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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 April 23rd, 2007, 09:20 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Bob Grant View Post
Other thing that no one seems to have picked up. It looks like the only video output is HD-SDI, so if want to hookup an external monitor it's going to have to have a HD-SDI input which means not cheap. Not that I'm complaining, for the quality this camera looks set to deliver I couldn't see much point in doing otherwise.
I hope that there will be a component analog option similar as the Z1U or V1U. My HD field monitor accepts only component video ($2500) and it would be expensive (again) to have to get a different field monitor. I can understand why Sony would do this, I just hope the don't (I guess I can always pick up a HD-SDI to component convertor...)

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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:43 AM   #152
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I'm sure XDCAM disks are good long-term archival options for edited masters, but at $30 per hour-long XDCAM disk vs. $3 per hour-long DV/HDV tape, it's less attractive for long-form documentary, for example.
It will be a while before flash memory is affordable enough to serve as permanent storage for most of us, but that's okay. HVX200 users have gotten by with P2 cards which cost as much as $150 per minute of recording time, so if SxS cards are ~$100-200 per hour initially that will be acceptable.

One good thing about XDCAM HD footage is that is should (in theory) be playable from Blu-ray discs, meaning you could use those for long-term archiving and playback. This would make XDCAM HD the highest-quality video format which can be stored and played in its native form on widely available consumer players, making it a good solution for something like library or museum exhibits. Has anyone tried putting XDCAM HD footage on a Blu-ray disc yet?
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 10:42 AM   #153
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It will be a while before flash memory is affordable enough to serve as permanent storage for most of us, but that's okay. HVX200 users have gotten by with P2 cards which cost as much as $150 per minute of recording time, so if SxS cards are ~$100-200 per hour initially that will be acceptable.
Well, that's the key, obviously (and probably my main objection to the HVX200). How much will SxS cards cost? The fact that Sony is developing the format with SanDisk is a good sign, since it means that it won't be a completely proprietary format -- hopefully, some competition between manufacturers will help keep prices down. I'm seeing standard forms of flash memory selling for about $10 a gigabyte, so maybe $160-200 for a 16gb SxS card is in the realm of possibility.

I like the consumer Blu-Ray idea.

It would be really sweet, though, if it were possible to backup directly to a portable hard disk or RAID+1 array through the camera's onboard firewire port, without a computer. A couple of 500gb SATA hard drives in removable trays and a standalone firewire SATA RAID+1 storage device might be just the ticket until flash and Blu-Ray come down enough in price to be practical.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 10:57 AM   #154
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It would be really sweet, though, if it were possible to backup directly to a portable hard disk or RAID+1 array through the camera's onboard firewire port, without a computer. A couple of 500gb SATA hard drives in removable trays and a standalone firewire SATA RAID+1 storage device might be just the ticket until flash and Blu-Ray come down enough in price to be practical.
Brian, that's totally contradictory to the idea of XDCAM. It's file based and one has to start thinking more along the lines of how you work with pictures from a digital still camera. Of course you can back up to a hard drive, but there's no need to do the RAID thing because you simply drag and drop. When used correctly, XDCAM is a very efficient system in terms of long term data storage. If you use the Professional Discs (based on blu-ray), the archival life is estimated to be 50 years. And that is what Sony's philosophy is WRT the XDCAM HD EX. You write to flash, and archive to Professional Disc. At roughly $25/disc street price, it makes a very affordable long term archival system.

-gb-
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:01 AM   #155
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It would be really sweet, though, if it were possible to backup directly to a portable hard disk or RAID+1 array through the camera's onboard firewire port, without a computer.
Given that any decent portable media device is likely to cost as much as a cheap laptop, why not use the latter? Pay $500 or so for the laptop and attach a bus-powered USB2 drive with 160 GB capacity and you're ready to go for at least 10 hours of XDCAM HD footage. If the laptop doesn't come with an ExpressCard slot, there will probably be external SxS card readers available for a few bucks.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 12:27 PM   #156
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Even if the cards are around the same price as a P2 card (which I do not think will happen) We have to remember that with this camera we will always be able to do almost 3x or more the amount of recording time compared to a P2 based system.

35mbits compared to 100 mbits means almost 3x the amount of footage.
25mbits compared to 100 mbits equals 4x the amount of footage.

These means for X amount of recording time the P2 system will always cost at least 3x more.

right now P2 suffers from the fact that it is very very hard to shoot long form projects since the recording time is so low. With the XDCAM Ex camera we at least are able to record for about the same amount of time as a mini DV tape or maybe even more. Swapping cards every hour is not as bad as swapping cards every 16 minutes.

I know I for one would be ok if the cards started out at the same price as P2 cards because I know I will get 3x the amount of recording time for that same price. I of course would be happier if they were cheaper. Even if they are not cheaper however we are already getting so much more recording time then what P2 could ever do.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:01 PM   #157
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35mbits compared to 100 mbits means almost 3x the amount of footage.
To be fair, the HVX200 has many recording options with varying bit rates, and many folks appear to be using 720p/24n at ~40 Mbps. So the HVX200 will also soon be getting a boost in recording capacity to as much as two hours on two 16GB P2 cards in a commonly used recording mode.

The problem with P2 is that the memory cards use a specialized, low-volume design which can't compete with other flash memory options in terms of price. Since the SxS cards appear to be based on more standardized technology (just in a different form factor), they should be substantially cheaper than P2 and hence more practical for long-form recording. The apparent matching move from Panasonic will be to record AVC-Intra footage at bit rates similar to XDCAM HD on standard flash memory cards. Next year should be exciting for those who want tapeless recording but don't care for P2.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 03:14 PM   #158
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Bob, I don't think the focus ring has any gears, though.

