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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 24th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #1
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EX1: the British Sports car?

In the next day or two, I am going to take a pot of cash and exchange it for a camera (I already own 2 Z1s, a PDX-10 and an HV20). I really want to own an EX-1. I am nuts:

- It has questionable build quality (paint rubs off)
- It has questionable build quality (back focus issues)
- It has questionable build quality (twiddly switches)
- It has questionable build quality (battery 'booty')
- It has been designed in a potting shed (battery runs down on-camera)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (handle is 3 inches off centre)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (doesn't handle IR well)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (controls 'sneezed' onto camera)

Yet...

- Lens is to die for (maybe too sharp for Standard Def?)
- Sensor is to die for (maybe a Letus isn't totally necessary?)
- Could this be the Infra-RED?

So what I posit is that the EX1 should be judged as the typical British sports car like the TVR Cerbera, in that it has no right to be lined up with Ferraris and Porsches in the same performance class, yet there it is. Hanging out on a Snout Break, ready to sprint with the Olympians.

The Z1 is a sort of Prius in comparison, loading up on HDV Mung Beans. The Volvo T5 (looking awfully like an HVX200) is ready to pounce, using its reliability, dependability and sheer deliverability (feel the excitement!) to its advantage. Hmmm. The little Smart HV20 - small, fun, rather good... But still a little pip-squeak.

And suddenly life turns into an episode of Top Gear...
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Old March 24th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #2
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Funny stuff. :-)

My only disagreement would be that the EX1 compares with cameras that aren't anywhere near it's price range. That makes me think of something like the Subaru WRX:

-Way too much power for that mediocre chassis
-Clunky exterior
-Thrown into unfair comparisons

http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews...wrx/index.html

vs.

Adam Wilt's three letter cameras comparison.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
In the next day or two, I am going to take a pot of cash and exchange it for a camera (I already own 2 Z1s, a PDX-10 and an HV20). I really want to own an EX-1. I am nuts:

- It has questionable build quality (paint rubs off)
- It has questionable build quality (back focus issues)
- It has questionable build quality (twiddly switches)
- It has questionable build quality (battery 'booty')
- It has been designed in a potting shed (battery runs down on-camera)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (handle is 3 inches off centre)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (doesn't handle IR well)
- It has been designed in a potting shed (controls 'sneezed' onto camera)

Yet...

- Lens is to die for (maybe too sharp for Standard Def?)
- Sensor is to die for (maybe a Letus isn't totally necessary?)
- Could this be the Infra-RED?

So what I posit is that the EX1 should be judged as the typical British sports car like the TVR Cerbera, in that it has no right to be lined up with Ferraris and Porsches in the same performance class, yet there it is. Hanging out on a Snout Break, ready to sprint with the Olympians.

The Z1 is a sort of Prius in comparison, loading up on HDV Mung Beans. The Volvo T5 (looking awfully like an HVX200) is ready to pounce, using its reliability, dependability and sheer deliverability (feel the excitement!) to its advantage. Hmmm. The little Smart HV20 - small, fun, rather good... But still a little pip-squeak.

And suddenly life turns into an episode of Top Gear...
No, It's really like a mid seventy's MGB. You love it but it's an electrical and rust nightmare.

Also to give you some comfort my camera is an early one, US number 136 and has none of the problems you mention except for very MINOR vignettes in one corner and the IR thing I don't really understand.

And why are you knocking Potting sheds? I lost my virginity in a potting shed.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Michael H. Stevens View Post

And why are you knocking Potting sheds? I lost my virginity in a potting shed.
Excellent! We should start a whole thread on the topic.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #5
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That's a brilliant analysis of the prosumer market Matt for many years I drove a 1985 grey market Range Rover. It was awkward to drive, the electrical had numerous shorts, and wouldn't shift into 2nd below freezing, but otherwise it was fantastic. Perhaps we should start a DVINFO show a la Top Gear, including competitions to remove the stock lens from the EX1 and fit it with a permanent 35 adapter, etc.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 05:58 AM   #6
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That's a pretty good analogy!

It's a great purchase and i recommend it, but it does come with a bunch of quirks. And sadly most of those quirks come when you're actually using it rather than experimenting.

