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Choices, choices, choices, arent they hard?


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#1 Michael Maier

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 07:30 PM

Choices, are they ever easy?
I have been asked to DP a feature film project and was given the choice of 2 camera set ups. A DVC200 PAL with a fuji S14x6.2BERM which cost 15k when new and a DVX100a PAL or NTSC. Now that's a hard call. The film will be shot all at night with many exteriors. The DVC200 will probably be better in low light. It also has a sharper image I would think. Specially with the better lens. Not to mention the bigger chips for a better dof control. The 50i would be deinterlaced to 25p with fieldskit or magic bullet.
The only advantage of the DVX100 seems to be progressive scan. But, that's a big advantage when it comes to dramatic feature filmmaking. But if DVX100, which one, PAL 25p or NTSC 24p. I'm based in PAL territory as is the filmmaker.
Though one. Any opinions?

Edited by Michael Maier, 31 July 2005 - 07:31 PM.

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#2 Michael Maier

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:59 AM

Wow. 42 views not one single reply? Is that stupid of a question?
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 03:33 AM

Wow. 42 views not one single reply? Is that stupid of a question?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Why don't you run some comparative tests and post the results? Then people can have something to work with. I had never heard of the DVC200 (retail: $3900 w/o lens) so have no personal basis to make a comparison.

If you just want to know about the DVX100A, there are 29 trillion threads here and elsewhere to read and learn from. For that reason alone, if it were me, I'd probably pick the DVX100A. There's a much wider body of users and info. Plus, I've seen the results.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 10:15 AM

I'm not so much a fan of shooting narrative in interlaced-scan, so I'm biased. I'd go with the DVX100A PAL unless I could get a progressive-scan pro camera like a SDX900. But certainly I'd prefer working with a pro camera design on the set than a consumer design like the DVX100A. If you were talking about a better interlaced-camera as an option, like a 16x9 PAL DSR-570 or something, it would be a more difficult choice and I may default to the pro camera.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 10:40 AM

Hi,

I own a DVC-200, and concur with previous thought on this subject. Owning it, I'd probably shoot with it - there are some very good deinterlacers out there. The little lenses on things like the DVX-100 really wind me up.

Phil
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#6 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 01:00 PM

The 2 cams you mention -- the DVC200 and DVX-100a -- each have their advantages & disadvantages, as has been discussed. If possible, your testing should show which is appropriate for your end-to-end production path.

Since others have suggested some alternative cam choices, I guess I should mention the one closest to my heart, since I just bought one: The new Sony DSR-450WS. It's a fullsize, shoulder-mount 2/3" 16:9 DVCAM camcorder. It's Sony's replacement for the DSR-570WS. The PAL version of the DSR-450WS features 25p & 50i, selectable film gamma settings, color matrix controls, the works -- and uses removable 2/3" SD/HD lenses.

The list price of a DSR-450WS is several thousand USD less than a similarly-configured SDX-900 -- which has very similar camera head specs -- but the recording section of a SDX-900 is capable of recording 10-bit 4:2:2 @ 50 megabits/sec. vs. PAL DVCAM's 8-bit 4:2:0 @ 25 megabits/sec.

Daily rental costs for a SDX-900 may only be slightly higher than for a DSR-450WS, and since the latter is a new, just-released model it may be difficult to find. So I offer the above info just as a "FYI".

Best of luck with your project!

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#7 Sam Javor

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 07:52 PM

I would suggest simply calling the processing center that will be doing the uprez (if any) and see what they preferr.

there are couple other issues to address too that may influence choice... like mobility and appearance of professionalism. Some actors feel better about the project if the camera head is bigger than theirs (physically)... etc. Plus as far as police are concerned... do you think they would rather hassle something that looks like a news crew or something that looks like some kids with a handycam? :)
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#8 Michael Maier

