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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 February 16th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #1
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What are the shortcomings of this camera?

I've kept an eye on this forum for a few weeks now and was wondering if someone could summarize the major shortcomings of this camera. I see that it's not as ergonomic as it could be for handholding (which I do a lot of) and there's the vignetting issue...which I lost track of; has it been addressed to people's satisfaction?

No camera is perfect, I understand that. I'm looking at this, the Canon XH A1/G1 and the Panny HVX 200. To my eye the Panny is huge compared with the others, but that's just from tinkering with it at a store. Also the Sony Z1, but that's looking like old technology.

I shoot instructional videos and short docs. I'd like to have 24 frame capability without a lot of messing with pulldowns etc. Right now I'm spending a lot of money adding "upgrades" to my little Canon HV20 and I'm getting to the point that it would make more sense to just get a camera with all the features I want, rather than strapping on a lot of extras.

Would you buy this camera again notwithstanding the shortcomings?
Are there any serious image quality issues?

Thank you
Bob
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Old February 16th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #2
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I've not long bought this camera and so far im very pleased with it. Quality wise, i don't think it can be touched by another camera sub 10k and its low light ability is amazing. The only things that bother me about this camera (which i feel is me just nit picking due to the fact nothing is perfect) are:

> ND Filter switches are really flimsy and feel as if they havent been made properly

> Hand held is a little tricky but you find a way that works for you soon enough

> Rolling shutter can be a problem if your shooting style is such that you'l be tossing your camera around like a fair ground ride

other than that i cant think of anything to complain about
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Old February 16th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #3
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Missing audio limiter.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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As far as image quality goes, this camera will be very hard to beat with any sub $10K camera, especially after you get a handle on the picture profiles.

Downside...

Ergonomics sucks. The grip on the right side is too far right putting the CoG off to the left of the grip. This makes hand holding for any length of time very difficult. So I tend use the top handle whenever possible, or support the camera with my left hand while using the grip. I also find the buttons under the top handle to be badly placed (too easy to accidently hit).

The power and ND sliding switches are also very badly designed. No solid stop at each position, which makes it far too easy to overshoot unless you pay close attention. It would have been nice if there was a lock button at the off position, like they do on their consumer camcorders.

The battery will run down rapidly if left attached to the camera when turned off.

I wish the menus wrapped around. I don't like the wheel at the rear for navigating the menus, but you can also use the top joystick for this.

The vignetting isue, I think, has been fixed by Sony on all shipping cameras. It was only the initial batch that suffered the problem. I had it, but Sony fixed it at no charge (even sent me overnight FedEx label to ship it to them). Rapid turnaround too.

Personally, I find the LCD badly placed and it does not allow any up/down positioning, only swivel. I wish they had kept the original FX1/Z1 LCD design.

If you buy before March 31 (I think is the cutoff date), Sony will send you a free 8GB SxS card.

But these are really minor when compared to the images it produces. And the lens is a absolute joy to use. Real iris control, real focusing and zoom too.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #5
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the VF is poor.

Rolling shutters horrible with camera flashes

Battery drain when left on

unable to assign all feature to buttons

internal mic causes issues with matte boxes

no timecode sync

Few other things...

But best not to dwell too much on negatives when this camera has so many positives. It's so good, got two of them now!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #6
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was the free memory card only issued to people buying in america or am i entitled to this deal in the uk after buying my camera this month?
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #7
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I love this camera - great quality - but to improve it, I would:

- Go back to PD-150 - ON/OFF SWITCH. Current switch, very hard to center for - OFF - and see that it is off. Old switch, you could operate with eyes closed.

- Design camera so all matteboxes fit!! Mic and lcd too low and forward, forcing filters to be put in upside down. I've already dropped one.

- Leaving Battery on camera drains battery even when off in 3 days.

- Sony's Wide Angle lense has a non-removable hood - so no mattebox.

- Default settings to contrasty - you can get another stop or two in both highlights and shadows with custom adjustments - but you have to know what you are doing.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 11:25 PM   #8
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This may be a preference rather than a shortcoming.

When changing shutter speeds, you have to turn on the shutter switch, then go through the menu to access the shutter speed selection, then change your shutter speed. On top of that, you have to remember there are 3 variations of shutter; fast shutter, sls, and slow shutter. Why is sls and slow shutter on different menus? Aren't they the same thing?

By comparison with the Z1, I used to just press the shutter button, then roll the dial to whatever speed I wanted...all the speeds were on one page, fast and simple. I wish changing shutter speeds on the EX1 was this fast and simple!
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Old February 17th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Alexander View Post
was the free memory card only issued to people buying in america or am i entitled to this deal in the uk after buying my camera this month?
Daniel,the memory card comes free with the cam when you buy it,my extra 8gig card as literally taped to the camera box.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 05:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
This may be a preference rather than a shortcoming.

When changing shutter speeds, you have to turn on the shutter switch, then go through the menu to access the shutter speed selection, then change your shutter speed. On top of that, you have to remember there are 3 variations of shutter; fast shutter, sls, and slow shutter. Why is sls and slow shutter on different menus? Aren't they the same thing?

By comparison with the Z1, I used to just press the shutter button, then roll the dial to whatever speed I wanted...all the speeds were on one page, fast and simple. I wish changing shutter speeds on the EX1 was this fast and simple!
When using the joystick rather than the menu thumbwheel, it's not that complicated (of course the Direct Menu must be enabled at least Partially). But the first step of switching shutter on (if it was off) may be tricky due to the placement of the slider switch in the vicinity of the WB button - couldn't find it several times and spoiled my WB trying to swith the shutter on/off... Again, a solution exist: having all your PP's ready and tested for most shooting conditions, assign appropriate WB preset to them and try to shoot with the WB selection in the Preset, and not A/B Memory, position - this renders the WB button inactive.

After a couple of weeks using the camera, I'm sure it wan't pose any problem, though.

But the sticking ND filter switch is here to stay! IMHO, the worst EX1's shortcoming, hardware-wise.
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; February 17th, 2008 at 06:09 AM.
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