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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 30th, 2012, 04:07 PM   #31
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
James, if you want I can upload some short footage straight from the camera (my cx730 - has the same performance as the 760) for you to view? So at least you"ll have some real world footage to look at, I have some footage on my camera from a wedding now where I can read the camera data at time of recording (like iso, shutter) so I can give you an idea about performance at certain iso's.

If someone else here could do the same for xa10 footage it will make your decission a bit easier. :)
Noa - that would be monumentally helpful. To have a wide variety of to judge the performance. Thank a million in advance. That would include the best and the worst, so helpful. Just let me know how to dl (I think you can message my profile for a link).
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Old September 30th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #32
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

I"m uploading to my dropbox account now, have added a few very low light scenes which where filmed with 21 to 24db gain and a few high detail scenes outside, I"ll send you the link as soon as all is uploaded.

All files are in the 1920x1080 28mbs avchd 50p format.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #33
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Thanks a million Noa. I'm getting ready to take a look at the footage now.

If anyone has some raw XA10 footage they could share, it would be great to compare!
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Old October 1st, 2012, 01:58 AM   #34
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

it's difficult to compare camera's if the shots where taken in totally different places or circumstances. Based on what I have seen so far I"d say the xa10 will be slightly sharper and a bit better in low light, a saw following comparison
with a hfg10 (guess this camera has the same performance as the xa10) but the test was done only up to 15db gain where you can see the canon has the advantage. But I also see in that test (I downloaded the original uploaded file) that the Sony is cleaner at 15db which probably was the reason why the tester did not go all the way up to 24db. He said it was because both camera's where producing unusable images at those levels but I have been happily using 21db gain shots without an issue, I also bet the Sony is cleaner at 24db compared to the canon. For me the xh-a1 produces a unusable image at 12db gain and even 24db gain on the small Sony looks a lot cleaner.


Also one thing I have seen in a test is that the Canon is better when zooming in in darker areas, the Sony is very good wide open in low light but quickly looses that advantage once you start zooming in.

Just to let you know is that I use Edius 6.5 to edit the 50p footage.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:26 AM   #35
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Whatever you buy, if you purchase from B&H or other similar place, use the camera gently and you can return it if you do not like it. I know B&H processes returns promptly, and would handle an exchange quickly. You do not have to be stuck with your purchase. You could return it Monday and have your new camera by the following Saturday for another shoot.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 03:37 PM   #36
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

I want to thank everyone for their input so far, especially Noa for the footage. It was incredibly valuable.

I'm still torn and heartbroken. I REALLY want the stabilization of the Sony (I do some moving shots and that would be great for it, along with the size), but as best I can tell comparing many many videos is that the XA10 is both sharper and better in low light. The Sony looks great in sunlight. I'll be mainly indoors though and not yet convinced it will do the job. Damn! :-)

Thanks and damn you Jeff Harper for suggesting the XA10.

The entire situation stinks because I feel like I haven't had the time to look at the DSLR option like a Canon 5D Mark II. My understanding is that the benefits are the beautiful DOF, but that they're not all that easy to manage onsite. This stinks.

I'm headed to a camera shop today to try and play with both.

Thanks,

JLB
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 04:52 PM   #37
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

You have to consider that the low light footage I gave you at 21 and 24db gain is brighter then what you can see with your own eyes so I wouldn't doubt if it would do the job. At 24db of gain the cx730 rivals my dslr with a f1.4 lens at 1600 iso but with the biggest difference that you get a very deep and usable depth of field. Compared to the xh-a1 it's like night and day in low light. Also, don't expect big differences between the xa-10 and the cx730 in image quality, both will give you good results in good and bad light. Both camera's just have very minor pro's and contras compared to eachother. (not taken the xlr adpater into consideration)

I would think twice about the dslr route, they are a real handfull, especially if you are a solo shooter, very nice for creative shots, that's why I use both the dslr and the small handicam because they complement eachother. If you like I can show you some trailers I have done with the camera just to convince you it is possible to get good looking footage with the new generation handicams under demanding situations.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 06:13 PM   #38
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

As Noa said, if you're considering an SLR, you're talking about a whole entirely different beast, not something you should pick up this week to shoot next, unless you've got some solid background with a still camera already!

That said, you could take a look at the Sony SLT cameras... IF you want to have a camera with that capability - I added them to my arsenal since we take stills and video, and I'm happy with the choice. But there are still a couple dedicated video cameras for what they do best... although I'm already finding I reach for the SLT camera first, must be the old film camera nostalgia kicking in <wink>!


The footage I've seen of the Canons is pretty good, and I'm familiar with the CX series (up to the 760, which I haven't bothered to upgrade to - 700's are fine for now). What I saw in your samples is typical of the differences - they handle color "differently" - Sony tends one way, Canon another. I usually catch what looks to me to be "murky" shadows in Canon low light as opposed to black with the Sony, but this could be inexperienced operators or post work. Sharpness improves with each generation just a little, and unless you're spending big $$ and putting the footage side by side, most people would not consider the current high end consumer cams overly "soft"... they will be a big jump over your "SD" camera.

Cameras have advanced A LOT in just a few short years, the newer backlit Sonys definitely see better in bad light than the average "eyeball", and it appears the Canons have caught up.


