1080p and 60fps, almost no aliasing for $349 – HX9V

June 19th, 2011



You probably don’t believe me, but look: It’s not April 1st and the specs on the Sony site don’t lie!
Here’s a “camera” that shoots 50p (in PAL world) or 60p (in NTSC areas) in full 1080p resolution. And it’s not even a fancy device, just a plain, tiny point and shoot camera that costs $349. Jaw dropping so far, but there’s some more info you should hear before you start to like this camera:

Alright, let’s get back to reality. This camera definitely dispenses some punches to DSLR filmworld competitors and it opens the doors to nicer slow motion (in certain conditions) and smaller form factor filming in indie filmmaking. After all the slomo we have seen from DSLR cameras really bugs us with all the aliasing and 720p res going on there.
But but but but, there’s always a butt somehwere, isn’t there? There are also some details about this camera that make it a “no no” (no no? I can say that, I’m forgeign) for many of us:

small sensor:
The active sensor in this camera is 11.176 millimeters wide (1/2.3″ CMOS). That probably gives us the aliasing free video, but also produces a lack of shallow depth of field as we learned to love it and degrades overall picture quality and lowlight powers.
fixed lens:
This might be seen not only as a negative aspect. After all it makes this camera highly portable and small, but we will not be able to attach all the fancy lenses we have stockpiled.
manual control?:
No. I feel transported back to 2008, when we had to toy our 5D mark II’s into exposure lock, remember? Well the bad news is there is not even exposure lock on this one, it seems to be all auto. What a downer.
quality:
ACHD codec. Probably I don’t need to say more. A highly compressed mpeg 4 codec that records at bitrates around 24mbit/s (28 on the hx9v). I wonder if the additional 30 frames in slomo get punched into the same bitrate bandwidth which would then result in 14mbit/s at playback? You can download the source file to check the video quality for yourself. Codec artifacts are definitely visible in the source.

Sony HX9V cameraThanks go to my colleague Johnnie Behiri who provided and shot the above footage yesterday using the Zacuto Z-Finder on the camera:

“First I had to find a solution to how to view the LCD during day light. It was almost an instinct to take the Zacuto Z-finder”

He shot the Rainbow Parade that took place in Vienna yesterday. Certainly a little disturbing at times, but still a good sample of the cameras video capabilities.

Excerpt from the Vimeo description:
… there is “no control on anything” but the “exposure starting point”. The possibility is to assign the “custom button” on top of the camera to adjust the image brightness (+) or darkness (-). If only there was a way to lock exposure and lock focus this camera would have been a real jewel but I hear you saying, what do you expect from…..

Photo by Nino Leitner

Here’s another video, by Jeen de Vos Producties. It’s non slomo and shows that the camera can very well produce really nice images: (via dslrnewsshooter)

For the US the camera is available for $349 here
Europeans go here and pay 359€

[UPDATE] Here’s another nice sample:

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