Sony PMW-F55 Review 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments


The camera that caused the most interest at BVE North 2012 was the Sony PMW-F55, finally Sony produce a large sensor camera that not only looks the part, is fit for purpose but is a major threat to both RED and ARRI because they appear to have taken note of all of their rival’s key features and combined them all to create what appears to be the most versatile and capable mid-market digital cinematography camera. I say mid-market because Sony are making it very clear that the F55 is positioned below their flagship F65.


Here are the key and enhanced features of the F55

  • Full HD & 4K
  • Super 35mm 4K CMOS Imager
  • 4,096 x 2,160, 11.6M total pixels, 8.9M effective pixels, Bayer Pattern
  • High sensitivity (ISO 2000) and low noise (S/N 57dB with noise reduction off)
  • High Frame Rate of up to 120fps
  • Internal Recording to SxS media
  • Modular Design
  • RAW Recording capability to a new modular “dockable” external recorder, the AXS-R5
  • 50Mb/s / 4:2:2 Broadcast Friendly HD
  • New XAVC Codec for efficient 4K
  • Shoulder Pad & Class-leading OLED HD viewfinder & mount options to provide a genuine shoulder-mount camcorder
  • Dual lens mount as standard – Arri PL & Sony FZ
  • Higher frame rate of up to 240fps (Full HD RAW or 60fps (4k RAW) with optional  AXS-R5 recorder
  • Internal recording at up to 180fps onto SxS media using XAVC Codec (HD / 4K)
  • Simultaneous XAVC and MPEG 2 recording capability – onto the same SxS media card
  • Slightly reduced sensitivity of ISO 1250 when compared to F5
  • Global Shutter (Eliminates rolling shutter effect)
  • F65 Colour Gamut


At £22,800 the F55 is for a small number of specialist DP’s in both drama and well paid commercial TV work, this is the Super 35mm 4K/2K camera of 2012 it beats the competition hands down. Sony dragged their heals with various large sensor camcorders the F3 being the first but eventually caught up and overtook the competition though you need a hefty bank balance to fully kit yourself out with an F55 plus 4K recorder though unlike the F5 you can record 4K direct to SxS with the F55.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The Queen’s Speech in 3D ? “BBC HD NOT IN 3D”

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Only Sky with a heavy investment in 3D HD would even consider filming the Queens speech in 3D. With less than 2% of the UK population having invested in 3D capable television it beggars belief that Sky decide to film the Queen in 3D.

As we all know, certainly within the video industry that 3D once again has been a passing phase. Mr Cameron and Mr Jackson are a handful of directors who keep the 3D flame burning along with the Hobbit being the most recent major title to be filmed in 3D.

3D at this years production trade shows like IBC and BVE North was almost non existent with no camera manufacturer showing off any 3D capable camcorder.

I don’t understand why anyone would entertain 3D till we get true 3D with no glasses, I have a Panasonic 3D TV and I have watched less that 1 hour in total of 3D TV. 3D was a phase once again and the next time it will raise it’s head will be true 3D TV with no need for flickering, light reducing glasses.

UPDATE : OK so 3pm arrives and hey presto BBC HD decide not to give us a signal in 3D so I had to find a Sky channel showing it in side by side mode…joke !

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

A Merry Christmas to all my readers and my sponsors

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments



It’s Monday the 24th of December 2012 the night before Christmas, I hope you all have a great Christmas with your friends and family over the festive period and I will be back on boxing day with another camera review of 2012.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

BlackMagic Cinema Camera Review 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


The BlackMagic Cinema Camera has been field tested by Rick Young both in Australia and the UK. This is a strange looking camera very different in it’s concept but at a price that you can’t argue with.

Rick “I was in Australia when I got my hands on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Footage in this report was filmed in Australia and then later in the UK. Id never worked with RAW, the last time I shot film was in 1992, and suddenly, in my hands, was something like a big DSLR capable of turning out images at 2.5K recorded to SSD as 12-bit RAW, not only that I could use all my existing Canon EF lenses and I could shoot ProRes if I chose.

Initial tests were amazing and difficult. Amazing… the quality and detail which I captured, difficult …because I had no idea how to use DaVinci Resolve, I had recorded over 30 minutes of RAW footage and couldnt do anything with it. I looked at Resolve with no clue what to do.

