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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:21 AM   #1
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Ergonomics

How are people finding this camera to actually hold and use? From what I've read, it seems pretty terrible.

I hope Sony will bring out a shoulder mount version as they have with the new 1/3" HDV cameras.

I would have gone whole hog on a F350 if the low-light performance was better.

I'd like to see an EX1 in a JVC HD200 style form factor. Priced between the EX1 and F335. Does anyone else think that would be a pretty good idea too? If so, please say and hopefully Sony (or another manufacturer) will respond.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:32 AM   #2
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Mike I fully agree with you. I've always used shoulder mounted cams up till now. Unfortunately both the 330 and 350 are not as sensitive as I would have like them to be. I need to change my SD 4:3 DSR-300 camcorder as it's time up to give it a rest before something snaps inside! The only decent low light HD camera available is this EX1 (I hope - I still need to do some testing myself when I get hold of one). However I'm not overly enthiustastic on being handheld.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:42 AM   #3
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I wouldn't say it's terrible. I'm used to a Canon XH-A1 which has a squarish grip with parts at the top that allow you to grip it with the tips of your fingers, this feels quite boxy to hold but it does make it easy to keep hold of it.

The EX1 on the other hand has a curved grip that you cannot use your fingers to grip, it needs to be supported by the base of your hand and so you have to tilt your hand outward more to let it settle in to place.

My hands are quite large so I find I can rest the base of the camera against the base of my hand / wrist okay, although due to having to bend your hand back it gets uncomfortable quite quickly if you try and hold it for a while.

It's also a heavy camera, I'd say it's weight is borderline as something which you could expect to use as a handheld camera without using both hands to support it.

Looking at the camera I think the grip has been designed this way to ensure that users support the base of the camera with their right hand as well as holding the grip. It's almost impossible to hold the camera using the grip alone, your hand naturally slides underneath before the strap starts to take some of the pressure.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:46 AM   #4
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I'll bet there'll be shoulder braces for it by the spring. Personally I like the ability to shoot at "odd" positions that hand held affords.

I suspect they'll be shoulder mount versions as time goes own but the question is are you willing to wait a year or so for that to happen. I also suspect it will be more expensive than the EX1. It'll probably be in the price range of the Sony F335 / Panasonic HPX500 (around $15k) my guess only.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 08:54 AM   #5
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One thing you musn't forget about the EX1 is the rotating grip. As said it's really hard to hold in it's default position, but if you rotate it forwards slightly there is a part which projects from the back of the grip that allows you jam the base of your thumb between it an area on the side of the camera which looks like it was designed for the purpose.

In this configuration the camera is a lot more comfortable, at least for me.

Please see the pics attached, the first two show it in its standard position and you can see how it forces your hand underneath. The last three show it rotated and how it allows you to take the pressure with the back of your thumb.

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Last edited by Paul Joy; November 21st, 2007 at 10:40 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
I would have gone whole hog on a F350 if the low-light performance was better.
The low-light performance of the PDW-F330 and PDW-F350 is probably going to be better with a future firmware upgrade.

The new dual layer camcorders, PDW-F335 and PDW-F355 already have this "Low-Noise Mode". The low-noise mode allows you to obtain clear video with little noise under low light conditions. It has three seetings. OFF, 1 and 2.

OFF: standard setting (factory default)

1: reduce noise by using the noise circuits, without lowering the sensitivity. Resolutions and gradations under low light are slightly lower.

2: reduce noise more then the 1 setting by lowering the sensitivity. Compared to the OFF setting, sesitivity is 20% lower, and the dynamic range is about 20% lower. (Sensitivity declines to about F8, compared to the standard F9).

Hope this helps!
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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I used the EX1 for a minute on show in Oslo and left with a painful wrist. I felt it's to heavy on the left side. Too tricky to stabilize the camcorder with my left hand and at the same time control the lens.
Im going to use EX1 as my second camera and use it with a Glidecam rig.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 03:50 PM   #8
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I too after having played with an EX for a day feel that it definetly needs some kind of support for handheld work. I do not like some of the complicated braces you often see and would favor instead something very simple and light such as the S-800 Pro Shoulder Rest #106 made by Video Innovators ( http://videoinnovators.com/product2.html ). It basic but the ergonmocis seem pretty good. Though, It would be nice if the handle orientation could be adjusted.

A very important thing for me is to be able to switch from shoulder work to a tripod mount fairly quickly. In order to allow this, I would have to mount the tripod plate right on the brace so you can set the camera on a tripod without taking it off the brace. looks like the Pro Shoulder would allow this. The last hurdle would be to have an easy way to trigger the camera on/off with a simple REC switch on the brace handle but I do not know what is available to do this.

Any thoughts?

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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:11 PM   #9
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I use the DV Multirig; http://www.dvtec.tv/id33.html
I use this device on my Sony HVR A1 and I would not shoot any handheld camera without it. It takes the weight (admittedly the A1 doesn't weigh that much) off my arms and most importantly it reduces camera shake. I mount the multirig right to my Gitzo fluid head and use the Varizoom lanc controller to give me one button push/on. ( I do not know if the EX has lanc support )I do not have the new Sony XDCAM EX yet, but my experience with the Multirig tells me this brace should work fine. It also has shoulder support capabilities but I find I get much smoother shots when walking by not using the shoulder brace, keeping the camera away from my moving body.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 07:19 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies.

All of these rigs are compromised workarounds and don't really replicate a camera which has been designed to be shoulder mounted.

Handhelds do have a place - in fact I'm looking to buy one for a B camera, but I'd like to see Sony looking after the customer ahead of profits and offering a shoulder mount version of teh EX1 like they have with the new HDV units.

I think there is space for such a camera between the EX1 and the F3XX.
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