K6/ME66 distortion problems, but only on EX1 (not on Z1U)?? - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:45 AM   #31
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Excellent points, Don. That brings me to another question. I don't have much of a history with Sony camcorders and I was wondering if this model's introduction is typical of the Sony line. By that I mean have previous models come to market with as many issues or similar issues and was Sony always able to correct them?

I know that given the complexity of modern cameras (still or video), most manufacturers will sometimes push them out the door to meet target deadlines. At the same time, they are probably hard at work on the first firmware update to fix the issues they couldn't solve in time to meet their ship dates. There always seems to be a firmware release coming to tweak or modify different operational parameters. However, some of the problems we are seeing with the EX1 appear to be mechanical (backfocus, Chromatic Abberation, uneven focus across the image plane, vignetting, audio grounding, e.g.) which usually are a result of poor assembly or design.

If I was sure that ALL these issues could be cured with firmware, I'd have NO hesitation at all about buying one now. It doesn't make me happy to feel like a Guinea Pig by having to beta test these darn thing in the field, but I understand the realities of putting out a high-tech camera in the short R&D cycles that manufacturers seem to find themselves in now. I'm coming into the video world after spending most of my life in commercial still photography and photojournalism. I'd hate to be a manufacturer today. For example, Nikon could put out a camera like the F, F2 or F3 (granted....nowhere NEAR the complexity of an EX1) and the model would stay in production with few modifications for 10 years! These days, if you are Canon, Panasonic, et al, you'd better have the "next great thing" ready to go within a year or you're SOL. So, am I being overly critical or should I wait for the "EX1 Mk2"? ;)

Last edited by Dave Morrison; April 10th, 2008 at 11:14 AM.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 05:05 PM   #32
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Dave,
I think the problem is that we expect a HD camera at the same pricepoint as a SD camera and with the same ease of use. I'm not heavily into still photography but I get the feeling that moving up from a 35mm SLR to a large format still camera carried a significant increase in costs and you'd loose some of the hand holding features of the 35mm SLRs.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 07:59 PM   #33
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Dave,
I think the problem is that we expect a HD camera at the same pricepoint as a SD camera and with the same ease of use. I'm not heavily into still photography but I get the feeling that moving up from a 35mm SLR to a large format still camera carried a significant increase in costs and you'd loose some of the hand holding features of the 35mm SLRs.
You have an interesting point, Bob. I also want to apologize to the thread starter because I've threadcrapped here VERY badly. My apologies to all, actually. You are right about the move to LF cameras, althogh I NEVER have to worry about battery power or backfocus....just prime focus and Scheimpflug rules!! When I was teaching photography, I wanted to start my students with a 4x5 and let them "graduate" to 35mm. You can't understand your craft without a solid foundation and video is no different.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:20 AM   #34
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By that I mean have previous models come to market with as many issues or similar issues and was Sony always able to correct them?
I can only speak to the limited knowledge of my own experience with video cameras. Among other things I own a Sony PD170 and from what I can recall the first run or so of these had an audio issue that was resolved by a trip to the repair depot for a new something-or-other. Anyway, subsequent 170's were for the most part problem free. The one I have has never given me a lick of grief. I also have a Canon GL2 (retired but still in like-new condition) and a Canon XL2. Not one issue with either of them. I used to own a Canon XL1s and I hated the picture it recorded and put it up for sale. There was never anything really wrong with it either as far as things going wrong. I just hated what happened to the footage in less than perfect lighting.

My EX is by far the most troublesome and glitchy camera I've owned but it's all (I'm assuming) fixable and once fixed I'm sure will perform reliably.

I don't think you're being overly critical at all, considering the numerous bugs some EX cameras are afflicted with. I'm sure that these problems will be dealt with in subsequent runs of the camera. Sony is banking on selling a lot of these and it's not going to help if they can't sort things out in short order.