I opened the manual and starting reading. I read info. online and searched for video tutorials… I got there. A few hours later and I was able to bring footage in and out of the system, do basic correction, and output.

The images were the most film-like images I have worked with since I worked with film. I realise thats a big statement, though let me qualify it by saying Ive been shooting and working with video since 1989. My experiences with video gear go back to the 1980s in days of 4:3, one inch C-format and Betacam before SP or DigiBeta even existed. Ive used a lot cameras and a lot of formats and the video look has persisted.


Given that the camera works native with Canon EF lenses means some of the best glass on the planet can be used. Not only can you use Canon lenses, Nikon lenses can also be used: via adapters. With adapter attached Nikon lenses can be mounted onto the Canon EF lens mount on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

The world of camera technology is red hot right now. With 4K cameras announced by Sony, price drops from RED, Canon D500 shooting 4K, Alexa at the high-end… and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera slips in at an unimaginable price-point and delivers in terms of image quality and resolution. Having shot with the camera now for several months I would say this camera is definitely a capable shooting machine and not something which has been overhyped.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is now slowly coming to market. It is shipping in limited quantities. Soon these cameras will be everywhere and the world of digital filmmaking will be changed forever.


The BlackMagic Cinema Camera represents fantastic value for money, their attention to quality control has meant a major hold up in production till the sensor is free from problems which is a major plus in BlackMagics honesty rather than punting the end users with faulty goods. Everything I have seen and read about this camera earns it a 6 star rating.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony NEX-FS700 Review 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Once again I need a third party to assess the FS700 as I have never used one. I have chosen my good friend Frank Glencairn who took the camcorder for a test just after it appeared on the market.


It looks like Sony has really listened to the users. We finally have that ND Filter wheel, a lot of guys where asking for. The top handle is super beefy now and feels like it is milled out of one massive block of aluminum. Also the front mount sits on a big black metal base, very solid and twice the size of the FS100 counterpart. Overall the whole body feels more rugged and solid, but gained some weight, because of all the extra metal.

The buttons on the body are all raised, for much easier access, you can even find them blind now.
There are also two new buttons. Face detection, which works surprisingly good, once it`s really locked in – something that can be handy in a complex steadycam shot or run & gun situations. Also there is a “HOLD” button, that can block some functions to prevent, changing them accidentally. You can choose the functions you want to block in the menu.

The new side grip has a big Arri style rosette and is much easier to mount/adjust. It features additional buttons for iris push auto, start/stop, photo, expanded focus and a zoom rocker. I guess that means, that we can expect to see some motorized zoom glass from SONY soon.

The card slot accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards or Memory Sticks. In addition to the HDMI output, the FS700 got a HD-SDI/3G output – something I personally really appreciate.
Also there are a component, video and audio out jacks. One of the XLR inputs got moved forward, closer to the camera microphone.

The monitor seems to be the same, but with touch focus and touch focus transition, like in the Epic, also you can change the displayed units like ISO/db, distance and the like. It also gives you – up to 8x – magnifying.

The FS700 comes as a “World Camera”. So you can switch between 50Hz and 60Hz and the corresponding frame rates in the menu.


This is an other exciting new feature, that nobody saw coming in a camera, in this class and price tag.

It´s a burst mode and works like this:

1. Set your frame rate
2. Hit the trigger (start, or end-trigger)
3. Watch your glorious Super Slow Motion clip on the monitor, while it is dumped to the card, or your external recorder in real time.

This are the speeds available:
When selecting 60Hz: 120fps, 240fps, 480fps, 960fps
When selecting 50Hz: 100fps, 200fps, 400fps, 800fps

Recording formats:
When selecting 60Hz 1080/60p PS, 1080/30p FX, 1080/30p FH, 1080/24p FX, 1080/24p FH
When selecting 50Hz 1080/50p PS, 1080/25p FX, 1080/25p FH

Recording Burst Times:
When selecting 60Hz: 960/19sec, 480/10sec, 240/8sec, 120/16sec
When selecting 50Hz 800/23sec, 400/12sec, 200/9sec, 100/19sec

I found speeds up to 200/240 looking fantastic, 480/400 are still usable, but you can see the difference. everything faster, is for use at lower resolutions.


