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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 December 23rd, 2013, 06:04 PM   #1
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PMW-300 Questions

I have been on the lookout for a camera for some time, but due to this only being a hobby for me I can wait until something that satisfies me comes along. I have a bunch of features that I want in my list, and a couple are non-negotiable.

- 1080p50
- At least 600mm (35mm equiv) reach.
- Parfocal (or well faked parfocal with servos)

These are very high on my list:
-Under $10K including a couple of cards
-Better than AVCHD codec
-Light weight
-Larger than 1/3" sensor

So far, the upcoming Panasonic AJ-PX270 looks like it might meet most of those (except the 1/3" sensors).

I had immediately disqualified the PWM-300 until I heard talk that 1080p50 might be coming in the XAVC firmware update, so I've started looking a bit more closely at it.

So, my questions:

1/ Have Sony actually confirmed it will do 1080p50?

The lens is too short (even the 16x) , but 2x extenders seem to be readily available for around $1000.

2/ Do these extenders work well?

I'm talking about image quality. I know there will be a couple of stops lost, but the same thing happens with the long zoom cameras anyway. I expect this will be the same as the EX3, so there should be some experience out there.

The PMW-300 with an extender will be over my budget, but it may be worth stretching if it works well. It also opens up the possibility of using my Nikon lenses if I want to play with mega reach.

3/ Do Nikon lenses produce a good picture quality on the EX3? There aren't compatibility problems due to the prism?

And finally:

4/ The PMW-200 might work and be within my budget if it will be getting 1080p50, and if front mounted extenders produce an acceptable image. Does anyone know about this?
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

Have you read Alistair Chapman's review of the PMW-300? He compared it to one of Sony's entry level 4K camcorder offerings? It was published on his website 3 days ago and is, as always, very informative. It won't answer all your questions but it's a very good place to start.

I am pretty certain the PMW-300 will replace my trusty 5+ year old EX3 (when it eventually dies), to supplement/complement my Canon C100 for when I really need the flexibility that these types of cams offer in fast paced work.

However, Sony are, to paraphrase the review, being a bit tight lipped about what exactly the cam will do frame rate wise come the mooted firmware update in 2014. I am determined that I won't buy a cam that won't do 1080p50/60 in some form or other having had a (prosumer) cam that does it so well in my kit for several years now. It very nearly stopped my buying the C100 - so we shall see!
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 06:21 PM   #3
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Have you read Alistair Chapman's review of the PMW-300? He compared it to Sony's entry level 4K camcorder offering? It was published on his website 3 days ago.
Yes, I have, but I didn't realise it was only a few days old.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 07:58 PM   #4
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

I have been shooting with my pmw-300 for about a month, I like the image quality, it is in improvement over my ex3. There are a few things that i dont like about the camera and as always if sony had made a few changes the camera would be perfect for me.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 05:36 AM   #5
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

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Originally Posted by Brent Kaplan View Post
I have been shooting with my pmw-300 for about a month, I like the image quality, it is in improvement over my ex3.
I like the pictures I've seen from the EX3, so I'm happy to hear there's an improvement.


Quote:
There are a few things that i dont like about the camera and as always if sony had made a few changes the camera would be perfect for me.
Yes, every camera is a set of compromises. I envy those whose personal compromises match up with a manufacturer's, because it never seems to happen with me.

Thanks for your reply, Brent.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 08:21 AM   #6
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

I'm curious as to why you need 50p. It's not a main stream delivery format and it may be some time before it becomes one as the focus is on 4K rather than higher frame rates right now.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

Hi Alister,

I assume your question is directed at me as well as Michael? (and sorry for misspelling your name in my earlier post).

I sometimes use 1080p50 slowed in post by 50% to get high resolution slow motion tracking/dolly or steadicam shots. My EX3 has to drop to 720p for that - and its noticeable in final delivery.

Delivery for me is always 25p.

Happy Xmas and thanks again for the time you spend on your excellent reviews and blog posts Alister.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 10:20 AM   #8
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

Thanks Andy. My suspicion would be that the PMW-300 will do 1080p50 once the XAVC update comes out, but that's just an educated guess based on the fact that the camera sensors are obviously capable of being read at 50/60 fps and it would be daft not to include 50/60p when the codec can do it.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

It may be XAVC Long-GOP that can do it because the official word on XAVC is that it's limited to 100mbps. If that's I-frame only, it's limited to 25p/30p.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 05:15 PM   #10
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

What official word. I have not seen or heard anything. I'd be surprised if the camera is going to be limited to 100Mb/s, but of course I could be completely wrong.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #11
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

It was in the brochure for the 300, under "Selectable Format and Bit Rates."
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Old December 25th, 2013, 04:15 AM   #12
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
I'm curious as to why you need 50p. It's not a main stream delivery format and it may be some time before it becomes one as the focus is on 4K rather than higher frame rates right now.
For a similar reason to Andy. I've been shooting 50p and editing on a 25p timeline for the last couple of years and it give me more options for slow motion.
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Old January 18th, 2014, 08:28 AM   #13
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

Hi all,

Just an update on the XAVC question for the PMW-300. Chatted with Hugo Gaggioni Sony's Chief Technology Officer for the Broadcast and Production Systems during Sony's Beyond Definition" Online Expo on January 15, 2014. Having asked about the XAVC upgrade for the PMW-300, the official word I got from him is this:

"The chip can do long or intra. The 100 Mbps is only for those regions in the world that would like to code 50 or 60Hz interlace in intraframe manner. We will introduce 100 Mbps intra during the summer first and then introduce 35/50 Mbps long GoP in the fall."

In relation to weather this upgrade will be free (as with the PMW-400) I was told it is TBD (to be decided)

Hope that is of some help to you.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 04:12 PM   #14
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

HI
I am a new PMW300 owner and so far VERY pleased with the camera. I was wondering if there was any indication if when the XAVC upgrade firmware arrives will it also require XQD media and an adapter to SxS slot?
Thanks
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Old February 26th, 2014, 06:33 PM   #15
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Re: PMW-300 Questions

I asked this XAVC upgrade question on the Sony stand at BVE in London today. All Sony are saying is "middle of this year" at the moment.

As an aside, I also asked if they had the little AX100 4K Handycam on the stand...and he laughed and said that's what everybody had asked him all day yesterday and today!
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