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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 March 25th, 2015, 06:42 PM   #31
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Hi all,

I've been following this discussion and the very few others that have appeared online. In Australia the pxw-x200 with batteries and 2x32 gb cards is over $10,000 so I am very keen to see how the camera performs side by side its predecessor the pmw-200.

We currently shoot with a 5d and nxcam across a range of scenarios for documentaries and really need a reliable camera with manual controls. We canít pop into a city to try one out as we live in a remote area.

Currently it is cheaper to fly to Japan and pick one up there than buy locally. As a small 2 person family business, the cost is a major decision. We almost bought a pmw-200 second hand but really felt that the x200 might perform well in lower light so the investment would be worth it.

So Ė thanks for those of you who have already posted footage and are currently assessing the ergonomics and quality of the products.

A side-by-side with pmw-200 or even an ex1/1r would be very interesting to see.I suspect that the 5d III won't be out of a job even if we did get the x200 - but that remaines to be seen.

Thanks heaps to all who have submitted feedback once again
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Old March 26th, 2015, 12:38 AM   #32
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Sony PXW-X200. Two days with it but only a couple of hours available for outdoor shooting as the weather was pretty dismal. On the second day it cleared enough to get a few shots, even a couple with sunshine.

Note: The loan camera used on this test raised some suspicions. Three of us felt the lens was softer on the left side of the image as opposed to the right. Hard to pin down as this softening only seemed to appear at certain focal lengths and apertures. Put it this way it was enough for me to ask Lemac the rental house to get the camera checked out in their workshop on its return. I await the results of their investigations

First a few quick observations:

Fan came on after 45min in a 21C degree air-con office and stayed on. There is a menu option to have this turn of whilst actually recording.

Left eyed cameramen. Yes there are some of us. Going back to most ENG cameras and even going back to the Z1 days left eyed shooters were able to flip the viewfinder eye piece rubber through 180 degrees right to left so that the extended piece of rubber goes around the left side of the face rather than buckling over the bridge of the nose. You canít do this with the X200 due to the fact that there is a window designed into to bottom of the rubber eyepiece through which the eyepiece dioptre adjuster button protrudes. If you flip the rubber 180 degrees this window is now on top of the eyepiece and you canít reach the dioptre adjuster underneath because there is no widow in the rubber. Grr! Very annoying for left eyed shooters.

1080 50p is only available as XAVC-L in bit rates of 35 & 50-mbit. 1080 25p is available as I-frame. 720 50p is available as I-frame. Thought 1080 50p would be available at the higher Intra bit rate.

One very annoying thing I took an instant dislike to? The external power socket is INSIDE the battery cavity. No after market batteries for this cam by the looks of it.

Basically I found the camera very familiar to work with and I think anyone who has used any of the EX1-EX1R-PDW-200 family would feel at home pretty quickly. The new 17 x Fujinon is very much as one would expect from a manual operational point of view. It has mechanically linked focus, zoom and iris rings when used in full manual mode. Something I think a lot of us like and will use.

Now for the images through this looking glass so to speak. I guess we are all getting spoiled by the 4k super sampled video we are seeing more of these days because as good as the pictures are out of this lens it doesnít seem to have that biting sharpness that we are seeing out of even the much cheaper semi - professional and domestic 4K cams. Not saying that absolute sharpness is wanted or desirable in every case, far from it quite often. The lens is a fairly large piece glass all up and makes the camera well and truly nose heavy. Not something I would want twisting the camera downwards on my wrist all day long for handheld shoots. Another thing to be wary of is the attitude of this camera when it is being carried by the handle. Because of all the heavy glass up front it tends to point lens down at quite an angle when being carried. If you are not conscious of it the rear viewfinder eyepiece can easily point up towards the sky, especially if itís already been tilted up from its normal position. Iíve now seen enough burnt EX and Canon XF viewfinders to be constantly aware of this risk. Even seen an expensive PDW-F800 color viewfinder burnt through sunlight... that was expensive VF to fix! I seem to recall Canon even went as far as to introduce a viewfinder protector cap for the XF300 series to protect those cameras from sun burns.