In a nutshell: After I shot a few days with the FS700, my FS100 is for sale. The camera I had, worked great, without any hick-ups or any other problems, even from the bed of a truck at 80 MPH.

Noise is about the same as in the FS100, and it looks like we lost a bit of low light sensitivity (still impressive), but the downsampled images from the new sensor are stunning and the option of future 4k raw output is amazing.

We get better highlight roll off, because of the new Hypergammas (maybe they also did something to the processing), DR also seems a tad better, but hard to say, without proper testing.

I´m very pleased, that Sony not only listened to us, and made most of the wishes, FS100 owners had come true, but on top of that, they gave us a great new Exmor sensor with 4k Super Slo-Mo capabilities.

Please bear in mind, that all I found, relates to a pre production model and that Sony is still optimizing some functions.


Sony brought us this camera under the wire, no one knew it was coming and everyone who has tried it has had nothing but praise for the FS700, as Frank said finally ND filters, a decent hand grip and although not as sensitive as the FS100 it has a 4K ready Super 35mm CMOS sensor and that alone gives the Sony 6 out of 6. Like it’s wee sister having 1080 50p is a sensation and at the body only price of £6,216 is the cheapest 4K camcorder by far.



For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

JVC GY-HM600 Review 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 29 Comments


As I am now assessing the GY-HM650 I feel quite at liberty to reflect my feelings using the GY-HM600. I used the HM600 twice over the last month and was very impressed.

Out of the box this camcorder performed fantastic taking on board the camera is JVCs first 1/3″ CMOS camcorder they could not have produced a better camera if they tried.

The best bit about JVC is their ability to listen and add firmware updates within a month of implementation, this is unheard of in the video manufacturing world, the best you get from their competitors is 6 months.

JVC took this initial camcorder re-jigged the electronics and WOW, the performance in standard mode is stunning and I mean stunning, at 0dB the camera is as quiet as I have seen from any camera 2-3 times the price.

Not only that but it has variable shutter which to all intent purposes “Syncro Scan”, with variable scan you can dial out the flicker on a CRT, it has dual record onto both SDHC cards, Pre Record, 5,10 and 15 seconds, Clip Continuous Rec where you can consolidate all your clips into one large clip, Frame record for stop motion effects and Interval time record allowing you to record a process over time…the amount of competitors camcorders in the last few years that have left out interval time record is shocking.


Even dare I say it 1080 50p is being looked into by JVC as a firmware upgrade which would bring this camcorder above all other competitors for features and frame rates.

35Mbps onto Quick Time (MPEG2) brings your footage onto FCPX without needing transcoded and is broadcast news ready, though from my past experience don’t  buy this camcorder hoping to earn big bucks from poor paying news outlets the best you will get is £35-50 for your footage which is an insult to your intelligence.

I am one camera down at the moment and let me tell you the GY-HM600/650 are top of my list for run and gun, my only problem is deciding wether to go for a 600 or a 650.

What can I say about the price of £3,474 for the GY-HM600 a camera that has every conceivable feature not to mention the 23x lens (29-667mm 35mm guide) plus face tracking…plus flashband compensation the list goes on and on.

For sheer fantastic value for money, feature set and quality of picture the JVC GY-HM600 is the first camcorder to be awarded a 6 star rating.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Canon C100 2012 Review

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments


Matt Davis “Detailed images, great highlight control with both Wide Dynamic Range and C-Log settings, a small neat hand-held form factor and plenty of features for Pro Videographers rather than indie film shooters. WFM, Cache Record, Dual Media slots with an option to record simultaneously on two cards, the ability to fine-tune shutter speeds to wayward computer/TV screens, fractional iris and gain, 0-6 stops of ND and a solid Canon EF mount that incorporates Auto Focus and Image Stabilisation where fitted. It’s the joy of DSLR video but with all the Pro accoutrements.

You’re getting the C300’s sensor and processing, fed to the non-broadcast AVCHD codec which – in the world of Corporate and Event videography – will be absolutely fine. When you need 4:2:2, simply hook up a separate recorder (the Ninja 2 works very well) and you’re all set for Broadcast or Chromakey.

