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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 14th, 2015, 11:00 AM   #1
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X180 or X200, trying to decide

Looking to replace my X70 with 0.75 EXII wide converter with something that can handle zooming in cleaner, as well as a unit that has better quick manual controls. The infinite rotate focus, as well as the buttons that select a single adjust dial are killing me.

Both cameras seem to be about the same in low light, the X180 may have a slightly cleaner image at 18db? A little worried that 18db on the bigger cameras will look a stop or two darker than my X70 at 33db.

I am totally a wide angle shooter with my X70, it really makes the package usable to me. My 16x9 EXII's have 82mm thread adapters, but I am concerned the 82mm diameter of the X180 along with the 26mm native wide angle and how far back the front element is, will make mounting a wide converter on it impossible due to vignetting. I do see Sony has a twist on 0.8x converter for the PMW200, does anyone know if the X200 bayonet hood system is the same mount as the PMW200?

I am swaying towards the X180 at this time, not because of the price, but because of the lens capability. I might be happy with 26mm wide, but shooting 22mm now and might be hard to deal with less. Anyone with an X180 willing to let me ship my EXII wide converter to them for testing? Will pay shipping both ways. :)

Paul Anderegg
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Old March 15th, 2015, 12:53 AM   #2
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

For those interested, the 3.7mm wide on the X180 works out to 6.5mm on a 2/3" B4 lens. Additional calculations indicate it takes f1.6 on the X180 to achieve the same apparent DOF as f2.8 on the 2/3" lens.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 04:55 AM   #3
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

The X180 has a NON-STANDARD 19v power plug. It also runs hot because of the additional proxy recording functions.

G-series lenses lose more light throughout the zoom range than the Fujinon lenses. While you may be able to "theoretically" achieve the same DoF effect, you lose more light out of a slower lens on the X180.

The X200 is also MI Shoe compatible, so Sony wireless receivers need no XLR connections to connect to the camera.

IMO, go for the X200.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:07 AM   #4
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

On eBay, the X160 can be gobbled up for $3500......the X20 for around $6000. That is a LOT of money difference. :-D

I don't have the slightest use for WiFi or proxy, but the possible inability to mount a wide converter on the huge X160/180 nose is a factor at work in this decision. For $6500 + $1300 for a Canon J11x4.5BIRS, I can pick up a used HPX600. I wish there were more options in the small camera with flip switches category, nothing seems "just right", regardless of the money you want to spend.

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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:26 AM   #5
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Also, to answer for the Bayonet mount, it has to be the same as the PMW-200 or else they can't continue selling the VCL-EX0877. It should mount.

I like 1/2'' sensors better than 1/3'' sensors with tons of processing behind it. With both cameras you have the advantage of 1080p60 recording, but if the pixels are physically bigger, adding better processing would only make the picture look better.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:33 AM   #6
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Paul

I checked out the PXW-X180. The smaller 1/3" sensors have a much harder time with dynamic range and it was easy to clip the whites. For me though by far the worst thing was the amount of light loss when you zoomed in to the full 25 x. The lens might be rated at F1.6 but as sure as hell it is not a constant aperture lens. At full zoom I was losing so much it felt more like F4.0 - F5.6. In low light it was a shocker on the long end. It's also soft with the gain up.

If you are talking about the PXW-X200 with its new 1/2" sensors that are quieter than the current PMW-300 plus rated one stop faster I would think I would take it any day over the 180... even with the shorter 17 x glass. What's the point of 25x if it's going to be killed with light loss on the longer end

The PXW-X160 is basically the same camera as the 180 but without the extras but sensors and lens much the same. Check this out. It's a 160 up against an EX1R comparo. Now imagine a quieter camera with another stop over the EX1R and you would be close to the 200. Hopefully I will have a 200 here this week to try out as it's been high on my check out list for size, weight, sensitivity, codecs, price etc.


Also have a look at this. This is Sony's official PXW-X180 video. A lot of the outdoor material is showing what appears to be clipped highlights. I'm not saying that with some massaging of the knee and slope settings something couldn't be done to minimise this but you are still up against the smaller sensors lack of dynamic range.


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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:46 AM   #7
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

With my 2/3" lenses, I always went with J22's from Canon. the benefit of a LONG lens, is that you can reach what would be the maximum telephoto of a 17-18x lens, where it would ramp to it's fullest, but still be kind of in the middle of the 22x ramping. I was hoping the 25x on the X series would be better, at least MUCH better than the zoom in 1mm and get f4.0 on the X70.

