by Adam Plowden | 2nd September 2016
The announcement of the Panasonic HC-X1 comes amidst a storm of camera releases. With a 1 inch sensor, 4K DCI and up to 60p in UHD mode, this run&gun handheld camera is surly aiming to suit the needs of modern news and documentary shooters, allowing greater creativity with its relatively large sensor. Once again we are seeing evidence that what in the old days used to be a rather boring, 1/3 inch segment is growing up to be an interesting sector by combining enhanced specifications and sensor size. At times, indie filmmakers might dismiss this type of handy cameras, but we shouldn’t forget that there is a very large community of news shooters out there that will be very happy to adopt this kind of working tool. In a nutshell, here is what the new Panasonic HC-X1 has to offer (in no particular order): World camera with a wide variety of resolutions and frame rates. Optical image stabilizer in 4K 24p / UHD 5-Axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer in HD and lower resolutions Synchro Scan to help when shooting computer screens 4K DCI (4096×2160) at 24p, 100Mbps 4K (UHD) in 23.98/25/29.97/50/60p at 150Mbps. HD in 23.98/25/29.97/50/60p at up to 200Mbps. Up to 120fps in FHD FHD Variable Frame rate Recording: 2-60fps Wireless remote control via the AG-ROP iPad App Triple manual rings (Zoom/Focus/Iris) 25-480mm (20x) optical zoom F/2.8 – F/4.5 aperture 1/4, 1/16, 1/64 ND filter IR Filter (ON/OFF) Recording in MOV, MP4 and AVCHD formats. 4K (UHD) output via HDMI 2 x XLR inputs. 8 Gamma Curves including Cinelike V and D If you are a professional using a 1-inch sensor sized camera like the Panasonic HC-X1 for your creative work, share with us your working experience. Did you ever try working with an even larger sensor camera or do you find this type of working tool good enough for you at the end of the day?Read more
by Adam Plowden | 6th April 2016
Sony has announced a new 4K video camera with extreme low light capabilities of 409600 ISO. The UMC-S3C expands Sony’s 4K line up to cover low light, remote applications with this little 35mm camera, capable of flexible and long duration recording and 12Mp colour stills. The UMC-S3C is the highest sensitivity camera in Sony’s arsenal, no doubt competing with the Canon ME20F-SH (HD only) which was first seen at IBC 2015. It seems that Sony has cleverly included internal recording as well as remote functionality into the camera—making it much more flexible for remote filming applications such as wildlife, POV, sports, and live-action. Sony UMC-S3C Overview Capable of capturing images at under 0.004Lx, ISO ranging from 50 to 409600. Full Frame 35mm Exmor sensor. High light condensing efficiency and an image processing engine to enhance noise reduction. Sony E-mount for flexible use with existing high-quality lenses. Camera control via multi-terminal and micro-USB compatible devices, remote control or compatible software. 400g body weight. Memory card slot (not mention of what format). 4K at 30fps/60 Mbps. XAVC-S codec expanding 4K recording to 100 Mbps. No mention of HD/SD recording formats. Sony report that the UMC-S3C can record up to 125 minutes of 4K @ 60 Mbps on a 64Gb memory card. From looking at the sample images, it also has an HDMI port which could be linked to external, remote monitors, recorders or vision mixing consoles. However, there isn’t a mention of any SDI, genlock or networking connections which are key for many live broadcasting productions. On the flip side of that, Sony recently announced the SNC-VB770; a 4K network camera that appears to use similar (if not the same) low light technology, but includes network connections rather than recording onto a memory card. It also has an ‘Intelligent Cropping’ feature for cropping into images from its native 4K resolution, allowing 3 to 5 cropped areas, as well as the overall frame. This feature comes in two modes; static and dynamic, where the latter uses intelligent motion to detect, crop and track objects in the frame. It’s apparent the two cameras are aimed at different applications, where the UMC-S3C could be a practical filmmaking tool, and the SNC-VB770 focused on networked video for live-action broadcast or surveillance. The camera will no doubt debut at NAB in a few weeks time, and will be available in the United States from August 2016.Read more
by Adam Plowden | 4th March 2016
The Sony PXW-Z150, Sony’s latest fixed lens video camera, was released at BVE last week. Aimed at END news-gathering, documentary, and video productions, this new HD and 4k camera sits in the “mid-range”—just below the FS5. It boasts some impressive features for a camera around the $3,500 mark which made me very keen to take a look! A Quick Look at the Sony PXW-Z150 When Sony visited Cinema5D HQ in Vienna, Sebastian got a chance to check out the Z150. Meanwhile, at BVE, there was quite a wait in store for those wanting to take a look at the camera. In essence, the Z150 bears similarities to the Z1, with a familiar layout and menu. It has an 18x servo-zoom, 3 stop ND filters and the standard audio interface. From the short time I spent framing up shots around the expo show floor, I felt that its ergonomics and wide zoom range would make it the ideal camera for a variety of productions. Predominantly designed for HD productions, with 4:2:2 10 bit up to 120 FPS slow motion which finally brings an affordable slow motion solution to camera operators. It does capture in 4K QFHD, but only in 4:2:0 8 bit and up to 30p, which does help with an increasing number of clients that are looking to future-proof any footage captured. I was extremely pleased to see that Sony chose to use SD cards for the recording media of the Z150; it is inexpensive and popular among many users that would potentially make the switch from DSLR. Having to invest in new recording media is always an unwanted, and often unnecessary, expense. The sensitivity of the 1″ sensor, combined with a variable aperture of F/2.8 – F/4.5 makes the Sony PXW-Z150 ideal for run and gun productions without adding the requirement of additional light sources. Though it wouldn’t match the capability of the A7S in low light, the resulting image and depth of field were definitely pleasing. The Sony PXW-Z150’s Shortcomings All cameras have downsides and the Sony PXW-Z150 is no different. A lack of picture profiles, such as S-Log, as well as no timecode or genlock are the main ones in my eyes. However, maybe the omittance of these features is by design, rather than an oversight—it seems to me that the Sony PXW-Z150 has been built for use in the field, filming fast turnaround projects rather than in a live studio or higher end production. Overall, I can definitely see the Z150 being a camera of choice for single operators and small crews looking to streamline their productions by moving away from interchangeable lenses. The Sony PXW-Z150 will certainly come in handy during events and for run and gun filming on the frontline of news and documentary production, where a compact kit is key. However, labelling it an all-rounder just wouldn’t feel right since it punches well above its weight in terms of the new sensor, 120fps slow motion, 4:2:2 10 bit and that ubiquitous buzzword (4K).Read more
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