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Old December 5th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #1
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Is the new NXCAM going to be comparable with the EX1r

I have been saving some money to upgrade from my Sony V1U. I was convinced that I was going to go for the EX1r until I went to the Sony website and found out that they are going to release this new camera in January called NXCAM.

Ive been reading some reviews online but they dont specifically address them in a direct comparison with the EX1. I guess the main thing they mention about NXCAM is the fact that it records on AVCHD on hard drive. Im not familiar with AVCHD, does it give better resolution than the best HD format that the EX1 records in??

Thank you for your answers on this, just as everybody, I want to get the best investment for my money, the main question to me is if this new NXCAM will give me the same or even a similar quality than the EX1, or is it going to be basically the same kind of HD I get now from my V1U??

These are a couple pages where you can find some reviews on the NXCAM:

Sony Announces the NXCAM: A Professional AVCHD Camcorder | Review , News and Free Download

Sony Announces the NXCAM: A Professional AVCHD Camcorder - Sony


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Old December 5th, 2009, 02:05 PM   #2
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Short answer, no.

The AVCHD codec is efficient no question about that, but it still uses less than full raster 960x1080 sensors, EX series is full raster 1920x1080. It does not yield more resolution than XDCAM codec, both are 4:2:0 chroma sampling. The difference is in the compression efficiency, which is an improvement, no doubt.

Also not as good in low light as EX, smaller sensor, less light gathering.

The resolution will be about the same as the V1U, either one is an upscaled image from the sensor block. Obviously, the NXCAM has many more advancements making it a better camera, but the V1U was not lacking in resolution.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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I guess the main thing they mention about NXCAM is the fact that it records on AVCHD on hard drive. Im not familiar with AVCHD, does it give better resolution than the best HD format that the EX1 records in??
In simple terms, AVC-HD will record a 1920x1080 raster, exactly the same as the XDCAM-HD codec in the EX1. So (theoretically) it's capable of RECORDING as high a resolution.

But that's less than half the story. The announced NXCAM (believed to be the start of a family) has 1/3" chips versus 1/2" of the EX, and with 1 million pixels per chip v the 2 million of the EX. So although NXCAM may make a 1920x1080 compatible recording, it won't have the same resolution of the EX.

In terms of the AVC-HD compression, we'll have to wait and see how good the Sony coder is. Theoretically, AVC-HD is capable of about the same performance as XDCAM at 35Mbs - as long as the computing power is there to do it. The chances of that being implemented - in real time - to a camera of this price are almost zero, let alone the power drain such computing would take. It's likely a current coder will not utilise all the tricks the codec is capable of - and be less efficient - but be viable.

Bear in mind AVC-HD also takes more processing power to edit natively, and effectively needs transcoding for most users at the moment. At the moment, I'd say the EX is still the more attractive of the two.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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but it still uses less than full raster 960x1080 sensors, EX series is full raster 1920x1080. The resolution will be about the same as the V1U, either one is an upscaled image from the sensor block. Obviously, the NXCAM has many more advancements making it a better camera, but the V1U was not lacking in resolution.
I'm rather surprised to hear that Sony put a 960x1080 chip in this camera. Maybe this has to do with the higher data rate & an attempt to balance all of the processing demands
The consumer version, the XR 520, has the full raster chip, but data rate is only around 16-18 mbs.
Actually, an amazing camera for its size.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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I'm rather surprised to hear that Sony put a 960x1080 chip in this camera. Maybe this has to do with the higher data rate .........
It's not exactly a 960x1080 chip, though that is how many pixels there are (approx 1 million). It's complicated, but the pixels are aligned with their corners pointing up and down, so the rows run diagonally across the chip - that's why it's impossible to say there are "AxB" pixels.

It's a sensible move, since it equals out horizontal and vertical resolution and is actually quite easy to process, surprising though it may seem.