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 05:46 AM

Thanks for all the replies.
It seems progressive scan has really won the crowd these days. I was surprised that many people recommended the DVX100a over a real professional camera, basically because of progressive scan.
In the mean time we did a test. I was right about the very only advantage of the DVX100a being the progressive scan. That's all it has to offer over the DVC200E. The DVC200E is the better camera. No question about it. It was easier to work with, had a way more pleasing lens and it's images were sharper than the DVX100a in 25p. I guess the extra resolution of progressive doesn?t make that much difference out of the paper. Also, in low light conditions, there was no comparison. The images from the DVC200E were cleaner. Sometimes, the DVX100a looked very noise in low light. DOF was another advantage. It was way easier to get an out of focus background or foreground with the DVC200E. As accessories are not really a concern, since we have tripod, batteries, dolly and a crane available to us for the DVC200E, the small form factor of the DVX100a is not really an advantage. Maybe the image stabilization could be used as a sort of steadycam. We don't have a steadycam for the DVC200E. But that?s all.
We will shot a small scene of the script for a better test. It's the darkest scene. It takes place in downtown. It's one of the scenes we will use the available city lights. We will shoot 50i with DVC200E (and deinterlace with fieldskit) and 25p with the DVX100. Then will color correct and finish it as we would the real film. Then project with a good projector and see which camera holds up through post production best and which looks best when projected.. Low light performance is very important for this project.
So far, in my opinion, it seems progressive alone didn't take the place of a real professional camera yet. We'll see what the final tests say.

Some comments:

David, so you seem to recommend the PAL DVX100a over the NTSC, even though the PAL shoots no 24fps. Is that based on the higher resolution?

TimJBD, I did a search on DVX100 threads, but failed to find all the 29 trillion you mentioned.

Phil Rhodes, I share you dislikes for prosumer lenses. That's one thing which makes the decision lean towards the DVC200E, along with chip size.

Peter DeCrescenzo, the DSR450WS is out of our budget and quite frankly, before dumping that kind of money on a 4:1:1 DV camera, I might buy a HVX200. Yes, the chips are smaller, but that's about it. It has better resolution, most likely at least equal lens (since it's HD, it has to be at least as good as the best SD lenses), shoot variable frame rates, is 4:2:2, it also does 16:9 and cost much less. I know it will be a prosumer form factor camera with fixed lens, but in this case the advantage is not only 24p.
But thanks for the tip ;)

zekthedeadcow, that's a good idea.

Thanks everybody.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 11:39 AM

The NTSC version is also called the DVX100A. I wasn't recommending the PAL over the NTSC version other than you seem to be shooting and posting in a PAL country, so you might as well stick to the PAL version. Yes, it has 100 more lines, which helps too, but if you were in an NTSC country, I'd suggest the NTSC version of that camera.

Well, certainly a pro interlaced-scan camera delivers better pictures technically -- a 16x9 PAL Sony Digital Betacam makes great pictures compared to a consumer camera -- I just can't stand the look of interlaced-scan for narrative no matter how clean, sharp, and noise-free it is. The only reason to still go for the pro camera, even though interlaced-scan, is just the working methodology on the set more than the picture quality.

If picture-quality is your main concern, go with that pro interlaced-scan camera if you can't get a pro progressive-scan camera. If a film-look is your main concern, go with the progressive-scan camera.

Although personally I don't see why you don't just RENT a better pro progressive-scan camera. For what it would cost to buy and accessorize a DVX100A, you could rent a decent pro camera for two or three weeks of shooting. I once rented an F900 HD package for a month for $10,000 flat from some owner.
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#10 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 01:37 PM

... the DSR450WS is out of our budget and quite frankly, before dumping that kind of money on a 4:1:1 DV camera, I might buy a HVX200. Yes, the chips are smaller, but that's about it. It has better resolution, most likely at least equal lens (since it's HD, it has to be at least as good as the best SD lenses), shoot variable frame rates, is 4:2:2, it also does 16:9 and cost much less. I know it will be a prosumer form factor camera with fixed lens, but in this case the advantage is not only 24p. ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi Michael: I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your production, but just to clarify several points:

PAL DV is 4:2:0, not 4:1:1 like NTSC.

The DSR-450WS is available today. The HVX200 isn't likely to be available until the end of 2005, and very possibly not until early 2006.

The signal to noise spec of the 2/3" DSR-450WS (63db PAL, 65db NTSC) is much better than most small 1/3" cams, probably including the HVX200. We'll have to wait and see.

The smear spec (resistence to vertical streaks caused by highlights) for the DSR-450WS is -140db. This is very, very good. There's a good chance the smear spec for the HVX200, like most 1/3" CCD cams, won't be nearly as good, if they publish it.

