Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

3D - HDR-TD10 (2011).
Professional models - HXR-NX70 (2011). HXR-MC2000, HXR-MC50 (2010).
Flash Memory / consumer - HDR-CX260V, HDR-CX580V, HDR-CX740VE, HDR-CX760V (2012). HDR-CX360V, HDR-CX560V, HDR-CX700V (2011). HDR-CX110, HDR-CX150, HDR-CX300, HDR-CX350V, HDR-CX550V (2010). HDR-CX100 (2009). HDR-CX12 (2008). HDR-CX7 (2007).
Hard Disk / consumer - HDR-XR260V (2012). HDR-XR150, HDR-XR350V, HDR-XR550V (2010). HDR-XR100, HDR-XR200, HDR-XR500, HDR-XR520 (2009). HDR-SR11, HDR-SR12 (2008). HDR-SR5, HDR-SR7 (2007).
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Doughie
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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby Doughie » 09 Jan 2013 16:35

peter-s-c wrote:but test with a good set of headphones based on ambient levels and go from there.

that's the bottom line for me. Golden Rule of sound recording : Monitor your sound live during the event with headphones. It can help you avoid all sorts of problems and unexpected sound issues by alerting you to / hiss / wind rumble / levels too high & too low / no signal etc etc

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Stephan
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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby Stephan » 09 Jan 2013 23:27

peter-s-c wrote:On my camera, 'Normal' is defined as, "Records surrounding sounds at fixed level". "Low" is defined as, "Records surrounding sounds at actual level."

Does yours have the same definition?
I checked on the menu, yes it's the same definition.

But "Normal" applies variable gain for sure (with the strongest noise when it's quiet like your office), while "Low" will keep a low level when it's quiet (less amplification, less noise). So I could only interpret this behavior and the menu labels as this: "Normal" will try & output fixed level in any condition (which spells trouble in quiet conditions) while "Low" will try & output audio levels "as they are" (hence 'actual').

Not the first time I had to split hairs and come up with some far-fetched interpretation of menu items or text from the manuals - LOL!

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby peter-s-c » 10 Jan 2013 00:38

Your explanation makes perfect sense to me. This is how I had originally interpreted these settings, but subsequent results had left me second-guessing my understanding. I've been using FCPx's ability to auto fix audio during import and I hadn't allowed for that during the second-guessing sessions. Import with that feature turned off and it becomes much more obvious.

Having come over from the still photography ranks, I'm OK with the visual side of video, but the audio side is a new ball game.

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby jadee » 02 Apr 2013 23:03

I'm a fairly new videographer (been doing it for 2-3 years) and I currently shoot sports coverage of a Division 1 University (football, basketball, ect).

I was considering buying this camera, the Sony HXR-MC2000u because I'm looking for a camera with a shoulder mount or can at least pass as professional without questions from random security and personnel (i know the insides of the camera aren't "professional" on this model). I'm currently using a Canon Vixia HF G10 and it's actually very awesome, it does a great job of the run and gun shoots on a football field and the depth of field is usually great as well as the auto focus on those long passes when I have to find the ball fast and zoom in mid play.

My only complaint is I've actually been denied access to some higher end events due to rules on the credentials applications, for example the NCAA tournament coverage does not allow "handheld" camcorders on the court. I also get asked by random people all the time if I'm serious with my little vixia because most people can't imagine the quality of image I'm getting with it. It would just make it much easier to get by all the security (even with my credentials) and be taken seriously with a more professional looking camera to supplement the vixia, and if I had two cameras I could stick one up top during basketball games and get on court and overhead shots at the same time.

My question is what exactly would be the difference between the HXR-MC2000u and the Vixia HF G10? I know the chip is 1/4 instead of 1/3 in the vixia, but would I really notice a difference if I shot the games with the sony instead? If it isn't a good idea to buy the Sony HXR-MC2000u, then what camera would you suggest instead? I own all my own equipment except the canon vixia (I talked my job into paying for that, and that was the most I could get them to put up for it) so I want to fix that and buy my own camera.

If the Sony HXR-MC2000u isn't advised for me, what other options would you suggest as being better then it? I want it to be digital storage, not tape. I need it to look professional. I want the actual quality of image and control to be as good as my canon vixia hf g10. My price range isn't high though, I'm looking at 2,500 dollars max, and obviously finding something that fits my description for less like the MC2000 would be great.

