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Old March 27th, 2014, 02:40 PM   #1
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Sony HDR-CX900

Has anyone tried this camera? And with 120fps is it still 1080p?
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Old March 27th, 2014, 03:25 PM   #2
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

I think everyone's been going for the AX100 - there are some "hands on" user reports on about the last 5 pages on that (huge) thread - including some reports on the 1080p, and I'm sure someone can confirm the details on the high frame rate, but I seem to recall it is 720p. There are some differences, but the guts of the cameras should be fairly comparable.

I'm behind on selling off some things, or I'd probably have an AX100 inbound myself... or if ebay runs a special larger ebay bucks kickback again, it may end up happening anyway...

As much as the CX900 makes some sense and saves a nice chunk, the 4k is looking a little too good to resist...
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Old March 27th, 2014, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Thanks David always appreciate your input.

For me the AX100 does not make sense. That many small pixels doing 4K would not be worth it for me. I own the F55 and that is what I would use for 4K and it is VERY rare you will need 4K until you can broadcast it with out loads of compression. The CX900 makes a lot more sense to me with the pixel size, too bad the 120fps is 720p. But I am sure we will know more after NAB.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 08:47 PM   #4
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Thanks David always appreciate your input.

For me the AX100 does not make sense. That many small pixels doing 4K would not be worth it for me. I own the F55 and that is what I would use for 4K and it is VERY rare you will need 4K until you can broadcast it with out loads of compression. The CX900 makes a lot more sense to me with the pixel size, too bad the 120fps is 720p. But I am sure we will know more after NAB.
I do not understand - the CX900 has the same sensor and "small" pixels as the AX100.

More importantly, what we are all discovering is that the HD from AX100 4K video blows away all HD video from HD cameras. Almost all of us are viewing the AX100 4K video in HD, and it is just visibly better than anything from HD camcorders viewed as HD. The AX100 sensor is much bigger than most pro camcorders as well (same as the CX900). If you are solely distributing in 1080, the AX100 shooting 4K will give you visibly better HD than almost anything. I get wows displaying AX100 video in HD I do not get displaying, say, BMPPC HD video from RAW or Canon EOS video in HD
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Old March 28th, 2014, 12:34 AM   #5
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

If I'm reading the "hands on reports" from other DVi'ers correctly, the 1080p (from the AX100, which would be comparable to the CX900) is GOOD but the 4K downrezzed is BETTER... that along with a couple of other features the AX has over the CX, and the difference in price is a little hard to balance out, at least from my view. As attractive as 5 Benjamins are... that dang 4K sharpness is not something to argue with...

I was initially thinking the CX900 would probably come up cheap (ugly stepsister syndrome), and would be fine for 1080p... but the 4k is simply a little too much to ignore from the AX100, even viewed at 1080p. I'm judging from the RX10, which produces very nice video to put it mildly, and while it's still quite GOOD, you can definitely see where the AX100 is sharper.

I did not expect the RX10 to look "soft" anytime soon, but using the same sensor and processor, Sony bested their own "best" in just a couple months of further development. I still anticipate the RX10 and RX100M2 will intercut adequately, but they were already sending my other "HD" cameras off to hiding in a corner. Simple solution to the extra $500... sell a couple of things that were perfectly "fine" until Sony came up with this new sensor... they seem to have gotten this one VERY "right" in the AX100, and the CX900 starts to look like a tough sell, unless you knock a few hundred more off the price?

As I see it, the extra $500 investment gives you a camera that is probably going to look pretty darn good for a couple more years at least, vs, a camera that is already quite possibly bordering on "obsolete" (OK, it's probably going to produce some pretty fine 1080 60P at a high bitrate...) before it hits the shelves.

I'd probably look at the CX900 at $1000-1300 a bit more seriously, and I predict it'll be there fairly quickly in the shrinking "consumer camcorder" market, if it's going to sell vs. the AX100. Just my opinion, but I've watched SD, tape, HDV and even newer cameras drop heavily in value as newer cameras are leapfrogging the image quality. It's not that these "old" cameras are "bad", they might well have been the "best" in their day, but the tech is progressing far too fast, leaving things from just a couple years ago heading towards the dustbin...
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Old March 28th, 2014, 02:40 AM   #6
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

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but the tech is progressing far too fast, leaving things from just a couple years ago heading towards the dustbin...
I was under the impression that we we reached a limit how sharp HD can look compressed on vimeo and youtube but when seeing the sample videos from 4K it looks we are coming very close to that "looking through a window" kind of effect or a kind of resolution/sharpness our eyes can perceive.

