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Considering Sony EX?

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jiri vrozina
Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 1, 2007 at 9:27:29 pm

Hi,
I just wonder if any XDCAM HD F350/330 owners are considering new Sony EX for B-roll or even main camera.
Is this new Sony EX camera the first serious "small-light" video camera which will give cameramen full controls and quality they have been waiting for?

1/2' block,decent format,HD lens with full controls,OK VF...and SMALL WEIGHT....all that at affordable price.
Is this the camera and format for Corporate Videos,news,docos,low cost HD programes,live multicams and weddings??


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basspig
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 3, 2007 at 3:03:28 am

I'd say, based on all that I have read about this model, that it is poised to create a virtual avalanche in the camera market for lightweight HD cams. Sony must be trying to head off the Silicon Imaging and Red One offerings, which are super cameras at absurdly-low prices.

So far, the still images that have been posted from this model seem degraded and not compelling. I am waiting for some raw footage to play with and evaluate. But based on the specs, it looks like it solves every problem that faces event videographers and indie filmmakers.

This camera is poised to be the new darling of the indie film industry. I just hope Sony doesn't screw around with pricing. We're definately going to purchase a number of these. I wish I had them right now for a symphony concert we're covering this month.

Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss


http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair - 15,000 Watts of Driving Stereo!
http://www.mwcomms.com
http://www.adventuresinanimemusic.com


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rafalaos
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 5, 2007 at 11:48:44 am

Make it 422 and will be the revolution. As 420 there is not point to compare it with RED ONE.
However I think I will buy one as soon as get released.
Cheers,
rafael


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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 1:00:06 pm

Apparently those "select" few who've been able to test preproduction models say the image is comperable to the 350 (355).

Regarding the 4:2:0, I'm wondering what XDCAM HD shooters/editors (335, 355) are doing as far as editing codec used for compositing, keying, color correction. On Final Cut Pro would it make sense to convert to ProRes (IMX50 or another codec?).


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 6:18:01 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Apparently those "select" few who've been able to test preproduction models say the image is comperable to the 350 (355)."

Except that the 350 is a 1440x1080 picture, whereas the EX is 1920x1080. Does this mean that the EX will have a slightly more detailed picture because of the higher pixel count? Recent tests I have read also suggest that the EX is also a full F stop faster than the 350 in low light. This last point also tells me that, although the pixels on the EX chip are physically smaller than the ones on the 350, they're more efficient at passing light. Maybe this is the difference between CCD technology and CMOS.

I wish it was November already.

- Don



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jiri vrozina
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 8:38:35 pm

Sony are releasing in October 2 new XDCAM HD cameras f335 and f355 with the same identical block like on f350 and f330.
Why aren't they using "better" CMOS-like on EX??

You see,there is more to picture then lines,pixels,sensitivity.



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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 9:40:50 pm

[jiri vrozina] "Why aren't they using "better" CMOS-like on EX??
"


Perhap because CCD technology is a proven format, whereas CMOS for video is an emerging techology that has many miles to go before it becomes accepted by the masses. One of the first CMOS cameras was the Sony V1U which was found to have quite a noisy picture in low light. A lot of my fellow videographers found this unacceptable and decided not to buy the V1U because of this. I'm hoping that the different CMOS sensors in the EX don't suffer from the same problem. This is what I'm trying to find out by reading every test I can get my hands on. Noisy sensors would certainly stop me from buying the EX.

What we're all looking for, at least in my part of the world, is a quality high def replacement for the PD170.

- Don



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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 10:54:52 pm

Oct 10 & 11 is HD World in NYC Javits Center. I suspect Sony will be exhibiting the EX1 there so I'll see what I can find out first hand.

I was under the impression from those who tested preproduction models that they said it looked "clean" in low light (I'm sure that's subjective though but I think these were people who had used the 350).


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 7, 2007 at 4:24:34 am

Craig,

Looking forward to any info on the EX you can gather from the upcoming trade show.