You appreciated the more flexible depth of field capabilities of the 1/2" lens on the DVC200 compared to the 1/3" lens on the DVX100a. Obviously a 2/3" lens on a cam such as the DSR-450WS enables even more DOF flexibility than 1/3" or 1/2" lenses. Also, the 1/2" & 2/3" cams use removable lenses, but the HVX200 will have a non-removable 1/3" lens.

Unless Panasonic and their lens supplier suddenly decide to begin giving away true HD-quality lenses at SD lens prices, it seems extremely unlikely the lens in the HVX200 (or any of the lenses included with the current crop of low-cost HD cams) is an actual HD lens by any stretch of the definition. Today, the least expensive HD lens available -- by itself -- costs far more than the expected cost of a HVX200 camcorder including its built-in lens. For that matter, a merely broadcast-quality 1/2" or 2/3" SD lens costs more than what the HVX200 will cost. Further, the smaller a lens is (1/3" vs. 1/2" or 2/3") the more difficult and expensive it is to manufacture with optical specs similar to larger lenses. I don't believe the lenses on any of the low-cost HD cams are HD lenses, period.

The 2/3" CCDs in the DSR-450WS have 1-megapixels each. The 1/3" CCDs in the HVX200 may have slightly more pixels, but of course each of these pixels will be much smaller than those in the 2/3" CCDs. As a result, megapixel 2/3" CCDs are typically much more light sensitive and far less suseptible to moire artifacts compared to megapixel 1/3" CCDs.

Since the CCDs in both the DSR-450WS and HVX200 have similar numbers of pixels, the HVX200 must upsample the imagery its CCDs create to record them at HD resolution. The video is blown-up, upconverted, however you want to say it. As with the "HD lens" issue discussed above, do you want this upconversion to HD to be handled by the inexpensive circuits built-into a low-cost cam such as the HV200, or by specialized external equipment designed for the task? Which do you think will produce better results? Also, external upconversion equipment will continue to rapidly decrease in cost (and/or increase in quality) over time, whereas the upconversion circuits in a low-cost HD cam can only be improved upon by replacing the entire cam.

The DSR-450WS has an SDI output option available, enabling external recording of "live" (not from tape) uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 digital video. To the best of my knowledge the HVX200 won't be capable of uncompressed _digital_ video output (I believe the HVX200 will have uncompressed analog, and compressed Firewire outputs only). External equipment capable of recording SDI 10-bit 4:2:2 digital video is already relatively affordable, and is rapidly decreasing in cost, size and weight.

Speaking of size and weight, the "handheld" formfactor of cams such as the HVX200 is only a benefit in a minority of cases. For tripod shooting (the most common case), the size of a cam is typically a moot point. For most handheld shooting, a true shoulder-mount cam produces noticably better results compared to a small handycam-sized cam. And shoulder braces for small cams can't replicate the balance and control afforded by a true shoulder-mount cam. Of course, certain handheld shots -- overhead and "fridge" shots come to mind -- can't be easily matched with a bigger cam, but these aren't frequently-used angles in most productions. For these specialty shots and productions which require "stealth" or "crash", a small cam can be worth its weight in P2 cards, but for everything else, a fullsize cam is preferrable.

The DSR-450WS also includes a hi-res B&W CRT 16:9/4:3 switchable viewfinder & a color LCD, timecode I/O, and genlock in. Plus, like the HVX200: Firewire and multiple XLR audio inputs.

It remains to be seen if properly-shot DSR-450WS DV upconverted to HD can look as good as properly-shot HDV200 DVCPRO-HD. Likewise with a filmout comparison. Keep in mind all of the factors mentioned above affect the outcome. It gets especially interesting when the DSR-450WS' SDI output capability is thrown into the mix, especially for productions which involve chromakeying, color correction, compositing and effects. I guess in about six months or so we'll have a better idea how these cams and combinations stack up.

The above are just a few thoughts which come to mind concerning why a cam like the DSR-450WS can be a very appropriate investment, both financially and in terms of production values. Depending on how much you value an infinite choice of quality lens options, DOF flexibility, low noise, smear & moire artifacts, low light capabilities, steady "handheld" handling, and flexible I/O including uncompressed digital video output -- a cam like the DSR-450WS may or may not be "more expensive" than a low-cost HD cam.

