We are currently using a Digibeta camera and are investigating the purchase of an HD camera. We recently produced a video similar to the Honda documentary series, http://dreams.honda.com/#/video_ni and have been told by our DP's that in order to acheive that same look with an HD camera, without being 40 feet away, will depend on the chip size. We were seriously considering the Sony EX3 because it does 1920x1080 instead of the more common 1440. But it only has a 1/2 chip. I have noticed that a good number of you are using HD cams and I was wondering what are your thoughts regarding 1/2 v. 2/3 chips.
Sr. Editor/Director of Post Production Operations
Moving Pictures, Inc.
True full raster 2/3 CCD cameras are in their own class. CMOS sensors are getting better all the time and the Sony EX cameras have an amazing 3-1/2 CMOS sensors that can produce (IMO) much better images than say the HPX-500 that has 3-CCD 2/3 sensors. This HPX-500 doesn't have true full raster 1920x1080 resolution and you will get what you pay for when shopping for a 3-CCD Full Raster camera. However to take advantage of the full potential of any camera you also need to avoid its recording compression. DVC-Pro HD is a 960x540 resolution @100 Mbps/all i-frame codec, the Sony EX is a true 1920x1080 resolution @35 Mbps/Long GOP codec. While the Panasonic codec has a desirable bit rate it lacks the resolution footprint. The only Panasonic that has full raster CCD's is the HPX-3000, an after pricing this camera you will go back to your DP and find out he is basically looking for shallower depth of field that comes naturally with larger sensors, but is this worth 3-4 times the outlay for what you produce.
There is also new HD-SDI recorder on the market that can allow you to take full advantage of the Sony EX camera (or any camera for that matter) that you should know about. It is the Convergent-Design Nano Flash HD/SD digital compact flash recorder that allows you to choose the bit rate that best fits the project needs. Bit rates from 50 Mbps SD, 35Mbps - 220 Mbps all i-frame HD.
I highly recommend you check this out. http://www.convergent-design.com/
If you're looking for shallow depth of field you will want a lens adapter for either 1/2 and 2/3 cameras, and even if I had the new SONY XD CAM PDW-F800 I would still want the Nano to take advantage of the potential of this camera.
Now to your question, 1/2 vs 2/3? I would love to have the larger sensor but it comes at a premium.
I think it will come down to budget and IMO you won't find a better full raster HD image than the Sony EX cameras for under 10K.