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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 29th, 2015, 04:22 PM   #46
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Thank you Samer,

That is a very useful bit of information which will help me with realy help with our planning and budget!

I can understand grading pro's getting value out of the increased bit depth but most of our projects are very low budget with only the odd job getting professional grading time.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 09:55 PM   #47
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Uh-oh, my eyeballs wearing contacts cannot focus on the LCD panel with the X180 pressed against (not on top) of my shoulder. The viewfinder is not sharp or large enough to hold the camera out at a distance of another 6 inches, and the weight of the camera is too heavy, so this presents a problem for me. I can only manually focus using the EVF, but this means holding the camera's weight out in front of my face, and the SteadyShot, On or Active, is not capable of eliminating shivering in this way. All of my footage appears as if someone is trying to use a screwdriver to remove screws from the unit while I shoot. :(

Obviously this is an issue with my eyeballs, not with the camera. The other painful reality is that the WiFi function is broken, the WiFi module goes on and off, cannot maintain a connection. Not the connection, but it actually drops on and off the air from my WiFi sniffer. I tried a new Verizon 4G XLTE modem, but it gives the red X, so have not been able to try the $1500 extra live streaming function yet. Will try the actual Verizon modem specified in the manual tonight and report back. If that doesn't work, then that is enough reason for me to return this camera.

I am saddened by the fact that this really is the best camera for this task, but my eyeballs and the faulty networking have killed the concept for me at this time. Crossing fingers that I can make this work. I miss shooting on my X70.

Paul
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Old March 30th, 2015, 11:10 PM   #48
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

One low-cost solution regarding your eyeball problems is to have a medium-sized Full HD 7-8" tablet mounted somewhere on your camera at an angle or distance where you can better see what's on the screen. It won't be a replacement for your viewing but a supplementary one. My tablet of choice when I use it to view and control (some of the key functions such as zooming, recording/stopping) my AX100 is the Nexus 7. It's has an excellent display, lightweight, compact, cheap and best of all an NFC to let you bypass most of the Wi-Fi connection procedures that otherwise are required for NFC-less devices. I guess the android Sony Playmemories Mobile should work with your camera. Cell phone or small tablet pivotable mounts are easy to find these days you can find one to fit your camera.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #49
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

I do have a nexus 7, but unfortunately, I need a semi compact fast action run and gun ENG rig. Even a diopter attached to the LCD would not work, if that were the setup I need, I would simply get an HPX600. :-)

And the WiFi module itself may be my problem, I believe it is broken. I can connect to Play Memories with NFC, but the actual WiFi signal transmitting from the adaptor cuts on and off. Not simply a disconnect, but the actual broadcasted WiFi turns off, as can be observed by a WiFi sweeper app. I hope I can swap out the module with B&H for testing rather than shipping the entire camera back for that problem. No one will buy my X180 used with a faulty WiFi feature.

Paul
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Old March 31st, 2015, 12:19 AM   #50
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Just did a quick side by side of my X180 (18db) vs my X70 (33db), both wide open iris, and maximum gain at 1/30 and 1/60. The X70 is a full stop FASTER in low light than the X180. The X180 stops at 18db.....why is that? More gain please Sony.

Paul
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Old March 31st, 2015, 05:30 PM   #51
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Geez, Paul, whatever you are doing, please keep doing it. You are checking out all the cams I am looking at and trouble shooting my issues for me!

Seriously, I find your feedback invaluable.


Tim
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Old March 31st, 2015, 07:44 PM   #52
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Thanks for the appreciation Tim.

As for you asking about the X70 purchase, I think my X70 looks BETTER at wide angle than my X180, but when you push in on the zoom and loose that 20MP interpolation or whatever it's called, the X70 gets a lot more "Handycam", especially as the gain increases. There is another person with a JVC HM200 that is reporting unexpectedly good low light results. The manual controls on that camera, with low light at or possibly a bit better than the X70, would put that on my radar. I may be suggesting an HM200 to my station as a live shot camera pending more reviews and direct comparisons against known performing models. :)