In a few weeks of shooting i've been burned by some weird gamma choices, focus issues (some back focus, some full MF weirdness), flickering issues with some sources (rolling shutter i think) and a fantastic combination of a screw mount polariser creating internal reflections totally flaring out a couple of scenes until i noticed (i thought it was on the LCD) (avoid screw on filters i think the built in matte box doesn't do anything for them, my old matte box didn't fit so i couldn't use my 4x4s). Finding the CG for steadicam means it's in an odd position for that too.

But it's performing remarkably well for something in it's price range, really!

Although don't go thinking you'll get anywhere near 35mm DOF. In practical shooting with actors (as opposed to still life shots) you rarely have enough distance to zoom in and get a more blurred background.

cheers
paul

(ps you're not the matt daviss from project multimedia years ago, doing all the macromedia stuff are you? the writing style is strangely familiar!)
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Curtis View Post
you're not the matt daviss from project multimedia years ago, doing all the macromedia stuff are you? the writing style is strangely familiar!)
(blush) the same, dear chap! Gosh that takes me back...

As for the DoF issue, I'm not really expecting Letus Bokeh, just some sort of respite from the Z1 world of hyperfocal everything or setting up camp 20 feet away from my poor interviewees.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 05:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
(blush) the same, dear chap! Gosh that takes me back...

As for the DoF issue, I'm not really expecting Letus Bokeh, just some sort of respite from the Z1 world of hyperfocal everything or setting up camp 20 feet away from my poor interviewees.
Those days were certainly a long time ago!

If the DOF is a big issue for you then you should perhaps see if you can check a camera out in the situations you require. I suspect you may not be 20 feet away, maybe just 15! As i said in practical situations i find myself in the difference isn't all that great.

cheers
paul
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Old March 26th, 2008, 06:01 AM   #9
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I agree with Paul. It's slightly better, but if I picked up the camera not knowing any better, I'd this it was 1/3". the bigger chips help a lot with noise and sensitivity, but the depth of field is only a bit shallower.

-Sean
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Old March 26th, 2008, 06:08 AM   #10
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I'd also mention that my basis for comparison is that i've been experimenting with a 1" sensor and that does make a huge difference to DOF - but that's a difference between 6.4mm in the EX to 14mm in this sensor. A 1/3 is 4.8mm whilst 2/3 is 8.8mm (all horizontal measurements).

Even on 2/3 it's only when you're using very fast lenses can you get that DOF down.

But as Sean says, great sensitivity on the EX. I have a Z1 too but this is worlds apart in terms of image quality and compression quality.

cheers
paul
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Old March 26th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Michael H. Stevens View Post
No, It's really like a mid seventy's MGB. You love it but it's an electrical and rust nightmare.
Having owned three of them, and breaking my own forum rules just because I can...

Q. Why do the British drink warm beer?
A. Lucas refrigerators.

Q. Why don't the British make television sets?
A. They haven't figured out how to make them leak oil.

Q. What's the most commonly used tool for an MGB?
A. A sledge hammer (seriously, to remove knock-offs).

Q. What's the next most commonly used tool for an MGB?
A. An even bigger sledge hammer.

Q. What do you carry in the trunk (er, boot) of an MGB?
A. Spare fuel pump, spare alternator, spare hoses, spare everything.

Q. Upon purchasing an MGB, what's the next thing you should buy?
A. Another one for parts.

Q. What other vehicle should you own in addition to an MGB?
A. Anything that can tow it.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 08:48 AM   #12
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LOL Chris. Having owned a Triumph TR7 I can relate.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:43 PM   #13
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At risk of causing uproar...

May I mix my metaphors, with the risk that it may be come so weak it becomes a fortnight?

There is another analogy that I've become increasingly aware of now that I live with an EX1 (rather than have it round for dinner).

I'm not quite sure there really is a TVR in my garage. It maybe a Disco or a Cruiser.

Toyota LandCruisers are just ubiquitous, they do everything so capably but without soul and passion - every experience comes neatly packaged in a close fitting box just like everybody else's. Discoverys had a build quality and a lemon factor that is reminiscent of the EX1, but when you'd find a good one, you'd trust it (with a few gallons of oil and some spare parts) to the end of the earth and it gives you adventures. Maybe. I don't like Discos, and Range Rovers seemed a better bet if you wanted a character building experience, rather than a Land Cruiser, which I'd probably rely on if somebody paid me to ferry people I didn't know across unfamiliar terrain.

So what that means is... erm, it appears one really REALLY has to know one's individual EX1 camera before one ventures forth.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #14
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Will Sony ever end up being owned by the Indians?
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