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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:57 PM   #16
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I'm going to beg forgiveness for jumping this off topic for just a moment...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I'm curious about the T2i but we have all these old Nikon lenses.
Please tell me that you realize that you can use practically every Nikon lens ever sold on these Canon's with a $15 adapter. That is EXACTLY how I shoot my T2i. That old Nikon glass is a treasure trove for these cameras. With a look and feel you simply cannot replicate in post. I have been a Nikon guy for many, many years. And I will say this with a heavy heart. The Canon T2i is the best bargain I know of in digital stills/video. For the money, there is absolutely NOTHING better. There are better, more expensive cameras, but nothing at this price can touch it. By the time I finish building out my lens system next year, I imagine my EX1 will be gathering a lot of dust, or will be brought out only for long-form conference recordings. I will do everything else on the HDSLR, and it will look as good if not better.

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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
My gut is telling me to wait for Sony given, as you allude to, how much Sony got right with the EX.
Sony knows what we want. It's just a question of whether they will give it to us or not. No other manufacturer in this market has a working S35 video camera other than Sony. None of them. The question is whether Sony will push the thing this far down market. I hope they do, but I really, really doubt they'll give us the full monty. Other than RED, I don't see anyone doing that for a long time to come. They all have too much at stake with higher end products to protect.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #17
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My concerns about HDSLR is that the current designs don't seem well suited for one person and maybe an assistant. Setup time (and crewing costs) can be critical for some lower budget corporate shoots and local cable spots.

Sony has to know they're losing some sales to the HDSLR market especially given features at a price point. I think that's the motive for the VG10 for about $2000. I can't help but think they'll have a $6000 price point camera within a few months (early next year or by NAB latest). I don't think it'll be designed to cannibalize PDW-F800 sales though. Ultimately prices are dropping relative to features. Red was certainly a contributor to that but certainly so is Canon . . . and to think that Canon comes out with 1/3" camera with MPEG2 422 in this climate. They certainly believe there are different needs.

Basically, relating to sensitive, it has been, in part, big chips vs run and gun form factor and setup. The VG10 is just the first attempt to target that as an alternative to HDSLR ergonomics.

I'm curious what sensitivity tests of on an EX1/3 vs VG10 would reveal. I guess that will happen once the latter starts getting into people's hands.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:25 PM   #18
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Here we go off subject again, but my nickel.

I have been using the 5DmkII and a 7D in my regular productions for over a year now, intercut with EX1R EX3 and even DSR500 footage. It really works very well.

Some samples, from a year ago':
YouTube - Conway Scenic Winter Steam DVD promo

Here is one test from yesterday:

I really like the combination. I now have deep DOF or shallow DOF with the same look. I have worked out PPs that work well together.

I would not want to give up the "video cameras" but the DSLRs are actually my choise of weapon if I want to travel light and simple.

I do have the whole follow focus Mattebox setup etc. But I dont use that all the time on the EXcams or the DSLRs either. I just love the creative tools available today. And I cant wait to get full HDMI out from a C size or full size DSLR so I can use the NanoFalsh for better codec. Although I must say if most of your shot is soft then the H.264 codec in the Canons work very well. The codec just can't handle wide intricate scenes all in sharp focus (terrible problem with strong line like clapboards), and wide angle lenses is one of the things I love to use on the 5D.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post

Sensitivity

To measure sensitivity, I set the exposure of an 18% gray card at 50% on the waveform monitor with the camera in its default Standard Gamma 3. I metered the card with a Gossen Starlite and incident light with a Spectra Pro IV, and varied the ISO settings until the shutter speeds and apertures matched the camera (both meters agreed within 1/10 stop). I determined the sensitivity of the camera to be:

• ISO 400 in 1080p modes

• ISO 800 in 1080i modes (just as you’d expect: with dual-row summation, you get twice the sensitivity), and

• ISO 500 in 720p modes.

Apparently Sony is picking up some gain during downsampling to 720p, analogous to what happens in dual-row summation.

