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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 1st, 2008, 03:08 PM   #511
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The reality of this all is that Sony has all of us by the the collar with their free 8 gb card deadline. If there was no deadline or no free 8 gb offer I would most likely wait till the end of summer and hopefulyy see if Sony work out the kinks of this camera but most of us don't want to miss out on the free card offer. Sony was smart to put that offer in place too. It's a shame that such a fantastic camera is having such issues. It may even be that they are not able to pack all these features in this size camera and may need to do a design overhaul because from the way that everyone is responding, they are not getting their cameras back completly fixed after they send them to Sony.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 05:14 PM   #512
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Pretty depressing

As someone who was contemplating purchasing this camera, the fact that the vignetting is still a problem is pretty depressing. I'm put-off about laying out hard earned money for something known to have a defect.

What are the odds that they fix this in the next month or two? I know the images are stunning, but don't think I could knowingly buy something with a major defect like this.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 05:18 PM   #513
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I'm somewhat concerned also. Between myself and where I work three EX1s went to Sony AU for adjustment and none of them came back completely fixed. My other thought is that if the adjustment is that critical how is it going to hold up over years of use, if the cameras need constant re-alignment who will bear the cost.

The situation is further complicated by us not dealing directly with Sony. Sony AU is not Sony Japan, understandably Sony AU might get a bit unhappy if they've got to keep performing lens alignments for free just to keep us happy and if there is an ongoing issue, the more cameras sold the bigger the headache becomes.

Most of us have been assuming that this is just a minor vignette that's only visible under certain conditions and even then it only affects a small part of the frame that's pretty much outside picture essential anyway. I'm not so certain about this. Under a wider set of conditions the vignette seems to become less obvious (less in focus) but covers a wider part of the frame.
I do know that many lenses are not perfect, almost all have some falloff however that's a product of the optical design and/or cost considerations. The difference is it's gradual from the centre to the edge of the frame and it's symetrical and hence visually less objectionable. I'd also mention that with HD almost every pixel is visible on TVs and monitors, there's no overscan to hide anything.

The EX1 has the best lens any manufacturer has 'fixed' into a camera body. Camera manufacturers probably aren't used to having to wrangle lens issues, take the next step up from the EX1 in the XDCAM lineup and the optics is someone else's problem. If you've got a lens problem with your F350 you can get the lens serviced by a dedicated lens technician. Perhaps this is also part of the reason why Sony are having so much trouble nailing this issue.

For myself and the three EX1s I'm responsible for I'm waiting until the firmware update to send the cameras back again. I'm pretty lucky though, I'm a very short drive from my dealer and he's an equally short drive from Sony headquarters. Not everyone down here is so lucky. Some are looking at significant freight costs and delays in simply getting the camera to and fro Sony. I know at least one EX1 owner who is waiting for a real fix from Sony before spending $600 just in freight and insurance costs to get his camera fixed.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:28 AM   #514
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I really think this issue comes down to real-world life, in that all the thousands of hours of pre and prototype testing in can never bring to light every production variation. If time was no object then of course the above statement isn't correct, but then if that was so we'd still be shooting on VHS.

It's the reason why you should never buy a new car in the first 6 months of its production run, why program writers have beta testers, why the early PD170s were beset with an audio glitch and why the DVX100 was very quickly modified into the much better A model, and the XL1 went to the small s.

Early adopters will always pay the price I'm afraid. It's the law of the land.

tom.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:13 AM   #515
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I endorse Tom's remarks wholeheartedly. I have as far as I know a good camera. Have been trying it out the last few days and find it gives amazing quality.

I have bought faulty goods all my life Cars/Electronics/ Tropicana orange juice packs- everything. I've bought 8mm/16mm/VHS/SVHS/DV/BetaSP/BetaSX/Digibeta/HDCAM - all equipment usually has foibles but I managed to make money out of them. (and enjoy film making). The trick is to harness the good things in equipment and build on them.

This camera for ordinary typical recording is great. Before testing I switched of all the unimportant features auto anything/OIS/focus/Iris etc. (I have never used auto Iris/focus on any camera apart from initial setting and then usually over ride its decision). I have used Doug Jensen's Vortex Media settings and WOW what a camera. For my applications - environment/sea/plants etc the quality is first class. I will concede that full telephoto shots when shooting a subject that may not have too much detail around it can highlight the portholing effect. But then I have a £10,000 HD broadcast lens that equally looks a bit iffy at times.

It is easy to lose sight of what a camera is for - making movies. Phil Bloom creates beautiful pictures with his EX1. Doug Jensen has produced a DVD of excellent quality mostly shot on the EX1. Sony will have to fix any truly faulty cameras and I am sure they will to maintain their reputation. This camera is a very important milestone in video production and at this price it is a bargain. Read Adam Wilt's review at www.provideocoalition.com for a realistic take on this camera.

Go for it Boys.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 06:11 AM   #516
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I wish I could agree Phil but my experience this week has confirmed my suspicion that Sony are turning a blind eye to this problem. In my opinion they have decided that centering the lens limits it to a degree so will perform that fix, but any questions about remaining light fall off are met with "it's normal".

After prime support said that the problems on my camera were not due to lens alignment and so are "normal" I spoke to one of the product managers who I met at the video forum show. Upon seeing my footage he agreed that the camera needed to be looked at and arranged for it to be picked up the next day by courier.

After receiving the camera and having technicians check it out they said that they could not see any problems at all and that the lens on my camera had previously been re-aligned in their lab prior to being sent to the dealer, so there was nothing further they could do.

I can understand them not being able to do anything further if it's a design issue, but to say that they cannot see the problem is very frustrating.

