I have on order two NXCAMs to replace my PD-170s. After reading the posts here i am very nervous about the purchase. Are there people who are having success with this camera, or do you advise selecting a different camera.
Scott Gifford Studios
I just got mine on Friday. The video is absolutely wonderful. However, if you don't have Vegas 8 or 9 then it is rather difficult to move the images. I am still testing mine out. I have not recorded long clip. After I bought mine, I start seeing all this blogs about problems that people are having with them.
Not sure what to tell you from this point.
I've been experimenting with this camera for a few weeks though it hasn't been "out on the road" yet. One user reports a back focus problem but haven't experienced this. Another describes a problem with writing to card and flash unit simultaneously,- I use only Memory Pro Duo cards and they work well. Importing files into Vegas Pro on the PC is hassle free (some users report audio issues with Final Cut on the Mac).
Picture quality is good but I was surprised that sharpness wasn't an obvious improvement on a consumer Panasonic HDC SD100 but I'm still experimenting with such menu items as "crispness".
I like this camera: you have good manual control but auto modes work well and I like the positioning of controls and the assignable buttons. You wouldn't want to hand-hold it for long but it's great on a tripod. Audio quality is really good but the switching of inputs takes a little getting used to.
I know that you were so nervous you called me directly. I want to record here my comments so others can hear them also.
I have been using two NXCam units with the optional sony flash 128 gig for 6 weeks now. I have used them for a wedding, soccer, fashion show, dance recital.
They are replacing the PD170s I had been using. I had almost bought a pair of ex 3s but did not. I am glad I did not. For blow and go shooting these are far better than ex1 or 3.
I absolutely would recommend purchasing them! They have some growing pains, but the improvement is well worth it.
1. Weight is 1 pound more than pd170. 6.5 versus 5.5 pounds. Balance is same as 170. Good front to back and side to side. Not lopsided like the ex3.
2. 20x zoom. In reality it is a little wider than the pd170 and a little more telephoto than the pd170. I was hoping for more on the telephoto side but this will do.
3. Low Light. With PD 170 and NXcam on tripods in a dark room at night with only light being from the thermostat 20 feet away. The pd170 had a nice image. The nxcam dark places had a little more noise in them. But the numbers on the thermostat were easier to read due to the more pixels. (both were zoomed so they framed the same amount of the thermostat.) I consider it a wash.
4. Uses all my equipment from PD170 days. L series batteries, Lanc controllers, ntsc external monitors.
5. A feature I really like is called peaking (strange name) that shows me which objects are in focus and which are out. Very helpful with complex fast changing scenes.
6. Best feature. 10 hours of HD on the 128 gig. Buy the 128 gig device. IT IS WORTH THE $1000. ! The SD cards are cute, but the 128 gig device is professional. I shoot an event Friday, two Saturday, one sunday, then copy them to my computer on Sunday night to edit on Monday.
1. Focus. Sometimes with my PD170 I found that if a window or mirror was behind the subject, even if the subject was in center of display, it would focus on the mirror.
With the NX5u I find that the window and mirror do not seem to cause this problem. However, if there is a very sharp detailed object behind the subject, it prefers to focus on it. I had a bride and groom and minister in the center of the viewfinder and roses blowing 20 feet behind them at the top. It focused on the roses.
The good news is a. The peaking tells you it is happening. and b. you can manually focus while it is in autofocus. Once I grabbed the ring and focused on the minister, it seemed to stay there and behave.
2. Timecode sync.
The timecode can be connected briefly from one camera to another, then they free run with the same timecodes. You can look on the camera and see timecodes which correspond to each other.
However, the software they give with the camera can't read the timecodes so it is wasted. The sony camera tech team says they are aware of it and may somehow fix it.
Since Vegas 9 is smart enough to take the video file directly from the camera, you would think it would read the timecode. NOPE. The sony camera tech said that none of the editors except Edius can read the timecode in the file. Nor the date and time for that matter.
Editing AVCHD is 5 times slower than editing AVI files. Multicam editing in AVCHD is unusable.
However, due to others on the forum, I now have a wonderful work around.
a. I purchased cineform Neoscene with AVCHD to Cineform version of AVI convertor engine.
b. Upon copying the files from camera to computer, I load them into Vegas and tell them to render as HD using the cineform encoder. Do this overnight. It is 5 times real time.
c. Then I load the cineform AVI files into Vegas and do my editing in real time, even two camera. After I am finished, I can render to DVD and also render to BluRay for my clients. They go nuts.
Enough for now.
LeniCam Video Productions
LeniCam Video Productions
Hey John, I bought two NXCAMs this week along with a pair of 128 flash drives. I do appreciate your input and I am looking forward to using the new format. I read the manuals and I am taking them on a job this weekend. Very exciting.
Scott Gifford Studios
I also bought an NXCAM and so far I have shot a wedding and absolutely loved it, not needing to worry about running out of tape means more time to worry about shooting better footage so moving to solid state is amazing and the plus with AVCHD is the amount you can record. One warning though it seems if you record a long clip you need the software to combine them coming out the camera, I had already dumped the files on my computer and couldnt seem to combine them but reading them off the camera with the software there was no problem at all (luckilly I had not deleted them off the cards as I wanted to make sure everything was ok). I have used Z1 and Z5 in the past and moving to the NX5 was no trouble at all.
I use premiere pro cs4 to edit and in the programme monitor I set the quality to draft and it runs fine for speedier editing. If something is going to be delivered in SD though and no chance of HD I would just shoot in standard as exporting took ages, it would just make life easier.
Thanks for the update.
I am glad to here you can edit the avchd directly in premiere.
Were you doing multicam, or a single camera in the timeline?
LeniCam Video Productions
It was multi cam, I was also shooting an alternate angle during the ceremony and speeches. It was AVCHD at 17mbps shot on a Panasonic SD700 and the Sony footage was 24mbps. It didn't run smoothly unless I set the programme monitor output to draft, but once in draft it ran fine. Even in draft though adding one single transition or effect just kills it, rendering takes a while but its fine after that.