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NAB 2009 - Zeiss Compact Primes, Sony SRW-9000, etc.

More goodies from the Sunday before the show.

By Adam Wilt | April 20, 2009


The Sony F23 and F35 are excellent digital cine cameras, but they're not especially usable by one-man crews. Sony has managed to combine the front end of the 2/3" F23 with the guts of the SRW-1 recorder into a one-piece camcorder, the SRW-9000.

An SRW-9000 at BandPro with a Zeiss DigiZoom.

It's a hefty puppy (around 17 pounds, comparable to an F900/3) but a lot lighter than an F23 with an SRW-1 docked to it. Power consumption is around 57 watts, roughly half that for the F23/SRW-1 combo. With a DigiZoom on the front, it balances nicely on the shoulder; with a DigiPrime, it's slightly back-heavy.

Sony has designed this camera for episodics and other "film-style" television productions, primarily shooting Rec.709 in full-resolution, 10-bit, 4:2:2 color (e.g. plain old TV); shows that might currently be shooting 8-bit, 1440x1080 HDCAM with F900s but want to move into F23 territory were it not for the bulk, expense and complexity (prices for the SRW-9000 aren't firmed up, but are supposed to be substantially less than a loaded F23 and SRW-1 combo). The 9000 will have option cards for 4:4:4 recording, 60fps overcrank (the base camera will overcrank to 48fps), and S-Log capture.

One difference between the F23 and the SRW-9000: the 9000 lacks the wide-gamut prism of the F23. According to Sony, the wide-gamut prism adds substantial cost, and only really benefits F23s when recording in wide color space—which isn't used for television production, only for film production.

The operator's panel, similar to that on an F23.

The AC's panel is the same one used on the F23 and F35.

Another SRW-900 at Sony, with a 40mm DigiPrime.

The flip side of that camera, with deck control on a cine arm and a nanoFLASH recorder.

This NAB sees the debut of Mike Schell's nanoFLASH recorder from Convergent Design. The nanoFLASH, appropriately enough, uses a Sony XDCAM codec to convert HD-SDI into long-GOP, 4:2:2 MPEG-2 at data rates up to 50mbps, recording it to CF cards. Its application here on the SRW-900 is as a proxy-video recorder (although, conceivably, a poor bloke reeling from the shock of purchasing an SRW-9000 and a nice lens or two could be forgiven from balking at the further expenses of SR tapes, and might be tempted by the low cost of reusable CF cards instead!).

An F23 for comparison, with an SRW-9000 in the background.

The SRW-9000, big as it is, is still substantially more compact and shoulder-friendly than the bulky F23/SRW-1 combo.

Next: The PDW-F800, the HSC-300, and a nice-looking lens...

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