I got the camera back the next day so I'm very happy with the speedy way they looked into it, it's just a shame that they will not admit that there is still a problem with the camera. If this is a limitation of the lens then I can live with it, but in essence I'm being told that I'm imagining the problem, make up your own mind...

http://www.olikai.com/shake.mov
http://www.olikai.com/ois.mov


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Paul you have to speak to Phil Myers at Sony, i am assuming he is the guy you spoke to before. You have to get the camera replaced!
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 07:23 AM   #517
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Paul you have to speak to Phil Myers at Sony, i am assuming he is the guy you spoke to before. You have to get the camera replaced!
Yes, Phil was the guy who arranged to have the camera looked at last week. He was really helpful, but if the technicians say they can't see any problems then there's not much more I can do.

Having read some of the other stories here, I kind of feel like pushing for a replacement could result in an even worse camera so it's a hard to know what to do.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 07:32 AM   #518
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Paul,

I have two perfect camera. Get it changed.

Phil
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 08:50 AM   #519
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Mine is also fine, you can always use at as a benchmark for getting a good one if need be.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #520
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I'm deciding right now if returning my camera will make it better. How much vignetting is acceptable? Should there absolutely none. I have vignetting at longish length in the top right hand corner but it is not as bad as the example I saw posted here. I don't want to complain about a little issue to end up with a bigger one.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 10:59 AM   #521
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I did some more testing on the loan camera from Sony today.
Besides a slight vignette (this time on all 4 corners(!) ), it has a strange focus phenomenon.
Whenever aperture is set to 2.8 or wide open and things are very far away at the infinity mark of the lens, I just cant get a sharp image no matter what I try. When I zoom in fully and manually set focus and zoom out everything gets extremely blurry (not just slightly blurry, but really extremely!). I have also checked with a focus chart which was about 5 meters away and everything looked o.k. The back focus seems to be perfect within this closer range. There is also absolutely no tracking of the lens. I just cant get sharp wide shots with aperture fully open and the lens near infinity. Everything was set to full manual mode of course.
Any hints? Do your cameras do the same? I *think* my camera, which is at Sony for repair at the moment, did not do this, but I could be wrong.

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Old March 2nd, 2008, 11:05 AM   #522
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Do your cameras do the same?
No issues here
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 12:23 PM   #523
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Paul,

Send it back. And if your "future" new camera comes back with issues - send it back too... and repeat until issue solved. Do NOT accept anything less than a great picture from a 7k camera. Especially at this point when others have no issues, which means this camera is capable of a clean picture (at least now.)

Yes, it's unfortunate they dropped the ball in the first place with QC, but they seem to be putting things right in the larger picture. And yes, I'm playing armchair quarterback because I don't own one yet, but I've been devouring these threads because I order mine on the 13th, so I'm hoping for the best - prepared for the worst. And I live in Vegas, with NAB and other future "beauties" just around the corner, and I'm still willing to gamble on this particular beauty. (I also know my resolve not to let them or anyone else take my 7000 clams and hand me a lemon.)

And if you need further reasons to get yourself a new camera - do it for precedence. Let them know anyone who pays 7k for a CINE ALTA Branded Camera, will not settle for anything less than - what Sony Marketing wants us to think of when we see the CINE ALTA Brand - EXCELLENCE. So if you won't do it for yourself, do it for the team. I promise to do the same after I get my order if the case need be.

Do yourself a favor and get the camera you paid for,
Lonnie
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 12:43 PM   #524
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Paul,

and I'm still willing to gamble on this particular beauty. (I also know my resolve not to let them or anyone else take my 7000 clams and hand me a lemon.)

So if you won't do it for yourself, do it for the team. I promise to do the same after I get my order if the case need be.

Do yourself a favor and get the camera you paid for,
Lonnie
I admire your resolve; however, don't you think they should suspend production and correct existing problems, rather than shipping product that does not meet expectations? As you stated, it's a gamble as to whether you'll get a clean unit with no problems or one that has to go back and forth for repairs.

This is exactly what is putting many people off. I don't expect a perfect camera, just one without major issues. Poor optical performance (whether it's the glass or the camera behind it) is just unacceptable in a $7k device.

I don't see how anybody, pro or amateur, can gamble their money and time on this.

What is the likelihood they introduce a de-buggeed model in the near future?
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:12 PM   #525
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however, don't you think they should suspend production and correct existing problems, rather than shipping product that does not meet expectations?
Damn right, Bob! I agree with this 100%. But, I sat up with a cup of coffee and poured through these 35pages. Then I perused other forums. Sony seems to be, at least now, shipping Post QC cameras without this issue.

And I have to assume, that there are a few cameras somewhere, that may slip through the cracks - but they are fixable. And the optimist in me, would like to think that Sony QC is now not releasing any future, just off-the-assembly-line-cameras out with this problem. If they are, tracking the serial numbers on these forums will be a great benefit to all.

Maybe that's the ticket. Maybe our maestro, Chris Hurd, could start a thread where everyone posts their serial number and whether it shipped vignette free or shipped with problem. This would really put pressure on Sony to stop releasing any more "problem" cameras - Because it would be traceable and trackable. And would put future purchasers on notice, by checking how their camera falls in line with other production models. It would also serve to inform buyers who have not tested to go hmmm, "my camera's serial number lies in the middle of a sequence of serial numbers with a problem - the odds are my camera is defective - I should test it!"

What do you guys think - I'm all for a little consumer-supported-pressure to ensure Sony does the right thing. And for those that say blindly - Sony is already doing the right thing. Well, I'll say by tracking their serial numbers - we could only prove this... or not.

What do you think?

Lonnie
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