EX-3 vs new Panasonic AG-HPX300
Any thoughts on which one is the better product?
Also Is the EX-3 tru 4:2:2. Only reason I ask is because on the Sony product detail sheet it says 4:2:0 but maybe that's just an HDV option?
Personally I lean towards the Sony simply because I've had success with Sony in the past and I have little reason to believe it wouldn't serve me well now. On the other hand I know that most broadcasters are moving to Panasonic. Any idea why they would lean that way?
[David Battle] "On the other hand I know that most broadcasters are moving to Panasonic."
Sony might have something to say to the contrary about that statement. There's no denying that the new Panasonic HPX300 is a benchmark camera with a very impressive list of attributes. It sets a new standard in the "most bang for the buck" category. A pro shoulder mount camcorder for less than eleven grand USD tends to get people's attention in a hurry.
What will keep me away from it however, and remain solidly in the EX camp are a few things:
The new HPX300 may just hasten a new similar model from Sony.
The EX series cameras record 4:2:0 colour space to the cards in all modes but if you have your heart set on 4:2:2 recording then you can get that through the HD-SDI port. Trust me, there's so much resolution from the EX CMOS chips that you needn't be concerned about the 4:2:0 thing.
Important things, some of which Don alludes to:
4:2:0 vs 4:2:2's impact is relative to the pixel count (density). It's why the EX keys so well in progressive.
EX XDCAM can be a MUCH FASTER workflow which can be important for ENG or even Reality TV shows.
"Broadcasters" is a sweeping comment and I certainly see many broadcasters using the EX because of the fast turnaround possible.
In addition there are ENG and other shooting situations where you do NOT want a shoulder mount camera and having 1/2" chips in a small camera makes Sony EX unique
SDHC is now close to the price of XDCAM disk which, for many broadcasters, solves the archival issue. In many cases you no longer need to bring a laptop and offload during a shoot.
And 10 bit uncompressed 4:2:2 out of HD-SDI certainly is very good. AVCIntra is very good too though but in many real world situations the "best" workflow is not just about the codec.
I'll best that fact that JVC now has a shoulder mound CCD XDCAM EX camera is going to have impact.
I wouldn't be surprised if Sony's answer is a "true" shoulder mount 1/2" EX camera with 50bmps 4:2:2 (like the disk based PDW-700 with an EX variant).
It's almost as if the choice is more about workflow than a single "best" camera these days.
Thank you Don and Craig. Both very helpful posts.
You're right I should clarify my statement about broadcasters (I was definitely overgeneralizing). I work in the DC market, our company produces mostly corporate to corporate video's or in house video's. Occasionally we'll bring in some freelance shooters that do the majority of their work for FOX and CNN. These shooters have consistently shared that those media outlets are moving towards Panasonic, I know this for certain with FOX (CNN is questionable). Even still that could just be the DC market that is moving in that direction.
Overall for my company's purposes the EX-3 seems like the better fit. Workflow is huge and ultimately the smaller size of the Sony fits our run and gun style much better than a full size Panasonic would. Also we edit on Final Cut Pro and from everything I've gathered Sony has made a point of making Final Cut a part of their system.
So thanks again for your posts, any additional thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I own an EX1 and the biggest issue I have is the handheld problem. My DVX100 was easier to handhold. The ex1 is just too heavy and unbalanced. I like sony as well but they really need to produce a shoulder mount sub 10k camera. If you are really a run and gun style shooter then shoulder mount is the way to go. Been doing this for 16 years, trust me run and gun on Ex1 is almost impossible even though I have done it. That being said I wonder if the EX3 is much better. I'm hearing various opinions.
Perfect camera: shoulder mount, anton bauer batts, 4:2:2 1080p native. 1/2" interchangeable lense, (2/3 would be better but the it wouldn't be a prosumer cam anymore)
[Paul Miller] "I like sony as well but they really need to produce a shoulder mount sub 10k camera."
I can't help but think that's what's going to be announced at NAB.
Don't forget JVC just did that with the HM700 which is a shoulder mount XDCAM EX camera. JVC and Sony are partners. I think the difference is/will be is that JVC is 1/3" CCD and Sony's variant will probably be 1/2" CMOS. This will give people a choice between chip size vs CMOS/CCD as well.
[Paul Miller] "That being said I wonder if the EX3 is much better."
To me the EX3 looks about as awkward as the Canon equivalent (and I suspect Canon will have a solid state camera announcement at NAB as well).
[Paul Miller] "Perfect camera: shoulder mount, anton bauer batts, 4:2:2 1080p native. 1/2" interchangeable lense, (2/3 would be better but the it wouldn't be a prosumer cam anymore) "
I can't help but think that Sony is going to do that within the year at most. Sort of an EX equivalent of the 700 maybe or maybe somewhere between the 355 and 700.
Sony's done some very different things (for them) in the last two years so I expect some surprises.
The SxS partnership (Sony/Sandisk), The JVC partnership (bringing XDCAM EX to another camera manufacturer), firmware upgrade to allow SDHC (which certainly benefits Sandisk given that cards might be sold and used like tape).
Yeh, I think NAB might have some innovative stuff from Sony this year as well.
I'm just curious how everyone delivers ex footage. I'm doing occasional reality TV work and for now the solution has been for them to ship hard drive, I transfer and ship back. Any better solutions?
