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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old November 5th, 2007, 06:30 AM   #1
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Does it fit?

I am researching, reading and otherwise driving myself into a frenzy trying to determine if the XDCAM-EX will fit my workflow, shooting style and my life in general.

We are all looking a specs, reading every word written by those fortunate enough to have touched this promising camera. We are even shopping for the best prices, (only from DV.net sponsors of course), all before there are any real working samples to analyze.

I compare this camera to RedOne, which is my first choice of a camera, but my wife's last choice from a financial perspective. The HVX200 seems pretty popular. The JVC 110 or 200 could be viable. I don't like Canon. I always come back here and search for new info on the EX.

But the real question for me is about the practicality of this camera. Do I really want to work only in HiDef? I know there are proxy files. I realize I can down-render. But ultimately, the final output will be in SD. At least for right now.

Are the Flash cards that are includedgoing to provide enought time for what I do? Or will I immediately be shopping for more SxS cards? I love the idea of no tape drive. No moving parts, service, etc.

I think the biggest problem I am having is that there doesn't seem to really be anything for a direct comparison. At least not at $6500. The HVX200 is close, but will anyone really think that it has the resolution of the EX. Not honestly. The Exmor cmos chips are amazing.

How long before we will be in a HD world? I would like to get people to go ahead and replace all their DVD players with Blu-ray or HD-DVD players so we can get this show on the road. It sure would make my decision easier.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 07:33 AM   #2
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Joel, a lot of us are in the same position.

So far, the EX seems to be the best value of any HD offering to date, IMHO.

What was giving me pause is the price per inch on the sensor sizes in HD cameras.

Basically, the prices for HD cameras are a lot more than SD cameras.

I have worked to build up my equipment in the SD world and one 'greater than 1/3" camera purchase' in the HD world would surpass my total investment in SD, until the EX came along.

As far was workflow, the only main thing that would bother me is delivering widescreen only SD DVDs. There are still a lot of people who have 4:3 televisions, and you will now be giving them a product with black bars.

I also feel a bit limited with the 14x lens since I am used to 18x on my SD cameras.

But, for me, being able to shoot in 720p 60fps as well as the time lapse feature are nice benefits and will really give some nice looks.

Direct TV & Dish are both increasing their channel lineup in HD. I believe once this happens, a lot more people will migrate to HD.

So, I am going to jump aboard the HD train.

Last edited by Tim Polster; November 5th, 2007 at 08:56 AM.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 07:55 AM   #3
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Hi Joel

I´m pretty much in your shoes. I have a Canon H1 that I only bought because the EX1 wasen´t ready for when I had to buy a camera. I have to say I like the picture quality of the H1, but I hate the handling of that auto-lens.
i´ve used the JVC on a production this spring, althouh I like the camera and lens, it had way to many failures and had to be sent in for service. Avid support for the JVC is also very bad.

The EX was perfect on paper, but when they dropped DVCAM mode, not as perfect anymore.

After lots of research I have decided to get one, since I get financing from Sony (payment devided over 24 months interest free)

I realize I have to bring a laptop on most shoots to off load the cards, not ideal, but I can get used to it.
I have ordered a 16GB card as well, but I that wont ship with the camera
It´s a problem because directors have become used to cheap video tapes and (in my experience) tend to roll quite a bit these days

It seems like FC and Avid is supported from the start which is great.

I guess I´m not really answering your question, but just letting you know what I did.

I think a lot of clients would like the idea of having a HD master even if they get a SD copy.
I´m working on a documentary now that will be shown in SD, but we had to shoot HD or HDV for future proofing. (We choose HDV because of the need to use a small camera, the EX would have been perfect)

I´m just not interested in owning a HVX 200 (altought I´ve used it a lot) with P2 cards. People I know with that camera almost always end up shooting tape in SD mode.
The EX will "force" us to make the most out of the HD world sooner rather than later

Just a few thoughts
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Old November 5th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
As far was workflow, the only main thing that would bother me is delivering widescreen only SD DVDs. There are still a lot of people who have 4:3 televisions, and you will now be giving them a product with black bars.
Not necessarily - surely for a person with a DVD player and a 4:3 TV the situation is exactly the same as with your product versus a Hollywood DVD?

The latter are normally made in widescreen, and the player then sorts it out according to settings in the menu - normally 4:3 centre cut or a 16:9 letterbox. The main thing to be careful of, if this is your primary market, is that all essential material is within the centre 4:3 of the 16:9 frame, especially graphics.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #5
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Does it Fit?