- Don


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Steve Wargo
For Craig Seeman
on Oct 14, 2007 at 5:03:41 am

Craig, Did you have a chance to put hands on the EX1? We are interested in getting a few of these and we're looking forward to testing one soon. I am holding a project back that is perfect fr this camera.

I have spoken out against the HVX200 because of the inability to effectivly store the original files but the BluRay backup makes sense to me.


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Craig Seeman
Re: For Craig Seeman
on Oct 14, 2007 at 1:42:41 pm

They had two at HD World. They wouldn't let them leave the tripods though. I tested such things as Expanded Focus and Peaking and was very impressed. I also played with the ability to rack focus by hand and stored setting. I was impressed by the ability to "variably pad" the audio ins (rather than just a 10 db pad). I had a lot of workflow questions that were answered (and some they couldn't answer definitively).

As someone who was looking at the HVX200 when it came out and eventually decided against it for many reasons, I have far fewer reservations about the EX1.

I think backing up EX1's .mp4 to Blu-Ray will be much more practical (IMHO) than P2.
P2 is a folder full of things that can "go wrong" IMHO.

There are far fewer times one would have to back up in the field if you need to go that rouge given XDCAM's lower data rate GOP structure and, thus, longer record times on the cards.

Having the option to go to XDCAM disc will be good too for certain projects (although I'm hoping the discs will support 1920x1080 at some point).

A couple of "odd" things about the camera was that Sony couldn't say what would work with their "unique" lens control port. You'd think they'd be coming out with something for that.

The other is the 77mm thread for the lens but they'll be adaptors for that for sure.


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G.A. Kokes
XDCAM EX
on Oct 14, 2007 at 1:59:26 pm

Hi,

We are also very excited about this camera. As a run and gun tool, one operator, small form factor, 1/2"...Sony really MAKES A compelling argument. I wish that it would do 422 at 50mbs...but then there would be no reason to spend another $8 - 10K in 2-3 years from now, right? I also bet Panasonic will up the ante with a fixed lens 2/3" version of the HVX200 (HVX300?).

We almost bought into the HPX500, however the XDCAM EX won out.

Now if only our REDs will ship in time... this Dec!

G

Aurora Coast Productions -
HD Video Productions Services & 35mm Cinematography
Drama, Documentary, Commercials and Events NJ & NYC Tri-State Area



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jiri vrozina
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 6, 2007 at 11:11:53 pm

[Don Greening] " One of the first CMOS cameras was the Sony V1U which was found to have quite a noisy picture in low light."

Yes-it is 1/4' only.


[Don Greening] "Noisy sensors would certainly stop me from buying the EX."

Agree 100%.

One final point here especially for users who are delivering SD end product either on DVD or tape.
Make sure your final HD to SD Downconversion does not look worse then current picture from Z1 or HVX-200.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 7, 2007 at 2:55:50 am

I'm looking at the possibility of using Flip4Mac's new Pipeline to do downcoverts to SD in real time.

I'd take SD out of the SDI and convert to either DVCPro50 or IMX50. If Pipeline matches the Time Code on the HD source from the card then one can back up the cards to XDCAM and use the DVCPro50 or IMX50 edit to "autoconfirm" the SD edit to HD if/when such edit is needed.

Of course if one KNOWS one is going to deliver in HD one might simply edit in HD and then downconvert in software but, for me, I'm going on the assumption that most of my clients are going to (still are) using SD only delivery.


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 7, 2007 at 6:47:20 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I'm going on the assumption that most of my clients are going to (still are) using SD only delivery. "

Agree totally with that. What do you think, Craig? Another 1-2 years before HD delivery finally outstrips SD? *My crystal ball is around here somewhere. I just saw it*

Most of our clients are newlyweds. Our most recent trade show was just last week and only one couple out of the 80 some-odd that we talked to said they now have a high def TV and a Blu-Ray player.

- Don



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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 7, 2007 at 7:11:10 pm

Keep in mind the market penetration of HDTV is higher than that of players.

