New Video Camera Time

Well at least I’m hoping it’s new video camera time. I’m looking for an upgrade to our current DV setup. We have a Sony DSR-200 and a Sony PDX-10. They’ve both served us well but they are old cameras.

Right now is an exciting time with the cameras out there. For us we’re still 100% 4:3 SD but it makes no sense to but a pure SD camera in today’s world of HD. Here’s some of the cameras I’m looking at. I’m also wondering what’s going to be announced around NAB 2008. I was able to get some hands on time in a demo room with most of these cameras. Saw the output on screens but didn’t get to do my own shooting.

So if anyone has had some time with any of these cameras or another camera in this range, post some feedback. Let me know what you did or did not like.

Sony PMW-EX1
This camera has a ton of buzz about it right now and for good reason. I’m not going to go into a review of it but I’ll just point out some of my favorite strengths and weaknesses I see about it:
+ 3 x 1/2″ CMOS sensors means you can get true depth of field out of a handheld camera with out a redrock adapter
+ Shoots onto solid state SxS cards
+ Built in lens has real tactile controls of iris, focus and zoom
+ Lots of very cool features like shot transition, great LCD, Shoots a custom codec that’s not HDV
+ Variable frame rate for under/over cranking
+ HD/SD SDI output, component, S-Video output
-/+ Only HD 720p/i or 1080p/i at various frame rates

Sony HVR-Z7U
The PMW-EX1 is purely an HD camera geared toward a niche market that’s looking for the best quality. The Z7U is a crossover or bridge product.
+ Great lens that has the same tactile feel of the EX1 giving you full control of iris, focus and zoom
+ Interchangeable lenses but I don’t know anyone who had a Canon XL1/2 that had a different lens on it.
+ Can shoot HDV or SD video on tape or high speed compact flash. Can actually record HD and SD at the same time. I can record HD to tape and SD to the card. Edit SD for now but have an HD master for down the road.
+ HDMI output
– DV25 or HDV 1080i formats

Panasonic AG-HVX200
This camera is actually the one that I’m most interested in. It is by far the most versatile camera out there. But it’s been around the longest. It was introduced in Dec 2005.
+ Shoots SD/HD in multiple formats DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO, DV. That means whether SD or HD I can shoot in a higher quality codec with better color space than HDV or DV. This is crucial for good keys with green screen
+ Shoots multipe frame rates for over/under cranking
+ Shoots multiple resolutions
+ Shoots onto solid state P2 cards
+ Has been around for a few years so it’s proven camera with proven technology
+ Time-code sync over firewire between multiple cameras.
+ Can use a Focus Firestore for 100 or 160 GB of storage
– Can’t record HD and SD at same tim
– Only composite, component or s-video outputs
– Manual controls of lens not as nice as other cameras

I got some hands on with the first three cameras but not with this one.
+ Shoulder mount for more stable shots, more comfortable for longer times
+ Interchangable lenses
+ Real lens with zoom, focus and iris rings
+ Can record HD or SD
+ With external drive from Focus you can record HD and SD at same time (one to tape the other to disk)
+ Can output uncompressed HD out of component connectors
– HDV or DV/DVCAM codec
– Can’t record HD and SD at same time.


March 16, 2008. Video.


  1. Brent Homer replied:

    Last month I purchased a Sony HVR-V1u and I have to say that I love it. I bought a 80gig firestore to go with it. It is great…I shoot 1080p 24fps, drop the QT file into Final Cut Studio instantly pulls out the 3:2 pull down, and I export the finished product out as SD with bars (we also are 4:3 projection).

    CMOS gives you amazing color…the dsp in the camera is amazing…the camera’s gain is so clean. CMOS sounds bad with it’s 4 lux setting, but in reality the camera’s DSP is amazing.

    I will say the one thing I had to really get used to was learning to count on autofocus to help…those screens are so small that you end up really needing autofocus to help in run&gun situations.

    If you green screen you can go HDMI out into a computer for 4:2:2 for great keying.

    Anyway I when I got it I thought I would just shoot 4:3 DV, but once I tried out 1080p 24fps, I new right then and there I would never go back to SD. The colors looks amazing, and it looks so nice I can’t bear to go back to dv shooting…..I just crunch it all down at the end. That HDV codec makes working with HD easy enough hardware wise…

  2. NAB Thoughts Part 1 « creative|ideas replied:

    […] NAB Thoughts Part 1 Posted on April 17, 2008 by Dave I didn’t make it to NAB. But it won’t stop me from sharing some of my thoughts. First off I’m in the market for a new video camera as I’ve mentioned before. […]

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