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Sony DSR450 or Panasonic AJ-SDC615 for news


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#1 Peter Newsom

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 09:02 AM

I have been a betacam owner/shooter for many years.

Recently, I picked up a nice gig shooting NHL sports news for a Canadian sports broadcaster. Currently I'm working with my old BVP90/BVV5 package but I need widescreen soon. The client won't require HD for at least three years, and they cut and feed most of their stories from a cable station that has IMX and DVcam machines, but no HD or DVCPro50 capability. I also need to be able to feed post-game clips from the rink. The client currently uses mix of Sony DSR370's and 570's at their other bureaus across the country, and they are happy with DVcam. Typically, I hand the tapes to the reporter at the end of the shoot, and he goes off to edit his piece on an Avid system.

I like the DSR-450 because of the features and the resolution. I don't like it because of the 1.5" viewfinder and -10db audio out.

I like the AJ-SDC615 because it can be bought with a 2" view finder, and the +4db audio out. It also does firewire both ways and can record pool feeds.

Because this is a straight forward news gig, I doubt that 24p will be big factor because the shooting is really just clips, b-roll, and sit-down interviews.

Both cameras come in at about $13,000 CDN but a 2" view finder for the Sony will bump it's price up by about $2000. I have yet to try either of the cameras, but I am making arrangements to do so.

Which would you choose, or is there something else out there that would be better.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 10:53 AM

Hi,

I've used the 450; I haven't used the Panasonic, so all I can do is tell you about it. Personally I found it to be exactly what a lot of indie shorts could have used so well, if HDV hadn't come along and eclipsed the need for a DSR-500 with progressive scan. That's not what you're after, though. It is small and light, Sony pictures are nice, and I don't see that you should be using the camera as a VTR anyway so the audio outputs and bidirectional firewire are little more than an occasional convenience. I'd get the 450 if only for the occasional use of progressive scan - you never know, you might get a gig doing some promotional stuff.

But the reason I replied here is that at this point, even if you have a very clear idea what it's for and what its lifespan is, buying more SD gear has to be a questionable call. Personally, I'd have to look at something like a Thompson Infinity, with which you can do similar work, but you'd have to sell your clients on tapeless workflow.

Phil
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#3 Peter Newsom

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 11:55 AM

Thanks for the reply Phil,

I don't feel that I'm in a position to push the client to buy hardware to suit me, so a new format is out. The work will cover about nine or ten months of the year, though not every day. The money is there to absorb the cost of the camera and yield a tidy return as well. Two years would easily make it worth while. I have worked with this company over the years, filling in here and there, but this is a much bigger chunk. I worry about the SD/HD investment thing too, but an F350 would run twice as much as the Dsr-450 and earn the same money for that work. On top of that, I'd have to buy a new lens as well. Three years from now when they do go HD, the camera scene will likely be completely different.

I need to be able to feed clips quickly from the stadium after the games, and I want to use the camera to do this. Buying a feed machine with +4db audio out will run an extra $6000 and cut into the profits. I can buy an adapter to up convert the audio from the camera, but it is extra gear to cart around and doesn't get me around the annoyance that Sony built a "gotcha" into what otherwise should make a very nice ENG camera. I agree that the progressive features of the Sony could well be useful, though I don't imagine I'll shoot too much series work with this camera. Still you never know.

I could also go IMX or SX, but since the client's other bureaus already use DVcam it doesn't seem to make much sense to buy a more expensive SD camera than necessary. I have never looked at broadcast cameras as disposable, but in this situation that's about what it amounts to.

What I really need is dependability. I have had many years out of my BVP equipment and it has been rugged. I worry to some extent about these "cheaper" cameras lasting and being dependable. Fortunately I am easy on my gear.

I talked to a Grass Valley/Thomson dealer a while back, but there didn't seem to be any of these cameras in extistence at the time. He hasn't called back since.
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