Paul
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Old April 20th, 2015, 08:46 AM   #53
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Hi everyone. I was just about to pull the trigger on an X180 when I read this thread. Does anyone have updated/further thoughts on the X180 and the X200? I am also strongly considering the Panasonic PX270, but like the wider zoom on the X180 and the ability to do 120 fps. However, if there are real flaws with the camera (focus assist, soft zoom, etc), then I may go with the Panny. Thanks.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 10:27 AM   #54
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Hi Steve,
As I continue to use the X180, I seem to keep finding more uses for it / things that I like about it. Of course the big one is the 25x zoom range - which I made use of (needed) last week for a multicamera live cooking competition shoot. With the extended zoom range we were able to shoot CUs of food cooking (shooting into overhead mirrors) as well as zoom out for wide coverage as needed. It intercut great with PMW200 and F3 cameras as well for our live feed. I've also become a big fan of using the built-in variable ND filter, and love the fact that I can switch gains without the image suddenly changing in brightness. Both the VF and the Flip-out screen are big improvements over my PMW200. Plus having the Waveform/Vectorscope as well as Histogram options is a big improvement. My biggest complaint is that the responsiveness of my LANC zoom control isn't as good as my (special connector) EX zoom controls on the PMW200. I keep several cameras around and try to use the right one(s) for each assignment - and I find that the X180 is getting more and more use.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 11:38 AM   #55
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Thanks Dave. How do you find the lens wide open -- I've seen reports that it is soft? Also, how do the focus aids work -- I've also heard people struggle with them. One report that seemed pretty thorough came from tubeshooter. Thanks.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 11:52 AM   #56
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

I just received my X200's today and still have the X180 on demo and here's a super quick test I did before I need to get out to a client shoot:
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Old April 20th, 2015, 02:57 PM   #57
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kimmel View Post
Thanks Dave. How do you find the lens wide open -- I've seen reports that it is soft? Also, how do the focus aids work -- I've also heard people struggle with them. One report that seemed pretty thorough came from tubeshooter. Thanks.
Hi Steve,
To my eye the X180 isn't quite as sharp as my PMW200 wide open, but I've been ok with that as a tradeoff for the increased zoom range. (It's also certainly not as sharp as my F3 with Nikon glass, but as mentioned I've been able to intercut the three without any real problems.) But I also tend to reduce the detail level on the cameras a bit as well...
In terms of focus, I don't tend to use any of the auto-focus functionality -- I keep it on manual 99.9% of the time. The focus expansion button does get used a lot for checking -- and when outside I find the viewfinder fine for operating (as opposed to the VF on the F3, which I abandon in favor of a Zacuto EVF.)
Interestingly enough (speaking of sharpness) last week I worked on a couple of multi-F3-camera shoots for which we rented 19-90mm and 85-300mm Cabrios -- and even after verifying back focus with a large monitor I never felt I was getting the same kind of sharpness that I obtain from the Nikon 28-70 2.8. I suppose I'd call the cabrios 'sufficiently sharp'...
Also -- The exposure comparison from Rob is about what I'd expect - with 1/3" sensors having about 1/2 the area of 1/2" sensors -- though once you get past the exposure difference, the sharpness difference doesn't seem that great. Too bad there's not a split screen with the two cameras (at diff f/stops) comparing the look of the same basic exposure level for the finished images...
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Old April 20th, 2015, 07:38 PM   #58
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Thanks Rob and Dave. The X200 clearly has a more sensitive sensor -- impressive.

For manual focus, do you use peaking? How well does it work? Thanks.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 11:54 PM   #59
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

I'm personally not a huge peaking fan. I do keep one of my assign buttons available for turning it on and off, but for the most part I'll use the 'focus mag' function.
Interestingly enough, on the X180 punching in with Focus Mag doesn't disable the peaking.
I'll tend to set the peaking level pretty low, since it seems to me that some peaking may still occur in 'not quite as sharp' areas. For some things it can be useful - such as helping me stay confident that my interview subject is still in focus after a series of forward and backward leans. Once I establish critical focus, I'll take a look at how the peaking plays (especially if the subject has a beard or other facial hair.)
Of course the biggest aspect of maintaining focus is getting your fingers used to how far to pull on the lens...
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Old April 21st, 2015, 06:29 AM   #60
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Sweeeeet! It is important to keep in mind that the X180 is rated at (NTSC) f9@2000, and the X200 is rated at f12@2000. That means the X200 has an extra 5db of apparent gain/sensitivity. Not to be ignored though is that these tests were performed at f4, and the X180 can open up to f1.6 vs the X200 at f1.9. That gives the X180 back 3db of that apparent lost gain/sensitivity.

That still leaves the X200 2db ahead wide open, but when you factor in the lens ramping, where the X180 will only be at 1/3 zoom range when the X200 is 1/2 through it's zoom, you get back more light sensitivity in the X180 which should have less ramping at that point of it's range. Would be interesting to see both cameras wide open at 18db in the darkness, that's how I use my camera, and that is the limiting factor for most ENG shooters. :)

Thanks Rob!

Paul
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