (CF and SD) as they fill up. With a couple of 32 g Class 6 SDHC cards, you can shoot 6 hours of highest quality AVCHD on an NX/AX cam before having to swap out a full card.

The XF100 is doubtless going to be a very nice camera. It seems likely to be somewhat less expensive than the AX with somewhat lesser manual controls If you are looking at these cams for the availability of manual controls, one thing to consider is that the Canon XF cams will have only one control ring where your existing FX7 has two. The AX/NX cams have separate rings for focus, zoom, and iris. When you are shooting dirt bikes and quads, you may find yourself shooting in rapidly changing conditions where auto modes may be preferable and the extra manual controls might not matter.

Your FX7 is pretty decent camera in its own right. You could add tapeless recording (say an Sony MRC unit) and a shoulder rig and do it for a lot less than the cost of even an MC50. Have you considered that option?
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Old November 21st, 2010, 11:51 AM   #5
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I'd strongly suggest you consider an HMC40. Shooting outside (ample lighting) the image quality you can get from an HMC40 is right on par with what you can get with the Sony AX2000 & NX5U cams, and it can shoot all the standard flavors of 1080 and 720 line video (like the NX5U) - with a much, much lower price tag than any of the cams mentioned thus far. The HMC40 is also very light.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #6
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I shoot a lot of the US Rally Series as well as other motorsports, which has similar demands to what you're doing. If you can swing it, you want the NX5U for two reasons: 720p at 60fps and low light shooting -- for when the event goes into the night. The fact that the optical stabilizer is insanely good is just icing on the cake. Prior to this we shot with a set of Sony A1U's, which were great at the time, but I can never go back to that level of camera again.

Here's our YouTube. Check out the Acura TL review in particular, as it was recently shot with the NX5U (plus some GoPros and a Canon HF10 for b-roll)...

YouTube - drivingsports's Channel
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Old November 26th, 2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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It's hard to recommend an AX2000. The price point and features relative to the NX5 are an example of bizarre marketing, IMO. 720p60 is my own favorite distinguishing characteristic of the NX5 versus the AX2000, and, having used it now for more than six months, I can no longer imagine being without it. Seriously. I will never shoot 1080i60 again (except on those very odd occasions when I only have my CX12 with me :-)).

Best,
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Old November 27th, 2010, 01:15 AM   #8
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The XF100 does have some cool features but it's a bit too early to judge it. If you have the luxery of being able to wait and see how it compares to the other offerings, then that might be a good idea.

With the current cameras, I really wouldn't bother with the HXR-MC50. It's really just a dressed up CX550 with the biggest difference being the price.

The AX2000 is a great camera, possibly one of the best Sony have released at that price point (at least here in Aus, where our pricing can be a bit erratic - the FX7 for example was still for sale for $5999 here after the price was dropped to $1999 in the USA), but the NX5 is even better value and the gap between them is so narrow - for an extra $500 (In Aus) you get the included microphone, 720p50, better audio options, more custom options etc plus the option of the extra flash unit.

The HMC40 is definitely another one you should consider, espescially if size and budget are primary concerns. The HMC40 really doesn't have any close competitors - based on design and features, I don't even think the XF100 is designed as a direct competitor; I see it more as a b-cam for those already using the XF300, though the price will be the ultimate determining factor there.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #9
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Side note:

Personally, I would never rave about the 720p recording mode (being it 60 frames per second or just 50). I cannot see how someone wants to decrease the maximum resolution (i.e. 1080p) which the camera is capable of.

A 720p frame (i.e. 1,280 x 720 pixels) has roughly about 1 million pixels. Compared to it, a 1080p frame (i.e. 1,920 x 1,080 pixels) has 2 million pixels. As you see, the amount of detail doubles. This means, you will notice that certain areas of the 720p parts donít look as good as the 1080p version.

That being said, in order to get the extra detail from 1080p recording format, your screen size must be big enough and the distance short enough for your eyes to actually see the extra detail.

For example, if your TV screen size is 58 inches, then the maximum detailed picture you will have sitting not far than 7.6 feet or 2.3m away from the screen. But, if you make a step behind that distance you will see both 1080p and 720p recording formats look the same and you canít make the difference anymore.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 07:31 AM   #10
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Third vote here for looking at the hmc40. Fantastic camera. Also rumor is the xf100 is going to be over $3k but will be at the top of the small cameras with the 50mbps and 4:2:2.
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Last edited by Robert Turchick; November 27th, 2010 at 08:13 AM.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkady Bolotin View Post
Personally, I would never rave about the 720p recording mode (being it 60 frames per second or just 50). I cannot see how someone wants to decrease the maximum resolution (i.e. 1080p) which the camera is capable of.
Hi Arkady:

It's simply because 1080p tends to be only 24 or 30fps. This means, if you're shooting an event, documentary, home video, or something else where you'd like to better capture the motion, you're likely to be choosing between 1080i60 (or 50) and 720p60 (or 50). Because most displays are inherently progressive these days, the presentation of 1080i relies heavily on the playback device or software to deinterlace it in a way that's pleasing to the eye. Consequently, the presentation of 1080i tends to be wildly inconsistent across devices and requires more processing power. 1080i is also, incidentally, only one Megapixel per frame (field) :-) 720p60 (or 50) displays consistently and goes everywhere, being supported natively on Blu-ray, by all web video services, etc.