Before I dropped my EX off yesterday at Sony repair I had still shot a lot of footage even with the issues. I just learned to shoot around them. The wonderful picture quality, under and overcrank, and that fast tapeless workflow kept me coming back.

You'll have to make your own choice about buying now or waiting until you're 100% sure you can get a camera without issues.

- Don
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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:06 AM   #35
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Problem could be the mic lead.

We had a client with a V1 today complain that the mic lead we'd given him was faulty. Tested fine with a cable tester and yet using it between the V1P and the on camera mic no sound. Tried another mic lead and it worked just fine.
Long story short. The problem was resolved to be using mic leads that connect the shield to ground. Don't know if this has any bearing on the EX1 or not. However we've been using the same mix of mic leads for years with Sony cameras and none ever cared if the shield was or wasn't connected to ground.

Something has changed in the way Sony do their balanced audio inputs / phantom power with the V1. It's not hard to imagine the same design change has been made in the EX1. Certainly it's worth testing to see if this is an explaination for some having issues and others not with the same mics. Who would have thought the mic lead could be a factor.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 04:45 AM   #36
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Three points:

1) In a phantom powered microphone circuit the screen connection must be made to complete the dc powering to the microphone: XLR Pins 2 and 3 cary the audio signal and the positive dc supply, Pin 1 connects to the cable shield and carries the negative dc return.

2) Cliping of the signal could be caused if the output level of the microphone exceeds the maximum permited input level to the mic preamplifier within the camera. If you have to set the mic gain control to a low level for normal recording peak signal display then the chances are that you are exceeding the maximum input level and no adjustment to recording gain will rectify the problem. If this is the case you should either reduce the microphone level sensitivity within the camera's menu or insert an external attenuator between the microphone and camera input.

I suspect that the microphone is overloading the input and a lower sensitivity will remidy the problem.

3) The foam windshields normally provided with microphones are totally inadequate in windy, outdoor situations - they're really no more than a vocal pop shield. A furry wind gag such as those made by Rycote or Rode is way to go.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 02:42 PM   #37
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Please let me know what your local Sony service center says, as it would appear that we both have the same defect. Now its back to my Z1U for a week or so...urgh. At least I'll get the vignetting issue fixed (hopefully) while my cameras out there, as it has that problem as well.
Update: Our local Sony repair facility has contacted their head office and has advised them about the 3rd party mic issues I'm having with my EX. The Sony head office is investigating and the local folks are waiting for a reply. So far nothing has changed, as I'm still experiencing crackling/grounding issues whenever I touch the mic or the XLR cable even slightly. I have to keep the mic's low frequency switch in the off position at all times, otherwise I wouldn't be able to use the mic at all.

- Don
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Old May 4th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #38
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Don, this may not be the best news for you, but here's my situation. I sent my camera a month ago to the Sony service center in San Jose. The manager there, while helpful, couldn't get a reply from the folks in Japan about what the possible source of this audio issue could be. Ultimately, he ended up sending me a replacement camera, and guess what? The new camera has the same audio problem with my ME66. Thats not all. My original camera obviously had this problem, but so does my co-workers, which is also brand new. So thats three total cameras so far (my old one, my new one, and my co-workers), every single EX1 I have seen, that has this audio problem.

This seems ridiculous to me, but this leads me to think that for some reason it must be an issue between the mic and the camera, so maybe another shotgun mic will interface with my EX1 just fine? I think I'm going to get a new one soon to find out.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #39
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So thats three total cameras so far (my old one, my new one, and my co-workers), every single EX1 I have seen, that has this audio problem.
Yes, and this makes 5 cameras now. Your 3 and mine plus another new EX I tried my mic on at the broadcast supply place where I originally purchaced. This is a global problem with the camera and I hope Sony comes up with a fix, and soon. There's no excuse for a camera like this not being able to utilize high end mics without the Sony name on them.

If they can't come up with something soon I'm going to ask them for a Sony mic comparable to my AT4073a and allow me to use that until they DO have a fix.

