New camera technology

Shooters can get higher quality at a lower cost.
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When it comes to cameras, today's broadcasters are looking for both cost-effective and high-quality solutions. At NAB 2009, manufacturers provided plenty of new products that meet both goals.

HD quality for less moola

Canon introduced the new BU-50H, a turnkey HD lens-camera system that features an indoor pan/tilt head, a built-in 20X zoom lens and a 3CCD HD. The system offers control of the pan-tilt head, lens functions and key video adjustments. It outputs an uncompressed HD-SDI (or SD-SDI) signal. Each SD (VBS) signal and HD-SDI signal can be output simultaneously, enabling the HD-SDI signal to be recorded while the SD signal is used for monitoring. In addition, it features a genlock function for video system synchronization.

Grass Valley announced the LDK 3000 camera designed for studios and production facilities that need to shoot high-quality HD, but are on a tight budget. The series uses the company's Xensium CMOS imagers and is built on the same physical platform and to the same standards as the LDK 8000. The camera features three 2.4 million pixel CMOS imagers, allowing the camera to switch between 1080i and 720p. A low-cost option also enables users to shoot film-style in 25p and 29.94p. The LDK 3000 also uses an HD triax transmission system, permitting about 0.75mi cable runs.

Ikegami showed its affordable, portable multiformat HD CMOS camera supporting both 1080i/720p HD formats, lower power consumption and a reduced operating temperature. The docking-style camera comes packaged with the new CCU-890T camera-control unit for triax connectivity.

Panasonic caught the attention of NAB crowds — and Broadcast Engineering's Pick Hit judges — with its new 10-bit, 4:2:2 HD AG-HPX300 camcorder. The 8lb shoulder-mount camera records to P2 solid-state cards. It relies on proprietary 1/3in 3-MOS sensors and features 10 stops of dynamic range, interchangeable lenses and the choice of AVC-Intra 100 and AVC-Intra 50 compression. It also offers a 1/2in LCOS color viewfinder, low power consumption (18W with battery and light), and it can capture individual frame images in 100Mb/s DVCPRO HD quality.

Sony brought to NAB the new HSC300 camera, which uses triax cable, making it compatible with current cable installations. The camera is compatible with Sony's existing large lens adaptors and can be used with triax cable runs of up to 0.8mi. It features a 2/3in Power HAD FX CCD with 2.2 million pixels and is switchable between 1080i and 720p 50/60Hz, with 525i and 625 SD modes available from the camera head and CCU. The camera offers comprehensive image controls with wide dynamic range and a 14-bit A/D. The HSC300 was also a Broadcast Engineering Pick Hit winner. (Turn to page 44 for a full listing of the Pick Hit winners.)

With the growing trend in one-man-band journalism, broadcasters are looking for inexpensive cameras that are lightweight and easy to use. JVC unveiled its new compact shoulder-mount professional camcorder, the GY-HM700. This Pick Hit winner records directly to SDHC memory cards in the QuickTime (.MOV) format and optionally to SxS media. It allows instant editing of recorded material without file conversion. Users can drag video clips directly from the storage media onto an NLE timeline. The unit provides two memory card slots providing more than six hours of continuous HD recording at 35Mb/s.

Low-cost lenses

Fujinon introduced the XA50X9.5BE-SM HD telephoto lens designed to work with ENG-style 2/3in HD cameras. The 45lb lens features an integral camera supporter that does not require additional camera gear to hold the lens.

The lens has 50X magnification and a 9.5mm-475mm focal length, which can provide a tight shot at 100ft. A remote-control 2X extender is standard. The maximum relative aperture is 1.7 from 9.5mm to 311mm and only 2.6 at 475mm. The minimum object distance is 9.8ft, and the lens features the company's Digi Power digital servo control system.