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Old February 9th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #1
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PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

Has anyone out there actually purchased a PMW-160 or 150? I'm still on the fence over this camera and would love to read some reviews and see some footage.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

Mark...I don't own either camera. However, I do have a copy of Doug Jensen's (Vortex Media) "Mastering Sony's PMW-200, -160, -150, -100 XDCAM Cameras". Doug indicates that the PMW-150 and -160 are essentially identical with the only exception being, the PMW-150 is PAL only and not available in north America and the PMW-160 is NTSC.

I hope this helps.

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Old February 17th, 2013, 02:33 AM   #3
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

I would really try to find the extra to buy the PMW-200 if you can. The150/160 is a great camera but as it uses smaller sensor chips it does not have the low light performance of the 200. In good light it can be hardto tell the difference between a 150 and a 200 but in low light the difference is quite big. In addition the dynamic range (limited by the higher noise floor) of the 150 is not as good as the 200.

While the longer zoom range of the 150s lens is nice the lens is not as nice to use due to the servo driven focus system. In many respects the 150 is a bit like a Sony NX5 with XDCAM recording. If your looking at the PMW-150 then you also need to be considering the JVC HM650.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 03:48 AM   #4
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

Alister, focus is servo on the 200 as well, but the Zoom and Iris are manual. With the 150/160, everything is servo. While this means you can snap-zoom, the camera still takes time to focus any sudden zooms you might choose to do manually.

The lens does not breathe because the focusing element is more towards the rear of the lens and is servo driven on the 200. Front mechanical focuses tend to breathe, but are mechanical in nature so they do not suffer from "focus lag" during snap zooms.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

Thanks for the comments guys. Hopefully someone who actually owns one of these will comment at some point. Alister, it's not a question of price between a 160 and 200, the last time I looked the price was the same for both. I'm interested in the 160 for the zoom range and codec, but the idea of 3rd inch chips makes me uneasy.

I spend a lot of time shooting birds and animals, doing that I'm zoomed all the way in almost always. Another 150mm of reach would be very useful to me. I have looked at the JVC GY-HM600, which I understand is identical to the 650 except that it lacks the wifi stuff. It's also a thousand dollars less. It does have a slightly longer lens then the 160 and is supposed to have a very adequate EVF, but on the down side it only records at 35 mbps and has 4:2:0 color space. Sony wins there. Also in favor of the 160 is the fact that I've been shooting with the EX1 and Ex1R for four years at this point and have amassed a nice collection of cards and batteries and whatnot. This camera would have no low light duties, so that's not an issue.

No perfect solution. Another possibility I've thought about would be a Panasonic GH3, with it's huge crop factor and 50 mbps codec, combined with a Zacuto EVF and a100-400L lens, which would be something like 200-800 with the crop. Might work, the push pull lens would be a drag but I'd probably get used to it.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

What I meant was that the 150/160 focus system is much like the majority of servo driven lenses in that it has a round and round, non calibrated focus ring. This is a big deal if you ask me. I love the repeatability of a calibrated lens (servo or mechanical) with proper focus markings.

Mark, I don't understand why you would consider the GH3 but not the HM600/650. The GH3 might well have a 50mbps codec but the way the sensor is read and the way the encoding is done negates any real benefit that the bit rate alone brings. The HM650 can also do 35mbps H264 which arguably has fewer compression artefacts than 50mbps mpeg2. It is still 4:2:0 but in most cases with this class of camera it's really hard to tell the difference between 420 and 422 due to noise dithering.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 07:48 PM   #7
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Re: PMW 150/160 Reviews, Comments, Footage

Good points Alister. Your thoughts are appreciated.
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