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F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off

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F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Jan 29, 2007 at 4:36:52 am

Regarding our Sony HDCam and what lead to our comparison test between the Panasonic HDX900 and an Sony Cinealta F900.

Here is a summary of a recent letter sent thru our West Coast Sony rep:
To: Sony of America management.

(The actual letter contains 5 pages of details. If you don

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Nate Weaver
Re: F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:09:56 am

I suppose you're entitled to your opinion, but since I'd characterize the HDX as being the same res as a Varicam, but with newer and cleaner chips/DSP, I sure as heck wouldn't consider the HDX being as high res as a F900, nor would I really consider the two to be competitors for the same job.

The HDX is a great camera...but I wouldn't use it on a job I'd usually use a 900 on, if I needed all the 900 can give.

New website, new work online:

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Michael brennan
Re: F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Mar 24, 2007 at 1:00:18 pm

Had a similar experience with Sony Europe until they saw reason (after many months) and replaced my first lemon f900.
2nd f900/3 has been AOK. They should have waited another 6 months to finish developing the thing, the first cameras off the production line were dire. They haven't rushed into launching XDCAM HD so lets hope it works as expected, but note that they never work as advertised!

We each have a different style of shooting, markets and audiences are diverse which results in different perspectives.
In my view for SD work the difference between the 900s in terms of resolution is minor.

But watching HD channels on a large 1920x1080 set the difference between programmes shot with 2.1 million pixel camera camera and a 920k pixel camera is clear, at least to me. Compare American Chopper to live football.

I refer to the point already made that doing a test that does not involve post workflow does not tell the whole story.
A 24 inch CRT should not be sole source of reference in regard to evaluating resolution, prism colour fringing and any optical differences between lenses.
To state the obvious, Panasonic is more sensative because they have half the number of pixels so they are larger and suck in more light.

I promote 1920x1080 capture and 10bit recording for HD work. This unilateral approach is not always the best business decision!
For HD transmission, 1920X1080 pixel 10Bit recording is where our future lies, otherwise something like a progressive scan DVW 970 10bit digibeta has a cleaner picture to air with more tonality than any 8 bit HDcamcorder.

Thats why Sony didn't release the DVW970 until three years after HDCAM, it looks better on SD transmission than HDCAM.

Wonder what they aren't releasing at the moment!

Mike Brennan

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tony salgado
Re: F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Jan 29, 2007 at 4:24:58 pm


The F900R is more ideal to be compared to the HDX-900 not the outdated F900/3.

In anycase looking at the cameras live or playback from the onboard vtr does little to understand what occurs in post after the image has been recorded to tape.
When push comes to shove the differences between the two cameras will be easily apparent in post.

FYI depending on how the manual knee (DCC in Sony world) is set up this will have a major impact on how much detail you retain in the highlights it sounds like the F900/3 you used only had a mild
DCC setting which could have impacted the results you were viewing when you compared the HDX-900 to the F900/3/

I personally would have used a Ecinema display to compared the two cameras instead of the Sony CRT monitor to really see the spacial resolution differences.

I recommend selling your F900/3 on the open market and get more than what Sony offers and even if you only get under 30K for it you will still be able to
buy the HDX-900 outright given the lower cost. You can't lose out on this one given the price Panasonic is offering for the HDX-900.

I believe everyone has at sometime in their career suffered the pain of working with a lemon camera or piece of gear regardless of the vendor and it is a horrible place to be.
Without knowing the full details of what occurred I wonder why Sony did not offer you a straight across trade in for another F900/3 to replace your defective camera?

This clearly would have been the best thing to do to make you "whole" again. Did you ever ask Sony or your dealer to simply replace your lemon F900/3 with a working F900/3 as a straight across swap?

You did not mention the specific failures on your F900/3 in your post and this would have been useful for finding other users who have had the same possible issues.

Determining if the issues are unique to your camera body or a sign of an overall bad design is critical.

I work with the 900/3, 900R, HDX-900, Varicam etc and I can tell you that as the HDX-900 is a great camera at its price point but there are major differences in terms
of operational use (ie file structure), exposure range, spacial resolution, easy interface with existing accessories (ie RCP panels) etc that really set the two cameras (F900R and HDX-900) apart in terms of my specific workflow and expectations.

One of the major highlights the 900R offers is hypergamma which has to be used to really understand what it allow both creatively and technically for a DP or video engineer.

The 900R is not perfect in anycase either as I have discovered some items which need to be resolved and I have passed on that feedback to the rental houses and dealers I work with.

Only your clients and you can decide what best meets your needs and I highly recommend talking to several other owner/operators as well as major rental houses to describe their experiences with both
Sony and Panasonic service. You may be amazed to learn you are not the only one who has had issues with either company positive or negative.

In closing no one camera is ideal for all cases and I regret that you have had such bad problems with your F900/3.

I wish you the best of luck in resolving your problems and hope you can move on to better results with your next camera purchase.

Tony Salgado

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Edward G Downie
Re: F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Feb 1, 2007 at 2:35:37 am

The HDX900 is a great camera, on a regular HD monitor there is not much difference to the F900 but when you put them on the big screen you can see the difference and the F900 look a lot better. I love the HDX900 because I can save and owned myslf one the F900 I have to rent. As to service I think JVC is the best of all in service is a pitty the format they are pushing I am not interested. I started out in 1992 my first camera was a Panasonic wvf250 I hated that camera and for a very long time I refuse to buy any Panasonic camera I baught Hitachi SK series and dock with JVC D9 back, now I am crazy about the HDX900 I have only one resurve the recording head is 9 micro instead of 16 micro like the varicam but it is almost the same camera at one third the price.

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Tim Kolb
Re: F900 vs HDX900 Why we had a shoot off
on Feb 10, 2007 at 3:56:20 pm

[Edward G Downie] "As to service I think JVC is the best of all in service is a pitty the format they are pushing I am not interested."

Just as an illustration of the earlier point that no camera company is perfect...I was originally the moderator of the JVC ProDV forum here. After some rather exasperating problems with JVC service (equipment arrives back with the same problem after they had it for 5 gets shipped back immediately for 3 weeks so they can actually fix it...), I have found that I have an intensely difficult time recommending any JVC equipment anymore.

Unfortunately these events burn into one's memory...and colleagues who bought JVC equipment on my recommendations locally got hosed terribly...a DV500 that basically never worked dependably and a DV700 that spurred a FireStore purchase not because it was convenient, but because it was critical to actually recording anything as the tape ransports were unbelieveably undependable.

It is interesting how these companies will take an opportunity to really make good in a situation like this where they could really shine and earn a customer for life, and simply blow it. I can understand it more in JVC's case where this equipment was obviously very low margin and was not high-priced...leaving very little profit margin to support the service function, but if you extract $100K for a camera from's probably in your best interest to support them.

Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,

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