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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #136
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I didn't notice any zoom issues when I shot the airshow with it, nor when playing with it at the Gibson Hall show. I was not particularly looking for any slow zoom problems and didn't try as far as I can remember any long slow creeping zooms, but I certainly would have done a lot of slow speed zooms and zooms with gentle starts and stops.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #137
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What? I expect a professional lens to work! The jerky zoom is a major issue on the EX3 - smooth zooms are essential for almost all documentary work.I can accept that a $2,000 lens may not look as good as a $20,000 lens but it is pretty basic to make it zoom smoothly. I've never seen the issue on any lens/camera besides the EX1/3 and really cheap consumer grade kit. It is totally unacceptable on a camera/lens at this level.
Consumer grade? Show me the consumer camera (or any prosumer camera) that has a lens that even comes close to the EX lenses.

Yes, in order to keep the EX cameras affordable, Sony has skimped on the build-quality and ergonomics of the lenses. There's no question about that, but something has to give. You can't sell a complete camera (with lens) for 1/2 the cost of what just the lens alone would cost from Fujinon or Canon.

I completely support what Sony has done to keep the price down. I can learn to live with, or work around, ergonomic problems. But what are you going to do if the picture sucks? I could not forgive Sony if they skimped on the optics. I think it is amazing they got "cheap" lens to look almost as good as $20,000 lens.

However, with all that said, maybe I've just been lucky, but I haven't noticed anything about the zoom controls on my EX1, EX3, or EX1R that are worth complaining about. I have no problems doing nice slow zooms with smooth ramping.

Perhaps you got a lemon?
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Old December 30th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #138
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Well said Doug,

I have had a few jumps when trying to do slow speed zooms but I bet it is user error. With my Libec ZC-9EX remote I tend to have soother zooms. Must be my touch on the camera zoom rocker and how I had the preset speeds. But 98% of time I have had very nice smooth zooms.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 09:58 AM   #139
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Doug, I don't own an EX3 or EX1 but have used a fair few of both cameras through rental and clients supplying their own kit. I have seen the issue in several cameras. AFAIK this is a known issue to Sony.

For documentaries where the action isn't repeatable, you are left a horrible decision: do I risk a jerky zoom or do I stick with incorrect framing. This is not a situation a pro wants to be in as the kit will make you look bad. Bad optics look like bad optics, jerky zooms or poor framing look like a bad operator.

The fact that the optics are good (value) makes it all the more frustrating that they skimped on the quality of the zoom servo. There are a lot of very cheap cameras that have perfectly smooth zooms so it doesn't appear to be a major cost to overcome.

I hope it makes sense what I'm getting at: don't skimp on the lens servo control as it should be a minor cost but is of critical importance to the operation of the camera. Hopefully the PMW 350 will never have this issue, we will find out soon enough.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #140
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...I haven't noticed anything about the zoom controls on my EX1, EX3, or EX1R that are worth complaining about. I have no problems doing nice slow zooms with smooth ramping.
Perhaps you got a lemon?
Hi Doug,
I had the same issue when I first got my EX1. Sony replaced the entire camera. That is no longer their policy since, apparently, many people reported the issue.

You can test for this if you're so willing Doug. Enable the top handle zoom button (really a button not a rocker). Set your slow zoom speed to 2 in the menu. Try to execute the zoom using that top handle button and go from 0 to 99. You may notice the zoom stutters.

My first EX1 did that with any speed below 10 but got really bad below 8, making creeps zooms impossible. My replacement camera works smoothly down to 2 but will begin to show it at 1. I've heard second hand that the new EX1R actually throws some kind of warning if you try to set the zoom speed below 8.

Many people are frustrated by this issue especially since not all EX1 and EX3 exhibit it. The problem is if you're stuck with one that stutters, Sony is now refusing to replace them.

Doug do test it on any EX1 or EX3 you may have using a speed set to 2. Maybe you got lucky with your cameras. Understand the frustration though that by luck of the draw, some people can't execute creep zooms and Sony refuses to service those cameras.

Basically the spec to get a smooth slow speed is so "tight" that Fuji can't consistently meet it from lens to lens. I imagine the manufacturing tolerances to hit that consistently are tighter than the current assembly and they can't/don't find it worthwhile to do any retooling.

Please do check your cameras though.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #141
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. . . I have seen the issue in several cameras. AFAIK this is a known issue to Sony.

For documentaries where the action isn't repeatable, you are left a horrible decision: do I risk a jerky zoom . . .
Mike, I'm entirely sympathetic. I was shooting an interview with a well known former US Congress person. They were on an incredibly tight schedule. They were talking about their dad (also a former elected official) and had such passion I started to creep zoom in and part way in it began to stutter. This was an unrepeatable emotional moment!

The next day, I called Sony. I was LIVID! I sent them the camera. I walked them through the test on the phone and they verified the issue. They attempted to replace the lens and found it was no better. They decided to send me a new camera after getting permission (took 3 weeks). The new camera was smooth down to 2 (I was at 6 when the issue happened). This was around January 2008. I had been using the camera since December 2007 and while I had done slow zooms hadn't attempted anything below 10 and didn't see a reason to test a lower number specifically.

