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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 February 20th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
What I mean is all the cameras that are considered top-grade broadcast and cinematic cameras - so Sony F900, F23, F35, Panavision Genesis, Panasonic HPX 2700, 3000, 3700. There are specialist cameras like Phantoms with CMOS, and fringe ones like the RED, but the first ones are the mainstream high end cameras from high-end docs to Hollywood and there ain't a CMOS in sight.
Steve
The fact that there are 5000 REDS out there and that a lot of them are in the hands of credible Hollywood DP's undermines your argument. So there ain't a CMOS in sight except for here, there, and there, and over there, and just about everywhere.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #17
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It's still a fringe camera though. As it is in documentary/wildlife and any other TV sphere. Partly because comissioners etc. don't know it and feel uncomfortable with unknown quantities, partly because the post workflow also puts folks out of their comfort zones and partly because there are still plenty of issues with the RED which we're not used to dealing with.

It seems pretty obvious though that some rolling shutters and CMOS sensors and processors are better than others, and as usual I suspect you get what you pay for, so RED is better than EX, and Phantom is better than RED.

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Old February 20th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #18
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The rolling shutter skew in the EX1/EX3 is currently the only thing that's making me look forward to the next generation of cameras form Sony & Panny etc. I've become more and more aware of it since owning my EX1 and although I can work around it for now, my next camera will not be CMOS powered unless they find a way of improving it's scanning performance.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #19
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What sort of thing are you seeing Paul? It'd be nice to know if someone is seeing the same stuff as me so I know I'm not going crazy!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #20
 
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Paul, how about posting some frame grabs?

Steve, you're not going crazy! Please understand, I'm not saying these things don't exist. I'm just saying they are not as prevalent as some would have us believe.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:10 PM   #21
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That simply isn't true. The Discovery Channel has accepted the EX cameras for 100% of programming. If the The Discovery Channel isn't "high-end", then I don't know what is.
Well I'd say some of Discovery output may be high end, but generally that which is co-pro with the BBC. What I do know for certain is that the current high-end wildlife series being filmed by the BBC (Frozen Planet, Life etc.) wouldn't even begin to think about the EX cameras, it's Varicam (and now the 2700) all the way, with Sony F750/900 for underwater and aerial stuff. Even slightly lower down the scale on things like The Natural World (which is still top-flight stuff) and series like Wild China, Ganges etc. etc. you'd be laughed at if you said you were thinking of using an EX3, even though from a wildlife point of view it has many advantages (weight and cost being a big part of it). There has to be a reason why it's not even considered, and there is - it's not up to the job. That doesn't mean it's not upto some jobs, behind the scenes footage etc. (in fact one of the series I'm doing now for BBC is shooting Sony 750 and PDW700 with the EX3 for behind the scenes), and maybe observational docs like Trawlermen, but no way for blue chip wildlife or period dramas and the like.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #22
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There's no denying CMOS has limitations (I don't think anyone is), but to say it's not worthy of A-list productions (or being used for such) is not true. Labeling something 'fringe' is meaningless if high-end, non-fringe productions are being made with CMOS based cameras all the time. But I do like the word 'fringe', it's fun to say. No doubt.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #23
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Don't know of any high end productions being done on the EX cameras though. RED yes to a certain extent, Phantom HD and 65 are pretty much as high end as they come.

In the wildlife sphere things like Planet Earth and even way on down the line below that level would not even consider the EX3, I know they don't because I'm involved with them and it's Varicam all the way, unless you're talking crazy high end where you've got a crew in the Masai Mara with an F23/SR rig plus a Phantom as we speak!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:23 PM   #24
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Steve, you're from Wales, so I can see why you think the BBC is the mother-of-all determiners of what's acceptable or not. That's fine, no worries. But National Geo HD, Discovery HD, etc., and plenty of big Hollywood productions are fine with quality CMOS-based cameras for primary footage. If you know a camera and its pros and cons, someone who knows what they're doing can produce fantastic footage. If you don't think CMOS works specifically for your niche shooting, that's fine, but that doesn't make CMOs 'fringe' just because. Having preferences is fine. CCD is plenty good. Big Hollywood film shooters might consider CCD fringe too, or anything digital, but that doesn't make it so.

These kinds of discussions are plenty useless, I guess I must be bored, ha! Anyway, it's FRIIIIIIDAY! Woo hoo!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bob Grant View Post
Much of both the FUD and denial of this issue could be avoided if people made the effort to understand how a CMOS sensor differs from a CCD sensor. Sony certainly are quite clear on this issue, every EX1 and EX3 camera uses the same designed CMOS sensor. Everyone of the EX1/3 cameras will perform identically unless it has a defect, in regard to how the sensor is scanned.


What I don't understand is why the issue of flashes exposing only part of a frame is bought up all the time. It's a piece of cake to fix if it does happen.
Hi Bob,

I understand the differences between CMOS & CCDs as I first encountered the RS phenomenon with my V1 camera a couple of years ago, well before the EX1 existed and investigated it. That being said, the flash/rolling shutter issue is the clearest way to describe the problem. It is also easily replicated and of course it is the easiest example to view.

If I might ask, how do you fix the flash/rolling shutter issue please?