Working with this camera outdoors brought back many memories of working with EXís. The zoom demand is great to work with in handheld mode and is smooth and easily controlled. On a tripod though? Itís a different question, itís back to the up-n-under right hand to access the zoom demand because trying to access it with the left hand is nigh on impossible due to its position being fairly well forward and awkward to reach. For me a rear servo zoom demand is a must for this camera as it was for me when using the earlier EXís. Using one of Varizoomís adapter cables with a broadcast zoom demand worked well.

Focusing... frustrating outdoors. Even with the viewfinder dioptre focused accurately, with the viewfinder text focused nice and sharp I had problems. No matter what I tried the actual camera image never looked quite sharp enough for me to be 100% confident that I had nailed it. I reiterate, the viewfinder screen text was fine, focussed and sharp but the actual camera image wasnít anything to write home about. Indoors the flip screen was pretty decent to focus with, especially when using the option of colored peaking if needed. Working outdoors with the flip screen itís a bit of a battle in bright sunlight to my way of thinking. Putting the Alphatron on the X200 on my return made me realise for the thousandth time that a camera op lives and dies by what decisions he makes in the viewfinder. To be honest and maybe it seems incredible to suggest the following but I found both the viewfinder and flip screen on the X70 to be easier to focus with than those on the x200. Probably due to the fact that the resolution on both the viewfinder and flip screen of the x70 run out at approx three times the resolution of the X200 going by the published specs on the two cameras respective brochures. That is of course assuming that Sony Ďpixelsí and Ďdotsí are considered one and the same thing resolution wise. Add to which the X70 rear viewfinder is an OLED as opposed to the LCD on the X200. Which for me begs the question why canít this new camera utilise the same technology thatís being used on itís much smaller cheaper little cousin.

X200 = 0.45-inch type color LCD: 852 (H) x 480 (V), 16:9 = 408,960 pixels
X200 LCD screen = 3.5-inch type color LCD monitor: 960 (H) x 3 (RGB) x 540 (V), 16:9 = 518,400 pixels

X70 viewfinder = 1.0 cm (0.39 type) OLED Approx. 1.44M dots
X70 LCD Screen = 8.8 cm (3.5 type) Approx. 1.56M dots.

So I found focusing easier on the X70 in spite of the X70ís unconventional focusing modes. Strange but true. Not something I expected at all.

Overall the X200 is well built and pretty solid and follows on from what we have come to expect from the Sony EX / PXW family of camcorders. All the switch positions were pretty intuitive and easily accessible so I was more than happy with the overall layout of the camera.

If you want to shoot XAVC 422 10-bit with the X200 you have to use the SxS Pro and Pro+ series cards or the XQD cards. I did note though that Sony warns that high-speed playback may not be properly achieved the XQD cards. Sony also state that S&Q (Slow & quick Motion) recording cannot be made with an XQD card. No simultaneous dual card record capability on these cameras is available at this point which is a shame these days. A future firmware upgrade maybe? I doubt it somehow as I think we would already have seen this capability appear on the previous EX series with the lower data rates if it were possible. So to get the benefit of the XAVC recordings you are currently looking at anything from $800 to $1,160 for the 64 and 128GB SxS cards or around the $100 to $800 mark in XQD cards depending on speed and capacity.

Anyhow this is not a road test as such itís just my fist observations on the camera and for me this always raises the questions of cost of ownership for media, batteries etc hence I checked out the media pricing.

If anyone is interested I have uploaded a few shots taken at my local marina. These were all shot in XAVC-L 50 50p (422 10-bit.) I shot in Long-GOP 1080 as itís the only choice for 50p at 1080 on the x200 and I know 50p is becoming more and more popular amongst a lot of shooters. Again it was very windy at the marina with sharp gusts at times so when you see quivering images at times itís all down to the wind buffeting on the sticks. I should have used a 100mm set of sticks but being a bit lazy I used a 75mm Miller Solo set thinking I would be okay. Should have gone back to the vehicle as there was a 100mm set of Vinten legs in the back.