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby peter-s-c » 03 Apr 2013 20:46

I happen to own both those cameras and I can refer you to some video shot with each so you can judge for yourself. I'm a fly fishing pro staff and shoot video both for fly casting and fly tying. I find the Canon to produce a better image and has more manual controls. The Sony is definitely better for 'run and gun'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BFfasV7Fqg

My lighting is not very bright (I have to get brighter CF bulbs), so we're getting into the lower light ranges of the cameras, hence a bit of noise in the Sony, which isn't a low light happy camper as this review points out. To give you an idea of light intensity, I don't have light meter, but for this scene my DSLR requires an exposure of f2.8 at 1/5th of a second using ISO 100.

The CU of me has been done by the Canon, while the fly against the orange-red background has been done by the Sony. The CU of the fly from behind was done by an Olympus TG-1 P&S camera.

Watch the video full screen at 1080p.

Here's a second video shot completely with the Sony, but unfortunately at a much lower res. Anyway it'll give a taste of it's outdoor performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19PvAgTF4tE

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby jadee » 03 Apr 2013 23:46

Thanks for the reply. I'll provide you with a couple of examples of what my vixia has done so far and you can tell me if you think the Sony would have a noticeable drop off.

There are a couple of types of videos I mainly shoot during the year, close up interview type videos like this one with K-State's Bill Snyder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pfCt4HNB6k

Then there are night time run and gun shots like this K-State football game hosting OSU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfWRpKJGU0c

and indoors at places like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYuN1nZ0Wtk


Do you think the Sony would hold up at these shoots?

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby peter-s-c » 04 Apr 2013 13:54

If we did a side-by-side test between the two, I have no doubt that the Canon would edge out the Sony in video quality. With that said, the shoulder cam form factor for what you're doing is far superior to a handheld cam. Just the viewfinder, the steadiness and the zoom control will make your life much easier.

Some things to note: the Sony shotgun mic probably would have produced better audio quality from the coach during the interview. Even with my volume above normal listening levels, I couldn't always pick up what he said, yet the reporters' voices were quite clear. I noticed during the run back in the football game, that you had trouble keeping the player comfortably in the frame while trying to zoom. Things got quite shaky at that moment. The Sony will excel in that department as the zoom control is so slick and the camera rock solid while zooming, plus there is a second zoom rocker on the handle for low angle shots. The viewfinder will let you keep things in the frame more easily. Low angle shots become more more practical with the Sony as well. You may find the zoom and angle changes will feature more often in your efforts.

Some other things: the Sony has 64GB of memory and a five hour battery - good for covering games. The function of the ring is easily changed on the go. There is a lot of real estate on the Sony for sticking stuff. The two cold shoes can handle wireless mic receivers and other gear. I have stuck a GoPro mount on the lens hood so I can run a GoPro as a simultaneous, on axis cam for a different view point of the same action. I have velcro stuck on one side for holding other gear, like my ZoomH1. Mine is collecting accretions like barnacles on a hull. For windy outdoor games, the shotgun mic easily takes a dead cat windscreen. If you need XLR inputs, then those audio boxes designed for DSLRs could easily be mounted underneath the Sony on the tripod mount. The versatility of the Sony form factor is just so much better than the Canon for run 'n' gun situations, that I don't think you'll be too worried about a slight drop off in the video quality. Like that old still photographer's saying, "It's f8 and be there", getting the shot is the issue.

If you're dead set on as good if not better video in a shoulder mount, then I think you'll have to look at the Panasonic AG-HMC80PJ and they sell usually around $2100-2200 or so. It's downsides: doesn't appear to have any internal memory and the widest angle is only about 40mm (35mm equivalent) which may not be enough for good stadium views. The Sony is roughly a 30mm in comparison. On the other hand, it comes with a host of pro features that I wish the Sony had, like zebra and peaking. I bought the Sony for the wide angle and the internal memory, but I wished now that I had gone for the Panasonic.

HTH

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Re: Sony HXR-MC2000 Hands-On Review

Postby jadee » 05 Apr 2013 02:33

Thanks so much for the detailed run down of how you think the Sony performs with what I'm doing.

I watched a couple of detailed run downs on the Panasonic you listed and it does have more pro features which I like. I did like the wide angle of the Sony but in sports coverage it's usually a bad idea to pan out and crowd shoot, similar to "flock shots" with people who do bird shots.

After doing some research on the Panasonic AG-HMC80PJ I'm very happy with all the I/O ports and can't find anything that even comes close to the professional options this one gives without doubling the price to 4-5k. Adding memory cards isn't a big deal, and after reading some reviews it appears it is possible to add wide angle lenses later but I doubt I'll ever need to. I really like this Panasonic, now just need to find a safe place to buy it from. Thank you very much for suggesting this camera and for your perspective on the Sony and Canon. I was very worried about making a big purchase then regretting the chose of camera later.


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