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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old May 28th, 2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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Any competition for Sony EX1R - now or in near future?

I'll be passing through the United States briefly in mid/late July and am looking at picking up an EX1R while I'm there.

Any chance there'll be any competitive videocameras launched between now and then? I understand most new/updated models are launched at big trade fairs like NAB in Vegas, but wanted to check just in case. I'm keeping an eye on used EX1Rs and if the right deal came up I might purchase, send to a friend and pick up on my way through.

I'm interested in the Sony because of its small size, 1/2" sensors, and manual controls, so anything competitive would have to have similar qualities.

Many thanks.

Dave
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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #2
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The new Canon. Only 1/3" chips but has better codec, maybe better lens. The difference between 1/2" and 1/3" is pretty small (for instance just 1 stop depth of field, ie a 1/3" at f2.8 will have same dof as 1/2" at f4). Might be worth a look.
Also JVC HM700 if you don't want CMOS.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #3
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The new Canon. Only 1/3" chips but has better codec, maybe better lens. The difference between 1/2" and 1/3" is pretty small (for instance just 1 stop depth of field, ie a 1/3" at f2.8 will have same dof as 1/2" at f4). Might be worth a look.
Also JVC HM700 if you don't want CMOS.
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I thought the canon had the same codec? Slightly more bitrate and 4:2:2, but same (or very similar) codec.. The 1/3" sensor doesn't make a ton of difference in depth of field, but can be the difference in quite a bit of noise in low lighting scenarios. Canon could have knocked it out of the park with this release, but fell short in my view. Especially given that it's $1700 more than the EX1r for the XF305 with SDI output like the EX1r. The difference in price is more than halfway to a nano-flash which offers 280Mbs recording if desired.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #4
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Agree with all of that Perrone. Yes, same codec but 50 mb/s 422 vs 35 mb/s 420, a definite improvement, and (perhaps) importantly approved by EBU a good enough for HD use while 35mb/s falls short.
As a general rule of course 1/2" will have less noise than 1/3" but a test of the new Panny HPX370 with 1/3" showed the same of less noise than an EX1. Sometimes you do wonder what corners have been cut to achieve it though, looked to me like the images from the 370 were much less noisy than the older HPX300, but they also looked softer, just as if you'd applied a noise reduction algorythm like you would with Noise Ninja etc.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #5
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Agree with all of that Perrone. Yes, same codec but 50 mb/s 422 vs 35 mb/s 420, a definite improvement, and (perhaps) importantly approved by EBU a good enough for HD use while 35mb/s falls short.
As a general rule of course 1/2" will have less noise than 1/3" but a test of the new Panny HPX370 with 1/3" showed the same of less noise than an EX1. Sometimes you do wonder what corners have been cut to achieve it though, looked to me like the images from the 370 were much less noisy than the older HPX300, but they also looked softer, just as if you'd applied a noise reduction algorythm like you would with Noise Ninja etc.
Steve
I thought EBU specified a minimum of a 1/2" sensor anyway? Or was just BBC?
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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Yes it does, I thought that was what you were referring to Canon knocking it out of the park if they'd had a 1/2" chip too they'd tick all the boxes. As it is they are halfway there - which could also be viewed as noman's land really! It does seem daft that with the EX1 you have to put on an external box to get full EBU spec, and it's 100% obvious that Sony could put the codec straight into the camera for a tiny amount extra cost - but obviously they want to sell more expensive cameras too.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #7
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Yes it does, I thought that was what you were referring to Canon knocking it out of the park if they'd had a 1/2" chip too they'd tick all the boxes. As it is they are halfway there - which could also be viewed as noman's land really! It does seem daft that with the EX1 you have to put on an external box to get full EBU spec, and it's 100% obvious that Sony could put the codec straight into the camera for a tiny amount extra cost - but obviously they want to sell more expensive cameras too.
Steve
At least with Sony, it makes sense. Those NEEDING broadcast level signal can spend $3k and get it in spades with the Nanoflash. And Sony protects it's existing higher end XDCam line.