- Don
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #40
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This is weird. My Senn MKH60 works fine with the EX1. So does my Schoeps MK4 and I ran some tests today with my Senn Evolution G2 wireless mics and no problems. The only thing I haven't run into it is an old SM57 dynamic mic but that's next. Maybe I got lucky.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:51 PM   #41
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Sennheiser MKH416 Problem?

Anyone know if there are any issues with a Sennheiser MKH416?
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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:03 AM   #42
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Does the EX1 have a Mic Sensitivity control? Most pro camcorders do. Usually you have options of matching -50dB, -60dB, and -70dB.

The Z1 has a TRIM menu so you can adjust signal input to the camcorder’s input audio circuit and prevent overloading. It can be set to: -18, -12, -6, 0, +6, +12dB. The Z1 is speced to -60dB. What is the EX1 spec?

Remember, the smaller the negative number the greater the voltage output for a given reference sound level.

You look on your mic spec sheet to see what its sensitivity is. For example, if it's -50dB, you set your camcorder to -50dB. It will overload if you set it to -60dB or -70dB. With the Z1, you set the TRIM to -12dB to avoid overload.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:15 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Geoff Addis View Post
Three points:

1) In a phantom powered microphone circuit the screen connection must be made to complete the dc powering to the microphone: XLR Pins 2 and 3 cary the audio signal and the positive dc supply, Pin 1 connects to the cable shield and carries the negative dc return.

2) Cliping of the signal could be caused if the output level of the microphone exceeds the maximum permited input level to the mic preamplifier within the camera. If you have to set the mic gain control to a low level for normal recording peak signal display then the chances are that you are exceeding the maximum input level and no adjustment to recording gain will rectify the problem. If this is the case you should either reduce the microphone level sensitivity within the camera's menu or insert an external attenuator between the microphone and camera input.

I suspect that the microphone is overloading the input and a lower sensitivity will remidy the problem.

3) The foam windshields normally provided with microphones are totally inadequate in windy, outdoor situations - they're really no more than a vocal pop shield. A furry wind gag such as those made by Rycote or Rode is way to go.

Geoff,
just to be very specific. Yes for certain pin 1 carries the return path of the phantom power via the cable's screen. In some of the more esoteric mic cables there can even be an extra wire just for the ground return as well as the shield. This has nothing to do with what we've seen.

It's what happens to the connection between pin 1 and the chassis of the camera that's the point of interest. Connecting pin 1 to the body of the plug and thereby effectively connecting pin 1 to camera chassis stopped the mic working, dead. Changed mic leads to one without that connection, mic works perfectly. Both of those mic leads are perfectly healthy, tested fine, been in use for some time and work just fine with other cameras.

Now some people are having problems and others aren't with the same mic. I'd think taking a look at how the mic leads are wired would be a simple thing to do. Mic leads are pretty unassuming things and are easily overlooked as the key to the puzzle.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #44
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Does the EX1 have a Mic Sensitivity control? Most pro camcorders do. Usually you have options of matching -50dB, -60dB, and -70dB.
The EX1 does have a mic sensitivity control, however it doesn't fix the situation in my experience, unless I turn down the sensitivity so much that I would have to boost the signal extensively in post production for it to reach what I would consider to be normal audio levels, holding between -12 and -6. Even if I do turn it down that much, it can still distort in this odd way, its just slightly less prone to do so.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:59 AM   #45
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There's no excuse for a camera like this not being able to utilize high end mics without the Sony name on them
Hi guys, sorry about your problems... we'll all have you to thank, for bringing all this to light, and to Sony's attention. In the meantime, though, can I interpret from the above, Don, that I'd be safest with a Sony shotgun mic? (I haven't purchased yet)
The other ones that, to my knowledge, no one's complained about, are the Rode NTG-1 and the Sanken CS-1.
But I'll happily go Sony if this would be a problem-free mic.
Cheers, Malcolm
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