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Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old September 18th, 2018, 08:51 AM   #1
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Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

Hello,
I looked at the specs for these two cameras. My question is, if I am not going to use XAVC-I, then is it worth the extra cash for the Z280? I can't locate information about whether 4K XAVC-L on the Z280 is 8 bit 4.2.0 (like the Z190) or 10 Bit 4.2.2. This would make a big difference. Any other reason I should go with the more expensive Z280? The price difference is huge.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 09:28 AM   #2
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

The decision is even more simple than that. Are you going to shoot with S-LOG3 and make the commitment to grade your footage properly in Resolve? If not, then you probably don't need XAVC-I anyway and you can save yourself about $3K with the Z190 and get a 25x lens (instead of 17x) as a bonus. Yeah, there are other differences between the cameras to consider, but that is the big one, in my opinion.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 09:56 AM   #3
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

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Originally Posted by Rich Pfeifer View Post
Hello,
I looked at the specs for these two cameras. My question is, if I am not going to use XAVC-I, then is it worth the extra cash for the Z280? I can't locate information about whether 4K XAVC-L on the Z280 is 8 bit 4.2.0 (like the Z190) or 10 Bit 4.2.2. This would make a big difference. Any other reason I should go with the more expensive Z280? The price difference is huge.
Thanks

Looking at the early Z280 samples that are online, I would definetely wait to see how they compare. As for the Z280, its been in my radar for purchase too but I'm starting to feel queezy after seeing many of the samples out so far. A few of them out there have been shockingly bad.

I dunno but I think the jury is still out on the Z280.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

The jury's not out for me. The Z280 is a rock solid camera that is going to get a lot of use from me when my S35 cameras and lenses are too much hassle.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 12:39 PM   #5
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

FYI - Found out that the 4K XAVC-L on the Z280 is only 8 bit - just like the Z190.

I think it will be difficult to shoot XAVC-I on this camera, considering that you only get 22 minutes on a 128GB card.

Then again, maybe I should pick up this camera as a future-proof solution. I imagine that the price of memory will drop significantly in the future. Always pros and cons.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

FYI, 4K XAVC-L is always 8-bit on any camera that has that format.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 02:28 PM   #7
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

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Originally Posted by Rich Pfeifer View Post
I think it will be difficult to shoot XAVC-I on this camera, considering that you only get 22 minutes on a 128GB card.
My camera says I can probably get 27 minutes of 60P on a card, not the 22 minute number that Sony says. The numbers they publish are always conservative. But do you even really need 60P? What are you doing with 60P? I don't need 60P and that means I can get 53 minutes of 30P on a 128GB card.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 02:37 PM   #8
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

That's good to know - thanks Doug!
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Old September 30th, 2018, 08:57 PM   #9
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

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Originally Posted by Rich Pfeifer View Post
Hello,
I looked at the specs for these two cameras. My question is, if I am not going to use XAVC-I, then is it worth the extra cash for the Z280?
Getting back to your original question, yes, I think the Z280 is well worth the extra money if someone is a professional and will be using the camera to earn money. Especially if low-light shooting is important because the Z280 beats the Z190 by about 2.5 stops. In bright outdoors light, they are surprisingly similar, but the Z190 quickly get lefts in the dust when shooting in low light. I've shot quite a bit of side-by-side footage (for my own testing purposes) with both cameras mounted on the same tripod. I will post some split-screen comparisons one of these days if I have time.
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Old September 30th, 2018, 10:51 PM   #10
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

please do so doug if you have time. would be greatly appreciated.
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Old October 6th, 2018, 12:24 PM   #11
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

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. . . the Z280 beats the Z190 by about 2.5 stops.
I have to modify what I wrote earlier. Further testing, using the default "standard" picture profile on both cameras this time, shows the difference to be almost 4 stops. I put the Z280 at about ISO 2000 and the Z190 at ISO 125. It surprises me to see such a huge difference between the cameras. For comparison, I rate the Z90 at about ISO 320.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 01:13 PM   #12
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

Doug, can you clarify this a bit...is the Z280 locked into a "high sens" mode that every camera manufacturer seems to want to put into their cameras to inflate the light sensitivity figures of hyperpixel sensors? Is this in HD or 4K mode...the noise and sensitivity? How many stops does each camera lose switching from HD to 4K?

