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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 17th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #1
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Opinions on selling my EX1

I have a very niche usage for this cam: Windsurfing/surfing shooting from land. This means I shoot in the wind, on a beach, in dusty conditions with sea spray and therefore the cam is always in a cover. I shoot in bright conditions, following moving subjects and generally fully zoomed in. This means that using the lcd for focusing is a no go and I have to use the viewfinder. I find the viewfinder very hard to nail focus with. I have also found the peaking function of the ex1 to be slow - if the subject is moving peaking doesnt seem to work very well - it appears much quicker on stationary objects.

In my work I normally use the 'push to focus button' alot but on the ex1 I can't as pressing this button means the cam hunts focus until it is happy. On previous cams when you release this button the cam stops hunting - focused or not.

The larger sensor doesn't help matters either as the dof decreases. In a perfect world this would be a good thing but on the beach its actually bad. I rely on dof to get a sharp shot alot of the time.

I bought the ex1 for 50p (pal), for the higher bitrate and the tapeless workflow. But the lens is pretty short and the ventilation holes in the body bother me (dust etc).

I think I am going to sell/ trade in this cam for a Z7. With this cam I get the tapeless workflow, push autofocus, options for longer lenses and a bigger dof but i have a considerable investment in the ex1 - cards, cover and lens controller and I really want to make sure I am not wasting more money.

Can you offer me your opinions? In a perfect world the ex1 would be better but in reality on a windy beach it just doesn't seem to work...
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Old March 17th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #2
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Sell the cards seperately and trade the rest in. When I sold my FX1 B&H offered me nearly as much trade-in as a private sale would have generated and so I suggest this route.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #3
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Brendan I have some of the same concerns with the EX1 since I shoot in a similar environment/subject. I have put a lot of thought into what would be the best camera for our shooting and have not found it yet. I do like the quality of the picture on the EX1 but with fast moving subjects I agree looking through the viewfinder an nailing focus on a moving platform is hard.

My last camera was the Canon A1 excellent results but I can see the difference with the ½ cmos progressive on the Sony. Does this really matter and can my clients tell in the end results I don’t have that answer. It would be hard to leave the solid-state workflow and go back so what next?

I know I did not give you any answers but I am happy to discuss and see what we can come up with. I have two EX1’s and keep thinking sell one and try something else that will make it easy to nail focus. I don’t worry about the camera with water/sand/fog when it is under the cover.

Also this past weekend I shot some surfing when we had a big blow 10-14' faces. With the camera on the tripod and surfers taking off at the same spot I was able to nail focus most of the time. But when I am holding on a boat even with my custom brace nailing focus is tough. Also I find it hard when in a helicopter nailing focus.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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The real question is where you are delivering your final projects. Of course is better to have a Z7 with better lenses if the quality isn't that important. But as I said in other threads the quality between EX1 and V1 for example is big with naked eye by me. For a man that just surfing I think the quality of HDV will be amazing.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:16 PM   #5
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Yeh when its under the cover its fine. But sometimes I will use the ex1 for background stuff where I just pull the cam out of the bag and shoot (no cover). Generally most of my equipment ends up with dust / sand on it - those two big vents on the ex1 do worry me. One advantage for me of the ex1 is not tapes = less moving parts to get troubled by sand but now I am not sure about those vents - I am certain they will get sand in them.

I have a v1e along with the HVR DR60 and it works well but it adds bulk which causes more vibration in the wind, needs more batteries and more excess baggage charges. I would like a cam with an intergrated non tape recording solution (like ex1 or z7).
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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Brendan, longer lenses on the Z7 will give you a shallower DOF. I would suggest the best thing to do is to manually pull focus. The EX1 lens is by far the best lens in the small camera market. You should also consider that a good, long zoom lens for the Z7 is probably going to cost quite a bit more than the camera itself.

I find shallow DOF makes finding accurate focus easier as the difference between in and out of focus is greater. For extreme long lens work you really need either a good 2" CRT monocular viewfinder or 7" or larger camera top VF.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Brendan, longer lenses on the Z7 will give you a shallower DOF. I would suggest the best thing to do is to manually pull focus. The EX1 lens is by far the best lens in the small camera market. You should also consider that a good, long zoom lens for the Z7 is probably going to cost quite a bit more than the camera itself.

I find shallow DOF makes finding accurate focus easier as the difference between in and out of focus is greater. For extreme long lens work you really need either a good 2" CRT monocular viewfinder or 7" or larger camera top VF.
Good points!

But all things being equal - the same length telephoto on a z7 and an ex1 will end up with the z7 having a greater dof than the ex1 due to the sensor size.

I would love a cam with a decent 2" CRT viewfinder!

The problem is that manual focus on an ex1 through the viewfinder, using the zoom at max telephoto, in bright conditions with the cam vibrating in the wind is a nightmare. The 'slow' peaking and lack a decent push to autofocus button is a nightmare.

Id really like to keep my ex1 - i love it - i guess i am searching for a solution /method to use my ex1 that I don't know about or its going to be sold.

In my work I get one chance at a shot - its not good but its the way it goes...
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Old March 17th, 2008, 06:25 PM   #8
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Brendan if you were in the US. I would consider trading you my Z7 for your EX.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 06:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian Rhodes View Post
Brendan if you were in the US. I would consider trading you my Z7 for your EX.
Thanks would be fair trade.

i guess ur z7 is NTSC? EX1 is PAL & NTSC... I dunno what the warranty situation is? Probably more hassle than its worth though.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #10
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lens extender

Brendan, don't forget the 1.6 lens extender for the EX1 due out this month by Schneider.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #11
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Hi Brendan,

You are right about each of those problems.

There are add ons that will help, but at a pretty hefty expense and with added bulk.

I guess the questions would be, are you missing a lot of shots due to these issues? Are you certain the alternative will be better?
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #12
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Brendan...

Learn how to manually focus shots. Environments like surf has a lot of bright objects (white water) that will compete for the attention for any autofocus system, even the push-to-focus ones.

Having a good viewfinder is essential.

And so is having a good eye for making certain the main subject is sharp... which I know is easier said than done.

But the human brain is always better at nailing these complex situation than the most advanced computer.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 08:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Pyatt View Post
But all things being equal - the same length telephoto on a z7 and an ex1 will end up with the z7 having a greater dof than the ex1 due to the sensor size.
Greater meaning longer, less shallow. So not "better" if you're striving for a shorter, shallower DOF like Alister prefers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
longer lenses on the Z7 will give you a shallower DOF.
Absolutely, compared to shorter lenses on the Z7. Although 80mm tele on the EX1 should roughly compare to 90mm on the Z7 at the samer aperture. Since you can go beyond that on the Z7 the advantage becomes absolute.

Wider aperture will also give you shorter/shallower DOF, so using ND's or negative gain will also help.

George/
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Old March 18th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #14
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Thanks for everyones comments.

After reading what people have said I am going to stick with the EX1. The picture and video quality are stunning - 50p for sports just has to be a winner?

I think I have made push-to-autofocus into something more important than it should be - I ought to be able to overcome ths with better manual focus technique.

Something I learnt today that may help others. The z7 expanded focus does not work when recording to the cf card slot - it only works when recording to tape... The EX1 only has cards and so the expanded focus always works.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #15
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Brendan I think you have made a wise choice. I think that all the jokey extra features, ATW, Autofocus, AutoIris etc are all gimmicks that are handy but really not used in the professional world on a daily basis. If you want things to look good it is best to do it your self. Having said that Doug Jensen's training DVD has first class auto follow focus that demonstrates how good the EX1 really is.
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