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Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?

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Brian Tario
Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:23:07 pm

Hello world, I’m currently shooting (mainly corporate/industrial videos) with a Sony PD-170. I like it fine, but I’m thinking seriously of adding an HD option to my service list. One of the nice things about the 170 is the ability to Firewire into my MacBook Pro (current OS & FCP) for direct-to-disk recording (with a tape backup). And generally it’s a solid SD camera, great low light, etc.

But, I sometimes have the need for HD and renting is an expensive pain in the butt. It doesn’t make sense to me to go with anything below 1080 lines as this is the highest (readily available) resolution for displays (please don’t flame me about any RED products, Scarlett’s not available). And I really want to shoot progressive from now on if possible. Doing digital signage content progressively for years makes the idea of interlaced HD seem like a major drag. Hence, 1080p acquisition. Yes, I’m comfortable with the idea of going completely tapeless as I rarely recapture past footage and store virtually everything on hard drive or discs already.

So, I’ve done hours of research and have narrowed my options to 4 cameras:
Sony PMW-EX1 or EX3
Panasonic HVX200A or HPX170

I must stay under my $10K budget (this includes an extra memory card or two). Since I already have a decent EFP package with the PD-170 I won’t need to buy much besides the camera and extra media. So, here are some questions, thanks in advance for any insights:
1. Am I overlooking other cameras that might fit my criteria?
2. Sensors – bigger is better, but how do users feel about 1/2” CMOS (Sony) vs. 1/3” CCD (Panny)? I can only assume that when properly used any of these cameras will shoot excellent video. I’ve read about the “rolling shutter effect” with CMOS, but I’m curious how noticeable it is in real world situations.
3. Workflow/codecs – obviously overall workflow is critical, duh. I’m an FCP guy. Which experience is better, easier to implement, happier, etc. XDCAM EX or DVCPRO HD?
4. Media Cost – P2 is much more expensive than SxS. Is this is why the Panny cameras are cheaper? Once you factor in an extra card and consider the differences in record time at full quality, the cameras are basically the same price.

I’m cross-posting this on the Sony CineAlta – XDCAM forum and the Panasonic HVX – HPX (P2) forum. Thanks again, Brian

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Noah Kadner
Re: Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 12, 2008 at 11:50:40 pm

repeated thread on HVX200 forum fyi....


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Mick Haensler
Re: Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 13, 2008 at 5:40:00 pm

All I can say is if possible, rent your options first and try them out. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. The EX works for me although coming from a Z1, the amount of control on this camera was daunting. Only you will know which camera is best for you. It looks like you've done your research so get one in your hand and see how you like it. I'm a Sony guy so I'm kinda biased.

MIck Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 13, 2008 at 5:47:09 pm

This comparison has been discussed ad nauseam.

I'l give you my bias though based on what was important to me.
I looked at the HVX200 when it first came out and was not happy with it for various reasons. The EX1 resolved nearly ALL of those issues which were:

Great Low Light performance
Much Longer record times on the data cards
Much Faster transfer speed from the data cards
1/2" chips

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Bob Pierce
Re: Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 13, 2008 at 8:43:58 pm

I love the EX1. I really believe that it's a revolutionary camera, kind of what the VX1000 was all those years ago. It is the only camera of its kind that offers full raster 1920x1080, and the lens is simply amazing for what it is. I've intercut Ex1 footage with the HDX900 (with a lens costing 3x the EX1) with absolutely no problem. I originally planned for the EX to be my stopgap camera until I could save up for a PDW700. After using this amazing little camera for a few months I'm in no hurry to upgrade. You can get one with 2 16 gig cards, wide angle adapter, extra battery and portabrace for under $10k. You will probably want an SDI HD field monitor as well, but that might put you over your limit.
Good luck!

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Ikegami HLDV7 - PVW EX-1

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Gerardo Campos
Re: Sony SxS vs. Panasonic P2 - Which Camera To Buy?
on Sep 15, 2008 at 4:21:00 pm

wau, you are trying to compare a Ferrari with a Yugo. I mean the EX1 has real 1920x1080 CMOS, the HVX200 has a 960x780 CCD, a little more than SD sensor, so, to produce a 1440x1080 image has to interpolate unreal pixels, and to produce a 1920x1080 has to do more fake pixels. The the image from the HVX200 is more than 50% unreal when you work in HD.

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