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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old December 30th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jim Gunn View Post
The aforementioned Panasonic HPX170 looks like a worthy third option as well. What would be the main appreciable differences between the Ex-1 and the HPX170? Both use P2 cards and both record 1080p, I believe. So mostly the lens and some of the other features? Plus each one uses a different codec, Panasonic's vs Sony's, but at the same bitrate and color depth?
There's quite a difference between the two cameras. The HPX170 uses SD 1/3" CCD chips, pixel-shifted to make them output HD - or something like that. It's not the sharpest HD cam, but it's not that bad. The EX1 uses full raster 1920 x 1080 1/2" CMOS chips. The EX1 will have a sharper image with better low light performance and smaller depth of field. It should look noticeably better than the 170. Some prefer the image's color from the 170, that it's warmer and less video-like, but that's a subjective view. I guess you've heard all the arguments about CCD vs. CMOS chips.

The 170 records to P2 cards, the EX1 to SxS cards. Neither is really cheap. There are also adapters that allow the EX1 to use SD cards, but you can't undercrank or overcrank this way.
The 170 uses the DVCPRO HD 100mbps 4:2:2 codec, the EX1 uses XDCAM EX 35mbps 4:2:0 codec. This is the only place the 170 outshines the EX1, in my opinion. The170 can also record SD formats. The newer EX1R can also do this.

I have shot with both - well, the EX3 instead of the EX1, and the HVX200a instead of the 170 - but they have the same chipsets. Both are very good cameras, but I would pick the EX1 over a 170. A used 170 will be cheaper, though. I think you and your clients would be happy with either camera.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #17
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You can't have both tape and no HDV.
Shooting to tape will be HDV. (Or SD only, like the HVX-200 from Panasonic.)
(Maybe there are still some DVProHD camera's, but they are probably not what you are looking for)

Shooting 1080p will be tapeless.

You know you don't want AVC, so now you have to figure out what you need:
- chipsize
- codec
- cost of storage media

Good luck!
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Old December 30th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #18
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Thanks Glen and Walter. It looks like the Ex-1 is really going to be my logical choice. I always liked Sony videocameras. The Ex-1's reported sharp & crisp video quality suits my style, since I shoot with a lot of daylight balanced Kinoflos. The full raster 1920 x 1080 format will be very useful. I like the larger 1/2" chips. I am not concerned with reported distortions with the CMOS sensors in certain situations either because I don't normally shoot around flashes or strobing lights. It appears that I can pick up a gently used EX-1 for about $4500 on Ebay with one or sometimes two media cards included , And if I sell my FX-1 and accessories eventually for close to $1500, that means I am only out about $3000 for a major upgrade in technology. I already have lots of hdd's and a powerful editing system. I am guessing Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 edits the codec the Ex-1 shoots natively? Just drag and drop and import the files into the project and plays right on the timeline with no capturing or rendering needed?
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 05:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jim Gunn View Post
I would like to go full HD, probably 1080p based on my client's suggestions. I am a little leery about going all digital based as I do like tape backups.
If you really want to go "full 1080 HD", then really the only options without spending huge money are the EX cameras and the Canon XF305. "Full HD" really means 3 1920x1080 chips, which the EX has, but very little else at this price point. Think of them as (roughly) 2 megapixel, and pretty well all the 1/3" cameras are based on 1 megapixel chips.

The exceptions to that are the XF305 (which does have 2 megapixel) and the Panasonic 1/3" cameras - the 200 and the 171 - which are only 0.5 megapixel, or 960x540. As Glen says, they use pixel shifting to improve the performance a bit (at least for luminance), but it can't work miracles and you can expect them to achieve roughly equivalent to about 1200x650 at best. (Even that's at the expense of diagonal resolution.)

Intercut with an EX they look soft and somewhat noisy, and now there are so many "full HD" screens about you can't get away with it as you may have a few years ago.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 05:43 PM   #20
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David, thanks for the additional details. I have concluded that a used EX-1 really is my best bet for full HD with good crisp video quality and a reasonable price. The workflow makes sense for me as an Adobe user as well. I am going to upgrade to Premiere Pro CS5 from CS3 and add some hard drives to my quad core system with a new install of 64 bit Win 7 and I should be good to go. I am going to be thrilled when I no longer have to de-interlace or capture tapes anymore!
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Old January 18th, 2011, 02:35 AM   #21
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I actually got to check out and shoot a test clip with a friend's Sony EX-1 yesterday and wow, is that thing heavy and awkward to hold compared to an FX-1! I like just about everything else about it, but that is going to be hard to get used to! No mini audio plug for my existing Sennhesier external mic either. This is making it a tough choice!
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