One other word of warning - whatever camera you get, be prepared for the workflow - you'll be processing AVCHD files that are 4x the amount of date per frame, and are highly compressed - you'll likely need a computer budget about equal to your camera budget if your computer is also "vintage". Not that the results aren't well worth it, but since you haven't upgraded "recently", you won't have a learning curve, but rather a "learning WALL" to scale, and it's not to be underestimated (at least you'll have lots of help from DVi'ers who have already done it...).
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 09:31 PM   #39
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Thanks Noa and Dave. Noa: again, thanks for the footage. And I know what you mean about the gain. It was other clips along with your footage that gave me things to look for. I really appreciate all the first hand advice you've given too.

A few hours ago I finally had a chance to play with both at the store, and I recorded sample from the cs760, the G10 and the XA10. I'm still reviewing the footage, but I hate to say that I do see more noise on the Sony and a sharper and more impressive picture on the Canons.

Overall yes, both do an amazing job. I just need to convince myself that I can shoot high-profile interviews with the 760. I'm working on it, but the Canon felt more like my old VX2000 (although still can't touch it :-)).

The new wrinkle is the damn G10, It did a very good job, at $500 to $600 less. I now need to look into the differences further. I know the XLR inputs, top grip, and remember hearing that although it uses the same chip, the XA10 records more pixels so it should be better. That is a lot of money, so need to convince myself it's worth it if I decide to go with Canon over Sony. I also read the G10 doesn't have an external audio input, just a shoe, which I can't believe would be true!

DSLR: Thanks for the feedback. Staying away from that for now.

All make sense?
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Old October 3rd, 2012, 02:32 AM   #40
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Like Dave said, you can't pick up a dslr now and do a paid shoot with it next week if have not got experience with it but you can with the small handicams. About sharpness, My sony xr520 also looks a bit sharper then my cx730 but there you can see it's an in camera sharpening as there is not more detail like with the image of a EX1 I recently was able to shoot side by side with. There I had to do some in post sharpening to get the cx730 to match better to the EX1. I have seen comparison footage where the xa10 (or could have been the cheaper version without xlr) also was sharper then the xf100.

I think the xa10 will be your better choice as it will deal better with your audio, has a focus ring and you can adjust exposure with the small wheel on the back, a odd place for such a control and nowhere near a practical iris ring on the lens but at least there is a way to control it. (xa10 users pls correct me if I"m wrong) And there are also, I think, 3 real buttons on the lcd screen to control some functions which is a + as well. The cx730 only has one control wheel but allows me to do real time exposure changes (which is always on manual in my case) and it's in a "normal" position. There are 3 assignable buttons but they are on the touchscreen, not a big deal but I"m not such a fan of touch screen control as you have to clean your lcd after every shoot. One thing I absolutely love is the 26,5mm wide angle on the Sony's which makes it so much easier to shoot in tight spaces.

Also remember that the way you have to shoot will drastically change compared to the vx2100, that and the xh-a1 you can press against your eye which gives you an extra stabilization point but you can't with the small handicams as those viewfinders are pretty useless and you"ll be working mostly with the lcd, that means you have to hold it in front of you in your hands or best on a tripod, the stabilization on the new sony's does do small wonders here as you can get near tripod like footage when hand holding it. You might consider a small shoulder mount for extra stabilization.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 01:53 AM   #41
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Thanks - good points.

I'm going to try and upload the footage I shot at the camera store so you all can tell me what you see. Would be interesting.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 08:30 AM   #42
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Never thought to mention it before but of course the Sony NX30 is the "Pro" version of the Sony PJ760 that does come with XLR's , shotgun mic,a larger battery with some extra firmware to give true timecode etc at about the same price as the XA10. Might also be worth a look. I have a small brace I had for years with an early JVC camera that I often use to hold against my shoulder as Noa suggests.

The Sony's always over expose so if your tests were all done in low light in auto they would be for sure over exposed. The image is brighter than reality. I find that fixing using AE shift it not only brings this closer to what is real but also seems to reduce the very fine grain that does appear if left in auto.

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Old October 4th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #43
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Ron: Your point about the Sony pushing harder and increasing the gain in auto mode is a good one, and something I'm reviewing in the footage now. The only problem is that even if true and I can lower the noise and get a better result in manual mode vs auto, I often need/want to be in auto mode. Now if the picture can really be as good or better, then maybe...

I'm looking at the footage now, and going back to the camera store later today for one last hands-on test before I buy (that will be today too).

I'm trying to export the footage I shot from AE, but the files are understandably huge (900mb for just under 4 minutes with an h264 .mov). Any suggestions for rendering a fair representation I can show you on Vimeo?
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Old October 4th, 2012, 01:05 PM   #44
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

You can only lower the noise if you lower the gain when in manual, if automode gives you too much noise but if the image is well exposed there's not much you can do about it, you could lower the gain in manual but then resulting in an underexposed image. I have not even tried to remove grain as for my use (and clients) it no issue.

I usually import and work with native files, then export as a mpeg2 HD 1080p file and import into handbrake and then render at 5000kbs, 2pass, 720p file and upload that to vimeo, gives me very good results and handbrake encodes very fast. This workflow for internet use is a fast one, even one my 2 year old pc.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #45
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

When you use AE shift you are in auto but telling the camera to either make the picture darker or lighter from what it wanted to use. If you ask it to darken the picture it will most certainly reduce the gain and consequently the grain one would see in low light situations. Most of the time I have my Sony's in full negative AE shift in the theatre or with the CX700 even normal use at least -0.5ev. Produces a better image for me anyway.

Ron Evans
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