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Old September 19th, 2009, 03:45 PM   #1
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Go for the EX-1 or wait for Scarlet

First, some background info:

I've worked in post-production in Los Angeles for a few years and the show I worked for got canceled back in May. Work has been somewhat dry since then - did some freelance web work - but I've been interested in getting into the production end of things. A friend of mine went ahead and bought the ex-1 about a year ago, and he's done quite well for himself with that and worked his way into a camera op on a show.

So, I've done my research - initially I was torn between the ex-1 and HPX170, but overall, I liked the images of the ex-1 and the fact that you can use an adapter to use SDHC memory (making storage much cheaper). I know the problems with the rolling shutter and the CMOS sensor as opposed to using a CCD - I just didn't find it as noticeable (despite the fact that I like to go handheld a bit).

Okay, so I was about to lay the money out for the ex-1, then I listened to some podcast I found on the red forums, and they said that they intend to release the scarlet around Thanksgiving.

Now, in the opinions of the many people who know infinitely more than I do - do you think the scarlet will kill the value and use of an ex-1? Right now, I'd like to buy the ex-1 and rent the camera out (along with myself) at a cheap rate on craigslist and get work and experience. Or do you think that since the scarlet is different enough from the ex-1 that the ex-1 will retain value?

Now for an additional production question but is also related to the camera acquisition... The job I know I can get right now is recording these concerts at a local rock club. Another friend of mine did them with a single camera on stix with an xlr cable coming in from the soundboard. Then he'd go shoot insert shots(where sync wasn't important) and edit it to make it look like multicam shoot. He got a job as an AP and wanted to pass this gig off to me. If, let's say, the ex-1 would become obsolete or just too much uncertainty about it - what would you think about purchasing a Canon VIXIA HF S100(or even an HV30) and a Tascam D-100. I'd hook an xlr to the Tascam from the soundboard and then just float with the handheld camera the entire time and then if I wanted a wide shot, I'd shoot that later - the final output is for the web and you can't tell if it's synced or not from the wide shots.

Looking forward to the insightful feedback that I know I'll get. Thanks.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #2
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what would you think about purchasing a Canon VIXIA HF S100(or even an HV30) and a Tascam D-100.
A sub part answer - While the EX-1 is very good in low light such as you are likely to encounter in rock clubs, the HFS-100 or HV-30 aren't useful in this type of low light situation. These are great second cameras but only in good light. I use an HV-30 as a second camera and it works fine even in good indoor lighting. But when the lighting is reduced, it's in trouble.

The other potential issue is if there are strobe lights at the venue, a CMOS camera can produce some strange looking frames. To many, the EX-1's low light capability offsets this problem.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #3
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Jim,

Thanks for the input on the Canon cameras' sensitivity to lighting or lack thereof. I was thinking I could tide myself over with a little camera doing that bar gig until the Scarlet came out and I could see the results - and get some experience with a less expensive camera.

As for the CMOS sensor on the EX-1 - I know the issues with the strobe lighting. Fortunately, this club just has multi-colored lights and no strobes (although it's been a couple months since my friend shot there so they might have updated the lighting).

My other friend with the EX-1 has footage online that shows an example of the strobing - although many people who saw it had no clue it was a glitch with the sensor and thought it was intended to look that way. If you go to 1:22 you can see it in this video:
YouTube - Mammoth And Jamaica The Past 2 Months of My Life

Also, he has lots of action shots in there - he was doing this with the Ski Channel - and I thought the action footage held up well. I didn't notice any wobble or skew really. The only thing noticeable was the strobe deal.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:15 PM   #4
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My other friend with the EX-1 has footage online that shows an example of the strobing - although many people who saw it had no clue it was a glitch with the sensor and thought it was intended to look that way. If you go to 1:22 you can see it in this video:
YouTube - Mammoth And Jamaica The Past 2 Months of My Life
Yeah, that's a good example of a rolling shutter shot of strobes. But many would say that's a reasonable price to pay in return for good low light performance. As you say, some people might even think that is how it is supposed to look. But if you have dark and grainy video, everyone will know that it shouldn't be that way. If you had shot that same scene with the HFS-100 or HV-30, the footage would have been way too dark - virtually useless.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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I just purchased an EX1 a week ago. I hope it's not obsolete!

This is what my thinking was. I need to replace my Sony V1U for a variety of reasons. There is always something better coming out. Could I afford to wait for the next thing after the EX1? The Canon EOS 7D is a non-starter because of ergonomics and lack of professional audio. I considered waiting for the next Canon video camera. But, I figured it hasn't been announced and nobody knows when it will be. Even after it is announced there are questions about format and workflow. If it follows the EOS 5 or 7 model it will record H.264 which requires transcoding to edit. That's a non-starter for me. I figure it will be at least a year and a half till the camera is out and editing programs fully support it and I simply can't afford to wait that long. The EX1 produces a great image, has good low-light performance and a mature post-production workflow.