The camera can run at –3dB, useful if you want the lowest noise possible. The highest gain, +18dB, is noisy but not unusable; it’s comparable to the Z1 at +18dB or the HVX200 at +12dB. The noise is best characterized as colorful, fine grain: it’s perhaps a bit more colorful than noise from some other Sonys, but not annoyingly so.
So putting all of this into practical terms where a good many people shoot, that is using Cinegammas and not STD3 and using 1080p30 you are going to be 1 to 3 stops lower than image being created using 1080i & STD3 placing you most likely below 400 ASA.

If you are doing a bunch of ENG shooting going almost directly to broadcast you may be using Adam Wilt's settings but realistically his settings are a benchmark for testing and not meant to be representative of the majority of shooting parameters for EX users.

Of course there are those who use STD3 as I do (sometimes) but using settings on the camera designed to give it the best spin in terms of light sensitivity is somewhat misleading to those that do not have the experience with the camera to interpret the data being presented.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #20
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Olof,

The color matching in that test piece is pretty darn good. What cameras where you intercutting with? I would presume the EX and the 5DmkII.

Perrone,

Useful information about the Canon T2i. Hadn't considered that camera. Good way to bridge the gap (and spend elsewhere) until the next wave of cameras come out presumably early next year. I agree with your assessment on Sony and the industry's conundrum over what to bring next to market without cannibalizing the high end sales (of both Sony and Panasonic).
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #21
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Andrew, that was my EX3 and my 5DmkII. Just out my studio window after Sharyn filled the feeder. The Rail footage was mostly EX3 and EX1R but about 10% was 5DmkII, wide angle mostly.

I have even sold some footage on Getty that was actually shot with the 5D and mislabeled as shot on XDcam (my mistake) it was delivered with a bunch of footage shot on XDcam at the same time and I did not remember since they were all delivered as ProRes files to Getty. It was one of the first shots in that batch that sold. I realized it later. Nobody noticed.

My EX3 and EX1R are set up with the same PPs. And I have some simple settings in the Canons that make them match really well, right out of the Cameras, then I can fine tune in a program like Media100 or Color (Color is better, but I have used M100 CC for so long I can do a lot with it, and it is real time CC no rendering).
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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
And I cant wait to get full HDMI out from a C size or full size DSLR so I can use the NanoFalsh for better codec. Although I must say if most of your shot is soft then the H.264 codec in the Canons work very well. The codec just can't handle wide intricate scenes all in sharp focus (terrible problem with strong line like clapboards), and wide angle lenses is one of the things I love to use on the 5D.
It may be more complicated than that.

The problem may be more down to the aliasing on the DSLR than the codec itself. That's the real problem with aliasing - it's not too visible in itself, but it's nature can really screw up a codec.

So record the same scene to a nanoFlash, rather than the internal codec, and you may well find it looks far better on straightforward viewing. But the moving aliases will have been preserved along with everything else - ready to screw up a coder with higher compression further down the chain. Such as a broadcast transmission coder.

That's why broadcasters don't like the current crop of DSLRs in their current state - the raw pictures may look very good, but they can't be sure how they will survive through to the viewer.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #23
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Yes David, I know it is more complicated, I don't know the exact formula used but I know that Canon does a lot of line skipping to use the 22 Mpx sensor to down convert to less than 2K. I think this may be a real problem that needs to be resolved with a much more powerful processor, more heat and battery life reduced.

So all of a sudden barring any new revolutionary inventions we are talking bigger heavier more expensive.

I would still like to get the real uncompressed stream from the camera (OK I know an HDMI stream is also compresssed), but a higher bitrate codec could not hurt, then I could decide how to manipulate it.

I can show you some really funny video from the 5DmkII where white lights become red green and blue, they were just pinpoints in the scene but the client said, how did you turn my x-mas lights colored they were white, they actually liked it.

Non the less I think the DSLRs are a great tool, and I think they will get better. Used within their limits they are wonderful, even now. And I use them when I deem them to be the right tool.

So what was this thread about?
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Old August 17th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #24
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Hello Perrone,

When you said that you usually shoot at -3db and adjust accordingly, what did you mean? Does switching from 0db to -3db translate to a 1 stop loss? 2 stops? I guess my question is, how do you adjust?

