33 Replies Latest reply on Dec 4, 2007 2:08 PM by (jujufactory)

    Sony EX1 Q&A

    Level 1
      B&H in NY released a Q&A with a Sony Independent Certified Expert (ICE) about the EX1. Here's a sample with a link at the bottom:

      B&H: How does the picture quality compare between the F350 and the EX1?

      Its not easy to tell which camera is which unless you compare identical side-by-side shots. Id still rate the F350 higher, but when I choose to go out to shoot with the EX1 I never have the feeling that Im sacrificing picture quality by using the smaller camera. Whatever difference there is between the two, its marginal, and I actually think the EX1 has better color reproduction and cleaner blacks.

      B&H: One complaint about CMOS chips in video cameras is the noisy picture when shooting in low light. What did you think?

      I strongly disagree with that. The EX1 is a couple of stops faster than the F350, yet the blacks are noticeably less noisy. I tested the camera with a lot of night shooting and I've got no complaints.

      B&H: By recording in full 1920x1080 resolution, does this actually have a higher resolution than previous XDCAMs?

      Yes. Not only does the EX1 have better resolution than the F300 series cameras, it also has better resolution than most of Sonys high-end HDCAM camcorders which are also only 1440x1080.

      B&H: How would you compare the XDCAM SxS PRO memory cards to the Panasonic P2 technology?

      P2 was built on outdated technology before the cameras even came out on the market, but there wasnt a viable alternative at the time. Today, P2 is really showing its age and its only going to fall further behind. SxS cards, on the other hand, offer tremendous performance improvements.

      B&H: What are the possible post-production workflow scenarios for the EX1?

      EX1 footage can be easily integrated into any HD post-production workflow. Once you get the footage off of the card and into your computer, its just like any other footage. Whatever works for you now will work for you with the EX1. Even if youre still editing SD productions, the EX1 fits in fine. Ive been shooting 100% HD footage for over two years now, and yet 90% of my post-production work is still done on SD timelines. Its no big deal working with HD clips. In fact, Ill miss the days of SD editing when it comes to an end because of the advantages I get with scan/pan effects and cropping HD footage in an SD sequence. My advice is to shoot everything in HD now, whether you need it or not today, so you future-proof your footage!

      http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/find/newsLetter/Sony-PVW-EX1.jsp
        • 1. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          Boy that P2 answer looks pretty much word for word what I've read on Sony sites. This makes me question the I in his ICE title.
          • 2. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
            Level 1
            I've read similar comments on other sites. Is it an objective observation? I have no idea. I'm still waiting on reports from regular people who have used the camera. Then I'll be waiting on Adobe to update CS3 to recognise EX1 footage to see if it's stable on a CS3 timeline. The interview I linked is the first report I've read from an actual user. I'm sure more will follow in the near future.
            • 3. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
              Level 1
              What is even more mysterious is that a Sony rep at the government video expo in DC last week insisted Adobe already supported the sXs. It has a firewire out and perhaps he was talking about using the camera to injest. It was a real scrum in front of the camera and I only had about 20 minutes there. The HDV HV1U and the Z1U just stood there alone forelorn. I couldn't get any info on a reader or anything, but the cards were 8GB at $550+ and 16GB at $850+ the 16 will shoot 50 minutes at it's highest setting. The camera has two slots that doubles your time to almost two hours.
              • 4. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                Level 1
                Sony has a fairly comprehensive .pdf posted.

                http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/markets/10014/docs/xdcamEX_broch.pdf
                • 5. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                  Bill Heslip Level 1
                  Here is an interesting comparison between the EX1, HVX200, XH G1 and Z1J. The translation is not very good, but the images say it all.

                  The original Japanese site is here.

                  http://www.genkosha.co.jp/vs/sp/200712/
                  • 6. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                    Level 1
                    Deal Breaker.

                    I doesn't appear that EX-1 will transcode through the iLink. It will only out put HD Only. It seems that it will output SD thorough SD, SDI, Composite and S-Video.

                    Weird.
                    • 7. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                      >the cards were 8GB at $550+ and 16GB at $850+

                      That's kind of weird. I thought the ExpressCards were supposed to be so much cheaper than P2, but a 16 GB P2 is about $900. That's pretty much equal between the card formats.
                      • 8. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                        Bill Heslip Level 1
                        >I thought the ExpressCards were supposed to be so much cheaper than P2, but a 16 GB P2 is about $900. That's pretty much equal between the card formats.

                        The P2 cards are proprietary. The SxS cards are not (currently being made by both Sony and Sandisk). SxS card prices will drop once things get rolling.

                        Also consider that at 35 Mbps, the EX1 can record 3x the footage at a given card size than the HVX200 at best quality.
                        • 9. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                          Still, the prices are surprising.
                          • 10. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                            Level 1
                            The only thing putting me off the EX is the mpeg recording... why are Sony using mpeg?

