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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old August 10th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #1
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What is a good B camera for XDCAM EX?

Unless Canon has an interesting solid state surprise at IBC that fills the gap below $6k, I plan to move to an XDCAM based kit. I know the EX1/r and EX3 are B-cams for the "big guys" but for us little guys, are there specific recommendations for lesser cameras that work as B and POV cameras for the EX cameras?

TIA

Last edited by Les Wilson; August 10th, 2010 at 09:21 AM.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #2
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I use an EX3 and an EX1, a great combo they look exactly the same. If you are doing 2 cam interviews, this is my only recommendation. The match is perfect.

I have also matched a Z1, not very good match. Muddy look compared to the EX's.

And a 5DmkII, and a 7D. These have a very different look but it is OK as long as it is not of the same scene. Or a very different POV of the scene.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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As far as matching codec and relatively low price point, the JVC-HM100 uses the EX codec and about $2800. There's some obvious difference in chip size and lens but again that's why you'd call it a B camera. It'll be easy to integrate the workflow and the image quality on the HM100 does seem to be good.

If you're on a really low budget, the Canon Vixia series can work . . . with some work and limits on how you use it.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #4
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If you're on a really low budget, the Canon Vixia series can work . . . with some work and limits on how you use it.
I have a Vixia HFS11 as more of a C camera. It's ideal for situations where size is an issue or where you don't want to put the EX1 at risk. For the money its a great little unit but it really depends on what you want it for.

There are some issues with it however which I've detailed at the URL below, including the fact the progressive shooting mode encodes its output as interlaced footage resulting in artefacts on the picture.

The Canon Legria HFS11 | Media2u Video Production Blog

One of the uses I put my HFS11 to recently was pointing it at a screen on a piece of scientific equipment. The EX1 was on wide, but I also needed to cover what the display was doing during some lengthy lab tests. In the past I would have wheeled out the Z1, but imagine the hours and hours of tape! The Canon was ideal and the only downside was the huge file sizes after Final Cut had converted it all to Prores.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #5
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Your linked review is very helpful for a Canon HF-S11 owner like me, Marcus, and I think is good information for the original poster who's considering a second camera.
I use my little Canon for a really tight shot for interviews that I do: Sony EX-1 is my main camera, of course, recording audio via XLR. The Canon is off to the side for a really tight shot. Camera mic only, which allows me to sync up in Avid. Works really quite well, for the kind of work I do, anyway.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 12:18 AM   #6
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I sometimes use a Sony XR500V and its low light capability is second to none in consumer cameras. It even gets close to my EX1 (@30p, 1/60, 3 db gain).
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Old August 11th, 2010, 10:17 PM   #7
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I looked into this a while back, and to be honest when I found a great B cam (with sharp focus) that was also tapeless, it was close enough to the EX1r that I said to heck with it and just got a second one.

I have to say, its by far the smartest thing I have done. Editing has become so much easier and love how everything matches up in post.

If you find a better choice, be sure to post your experience.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #8
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Maybe I'm not experienced enough, but I use three cameras: an EX3 for the important stuff, and Panasonic TM700K and Contour HD for B roll stuff. I haven't been too concerned about the codec because it all works in post (Adobe Premiere Pro CS4/5). The image quality of the TM700 is quite good and it features a wide range of manual controls. The audio is a little rough as there are few options for 3.5mm mini jacks, but I tend to use it and the ContourHD for footage that will not likely include ambient sound, or I'll use a separate recorder for the audio. My typical shoots involve small subjects moving at a rather spirited pace, so the smaller cameras are needed for any on-board video anyhow. For other circumstances, maybe a camera comparable to the EX3 would be ideal, but I've yet to have anyone mention the subtle differences in image tone and quality. I think we tend to be our own harshest critics, when the majority of the viewers would never know to care about it.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 05:20 AM   #9
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I had my eye on the TM700 and am glad to hear it cuts well with the XDCAM EX. Do you have a PP for the EX3 that you developed to match the TM700?
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Old August 12th, 2010, 07:11 AM   #10
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Just a naive question: did anybody try to mix with the NX-Cams NX5 / AX2000 from Sony? Different codec, different sensor, different signal processing but could they be worth a try though?
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Old August 12th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #11
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Les, I don't as I've only shot a few projects using both cameras and quite frankly due to time constraints, I just started shooting with it right out of the box. I've made use of the features in Premiere in the past to match the color balance in footage shot from two different cameras, but it wasn't necessary for these projects. "Close enough" as the saying goes. ;o) If I come up with anything, I'd be happy to share and get some opinions.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 07:24 PM   #12
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With my Sony XR500V footage and Premiere Pro CS5, I have found the 'Shadow/Highlight' effect greatly helps with matching the greater dynamic range of my EX1. With this effect, you must uncheck its 'Auto' box and dial in the settings manually. Using this effect on the XR500V footage to lift the shadows really amazed me at how much detail is captured even though it appears that the blacks are seriously crushed.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Unless Canon has an interesting solid state surprise at IBC that fills the gap below
6k, I plan to move to an XDCAM based kit. I know the EX1/r and EX3 are B-cams for the "big guys" but for us little guys, are there specific recommendations for lesser cameras that work as B and POV cameras for the EX cameras?

TIA
I use a Sony Z5 and Canon 5D Mark 2, and get away with it. Have to color correct in post as saturation differs in my experience.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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DSC Align Time

I have been asked to DP 6 episodes of a Discovery project on a 5D. While I love the low light and shallow DOF on the Canon, it is a very limited tool for such a project. I have insisted that the main cameras for interviews be an EX 3 with Letus adapters and Zeiss primes, bumped up to 50Mb on a Nano flash, and the Canons be utilized for b-roll, for their ability in low light aka low budget.

In the am I will set up the EX3 and the Canon on a DSC chart. Any body gone here yet?
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Old August 17th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #15
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Dennis no one has done a DSC chart with a Canon 5D or any Canon for that matter. This would be hugely instructive. I would be very curious to see your default vectorscope plot out of your ex3 as well.

There have been between 4 and 6 attempts to do DSC based calibrations in this forum on the EX3, some using an unorthodox methodology.

You will want to post your efforts in the "Picture Profile" thread that has been stickied at the top of this forum.

Over the past few weeks some relative newcomers have started to post picture profile threads outside of this thread but the admin/owner of the site has made it so picture profile DSC chart stuff gets posted into the one stickied thread. If you haven't gone through it you should, there is some really interesting and valuable info in it.

What DSC chart do you use?

-Andrew
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