But if cash is tight, then renting a better cam -- or possibly owning a less-capable cam -- is the way to go. Myself, I already owned two "lesser" cams (PDX10 and DSR-250) before I got the DSR-450WS, and I continue to use them when a project requires their particular capabilities. It's all good.

Sorry for the long post. Again, best of luck with your project!

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#11 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 05:00 PM

Good points Peter.

The DV25 of the 450 and the 510 do not hold up so well with strong blues and reds. So the HVX will have an advantage as far as certain situations go with its 4:2:2 8-bit native footage. However as you mentioned the bigger cameras can output 4:2:2 10-bit uncompressed footage via SDI.

I recently shot a low budget fictional piece in the mountains of Wales on the 510. I used my usual settings, and corrected for the FLM gamma in post. I rendered the DVD MPEG file out in progressive scan with the correct flags and then played it on my progressive DVD player on a fully high def capable CRT via progressive component inputs. The results were fantastic and exceptionally film like. Zero noise, but absolutely amazing detail in areas such as the zips on peoples jackets as well as the texture of the materials, even in medium shots. Amazingly the landscape shots of the incredible views up there came out extremely well too.

Of course it won't hold a candle to 1080p from an F900 or 950, or a Viper, but for my purposes at my level the picture quality was amazing, and in fact look far better than any of the HDV stuff I have seen.
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#12 Michael Maier

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 08:25 PM

Hi Michael: I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your production, but just to clarify several points:

PAL DV is 4:2:0, not 4:1:1 like NTSC.

The DSR-450WS is available today. The HVX200 isn't likely to be available until the end of 2005, and very possibly not until early 2006.

The signal to noise spec of the 2/3" DSR-450WS (63db PAL, 65db NTSC) is much better than most small 1/3" cams, probably including the HVX200. We'll have to wait and see.

The smear spec (resistence to vertical streaks caused by highlights) for the DSR-450WS is -140db. This is very, very good. There's a good chance the smear spec for the HVX200, like most 1/3" CCD cams, won't be nearly as good, if they publish it.

You appreciated the more flexible depth of field capabilities of the 1/2" lens on the DVC200 compared to the 1/3" lens on the DVX100a. Obviously a 2/3" lens on a cam such as the DSR-450WS enables even more DOF flexibility than 1/3" or 1/2" lenses. Also, the 1/2" & 2/3" cams use removable lenses, but the HVX200 will have a non-removable 1/3" lens.

Unless Panasonic and their lens supplier suddenly decide to begin giving away true HD-quality lenses at SD lens prices, it seems extremely unlikely the lens in the HVX200 (or any of the lenses included with the current crop of low-cost HD cams) is an actual HD lens by any stretch of the definition. Today, the least expensive HD lens available -- by itself -- costs far more than the expected cost of a HVX200 camcorder including its built-in lens. For that matter, a merely broadcast-quality 1/2" or 2/3" SD lens costs more than what the HVX200 will cost. Further, the smaller a lens is (1/3" vs. 1/2" or 2/3") the more difficult and expensive it is to manufacture with optical specs similar to larger lenses. I don't believe the lenses on any of the low-cost HD cams are HD lenses, period.

The 2/3" CCDs in the DSR-450WS have 1-megapixels each. The 1/3" CCDs in the HVX200 may have slightly more pixels, but of course each of these pixels will be much smaller than those in the 2/3" CCDs. As a result, megapixel 2/3" CCDs are typically much more light sensitive and far less suseptible to moire artifacts compared to megapixel 1/3" CCDs.

Since the CCDs in both the DSR-450WS and HVX200 have similar numbers of pixels, the HVX200 must upsample the imagery its CCDs create to record them at HD resolution. The video is blown-up, upconverted, however you want to say it. As with the "HD lens" issue discussed above, do you want this upconversion to HD to be handled by the inexpensive circuits built-into a low-cost cam such as the HV200, or by specialized external equipment designed for the task? Which do you think will produce better results? Also, external upconversion equipment will continue to rapidly decrease in cost (and/or increase in quality) over time, whereas the upconversion circuits in a low-cost HD cam can only be improved upon by replacing the entire cam.

