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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 August 1st, 2008, 11:58 AM   #1
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EX-3 ... Your first impression?

I see deliveries are starting to trickle through, so I wondered what everyone's initial impression is of the EX-3.

All that you hoped for?
Anything you are disappointed about?

I am shooting a job on a golf course on sunday, so I will be able to put my EX-3 through some hard tests finally.

Cosmetically, I wish the mic holder was improved - and that the LCD could have been swivelled away. And why are the manuals so bloody pathetic - you would think at this price, you would get a nice wallet with a 400 page in-depth how-to book in color and a DVD. Kind of what you get with a Lexus or Mercedes!
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:19 PM   #2
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Firstly, let me say I'm very, very, VERY! pleased with mine so far.

I agree the LCD not being able to be folded away (or at least mostly out of the way somehow) makes it quite a bulky camera to find a bag for - see my other thread for pictures and comments with my experiences with the bags I have.

I think the "re-designed" SxS slot door is weak and pathetic - sure you only open this door and handle those cards with care as all you precious footage is in there but I can see that even careful owners like me will one day, accidentially, rip this door off, e.g. when it catches on a strap or something as it does not even close fully flush.

I'm very unconvinced I'll use the cheek support - it looks like an afterthought. Maybe I'll attach it (screwdriver job) in a day or so and have a play but I suspect you'd only really need/want it if you're likely to have a bunch of cables coming out of the back end of the cam.

The mic holder is weak/identical to EX1 (as confirmed by my mate with his EX1 today) - I may even unscrew it and just take it off. I'm already using a Rode suspension mount with my NTG-3 on the front shoe - even on full wide this relatively long mic is well away from the picture frame, by the way.

I LOVE the ergonomics of the camera on the shoulder and will use it this way far more than I originally imagined. It's still a bit front heavy - it's heavy anyway by my more usual PD150/HC1 standards! - but when it's on there all the controls are easily to hand and the shots I'm getting are fantastically stable.

The scope/viewfinder arrangement is STUNNING, no question about it. This is now a class leading point.

I have'nt had the time to shoot much or even get the clips onto my MBP/FCS2 yet so can't comment about image quality etc. but I see no reason why these won't be the stunning ones we've been used to seeing from the EX1.

Got to go out but may add more later.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; August 1st, 2008 at 02:59 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:23 PM   #3
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Hi Andy.

Would you mind venturing into the menu system and let us know what version of firmware your new camera has?

Thanks.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:11 PM   #4
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I found all the boxes that it came in to be fun - let's not overlook the simple things in life! Kinda like Christmas - not one present, but about 15 - plus, they're in special, secret compartments that you have to find. It was a very enjoyable fifteen minutes, unpacking.

As a former HD100 user, I am both in love and a little humbled. This is truly a feature rich camera, and the form factor is so much nicer.

I was never familiar with the SxS door on the EX1, so this one really seems fine to me. It's a little "jiggly" when opened, but I (because I'm a fool) put a couple pounds of torque on it in several directions and it never gave me any indication that it was approaching failure. I'm not convinced that it isn't perfectly fine and will last the life of the camera.

Haven't gotten my remote to work yet...

Trying to determine if my Libec H55 head is too much for it - pullsback to center a little. I might need to go with a H38 instead.

I think JVC did a much better job with the power switch - the silver two-way toggle. This is OK, but a little small and "fiddly" for my taste.

I like the ND filters - superior to the JVC. I was quite used to rocking it a bit when engaging to insure a filter was completely on or off. With this camera, this is practically unnecessary. I found it very difficult to actually get a filter to stop halfway. They seem to snap into place with great tactile response.

I like the release for the LCD swivel - enables you to move it where you want it and "lock" it into position. But really, if pushed hard, it still gives rather than snapping.

Time to go play more!
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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Where do you find the firmware?
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torv Carlsen View Post
Hi Andy.

Would you mind venturing into the menu system and let us know what version of firmware your new camera has?