Personally the only broadcast I've done in the last few years are local cable spots. I FTP those.
You could burn to Blu-ray data disc. You could even go to SDHC memory card. With the recent Sony/FCP update you can save the edit back to XDCAM EX MP4. They could then take that file from Blu-ray data disc or SDHC card and wrap to MXF if they need to go into an AVID to cut in commercial breaks, bumpers, etc, if they need to.
BTW the good thing about SDHC if you go that route is that if it's abused in shipping it's not likely to crash like a hard drive. The cards have write protect tabs as well. You do have to be careful that the cat isn't around when it falls on the floor or he could knock into the dark and dusty area under your edit bay.
[Paul Miller] "'m just curious how everyone delivers ex footage. I'm doing occasional reality TV work and for now the solution has been for them to ship hard drive, I transfer and ship back. Any better solutions?"
That's what I'm doing too. Hard drive to client with EX files converted to whatever they need to import directly into the particular NLE that client is using. We include the cost of the hard drive (usually small USB) in our quote. Most of the time the client keeps the hard drive because it's not worth the cost of shipping it back if they reside in another city (or country).
I can tell you with absolute certainty that CNN PREFERS full size XD Cam HD (in either the 300 series or 700 series) over anything else out there! If you shoot for CNN HD, this is what they mandate operators to use.
ABC News and CBS News are also "preferring" all of their acquisition on some form of XD Cam. Some shows are in SD @ 25Mbps, and others are IMX 50, while some are 50Mbps HD (@30 fps).
I think Sony fell behind in the race for a while, but with the release of the EX line, and it's capabilities, especially cross HD platforms, and feature sets, they are gaining back any ground they lost.
There has never been a larger buzz or sales orders for a single broadcast camera than the PDW700! The units Sony has sold in a single year is STAGGERING! Now, with it's nearly IMMEDIATE availablilty, and the impending "TRUE" 23.98 fps option board, MANY companies are leaning to the XD camp.
I've owned an F350 for three years. It was a tough sell in the beginning. I had to "suggest" it's use to clients. NOW, clients are calling because they WANT that format. I think it boils down to the storage and archiving of material. It's tougher to store P2 material. It's a slower transfer process as well. At the end of the day, it's fairly easy to transcode material from SxS cards to MXF files and have a physical piece of media sitting on the shelf with your footage on it.
Mac themselves are, in my personal opinion, the largest stumbling block for the MXF and EX files to overcome. Mac prefers to deal with everything in Pro Rez. I attended the Jackson, Wy HD Symposium in October of 2008. A "head" Mac designer told me personally that they "Never will want a user to edit material in a native codec... we want our users to edit in a QT format..." This is one of the reasons I'm no longer on a Mac.
As far as delivery of material to clients, I do one of two things with favorable reception: copy the ENTIRE BPAV folder to a USB hard drive or transcode the material and ship on an XD optical disc (clients choice).
Picture This Productions
Sony ICE Team
Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 HD/Matrox
I have always liked the Panasonic line up from an operators stand point but after a side by side comparison there was no contest the EX-3 cmos technology wins hands down. The image was crisper, it reacted to low light more favorably. It does have a dv cam feel to its housing at first but you will notice quickly the darn thing is pretty heavy. When the others decide to answer this level camera then we will see some great advancements in cameras. 1080p looked at little strange at the bottom of the lens. If your shooting sports from 50 feet away in low light you might not be happy with the look of the pulldown but what did i expect?
Shoulder mount is great, and it is looks like a very nice camcorder...
BUT.. 1/3" 3MOS sensor is a deal breaker.
I shot with the Ex-1 all last year and now have the ex-3. What I would like to see from Sony is the Ex-3 in a shoulder mount camera about the size of the 270U. I really like the work flow with the Ex and since I now have invested in the SXS cards I would like to see a full size camera developed around the EX. The only thing I dislike about the EX-3 is the design of the view finder. Since it does not come off and the camera is rather wide (because of the viewfinder) it is hard to find a bag that would allow you to travel and have the view finder protected.
If Sony made a full size EX camera similar to the Panasonic 300 with the 1/2 inch chips they would not be able to make them fast enough.
Kato Video Productions
[Ronnie Martin] "What I would like to see from Sony is the Ex-3 in a shoulder mount camera about the size of the 270U."
Well if you'll accept 1/3" CCD, JVC HM700 uses XDCAM EX codec and it's shoulder mount.
[Ronnie Martin] "If Sony made a full size EX camera similar to the Panasonic 300 with the 1/2 inch chips they would not be able to make them fast enough. "
I can't help but think this is going to happen soon. Just my gut but it seems like the next logical step for this NAB.
we got 2 ex-3's last September. so far, they have been great except the card door broke off. it came with a crack in it.. as we shoot a lot of music videos we have found the Ex-3 to work perfectly. it's light, and easy to move around with on a glidecam or a wheel. With a depth of field adapter and some Nikon lenses we have been getting amazing images, even in low light. Our clients can't believe it's so clear. They ask if it's film.
we also rent them out to a few other crews, and so far they love the images and the feel of the camera..
we turned away from the red, because we felt it was overkill for what we do, As most music videos end up on youtube.
Panasonic had to do something to keep up with Sony, not too sure if they did.
For what they cost us, they have been a great investment, and are a solid camera, no one is complaining.