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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 March 2nd, 2008, 01:22 PM   #526
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Originally Posted by Lonnie Bell View Post
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!"
You're suggesting it's a batch problem. I'm not all that convinced it's a batch problem...?
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:41 PM   #527
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Originally Posted by Gerald Loidl View Post
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.
Gerald, I think most of them actually are or can be (e.g. when it's cold) out of focus with the FM focus ring past the infinity mark, at the tele hard stop; this is documented in the manual.

That said, I agree with Chris - the vignetting is not a batch problem; I've always maintained it's a design problem. Tolerances are just so tight one must be very lucky to get an acceptable unit. This is why I will not ask for a replacement until Sony resolves the issue (if and how they do it, I have no idea, though)...
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 02:10 PM   #528
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Chris Hurd - you are in the know...

Are you convinced that the issues are fixable with a drop shipment back to a Sony tech bench?

Or is the design between lens and camera not up to snuff and...
Houston, we have a problem!

Where is your gut, sources, tea leaves leading your thoughts on this right now?

Well CRAP! Now I'm a little uncertain - I confess.

For those that are longer in the tooth, if Sony is quietly going back and redesigning, or adjusting, and fix the problem, would they offer the beta-buyers an exchange in your experiences? Or would they market it as the EX2?

It's all speculation, I know but... UGH!

Where's our Sony rep to shed some light on this?

...and Chris, if you are right and it's not a batch problem, wouldn't a thread dedicated to posting every single serial number with an issue, put the free world on notice and force Sony to say, "oops, those guys at DVinfo are on to us... and they are airing our dirty laundry to boot! Stop production, recall, and let's make this right."

Lonnie
p.s. and yes, i'm in a mood!
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 02:17 PM   #529
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Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Gerald, I think most of them actually are or can be (e.g. when it's cold) out of focus with the FM focus ring past the infinity mark, at the tele hard stop; this is documented in the manual.
Piotr,
thanks for the tip. Most lenses I worked with (even very expensive ones) are not in focus beyond the infinity mark at the end of the scale, but that is not the problem on this camera. I always zoomed in - focused, and then zoomed out only to see a blurry image. When I´m zoomed out there is no way to get a sharp image at all - no matter what I try - its always terribly blurry at f1,4 in fully wide.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:03 PM   #530
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Chris is right, it's not a batch problem that's for sure.

I'm on my second camera which also has vignetting.

I must confess, I'm actually a bit blown away that a $7,000 camera has this issue.

I'm hoping Sony is going to make it right for all those affected.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:31 PM   #531
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Again, solely based on the assumption it's not batch but design:

I'm not a sit back and hope kind of guy... Let's pressure Sony. Period.

If Sony found out that one of the largest, most respected forums in the world dedicated to camcorder owners and future owners, has a dedicated thread for EX1 owners to post their serial numbers and whether they have a vignette issues or not - and if you are correct, and this is a design issue, the number of BAD cameras would be staggering - this is press they do not want involved with their CINE ALTA line.

This kind of pressure would certainly lead to some better resolve than what we are presently, willfully, accepting. And that is how I see it - they aren't doing the right thing yet, because we the consumers are not forcing them to... again on the sole assumption it's a design problem and not a quick work bench fix...

And I would hold off on my purchase if there was some sort of consensus to do so. But there won't be - so there's no consumer pressure there. But by purchasing and posting problems - this may get better/faster resolve in the long run. And the consumer still benefits in the interim by getting a still better than DV25 images (at least of non-white walls...)

Am I crazy or does this make sense in this consumer versus Goliath situation.

(And for the consumer who can wait out the storm and hold off on their imminent HD camera - enjoy the ride...)

Lonnie
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:36 PM   #532
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I think Piotr is correct. The margin on their specs are just to tight.

I think they need better QC on their lens. This seems the deciding factor if there's room for adjustment or not.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:43 PM   #533
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I think you are on the right track, Lonnie, but am skeptical that even having a list of bad cameras and unhappy customers would provoke a response. Some people will purchase because they are oblivious to the issue, are willing to gamble or figure they will just get it fixed. There are still people buying Leica's digital rangefinder and that thing does not work properly without an add-on filter.

