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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 9th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #16
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So Steve, is it at "Gold" standard that the PDW700 is accepted and the other XDCam formats are not? I was sure that at one level at least the 700 was OK but not the other XDCams. Certainly BBC will accept PDW700 but not EX as a main camera.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Marten Dalfors View Post
I'm also coming from still image background and one thing to know is that you can just forget about using autofocus. Also I used monopod for sufficient support with stabilized long lenses. Now I'm back to sturdy heavy tripods which makes wildlife shooting less fun and more cumbersome ...

I'm also irritated that I have to rewrap(just takes extra time) the native files to mxf format to use in NLE. I don't like the idea of having to buy a new NLE every time I buy a camera. I have Vegas and want to continue using that ...

I rented an Canon H1 before I bought the EX3. I liked the handling of the H1 better (the control buttons, like white balance) but it was a nightmare(almost) to focus with (viewfinder). In my opinion the EX3 is way ahead there.

There is no standby on the EX3, so when you are sitting in a hide waiting for wildlife you are eating batteries. If you turn it off to save batteries you have a 15 sec startup and the animal might be gone. If you leave it on, you need to carry a lot of batteries.
Thanks for the comments. My primary 35mm lens is 500/4, and I've never been good at hand-holding, even with IS, so I'm used to a big tripod.

I would be editing in Adobe Premiere CS4, and I believe it handles XDCAM EX without rewrapping. (See http://www.adobe.com/products/premie...kflowguide.pdf)

It's good to know that the EX3 has competent autofocus. However, I'd often need a longer lens than the one supplied, and I'm not sure what other lenses can do with the EX3 in terms of AF and autoexposure.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
So Steve, is it at "Gold" standard that the PDW700 is accepted and the other XDCam formats are not? I was sure that at one level at least the 700 was OK but not the other XDCams. Certainly BBC will accept PDW700 but not EX as a main camera.
I haven't seen anything on the 700, I know about the EX because we had to confirm it's status for a Disco project we're starting soon.

BTW Bronze at Discovery will give you 100% HDV AND Mastering to HDV!
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #19
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20 years ago, this footage would be captured on 35mm with sync sound. Try hiking with one of those strapped to your back. As far as stills go, when I shot nature on film (remember film?) I always had to carry a real tripod. Just the nature of the game. I just thanked God I wasn't shooting a Horseman or a Linhof! ...

The EX3 isn't perfect. But it's amazing for what it is. And at the price point in today's economy. We are talking about a TRULY professional tool (with some consumer bits) for less than we'd change for a solid job. That's not bad. Considering a few years ago, you'd have been doing the same thing with an F900 or a Varicam, this is worlds better.
Good points. I wouldn't even be dreaming of doing this if it had to be done with film. And from what I've read, the ability to edit video on a fast but otherwise mainstream (and affordable) PC is light years ahead of what it was when NLE first appeared. And of course remember what 1000 GB of hard drive storage cost just a few years ago.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #20
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I don't know where the PDW700 sits in Discovery's table, but XDCAM HD 4:2:0 and XDCAM EX are both Silver. Silver is allowed for 100% programme acquisition without any restrictions. Gold is HDCAM, HDCAM SR and 35mm film only. I don't know where the 700 will end up but as 100Mb DVCPRO HD is also Silver I would image that the 700 will end up as Silver.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #21
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I haven't seen anything on the 700, I know about the EX because we had to confirm it's status for a Disco project we're starting soon.

BTW Bronze at Discovery will give you 100% HDV AND Mastering to HDV!
What do Gold, Silver and Bronze mean in this context??
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #22
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If 100Mb DVCPro is Silver then that's "Planet Earth" firmly in Silver then, mostly Varicam!
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #23
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Quite interesting article here In higher definition - The IET
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Old December 9th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #24
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The aerials were all HDcam though weren't they?
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Old December 9th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #25
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And calling it's operational differences "weaknesses" really doesn't do service to the camera. It would seem far more appropriate to compare the EX3 and it's operation to other video cameras or perhaps even film cameras. And as such one might actually get some useful information from them.