The reason has more to do with sensitivity than data rates, because that's directly related to the actual pixel size. Two megapixel is desirable for resolution - but with 1/3" chips may just make each pixel too small. Whilst half a megapixel (960x540) may be considered just not sharp enough.

It's all a question of compromises, and for 1/3" chips, 1 megapixel, arranged in the Sony fashion is a very sensible balance. Consumer cameras may well have more pixels, and on even smaller than 1/3" chips. That makes them sharper in good light, but total rubbish when the light levels drop.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 01:22 AM   #6
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"It's all a question of compromises, and for 1/3" chips, 1 megapixel, arranged in the Sony fashion is a very sensible balance. Consumer cameras may well have more pixels, and on even smaller than 1/3" chips. That makes them sharper in good light, but total rubbish when the light levels drop."

Point well taken.
One quite interesting development re the Sony XR 520 is a drastic improvement in low light image quality. It's predecessor, the SR 12, (also 1/3" 1920x1080) was terrific in good light, but as you note, poor sensitivity and lots of noise in low light. Somehow, Sony has engineered the XR 520 to make acceptable images in low light, primarily by reducing the noise drastically. Even in night shots, the blacks are silky jet black enough to work the footage in post, if even needed, & get decent usable images.
I had expected that they would carry that technology forward into the new larger cams.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 03:31 AM   #7
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The use of fewer, diagonally arranged, larger pixels in the Sony Exmor sensors makes the camera more sensitive. Big pixels can gather more light. I suspect the new camera will is using the same sensors as the Z5 and Z7.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #8
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my interest in the nxcam & ex1r is how nanoflash enters into the equation.

if because of the lower price point employed by the nxcam, i can use that money on a nanoflash, then i can see going for the "lower" quality camera.

thoughts?

ymmv

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Old December 7th, 2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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thoughts?
A whole thread devoted to just such thoughts - Convergent Design Nano Flash & Z7 ? - albeit with the Z7 instead of the NXCAM. (Though they should have the same front end, so most of it should be valid.)

My own thoughts are that an EX1 should be better than the NXCAM/nanoFlash, as the difference between camera front ends is likely to outweigh the difference between 35Mbs and 50Mbs XDCAM - and the EX1 be cheaper than the combo.

And you can always then add a nanoFlash to the EX1.......
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Old December 8th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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Seems likely to me that AVCHD will be the future for storage. I imagine that we will see some version of it in future EX models. The better transfer rates available with SxS cards over SDHC permit recording AVCHD at rates that will be very, very impressive with very little re-engineering.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #11
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Consumer cameras may well have more pixels, and on even smaller than 1/3" chips. That makes them sharper in good light, but total rubbish when the light levels drop.
I think 'theoretically sharper' might be more accurate, though I'm basing this on lens design, thinking the prosumer cams with 12x zooms will be better than cheaper consumer cams with 30x zooms.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #12
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Point taken, Tom. The point I'm trying to get across is that camera design is normally a question of compromises. No free lunches. So one megapixel with 1/3" chips is a good compromise between sharpness and sensitivity. The big surprise maybe came when Sony managed to get 3 1/2" chips into a camera size normally associated with 1/3".
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Old December 9th, 2009, 06:37 AM   #13
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The problem with small sensors is that you are really up against the laws of physics and things like diffraction limiting start to limit the range of useful apertures you can use. While you can get good results with 1/3" sensors it is easier to get the same results with a larger sensor. Small sensor also tend to be noisy as it is harder to deal with electrical noise and heat on a small chip.

Perhaps in the future we may see pro level cameras using 1/2" or larger single sensor designs that offer performance similar to current 3 chip cameras. That would certainly make smaller, lower cost cameras possible without many of the limitations of 1/3" sensors.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 04:54 PM   #14
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nxcam and ex1 video comparison

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Old February 23rd, 2010, 05:08 PM   #15
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No wonder why the Chinese say: Seeing is believing...
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