Rush Videos took a break from production to test a new piece of equipment this week. Thanks to Showcase, Inc in Atlanta, GA we were able to get our hands on the newly released Sony HXR-NX3 video camera. It features 3 1/2.8″ Exmor CMOS sensors to capture plenty of high resolution, high definition detail. Two of the most important features we were eager to test out was the Sony G Lens with 20x optical zoom (40x Clear Image zoom) as well as low light performance. The increased zoom distance (compared to the 13x optical zoom on Panasonic HMC-150) would obviously come in handy for sporting events. The low light performance is a life-saver when working in dimly light areas without much natural light (aka wedding receptions and many churches).
To begin our test, we needed a benchmark so what better to use than the Panasonic HMC-150 which is one of the most popular professional cameras in the below $5k range over the past few years. In fairness, we are much more familiar with the Panasonic and could operate those blindly but unfortunately we did not have a user guide for the Sony and not much help could be found online as it is a new release. But being the professionals we are, we spent a few hours just going through all the settings on the HXR-NX3 to familiarize ourselves with this new device. We decided the best approach would be to set both video cameras to auto settings mode and remove the user preferences from the equation.
As you can see in the youtube video at the beginning of the article we compared the zoom, panning motion blur, nd filters, picture profile settings, and gain controls by setting both cameras side by side and recording the same subject simultaneously. While we were impressed with many features the Sony has to offer with the longer zoom, dual sdxc card slots (versus one sdhc slot for HMC-150), on-board led video light, and impressive battery life we were left with a few concerns. We experienced the rolling shutter effect which is notorious for CMOS sensors where images can become distorted (imagine a Salvador Dali painting), some loss of focus during fast panning movements, and while the low light performance was better overall than the HMC-150, we were still left wanting a little better performance with less image noise.
Overall, the Sony HXR-NX3 is a very formidable competitor in the sub $5k professional video camera market where you will need a powered zoom and continuous recording. Based on all of the features it has to offer, you would be hard pressed to find a better out of the box, hit the ground running video camera for a suggested retail price of $3495.
Sony HXR-NX3 Review by Rush Videos
Special thank you to Showcase, Inc in Atlanta, GA for allowing us to get hands on with the Sony HXR-NX3.