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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old December 10th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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ND filter switch "clicks"...

OK, so it's not EX1 specific (in fact, I even hope it might be less of a problem with the EX1 which I'm waiting for, than with the V1E that I'm using) - but here it goes, a very general inquiery...

With the V1E, I'm limiting the aperture to above 5.6 in order to avoid diffraction effect, which (I have tested it) may considerably soften the image. On a brigth summer day, this means that going from shade area to full sunshine requires switching ND1 or ND2 on to avoid overexposure, as the iris cannot go small enough; of course the opposite is also true. Now, the frequent ND filter switching on/off produces very audible clicks in the audio...

Can anyone explain to me why the manufacturers stick to "hardware ND filters" rather than replace it with some software equivalent? Wouldn't negative gain settings (even below -3dB that the EX1 or Canon A1 have) yield the same result? This could be engaged with a soft button pressing, which of course wouldn't spoil the audio...

Just a thought, any comments welcome! Also, is the ND switch any softer/quieter on the EX1?
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; December 10th, 2007 at 11:19 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post

Also, is the ND switch any quieter on the EX1?
No. Noisy and as difficult to operate as most I've tried.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 11:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Eric - not any good news at all :(

The Z7 seems to have an all new solution (4-step setting without a "lever") - add to it the higher res EVF, and it looks like the prosumer division is one step ahead !
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Old December 10th, 2007, 02:49 PM   #4
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You cannot do in software what a ND filter does.
On the big cameras even the Daylight / Tungsten balancing is done in a hardware filter. From what I've seen this results in somewhat better performance of the camera under tungsten lighting.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #5
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Think of each pixel as a bucket. In the bottom of the bucket is sludge, its depth influenced by temperature, exposure time and other matters. Think of light as a fluid. What you want is to fill the bucket before each emptying (download), which will give you the best fluid to sludge ratio. The sensor consists of a lot of buckets, so in the uneven shower of entering fluid some buckets will fill more than others. We don't want any to overflow and we don't want some to deliver mostly sludge. After the buckets are emptied processing cannot alter the fluid/sludge ratio. ND filters, iris and shutter speed control the shower so we can fill some of the buckets to the brim without overflowing. Gain setting doesn't affect the shower, only the length of the ruler measuring fluid depth in the buckets.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Serena Steuart View Post
Think of each pixel as a bucket. In the bottom of the bucket is sludge, its depth influenced by temperature, exposure time and other matters. Think of light as a fluid. What you want is to fill the bucket before each emptying (download), which will give you the best fluid to sludge ratio. The sensor consists of a lot of buckets, so in the uneven shower of entering fluid some buckets will fill more than others. We don't want any to overflow and we don't want some to deliver mostly sludge. After the buckets are emptied processing cannot alter the fluid/sludge ratio. ND filters, iris and shutter speed control the shower so we can fill some of the buckets to the brim without overflowing. Gain setting doesn't affect the shower, only the length of the ruler measuring fluid depth in the buckets.
The most confusing, abstract and interesting analogy I've ever read... haha...
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #7
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The most confusing, abstract and interesting analogy I've ever read... haha...
Actually most people don't find much understanding when discussed in the real terms of "well depth", photons, electrons and thermal electrons, read-out, DACs, image processing algorithms and codecs. But the idea of a bucket catching fluid is a non-abstract concept everyone understands immediately. Apologies if the description was confusing and I'll leave it to you to present it clearly.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob Grant View Post
You cannot do in software what a ND filter does.
On the big cameras even the Daylight / Tungsten balancing is done in a hardware filter. From what I've seen this results in somewhat better performance of the camera under tungsten lighting.
Agreed, but just know that the newer design big cameras such as the F350 and HPX500 have done away with a CC wheel and white balancing is completely electronic which has its own strengths and weaknesses.

As I understand it, the ccd block is optimized for 3200K (the point where the R, G, and B amps are at unity gain).

-gb-
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