                            All that extra quality seems pointless
                            • 11. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                              Level 1
                              From what I gather all HD records in Mpeg and we edit a proxy file. Apparently, at least at this first go, the workflow for SxS card includes and conversion to the MXF format for non-linear editing.

                              Dowmload that PDF above. To tell the truth, I am getting sick and tired of having to learn more stuff. :D

                              From what I could gather at the DC show, the new "Exmor" CMOS sensors have really addresed the noise issues, but they are only being used in the EX and therefore we are stuck with jumping into that format.

                              Pricey. B&H is even offering a $100 set of DVDs just to instruct users on how to operate the camera,
                              • 12. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                Level 1
                                "the workflow for SxS card includes and conversion to the MXF format for non-linear editing"

                                Not true. If you read the whole thing front to back you learn that you export to MXF format for backup, to store on that new crazy optical disc thingie that is similar to Blu-Ray. But it's just a backup feature. OR you COULD convert it to MXF if you so desire and edit those files.
                                But the idea is that all NLE's support native editing of the original .MP4 file. A perfectly streamlined workflow. We just need Premiere to get some support on it. All in a matter of due time.
                                • 13. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                  >From what I gather all HD records in Mpeg and we edit a proxy file.

                                  JVC, Canon and Sony use an MPEG format for their prosumer level HD cameras. Panasonic went a different route that does not use temporal compression.

                                  Also, the EX1's big brothers using the XDCAM format did also record low resolution proxy files, but the proxies were dropped for the new EX1 camera.
                                  • 14. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                    Level 1
                                    > Panasonic went a different route that does not use temporal compression.

                                    Which is the best way...
                                    • 15. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                      Bill Heslip Level 1
                                      I'm sure Jim will tell you that intra-frame compression is best, and he is probably right. But (you knew that was coming), the EX1 shines in many other areas, such as higher resolution and better low-light sensitivity (but will regrettably require $ineform for intra-frame conversion for the best editing experience in PPro).

                                      Pick your poison.

                                      The PMW-EX1 has begun to ship, so real-world, production model footage is already beginning to appear on the net. Look for A/B comparisons with most any other camera imaginable, factor in conversion software expense and make up your mind from there.
                                      • 16. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                        >such as higher resolution and better low-light sensitivity

                                        I'll grant you the first, but so far the only English review I've seen from a professional reviewer comparing both models from personal experience has the Panasonic as the better low light performer.

                                        I'm still waiting for further English reviews comparing both models directly from personal experience.
                                        • 17. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                          Level 1
                                          Bill,

                                          2 questions:

                                          1) Is the XDCAM codec on the EX 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 like DVCPRO HD?
                                          2) At 35mbp/s is the quality better that the 100mbp/s DVCPRO HD codec?

                                          With regards to low light I find the HVX 200 surprisingly good. I am not saying it is the best, just saying that I personally find it to be rather good in poor conditions, and more than sufficient for my uses.

                                          Lets face it the EX is a newer camera and
                                          b has
                                          to be better than anything out there now, so I do not doubt that part, I am just puzzled by the choice of crappy MPEG... why wrap all the quality of the Fujinon lens, better chips and better technology all-round into a highly compressed MPEG container?

                                          I own Cineform already and am very happy with it.
                                          • 18. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                            Bill Heslip Level 1
                                            Howard, I cannot tell if your questions are of a "rhetorical" nature or not, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the later.

                                            >1) Is the XDCAM codec on the EX 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 like DVCPRO HD?

                                            4:2:0 coming off the card, 4:2:2 live-camera SDI output, but you knew that already.

                                            >2) At 35mbp/s is the quality better that the 100mbp/s DVCPRO HD codec?

                                            Does your question concern codecs exclusively or overall picture quality? With these small-form cameras, everything is a compromise. Which camera is "better" depends on shooting circumstances, personal preference, workflow and other variables.

                                            >With regards to low light I find the HVX 200 surprisingly good. I am not saying it is the best, just saying that I personally find it to be rather good in poor conditions, and more than sufficient for my uses.

                                            That's great! Both cameras are excellent choices. Early opinions on the EX suggest the large cmos chips and very good noise-reduction circuits help produce a surprisingly clean image in low light.

                                            >Lets face it the EX is a newer camera and has to be better than anything out there now, so I do not doubt that part, I am just puzzled by the choice of crappy MPEG... why wrap all the quality of the Fujinon lens, better chips and better technology all-round into a highly compressed MPEG container?

                                            I also think DVCPro is showing its age in requiring such high data-rate to maintain image quality. Yes, MPEG-2 has been around even longer, but Sony is using a more robust, modern implementation of the standard. As I've droned on about in other threads, only the decoding portion of this codec is set in stone. The encoding efficiency is a moving target and is constantly being improved upon. Reports from the field say it holds up very well, and that's the bottom line.

                                            Is the codec as good as DVCPro? Probably not. Is it adequate enough to produce great images? So far, that appears to be the case.
                                            • 19. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                              Level 1
                                              Thanks Bill.

                                              I have been busy for 2 weeks now so I have missed out on the latest of latest news regarding the EX1.