Canon HAS no offerings above these cameras. There's nothing there to protect. Though I guess it's somehow possible they couldn't put a 1/2" sensor or larger into the camera? They did everything else.

Quite honestly, I've been utterly thrilled with the quality of image from my EX1, and I suspect most Canon users will be too with this range of cams.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #8
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The difference between 1/2" and 1/3" is pretty small (for instance just 1 stop depth of field, .........
Chip size will give a difference in three basic ways - depth of field (as you say), sensitivity, and minimum usable aperture.

The first two get talked about quite a lot, the third less so. The physical size of the iris starts to come into play with diffraction effects on HD cameras - as you stop down smaller than a certain aperture, diffraction starts to make the picture softer. The effect will vary with chip size, and be more of a problem the smaller the chip size. The result is to lower the usable aperture range - so whereas a 1/2" camera may be usable between f2 and f5.6 (say), an equivalent 1/3" camera may be restricted to f2 to f4.

Take the three effects together and it shows why 1/2" chips are preferred to 1/3" - and why 2/3" are better still.

In practical terms, then it's exactly as you say. The new Canon has the better codec, but would be so much better with 1/2" chips.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #9
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Yeah.... I must say I'm very grateful to Sony and Convergent Design for providing me with the EX1/nanoFlash combo. To answer the OP's question, I personally have that peace of mind when anything new is announced (like the Canon) - I'm not getting tempted at all...Well, perhaps the PMW-350 I'd love to have - but this is not my price league, anyway.

Quite unlike 3 years ago, when soon after purchasing the (not bad at all) V1E, the EX1 was announced. I new at once I just had to upgrade, and the sooner the better (which I did). I never regretted - so if I were in the OP's shoes, I'd still buy the EX1R even today again (plus, if he is planning to deliver for high standards broadcast, I'd add the nanoFlash).

Just my $0.02.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #10
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The result is to lower the usable aperture range - so whereas a 1/2" camera may be usable between f2 and f5.6 (say), an equivalent 1/3" camera may be restricted to f2 to f4.
It's obviously not true to say that it's only "useable" between f2 and f4, just that theoretically diffraction will have some effect. But on screen it's never as obvious as the science would suggest. Therefore I think you can extend this a bit, and be quite comfortable between f2 and at least f5.6, which to me is plenty of range combined with NDs - would it better to have more, yes, but not as disastrous as many seem to think IMO.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 01:43 AM   #11
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Piotr, agree entirely, though I just think it makes Sony look silly that they seem not to able to offer 50 mb/s and then some small indy does it brilliantly!
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Old May 29th, 2010, 01:58 AM   #12
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Steve, of course they ARE able - after all, Convergent Design use Sony's own encoding chips...

It's just a marketing strategy - protecting more expensive models.

And the new Canons do offer 50/422, but for a price not so much different than that of EX1+nano !
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Old May 31st, 2010, 10:25 AM   #13
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I agree with Piotr, the image out of the EX will stay in style for many years.

The only thing that would get me to trade up would be form factor and no more skew in a new CMOS chipset.

The EX-1 at $6,000 is quite a bargain. It will be interesting to see how the 320 is priced.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 01:46 AM   #14
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Is there a noise reduction always on in the EX1?

sorry, wrong place :)
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 08:12 AM   #15
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I agree with Steve, it would have cost very little to add the higher quality codecs to the EX1/3. If you look at the NX5 you see what Sony's thinking: Cameras are getting so good and so cheap the only profit will will be in selling proprietary hard drives. Like buying a $99 printer that has a $79 ink cartridge.
And I scratched my head a lot looking at the Canon. My thought: they got trapped in a development cycle. About half way through they realized their own 7d was going to be the real threat going forward and that the future of 1/3" for full pro cameras is bleak. But they had too much money in already, they have a longer development cycle than Sony or Panasonic, and if they showed nothing they'd be entirely out of the market. They release it for too much money with a better than competition codec (the easiest thing to change) hoping to sell enough to not take a bath.
I think we all expect products to show up that behave like proper video cameras but use 35mm and 4/3 chips and can use lenses that work for those formats, including very expensive servo-zooms not presently available.
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