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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 24th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #1
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XDCAM EX The Best For Awhile? Smart to buy 2?

Do you think the XDCAM EX will be hard to improve upon for awhile? Where do you go from here? 1/2" CMOS giving great low light performance, 1080p, 35mbps encoding, pro HD not HDV, solid state recording...

When you consider all the high points of this camera, it seems like it will be hard to beat for some time. 2/3" CMOS wouldn't fit in a camera of this size would it? Where do you go from here? Sony has a history of getting it right and then holding the bar for an extended period of time with one or two very similar models... ie. pd-150/pd-170. In my opinion, we may see an EX2 in a couple years, but the upgrades will probably be minimal right? Where do you go from here?

The reason why I ask is that I'm considering buying two of these to replace my current two DV 3CCD cameras. If I buy one I have to buy two cause I do multicam stuff. I need to know that they'll be a good long-term investment. What do you think?

PS: I'm new in this forum, should this have been posted in Area 51 or something cause it's asking for speculation and opinion?? I posted here cause it's about the PMW-EX1... thanks!

Wesley
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Old November 24th, 2007, 06:24 AM   #2
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I think the EX1 will be a very good long term investment. Although Sony have announced a few more cameras these are somewhat different beasts that I don't see as competition to the EX1.
The possibility of a 2/3" camera at anything like the pricepoint of the EX1 is extremely remote. The step up from 1/2" to 2/3" involves a lot of expense. You'd almost certainly have to offer interchangeable lenses for one thing and lens mounts are expensive in themselves. You're also looking at much more expensive lenses, just price out a good HD B4 mount lens to see what I mean. Realistically I can't see Sony rolling out a 2/3" version of the EX1 at under double the price and then you need a lens or two even. As you go from 1/2" to 2/3" it becomes harder to build lenses with large zoom ratios so the need for having two lenses in the kit increases.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #3
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As far as any camera can be considered "safe" at this time, I'd say the EX1 is. If you can get 18-24 months of productivity out of them, and justify the cost, then I think they're a good bet.

But honestly, you only have to look at the RED to see that the industry is being turned upside down and is going to go through massive quality and price changes in much shorter cycles than it used to ... similar to the DSLR market for the past several years.

Can you get a bigger sensor in a smaller body ... oh yeah. I mean, just look at full-frame DSLR's. Even a big sensor is really small.

The biggest area that the Japanese hardware manufacturers need to upgrade is their codecs, abandoning ancient MPEG, and so far they've shown very little desire to do so. In fact, looking that the EX1, that's one of the only areas that I think that you can consider "weak."

Let's put it this way, I bought an HV20 because I refused to spend any kind of money on a camera that would be obsolete so quickly, BUT, I'm really considering the EX1.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 09:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
The biggest area that the Japanese hardware manufacturers need to upgrade is their codecs, abandoning ancient MPEG, and so far they've shown very little desire to do so. In fact, looking that the EX1, that's one of the only areas that I think that you can consider "weak."
Sony's take on MPEG2 is that it is now a mature technology that can have a lot better quality on the encoding end than in years past. Newer generation encoder chips and the overall learning curve make this possible. The trick is to use MPEG2 intelligently. At the same time, the post process has become better because of newer, faster computers and later versions of NLE software.

As to obsolescence, it doesn't make sense to buy the camera unless you can have it pay for itself before the next generation hits the streets.

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Old November 24th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #5
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One way to determine buy vs rent.
Anticipated Frequency of Use and cost of rental vs ownership + anticipated resale value at time of next upgrade.

The above is overly simplified but the question is, would it actually cost you more than $6700 to rent based on your frequency of use. You might also factor in cost of maintenance and cost of buying vs renting peripherals. Add that you will probably be able to sell it and recoup some part of the cost of ownership in 18 to 24 months.

For me, the EX1 looks like an HD workhorse.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #6
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Wesley, you posted in the right place. I own an FX-1 and while I'm fascinated with, and yes, drooling a little over this new camera- I'm fine with what I have; for now. Almost all of my production work is video for web, basic single camera interviews, and the FX-1 does the trick. After 2 years, my particular clients haven't had cause to use HiDef at all.

OTOH, if I was making my money shooting video for film and needed 24p, or I was really pushing to get stuff on the Discovery Channel, I would be looking at other cameras quite seriously.

All this to say, what do your current clients need, and where do you want to go with your business? That's really the point to start with. The EX-1 sounds like a good workhorse, a good all-rounder. OTOH, if I was doing primarily small meetings and conventions, and most of my clients were just archiving standard def anyway, I might be tempted to bag a few FX1s/Z1's, as they are cheaper and the workflow for standard def is easier than the EX-1. And you are still shooting HD. If I was seriously pursuing upscale projects, then the EX-1 might be a smarter choice.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #7
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A panasonic dealer said they will release the "HVX250" by the end of next year. -So I was told by a dealer at Shocase video Atlanta. Thus, Id expect this camera to be on the top in its class for at least a year.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tyson Persall View Post
A panasonic dealer said they will release the "HVX250" by the end of next year...
Uh.... you mean by end of 2008, right Tyson?

