XDCAM Camcorder FAQ

Which XDCAM HD camcorders have 1/2-inch type CCDs and which have 2/3-inch type CCDs?

The XDCAM HD system was designed to meet the urgent requests from customers for affordable, professional HD production with interchangeable lenses. Initially, the XDCAM HD camcorders had 1/2-inch type image sensors. Now, 2/3-inch type sensors are also available. These differences allow Sony to deliver distinct classes of professional HD production: Sony HDV™ 1080i camcorders use 1/3-inch, some XDCAM HD camcorders use 1/2-inch (PMW-EX1R, PMW-EX3 and PMW-320) and HDCAM® camcorders and some XDCAM HD camcorders (PMW-350K, PDW-700 and PDW-F800) use 2/3-inch type sensors.

What is overcranking and undercranking?

The terms originated with the early film cameras, where the frame rate was literally determined by a manual crank. Undercranking refers to shooting at a slower frame rate than the playback rate, for a high-speed "Keystone Kops" effect. Overcranking refers to shooting at a higher frame rate than the playback, for the beautiful slow motion effect often seen in cinema. The PDW-F350 enables both overcranking and undercranking at a range of frame rates from 4 fps to 60 fps in 1 fps increments. When viewed at 24 fps, 4 fps yields motion six times faster than normal, where 60 fps yields motion at 40% normal speed. And these effects can be played back right in the camera. Sony calls this feature for the PDW-F350 camcorder "Slow and Quick Motion."

Do XDCAM hardware and media work well in humid environments?

Incredibly well. Thanks to non-contact recording and playback, the XDCAM system has nothing that would cause the sticking that interferes with videotape operation. Sony specifies operating humidity up to 90%. However, in Sony's own tests the camcorders have been shown to operate as long as there is no condensation or dew on the surface of the disc. Should condensation exist on media while in a camcorder or deck, the user will be prompted with a HUMID alarm. In case of dew, if you allow the disc to acclimate to room temperature and humidity (68°F/40%RH) you can resume recording. One other hidden benefit of the media type is that even when moisture appears on the surface, there are no permanent effects. With other media types utilizing pins for contact, often when those pins come in contact with moisture, they have a tendency to short out, causing loss of data.

Is there shock and vibration resistance built into XDCAM camcorders?

Yes, Sony XDCAM camcorders use rubber dampers to hold the disc drive block in place, thereby minimizing the effect of any shock or vibration. In addition, a tracking system, based on the best Sony servo technologies, reduces the chance of the optical head recording off track. In the event a shock exceeds the servo's capacity, causing the head to move off track, recording continues in a buffer memory until the head is positioned properly. Once the head is back on track, the buffered information is recorded to disc. A substantial amount of buffering is built into the camcorder to operate in harsh environments.

Does Sony offer PAL camcorders?

All XDCAM HD camcorders and decks support both PAL and NTSC standard definition.

Can I use my 2/3-inch lenses on the XDCAM HD camcorder?

Yes, with the optional Sony LO-32BMT adaptor. Of course, the difference in size between 2/3-inch and 1/2-inch type sensors means that your lens focal lengths are multiplied by a factor of 1.37x.

What happens if the camcorder battery is removed or power is suddenly lost from an AC adaptor while recording?

The emergency recovery system is designed to restore as much AV data as possible even if the file system is not closed properly. If power is suddenly lost during a recording, the AV data can be recovered automatically once power is reapplied. When this type of recovery occurs, the duration of a lost recording is a maximum of four (4) seconds from the time just before power was lost.

What is the time from power on to being able to record, if the disc is already in?

Approximately 3.5 seconds. Tape camcorders take around four seconds.

What is the time from pushing the EJECT button to full ejection of a disc?

The EJECT button on the camcorder does not abort the recording process. Whether an EJECT is done shortly after a REC STOP or while the camera is idle, the EJECT process is completed in approximately 5 seconds.

How do I know my signal is being recorded? Is there a playback confidence function?

XDCAM products automatically confirm laser-writing conditions by checking the focus servo, tracking servo, reflection of laser beam, and laser power. An alarm will alert you if an unusual condition is detected. Because optical recording is fundamentally different from tape recording, there is no traditional playback confidence monitoring.