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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 October 27th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
My PMW 350 is very comparable, if not slightly better than a 5D Mk2 in low light. The other night I shot something under moonlight alone! Sure it was grainy but it would be feasible for a documentary in desperate times.
This is moon shot with EX3 and ND1 on - http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/1572004-post8.html - no grain at all, even after this huge compression still looks and plays very well.

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Picture quality wise, I think DSLRs are not as good as a decent HD camcorder either. The resolution is lower, the compression is severe, the rolling shutter turns movement to jelly and they alias like hell. For extreme shallow DoF they are great but that effect is now so accessible, cheap and overused that I am becoming very bored of it.
Absolutely correct!

Quote:
DSLRs are however very useful for covert filming when you don't want to stand out. They are a great tool for specific purposes but don't replace a proper video camera. Having one a B cam/production stills camera represents great value, especially with the price of the 550D.
We are using 5D to present a bad camera used to shoot commercial on our show right now! Works like charm...hahaha, you don't need to try that very hard... 5D does its video job perfectly poorly!
Look at the chart below and make some conclusions on your on
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #32
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Agree Mike the low light performance of the PMW-350 is fantastic.

Luben where did you find that resolution chart?
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; October 28th, 2010 at 10:42 AM.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #33
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Oh my goodness. Look how good the RED stands up on that chart even against the Sony F35. Wow!

Thanks for posting that up Luben.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #34
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We are about to see a bifurcation in the industry. Several of the posters are alluding to it. Keep in mind as Canon tweaks its DSLRs it also just came out with the XF series 300s and now 100s. The latter are fixed lens 1/3" MPEG2 4:2:2 codec.

I think they set the divide well, XF is run and gun with a codec that holds up in post. The EOS is large chip, interchangeable lens for a low price. From the people I've spoken to at Canon (just reps at trade shows) they don't seem to have an interest in making a large chip video camera. What makes the DSLRs attractive is the relatively low prices for the body compared to video cameras. It'll give you something to use with care and handling until Sony and Panny get their big guns out.

While S&P may have a more video friendly body than Canon, I don't think they'll be run and gun cameras. Even on the high end there was the divide between 2/3" cameras and digital film cameras. The needs are different. Of course some hope and expect a "merger" for their "acquisition" there may be a host of issues that may need to improve for the "one camera to rule them all" to occur.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 01:22 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Hey Marcus, You are definitely not shouting in vein. I'm still looking for the script and director who will let me shoot in the very old style, where cameras were so big that you couldn't do a bunch of dolly and crane shots.

I'm considered a minimalist among my other camera compadres but I still long for the movie I can shoot with locked down cameras. Really plan out the shot and think through every detail of what's in the frame,

As you said, shallow DOF has its place and definitely has become one of the most abused and misused techniques in recent indie films.

Garrett
Right on Garrett! DOF has a place but so many shooters right now dont even think of composition and just fuzz everything. The EX is a great camera and always surprising. It has an always surprising noise floor, a solid codec and tons of control. Oh, and if you do want to lose the background, its nice how far you can push it back with even the native lens. It just ran as b-cam on a shoot with an MX and pairs up great. IMO better than 5Ds and 7Ds. You can capture quite a bit of DR out of it with the menus. Its versatile and if you get one Russell and the next cam comes out, you'll have something to pair it with well :)
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Old October 29th, 2010, 03:44 AM   #36
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Hi Russell: The EX1R is great, (I just got one in the last month) but after reading all the posts I thought I would throw a different idea into the mix.

How about a Sony HXR-MC50U & a GoPro Hero. The MC50U sells in the $1,500 range. Looks like it might be good for life on the road. Obviously it's a step down from an EX1R, but given plenty of light these little cameras seem to do pretty well. Also If you'll be doing a lot of handheld shooting you might find it more comfortable than an EX1R, which is OK but awkward. It could be used with a smaller tripod, which you said is a concern. Also no need for special insurance with a less expensive camera. I'm going to get one of these myself for use as a wide shot during events.