Also, putting noise aside, in the least high sense modes, the Z280 on 0db...what gain would the Z190 need to be to match scene brightness, assuming both locked to same shutter and aperture?

Paul

PS: Didn't the FS5 have some sort of noise or aliasing issue when it came out that Sony had to create a f/w fix for?
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Old October 8th, 2018, 08:42 PM   #13
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

Paul,
The Z280 does have a high sensitivity mode for gain, but none of my measurements or comments are based on that mode. I don't think that mode is even necessary unless someone has already maxed out the "normal" gain.

The Z280 loses about one stop of sensitivity going from HD to 4K, with all other exposure settings being the same. This is the first camera where I've noticed that happening. The Z190 does not share the same issue. Sensitivity is the same (awful) no matter what the resolution is.

With the Z280 on 0dB gain, the “standard” scene file, shooting in HD, and both lenses zoomed out to the widest focal length . . . the Z190 would need about 21dB of gain to match the same exposure (with all other settings being equal). But the camera cannot even do 21dB gain unless you put it into "turbo" mode and then the gain would be 30dB. There are no gain values between 18dB and 30dB on the Z190. High sensitivity mode might help bridge the gap, but who wants to use that?

On the other hand, if you zoom both lenses in to the max telephoto focal length, then difference is even worse due to the difference in lenses. The Z190 would need about 24db of gain to compete with the Z280 at 0dB. That’s four stops.

The Z280 is really excellent in low light and very clean. It is actually too sensitive in bright light. I'm shooting most of the time outdoors at -3dB and still adding a glass 1/4 ND filter (2 stops) to the lens because the built-in ND filter maxes out at 1/128 (7 stops) -- and that still is not enough to let me keep the iris wide open, which is where I want it to be.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 10:07 PM   #14
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

Thanks for the update Doug..."high sens" modes are only good for night ENG shooters, who would seldom if ever shoot at 0db save for close up lighted interviews. Jeremy with On Scene TV in Los Angeles has a Z190, and he told me that when he switches from normal to high sens, the camera seems to adds roughly 15-18db of extra "hidden" gain...almost 3 stops!

I think you may be right about the preamp being the cause of the noise...Sony loves to throw noise reduction at things, and I am sure they are trying their best to keep the Z280 relevant in a world becoming overpopulated by cheaper M43 and S35 cameras and mirrorless little toys. Maybe the BBC will run their tests on the Z280 and reveal the real s/n ratio with noise reduction turned off.

Paul
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Old October 9th, 2018, 06:22 AM   #15
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Re: Can't decide: PXW-Z190 versus PXW-Z280

I measure the High Sensitivity mode to only add about 2-stops of sensitivity, and a hell of a lot of noise. You should tell your friend that he bought the wrong camera for run and gun nighttime news.

But I hope people don't let my comments about the Z190 taint the Z280. The Z280 looks great in low light and can see in the dark better than my eyes and with a very acceptable amount of noise when gain is added. I haven't tested it head to head against my FS7 or F55, but my sense is that the Z280 the best low light camcorder I've ever used. The only one that might even come close is the Z450.

Granted, my experience is mostly limited to camcorders from Sony so I'm sure someone is going to start throwing around the names of cameras that I've never heard of from other companies. So I'll say this . . . low light performance is not even in the top ten list of things I find important about a camera. If you look at the total package, there's no camera under $7K that can touch the Z280. If you don't care too much about shallow DoF, this camera does almost everything an FS7 can do plus a lot more.

Yeah, your friend bought the wrong camera for what he shoots. He should have gotten a Z280 instead. And if his reason for not buying a better camera was that he couldn't afford the price, he should get out of the business and go do roofing or something else because he's obviously not cut out to make money doing video or running a business. An extra $3K is nothing. Nothing!
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