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Sony RX CyberShots and CX Series Camcorders
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Old January 30th, 2014, 06:07 AM   #1
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Next Best thing to the CX730?

A few of us on here have picked ourselves up the Sony CX730 over the years. But they are near impossible to pick up anymore. Currently only one I can find is an ebay auction from LatviaÖ Auctions will probably see them sell at high values since theres now supply and high demand.

Iíve been looking for what alternatives there are out there. (Its difficult - most people who use this level of video camera are not overly concerned with low light)

Iíve attached a side by side shot of a low light comparison between the Sony HDR-PJ780 and the Panasonic HC-X920.

To me the Sony doesnít cope with the colours well - the yellows are very saturated and donít look pleasant and the red in the heineken sign looks poor. Perhaps its pulling more light out (slightly) but at a cost.

The key thing is, the Panny here is a good few hundred cheaper. Iíd be tempted.

Thoughts?
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Old January 30th, 2014, 06:33 AM   #2
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

The Sony has had a lot of good coverage on here, partly I seem to recall because of Noa's positive experiences.

But at the same time many of us have been using the Panasonic X920's predecessors - the TM900 and TM700 with great success.

The images you've linked to appear to show the X920 does a better job than the Sony - though obviously there can be lots of variables and subject to the reviewers technical ability.

Why not get an X920 from Amazon and give it a quick low light whirl? Their returns policy is very forgiving and a "didn't perform as expected" selection reason - which would of course be valid - would not involve you in any net expense at all.

I particularly like the TM900's ability to maintain the appropriate and quick auto-focus unattended and its backlight compensation feature which will adjust exposure on the fly again unattended making it a great choice for a locked down rear cam. I would expect the X920 to be similar.

Oh and the image stabilisation is great.

I use all mine with SD cards rather than the inbuilt memory so that I can download the cards quickly using a USB3 reader without having to connect the cams to the PC. This would probably be better if you got a memory failure as well because it should be a lot more straightforward to recover data from a card than from a cam.

These don't see in the dark but neither do dSLRs; the latter will be incrementally better but it will not turn a dim 1st dance in a crummy hotel chain into a Royal wedding.

Pete
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

If I had to replace one of my sonys I probably would go for the panny, not sure how it's low light performance is but I have seen enough samples to know it provides a sharper image (you can see it as well in the side by side images), my sony had a much sharper image then my canon 550d but my panasonic gh3 is yet one level above my cx730 in terms of resolution and it looks this is an area most panasonic camera's excel in. The sony standard image is a little bit flat where panasonic camera's often have more punch to their colors, however I find the sony image easy to match up with my other camera's as it's flat image is easier to color correct. I would keep at least one sony handicam, mainly because it's very wide angle lens which has been very valuable in cramped spaces and the latest sony cx model seems to have a very good build in microphone which is less the case with the cx730.
I"m sure that paired with my panasonic gh3/g6 the panasonic handicams would probably be the best combination resolution and colorwise but my sony's will have to do for some time as I already went over my budget last year with some investments I made :).
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Old January 30th, 2014, 06:16 PM   #4
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

I have been using the Panasonic 700/750 & 900s for a few years and have found them very good on low light situations, plus good sound ability and manual controls. I haven't used the Sony equivalents, but when I replace the Panasonics over the next 12 months, it will be with the latest versions. The reliability has also been exemplary with absolutely no problems in spite of a hard working life. Like Peter, I also record to SD cards for speed and reliability.

Roger

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Old January 30th, 2014, 07:40 PM   #5
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

I've used a HDR-PJ760 for some time now and find it great it would have the same sensor as the CX7xx series.
Recently I was looking around for another one and then got interested in this HDR-CX900E | Handycam Camcorders | Sony but it was a bit expensive!
I eventually settled for a Sony HDR-PJ 790 96GB Full HD Camcorder with Projector - HDRPJ790V Review - Sony US
Looks a bit strange but i find the balanced Optical System a great help with events like weddings etc.

:)
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Old January 31st, 2014, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Well, the upcoming CX900 is a whole other animal... and with higher bitrate 60p, may put sharpness into another category... since the imager is the same as the AX100 with 4K.

The PJ/CX7xx series seem to have met the end of the line, with the 780/790... the new 8xx has a smaller sensor.

FWIW, the CX710V (US) skipped the viewfinder, and has 32G instead of 96G (which doesn't matter if you use cards), they seem to be around at decent prices, and has the same imaging block, not sure if there was an EU equivalent...
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Old January 31st, 2014, 03:06 AM   #7
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

That CX900 50mbps bit rate could mean needing a new editing machine unless you are going to transcode, especially if you are doing a multicam edit. Yikes.

Pete
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Old January 31st, 2014, 05:11 AM   #8
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

yes the bit rate might cause some concern ok, then i have a PMW 200 which i use with the other cams sometimes, its a challenge at times, the CX 900 might have suited but i dont have the money :(

I had noted the CX8xx/PJ8xx had a smaller sensor 4.6mm v 6.3mm on the PJ/CX7xx series. Wonder why they did that?

and that projector, i turned it on once to see if it actually worked, it's not bad and the PJ 790 is supposed to be improved, apparently you can attach any other media source using a HDMI cable, but I have no need for it and i guess it'll never be used, bit of a waste really.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 08:37 AM   #9
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Does anyone ever look at the Slashcam site for comparing video cameras. They do sample stills taken from 1200 LUX, 12LUX on auto, and 12 LUX on 'optimised'.

To be honest, I've spent a few hours on there and its left me more confused than ever. The CX730 for example looks great at 12 LUX on auto, but 'optimised' it looks terrible.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

I don't consider slashcam as a reference, I didn't trust them anymore when I saw a side by side image at 12 lux of the canon xh-a1 and xh-a1s, the older model had a much cleaner image, so I wouldn't take their testresults very seriously.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 03:49 PM   #11
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Its such a pity Noa - nobody else is even trying to show low light ability. If you want to know for sure, you basically have to buy, test and return...

Noa - could you give me some pointers on manual settings for CX730 for low light? What do I change to optimise it? Also, which sensitivity of stabilisation do you use?
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Old January 31st, 2014, 03:54 PM   #12
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Do you have the cx730 and is the low light performance not as you expected or are you planning to get one second hand and need to know how it performs?
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Old January 31st, 2014, 05:47 PM   #13
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Noa may have other advice but for my XR500, CX700 and NX30U I set focus manual ( spot focus ) leave in auto exposure but with AE shift set depending on conditions. For high contrast ( stage etc ) AE shift at -1EV or more ). You need to test as I sometimes have it set full negative shift. Minimum -0.5ev as the Sony's always over expose. I am sure the original designers had a very good idea of how to optimize performance so I trust them and just bias my view to be lighter or darker.

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Old January 31st, 2014, 06:27 PM   #14
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

What Ron said...

And turn on the low lux function - I presume it's just a 1/30 shutter vs. 1/60, but does help in low light and doesn't seem to affect anything adversely.

Slashcam, like every review site sometimes gets it right, sometimes not, you have to take things with a grain of salt (or video grain?). You have to remember that you'll always lose "something" when gaining up and trying to resolve detail and color in low light. I still think my Sonys are better than "nekkid eye" in low light, but then again I think my low lux sensitivity has declined with age!
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Old January 31st, 2014, 06:47 PM   #15
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Re: Next Best thing to the CX730?

Hi Noa, yea I own a CX730, but for evening stuff, I've just left it as it has been. I guess coming from a purely DSLR background I just couldn't figure out what to change (or never put the effort in more like).

Thanks guys, I'll take a look at some of the settings and what they do for the image.
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