Thanks.
Torv
I'm back from the pub! Firstly, I don't yet know how to get that info. Secondly, it's clearly different to the EX1 as there are different menu options I can see (and as we all know the framerate can be accessed external to the LCD menu)...not sure even if I knew how to find this info it means anything to us non-Sony people right now. But if someone can tell me how it's done on a EX1 (I'm sure the route would be the same) I'll certainly take a look and post it up!

Another thing - just like the EX1 when you change from say 1080p to 720p in the menu you still get the "funky flickering" on the LCD as the camera executes it, except it's red background instead of blue from memory. I'd have expected Sony to have put up a "temporary blue screen" or something to hide all that but it's essentially the same. Not really an issue at all but I guess it shows just how similar these cams (still) are.

The pull out shoulder pad thing is good, it has 2 positions - all the way out or all the way in, which is fine but with that and the highly adjustable scope/viewfinder position cam (as well as the pull out/push in adjustment available on it's axle, release or locked by an "underbelly" lever below the keypad/cam support part) everyone should be able to get it just how they want it.

One point here - I wear glasses and was a little concerned how the scope might work for me. Relax (if you do too), it works just fine!

I agree, the ND filter movement works just fine as indeed do all the main controls I've tried so far. It's a joy to use - so flexible! I can do so much with this cam!

Yep, the main switch is a bit naff. Perfectly usable but since they redesigned it anyway you'd have thought they would have got it right/better than on the EX1. Works fine - just should have been bigger!

I'm sure everyone is thinking, well is it worth the extra $/£/etc. over an EX1. I can't answer that one for you as I only have a little experience of using my mates EX1 - for me and my specific needs now and potentially 1-2 years from now (interchangeable lense option) then it definitely was (and boy oh boy did I agonise over that decision!). And that was after I'd spent a long time thinking about a Z7 - until I realised that would limit me too much for what I wanted to do. Using my mates EX1 cemented that fair and square in 2 days! Others will see the EX3 as an overpriced "suped up EX1" and might be better to go with that and spend the saved dosh on SxS cards, PC/MBPros or whatever. Personally, this cam is exactly what I wanted and I'm delighted with it! For any corporate work, to me, it will certainly look "the business" - especially if you were to put a matt box on it! It's a very impressive beast, not the ugly one that some saw in the EX1. Ergonomically it's much, much better too.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 08:39 AM   #7
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I havent found the firmware in the menus yet as well - tried Menu/Cancel like the EX-1 and it did not work.

As a documentary film maker, the EX-3 is worth the upgrade from the EX-1 - in fact it's a no brainer. The EX-1 is a brick to use hand held. No amount of gadgets-shoulder straps could make the EX-1 balance well for me. MY EX-3 is entirely a different feel.
The LCD-Viewfinder combo is the best I have seen. I have used hoods and home-made devices to enable me to use LCD screens in bright or severe weather - it's either tropical brightness or snowing when I film - so my problems are now over.
I did have to buy new sticks and head (Miller) for a better balance-weight movement.

Just the two factors above make the EX-3 a must. Oh yes, the lens removes!
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 01:15 PM   #8
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I just played with the EX-3 at the dealers yesterday. The viewfinder is really the big change for me - its a dream - big beautiful and sharp - best viewfinder I've seen on any camera.

Other changes (aside from the new features) were pretty incidental. They didn't change some annoying things like not giving you SMPTE split field bars or giving you only one preset color balance.

So is it worth the upgrade? - depends on what you do. You'll probably be able to get a similar viewfinder with the Hoodman "Hoodloupe" expected soon. Won't know about that till we see it but Hoodman was excited by the optical quality.

For multicam its a no brainer - you can put long lenses on with decent zoom & focus controls, paint box, genlock etc. For handheld - its better balanced than an EX-1 but I use a monopod so I'm not sure it will make that much difference to me.

It will undoubtedly work better with the 60G hard drive than an EX-1. Mounting the drive will probably be weirder with the EX-1 and you'll have to keep the card door open - kind of wanky and prone to dirt.

For 35mm adapters it will probably be cleaner with a relay but that may be another $4000.