I've heard a number quoted that said in any given year 20% of the households buy a TV. Given that nearly all TVs being sold are now HDTV that's about 5 years for a full conversion. I'd say HDTV might be in the majority by the end of 2008 (within 15 months) or maybe mid 2009.

Players, especially due to the HD "war" may take longer. So here's the directions I'm thinking.


Corporate presentation might be very quick. That's a video displayed in a meeting. That can be done right now. A good H.264 or VC-1 file can be played back from a fast computer to an HDTV.

Wedding market. If the client has an HDTV put no playback one might build into the package delivery on an AppleTV at 720p24. Build in the cost of the AppleTV ($299) and the client will get the feeling they're getting a "gift" with the wedding.

If the client has an HDDVD player (as low as $399) you can burn a "short form" MPEG2 HD version on a standard (or dual layer?) DVD and that'll work. If the client has a Blu-Ray player (Play Station 3 amongst them) then you have to get a Blu-Ray burner (down to around $650 now).

Offering the AppleTV package seems to be the best way to market HD delivery at the moment in my opinion. I do think it'll take a good 2 years for the player market to work itself out though.

I think SD delivery will dominate for another 2 years or so. Taking SI out of SDI of the EX1 should result in great quality 16x9 SD delivery. I don't want my HD to SD workflow to be a time burden (money loser) so I'm looking for realtime downconvert.

As I mention above HD delivery for the "boardroom" corporate meeting may be there already given you just need to play the file back to an HDTV which I suspect corporate boardrooms with budgets may move to quickly. This means the EX1 may be in a good position to jump into that market and for various reasons is MUCH better than dealing with HDV.


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jiri vrozina
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 7, 2007 at 8:42:46 pm

I just wish Sony built into EX1 Digi Beta codec as well and perhaps HDCAM too...:-)


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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 2:56:58 am

[jiri vrozina] "I just wish Sony built into EX1 Digi Beta codec as well and perhaps HDCAM too...:-) "
Of course the EX1 would cost over $50,000 at that point.


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:01:40 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Of course the EX1 would cost over $50,000 at that point."

You read my mind. As soon as I saw Jiri's post I'm thinking: "Really,really expensive HD recording heads. Not what I want" :)

- Don


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jiri vrozina
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:24:36 pm

[Don Greening] ""Really,really expensive HD recording heads. Not what I want" :)"

Don I meant HDCAM or DigiBeta recording to SxS cards,same as on HVX200-DVCPRO50 or 1080i recording to P2 .


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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:51:48 pm

[jiri vrozina] "Don I meant HDCAM or DigiBeta recording to SxS cards,same as on HVX200-DVCPRO50 or 1080i recording to P2 . "

So you want data rates so high that the record time will be much shorter on cards than the HVX200. I guess you want the cards to cost $5000 each? Maybe it's the 4 way striped portable hard drive attachment sorta like the CinePorter that didn't happen only much more expensive and more years development time. .

Heck why not just take HD-SDI 4:2:2 1920x1080 out to a raid from the EX-1. That's "uncompressed" and untouched by the MPEG2 codec . . . hmm well you can actually do that with the camera . . . now where to find that protable raid belt pack with quiet fans.


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:56:27 pm

"If you build it.....they will come."

- Don


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Tim Kolb
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 9, 2007 at 1:56:05 pm

Keep in mind that Convergent Design has a box on the way that utilizes Sony encode to MPEG at HDV/XDcam rates, 50 Mbit/s 4:2:2 long GOP and 160 Mbit/s 4:2:2 I-frame from a "baseband" serial input (HDSDI). Other than the HDV and XDcam settings, these are full raster (1920x1080) HD files BTW.

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/183/855187

Once you remove the long GOP encoding, have full raster 4:2:2, and raise the data rate to 160 Mbits/s...I can't see how this file system doesn't trump the HDcam encoding/compression system.