It’s definitely not a perfect camera. The main downside is that Canon’s Marketing Department were overzealous in crippling the C100 to protect the C300 – 720p50/60 is the standard for DVD material (great SD with web friendly HD) but is absent from the C100. There’s no intervalometer even though there’s a half-hearted Slow Shutter mode. The EVF is barely adequate for ensuring that the camera is pointing in the right direction, and neither the EVF or the Panel should be trusted for exposure and colour balance.

But it comes down to the pictures, which are lovely.

Slomo, Timelapse and 1080p50/60 aficionados must look elsewhere (specifically the FS700). However, if you’re shooting Run & Gun, need to be inconspicuous, work fast and light, the C100 is a very well balanced camera with very good image quality. However, it’s gaining a reputation as ‘the Gateway Camera to C300 ownership”.
C100-webC100 Moan/Wish List:

– White balance 1: please can we have a more ‘spot mode’ for white set – currently we must fill the screen for an accurate white set, often requiring we remove the camera from its position, move to the subject and white set. We don’t have long ENG lenses to isolate a bit of white, and I note how EASY it is to achieve poor WB if you don’t fill the screen with a white sample.

– White balance 2: please can we have a more intelligent ‘ambient white set’ like Sonys – if no real white is available, one can white set on a scene and certain colours (e.g. skin tone) are picked up on and a fairly good WB is achieved especially in mixed light (e.g. daylight/fluoro, tungsten/MH).

– Intervalometer: Timelapse is a staple of videography – make dull exteriors or boring subjects like crowds or queues interesting by a little timelapse (1 frame every 1-10 seconds) – WITH SLOW SHUTTER. The latter is vital to achieve the ‘smeary/dreamy’ look. We could bring a DSLR and do it properly, but 1) it requires another ‘camera ecosystem’ with power, lenses, etc) and more importantly 2) I work alone, and don’t want to leave a camera unattended where it could be a H&S or even theft issue. EX1 was a dream in this respect.

– Focus Magnify: we need to be able to move the focus area (like a DSLR) so we can check critical focus on areas other than dead centre during a shot. Rule of thirds composition usually means interviewees eyes are always tantalisingly out of the magnified area just when we need this most. Secondly, the 1x/2x/4x dual zoom mode found on DSLRs would be much appreciated – especially if using the EVF!

– Shot Duration: with almost all interviews, at the end of the take a presenter will ask ‘how long was that?’ – surely a simple option to incorporate a ‘Duration’ display in place of the ‘Timecode’ display would be easy to implement, but I see it’s not even on the C300? This is a very valid requirement on pro video kit! (we don’t have Production Assistants with stopwatches any more)

– Is it possible to set the progressive recording modes to a proper Progressive, rather than ‘PSF’ mode? Same thing, but it’s causing issues with editors who receive rushes – apps such as FCPX and Premiere Pro don’t quite understand this implementation and we’re seeing examples of incorrectly ‘deinterlaced’ PSF being put online that leads to ugly aliasing artefacts. This little engineering cheat is going to cause a lot of tears before bedtime between shooters and editors.

– Will Canon be encouraging AJA, Black Magic and Sound Devices to implement their slightly odd implementation of HDMI? Currently, only the Atomos Ninja plays nice with the C100 – due to a lot of hard work by Atomos.

– Whilst we have ‘Preset free-run’ TimeCode which can be approximated to Time Of Day Code, a proper ‘Time of Day’ code which respects the clock settings (specifically shifting the time zone) would be appreciated.


My thanks to Matt for this comprehensive user review of his Canon C100, while it is a great camera it looses points due to stupidness like not having 720 50p and a viewfinder that quite frankly is not worth having. Plus points are the splendid carry handle with XLR and internal mic which is far better than the carbuncle seen on the C300 and the ability to turn off the noisy fan. Due to some protest I have updated the star rating to 5 stars as it does have the same sensor as the C300 and low noise performance.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony HXR-NX30 Review of 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments


This has been a camcorder that has attracted a lot of followers over the last year mainly through word of mouth. The Sony HXR-NX30 seems to have been a direct replacement for the very popular HXR-MC50.