The DSR-450WS has an SDI output option available, enabling external recording of "live" (not from tape) uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 digital video. To the best of my knowledge the HVX200 won't be capable of uncompressed _digital_ video output (I believe the HVX200 will have uncompressed analog, and compressed Firewire outputs only). External equipment capable of recording SDI 10-bit 4:2:2 digital video is already relatively affordable, and is rapidly decreasing in cost, size and weight.

Speaking of size and weight, the "handheld" formfactor of cams such as the HVX200 is only a benefit in a minority of cases. For tripod shooting (the most common case), the size of a cam is typically a moot point. For most handheld shooting, a true shoulder-mount cam produces noticably better results compared to a small handycam-sized cam. And shoulder braces for small cams can't replicate the balance and control afforded by a true shoulder-mount cam. Of course, certain handheld shots -- overhead and "fridge" shots come to mind -- can't be easily matched with a bigger cam, but these aren't frequently-used angles in most productions. For these specialty shots and productions which require "stealth" or "crash", a small cam can be worth its weight in P2 cards, but for everything else, a fullsize cam is preferrable.

The DSR-450WS also includes a hi-res B&W CRT 16:9/4:3 switchable viewfinder & a color LCD, timecode I/O, and genlock in. Plus, like the HVX200: Firewire and multiple XLR audio inputs.

It remains to be seen if properly-shot DSR-450WS DV upconverted to HD can look as good as properly-shot HDV200 DVCPRO-HD. Likewise with a filmout comparison. Keep in mind all of the factors mentioned above affect the outcome. It gets especially interesting when the DSR-450WS' SDI output capability is thrown into the mix, especially for productions which involve chromakeying, color correction, compositing and effects. I guess in about six months or so we'll have a better idea how these cams and combinations stack up.

The above are just a few thoughts which come to mind concerning why a cam like the DSR-450WS can be a very appropriate investment, both financially and in terms of production values. Depending on how much you value an infinite choice of quality lens options, DOF flexibility, low noise, smear & moire artifacts, low light capabilities, steady "handheld" handling, and flexible I/O including uncompressed digital video output -- a cam like the DSR-450WS may or may not be "more expensive" than a low-cost HD cam.

But if cash is tight, then renting a better cam -- or possibly owning a less-capable cam -- is the way to go. Myself, I already owned two "lesser" cams (PDX10 and DSR-250) before I got the DSR-450WS, and I continue to use them when a project requires their particular capabilities. It's all good.

Sorry for the long post. Again, best of luck with your project!

