Panasonic – 1, Sony – 3

Sorry Panasonic but Sony just trounced you with a three pointer swoosh, not that I wasn’t utterly charmed by your opening point, but…

I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad I didn’t buy a camera. Panasonic’s HVX-200 was a sexy piece of machinery when it came out. For the past few years Panasonic has really been taking the lead in making us creative types drool, first with the DVX-100 that shot in 24P and had film-like gamma settings (in other words you could make video look like film), then upped the ante with the HD version, the HVX-200 that also boasted the tapeless P2 recording system. No more fucking dropouts, tape snags, dust or hours long capture sessions in editing. Hallelujah!

All the while Sony just sat there. Quietly. Turns out they were paying very careful attention and they’ve come out with something that blows Panasonic out of the water.

Behold the PMW-EX1 XDCAM. It shoots HD. It shoots in 24P. It has cine-gamma settings. It records on flash cards, but not P2, oh no. The EX1 records on a smaller, cheaper, faster card format, SxS. Right now only Sony and Sandisk make the things, but fortunately Sony learned its lesson from BetaMax and Memory Sticks. Its open format, so there will be more manufacturers and the price will go down. Thank fucking god.

So my needlist has been changed. For a comparable price I can get a superior camera. Probably a year or two away, but Sony’s done what needed to be done to get this transition to HD really rolling. Only trouble is I’ll need bigger hard drives…


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