care 2 compare: ex1/ex3/hd->sd vs dsr570/500 dvcam sd at

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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old August 13th, 2008, 07:17 AM   #1
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care 2 compare: ex1/ex3/hd->sd vs dsr570/500 dvcam sd

ex1/ex3 shooters-

most of my present clients do not ask for hd. they just want a clean, noise-free image that doesn't distract but enhances from the narrative i've shot. for these clients, most of my present distribution is via sd dvd.

that said, i now have an opportunity to purchase a well-treated, low hours, dsr570 w/5 anton batteries and a canon 19x broacast lens for approx the same money as a ex1.

i am familiar w/the dsr570 dvcam image. when properly lit, i think 16x9 dvcam looks very good.

i am not familiar w/the ex1 image. can anyone compare the images of ex1 sd vs the dsr570 sd?

i can imagine that the dsr570 with 2/3" chips will need much less light than the ex1 1/2" chips. can anyone guess-estimate the light difference? two to three stops?

since so many of my present clients need sd dvd, i am equally concerned about the post-shoot work flow. i am on the mac platform with final cut studio2 and a macbook pro. i've read various posts that the down-convert from hd to sd and then to sd dvd is not a smooth nor successful trail. now that the ex1 has been out for more than 6 months is there a tried & true pathway towards creating pristine sd dvds from final cut pro & dvd studio? is there a link which describes that method?

bottomline: should i buy into an older technology dsr570/dvcam at a rock-bottom price or take a leap into the coming technology even if you need more light and the work flow still is at issue.

as a survey, what would u do? thumbs up for the dvcam? thumbs up for the ex1?

as always, thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts and your experience.

be well

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Old August 13th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #2
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man o man, the 570 produces beautiful images with teh right glass on it. do you feel
comfortable using a handycam style camera vs shoulder mount? I think the 570 will remain viable for a while longer, HOWEVER, at somepoint, you will need to make the jump.
i suggest renting the EX1 for a shoot and see how you like it. I am considering one myself.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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I own a DSR450 (which replaced the 570) and a few HDV cameras.

I've NEVER distributed a project in HD and can't see it on the horizon for at least a year or two.

The 570 produces pretty much the same image as the 450 in 50i. I like the 25p feature of the 450 though and normally use that instead. Either way it makes great looking DVDs.

DVCAM looks just as good as it ever did, and can be projected at cinema sizes if treated right. Of course PAL has a slight edge over NTSC.

If you NEED (not want) HD, obviously go for the EX1. If SD (which still looks as good as it always has) still makes up almost all of your delivery and shelf life isn't so important, DVCAM offers a breeze of a workflow and archive.

Also a 570 will look more professional and use pro accessories and batteries. IMO shoulder mount is 100x better than the horrible ergonomics of the EX1.

What makes the best business sense?
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Old August 13th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #4
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I've worked both sides of the pond -- as senior creative producer for a firm just north of London, and as producer/director for a company in Canada -- and there is NO comparison of the penetration of HD in the two markets. My colleagues in the UK think I'm simply making it up when I tell them that I receive more than 50 HD channels on my home TV, and that the market for SD TV sets is near zero and has been for some time ...

My corporate clients are almost universal in using HD displays at trade shows, in their offices and as their production medium in North America -- my UK clients have almost no interest in HD, which they see as something coming years from now ...

Just my experience, but my point is that you have to know your market, and recognize that not all markets are similar.

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Old August 13th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #5
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You might want to contact John at He uses a 570 for high end weddings, which I assume you are referring to. It's a heavy dog to put on your shoulder for the length of an event day's shoot.

I would opt for an Ex3. IMHO, the 570 is close to obsolete.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #6
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thanks for sharing your thoughts.

each of your comments seem to mirror a portion of my thinking. i know dvcam can look lovely. i know dvcam is a tried & true workflow. i know the future is tapeless. i know that change is coming which needs to be embraced.

it seems even by this very same sampling (i wish others had chimed in), the quandry i face over what is my next camera still seems unsettled.

any response to my downconvert query with hd->sd->sd dvd via fcp and studio pro being a concern? has the issue of a clean sd dvd from ex1/ex3 hd original material been solved? is there a link to that discussion that anyone cares to share?

once again, thanks in advance for any thoughts you care to share.

be well

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Old August 14th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #7
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In my opinion it's logical to use state of the art even if your aim is lower than the camera's possibilities. It happened to me with the JVC HD GY 101. I NEVER made a HDV-production with it because none of my TV clients was on that level. But I loved the compact shape and SD results of the cam. Now that I am to move to an EX3 it's again the same story. I like the advantages that offers the cam. No tape means less problems and (hopefully) fast editing. The great advantage from the JVC to the EX3 are the interlaced settings. They allow to film already HD downconvert it to SD and make the client and myself happy.

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Old August 14th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #8
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I used to have a DSR570 before getting my F350 XDCAM HD camcorder.I now have both an EX1 and EX3.

I have been using file based for 2 and a half years now and I never want to shoot on SD tape again! Only last week I was editing a corporate shot in HD and the client insisted I make a cut in the middle of one of the interviews. As final delivery was to be SD this was a breeze. Make the cut, then zoom in to the shot to create a close up, no need for cut-aways or anything else to hide the cut. Then another interview had to be shot overseas. They used a local crew and the rushes arrived on a DVCAM tape. What a pain digitising is! With file based finding the end of takes is easy as each take is a discreet clip, while with a tape you have to scroll through the tape trying to spot the cut. I cannot stress how much easier editing is with a file based system. Until you embrace and use file based for a while it's difficult to appreciate just how clunky,slow and cumbersome tape can be.

