Sony PMW 300
June/24/13 12:31 Filed in: Video Cameras
I have a feeling that the new Sony PMW-300:
1) It should be a good solid camera that may have a useful lifespan
2) It's too little too late in some ways
The improvements over the existing EX cameras are incremental. I had frankly hoped for some sort of merging of the EX's with the Fs700 or something along those lines, but I guess the EX-type camera is stuck being a half-inch, three-sensor deal. I've been meaning to do some research on the tradeoffs between 3 chip and the big single chip cameras.
It certainly is nice to have 4:2:2 onboard recording, since regular XDCAM EX is getting long in the tooth, but it's not a huge difference, and I would still use it as simultaneous-record backup. Once you go direct to ProRes, it's pretty hard to go back unless you have to. But for those shooting handheld, and those shooting for Euro broadcast, it certainly makes sense.
The big question mark in my mind is, what will the implementation of the future XAVC codec upgrade be? They are using that codec now in the F5 and F55. Since it already will have 422 50Mbps recording, I'm assuming it will be the 444/ up to 300Mbps flavor. That will likely require buying all new high speed cards to handle the data rate. Plus the rest of the workflow that goes with it - which admittedly is less onerous than much of the 4k & RAW crap that's going on at the moment.
Speaking of which, I've been reading a lot the press and blogs about 4k and RAW, and I really don't see the need for either for a vast majority of shooters - unless you have a client who wants to pay for it, or you want it for your own project. You pay a big price in terms of data rate, cards, hard drives, editing, money, etc. for differences most people can't see. The compressed codecs are just too good for the most part. Hell, I'm still shooting all 720p60, and my clients think it looks awesome. Depends on what you're used to.
The other thing I wonder about XAVC is, being another implementation of H.264, what is its future once H.265 hits the real world? The codec (aka HEVC - high efficiency video codec) has been officially released, and so it should just be a matter of time before it is implemented in cameras and such. H.264 is 10 years old now. H.265 is half the data rate for the same quality (allegedly).