I only don't think "old tech" will become obsolete soon, 4k is no substitute for talent and soft 5D footage with those creamy/blurry backgrounds will sell well for many years to come, but that depends who your audience is. With the new Sony handicams you won't be shooting any high end commercials but they will be popular among wedding videographers to get wide angle pinsharp b footage or even get used a main camera.

I only don't see where else it would fit because the target audience you might expect (handicams -> "soccermoms") is not going to shell out 2k to shoot their family/holiday so that only leaves the enthusiastic hobbyist and semi-pro user, not exactly a hugh market, at least not compared to the soccermams ones, but they buy/shoot with mobilephones instead and you allready see 4K introduced into those devices as well.

I expect the current 4K handicam models to be replaced as fast as Sony did with their cx line so I also expect some nice price drops (my cx730 was 1200 euro introductory price and I got it at 830 euro just before it was replaced) so I will wait until that happens before I"m replacing my handicams.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 03:12 AM   #7
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Actually Noa, the 4k makes a excellent interview camera.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Just went onto Youtube to watch downsampled 4K footage to 1080p from the AX100 ... and I have to say I am very very impressed.

Looks like it would make the ultimate B cam and A cam on certain jobs.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

@ Noa -

CONTENT is always "king" (and queen, princes and princesses...). The quality of capture is of course HIGHLY variable...

And one has to realize the market has changed - there is a MUCH larger "gap" between "consumer" and "creator" markets...

Yes, the "consumer" of "today" WILL NOT be buying a $2K video camera, or a $1K camcorder/camera, or even a $200 P&S... the painful fact (at least if you're a camera manufacturer) is that they will buy the latest greatest cell phone, it will include a pretty darn "nice" camera, perhaps with passable resolution and image quality, and a "HD" 1080p or greater video camera - it will "cost" them under $100 in many cases... it will be "good enough", and since they always have it with them, they will leave the "big" (or small) cameras and camcorders at home. Or maybe they have a tablet... you can't "consume" content (surf, check mail/social media, read a book) on a camera after all... but ALL these things have a camera in them!

Now, you and I know that these cell phone cams are not "bad", nor are they "good", they are a capturing device, one of CONVENIENCE, so it's easy to capture CONTENT the user cares about, even if the quality is so-so. Remember "brownie", Polaroid, 110, disposable cameras.... cheap "capture devices"....

This is why I really don't see the CX900 being a viable market proposition. in the current economy, no one is going to spend $1500 to shoot little Jonnie or Jane's soccer match, birthday party or whatever... they will whip out a cell phone and get something "good enough"... for the limited "audience"...

At least with 4K the AX100 has SOME "future proofing". That said, yes, "consumer" cams refresh on a yearly cycle, sometimes faster, and prices drop when new ones come out (usually, not so much lately because of a thinner market, and for a couple years at least, minimal image improvement).

4K is very close to "looking through a window", almost shockingly so, it's not "cinematic reality" (DSLR), which has it's own place in the toolkit, but the AX100 DOES have some shallow DoF potential too, thanks to the larger sensor.

As a CONTENT CREATOR rather than a CONSUMER, you have to look at the market differently - can you use a particular "tool" to CREATE and make a profit (or gain greater enjoyment for yourself from what you create). Will your content be more eye-catching, higher quality, easier to work with in edit... IMO, 4K is noticeable enough that if you CAN shoot in that resolution, there are some good reasons to do so. I'm getting really tired of seeing "soft" SD resolution "content", and would rather have sharp images, both to watch, and when I'm "creating". I'm fine with what the RX100M2 and RX10 can do right now... but an AX100 is on the list after I clear out a few things!
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Old March 29th, 2014, 07:56 AM   #10
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
...Yes, the "consumer" of "today" WILL NOT be buying a $2K video camera, or a $1K camcorder/camera, or even a $200 P&S... the painful fact (at least if you're a camera manufacturer) is that they will buy the latest greatest cell phone, it will include a pretty darn "nice" camera, perhaps with passable resolution and image quality, and a "HD" 1080p or greater video camera - it will "cost" them under $100 in many cases... it will be "good enough", and since they always have it with them, they will leave the "big" (or small) cameras and camcorders at home....
You forgot to mention that they will shoot video vertically causing, among other things, the death of many birds:
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Old March 31st, 2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Thanks for the corrections to my post, sorry I have been away. It looks like the extra money will be worth it. Will see all the input after NAB then I think I will go for the AX100.