As for picture quality, well the EX1 footage looked more vibrant than the DVCAM footage in the end video. The EX1 has a wider range of adjustments than the DSR570. To get around the issue of super-sharp SD down converts that have too much aliasing I simply add the flicker reduction filter to my EX footage and that seems to produce excellent results.

I think the EX1 is a tiny bit more sensitive than the DSR570, but I don't have a 570 to check that. Don't forget that an EX1 can shoot at both 50 and 60i (plus all it's other rates) so if you ever need to do a shoot for someone overseas that is not a problem.

If it were me and someone offered me a choice of an EX1 or DSR570 kit I would go for the EX1 every time, just for the flexibility if nothing else.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser My XDCAM site and blog.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
(i wish others had chimed in)

I frequently work with a great camera/sound team who use a DSR450 (used to be a 570, but they too have seen the 'progressive' light). Having said that, the cameraman doesn't really want to like the 450 as he's more of a digibeta man, but anyway...

I cut their stuff together, and recently have put their stuff and EX1 footage together.

This is an EX1 against a camera & lens package at around $40k.

I have to say that, whilst the DSR footage has a nicer shallow DoF, I prefer the EX1 look and quality. They do cut together well, quite unlike the chalk to cheese Z1 transition.

Tony wants a shoulder mount camera, has the infrastructure and staff to cope with freight and storage, shoots every day and then wants to go home, doesn't like computers, loves handing over tapes.

I need something that I can shoot and edit with that fits airplane carry-on, most of my shooting is candid or low profile, I edit my own footage and rarely hand over rushes. I love Macs and know my black and burst from my bitrate.

Our images can sit happily together on the same timeline (well, mine anyway). Both pictures look 'expensive' compared to the usual 1/3" fare.

A point of order: PAL 16:9 is, in square pixels, 1024x576 next to EX1 1280x720. NTSC would be, I think, 853x480. The jump from PAL to 720p isn't as great as the jump from Anamorphic NTSC to 720p (or letterbox NTSC, yikes!).
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Old August 15th, 2008, 07:06 PM   #10
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thanks to everyone for again sharing their thoughts.

i passed on the dsr570.

i'll try to spend the coming weeks getting my hands on a ex1 and/or ex3 and then i'll see where i go from there.

the fellow selling the dsr570 has an ex1 and just purchased a letus extreme set-up. the results were very lovely.

be well

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Old August 15th, 2008, 10:13 PM   #11
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I have the DSR500. It produces great pictures. Is universally accepted by broadcast clients. Is rugged. Has a good viewfinder, lens and shoulder mount. At the right price it will continue to perform for you for years.

I have shot the EX1 for SD delivery. It's a handycam. Great pictures. But a different camera shooting style. Very hard to use the monitor in bright light. Awful to hand hold. Pain in the rain.

I have decided to keep the DSR500... and add a XDCAM 700... and maybe an EX3 in the future if I need a smaller camera for travel etc.

Maybe you should be looking more at the DSR vs. the EX3.... in that battle, the EX3 could be a real contender.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 01:41 AM   #12
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Keeping the DSR570

Having been the one that offered to sell the DSR-570 to Rob, I'm now glad that he passed on it. I'm keeping it. Both the EX1/3 are terrific cameras for certain applications, but comparing the two systems is comparing apples and oranges. Both have their place (for now) and I think the DSR will still be useful for quite a few years.

In Rob's case, where he is perhaps buying his first camera, I too, might go with the new stuff. No sense going backwards, but for those who already own really good gear and feel that they need to jump on the next great thing just because it's there. You might want slow down and watch for a while.

Yes, the images from the little XDCAMs are beautiful and they are sharper than my DSR-570 images, and there are all those format choices, but that means very little to many of my clients. For my corporate clients, PR, press and many of my documentary projects, the DSR continues to be the big bread winner of the two systems at this point.

Although the viewfinder on the EX3 is a definite improvement over the EX1, it is still very different than the viewfinder on the DSR and the "improved" EX3 is still not easy to hand hold without some sort of additional belt or shoulder device. On a tripod, it's terrific, but I really found it to be a dog when I had to hand hold for close to an hour with my elbow jammed into my chest and try to follow fast sports action. Yuck!

All that said, have several clients in England and Ireland and the ability to switch my cameras to PAL has helped me get additional income.

I am using the Letus extreme with the Ex1 & 3 and I think it is an amazing combination for documentary work, (and whatever you like to do with it) but let's be real. It's a clutzy thing to set up, change settings, lenses, and move around. All that you gain in having this little portable camera is sort of lost. Extreme depth of field is great until you need to be spontaneous, as in interviewing two or three people at once and needing to push in tight to highlight a speaker or performer. All this, of course, is another topic.

I've yet to find the "all-in-one" camera that solves all my situations for under $20 grand. Every gig has its own requirements. If you're convinced that you can't do another day's work without dropping one system for another, than by all means go for it. If you can afford to keep both, you certainly won't regret it.

Last edited by Chuck Fishbein; September 3rd, 2008 at 01:43 AM. Reason: forgot something
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