As far as Scarlet goes. The final price could be rather high by the time you get what you need. The post-production workflow is not as easy. And it is unproven since it doesn't exist. Is the low-light performance going to be as good as EX1? Nobody knows. Red also has a way of extending deadlines. Or dribbling out releases for a long time. Red's primary market is film makers. It remains to be seen whether they can produce a run and gun camera.

The bottom-line is I figure I have at least 2 years with the EX1 and it made sense for me to take the plunge.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #6
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My sense is that the EX1 as a model will endure like the Z1. Hopefully the resale value will also endure whilst it remains a current model. It has gone through several firmware revisions. The available post-production streams are now matured.

It is compact, does not require cables hanging off it except for external audio inputs or recording by an external recorder and is easy to cart around.

It is available here and now and ready to go out of the box.

If you have to shoot with a Scarlett at 2K resolution for rapid data handling reasons, then the apparent resolution of the EX1 will compare favourably though you may expect dynamic range and sharpness during motion to be inferior due to image data compression.

If and when you get the Scarlett, I suspect you may end up happily using both, even on the same projects.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #7
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I faced this question a year ago, and some people advised me to wait for Scarlet.

In November 2008 I bought an EX1. I love it! It's everything I hoped it would be. I've thoroughly enjoyed shooting with it for the past year.

Meanwhile, Scarlet is... nonexistent.

The EX1 is an outstanding camera. I think it will have long legs.

The 35 Mbps XDCAM codec is great. But if you decide you want more, you can pick up a Nanoflash unit and shoot up to 160 Mbps 4:2:2 using the SDI out. For me, an EX1 will be "good enough" for a long time to come.

Suppose Scarlet is released next week (not likely!) and it's also an outstanding camera and you decide you HAVE to get one. Fine, you can sell your EX1 and buy a Scarlet if you wish.

Or you can just keep using your EX1 to make pretty pictures.

Either way, I wouldn't wait for Scarlet. In the current economy, that could be a long wait.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #8
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I agree.

Unless you are making stuff for the true big screen (then you probable should be looking beyond a $6,000 setup) but I digress, I good assesment of what is 'good enough' might be wise.

How much better can Scarlet be?

It will have lenses, imagers etc... like every other camera.

Most people literally are still happy with DVD, so all of the this nit picking on these forum sites is more for us and not at the demand of the work.

If you take a look at something shot with an EX-1 on Blu-ray there is no way to find fault when you compare what was possible 10 years ago for $6,000.

So obsolete, I don't think so. Blu-ray hasn't even taken hold yet so any of these mid level cameras have barely had a chance to stretch their legs!

If so then sell it.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #9
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I just want to say thanks for all the responses and that you helped me make my decision. I'm going to go for the EX-1. It's available now and I love how the footage looks. For me, a huge bonus is the post production workflow and that you can use flash memory with an adapter. Initially, before I became aware of the adapters - my one friend pointed me to MxM Express - I was much less confident about the whole thing. The idea of either carrying around a laptop or spending $500 did not appeal to me. Such a great workaround.

And I'm glad to hear that you all think it'll be around for a while. I thought to myself that you'd need to treat the Scarlet like a film camera which would require much more precision and that you couldn't run 'n' gun with it. Whereas with the EX-1 you have that versatility - and if you're so inclined to get the shallow DOF film look you can always throw on a Letus or Brevis or whatever. Therefore the EX-1 will be able to coexist once with Scarlet comes onto the scene(whenever that may be). I just have been sitting here theorizing to myself and it was very helpful to get your feedback. Thanks again.




Now, I just need to figure out what accessories (tripods, audio, bag)... I got more research to do!
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Old September 20th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #10
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Good to hear.

I will caution you that I have vowed to never again use the SD adapter route as I have had media error messages in important shooting environments.

As much as it is a more affordable route, I can not live with the level of reliabilty I encountered.

Nano Flash is the best route for me with SD cards as a redundant backup.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #11
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I have been in the similar situation as yourself the last few months and am going to buy an EX1 in 3 weeks time. I actually narrowed it down to the Z7 or the EX1 as I saw the Scarlet original announcement, got fired up, waited, waited, forgot about it and when I started finally seriously looking remembered it - thought to myself it's been 18 months the thing should be out. Wrong.

Scarlet at the moment is a joke. Over two years of waiting. If anyone did wait before getting a camera you'd have not shot a thing for over 2 years. In the interim I have bought, used up a camera and am now buying again. Sorry that's my rant over.

Seriously though the EX1 has won me over with it's great image quality, no tape mechanics and workflow, and ability to later down the track add a nanoflash or similar to up the quality again. I agree with the above, bluray doesn't have the penetration yet so mostly delivery will be on DVD or if you shoot something worthy then to the TV station: EX1 slams that for quality.
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