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Sony XDCAM EX CineAlta
Sony PMW-EX1 / PMW EX-3 / PMW 350 XDCAM recording to Express Card flash memory.


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Old March 3rd, 2012, 03:58 PM   #31
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

One of the few problems with EX footage is the subtle but inherent noise at 35Mb/s, much of which is down to the chroma subsampling. Add in a Nano or similar and the problem is gone.

Grading native footage: try cutting the saturation of certain reds and you can be left with 'holes' in the image. As Duncan says, grading is where 4:2:2 and higher bit rates make a huge difference.

Buck, I'm after my own Nano right now, but NAB is looming large and Gemini has a very pretty screen....I'm waiting, just a bit.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 04:20 PM   #32
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Nick, the problem I've seen with NAB is new stuff might be announced, but these days it seems that it takes a year or more to get to the market. I'm guessing if something new is announced it would have already been leaked if it was ready to go. I've been waiting/hoping for the Nanoflash to take a pricing hit since all this other stuff has been announced and on the market, but they're holding fast on the price. I don't want uncompressed files such as the Gemini because most of my stuff is/will be shot in the backcountry. I don't need it until May for a project so I'll hold off until then, see what comes out and see if there's any break in pricing or a flux of used Nanoflashes on the market. I'm starting to see some used for sale here and there, a few months ago I couldn't find any.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 04:32 PM   #33
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

I understand where you are coming from Buck. I have been swinging between buying a Nano and a Gemini, but I'm thinking it is worth a small wait now.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 04:34 PM   #34
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Noise has nothing to do with chroma sampling. The EX cameras have a fair amount of noise. This noise is seen by any video codec as picture detail, so the codec will try to encode it as accurately as possible. However on a bit starved codec like 35Mb/s trying to encode all that noise results in quantisation noise on top of the original camera noise. This is concatenation coming in to play, noise on noise. Raise the bit rate to 50Mb/s and there is more data to work with so some of the quantisation noise goes away with the result that the image is cleaner. It's not the extra chroma samples. If you don't believe me just look at the luma channel only.

Certainly going to 4:2:2 will reduce chroma artefacts (4:2:2 chroma is in effect every other pixel, every line), especially if you are shooting interlace where highly saturated areas of the image can suffer from banding in the chroma as interlace 4:2:0 is every other pixel, every other line of each individual interlace field, as each field is only sampled every other line, you get additional artefacts when both fields are viewed together as there are gaps in the sampling. If you shoot progressive 4:2:0 the banding artefact goes away as at 4:2:0 progressive the sampling is uniform, every other pixel, every other line of the entire frame.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 04:42 PM   #35
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

I had a feeling I'd regret this one; I believe you Alister and I stand corrected. The one area where I miss the XF is this low level noise on the EX3, even in good light. But it does clean up nicely when I shoot @ 100Mb/s to a Nano.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 05:09 PM   #36
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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Originally Posted by Buck Forester View Post
But with your EX1/3, when do you decide to use the external recorders, and the criteria needed whether you choose the NanoFlash vs. Samurai?
You can't really go wrong with either one, but I would definitely choose the Samurai. In my opinion, the only benefit the Nano offers is that is records to XDCAM natively and the file sizes are relatively small compared to ProRes. I much prefer XDCAM over ProRes and I'd gladly pay hundreds of dollars extra if I could add XDCAM to the Samurai. But here's what I like better about the Samurai even with this limitation:

10 bit instead of 8 bit. And, as we have been told right here on this thread, we should always record the best quality we can. Even if you don't think 8 vs. 10 makes any difference with the EX1, I doubt that hurts. Is the EX1 going to be the last camera you ever own? If not, then buying a 10 bit recorder might be a better investment for the long run.

The Samurai has a better menu system and is much, much, much easier to use.

The Samurai has a built-in LCD monitor so you can see what you are recording. Granted the screen is not good enough to use as a substitute for a real monitor, but it's better than not having any screen at all. This is especially important if you want to play anything back in the field to "check tape".

The Samurai comes complete with cables, batteries, charger, Pelican-style hard carrying case, Firewire 800 dock, etc. Everything you need except for media.

I feel more comfortable shooting on SSD's than CF cards. And the prices of SSD is significantly lower than CF cards.