Thank you,
Daniel
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Old August 18th, 2010, 12:32 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Hello Perrone,

When you said that you usually shoot at -3db and adjust accordingly, what did you mean? Does switching from 0db to -3db translate to a 1 stop loss? 2 stops? I guess my question is, how do you adjust?

Thank you,
Daniel
No, that's half a stop. So I either open the iris half a stop, or push more light.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #26
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So I guess that after all this, I need to measure the light sensitivity
for each and every PP I use with my EX-3.
It's a good time to buy a decent light meter... (can't believe I worked without it until now...)
Does anyone have a recomended light meter that he workes with?
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Old August 18th, 2010, 01:47 AM   #27
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well, you don't HAVE to buy a light meter. You can rely on the histogram built into the camera to give you an idea of over or under exposure. I prefer to use my light meter because I check lighting before the camera ever comes out of the case.

One of the things I shoot is Roller Derby. And even in places I've worked before, I'll take out the meter, and walk the entire track and other areas I intend to shoot. You'd be amazed sometimes even in places you know quite well. This past Saturday, I shot in our team's home facility and it seemed brighter than usual while I was on the tech scout a day in advance. Then I realized it was 2 months since I had been there, and the Sun's position had shifted enough in that time to give me a nice boost of sunlight into the building. Nearly a full stop's worth. However, the far side of the track was darker than usual, and I noticed that one of the overhead fluorescent tubes was out.

Two years ago I shot a conference in Orlando. When checking the podium, I noticed that the light was reading about 2.5 footcandles. FAR too dim for the EX1 to handle. When supplemental lighting was brought in, they could only get the levels to about 13 foot candles. Doable for the EX1, but I am MUCH more comfortable with about 20-30 FC for the camera. Fifty is a luxury.

On a clothing promo shoot a couple of years ago, I had to shoot outside an abandoned building that was in the shade. The still photographer asked me if I could shoot in that "dark" space. And to be fair, it looked pretty dark in that area. But our eyes were fooling us because it was 10am in the Florida summer. I pulled out the light meter and was reading nearly 100FC in the shade, and nearly 500 in the sun. My eyes had adjusted to full daylight and it made that shaded area look quite dark. But for the camera work, I had to use ND to keep from blowing out.

What light meter to get is a fairly simple proposition. Do you want to spend a lot of money, or stupid money! I use a Spectra-Cine4 which is a lot of money. It's fairly basic but does a wonderful job. Actualy, it's about time to get it re-calibrated. The other popular choice is the Sekonic L758C. This is really a computer in the shape of a light meter. A wonderful unit with a ton of features. If I was using my meter daily to make money, I'd own one. But I find the Spectra-Cine4 with the application of a little brain power does just fine. :)
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Old August 18th, 2010, 01:57 AM   #28
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Arbel,

I just realized we latched on to only 1 of your 3 questions. Let me answer the others:

Firstly, no, there is no way to calibrate the LCD screen to match the camera. It's just there as a rough guide, and don't trust it for anything more than that. I see this bite more camera owners in the butt than anything else. Especially on the DSLRs. I wish they'd take the silly thing OFF the cameras or only enable them for playback.

Secondly, the lens seems to be pretty sharp around F5.6-F8. Not too bad at F4 or F11. Outside of that, well...

This is another reason I am moving to the DSLRs with primes for interviews. I want to be able to have the interviewee sharp, but while still having some shallow DOF in a lot of cases. Or at least have the choice. By the time I get the EX1 down into the F5.6-F8 range, not only is it quite bright for them, but I am seeing half a mile behind them.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:27 AM   #29
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Secondly, the lens seems to be pretty sharp around F5.6-F8. Not too bad at F4 or F11. Outside of that, well....
I wonder if my EX1 is different than yours, Perrone, but it looks best in the range of F2.8 - F4. F8 is already suffering from diffraction, not to mention F11...

In general, a very interesting thread.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #30
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Maybe you're right. It's been a while since I've tested that. I tend to shoot around F2.8 - F4 most of the time these days as I prefer to not flood my subjects with light. I don't do a lot of outdoor shooting any more so I haven't looked at the more stopped down ranges in a while.
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