If Sony couldn't get this to work on any of the EX1 or EX3 I'd understand but the fact that some cameras are fine (as my replacement is and as Doug seems to say his are) and others aren't and that Sony won't fix or replace those and that Fuji won't improve their tolerances so people can get CONSISTENT results from camera to camera is not good.

Alas they've apparently found that limiting slow zoom speed to 8 is the answer in the EX1R (EX1R users please check this) . . . so if you have an EX1 or EX3 than can go to 2 consider yourself "blessed."
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Old December 30th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #142
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I had issues with my EX3 lens, zoom would not work slow, it was very jerky. I got a replacement lens from Sony, it took about 10 days. My dealer lent me a spare lens while mine was at the Sony service center.

When I got the new lens I had to set the Back Focus and it worked perfectly. I actually did it outdoors with a person holding BF chart, I was amazed that it worked.

I have not had any issues since. This was back in the Fall of 2008. And the EX3 zoom is still very smooth today.

I now have a new EX1R and it zooms fine even though Sony now don't display zoom numbers below 8.

I think these cameras are outstanding in picture/lens quality for a very low price.

Combined with a NanoFlash they rival 100K cams (at least they are very close). And the fact that you can rent any lens you want and put it on the EX3 or the new 350 is amazing.

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Old December 30th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #143
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Maybe I have a "Monday morning" kit, there is no problem with zooming at any speed. I also understood that zooming on a subject is a sign of amatuer camerawork, maybe I didn't hear this correctly.

Correct me if I am wrong
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Old December 30th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #144
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Vincent,

I agree if most of your shots are pans, zooms and jerky handheld, your work will look amateur.

However you can do tasteful slow frame changes using zooms and pans, just do it when it is called for. It can be a very useful storytelling tool.

I would love to have jib on a dolly set up for every shot, but that is not practical.

Slow zooms can be tastefully done and if your camera can't do it I would raise a stink with your dealer and Sony.

90% of my shots are static, probably 1% or less are zooms, the rest are dolly, pans, jib, stedicam or even hand held (pretty much in that order). My favorite tool is a helicopter, but that is big money.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #145
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Agree Olof my favorite tool is the helicopter and even there i use zoom. Not much but enough to help make the shot dramatic.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 12:40 PM   #146
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I have an EX1 and I've never had any slow zoom problems at all. Smooth as silk. I'm not sure how 'slow' you guys are creeping the zoom, but my slow zooms are as slow as I'd ever want to do. I use slow zooms to emphasize facial expressions/emotions, or make planned changes in composition and I've never had any issues with jerkiness.

I'm really interested in the new PMW 350 for those 2/3" chips. I keep waiting for Scarlet before I make any decisions, but in the meantime lots of really cool cameras keep coming to market. I might just get the Sony HXR-MC1 POV camera as my next camera purchase in 2010.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #147
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Guys,

I hope you're talking about the handle "rocker" being hesitant at speeds <10, not the main hand grip rocker?

As to the latter, operating it carefully I can get perfect creeping zoom lasting some 90 secs from end to end (regardless of the menu zoom speed setting).

As to the former - well, at the setting of 1, it tends to start and stop but only at the wide position; further towards tele and I can get even slower zooms than with the grip rocker (a single digit increment per 2 seconds).

With the menu zoom speed settings at 2 and above, it's as smooth as silk.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #148
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Two different cameras: PDW-F350 is optical disk, PMW-350 is solid state SxS. Tip o' the hat to Sony's naming department - 'thanks guys'.
I know, but Bob wrote :"... I am much more interested in using the Nanoflash to record 1920X1080 for my XDCAM HD camera(F350)...", so he clearly meant the PDW-F350 XDCAM HD. I have one of these, so I'm interested how I can get 1920x1080 out to a Nanoflash, coming from 1440x1080 chips.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #149
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You can test for this if you're so willing Doug. Enable the top handle zoom button (really a button not a rocker). Set your slow zoom speed to 2 in the menu. Try to execute the zoom using that top handle button and go from 0 to 99. You may notice the zoom stutters.
I thought we were talking about the zoom on the grip? If I misread the thread, sorry about that. I have no idea how the zoom control works on the hande because I would never use it. It doesn' have a variable speed, pressure sensitive control, so you'll never be able to do a decent zoom with smooth ramping no matter what your settings are. The control on the grip is the only one to use.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #150
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I hope it makes sense what I'm getting at: don't skimp on the lens servo control as it should be a minor cost but is of critical importance to the operation of the camera. Hopefully the PMW 350 will never have this issue, we will find out soon enough.
Mike, I understand what you are saying and I'm not trying to argue, but you are expecting too much from a camera at this price point. If Sony built your dream camera, not too many custoemrs would want to spend the extra $ for it.

The nice thing about the EX3 is that you can slap another lens on it if you don't like the one it came with. I recently sold my EX3, but I always used a $12K Fujinon on it.

Also, I don't think the EX lenses are worse than other lenses. I still own a Z1U and I used to own a Z7U, and I know the EX lenses are way superior to the lenses on those cameras in every single way you want to compare them.
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