EDIT: And don't forget, we're also talking about cameras with one-Megapixel (or smaller) sensors, not full HD sensors. At 1080p, a good half of the pixels are "made up" anyway, so you're not necessarily throwing out half of the *effective* resolution by shooting in 720p. For what I shoot, I would seldom consider shooting in 1080p anyway due to the framerates.

Best,
Aaron
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Last edited by Aaron Holmes; November 27th, 2010 at 03:18 PM. Reason: typo
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Old November 28th, 2010, 03:41 AM   #12
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Hi Aaron,

1. If you take 720p 60 (or 720p 50) recoding format as some kind a surrogate for the greater 1080p 60 (1080p 50) format (in which the NX5 is not able to record) I cannot argue that. In certain situations when you should sacrifice better resolution for better motion capture, using 720p 60 (720p 50) is the reasonable alternative.

However, unless fast moving actions (like motorsports) is your only genre of filming, I do argue the choice of 720p 60 (720p 50) as a prime recording format.


2. When you wrote “we're also talking about cameras with one-Megapixel (or smaller) sensors, not full HD sensors. At 1080p, a good half of the pixels are "made up" anyway, so you're not necessarily throwing out half of the *effective* resolution by shooting in 720p”, I cannot help myself but argue again.

It is the widespread misconception that the virtual pixels are somehow of the lesser quality, and so the NX5 sensor, which employs just 960x810 photosites (in staggered columns), is worse than a full-resolution 1920x1080 sensor. No, it is completely wrong: the information received from “made-up” photosites is as good as that from physical photosites, and consequently the NX5 images are virtually identical to those from real 1920x1080 sensors.

This means that no matter what your reason to shoot in the 720p format is, by doing so you throw away half of the NX5 resolution.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 05:53 AM   #13
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Arkady, It's not a case of one being better than the other, rather it's about suitability to a particular situation as well as personal preference.

Increasing temporal resolution can have just as much effect on percieved detail as more pixels can - as long as you know what situations it will be beneficial in.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 06:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkady Bolotin View Post
It is the widespread misconception that the virtual pixels are somehow of the lesser quality, and so the NX5 sensor, which employs just 960x810 photosites (in staggered columns), is worse than a full-resolution 1920x1080 sensor. No, it is completely wrong: the information received from “made-up” photosites is as good as that from physical photosites, and consequently the NX5 images are virtually identical to those from real 1920x1080 sensors.
According to what, exactly? This is like calling the NX5's video "virtually identical" to uncompressed video. Maybe at a glance on a smallish TV, sure. :) I think more context is required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkady Bolotin View Post
However, unless fast moving actions (like motorsports) is your only genre of filming, I do argue the choice of 720p 60 (720p 50) as a prime recording format.
Here too, it's all a matter of context. My own take would be: If you're shooting a film, you use 24 fps. If you're not, you probably don't. Remember, we are a community of home video shooters and event videographers, too. In fact, I expect the non-filmmakers are a vast majority. The unfortunate marriage (for now) of 1080p and 24 fps means that, for them, 1080p is a complicating factor rather than simply a higher resolution. That will change, of course, and when it does, I'll be right there with you in the 1080p camp.

Best,
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Old November 28th, 2010, 08:03 AM   #15
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Aaron:

Quote:
According to what, exactly? This is like calling the NX5's video "virtually identical" to uncompressed video. Maybe at a glance on a smallish TV, sure. :) I think more context is required.
If you want factual proofs, I can point some for you.

According to Adam Wilt, being tested on the DSC Labs Resolution Charts, the NX5U resolves the image as sharp as one from full-resolution 1920x1080 sensors. For further details, look for the Sony write-ups concerning ClearVid CMOS Sensor (it is a little bit technical but nevertheless very much stimulating and educational reading for everyone who wants to know better the camera he uses).

John:

Quote:
Increasing temporal resolution can have just as much effect on percieved detail as more pixels can - as long as you know what situations it will be beneficial in.
Aaron:

Quote:
Here too, it's all a matter of context.
Guys, it was exactly my point – please read my previous post again: if you know why you are reducing the maximum possible resolution or doing it for a purpose (for context sake or any other reason you may have) I have no argument about it.
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