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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 April 9th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #1
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So is the EX1 still worth it.

So I've been thinking about the EX1 for some time now, but all this stuff has me having second thoughts.

I am looking for a drama production camera. So I'm between the EX with a letus a other stuff plus the insane workflow to get it to SD DVD and DVCAM. Or the a stock HPX 500 with deccent DOF from the 2/3 inch lens and great cinema colors (panasonic Mojo) and a cake workflow.

They'd proboably cost about the same once it's all said and done.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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So I'm between the EX with a letus a other stuff plus the insane workflow to get it to SD DVD and DVCAM. Or the a stock HPX 500 with deccent DOF from the 2/3 inch lens and great cinema colors (panasonic Mojo) and a cake workflow.
It's as plain as day for you: HPX500. Why even consider the EX1?

I know EXACTLY why I'm now shooting with the EX1. My output is web, PowerPoint and DVD, and I can achieve a DigiBeta look with an EX1. Mostly talking heads between run & gun stuff.

You're shooting setups with rehearsal, blocking, lighting, a DoP, a crew, somebody to pull focus and somebody to wrangle cards. The whole workflow screams Panasonic.

I've only got experience of the HVX200, and the Cine modes are to die for. I almost switched from Z1 just for the progressive modes. If I were doing staged setups and had help, and I could give up my passion for tack sharp images, I'd go HVX and so your choice of the HPX follows that line. I'm thinking 'Mellow' images, sandalwood over pine (there goes the synesthesia), rock solid post, easy format to work with.

I'm curious... So what was it that attracts you to even _consider_ an EX1?
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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Sorry to contradict Matt but I'm assuming shallow DOF is very important for you? Based on your question.

On a 2/3rds you'd only get shallow depth of field with fast lenses (T1.3). So the choice of lens on a HPX would be the critical factor, most mid range zoom lenses aren't that fast and a set of 2/3rd primes are probably out of the question. (a 9mm canon prime at T1.5 is over £10k by itself)

T1.4 on 2/3rds is the same as T5.6 on 35mm which is the same as a theoretical T1.0 on the EX.

A letus on the other hand has 35mm DOF straight away.

So i don't think it's quite as easy as the HPX. If you can afford that plus either rent or buy the appropriate lenses then it would be a lot less fiddly then the letus that's for sure.

Also the HPX500 is 1080i or 720p, so probably 720p for your uses.

There are advantages to a 1080 frame in post, in terms of reframing and stablisation even if you deliver at 720p.

At the end of the day uou can shoot drama with either. But either solution involves compromises. So what are the most important aspects of a camera for you?

You could always just go and rent something for that production?

Or get an EX (this is an EX forum afterall) and use the extra budget for the letus on buying decent lighting and grip gear - you'd probably get a better overall result that way.

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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #4
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Sorry to contradict Matt but I'm assuming shallow DOF is very important for you? Based on your question.
No problem, Paul - I'm on a learning curve, not owning a Letus or equivalent and having been singed by an early experience.

In my defense (says he, rapidly getting on topic and feeling his cheeks blush), I'd say that the brush I have had with a 35mm adaptor, whilst giving breathtaking results, demonstrate that they are totally NOT run & gun, and probably not 'let's do a voxpop, no wait, let's grab that guy for a sit-down talking head' production, which is where I live. Maybe I'm biassed.

Come to think of it, 2/3" DigiBeta is my gold standard so I shouldn't comment on 35mm adaptor questions.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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We are all set with light and sound and what not. With the HPX 500 I would probably just get the standard cheapo zoom lens and some ND's to feep it wide open.

The DOF would be half that of a 35mm adaptor, But I'm okay with that. Ive been shooting with 1/2 cameras for awhile now and can usally get some decent Bokeh.

Any way brevis and Letus are coming out with 2/3 inch adaptors soon.
With some ziess Nikon lens and that would be pretty Bad@$$.

