Prolific German producer, director, cameraman and Sony ICE Mark Zdunnek, M.A. was recently in Singapore for BroadcastAsia. In between seminars and soaking up the sights of this lovely city, he put the new Sony HXR-NX100 handy camcorder through its paces. In the following Q&A session he shares his observations with us.
I have to say I am impressed! The made in Japan NX100 with its 1.0-inch sensor certainly scores top marks for its compact design, features and usability. Clearly designed for diverse shooting conditions, the NX100 is great for entry-level users or as a back-up camera.
I had the pleasure of using the NX100 for a whole day for both production and post-production. Singapore has so many beautiful and colourful places to shoot. Shooting Gardens By the Bay with its rich flora and Clarke Quay in the evening provided me with ample opportunity to test the limits of its 1.0-inch sensor in both sunny and low-light conditions. I also filmed human beings and objects against daylight – almost like a contre-jour shot. I also created focus transitions with open iris and huge focal changes to get an impression of its bokeh, shallow depth of field and ability to control the line of vision of the viewer – all of which the NX100 performed admirably.
I found the 1.0-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor really makes a difference. The beautiful camera bokeh gives cameramen plenty of creative freedom in focal decisions. The film-look like shallow depth of field offers a very convenient line of vision control.
Cameramen would also appreciate the three independent manual lens rings which give them excellent creative control for focus, zoom and iris.
Mark Zdunnek, M.A.
Prolific German producer, director, cameraman and Sony ICE
My findings while conducting the review are, that the product was ready for all of my tests. It is ultraportable, light-weight, easy-to-use and extremely compact while at the same time very common and intuitive in its handling, even while on a tour boat along Clarke Quay. During this approach I tried out many different angles, viewpoints and even used the monopod as a telescopic hand-crane, positioned on my right shoulder. Another highlight is the built-in 4-step ND-filter that makes it very convenient to set the correct exposure and control depth-of-field in bright environments, very much like the conditions cameramen face everyday.
My preferred format is Sony’s new XAVC codec that is now widely featured in Sony camcorders and accepted by professionals worldwide. The HXR-NX100 offers XAVC-S at 50Mbit up to 60fps with Full HD.
I have never believed in any type of digital extension or digital zoom. But I was totally surprised when I used the 24x Clear Image Zoom and 48x Digital Extender on the NX100. I would like to emphasise the following advantages and virtues: I feel the zoom factor offers you an incomparable freedom of frame choices, more than a regular user would probably ever make use of in a camera of this category. At the same time, it feels like you have access to multiple lenses, because in comparison the competition usually only has 12x in zoom. The 24x zoom of this camera really gives you a variety of possibilities, while benefitting from the precision, sensitivity, low-noise and superresolution of the 20 megapixel sensor.
I would like to point out that the NX100 delivers amazing quality for its price range. It has exceeded my expectations in terms of the sensor, format, handling, Clear Image Zoom, detail depiction and image quality. I get asked a lot to help people, choose the right product for their needs. The NX100 is definitely a product that is very versatile if you are entering the professional product line (entry-level), stepping up from consumer products, are ambitious or a YouTube film creator, or if you want to switch over from tape to memory recording – all without breaking your budget.