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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 December 7th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #1
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Reliability and quality of EX1

I bought PMW EX1 from B&H and I have exchanged it two times. The first camera had a few issues: 1. Iris switch had intermittent operation; 2. Firmware was 1.0.3; 3. It had excessive battery drainage.
The second camera had LED display totally out of order.
The third one seems to be OK.
Thanks to B&H and their customer service, I had no troubles with return and camera replacements, but I got some butterflies in the stomach re. Sony quality organization.
What is your experience with reliability of PMW EX1?
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:34 PM   #2
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Mine, albeit used not nearly as much as the daily shooters, has been rock solid. User error blew out the LCD screen, but Sony in Teaneck, NJ replaced it in typical Sony Support Speed, somewhat slow.

I have minor wear on the white label paint, but that doesn't bother me one bit. Gear gets older and should look it. I did my own firmware update, was a piece of cake. But all in all, mine has been rock solid.

Sorry to hear about your troubles, hopefull third time is the charm.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hollister View Post
Mine, albeit used not nearly as much as the daily shooters, has been rock solid. User error blew out the LCD screen, but Sony in Teaneck, NJ replaced it in typical Sony Support Speed, somewhat slow.

I have minor wear on the white label paint, but that doesn't bother me one bit. Gear gets older and should look it. I did my own firmware update, was a piece of cake. But all in all, mine has been rock solid.

Sorry to hear about your troubles, hopefull third time is the charm.
So far it is. I hope it will stay this way.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #4
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When I got my camera it turned out to have the vignetting problem. Sony sent me a fedex label to send it back to them, which I did. I had it back in less than two weeks (that was over new year's, last year). It came back fixed - no more vignetting.

That battery drain issue apparantly is a hardware problem that Sony is now fixing if you send it in to them. Mine has it too, but have not had it fixed. I just remove the battery when the camera is not in use.

I have some slight were on the labels, and maybe I'll send the camera back for that and the battery drain issue later. But this is not an issue for me.

My camera came with firmware 1.02. I upgraded the firmware to 1.11 myself and have been VERY pleased with the new firmware. It seems to have solved a lot of issues.

All in all I am very happy with the EX1. It produces outstanding images and has not let me down on a shoot.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 10:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hedgecoe View Post
...
My camera came with firmware 1.02. I upgraded the firmware to 1.11 myself and have been VERY pleased with the new firmware. It seems to have solved a lot of issues.

All in all I am very happy with the EX1. It produces outstanding images and has not let me down on a shoot.
Hi John

Would you be able to share with us the location of the firmware and the step-by-step of your upgrade? I have this problem of living far away from any of the proper Sony service centres and issue of sending them the camera would be a month or two of possible downtime so the most feasible option at the moment is to perform the upgrade myself until i can get a replacement cam for the downtime.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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read this thread very carefully, one of the posts has a 1.11 link
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Old December 8th, 2008, 01:06 AM   #7
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I've been using one to shoot our fishing show since February.

While I try to take good care of it, the camera does get exposed to salt air. It hasn't been dropped nor directly sprayed. The cover keeps it well protected for the most part.

Hadn't had any problems except for the toggle selector switch at the top of the handle needing to be replaced. It wouldn't toggle downward, almost from the time I got the camera.

Otherwise, the footage it's captured has turned heads with many compliments on the quality of the pictures. It's a lot more reliable than tape ever was, without a single dropout or lost shot.

Here's some frame grabs from some of the shows we've done so far:

festival_display

The camera had its firmware updated about a month ago, which solved the battery drain problem, and portions of the camera's outer shell was replaced to solve the "paint wear" issue for control labels.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Krichever View Post
Thanks to B&H and their customer service, I had no troubles with return and camera replacements,...
Thanks for your kind words. I am sorry for the trouble you encountered and for the inconvenience I know it must have caused.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hedgecoe View Post

My camera came with firmware 1.02. I upgraded the firmware to 1.11 myself and have been VERY pleased with the new firmware. It seems to have solved a lot of issues.

All in all I am very happy with the EX1. It produces outstanding images and has not let me down on a shoot.
John Could you tell me if you've send in your camera since you updated the firmware. I ask this because I need to update as well but can't miss my camera for even as long as 2 days and therefore am unable to send it in to Sony. At the other hand Sony tells me my warranty is void if I update myself.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #10
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At the other hand Sony tells me my warranty is void if I update myself.

Where is that stated? How can they do that without a statement to that effect somewhere?

John
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Old December 8th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #11
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Got my camera in Dec 2007. Sent it to San Jose in early Feb 2008 because it would not zoom smoothly at slow speeds. It was sort of disappointing since the camera did NOT have the vignetting issue. Sony couldn't fix the camera (apparently the issue was lens related) so they send me a new one. It took nearly 3 weeks.

I drove my Camera to Teaneck, NJ for the firmware upgrade. They say 10 days but some on DVInfo say it's like a month. I could have done the firmware upgrade myself but I want the battery drain issue fixed as well and I might have been cutting things close regarding warrantee repair (which could be Dec or next Feb depending).

The camera is great but there's WAY too much downtime. I don't shoot every day since I'm also an editor and compressionist but even loosing one shoot a week, the downtime can be expensive. Fortunately I can delay some shoots and replace lost time with editing work.

My VAR has offered me a loaner but the minor hassle of having to reserve pick up & return it, doesn't make that very effective (basically like a no fee rental). It's nice to have that as a fallback if my back were against the wall though.

I think Sony was on the bleeding age though with this technology. They were pushing their own limits. They really should have tested the first production run better.

Many people never spotted the issues. I can see when CNN is using the camera because you can spot the vignetting on some of the field reports on CNNHD.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #12
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Hello all. I downloaded the 1.11 firmware from a Sony site, but found the link on these forums. Sorry, I don't have the link anymore.

The firmware comes with instructions, that, when followed, are pretty foolproof.

I purchased my camera from B&H in New York, but I live in Bangkok Thailand, which is where the camera is now. I will be heading back to the US for about 6 weeks in February and have been considering taking the camera back for the battery drain issue and the lettering coming off the shell. But then again, maybe not, as neither of these are a major issue for me.

So to answer your question, no I have not sent my camera in since upgrading the firmware myself. Why sony doesn't want users to do it themselves is beyond me.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 11:09 PM   #13
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I had virtually every problem listed here....and then some. I never had the vignetting problem, but, since getting the camera in April, it had to go back to Sony 3 times. One of those trips was necessitated by Sony breaking a part when they replaced my back panel to fix the paint rubbing issue. Oh, and I'm on my third lens, too. But hey, I'm not bitter.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #14
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Sony. The latest news

It is announced today that Sony is going to fire about 5% of their work force. I wonder how it will affect us - owners of their products.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #15
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My EX1 has been solid from Day 1. It did eat batteries though. The firmware changed this behavior. And I know people say that there was a board change necessary for this, I believe the board was shipping in later cameras but the firmware also needed to be applied.

I had no vignetting, backfocus issues, or anything else. If I could afford another one, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. There is NOTHING on the market in this price range I'd rather own for any reason.
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