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Old August 3rd, 2008, 07:19 AM   #9
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Rode NTG-3 on a PMW-EX3

Some quick pics of my EX3 with a Rode NTG-3 here.

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.ph...845#post915845
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 09:23 AM   #10
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Some quick pics of my EX3 with a Rode NTG-3 here.

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.ph...845#post915845
Thanks for the pics but as it has been pointed out you are using the accessory shoe that is needed most of the time by an on-board light (for those doing ENG work).

I'm thinking of buying and using the J-rod twin mount:

http://www.thej-rod.com/

By this way I can attach an external mic and a cordless receiver. Anybody using such a set-up? Is it a good accessory or a gimmick?
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #11
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Brian,

don't forget the wireless mic receiver could be mounted on the rear shoe on the EX3 - that's where I plan on putting my Sennheiser G2 receiver anyway. This would still leave the front one free for those who need lights. As you know/has been pointed out several times on here the EX1/EX3 Sony mic clamp is not that strong/easily broken so attaching something like this clamp to it and the weight of the mic will test that for sure.....
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Old October 8th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #12
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EX3 or EX1 (Mini Review/Comparison)

I put together my own personal mini-review of the EX3 (comparing it to the EX1) for my own fledgling website. It occured to me that it might help some people on here who are trying to decide between the two and so I'm post a link to it. Hope this helps.

Chris, I hope this is OK but if this is not allowed simply remove this post.

Sony PMW-EX3 Mini Review
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Old October 9th, 2008, 08:34 PM   #13
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Still learning the machine. I've got to get use to all this manual control.

It was not as big as I thought it would be, nice size.

I thought more of it would be cast aluminum, the FX1 has a lot of that right? The FX1 is cold to the touch.. The LCD hood is metal, that is nice. Should be more of that but I guess they were saving weight.

Extendo brace, I won't be using it. With the brace retracked the camera fits nice up against my cheek and the weight isn't so far out.

Hand grip, I find rotating it to about 45 degrees is the most natural when using it in semi shoulder mode. Feels nicer than the FX1 grip.

The EFV eye cup thing. I know everyone loves it.. I don't think I will be using it. The LCD and hood just work too good, it keeps my head in a more natural position and works JUST fine like it is. I actually love it. The LCD just feels so solid the hood works quite well.

I wish I could assign auto gain on/off to one of the buttons. That's damn near the only thing you can't assign.. and I use it.. LOL

I do NOT like that you can't select a group of clips to delete all at once. Who thought that would be a good idea? On my crappy SR11 and I quickly select however many clips that didn't work out and delete them.. on the 8 times more expensive EX3 I have to do it one at a time.. yuck!

The so called 0.14 lux rating.. No problems here.. love the low light. Although anything past 9db gain and you get noise. I set the manual gain to +0 +3 +9 but when you go to auto gain, it will go as high as +12.. be nice if I could tell the auto gain to stop at +9. EDIT: found that in the menu, AGC limit, excellent.

No built in playback speaker on my 8 grand camera? Even my tiny SR11 has that.

I MUST use the ND filter in direct sunlight or do I have something set wrong? The picture was all washed out until I set ND1 or 2. I must have it set wrong right? No way the iris can't handle sunlight?

I love it of course, but it does have a few nick picks I would fix.

Last edited by Erik Phairas; October 9th, 2008 at 10:10 PM.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #14
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I MUST use the ND filter in direct sunlight or do I have something set wrong? The picture was all washed out until I set ND1 or 2. I must have it set wrong right? No way the iris can't handle sunlight?
Nope, that's the way it should work. On the F350, I typically have to use ND position 4 (1/64) in sunlight. It's the price you pay for having a camera with that much sensitivity. You could use higher shutter speed, but that's not the way it's usually done.

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Old October 9th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #15
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Thanks Greg! Makes sense I guess, just have to get use to it. Oh and I removed the mic holder all together. If you look under it after it is removed, you would not believe how thin the plastic is that holds it on... Just put the screws in without the holder to close the open holes.
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