- Peter DeCrescenzo

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>




Peter,

I do understand the differences between a 2/3 shoulder camera and a 1/3 handheld one. But with all you said, the HVX200 is still a 720p/1080p 4:2:2 vs a 480p/576p 4:1:1/4:2:0 which is what the DSR450 is. We talking DV50/DV100 vs DV25 here. We?re talking 1080 24p. The cheapest camera to do that is the F900, and it cost what, 100k?
I think, the main advantage of the DSR450 is the chip size. I doubt the HVX200 lens will be worse than a regular vanilla SD lens, which is what most people buy for a DVCAM. By the way, which lens do you have with your 450?
But that's all, as you said, yet to be seen.
However, I went out yesterday to test a canon XL2 , since we are considering it now for our project. It turned out, they also had a DSR450 and a DVX100a in house. As I already knew the DVX100a, I didn't bother with it, but I asked to test the 450 along. So we took the XL2 and the 450 out for a hour in town for in 16:9 and 25p shot. Filming on going traffic, people, buildings, all in close up and wide shots etc. Some water fountains and some shots of a passing by train(fast motion, since we were very close to it). Then we took it back and I asked to play both footages in their 20" sony monitor and A/B switch them. The XL2 footage held every bit of data to the 450 footage. Apart from colormetry and the fact I preferred the canon's color, the footage were in the very same level, with the XL2 looking just a bit more film like IMO. It was all shot in day light and I'm sure the 450 will beat the XL2 in low light conditions, but in day light, I was able to get great shots and match the quality of the 450 and I was not even really trying to compete with the 450. because I honestly didn?t think the XL2 would be up to the task. Al I did was focus and make sure the high lights didn?t blow . I can see the superiority of the 450 in many cases, but for a camera which costs less than 1/3 of the 450 camera head only, the XL2 seems like a better bang for my buck. I think for filmmaking purposes, the XL2 is the best bang for the buck right now, unless you can go with a SDX900 or one of the Sony IMX, which shoots 25p, and off course Varicam or Cinealta. But in for DV25, I feel the XL2 is the best bang for the buck. With the cash one saves from buying a 450 + lens, + batteries, he can buy a hell of a package for the XL2 and still have spare cash for lights or for paying a DP or for whatever he wants. He can buy a XL2 with a B/W viewfinder, a P+S 35mm adapter (or even go with one of the lower priced ones, which go for $1,000 and produce the same basic results. Actually, looking at demo footage from the P+S and the $1,000 one, I can't say the P+S is superior at all. Specially when it cost 8 times more. But just for the sake of it, let's consider the P+S),. Then he can buy a short set of 3 PL mount primes (used) and enough battery power to shoot a whole day and still come in 4 to 5 thousand short of a 450+lens and battery/charger. Honestly, with all I have seen from the P+S, this set up would guarantee him much better results than a 450 and lens could ever do. At least, from a filmmaking point of view. I'm sure one can find many things the 450 would do better, it cost over 4 times the price of a XL2 when you add a lens. But when it comes to narrative filmmaking, the XL2 package mentioned above would have the edge and would still be way cheaper.
The 450 is a great camera, but in the end, it's just 16:9 progressive DV25 video. If it was about 10k cheaper (for the cam+lens+battery), I would not be arguing here. I take a 2/3 camera over a 1/3 any day of the week. Specially given they have pretty much the same basic features(16:9 25p DV25, interchangeable lens) . I would even take a 1/2 in some cases (like in the case of the DVC200 vs a DVX100a, because they are not so far apart in price). But the 450 is just too expensive for a DV25 camera from a filmmaking point of view. Actually, I always thought sony gear was over priced. The Panna SDX900 is just a few thousand more than the 450 and is a DV50 camera.
I can see the 450?s high value for broadcast, corporate and general video work. But for filmmaking, you have to look at the big picture. In indie filmmaking, you need to squeeze the best out of your budget. In filmmaking, specs alone won't hold it together. It's also about style, feel and production value.
So, that was what I meant when I said the 450 is too expensive.

Edited by Michael Maier, 12 August 2005 - 08:31 PM.

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#13 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 03:10 AM

Hmm. Yesterday I visited someone who has also just bought a 510, and who also owns an XL2. The 510 appears to have a similar head to the 450. The guy in question was blown away by the picture produced by the 510 in comparison to the XL2, most specifically in areas such as picture noise and colour reproduction.

Making comments such as saying that the XL2 is more filmlike is rather a sweeping statement. The 450 has 9 seperate preset gamma tables for standard use and for filmout. The cameras picture can be modified in every way, and indeed it is meant to be set up to personal/company tastes. What you see out of the box is the base level neutral look.

Certainly in low light, as you mention, the 450 will beat the XL2 hands down. But in other areas too. Highlight handling for example, especially using the FLM gamma modes where they are rolled off very smoothly. With the knee circuits turned off, or using DCC, a lot of detail remains above 100ire. You will probably also find that the 450 reaches deeper into the shadows too and also has full control over black levels and flare in addition to the fully manual gamma controls.

Then we come to the lens. Much is dependent on this. Stick a HD lens on an SD camera and there is a good improvement in the picture. But also the quality of the lenses in general, especially the broadcast lenses, is very high indeed. The Canon J11 4.5mm lens for example has an exceptionally wide field of view, but with practically zero distortion to be seen anywhere. Verticals are perfectly straight.

Different people have a different idea of what is a great picture. I'd take the 2/3 camera any day of the week. Especially with offers such as the one on this page http://www.dvwarehou...cts.php?cat=216
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#14 Michael Maier

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 04:40 AM

Hmm. Yesterday I visited someone who has also just bought a 510, and who also owns an XL2. The 510 appears to have a similar head to the 450. The guy in question was blown away by the picture produced by the 510 in comparison to the XL2, most specifically in areas such as picture noise and colour reproduction.