My questions are mainly about workflow and image quality.
From my understanding on the panasonic you set the cinema gama and wamo!instant movie cam. While the EX is more of a tv camera that would need some post work to get the look one wants. (Magic Bullet)?
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #6
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I was attracted to the EX because of it's blisteringly sharp image and that fact that expirenced DOP's can't tell the difference between it a $30 dollar xdcam.

The look we are going for is that proffesional comercial/advertisment/real look.

Evently we would get a 35mm adaptor for either camera.

I can't stand the current solid state workflow. Who wants to keep track of 4 or more cards that only hold the equivalent of one tape.

I would only just get two 32 gig cards and treat them like tapes. no onsite stuff.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:00 PM   #7
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I tested the EX1 with the Redrock, we got the camera the day before and had virtually no time to tweak settings on it. So this is virtually out of the box.

http://web.mac.com/chupap/Films/tablemanners.html

With the XDCAM transfer tool in Final Cut Pro, it was no effort at all to open up the clips, drop them straight onto a timeline and work with them immediately.

I do not agree that this is a "tv camera" any more than the F900 is a TV camera and while I have shot with the HVX and its big brothers also, I think they are very capable cameras that also can achieve a nice film look; not necessarily better, just different. I do think the added resolution of the EX1 over the HVX is worthwhile.

However it is a bit of a tough question comparing the EX1 to a HPX500, especially when you factor in the 35mm adaptor. Ultimately I think you can make stunning results with both. If depth of field is a major factor for you, the EX1 might be the way to go.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #8
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I'm with Charles.

And I think the EX-1 workflow is a breeze with Final Cut, for what it's worth.

B
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #9
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I can't stand the current solid state workflow. Who wants to keep track of 4 or more cards that only hold the equivalent of one tape.
Thanks, man. Now I feel REAL old.

"Aye, when I were a lad, we 'ad to fill out our neg reports, changing film mags every 400 feet, and that were if you were lucky - bloody Arris with their piddly little 200 foot spools. And don't get me started about them cake headed Eclairs and their poofy 2 frame loop..."

Tape's nice, quick and simple. For the cameraman. Oh, so now you have to log and capture on site? Welcome to videography and the curse of the editor. :D

On Topic, I've noticed that Card Wrangler is soon to be a key position (any Hollywood films credit this yet?).

Matt - an editor who shoots
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #10
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I hate logging tapes too, what we need is some kinda solid state card,About the size of a 1/2 a sandwich, that hold 100gigs.

Then there wouldn't be any complaints from me.

Wait you what would be even better If there was some kind of media that held 50 gigs and cost $50 dollars. Oh wait it already excists. I love the Xdcam worflow, but I just can't afford the cameras.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #11
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The EX1 is remarkably efficient on space.

A 16-gig card gives you 57 minutes of shooting time. The camera holds two cards so that's good for almost two hours.

On a nine-hour fishing shoot I haven't yet used all three cards. And even then I still have an 8-gig as a standby.

No need for a card wrangler, either. Not like the Panasonic. I have each card labeled numerically and start with card One. Sometimes half a day goes by before I'm ready to insert card Three. And when I get back, I transfer the three cards into the archive and that's that.

On the other hand, with the Panasonic I have to swap out cards every eight minutes and carefully track what was shot, what was transferred to the P2 Store, and which one is ready to re-use. A grease pencil comes in handy for that but it doesn't take much to distract someone and lose track of what went where.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #12
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I am more worried about what the final image is going to look like on SD broadcast.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #13
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I've down-converted "on the fly" through a Decklink SP card and it looks just fine.

I also output via DVD and that looks good, too.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #14
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OK, I'm still iffy though (heard all the horror stories about EX1 sd downconverts)
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:41 PM   #15
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I relate to you Andrew.

I was going to get the EX1 but then felt the camera fell short. I think it's probably a really good camera at doing many things but not great in any one area.

The HPX500 probably has better low light capabilities and the 2/3" chips will give your reasonably good dof (don't forget that using a dof adapter is NOT a trivial matter and while it will give you better dof than your native chip you also may have down time on the set due to technical problems)

See Steve Cahills' blog if you haven't already done so... http://web.mac.com/stevecahill/Steve...Blog/Blog.html
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