For audio if you won't be recording interviews and doing complicated setups, you may be OK just with the on-camera mic. The Sony has a small shotgun on it. Can still plug in an external mic or a wireless.

Here's a sample clilp with a pretty wide range of footage in it: YouTube - First video with my New Sony HXR-MC50U!. Adam Wilt has also recently done one of his great reviews on it.

You would also have room in your budget for a fun action/sports camera like the GoPro Hero. The company is very good at marketing so don't know how solid it truly is, but seems pretty good for shooting 1920x1080 at less than $500. Very basic, but the demo footage is pretty impressive for such a tiny camera. Could give you some interesting shots that you'd never attempt with an expensive (and heavier) camera. It also does time lapse recording, which is one of the nice features on the EX1R — but something lacking I think on the MC50U.

You'd also still have money available for some nice accessories, like a screw-in wide angle adapter and a circular polarizer filter.
I know that these little cameras wouldn't be much good for collecting stock footage for later sale, but thought I'd mention them as options -- especially as you mentioned your target audience would be friends and family.
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Last edited by Keith Dobie; October 29th, 2010 at 11:55 AM.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 08:21 PM   #37
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The only thing that I have to say about 5D/7D is - "for every train there is a passenger"!

Regarding the 5D or 7D just remember one little thing - what do you do when You would like to post your video material here or YouTube or any other place on the internet - you compress it so hard (everyone usually apologizes for the quality) with H.264!! If you do not remember what compression is used on 5D and 7D, the answer is - H.264
The difference in the Film Industry and the so called “revolutionary technology” is that the one is looking for a way to record uncompressed most of the time wile the other is oriented for web streaming or viewing on HD TV set or computer screen.

Just my 2c
Good luck to you

Cheers

Last edited by Chris Hurd; November 8th, 2010 at 09:41 AM.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 04:27 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Dobie View Post
Hi Russell: The EX1R is great, (I just got one in the last month) but after reading all the posts I thought I would throw a different idea into the mix.

How about a Sony HXR-MC50U & a GoPro Hero. The MC50U sells in the $1,500 range. Looks like it might be good for life on the road.
Hello Keith,

thanks for the ideas. I actually already have a Go Pro Hero "Surf" camera and it's neat in its own way. I used it recently to film birds at a birdbath. They splash water everywhere with their wings when bathing, so using a non-waterproof camera was not an option. It took the birds a minute or two to work out that the camera wasn't going to harm them, but after that they played happily as I filmed. I made no concessions to lighting or anything else, but was happy with the result.

He is the clip on Vimeo:


I've tried underwater shots but lighting will be necessary to get decent shots. Fish and coral lose their brilliance with the natural light filters in seawater.

As for the EX1.....after all of the to-ing and fro-ing, I have decided that it is the right camera for what we do. I will also get a nanoFlash unit so that I can take Stock film clips of Australian scenery (very much in short supply) in 4:2:2. I will be ordering it soon.

For arty farty shots with shallow depth of field I will get a Canon 60D or similar (body only) and pair it up to the extensive collection of Canon EF-S lenses that I already have for my EOS 20D. At least I can save some money that way.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, both on this forum and others, whom have contributed their time and knowledge and so help me to make the decision to buy an EX1R.

Cheers

Russ
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Old November 1st, 2010, 12:36 AM   #39
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Hi Russ.
Thanks for posting the bird bath video, I can see a lot of uses for a little camera like that!
Now I know it's kind of late to bring this up as you've made a decision (just what you need, more choices!!!) -- but have you looked at the new Canon XF300? I see in your post that you may get a Nanoflash so you can record at higher bitrate. For what it's worth, the Canon natively records 4:2:2 video at 50Mbps onto CF cards. Pretty much a direct competitor to the EX1R. I really had a tough time deciding between the two.
I'm happy with my decision to get the EX1R, but next camera upgrade I'll be getting my hands on all contenders for full day tests. So many little things you don't really notice until you've shot with it in a variety of situations. Hope you keep us in the loop as to how you like your new camera when you get it.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 02:36 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Russell Heaton View Post
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, both on this forum and others, whom have contributed their time and knowledge and so help me to make the decision to buy an EX1R.