Well, for each his own in terms of color. I, particularly, never like the electronic Sony look. I have always preferred Panasonic or Canon colormetry over Sony (and JVC since JVC is so similar to Sony in colormetry). Noise, as I said our footage was taken in day light. A nice day at that. I'm sure in lower light the Sony will be less noise.

Making comments such as saying that the XL2 is more filmlike is rather a sweeping statement.


Reason I said IMO ;)
It looks less electronic than the Sony. That was always a big problem I had with Sony. I remember how I hated the PD150 because of the same reasons (along with the lens and sound)

The 450 has 9 seperate preset gamma tables for standard use and for filmout. The cameras picture can be modified in every way, and indeed it is meant to be set up to personal/company tastes. What you see out of the box is the base level neutral look.


Well, actually, the electronic look I describe is not really only gamma, matrix etc. It's just something about the sony image which screams electronic. Even when it comes to the F900, I think the Varicam looks more film like on a video monitor. I can't really explain it. It might be matter of opinion, but I have meet many who share the same opinion, online and in person.

Certainly in low light, as you mention, the 450 will beat the XL2 hands down. But in other areas too. Highlight handling for example, especially using the FLM gamma modes where they are rolled off very smoothly. With the knee circuits turned off, or using DCC, a lot of detail remains above 100ire.


As I mentioned, the XL2 did great and it was a very bright day. It held extremely well in the high lights.

You will probably also find that the 450 reaches deeper into the shadows too and also has full control over black levels and flare in addition to the fully manual gamma controls.


The XL2 offers a great deal of control too. But there's no question the 450 offers more. Hey, it costs over 4 times what the XL2 costs ;). The point is bang for your buck. Indiefilmmaking is made of compromises.

Then we come to the lens. Much is dependent on this. Stick a HD lens on an SD camera and there is a good improvement in the picture. But also the quality of the lenses in general, especially the broadcast lenses, is very high indeed. The Canon J11 4.5mm lens for example has an exceptionally wide field of view, but with practically zero distortion to be seen anywhere. Verticals are perfectly straight.


You can use any lens with a XL2 too. Video or film. The array of mount converters available from Century and Optex are infinite. You can use PL and all B4 available to the 450 as well. But keep in mind, my price consideration for the 450 was including the cheapest 2/3 lens I could find. Anything better than that will only make it more expensive and the XL2 package I put together even a better deal.

Different people have a different idea of what is a great picture. I'd take the 2/3 camera any day of the week. Especially with offers such as the one on this page http://www.dvwarehou...cts.php?cat=216

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


So would I. But unfortunately, specs are not all to consider when it comes to indiefilmmaking. If the XL2 and 450 cost the same, I'm mean, there's no question about it. But one needs to consider the features/price ratio. In that department the XL2 wins. Again, remember I mean it all from a independent filmmaking point of view. Broadcast , corporate and other fields would be a different consideration. It would not much reason for a TV station or production house to buy a XL2 over a 450, if they can afford the 450 and it will pay for itself. Unless they need the smaller size. But for this, there are even smaller cameras.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 05:11 AM

Hi,

> I doubt the HVX200 lens will be worse than a regular vanilla SD lens

The HVX-200 entire camera system costs less than any reasonable SD lens. I suspect that it'll be considerably worse!

Phil
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#16 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 05:38 AM

TimJBD, I did a search on DVX100 threads, but failed to find all the 29 trillion you mentioned. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


www.dvxuser.com
http://www.forums.dv....jspa?forumID=2
http://www.dvinfo.ne...isplay.php?f=47
http://adamwilt.com/24p/index.html

That'll get you started and it took all of 30 seconds. Now try to find a similar amount of info on the DVC-200.

It's quite a stretch calling that a "professional" camera. I've been shooting on the streets of Washington DC and elsewhere for 20 years and have never encountered one. I suppose it may be popular with wedding guys and they are practicing a profession, so in that sense you could call it professional. Many, many, many more films have been shot with the DVX100 and 100A. You'll be hard-pressed to name one shot with the DVC200. There must be a reason for that.
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#17 Michael Maier

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:09 AM

Hi,

> I doubt the HVX200 lens will be worse than a regular vanilla SD lens

The HVX-200 entire camera system costs less than any reasonable SD lens. I suspect that it'll be considerably worse!

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not really Phil. The lens I considered for the 450 in my analogy cost only $3,000 from BH photo.