I was thisclose to ordering one, but I can't gamble my money or time that I'll get a good unit. And I can't support a company that's asking me to gamble in the first place. When they come out and say definitively that the problem is fixed and all units shipping are free of defects, then I'll consider ordering.

My guess is that they've already produced a bunch of cameras and they want them out of their warehouse and/or they are in over their head with the engineering and don't want to admit it.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 04:07 PM   #534
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When they come out and say definitively that the problem is fixed and all units shipping are free of defects, then I'll consider ordering.
Well, they did address the issue, but apparently no where near 100%.
My last camera was from a later batch and still has vignetting.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 05:04 PM   #535
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When they come out and say definitively that the problem is fixed and all units shipping are free of defects, then I'll consider ordering.
With due respect to all parties involved, I would ask you to please refer to recent history as that is always the best indicator of the immediate future (history is cyclical, and large corporations are very slow to change): there have been some issues in the past with one or two Sony pro-line camcorder models, and while those issues are usually resolved eventually, they are hardly ever announced with any fanfare whatsoever. Sony fixes are usually silent. And corporate policies, like the cameras, are made in Japan.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 05:52 PM   #536
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For me things have changed a lot after my recent communications with Sony over my camera. All this talk about returning the cameras for repair and/or asking for a replacement means nothing if Sony are saying that these issues are not issues at all.

Quote:
Unfortunately this is deemed normal as the light fall off is spread evenly across all 4 corners. I'm afraid this means the machine is considered to be working normally.
If Sony prime support will not do anything further then what else can I do?

In most other respects the EX1 is a great camera, but this flaw makes me nervous every time I use it.

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Old March 2nd, 2008, 09:23 PM   #537
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Originally Posted by Gerald Loidl View Post
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.

regards,
Gerald
What is the serial of the loaner? My first camera (#1000012) exhibited this exact behavior. I was whining about it here several weeks ago but no one would confirm or deny anything similar, so I can only assume mine was the only one. It was eventually replaced with another (but not before Sony repair gave it a clean bill-of-health and returned a still defective unit). But Sony (my dealer) indeed replaced it and the new camera is much better, although tracking is still not perfect. Makes me wonder how prevalent this could be, although it's barely noticeable >2500 serial numbers later. The 90 day U.S. labor warranty is about to expire for early adopters.

One interesting new development concerns the iris. After shooting all afternoon in manual, I powered the camera up to find the iris would not move, as if auto-iris had taken control. OK, must have bumped it. Nope. Everything was still set to manual, but it would not budge. Re-set power again and all was well. I'm willing to chalk it up to user error somehow, but this was not the first time it has happened.

Knowing the imperfections and how to avoid them is my current plan, as I cannot afford to be without the remarkable pictures it produces for yet another month.

Gerald, does your infinity focus improve if you roll it all the way back the other direction, 0.8 m, once you get wide?
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:10 AM   #538
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Bill,
the serial is 0402753. Unfortunately I did not read your thread where you described the problem with your camera.
After some more testing at dawn I found out that the problem is much worse if one of the ND filters is on. Without it, wide open aperture is acceptable, but not perfect. As soon as one of the ND filters is on - the pictures gets blurry.
The infinity does not improve if I roll it back the other direction.
Ive tried to reproduce this effect with my old Sony 370 and the Panasonic 615 which have very good lenses - and I could only achieve it when I switched to macro mode or misaligned back focus.
I have to rush to a shooting now (with the Panasonic) and will call Sony later this afternoon.

cu,
G
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #539
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In my opinion, the units shipped out as of today are most likely defect free. The question is, when will they hit store shelves? Do you guys think that if one waits till the last week of this month to meet the deadline for the sxs card, would that help in any way to get a non defective camera?

Thoughts...comments....
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 10:04 AM   #540
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Dennis,
I'd like to think so, and I'm the guy talking about gambling on it (hell, I live in Vegas!) and not waiting till NAB, but the more seasoned guys have kind of shared their disappointment with the design flaws...

So, not to my usual trait - I'm going to sit idle, and wait for other pros to get their cameras and test... And if Chris Hurd's hints that Sony's fixes trickle out slowly and quietly suddenly surface - then I'll definitely chomp. Upside is, the images from these disappointments still beats out anything in it's class - it's still amazing!

I hate being idle, but here I sit... March 13th was my day to bite - we'll see what happens till then...

Lonnie
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