Marina footage:

https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/k5fjgo

Iíve also uploaded the 200ís ĎOperating Instructionsí PDF for those who wish to check it out:

https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/zqkco9

There is a second clip. As there has been a bit of discussion about the sensitivity and noise levels of these later three ĹĒ sensor cams against cameras such as the 1Ē sensor X70 I thought I would run a quick and dirty if not very scientific comparison between the two cameras. Sorry the shot framings arenít the same but the two sessions were shot on two different nights. To compare the two cameraís gain levels I just made sure that the gain settings comparison was done using the waveform monitor when the two clips were on the timeline in the NLE. If you throw this edited clip on a time line and scan over the split screen shots you will very similar luminance levels from both cameras displayed on your waveform. Both cameras were at their default black level settings to make it a reasonably fair comparison. Both the marina footage and this Ďgainí file were rendered out of Handbrake at 10,000 kbps with absolutely no filters applied from their respective XAVC-Intra 50p 200-mbit files that were produced from the Vegas timeline.

Total illumination on the area in question for the gain up shots is 5 x 35watt tungsten down lights of which primarily only four come into play in these clips. I was surprised at a couple of the things I observed comparing these two cameras. I will just state that the focusing in both cases was on the front control panel knobs of the Bar-B-Cue unit. Make of it what you will. I will leave it up to you inquisitive guys to come up with your own conclusions and opinions:

https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/nbitjt

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old March 26th, 2015, 02:50 AM   #33
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

That's an amazingly thorough first thoughts reply post!

You now have me worried about what format I will be able to shot on my X180, as I bought a few 32GB SxS-1 cards off eBay, and was already disappointed to discover I cannot record AVCHD on them! It would now seem I cannot record XAVC Intra on them either, and as I cannot ingest XAVC-L, looks like I will be stuck using XDCAM MPEG2.

When my X180 arrives, I will do a matching X70 vs X180 DSC white chart sensitivity test at f4.0.

Paul
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Old March 26th, 2015, 05:31 AM   #34
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Great to have such well rounded thoughts. Really worth a trip to the city to try before we buy I think!
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Old March 27th, 2015, 02:52 PM   #35
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

The X180 just arrived. My EXII 0.8x fits without issue, no vignetting, no noticeable CA. Tried the 0.75x, not as good, a bit soft, some CA, and apparent vignetting.

Also, the X180 is at 18db wide open what the X70 is at 30db wide open. That extra 3db (33db setting) is not very wonderful on the X70, it changes the contrast and picture quality takes a noticeable hit over 30db.

X180 lens ramps to f2.4 at 60-65% zoom range. :-)

Paul
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Old March 27th, 2015, 05:01 PM   #36
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

I noticed menu lag and crash zoom lag when I had a quick look at one. I'll be keen to hear your thoughts on it Paul...
Is a shame I didn't get one to test against the X200...
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Old March 27th, 2015, 05:11 PM   #37
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

So far, apart from the absolutely $5 Chinese Gi Joe toy build and feel, I am overly happy with the X180. Updating to v2.00 f/w as we speak. Going to give the LIVE STREAM function a workout. My station has a Teradek (not the Zixi) receiver we use for the JVC HM650, and it should work with the Sony as well.

Paul
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Old March 27th, 2015, 07:35 PM   #38
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Here is my new baby ready for battle. EXII 0.8x converter and Neewer CN304 3200k LED mounted on the back of the handle, balances out perfectly. The tripod adaptor on the bottom allows me to swap this camera onto any standard VCT14 style plate, very convenient. The thing must weigh close to 10lbs now......I need to work my arms out, or I won't be able to operate this camera very long! Good news is, the tripod adaptor makes a handy hand hold with the back of the camera braced against my shoulder, something I could not do with the X70, so it really isn't that horrible.