You're right, my bad!

Still this is one almost disruptive camera. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but you couldn't even buy a SD camera with 1/2" chips and glass at this price point, ever. Where does this leave the Z1 and V1 cameras?

OK, this EX looks to come in at double the price (Under $8K was what I was told) but I'd reckon a lot of us who were going to spring $4K for a V1/Z1 will be mighty tempted to save some pennies and buy this camera instead. Those 1/2" chips have got to offer very significant advantages over 1/3". Shallower DOF is one, lower noise is another and perhaps the most important. Less noise makes for more bandwidth for the mpeg-2 encoder to expend on real image data.

The other thing that gets me drooling is the variable frame rates, 720p50 sounds pretty sweet but this would seem to imply there'll only be one variant of the camera, no R50 and R60 version.

I suspect there's more going on with Sony than just this one camera. With some bravado I asked the price of the new XDCAM 4:2:2 2/3" beast and was told "around $40K". Now that's a big wad of cash for most of us but that was very close to what I was quoted for a F350 six months ago down here. Add to that their new minimalist XDCAM drive and XDCAM has suddenly become way more affordable. And there's even more, likely. A Sony Canada rep told me there were serious plans to market an internal SATA XDCAM drive at an even lower price, that gets rid of the USB2 speed limitation and makes the XDCAM disk a possible viable general purpose storage medium.

Now I know for most of us $30K is as unaffordable as $40K but these price drops, if they are real, do have a more significant impact in the rental market. Many of the smaller rental companies just cannot afford to carry cameras beyond a certain price point. Drop the price of a camera by a sizeable margin and the knock on effect in the rental market can lead to a significant improvement in affordability for those renting.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 03:45 PM   #159
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Still this is one almost disruptive camera. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but you couldn't even buy a SD camera with 1/2" chips and glass at this price point, ever.
Also, with every other format I can remember, Sony has always made a very careful distinction between "Prosumer/Consumer" and "Professional/Broadcast" formats. (Think Betacam vs. BETA-SP, DV vs. DVCAM, HDV vs. HDCAM, etc.)

This camera has the potential to shatter that line, since it looks to be priced for the prosumer market, yet uses the identical format as their professional and broadcast cameras. Until now, I've often heard that broadcast engineers try to discourage the use of prosumer formats like DV or HDV. Given that the broadcast industry, however, is increasingly turning to XDCAM (see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=92196), it's going to be a lot tougher for them to turn down XDCAM footage from one of these cams.

I think you're right, Bob. This could really shake things up.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 03:56 PM   #160
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You write to flash, and archive to Professional Disc. At roughly $25/disc street price, it makes a very affordable long term archival system.

-gb-
Oh yeah, I understand the value of archiving to XDCAM disks. But, as a self-financed, independent documentary filmmaker, I'm going to have to think long and hard about spending $1100 to archive 44 hours of original footage onto XDCAM disk vs. the $132 it costs me to keep it on DV tape. That's almost an order of magnitude difference in archival costs.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the camera or the format. I'm just looking for the cheapest, most reliable archival method that will fit in my budget. Hard drives seem to be the only option right now in my price range. I've had too many single hard drives fail to be comfortable trusting irreplaceable footage to that alone. That's why I'm thinking about RAID +1 or cloning duplicate HDs as an alternative to XDCAM disks for large volumes of material.

And I sure hope Kevin's right about USB or Firewire SxS readers becoming available. That would save springing for a new laptop with ExpressCard slots!
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 05:07 PM   #161
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Oh yeah, I understand the value of archiving to XDCAM disks. But, as a self-financed, independent documentary filmmaker, I'm going to have to think long and hard about spending $1100 to archive 44 hours of original footage onto XDCAM disk vs. the $132 it costs me to keep it on DV tape. That's almost an order of magnitude difference in archival costs.
Brian, the alternative would be to get a couple of 500 GB HD's @ $ 120 (current price) and store them. On a 500 GB you can store around 38 hours in DV quality and around 27 hours in HQ XDCAM-HD. The problem is longevity. Pro disks are far more secure than tape or HD's.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 06:43 PM   #162
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Where does this leave the Z1 and V1 cameras?
At twice the price it leaves sub-$4K HD cameras a healthy niche for anyone who doesn't need the next step up. For those who want something better but don't have big budgets, one XDCAM EX plus one Z1U could be a functional compromise, so still some Z1U sales there.

In any case, this definitely shakes things up by offering something better than other low-cost HD cameras at a relatively manageable price.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 07:23 PM   #163
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Being new to the XDCAM technology, I've been wondering: why does the EX camera need such a bulky body? I mean - not having a tape or disc mechanism - it could basically consist of the lens and battery, with the chassis just big enough to accept two SxS ExpressCards... Can anyone shed some light on what the fat, boxy rear part of it must have room for, apart from those tiny PCB's?
Well as other people indicated, the size is very similar to the Z1u. Besides housing the memory cards and other electronics, another reason that I think the rear end couldn’t get smaller is because of the ˝” imagers.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #164
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong but you couldn't even buy a SD camera with 1/2" chips and glass at this price point, ever.
I applaud your sentiment, but actually, the JVC GY-DV500 was initially available, with 14X removable servo-zoom Fujinon lens, DV format, 3 1/2" CCDs, for around $5K.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 02:15 PM   #165
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Still this is one almost disruptive camera. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but you couldn't even buy a SD camera with 1/2" chips and glass at this price point, ever.
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I applaud your sentiment, but actually, the JVC GY-DV500 was initially available, with 14X removable servo-zoom Fujinon lens, DV format, 3 1/2" CCDs, for around $5K.
impressive but technically DV format is not SD
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