Cheers

Russ
Russ,
You will be a very happy camper with the EX1r, and will have a lot of fun learning to use it.
If you really take the time to traverse the learning curve carefully, it will propel you several levels higher in your video production skills.
Best of luck
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Old November 10th, 2010, 08:20 PM   #41
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@Paul

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Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Agree Mike the low light performance of the PMW-350 is fantastic.

Luben where did you find that resolution chart?
Hi Paul,
Thank you for the question. I work intensively with RED and it is a blesing! The DIT on my last show knows all the big guys at RED and he has all kind of information and charts regarding RED and other cameras. Hope that helps.
Cheers
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Old November 11th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #42
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Thanks Luben great info.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #43
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The job is done!

Well, this thing ended up bigger than Ben Hur. I digested the advice of many on this and other fora and ended up going completely insane and spent over $18,000.00 on stuff that was recommended to me.

So, next week I should take delivery of the PMW-EX1R, a couple of BPU-60 batteries, an extra 32GB SxS card, RODE shotgun mic, Sennheiser wireless lav mic,nanoFlash unit and two 32 GB CF cards to go with it, Miller 1852 tripod system, a Zoom H1 recorder, custom cases for the gear, cords and cables.

I have moved from "it doesn't matter if I get work to pay for the camera" to "Jesus Christ! I hope I can get some work to pay for all of this!"

Still, the wife hasn't threatened me with divorce and I do my first wedding in February - even if it will be a "love job". At least I'll have something for my portfolio.

Thanks again, everyone, for the considered responses to my ponderings. Be prepared for a barrage of questions as I try to figure out how to make it all work.

Cheers

Russ
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Old November 11th, 2010, 10:52 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Luben Izov View Post
Regarding the 5D or 7D just remember one little thing - what do you do when You would like to post your video material here or YouTube or any other place on the internet - you compress it so hard (everyone usually apologizes for the quality) with H.264!! If you do not remember what compression is used on 5D and 7D, the answer is - H.264
But there's H264 and H264, the quality varying widely with bitrate and other factors.

And the REAL problem with aliasing is not that it necessarily looks so bad immediately, or even through the edit, but that it can cause problems at the final stage, when the material gets compressed more heavily.

So, an aliased image will require a higher bitrate than the same image without aliasing, for the same quality and using H264 in each case.

It may not sound obvious, as it's easy to think that if you can't see any problem on the original material, so what? The theory is that aliasing on video will move in the opposite direction to a moving object that is it's source. It may just seem like a bit of "twinkling" to the eye on the original - but will cause the motion estimation part of a codec disproportionate problems, cause it to waste data rate, or drop quality.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #45
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David hits on key points about H.264 and compression.

The people that I've spoken to at Canon (not higher level people) have said they have no intention of changing the form factor of their DSLRs (which does not preclude coming out with a video form factor camera if they were so motivated). I've often thought the next step in their evolution would be a camera or firmware upgrade which would allow the complete (albeit already pixel row skipped) signal out of HDMI. That would allow an Apple ProRes recording rather than H.264.

Some people have assumed that the given that the DSLRs H.264 is "better" then that found in AVCHD cameras because it has a higher data rate. Others have pointed out that the DSLR recording is actually only I and P frames (I do not know this directly) rather than IBP GOP. That would be an example in which the higher data rate may possibly be lower quality given the inefficiency of the codec in DSLRs. That would could also mean another "evolution" would be DSLRs that can record 24mbps AVCHD with greater efficiency.

Of course one would argue that the above two things are addressed in the Panasonic AF100 but it remains to be seen what real world results are once we get based the marketing hype stage and real world workflows are engaged.

It may be there's another generation to go before large chip sensor cameras work through the "kinks" in the price range of the EX1
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