I once again was never given a chance by Sony to review this camcorder so I can’t give you my personal thoughts on it but I do have a colleague who bought one and has been delighted with it.

Sean ” I bought this camera to compliment my HXR-NX70 but have found many of the features so useful that it’s been my main camcorder over the last 6 months. I film weddings and live parties and the NX30 has been a great investment especially for the live events.

The lens is mounted within a gyroscope, which affords unbelievable image stabilisation, way beyond the MC50 and I thought the MC50 was good, the floating lens is a dream to use, especially in a live event where you are moving all over the floor filming people having a good time and your pictures are projected onto a large screen.


I love the 1080 50p mode filming at 28Mbps this is taken into Premiere Pro CS6 and looks fantastic, the other feature I really like is the wee projector, I thought this was a bit of a gimmick as first till I tried it out on a job and the client wanted to view the rushes, on a white wall the footage looked great and stopped the need for a crowd of us huddled around the LCD.”

The camera performs very like the NX70 in many ways but stops short when it comes to dual recording it’s the single feature that Sean wants Sony to update in a future FW as it’s a feature he sadly misses off the camera.

Sean “AVCHD by nature can be a bit hit or miss and not having an automatic back up with dual recording is a real negative feature that I would like Sony to address”

I was a bit negative towards this camcorder when it first came out but Sean has convinced me otherwise, after all he bought one and uses it more than his NX70 and that’s got to tell you something.

Listening to other peoples accounts this camera certainly pulls in a punch when it comes to stabilisation and the fact it has a full XLR rig on board gives this camera a far better score than I was expecting… 4 out of 6

At £1,650 you really can’t complain at the price either this is a Cinderella camera that has already gone to the ball !


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

2012 Camera Review “Coming soon”

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2012 has been another bumper year for camcorders with 16 produced over the last twelve months and seven of them large sensor cameras. Sony went on overdrive this year bringing out nine cameras alone making sure there was a camera for almost every eventuality.

The Black Magic story is the saddest of 2012 with a 6 month delay on delivery due to a sensor flaw and the delivery date seems to be shunted to mid January 2013…


“Ok good news everyone as the test run of sensors have just been built into cameras and they look good. Very good. So we have just given the sensor supplier the go ahead to commence volume production of the sensors and we hope to start getting them within the next week to start building cameras. How many cameras? I am not sure, as we have all stopped production and so we all need to restart production and see how many they can produce. However we will be working hard to build as many cameras as possible over the next few weeks.

I hope people start to see more cameras shipping, but it might be a good idea if I post another update early January to update everyone on how production is progressing.


As for the micro four thirds model, it’s ready to go, however the problem is I feel until we are shipping a whole bunch of EF model cameras, there is little point building any of the MFT model. So we will ship as many as we can and then perhaps see where we are mid Jan and do a few MFT models then.

It is sure a relief seeing this problem coming to a close. I cannot believe this happened and it’s been an incredibly frustrating delay. However I am feeling really positive now.”

Regards Grant, Blackmagic Design. (Via Phil Baxter CVP)

If you own any of the new 2012 camcorders like the ….Sony NEX VG900, NEX EX50, NEX FS700, HXR NX30, PMW-100, PMW-150 or the PMW-200 or the Panasonic AG AC90, AG HPX600 or the JVC GY HM600 or the Canon C100, C500 please give me your thoughts on your camera for my review.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

BBC Worldwide “UK licence payers censored”

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments


Surfing my usual haunts I came across an interesting article in DPREVIEW that the BBC had written about fake photography, I clicked on the link and hey presto…WE the British taxpayer and licence fee payer who without us there would not be any BBC let alone BBC Worldwide are not allowed to view this article…it’s a FEKIN JOKE !!!!!!!!

Lets hope who ever decides to stand for the top mans job in the BBC kicks the BBC Worldwide’s ass…this is nothing short of censorship…WHY…because the BBC don’t want you to see all the advertising on this website that you don’t see in the UK…SIMPLE !

Here is page one of three with the advertising as suspected but no big deal, there is no reason why UK licence payers should not be given access to this web space other than censorship !


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