Whoops! I now see you said "end of NEXT year". Sorry, my bad.

Last edited by Ken Hull; November 24th, 2007 at 08:56 PM. Reason: misquoted
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Old November 24th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice! I really appreciate it. I'm drooling over this camera right now :-) I just have to decide whether or not it makes sense. :-) You guys have brought up some great points, now it's time to work the numbers and do some thinking.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #10
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If I had to buy a camera now I wouldn't consider any other camera except the EX1

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Old November 25th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #11
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when buying any new gear there are a few things to consider.
1) the NEED factor
2) the WANT factor
3) the DESIRE factor

They are far and away very different things.
You may DESIRE it far more than you NEED it but if you WANT it and have the budget for it unless you are extremely disciplined you're probably going to spend the cash and get it.
You may NEED the gear but have no DESIRE to spend the money but you do anyway because you really do NEED it and can justify the expense and RECOUP the expense in a reasonable amount of time (you and your accountant should have that number)
See it can go on and on. Trust me, most of us here have bought gear because of the NEED factor (generally a good investment)
because of the WANT factor(can be a good investment but can also be an ego thing)
the DESIRE factor (almost always a bust as an investment in gear BUT man do we feel good and special with that gear-then reality hits and we gotta pay for it and suddenly it ain't such a good deal) BUT we did it and stand by it no matter what.
Fact of life ALL people have these 3 things going when they make a purchase. Some just control it better than others.

Do you NEED the camera or do you WANT the camera or are you LUSTING for the camera (DESIRE)
Figure out what group you belong to (be honest with yourself) THEN make your decision. You may still end up doing what you were going to do anyway but at least this way you can say you looked at all sides and made the decision based on fact. (at least as you saw it) ;-O
Good luck
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Old November 25th, 2007, 09:26 AM   #12
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Do you NEED the camera or do you WANT the camera or are you LUSTING for the camera
When I bought the Z1, I was nothing more than lusting for it. I had no business plans, no idea of how to pay it off, no use for it other than personal.

And it was the best gift I ever got myself (hopefully soon to become the second best gift since I've ordered the EX1).

I've almost made my money back by doing weddings and things with it, and that's satisfying, but to me, the fun I've had making short movies with it has been reward enough. I can only hope the EX1 provides as much satisfaction.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #13
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"And it was the best gift I ever got myself (hopefully soon to become the second best gift since I've ordered the EX1)."

OO
\_/ lol!!!

John there's nothing wrong with lusting for and getting the thing you want and then to make money with it is even better.

I hope the EX1 provides you even more of the thrill and satisfaction you felt with the Z1.
I too have lusted after gear-my wife has a hard time reconciling that but then I think we're all gear heads to a point.

Have fun with the EX1 (I too desire and want one-not sure about need yet but...)
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Old November 26th, 2007, 01:01 AM   #14
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Wesley,

Keep in mind that the HVX also shoots in SD, while the Sony is HD only. Having SD capability may provide some level of consistancy if you decide to include both of your existing SD cameras on a shoot. The HVX will also record to DV Tape in SD which is nice. Also, Panasonic's DVCProHD codec is robust and proven for fast action, sports in particular, so a lot depends on what you want to use your camera for.

Believe it or not, there is a difference in workflow. P2 cards fill up faster and take longer to upload data vs flash memory, so you could be be flipping cards in & out much more frequently on the HVX. If your working solo and outdoors all day like me, efficiency is essential. Solid state requires you to lug around more gear - laptop, portable storage drive, etc - all which require batteries. Longer storage and longer shooting time is huge if you're in situations where you can't afford to fumble around with cards & transferring data to other devices. I went with JVC's HD100U for this very reason. Tape is continuous for one hour - once it's full, pop in another tape and continue to roll. Piece of mind.. I can concentrate on my shots. Easy & portable, shoulder mount frame is great for holding all day. Sony will emulate this style workflow a bit closer than the HVX due to longer record times and a rotating grip to ease the strain. Trust me: The HVX is a pain to hold over several hours. Sony will be hard to beat for a while, but I am wondering how it holds up in 60p vs the Panasonic.

We could compare specs all day, but the bottom line is how well you get your shot, and how comfortable you are using your gear. Some of the best video work is still being done on outdated equipment, but I can certainly appreciate your question. I'm in need of 60P, so hopefully we can see more posts comparing all three major cameras: HVX, EX, HD250.
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