Do you already own Swit batteries? If not, then you have to figure out how you are going to power the Nano. How are you going to do it?

On the other hand, I can power the Samurai all day on the two batteries it comes with, and adding a couple of more for backup wouldn't cost much at all. Who cares if you have to charge the batteries at the end of the day? You have to power the EX1 batteries too, right? If you can run one charger at night, you can run two.

With my F3 or F800 I can trigger the Samurai from the camera even if I don't have memory card or disc in the camera, and I can use any type of timecode I want. Maybe the EX1R will get a firmware upgrade to allow that functionality as well.

The Nano costs: $3000
The Samurai costs: $1600

To me, it is a no-brainer as to which one is the better deal.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 07:07 PM   #37
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Thanks, Doug! Oh man, I keep going back and forth on this one! The price difference is significant enough to make me go Samurai, plus getting 10-bit in the process. Apparently the Samurai doesn't overcrank, which would be nice but is not a game stopper. I could use the internal EX1 codec onto SxS for those times I need it. I wish the Nanoflash would even be in the same ballpark with cost. I love my EX1 but it's been out a while and will probably be upgraded before too long, and the Nanoflash at 8-bit is not cutting edge compared to the latest external recorders on the market. So even as good as the Nanoflash is I'd still be investing in something that won't transition me into the next generation of camera capabilities.

I appreciate your valuable input. I've got 2 months to make a final decision.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 07:54 PM   #38
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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Dear Tim,

If you are running our latest firmware, 1.6.248, then there is a Power Save feature. It works very well.

When the HD-SDI input goes away, the nanoFlash powers down.

When the HD-SDI input returns, it powers on quickly.
Hi Dan.

This makes the Nano go into "Low Power Mode" Does not seem to actually turn off?

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Old March 4th, 2012, 02:58 AM   #39
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

It doesn't turn off, it goes to sleep where it uses an incredibly low amount of power. When you restore the Sdi feed to the NanoFlash it wakes up again.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 03:01 AM   #40
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Both the Samurai and the NanoFlash are good devices. Slightly different approaches and pros and cons to both. I'm sure whichever you go with, the end results will be good.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 06:39 PM   #41
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Btw, Pro Res HQ uses a variable bitrate of 176Mb/s at 1080 24p but it tends to fluctuate down 5-10% for normal scenes (versus high motion scenes). 10 bits uses 20% more space to record than 8 bits. So, factor in the 5-10% variance in bitrate (per Apple's whitepaper) and that gets you 158-167 Mb/s. Then, factor in the 10bit overhead and the bitrate drops down to 126-134 Mb/s (using an 8bit video source or an EX1/3 which has enough noise to mitigate the extra 2 bits). This bitrate is variable I-frame so there is less compression than Long-GOP, for example.

Now, compare this to the nanoFlash at 50Mb/s L-GOP and I conclude that both XDCAM 50 and PR HQ are equal in quality with an EX1/3.

Also, realize that the nanoFlash can go far higher than 50Mb/s so the actual image quality can go even higher than any Pro Res recorder.

In case you didn't know, all versions of Pro Res use different bitrates with each framerate and image size . For example, PR HQ uses only 88Mb/s for 720 24p and 220Mb/s for 720 60p.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #42
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

I prefer the Nano over the samural even though I have not used the samural. The XDCAM Codec is great and at 50, 80, or 100 I like the lower storage needed. But if you dial in your PP right (being an american Luc), you can get by with out it often. But when I fly in the helicopter I use the Nano.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #43
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Buck, if you really need to spend some money - get Samurai;
it's hard to tell the diference between native XDCAM and Nano/Samurai footage, and there is no way anybody can tell nano from samurai; it's10 bit ( though you won't see the difference), better media, very much easier to use, comes with everything you need and it's half the price.
there is also
HyperDeck
by Blackmagic you might want to take a look at :)
best
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:25 AM   #44
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Sounds to me like I should give the Samural a try. Nice way to mix different cameras keeping it all ProRes.

When you say 1/2 price does that include matching CF cards to Hard drives?
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Old March 7th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #45
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

I strongly recommend you use SSD's in the Samurai and not hard drives. HDD or OK if your on a tripod most of the time, although loud music and other vibration sources can cause them to fail. But HDD's are not as robust as SSD's. Drop one and you risk loosing everything on it.
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