***...camera heads and lenses and the images they produce being a separate issue from image encoding of course.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 10, 2007 at 5:53:24 pm

TIm,

Thanks for the news about the Flash XDR recorder. Once I have the time to read through everything concerning this (new) technology I'll be better equiped to make a decision on whether it makes sense for a small shop like ours. Preliminary reading however, has my mind racing at the possibilities. It certainly makes sense if we start shooting XDCAM.

Now back to my DVD authoring and burning. Customers are waiting :)

- Don


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 2:24:24 am

Craig,

I belong to a videographers' association in my area and it would seem that your viewpoints and projected time tables are theirs as well. I guess it doesn't matter where in North America one lives. I hadn't thought about Apple TV, however. I'll have to bring up that idea at the next meeting at the end of the month. Don't worry, I'll give you full credit. Even if half of our membership uses PCs Apple TV still makes sense for a high end client. At least it's another option to think about.

I just wish Apple Inc. fully supported Blu-Ray right now.

Thanks for sharing.

- Don



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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 2:35:57 am

AppleTV is PC compatible. Basically you'd need a compression program to make 720p24 h.264 file compatible with it. QuickTimePro ($29) and that's available for PC too, is all one would need to compress the file.

It's just a wild hunch but I suspect a sequence of events, Leopard's release, a DVDStudioPro and a Blu-Ray build to order option on the next MacPro, Apple will be supporting Blu-Ray. May own wild uninformed (but reasoned) guess is that the last two parts (Leopard being the first in a few weeks) will be complete by MacWorld in January (about 12 weeks away in case that sounds like a long time).


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Chris Babbitt
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 13, 2007 at 10:01:40 pm

So the EX is a stop faster than the 300 in low light? Then, how does the 300 compare to the HDV 1/3" cameras in low light?


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Stokestack
4:2:0
on Dec 15, 2007 at 12:52:48 am

"Regarding the 4:2:0, I'm wondering what XDCAM HD shooters/editors (335, 355) are doing as far as editing codec used for compositing, keying, color correction."

It doesn't matter; the color information is missing from the original acquisition format.


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ScorpioNZ
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 2:25:04 am

Hi guys. Maybe some of you have now seen one in the flesh, but specs aside (and we all do get very carried away with numbers and chips) but I've used one here in lil ol NZ and out of all the camera guys I spoke with and myself included, it wasn't what we expected operationally... its somewhat awkward to actually hold on to. Great features like the switchable focus ring and wotnot, but the balance is very off centre and we all got a sore hand/wrist within 5 minutes.

So try before you buy....at the end of the day, you've actually got to use the camera, no matter what you think it looks like.

And be prepared for data wrangling....its not as straight forward as you might think.

Cheers

Scorpio NZ - Production & Post


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 7:57:02 pm

Celia,

Thanks for your feedback on the EX. I guess I'll have to do some wrist strengthening exercises to prepare. Thankfully, most of my shooting is done from a shoulder brace or a tripod. But it's good to know in advance about the balance issue. Perhaps having that optional heavy looking Sony wide angle lens on the front of the EX will help.

- Don


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Craig Seeman
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:17:43 pm

I've heard the rotating wrist strap really helps though.

Get a set of 10lb weights and do some wrist curls.

I'd be skeptical about assertions on codec wrangling since the NLEs (and/or Sony) may not have updated importers yet to handle MPEG2 wrapped in MP4 (rather than MXF).


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Don Greening
Re: Considering Sony EX?
on Oct 9, 2007 at 3:49:57 am

[Craig Seeman] "'d be skeptical about assertions on codec wrangling since the NLEs (and/or Sony) may not have updated importers yet to handle MPEG2 wrapped in MP4 (rather than MXF)."

I'd keep a close eye out for this author's next article. Simon says (don't start) at the bottom of this article (link below) that he's going to explore the EX-to-NLE workflow.

http://www.simonwyndham.co.uk/pmw-ex1-first-look-part-2.html

- Don



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