                                              I have spent most of the day reading/catching up on it all, including some pics and video. The camera looks very promising indeed.

                                              Lets be honest the camera is better than the HVX 200 in almost all areas, but that does not mean I will boycott it and move to Sony.
                                              • 21. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                >2) At 35mbp/s is the quality better that the 100mbp/s DVCPRO HD codec?

                                                I'd like to chime in on this one myself.

                                                Despite my preference for source material that is not GOP compressed, the EX codec actually does have one advantage over DVCPro HD, and that is resolution. Regardless of chip size, DVCPro HD records at 960 x 720 for 720p, and 1280 x 1080 for 1080i, whereas XDCAM EX can record the full 1920 x 1080 raster. So in that sense, it can probably said the XDCAM EX is better quality.

                                                But, given the 4:2:0 color space, it can also be said that it's worse quality.

                                                Now, with AVC-I we get the best of everything - 4:2:2 color space, 1920 x 1080 recording, non-GOP compression for easy editing, and a newer, more efficient codec (MPEG4).

                                                All we need now is for Panasonic to step up and build an affordable camera, or (though much less likely) for Sony to see the error of it's ways and make an AVC-I version of their new camera.
                                                • 22. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                  Howard Cromwell wrote: "... why wrap all the quality ...into a highly compressed MPEG container? I own Cineform already and am very happy with it. "

                                                  I'm 100% with this statement. Adam Wilt tested EX1 and noted that even at 35Mps, the image would go blocky on aggressive camera moves - typical mpeg artifacts.

                                                  Sony should give users an option to record directly into the Cineform codec.

                                                  I do *not* work for Cineform in any way, but they won me over with their great and practical codecs.

                                                  With Sony V1U, I have built a whole contraption with a 40Lb PC to capture live output at uncompressed 1920x1080 4:2:2 into Cineform via Intensity card.

                                                  Not very mobile, as you can imagine.

                                                  I'd gladly pay Sony extra for the option to record *on camera* in Cineform format.

                                                  Is Sony listening to this forum?
                                                  • 23. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                    Level 1
                                                    Does anybody here know if you can record back to the camera and use the camera as a player/recorder? It would imply the editing software could generate X.D CAM EX files. Am I not right?
                                                    • 24. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                      >Sony should give users an option to record directly into the Cineform codec.

                                                      Or, the already established professional HD camera codec - AVC-Intra.
                                                      • 25. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                        Level 1
                                                        > Or, the already established professional HD camera codec - AVC-Intra.

                                                        A VERY interesting quote from David Newman CTO of Cineform:

                                                        "For those thinking, "Why do I need CineForm hardware when I can get hardware compression for MPEG2, AVCHD, MJPEG and JPEG2000?" The answer is: for the same reason you use CineForm today. None of those formats are appropriate for editing and post production; all were designed with different purposes in mind, and all have some of the following issues: 8-bit only, slow decompression, long GOP structure, multi-generation compression loss, color sub-sampling, etc. CineForm was designed for post-production, so a CineForm compressed DDR or camera would suit the indie filmmaker far more than a FireStore or other camera-based compression. CineForm has become a very high-quality native acquisition format, making the issue of transcoding moot."
                                                        • 26. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                          Jim and Howard,

                                                          AVCHD-Intra and my blog quote. While AVCHD-Intra addresses 10-bit, and i-frame access, it makes decoding, and therefore editing, even slower than before. Even the tight Panasonic - Apple relationship will have Apple transcoding AVCHD-Intra to ProRES to make it editable. So to Alex's idea, CineForm has solved the editing issues for a compressed format, put it in the camera and your workflow is seamless. Reconfigurating distrubtion codecs like MPEG2 and 264.AVC as a capture and editing formats, is still, and will always be a bad idea.

                                                          David Newman
                                                          CTO, CineForm
                                                          blog: http://cineform.blogspot.com
                                                          • 27. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                            You may be confusing some things, David. AVCHD and AVC-Intra are two different codecs. They're both part of the MPEG4 specification, granted, but are very different in ways that are critical to editing and picture quality.
                                                            • 28. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                              I agree.

                                                              AVCHD & AVC-Intra different things entirely.

                                                              Get your facts straight before jumping in here.
                                                              • 29. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                                Level 1
                                                                >Get your facts straight before jumping in here.

                                                                Motutu 2 - You need to keep your trap shut!!
                                                                • 30. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                                  Level 1
                                                                  tlc51369

                                                                  Get a proper screen name you robot!
                                                                  • 31. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                                    Level 1
                                                                    >tlc51369 Get a proper screen name you robot!

                                                                    Oh, Good One!! You really got me on that one.
                                                                    • 32. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                                      Level 1
                                                                      ... there goes another thread into the depths of name calling...
                                                                      • 33. Re: Sony EX1 Q&A
                                                                        Level 1
                                                                        Why does this individual use the name Mobutu 2? Are you trying to get passed off as Mobutu?