My main priority here is to resolve the problems with quick manual physical controls lacking on the X70, as well as usable zoom length without the associated horrible exploded Ci grain at f4.0 at night. That would mean I am not comparing the X180 to the X200, as to which of those would produce a better picture, but which one of those would resolve my issues and spit out the footage my station likes in illumination challenged night scenes. :)

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Old March 16th, 2015, 05:52 AM   #8
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

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Old March 16th, 2015, 07:08 AM   #9
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

I will come from experience with an NX5/EX1R live switched show recently that the G-series lenses lose a ton of light at full telephoto. It is as Chris describes at F4.0-F5.6. The Fujinon lenses only go to F2.8, which is very handy in low light.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 07:27 AM   #10
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

1.6 all the way to 5.6? :-O

Best way to determine how many stops are lost, is to set the camera wide open with a zebra pattern, then zoom in, and see how many db of gain it takes to brighten up that section of video to get the zebra back. Every 6db you have to add is a stop. I did that test with my old SPX800 against my station issued JVC HM790. The SD SPX800 (f13@2000) was a cool 9db brighter across the board......it also had like a 65db s/n ratio. :)

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Old March 17th, 2015, 01:04 AM   #11
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Hopefully will have a x200 within the next 48 hours so will get stuck into it to see what it can deliver.

Re lens fall off I used to just stick the cameras on a WFM and measure the voltage at full wide zoom and full open iris with sufficient lighting at full open so as not to over expose the image. Next, still wide open I would adjust the iris down stop by stop and measure and make a note of the voltage at each stop down. Finally leaving the iris wide open I would zoom in fully and measure the voltage drop. Comparing fully zoomed voltage drop with my stop-down chart I would get a pretty accurate idea of just how much was lost throughout the zoom and just where the ramp really started to kick in.

As I said hopefully will find out in the next few days!

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Old March 17th, 2015, 01:44 AM   #12
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Just got an email response from B&H advising me the Sony W/A converter will not fit on the X200. They also stated it was incompatible. Not sure why they specified those two things in separate sentences, but that certainly sucks that the bayonet mount is different. (per them)

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Old March 17th, 2015, 02:53 AM   #13
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Really? And Sony has not made a new wide angle converter to work with the new lens? You're supposed to launch a camera with a new wide angle lens if you've changed the lens.

This will truly screw people over if this is the case, but then this is a customer service rep we're talking about here.

Edit: And I've double checked, no one online has even tried to fit the VCL-EX0877 to a PXW-X200. We're currently only assuming it's incompatible.
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Old March 17th, 2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

Paul -
I'm kinda in the same boat as you are. I've been scouting out all the cams for well over a year now and still .... nothing that catches my uh, wallet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
On eBay, the X160 can be gobbled up for $3500......the X20 for around $6000. That is a LOT of money difference. :-D

I don't have the slightest use for WiFi or proxy, but the possible inability to mount a wide converter on the huge X160/180 nose is a factor at work in this decision. For $6500 + $1300 for a Canon J11x4.5BIRS, I can pick up a used HPX600. I wish there were more options in the small camera with flip switches category, nothing seems "just right", regardless of the money you want to spend.
When the X70 came out last summer I thought this would be it. Looked at a bunch of other cams but each one leaves me wanting. Now waiting for jVC because I like the form factor and they way they have the controls laid out.

My need is for something with button/rocker controls and the X70 and HM200 form factor size-wise (but not sure about the light gathering capability). Don't need as good of a low-light cam as you want but still would like something reasonably good. A 3-ring seems out of the question because of the smaller form factor but need a good compromise with the controls for the equivalent. Wide angle would be nice but not a must-have.

Really starting to think about interchangeable lenses. Why buy a cam with a lens when they get outdated so quickly? It could make sense to get a cam without a lens and in the next upgrade you'd already have a chunk of the new cam bought. Good glass is really expensive. Going with a B-roll cam could be cheaper if one had more than one lens.

The 4K isn't a must-have but a really nice-to-have and it doesn't seem to be a passing fad. It seems the cams are starting to mature and hopefully the new models will have more of what we want.

What the heck, waited this long so waiting now for what comes out at Vegas. Interested in seeing what you come up with.
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Old March 17th, 2015, 01:06 PM   #15
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Re: X180 or X200, trying to decide

The PXW160 looks great, as I don't have any use for WiFi either, but I am feeling queazy about buying it on Ebay, Amazon, etc. The camera is not "officially" available in the U.S. (don't get me started), so I am wondering about Sony's warranty issues if one is bought on Ebay. Can anyone shed light on this? Thanks.
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