I don't mean to belittle your comments. That is certainly not my intention. But I just found it unnecessary to call out things like needing a decent tripod or sufficient batteries a "weakness".
To me the cumbersome white balance setting is an operational weakness. Also the that there is no standby mode. This is by comparing to the Canon H1 which has these functions. So these points that I call weaknesses is when I compare to the other video camera Ralph was asking about. The rewrapping is taking time in the workflow eating up some of the time I'm supposed to get by not using tape. Also I find it to be an oprational weakness that it is down into the menu system to change the recording format. When I need to switch from high quality 1080p to overcranking 720p with glows in freezing weather, using the menu system is the last thing I like to do.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #26
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Sony 750s I think, presumably onto SR. Of course there wa plenty of S16 and 35mm in there too. And Varicam is still the default wildlife camera with BBC and others, even though it's only 720. There just isn't anything else out there that's more suited, though I bought a PDW700 thinking that with 1080 chips but also capable of 720/60P it might cover all bases. Only the 50 mbs compression looks a little vulnerable (and maybe 8 bit vs 10 bit processing), but apparently both of these have been deemed perfectly adequate.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #27
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Marten, it's pretty typical these days just to leave the white balance on a fixed value and colour correct/match in post. Also is standby mode neccessary for the EX cameras? On tape cameras this is there to allow quick starts but requires the tape to be spooled up and the tape heads spinning, but it doesn't work like that with solid state.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Marten Dalfors View Post
To me the cumbersome white balance setting is an operational weakness.
How often are you white balancing? When I shoot outdoors, unless I am working in fleeting light, I won't change the balance more than once every hour or two. Indoors it never changes. I don't believe I've ever worked with a video camera that had more than the 2-3 white balance points on a switch the EX1 offers. How do you change the white balance on your still camera?

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Also the that there is no standby mode. This is by comparing to the Canon H1 which has these functions. So these points that I call weaknesses is when I compare to the other video camera Ralph was asking about.
Standby is terrific to keep the heads on a tape mechanism from wearing out. But it's kind of moot with solid state. My DVX disengages the tape head also and it takes a while to spool back up. But when I shoot it with the firestore, this goes away, and the camera records immediately when I hit record. The EX1 is the same.

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The rewrapping is taking time in the workflow eating up some of the time I'm supposed to get by not using tape.
This is an NLE issue. It was the same in the early days of HDV. Eventually, more and more NLEs will support the native codec, and this will become a moot point. It's hard to blame the camera because the NLEs won't read the format though.

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Also I find it to be an oprational weakness that it is down into the menu system to change the recording format.
What are the steps to change from TIFF to RAW or back on a still camera? I know when I shot my friends Nikon we had to use the menu. I've also not seen this as a switch option on any camera I've used. Could you do this on the Canon H1? If so, that's pretty impressive. On the DVX, there was a scene file dial that you could turn, and that always seemed like an awesome idea. The HVX is similar. But there are just so MANY options with the EX1 and similar cameras you'd need a dial with 10 places to get it all. Especially when you consider the S&Q motion options.

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When I need to switch from high quality 1080p to overcranking 720p with glows in freezing weather, using the menu system is the last thing I like to do.
Yes I can certainly understand that. But honestly, I don't know many people who'd not only change frame rates mid-stream, but also change footage size. Do you do this often? And would you deliver in 720 or 1080? This is very curious to me. I've shot 1080 to extract 720 when I couldn't frame the way I wanted to, but this seems different.

There is certainly something to be said for having switches and dials and not menus to access many functions, but on a camera the size of the EX1/EX3, you really do run out of real estate. On a shoulder mount camera there is lots more room, and consequently more switches and dials. But then we get back to the "operational weakness" of the camera weighing 20+ pounds!
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Old December 9th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #29
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What do Gold, Silver and Bronze mean in this context??

If you want to have a program with your footage on Discovery, it means something. Otherwise it really isn't that significant as per your original questions in this thread.

BTW. I don't have an EX1 or EX3. But I do have a lowly V1 that shoots only in HDV. I have shot some birds in flight (ducks & white pelicans) without any of the dreaded CMOS/rolling shutter/codec issues that others have mentioned. As a matter of fact, I filmed an airshow of WWII aircraft without any issues. And I have also taped the Blue Angels with the V1 and I have not had any horror stories to tell, either. I would think that the Blue Angels would be fast enough to bring out any shortcomings of CMOS chips, rolling shutters and long GOP codecs, especially with an obviously cheaper camera and lower quality format like the V1.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #30
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Marten, it's pretty typical these days just to leave the white balance on a fixed value and colour correct/match in post. Also is standby mode neccessary for the EX cameras? On tape cameras this is there to allow quick starts but requires the tape to be spooled up and the tape heads spinning, but it doesn't work like that with solid state.
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I would like this function to save batteries. When I sit in a hide for 20 hours in cold weather it is eating batteries. If it could just turn off the lcd and put the sensor in a standby state I think the batteries would last maybe ten times longer and it could fire up in just a few seconds. If I don't remember wrong the H1 also turned off lcd to save batteries.

When I'm shooting outdoors the white balance changes quite often. I find it harder to correct the whitebalance in post than in camera. If my wb is off to much then it can be quite hard to get it right without loosing quality.
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