Also found that I can live stream 1280x720 3Mbps, and that Watson BP-U30 batteries DO NOT display in the viewfinder of this camera, have no idea my time remaining till empty. :(
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X180 or X200, trying to decide-x180exii.jpg  
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Old March 28th, 2015, 03:35 AM   #39
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Looks good!
I hope to get a X180 for demo later this week, sadly I have to return the X200 so I won't get to compare them side-by-side.
I'll have an X200 Pros/Cons review up at the end of this week coming.
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Old March 28th, 2015, 10:32 PM   #40
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Well, first major issue with the new camera, WiFi isn't working properly. It shuts itself on and off every 2-3 minutes, the WiFi from the camera vanishes, goes off the air, then pops back up on a WiFi signal meter.

My station has a buttload of Verizon 4G LTE modems (the model Sony recommends), so I will try plugging one of those in and report back on how the 1280x720 live streaming functions, assuming this camera will transmit to a Teradek.

Paul
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Old March 29th, 2015, 04:06 AM   #41
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

New firmware update for PXW-X200:

Upgrade is free and will be available Spring 2015
New Features & Improvements:
● Streaming via wired/wireless LAN or 3G/4G mobile network is activated.
● MI Shoe is activated to support the HVL-LBPC battery video light and UWP-D11/D12 wireless microphone system.
● GPS data can be recorded as metadata in XAVC-I and XAVC-L format.
● Simultaneous Recording feature is activated. Camcorder can record simultaneously on two media, for example creating one version for editing and one for archiving at the same time to enhance workflow.

MI Shoe and Simultaneous recording is something i'l be using often!
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Old March 29th, 2015, 04:23 AM   #42
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
Sony PXW-X200.

If you want to shoot XAVC 422 10-bit with the X200 you have to use the SxS Pro and Pro+ series cards or the XQD cards.
I used it with SXS-1 with no problem at all.
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Old March 29th, 2015, 05:51 AM   #43
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Aside from the wifi and other doodads, would any users familiar with the pmw200 and pxwx200 like to comment on the quality of the footage when working in a comparable zoom range?

Are the 1/2" sensors significantly improved etc... We are looking for a camera with 3 rings for manual controls and by all accounts the mechanical nature of the lens on both of these cameras is nicer than the x160 / x180 so i am trying to determine if i would be better of chasing a 'newish' pmw 200 as their prices are lower than their replacement.
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Old March 29th, 2015, 08:37 AM   #44
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samer Aslan View Post
I used it with SXS-1 with no problem at all.
My apologies Samer. That's very good news then because I only had the Pro + supplied with the camera for the trial and was led to believe by the supplier that for XAVC-I the Pro cards were required. I now believe this only applies to some of the 4K cameras such as the F5 and 55 using the higher bit rates. Also good news to hear that simultaneous recording is coming with the next firmware upgrade.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
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Old March 29th, 2015, 12:41 PM   #45
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Leech View Post
Aside from the wifi and other doodads, would any users familiar with the pmw200 and pxwx200 like to comment on the quality of the footage when working in a comparable zoom range?

Are the 1/2" sensors significantly improved etc... We are looking for a camera with 3 rings for manual controls and by all accounts the mechanical nature of the lens on both of these cameras is nicer than the x160 / x180 so i am trying to determine if i would be better of chasing a 'newish' pmw 200 as their prices are lower than their replacement.
If you don't see any advantage in Xavc vs xdcam HD 50mbs (I personally don't!) and 17x vs 14x zoom range (in this case i do) then i would pick a good used PMW-200!
I personally own and use both PMW-200 and PXW-X200 and don't see any difference in picture quality!
I've decided to pick the newer X200 rather than buy a second used PMW-200 only for the fact that i still use IMX 50 for broadcast tv that still use sd and don't want hd, and the PMW-200 have only dvcam not IMX 50.Another advantage was the new lens! which is a nice thing to have rather than a 14x.
I also mentioned in another post that the viewfinder is unusable but now i take that back! after tweaking it a little bit here and there now it's definitely better.
Christopher Young,no need to apologize at all! :-)
Do you guys have your own "best" or preferred sunhood for the the PMW-200/X200's lcd!?
I have one but can't say i'm totally satisfied!
Thanks
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Last edited by Samer Aslan; March 29th, 2015 at 01:14 PM. Reason: bad english!!
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