Thanks very much.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #26
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I think for bang vs buck for overall image quality, dynamic range, low noise and color depth, CMOS leads CCD for now. This is why in the consumer / prosumer field CCD cameras are scarcer and scarcer even from 2 years ago. Right now the only new CCD based cameras in that class are Panasonic and they are phasing out CCD in their AVCHD consumer line and now use CMOS. It seems from a manufacturing standpoint CMOS can produce images that impress customers and are less expensive to manufacture for a given image quality.

That being said, because of my special requirements, rolling shutter affects me I have a need to use a CCD based camcorder. This is why I was excited about the new Panasonic HMC150, their AVCHD camcorder whose image quality is similar to their P2 based camera that records on SDHC cards, at a very good price point. However, after testing it, the image quality under normal conditions was not close to my EX1, and the AVCHD workflow was very costly, in terms of transcoding time and archiving.

In addition, JVC announced their new CCD based camcorder series that uses the EX codec. If the JVC is close or better in image quality to the HMC150, I will purchase one, primarily because it is a CCD camcorder and will not exhibit rolling shutter, but I'll be able to use the same workflow as the EX.

I think for the vast majority of shooting, the rolling shutter issue is not a factor. If you have special requirements like me, you may need to consider a CCD-based than the EX1. I think that Steve Phillips has a point that currently, CCD based acquisition outnumbers CMOS in the high end, but I don't think this is because of a problem with CMOS image quality and it's rolling shutter, I think it because, until the last 2 years CMOS was not considered to be high enough quality for a manufacturer of high end camcorders to consider it.

Sony started using CMOS with their first handycam series, I purchased one of the first, the Sony HC1, they then continued on with their prosumer and now their EX series. Other manufacturers followed suit. The engineers at RED obviously based a lot of their future on their confidence in CMOS quality, when they could have chosen CCD.

It's hard to know if CCD has a future. However, given the same image quality, dynamic range, and resolution, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a CCD-based camcorder over a CMOS-based camcorder because I know that CCD camcorder will allow me more versatility, just because it doesn't have a rolling shutter.

There may come a time with CMOS rolling shutter will be 100% a non-issue, I think they are working on improving it with faster scan rates, etc and and some point in the future we may not be able to tell the difference, and then it will be a cost vs quality issue of the 2 technologies.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by David Issko View Post
Hi Bob,

I understand the differences between CMOS & CCDs as I first encountered the RS phenomenon with my V1 camera a couple of years ago, well before the EX1 existed and investigated it. That being said, the flash/rolling shutter issue is the clearest way to describe the problem. It is also easily replicated and of course it is the easiest example to view.

If I might ask, how do you fix the flash/rolling shutter issue please?

Thanks very much.
Replace it with a frame of white, worked for me.
Then again this would become very tedious if you had a lot of them to deal with.
It's quite possible that someone could write a plugin to automate the process, at least in part.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #28
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Steve, you're from Wales, so I can see why you think the BBC is the mother-of-all determiners of what's acceptable or not. That's fine, no worries. But National Geo HD, Discovery HD, etc., and plenty of big Hollywood productions are fine with quality CMOS-based cameras for primary footage. If you know a camera and its pros and cons, someone who knows what they're doing can produce fantastic footage. If you don't think CMOS works specifically for your niche shooting, that's fine, but that doesn't make CMOs 'fringe' just because. Having preferences is fine. CCD is plenty good. Big Hollywood film shooters might consider CCD fringe too, or anything digital, but that doesn't make it so.

These kinds of discussions are plenty useless, I guess I must be bored, ha! Anyway, it's FRIIIIIIDAY! Woo hoo!
I don't have preferences at all, I just use what I'm told to use.
I think it's fair to use the BBC as a benchmark, certainly in my field of wildlife production - if you can show me anything bigger and mor ehigh end than Planet Earth I'd be surprised, and Frozen Planet is of similar scale and it's straight onto Varicam and HDCam. As are all the other big blue chip series that are either in production or in planning.
CMOS cameras are still on the fringe for high end work regardless of what you say - they may be big for indie shooters, and RED is being used on a very small number of features relatively speaking. But I still don't know of a single high end doc or feature that was shot on an EX1/3, and nobody I work for has been asking for it.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #29
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Can anyone point me to any high end wildlife docs that Discovery or Nat Geo are doing on the EX cameras, just out of general interest?
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:04 AM   #30
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Don't know of any high end productions being done on the EX cameras though. RED yes to a certain extent, Phantom HD and 65 are pretty much as high end as they come.
In the wildlife sphere things like Planet Earth and even way on down the line below that level would not even consider the EX3, I know they don't because I'm involved with them and it's Varicam all the way, .......
True though all that is, I don't really think it says anything abut rolling shutters and CMOS.

If I had to specify a camera for a Planet Earth type production, then indeed I'd prefer a 2700 over an EX3, but for reasons of lens availability, 2/3" chips, and all sort of other features. If the 2700 had CMOS chips with rolling shutter, and the EX3 had CCDs, I'd still choose the 2700 for this type of work.

I'm not saying rolling shutters are a good thing, but if they they are the price to pay for better dynamic range, resolution, lower smearing and sensitivity without paying a fortune more, then isn't it worth it?
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