Appreciate the help.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 12:12 PM   #12
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Hi

Don't forget in order to get 4K you have to do sacrifice frame-rate, this means 24fps or 30fps, motion and fast action will not look good. Even worse, in 50Hz land the maximum frame-rate is only 25fps with the Sony AX100.

So down-scaling 4K to give you 1080P will be 1080P at 24fps (or 25/30), this isn't the same thing as 1080P captured at 50/60fps.

Also 4K is looking good downsized for a few reasons:

1) On YouTube you end up watching 1080P from a higher quality/faster streaming source given to 4K. You could just upload 1080P resized to 4K, then watch that 4K resized down to 1080P and see a similar improvement.

2) 4K downscaled to 1080P is giving you something more like 4.2.2 colour sampling, or an approximation of, so up close and pixel peeking it will look better. However, how will you distribute your footage? If all you want is 1080P then that will be rendered out very likely as typical 4.2.0, advantage lost.

3) 4K is captured at a higher bit-rate by the camera, so when squashed down to 1080P you gain an advantage over typical HD footage we might have at 28Mbps. If you take a quadrant of 4K it gives you 1080P, which essentially on the AX100 is encoded at 15Mbps per HD quadrant, and then watch that full screen on an HD monitor, it looks pretty poor quality for HD. My point, everything looks good downsized, a 420P YouTube clip looks pretty damn sharp on a small mobile phone display.

What does 1080P at 60fps look like captured at 50Mbps on the Sony, I wish we had some native clips to watch, as I think most people will be saying that looks pretty sharp as well, and the motion will be smooth and realistic, giving that "looking through a window" feeling that is lacking on low frame-rate 4K.

Regards

Phil
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Old March 31st, 2014, 12:31 PM   #13
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

I can absolutely confirm that shooting in 4k and scaling down to 1080 creates SPECTACULAR "HD" videos.

A "typical" HD camera will resolve maybe 700-800 lines. A "really good" 3 sensor HD camera can resolve up to 800-900 lines (realistically)

The AX100 shoots much, much higher resolution than that. When scaled down to "HD", that video could easily reach the maximum 1080 lines of resolution. It pegs the 1080 limitation meter right to the very last last pixel. Your 4:2:0 4k now becomes 4:2:2 (4:4:4?) HD and has the absolute maximum pixel density. It's sad for me to think that my AX100's downscaled 4K to 1080 image now makes my EX1r native 1080 image look...."soft".

Plus, you have the benefit of being able zoom/crop a 1080 window and move it around your 4K space for framing.

It's a no brainer for me. The AX100 is WELL worth the extra $500 over the CX900.

I do need to warn you though, this 4K stuff is highly addictive. I have only been doing it for 6 days now and I'm already completely addicted to it....be very careful. Don't let it get the best of you. (As it has already done with me)

CT

Last edited by Cliff Totten; March 31st, 2014 at 01:31 PM.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 12:37 PM   #14
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Looks like the AX100 will be my B cam when it's out ...
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Old March 31st, 2014, 01:39 PM   #15
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Re: Sony HDR-CX900

Well, even if Phil was correct in those theories... The AX100 has a couple extra features over the CX900, and will ALSO shoot high bitrate 1080/60p, if motion is an issue... an easy fallback, but motion blur with the 4K footage so far seems "pleasing" enough.

I was figuring the 4K might be a bit "rough" as a first effort out of the gate, and took it as a good way to "dip a toe in", for future reference. It now looks like with proper technique, 4k will be very useful and good enough for many uses.
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