Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Someone has accused me of Sony bashing over the last few posts but the truth of the matter is that Sony are the only company to produce cameras in the last few weeks with the PMW-100, PMW-200 and the NEX-EA50, I must also say that this accusation did not come from Sony themselves.

Panasonic have just released the AG-AC90, JVC have still not produced any production models of their HM600 and HM650 camcorders and not a jot from Canon…till the C100 appeared !

If companies decide to brand their cameras as “professional” then they must be prepared to take constructive criticism when that certain product does not come up to a professional standard.

As a professional I aim to produce a product to the best of my ability and I need cameras that are fit for purpose, there’s no point filming houses being built if your camera introduces moire patterning in the brickwork which is why I do not care for DSLR’s, film cameras with compromise.

The big four video manufacturers have watched sales dwindle as people have switched over to DSLRs with their shallow depth of field and compactness, sadly for video professionals companies like Sony tried to emulate the compactness with the FS100, producing a cracking picture but no ND filters on a camera that soaks in light was madness, hence the very popular FS700…with ND filters !

The F3 was Sonys big step into medium to lower broadcast drama with it’s Super 35mm sensor and fantastic low light capabilities but the lack of 50Mbps was to be the straw that broke the F3s back when the Canon C300 was announced with it’s Super 35mm sensor, low light, low noise and that all important 50Mbps Full HD, the XLRs on the control panel via two umbilical leads are thoughtless but the pictures more than make up for the C300s design flaw.


The Sony F3 designers choose to give us a PL mount allowing a variety of lenses including Nikon but the C300 allows Canon lenses with full electronic feedback to the LCD and viewfinder a feature I feel is essential when using lenses in a SDoF environment.

These are just a few comparisons and lets not forget Alister Chapman sold his C300 in favour of the Sony F3 so it’s not a full 100% satisfaction rate with Canon either.

A fellow professional told me no camera is perfect we all have differing ideas as to what is perfect but as I pointed out in a recent post Sony are easy to compare because they are the only company to date to produce four large sensor camcorders within a year and two XDCAM PMW handheld camcorders within the space of weeks.

I have no gripe with Sony, I have owned an EX1, EX3, PMW-350, FS100 and two NX70s so Sony have had more than their fair share of my hard earned cash over the last three years or so with my name on a PMW-200.

My main gripe is that if you don’t stay within the London M25 orbital you are not offered cameras for review which is shameful and that goes for all four manufacturers, which is why honest camcorder reviews are hard to source on the internet, I have had to own the majority of camcorders in order to review them with a lot of help from H Preston Media.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

11 thoughts on “Sony Bashing and the M25

  1. Agree with you totally .. as to why there is ,say no ND filter in the camera talked about.. I honestly thing is just down to plain incompetence .. made worse by the way large Japanese companies are run.. I say this as a long tome resident of Japan.. a good example being the Sales Mans either lack of knowledge of the product,or the fact that the tech side have actually refused to tell the sales guy !! either way is just pure Kafka .. On the other hand there is what is maybe the happy accident the PMW500.. which is a very well designed camera with great features at very reasonable price.. which ticks nearly all boxes except maybe that it only has one HD SDI ..

  2. Anybody who would accuse you of Sony bashing does not know you well at all. I have been following you for a long time. I’m a Sony user and you have certainly owned and used your share of Sonys. I think that in the last few years Sony has come out with some remarkable cameras, yet, as you have pointed out some have some frustrating omissions. These needed to be pointed out so that the professionals and Sony get the message. That doesn’t mean we don’t buy the camera necessarily. Everybody has different needs. I don’t use ND filters because I shoot exclusively live theatre. Some audio features aren’t of any interest to me because I record my audio separately. Even 50 mbs is not a deal breaker for me because I use external recorders. Low light performance is everything. Good glass is really important. Battery life is important. Auto focus is important. Everybody has different priorities. I’m going to upgrade to two PMW 200s in the spring. Gerry

    These mega companies keep touting their gear as “professional” but they aren’t making the gear professionals want. When are one of these guys going to get with it and put RAW video in their cameras?!! How come a boutique company like Blackmagic can put CinemaRAW DNG in their camera but a big company like Sony can’t? RED has RAW, SI-2K has Cineform, sony, canon, panasonic have AVC-HD…BIG WHOOP!!! Guys pull your heads out PLEASE and make BETTER EQUIPMENT.

  4. Some products are called Pro but it seems they arent design by professionals. I would not pay anymore engineers like Sonys. The production costs are not everything. If they can put NDs, HDSDi, 422, etc on a cam like NX5, with its price range, they have no excuses not to put on a cam more expensive and produced in 2012.
    Everybody wants S35, HDSDi+422, NDs and 50 mbps, give them!!!

  5. The diminutive and inexpensive little Panasonic GH2 will give you no moiré problems and, despite its many limitations will probably give you better results than many of the cameras you are discussing. Take a look at the Great Zacuto Shootout 2012.

  6. Sony can’t do what Blackmagic can. Blackmagic has 1 camera and no others to protect. Sony has 50+ cameras positioned at every $500 price point. Each of these needs features added on some and blocked on others to create seperation between models.

    This feature slicing and dicinc getting so bad and so heavy that its turning into an embarrassing CIRCUS! Talk about splitting hairs!

    These current tactics are starting to hurt Sony’s brand and its overall good name. Not to mention frustrating the Hell out of Sony fans.

  7. Phil goes on like this, what you’re doing is very important, you’re absolutely right. How could I answer sometimes produces continuous models of the Sony camera models but do not know to whom they are addressed to professionals sometimes and sometimes not. I think the engineers and designers did not really put on the side of the end user. I make a proposal to let people know Sony and other manufacturers that exist as in the past parallel worlds made ​​by video professionals who work in the news in the television production, by those who make films at low cost and who does weddings. Build cameras that fit in a given area kindly do a bit of order with regards with affection Angelo

  8. I agree ….. I’m also not sure that the GH2 is the way. I own and shoot daily with the GH2 and have found that it really has it’s limitations. Blown highlights, small sensor and a consumer 4.2.0 codec which rules out effective grading. It also has banding issues and blotchy noise in green areas of the picture. It’s a $700 wonder but it’s not in the F65 league just because someone famous thought it looks better in one particular shootout.

  9. Rather shortsighted of the manufacturers not to give you cameras to try out.

    I would love to see a review of Sony F65 but at that price tag, just renting it for a few days to test it would cost a lot of money.

    My work (music concerts, events) is such that the Panasonic AG-AC160A works for me. This camera is going to continue to be a lot smarter than I am for the foreseeable future.

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