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Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?

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Bryant Shunk
Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:13:35 pm

I am looking to purchase a camcorder in the 2500-4000 US dollar range.

I am going back and forth on the Sony hxr-nx5u.

Is there a comparable camcorder in this price range (certainly does not have to be Sony)?

I will be using the camcorder to video weddings and documentaries, as well as, online internet music videos and commercials.

I will be editing in Final Cut Pro on a MacBook pro. In the near future I will be upgrading to an Imac.

After reading many reviews on this camera, I would like to come here to receive your trusted professional opinions. Please tell me about your experiences with this camcorder, and if you believe it is worth purchasing.

Any information that you can provide in regards to other comparable camcorders is greatly appreciated as well.

Thank you all for your time!!!

--Bryant


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john lenihan
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:48:43 am

I have 4 of the NX5u and I use them for the purposes you describe.

I make a full time living at it and believe for this purpose they are the best.

Low light.
20 x zoom.
128 gig recording unit.

Their main problem is that the focus loves vertical lines. Which mean you have to look at your monitor closely when shooting a face with a brick wall behind it.

I expect within the next couple of years zony will come up with a new version with face detection or such. Howevever, until that time, I believe that they are the best for the itesm you indicated.

John Lenihan

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Bryant Shunk
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Jul 27, 2013 at 6:58:01 pm

Would you guys recommend buying directly from the Sony store online, or buying from a site such as B&H? At B&H it is a few hundred dollars cheaper, but if there are any problems with the camera would it be easier to deal with Sony if I have bought it from them?


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Joseph Morgan
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Jul 27, 2013 at 12:09:48 pm

It's a really great piece of kit. I looked at several options before deciding. Glad I went with it.

Joseph


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David Eaks
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Jul 27, 2013 at 10:54:48 pm

I might as well copy/paste Johns post and use it as my own. Though I don't own any FMU-128 units, just lots of 32GB UHD SDHC Cards.

I did have to send one NX5 in for repair after having it for about a year (one I bought used), it would turn on but was totally unresponsive. Its been fine ever since.

Buying from B&H is an excellent choice. Top notch customer service and return policy, just in case your not happy.

I've been eyeballing the Sony NEX-EA50 but it would probably put you over budget, I have a colleague who should have taken delivery of one about a week ago. Looking forward to checking it out in person and dropping some clips on a timeline.


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 1:40:06 pm

Just FYI, the new PMW-160 is the upgraded NX5. The NX5 was a Sony experiment using AVCHD. The 160 is the NX5 except its 50Mbs XDCAM EX instead of AVCHD. For $600 more, the PMW-200 is a better camera with its 1/2" chips. It is the replacement/upgraded EX1.

I have an NX5U and edit on Adobe CS6 and I LOVE the camera. I have the FMU128 hard drive too and its a must have accessory. No real complaints except there is a small focus issue. Essentially you zoom in, critical focus, zoom out, then slightly turn the focus ring to the right to get a crisp focus. It's a slight defect with the chips, not the back focus.


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john lenihan
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 2, 2013 at 1:53:59 pm

Michael,
Thanks,
How do you know these things?

John

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 5, 2013 at 5:33:55 pm

John,

I work in local news and run a production company. It's important to me to stay up-to-date on the latest technology in the industry to stay ahead of the competition. I also get my hands on the new cameras frequently to at least do a half day test. I also have friends who are industry insiders that fill me in on things from time to time.


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 5, 2013 at 5:45:09 pm

Also, in reference to the NX5 focus issue, the Panasonic HPX370 has the same issue. Again, its the chips not the back focus. In very low light, set up the 370 with shutter off, filter wheel at 1, db gain at +6, and iris set to 2.8, then focus the shot. Now open the iris all the way open and you'll notice the focus getting blurred and soft. It's a problem with light reaching the chips, not the glass. This is why camera prices jump significantly as the chip size in the camera gets bigger. Anything less than 1/2" will not perform well in low light and needs an experienced shooter with the ability to recognize the flaws and how to work around them in order to get a good shot. NX5 is no different. Many of these cheaper cameras are marketed to wedding and event videographers BUT evey wedding reception I've shot has been very low light and these cheap cameras produce a horrible image in those situations. That's why I went from a Sony HVR-HD1000U to the NX5 for weddings. The NX5 still has its issues but I can work around them to get a great picture. Not possible with the HD1000. I also have a HPX370 and hope to have a PMW-200 soon.


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john lenihan
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 5, 2013 at 6:13:22 pm

Thanks Michael,

When I look at the PMW-200, however, it doesn't look like a next generation NX5U. True, it has a 20x zoom, but it records in xdcam on sd cards, instead of the more compact avchd.

