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Re: Varicam vs Cinealta

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john sharaf
Re: Varicam vs Cinealta
on Oct 27, 2009 at 12:43:04 am


Just as it was unclear what you meant by "Varicam", it's also unclear what you mean by Cine Alta. In the strict sense, "Cine Alta" is a line of cameras from Sony that is now advertised to be the SWR9000, PDW800 and the EX3. Of course in addition to these are the F23, F35 and variants of the F900, namely the 900/3 and the 900R.

All of these "Cine Altas" are different beasts with different recording formats, imagers, processors, bit depth and ergonomics.

Your most likely meaning is the F900 so the distinctions between the 900/3 and the 900R become pertinent. The F900R is a significant improvement over the /3, especially because of its smaller size and power use, improved digital signal processing and especially because of the "Hyper Gamma" settings which imitate to a large extent the 500% "Dynamic Range Control" on the Varicam. This feature (on both the Panny and Sony) is very useful in creating an extended dynamic range and therefore a more "filmic"look. In addition there are third party "User Gammas" that are also useful and even more agressive for the Cine Altas. BTW, the PDW800 has all these features too and offers a full 1920 horizontal resolution in recording vs. the horizontal down rez to 1440 in HDCAM.

Of course the higher end cameras in this line, specifically the F23 and as yet unreleased SRW9000 offer 10 bit recording in HDCAM-SR format.

Your question kind of reminded me of the confusion (that sometimes still exists) when I'd get a call from a news magazine asking for a 24p shoot. Do they want DVX100, SDX900, Varicam, F900, etc? I think you get my point. These vagueries can get everyone in trouble!


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