I would like to make it clear, that I'm in no way putting the 450 down. There's no question the 450 is better. But that's not what I'm talking about ;)

Edited by Michael Maier, 13 August 2005 - 06:16 AM.

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#18 Michael Maier

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:11 AM

www.dvxuser.com
http://www.forums.dv....jspa?forumID=2
http://www.dvinfo.ne...isplay.php?f=47
http://adamwilt.com/24p/index.html

That'll get you started and it took all of 30 seconds. Now try to find a similar amount of info on the DVC-200.

It's quite a stretch calling that a "professional" camera. I've been shooting on the streets of Washington DC and elsewhere for 20 years and have never encountered one. I suppose it may be popular with wedding guys and they are practicing a profession, so in that sense you could call it professional. Many, many, many more films have been shot with the DVX100 and 100A. You'll be hard-pressed to name one shot with the DVC200. There must be a reason for that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The reason is that the DVX is 24p and 9 out of 10 filmmaker wannabes think 24p is all there is when shooting a film.

If the DVC200 is not professional, I don't even know how I would qualify the DVX100a <_<
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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 08:27 AM

Hi,

> The lens I considered for the 450 in my analogy cost only $3,000 from BH photo.

That's not a "reasonable" lens!

Phil
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#20 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:07 PM

[quote name='Michael Maier' date='Aug 13 2005, 10:40 AM']
Well, for each his own in terms of color. I, particularly, never like the electronic Sony look. I have always preferred Panasonic or Canon colormetry over Sony (and JVC since
[/quote]

Colour is a subjectove thing, but as I said the camera can be set up to the users precise liking. I'm not sure what you mean by 'electronic look'? All other processes such as knee compression, low light saturation, highlight saturation etc can all be turned on or off too. The 450 would give you the flexibility you needed to create the image you wanted. The same goes for a Varicam, F900, F950 etc. I believe 2/3 cameras need to be judged on signal/noise ratio and contrast abilities, followed by detail and colour since the latter two attributes can be fully adjusted.

{quote]light. A nice day at that. I'm sure in lower light the Sony will be less noise.
[/quote]

Not just in low light, but overall.

[quote] something about the sony image which screams electronic. Even when it comes
[/quote]

Thats at odds with my experience with the Sony cameras which have produced nice natural looking pictures. Although I have set my camera up to have minimal electronic enhancement, so that could be the reason, which backs up what I said in the first paragraph.

[quote]As I mentioned, the XL2 did great and it was a very bright day. It held extremely well in the high lights.
[/quote]

You missed my point. Turn the knee off or use DCC on the 450 and select FLM gamma 1 and then compare dynamic range. With this setting if I am shooting a human face when there is a bright background the person in question is slightly shaded, such as today when I was shooting run and gun interviews with farmers at a market who were under awnings, I know that I can bring the faces into good exposure and realise that I can keep a lot of range over 100ire on the bright background. I can then bring things back into legal luminance in post.

You need to push things in order to make a subjectice comparison.

[quote]Hey, it costs over 4 times what the XL2 costs ;). The point is bang for your buck.
[/quote]

Bang for your buck is also subjective and dependent on what one does. Incidentally I am also heavily involved in indie moviemaking. Sometimes it is full of compromise, sometimes not. Not all indies shoot with MiniDV. Many shoot S16 or 35mm. If there isn't much choice in the matter then you have to go with what you are given. On the other hand renting a Varicam might cost you more, but then again it would probably give you more chance of a better distribution deal (assuming the movie is good) and therefore more chance of making your money back. In simple terms you have to spend money to make money.

Are you aiming to rent the camera or buy the camera? To be honest, between a DVX100 and an XL2, or the other Sony cam you mentioned, I would actually be much more concerned about supplementary equipment such as a really good tripod, access to good lighting, dolly's and jibs etc. When I used to be using a Canon XM1 day in and day out to make my bread and butter the reason I used to fool people into forgetting stuff was shot on a handycam was through extensive use of Glidecam and other camera movement.

If you can compose a great shot, light great, and have great camera movement, then I think the choice between several different MiniDV cameras is much of a muchness.

Without knowing what the aims for distribution of the project are, or whether you have a sales agent or good producer on board already I can't really say any more than that.
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