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 6, 2013 at 12:39:26 am

John,

You're right, the 200 isn't AVCHD. It was Sony's first attempt at using AVCHD as a professional codec. Since then Sony has begun to essentially scrap AVCHD because of its lack of functionality in post-production. What Sony basically did was upgrade the EX1 to the PMW-200 then strip the 200 of 1/2" chips and put in 1/3" chips and replaced the EX1 glass with the NX5 lens and called it the PMW-160 which is the NX5 upgrade. I'm betting you don't see another pro AVCHD cam from Sony unless its a single 1/3" chip camera to compete with say the Canon XA-10. Expect future upgrades to cameras like the FS700 to also scrap AVCHD for XDCAM.

Remember, Sony's Z5U was a hugely popular camera but it was HDV. When all these cams started going tapeless, Sony needed a quick card based cheap camera. The solution was turn the Z5U into a tapeless camera, which became the NX5U. AVCHD was the easiest solution at the time because Sony didn't want to use the EX1/3's XDCAM EX format at that time because the EX1 & EX3 was the only cameras of its kind on the market at the time and Sony didn't want to give consumers a cheaper option with the proprietary codec. Since then we've seen vast improvements in codec development and functionality of SD cards to a point SD cards can handle the pro codecs now. That wasn't the case when the NX5 was released.

In the end, the NX5 was a one of a kind and the NXCAM line is slowly dying away. It's still a great camera but seeing is how the price of a new one just dropped neary $900 to $3100, I expect the camera to be discontinued within two years if not sooner.


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Bryant Shunk
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:32:04 pm

Michael, I appreciate all the insight. You are definitely helping me out more than all the many internet searches I have done.

What is the NX5U lacking in post production? I am not familiar with AVCHD, and I do not want to struggle greatly. I use final cut pro. Is there a camera that you would recommend over this that is in the same price range? Or should I look into going a step up to something like the PMW-160? The PMW-200 might be out of my price range.

Also, if you don't mind, where are able to locate such great prices? The cheapest I found the NX5U was on B&H for 3400. Perhaps the PMW-160 or 200 would not be as out of reach for me.

Thanks for all your assistance!


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 22, 2013 at 9:42:13 am

Because the NX5U shoots AVCHD, the file is much more compressed and makes color grading and manipulation in post very difficult because of the color space. This really only applies if you are doing high end production work. NX5U's are readily available for about $2800 on eBay. Don't get me wrong, I love the NX5 but it is outdated compared to the newest crop of cameras. The 160 really is the newest NX5.


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Tony Esposito
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Aug 22, 2013 at 7:28:54 pm

I have 3 of these cameras and love them. For the price and the features they have they are the best for the buck if you are a Sony person. I get what Michael is saying and I hope the format stays around for years. I need to buy 2 more SDI out type camera and will either do 2 more of these or 1 more and something like the 300 with an interchangeable lens. These formats are changing way to fast to build up set ups then have them change on you so I hope the workflow last for years. Michael, can I mix the 2 formats in post like the nx5 and the 160 if both shot at 1080 60i? This is the only thing I worry about buying different now. I came from Sony DSR 250's and loved them.


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Michael Johnston
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Sep 9, 2013 at 6:59:32 pm

Yes, with today's NLE's you can mix pretty much any formats. Just remember that doing so often increases render times when it comes to exporting the finished product. A solution to consider is attaching a recorder like the Nano Flash or Samuri via SDI to each camera and recorder to those recorders instead of the cards in the camera so everything is the same format and codec and you can take advantage of the uncompressed HD signal the cameras put out via SDI.


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max ciszek
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:36:42 pm

May be this is silly question, but how I can replace lenses on this camera ?


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Tony Esposito
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:40:46 pm

You can't. You would need to buy another model or interchangeable lens camera.


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john lenihan
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:42:17 pm

You have to send it in to repair and replace it.
It is not field replaceable.

I actually spent $100 and bought the shop manual. It is what the sony service department uses. After looking at it, I decided I did not want the downtime that I might cause myself by trying to do it.

John

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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max ciszek
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Apr 1, 2014 at 7:51:09 am

Thank You


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Ed Horn
Re: Is the Sony HXR-NX5u worth purchasing?
on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:37:05 pm

I agree- thank all of you for your insight. This is the kind of info you will usually not get from sales people- unless they have invested in you or your company... lol. Looking at the NAB 2014 next week for new product to see if there will be a better upgrade at similar price point vs. more reduction on the 5u due to it's successors. Thanks again.


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