After seeing the very thorough demo at DuArt NY a few weeks ago side by side with 35mm, Super 16, F900, HVX 200, and Red One printed to 35mm as well as via 4k digital projector and being more than impressed, we picked one up last week. Have been scrambling to get fluent on it before we head overseas on Thursday to continue shooting this feature doc across four countries. (let's hope I remember to switch the anti-flicker to 50 Hz!) Will have a thorough evaluation by the time I get back, but so far more pleased than I expected to be.
Thoroughly puzzled by one critical aspect of picture quality which has me stumped as to which format to shoot: the camera can shoot in 1080 or 720 at 24p, 30p, or 60i, in either HQ (1920x1080) or SP (1440x1080 "thin raster") mode. What's disconcerting is that if the camera is connected straight to a 42" Sony Bravia 1080p LCD HDTV via the analog component output, the 30p and especially the 24p modes are horrendously jittery on any kind of movement. The camera pulls everything down to 60i internally (the Avid, and, I assume, FCP, throws away the pulldown if you import 24p clips into a 24p project), but while the native 60i modes scream "video!" and have the kind of jagged interlacing that just reaffirms your desire to gun down whoever thought of interlacing in the first place, the 24p mode has no interlacing artifacts, but movement is unbearably jittery.
Importing the clips into the Avid and playing them directly off the DVI port into the same monitor via HDMI doesn't demonstrate any of that jitteriness, but the computer is outputting 1080p, not 1080i. But since ultimately most audiences will be seeing letterboxed 480i DVDs, I'm pretty damn sure the pulldown jitter is going to be there. It's so bad that I can't even consider the 24p mode viable, but I hate the 60i mode.
Has anyone noticed a similar artifact on other 24p cameras - DVX, HVX, etc? This is pissing me off so much, tomorrow I'm pulling out my good old DVX-100 to compare it. I know it never looked this bad in terms of pulldown.
Other than that, the control over the toe and shoulder, hue and saturation, the 1-60fps frame rates, time lapse, 1/2" chips instead of 1/3", working tapeless, the onboard monitor and pretty much everything else is damned amazing in a $6500 camera. If only the cards didn't cost $900 for 50 minutes of recording, plus another $70 per 50GB XDCAM disc if you - duh - actually want to save your media instead of throwing it away. But I'll take it to be able to keep the intimidation factor low on docs and shoot 1920x1080 at this price point...
- Brian Dilg