It's good to know I'm not alone with my struggles. I didn't really think I was. I have not pre-ordered an EX. I have been stacking my nickels to be ready for it though. I need to be sure.

I really want to see what "real" users think of it once they have had it for a week. I know that makes me not as gutsy as the rest of those that have pre-ordered. I guess I am somewhat cautious as this next camera will have to hang with me for a while.

Thanks for you input thus far. Both of you make good points.

Last edited by Joel Chappell; November 5th, 2007 at 08:14 AM. Reason: typo
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Old November 5th, 2007, 08:20 AM   #6
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I decided to hang on to my pre ordered EX because we have only shot 2 days out of the 25 on the documentary. Iīm hoping I can "switch" cameras and shoot the rest with the EX1.
The production company is renting the camera from me, so I know Iīm guaranteed most of my money back.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #7
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I've been very thorough in my own thinking and decision. These thoughts have been posted throughout the many threads on this forum. It's better that you post specific questions.

For me, I don't like HDV the codec nor do I like HDV tape.
35mbps makes it much harder to break the codec.
HDV tape shooting formats are too many to be too valuable as a compatible format. Sony, JVC, Canon all have shooting modes that won't play in each other's decks so you don't have the "hand the client a tape advantage."

EX1 card record times are long enough that in many shooting situations you won't have to offload at all. Having a laptop though allows you to backup quickly and even burn DVDs (DVD, DL DVD, Blu-Ray, XDCAM - all depends on your need and LOTS of choices too!) during the shoot to hand to the client. With a free Clip Browser for viewing. No deck compatibility hassles.

Need SD? There are many ways to get there ranging from out the SDI port to software downconvert.

Client delivery? 25% of the households now have HDTV and HD-DVD players are now down to $129 (briefly hit $99) so even the player can be built into the job (although one has to burn HD on 4 or 8GB DVDs). Corporate delivery shouldn't be any more difficult given how many businesses are getting HDTVs in their presentation rooms.

All my clients are SD at the moment. This camera seems like the RIGHT WAY to move to HD. I can already deliver SD now so I'm NOT buying an HD camera to deliver SD. I'm buying because my clients will see such an obvious quality difference (with a workflow that's an IMPROVEMENT over tape) that moving to HD becomes relatively easy.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #8
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I've yet to have a single client ask for or even mention HD to me. Of course this could have something to do with the fact that I've not promoted it all (because I don't yet have the capability unless I were to rent the camera).

The problem with waiting until you have a need is that by that time it's likely too late. Inevitable workflow issues must be worked out (I foresee many days or weeks of testing various options before having the confidence to use it on an actual project). The time to sort this out is before your clients request it and before your tail is on the line with a major project.

As for SD limitations of the EX, well, that's why I'm hanging on to my SD cameras...although the EX will be the right tool for many higher-end jobs destined for SD DVD delivery due to better control and superior picture that are evident even after down-convert.

Bill
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Old November 5th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #9
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The problem with waiting until you have a need is that by that time it's likely too late.
This is probably one of the most compelling issues that drives me to want to make the jump. I too have a camera that can shoot in HDV or SD. I normally shoot in HDV 1080i and down render in post. For me it has worked pretty well so far.

The problem is that I am in the HDV world, and I want out! I need to know that the formats I can capture are acceptable at any level of broadcast. I know anything can be uprendered to accomodate the lower formats of HDV, but I want to shoot it at industry norms from the get go... if that makes any sense. Otherwise, I can keep on with what I have now.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #10
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Hi Joel


After lots of research I have decided to get one, since I get financing from Sony (payment devided over 24 months interest free)
I haven't caught this detail before. Can you share where you found the 0%? If your not allowed to post it can you PM me?

Thanks
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Old November 5th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #11
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Hi Joel
I got the deal through my local Sony dealer here in Norway (Europe).
They are not the only ones doing that here and itīs through Sony.
Iīm not sure if they do it in the US
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Old November 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #12
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I just got an email from the dealer saying it had been some kind of mix up and only the 5 first that ordered got the financing deal. Luckily they will honour the deal they offered me in August.
So this probably means itīsīnot commen to offer financing.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 01:28 PM   #13
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I think there was a deal (with a deadline to participate) which had financing for XDCAM HD (F335/F355) so they may have mistakenly applied that to EX1.
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Old November 5th, 2007, 01:33 PM   #14
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I think you might be right. I was enquiring about the 335 and the 355 as well back when I placed my order.
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