PMW 350 SD DV "Upgrade" at DVinfo.net

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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 January 29th, 2010, 04:24 PM   #1
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PMW 350 SD DV "Upgrade"

Has anyone else bought this? I have, £530+VAT. Damn rip off but I need to occasionally edit SD multicam shoots in FCP and can't bear the idea of different formats and being locked out of making multiclips!
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Old January 29th, 2010, 09:09 PM   #2
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What "Upgrade" are you talking about?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 02:30 AM   #3
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That'll be the DVCAM recording mode dongle option.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 03:55 AM   #4
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If SD was included in the price, those of us that don't shoot SD anymore could argue the reverse "why should we pay for SD when we don't need it?" Considering the SD option for a PDW-700 is well over £1k I would say that was a bargain.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 04:24 AM   #5
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It would cost very little (less than £10 I bet) to include DV encoding. It is included as standard on the EX1R and the F350/300 range and I never heard anyone complain about that!

Alistair, I really can't see how you can call £530+VAT a bargain. Just because the option on the 700 is total extortion doesn't justify it. The option board may only be produced in small quantities but even more reason to just include the encoder with every camera.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 04:29 AM   #6
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I would think it's more the development costs that Sony are trying to recoup for those that need it - whilst keeping the overall cost as low as possible.

Same with the decision not to incluse a camera plate and SxS card?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 04:43 AM   #7
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Mike -how good is the DVCAM conversion and encoding anyway - do you have any kind of subjective comparison say, over a 2/3" SD DVCAM camera?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #8
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Hi Paul,

I'll get the card on Wednesday next week. I have part-exchanged my DSR450 so have no direct comparison but know how it should look. If it isn't first rate, I'll be pretty annoyed!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #9
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As Paul said your paying for the development costs, not the component parts. I'm sure the component parts of a PMW-350 are a quarter (or less) of the price you pay for the camera. It's the 2 years of design and development by highly skilled hardware and software engineers, prototypes, production jigs, prime support etc that cost the money. No different to when you produce a DVD for someone. The disc itself costs pennies, what you charge for is your time creating the content that's stored on it.

By not including SD, the digital extender, tripod plate or cards the base cost can be kept down and you only have to pay for the bits you need. Seems pretty fair to me. Where else can you buy a 1920x1080 top quality 2/3" HD camcorder with SD if you choose for the price of a 350? Only a few years ago the equivalent would have cost 3 times as much.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #10
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I'm not complaining about the cost of the rest of the camera but I disagree that there are any significant development costs of adding a DV encoder. This camera is designed to replace the DSR range (in part at least) and therefore I see the DV aspect of it as an important standard inclusion. To charge £530 does not reflect the cost of the addition as a DV encoder is hardly cutting edge technology.

I still bought the damn thing, just left a bitter taste!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
If SD was included in the price, those of us that don't shoot SD anymore could argue the reverse "why should we pay for SD when we don't need it?"
Maybe - but you could apply that to lots of other things. Those who only ever shoot 1080 formats may argue why they couldn't have a cheaper camera without 720p mode. Others may argue why bother with an HDMI connector - "I never connect the camera to a monitor", why should I pay for it?" The potential list is endless.

There seems to be a momentum gathering behind the long predicted move away from tape, and the 350 is an obvious candidate for any business looking to go that way. But it's a mistake to conclude that any move from tape to solid state is likely to go hand in hand with a move from SD to HD. A far more likely scenario is go tapeless SD, then HD later, and a broadcaster is unlikely to want that to mean two hardware changes. (And for some material, especially news, shooting HD and transcoding is not a realistic option during the first phase.)

It's a mistake Sony confess to - see http://tvbeurope.com/pdfs/TVBE_downl...ember_2009.pdf - and I applaud them for now being responsive to needs. But somehow, charging for the feature on the 350 just seems wrong, it sends out the wrong messages. I think that's the point Mike is making. I'll be the first to say that the 350 is one of the best cameras around, certainly in terms of value for money, but that's not to say it couldn't be improved.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #12
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But it's no different to buying a car. You can normally choose different options depending on what you need. If you don't want A/C then you don't have to buy it.

Why is an SD option so different to a radio mic receiver option? The PMW-350 is first and foremost an HD camera, optimized for HD with HD sensors and an optical path designed for HD. Sony had a choice, sell a fully optioned up camera with SD, Digital Extender, Advanced Metadata support and whatever else will be available via the expansion port and charge say £14k or offer a stripped down camera that people can spec to their needs for £12k. Non of the prices have been hidden, it's clear in the brochures that SD is a paid for option, what's the big deal? I don't shoot SD so why should I pay for something I don't need? While I agree that not everyone is shooting or using HD, it really doesn't make a lot of sense to invest in SD only equipment, especially as there is little cost difference in many cases.

Consider what happened with the PDW-F335 and F355. If you were on a tight budget you would be inclined to buy the cheaper F335. Then at a later date you find you need overcrank. You would have to sell the F335 to buy an F355. At least if you buy a PMW-350 then find at a later date that you need SD you can add it.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #13
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I think we've made our points.

Anyhow, it had better be a pretty damn good SD recording for all this money I've spent! :)

I'll report back when I have it.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
But it's no different to buying a car. You can normally choose different options depending on what you need. If you don't want A/C then you don't have to buy it.

Why is an SD option so different to a radio mic receiver option?
It's worth quoting from the article I linked to:
Quote:
..........explained Olivier Bovis, Sony Europe’s general manager, product marketing. “SD is still popular in Eastern Europe and the Middle East but even in Western Europe the HD wave is only half finished. Getting the rest, which includes news agencies and corporates, to move to HD is not going to happen so easily. Hence the reimplementation of SD which we initially thought was no longer necessary but was somehow a mistake.”
In other words, in 2010 a lot of people want to buy an SD camcorder. If it is HD/SD, fine, nothing wrong with trying to future proof, but if it's HD only they'll go elsewhere. They may be willing to upgrade for solid state working, but HD may be an irrelevance to them. So what are Sony to do? Make an SD only SxS camcorder specifically for that market? Or just watch the potential sales go elsewhere? The obvious path seems to be an SD/HD switchable, if only to take advantage of economies of scale of a single model.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
I don't shoot SD so why should I pay for something I don't need?
After what Olvier Bovis says, many potential buyers may say "I don't shoot HD so why should I pay for something I don't need?" "Yes, I want to buy a 2/3" SxS camera, I want to go tapeless, but it only needs to be SD. Not only am I being forced to get something I don't really need (HD), but I'm being forced to pay extra for the option of remaining SD!"

But a single SD/HD switchable model is the obvious way to go, and the benefits to anyone who only wants to shoot HD is that sales to SD only users must help in terms of economies of scale.

In terms of cars, then whilst it's true that buyers may see nothing wrong with paying extra for extra features such as air conditioning, they are not likely to be impressed to be charged a lot of money to have the option of turning off such features that aren't wanted! ("Yes sir, I know you come from a cold country, but on this model the A/C is on all the time, it's the way it's built. You can opt to enable a switch to turn it off, and that will be £500 extra".)
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Old January 31st, 2010, 06:34 AM   #15
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If you don't want HD, don't buy an HD camera. There are plenty of SD options that are cheaper than the 350. If you want file based get a DVCAM camcorder with a MRC1K. It's called having a choice.
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