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Old December 22nd, 2008, 08:27 AM   #1
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Sony EX3 Poor image and after sales service

Hi

I've come to the end of my tether and I feel I have to share my frustration with you folk.

Bear with me later as I attempt to upload images.

I initially waxed lyrically about my EX3, but then some of my first practice images didn't quite look right.

I bought my EX3 in late October and returned it to my Adelaide (South Australia) dealer on the 7th November '08 unhappy with the images I was getting, my dealer said I was being picky.

The dealer stated that he would first send it to a place in Adelaide that deals with the "Professional Broadcast" market for service and repairs.

After two weeks had gone by the dealer said that they couldn't deal with it and it would have to go back to Sony, when I asked what the local service center had said, my dealer said he didn't know what the service centre had said. Yea! Like I'm just stupid!

I have rung up my dealer every monday and asked for updates, but just get the same "well, I don't know what's happening" response and now he says he won't know until 2 weeks into January.

Boy! I am the most placid person really, but I feel like I just want to go in there and have the biggest tantrum imaginable.

Anyway, look at these images. They are just some lame shots I did as a reveal shot of my back yard. As I pulled back on the shot, the post on the left hand side of the image appears to convex to the right, as I pull back even more, the post bends / convexs to the Left. Totally unusable!

What do you people think? Am I being picky? Or is this just a crap crap image for $10,000 Australian?

Cheers

Michael
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Sony EX3 Poor image and after sales service-bend-right.jpg   Sony EX3 Poor image and after sales service-bend-left.jpg  

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Old December 22nd, 2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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Without knowing what your camera settings were, what your iris was, what the exposure was etc etc I couldn't really tell you anything.

Are these the only shots you have?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:03 AM   #3
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Simon, not sure what the settings would tell you? Presumably this is the rolling shutter effect, and the sort of skewing I saw when I tested an EX1. And I assume it's the reason why the camera is so dirt cheap relative to it's spec - vs say PDW700. You don't get nothin' for nothin'!

Steve
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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Well I'm not entirely sure what those screen grabs are supposed to be telling me?

Sure you get skewing with the EX. But recently I have messed around with it to try and get all these effects and the only way that i can induce them is if I perform the sorts of camera moves that I would never ever do on a shoot normally.

I've seen examples of 'wobble' from a telephoto shot on a tripod for example. But to such an example I would say that the shot was no good anyway, CMOS wobble or not, because of the sheer amount of vibration from the tripod.

Most other examples, in all but the most extreme ones, I have never spotted the skew that people are said to see.

In the case of this thread I'm not sure if he is referring to the flatness of the image, or what. Is that really skew, or is the camera at an angle, is the support really straight in real life? Or is it just lens barrel distortion, in which case get a broadcast lens etc.

[addition]

Reading the post again, it looks more to a lens issue. It certainly isn't CMOS skew. In which case yes you did get $10k Aus worth of camera and lens. One single decent broadcast lens would cost around twice that of the EX3. Expecting perfect optics on a lens of the price of the one on the EX is unrealistic.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:27 AM   #5
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I agree Simon, it's tricky to gauge much on a still frame, but presumably that post is straight and on the shot it's bent. You wouldn't get that sort of field curvature from anything but an ultrawide, what other lens fault might cause that?
Unlike you, I found it extremely easy to induce motion problems when I looked at an EX1. I did flight shots of birds where the background was really jittery, and even just a slow pan along my mantlepiece had the top part of the image lagging behing the bottom bit! Even in interlaced.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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That looks more like wide angle lens distortion than CMOS sensor skewing. Also that image looks really weird like perhaps too much ND filter and gain turned on outdoors and underexposed- pretty flat. I'd spend more time with the camera learning it. It's capable of very pretty images assuming you don't have a bad unit.

-Noah
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
You wouldn't get that sort of field curvature from anything but an ultrawide
Depends on the lens. The lens that comes with the EX3 is cheap and does have that sort of distortion on it on the wide end.

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and even just a slow pan along my mantlepiece had the top part of the image lagging behing the bottom bit!
We'll just have to agree to disagree. I find it hard to see any effect even in handheld work. I spent quite a few months with both a preproduction EX1 as well as an early production version, and shot a lot of footage with them both. I never spotted any skew issues at all. In fact it was only long after those cameras went back that I started seeing people taking about the skewing issues on the forums.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
You don't get nothin' for nothin'!
Amen, bro.

Distortion on crash zooms - I assume it has to be pretty crash to invoke CMOS distortion - is the indie film maker's cue to use a slower shutter speed (hide it in blur), or call it an expensive digital effect.

Having suffered a brace of Z1s for a few years, coping with the softness of the Z1 lens, and knowing the joy of expensive glass and bigger chips, I feel that there's a problem with the EX1 in that it's so good, we're spotting stuff amongst the perfection that would be REALLY expensive to fix.

I saw a short recently that was shot on a Canon HV20. Most of the film was BASED on the slanting distortion of the CMOS shutter. The film maker had recognised the effect and used it to great effect. It was just a meditation on motion, but like Jacques Henri Lartigue

http://www.cracow-life.com/media/pic...i-lartigue.jpg

he found an effect in his given tool and exploited it. JHL's photo taken aged 18. He'd been photographing his toys since the age of 6. He might have had things to say about his kit, but thankfully he found time to take some pretty amazing photos we can witness today.

The EX1 and the HVX200 are two different takes on a great camera. Don't like the EX1? Swap it for the HVX200. No distortion on gross movement. Lovely tonality. Bit soft IMHO, but hey. Can't have everything.

Another case of 'hire/borrow the camera you want, walk in its shoes, learn what it's good at'. I wanted a Z1 that did what the JVC HD100 did, and I got nirvana (and then some) with the EX1. I lived with an HVX200 for a few months, and it is a truly great camera for people who have time, tripods, scripts, assistants, 35mm lenses, money (divide that how you will). I could have been a Panasonic zealot. I was almost a JVC zealot. My EX1 is earning more money than my Z1s, and I know there's problems with it. I got away with some leaning dolly shots, I got away with 25p (people think it looks expensive, who am I to say 50p is better?).

Perfection is almost a non-sequitur. Stills don't move - so does the distortion add something in the same way that Jacques found? What do Panaflex and Arri and Aaton do to nullify the 24p effect? Right. Pushing a camera round on a fluid head turns out to be quite a skill. Frame it to hide the juddering.

Can we just work within the limitations of our tools to do cool work rather than poking manufacturers with a sharp stick?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:46 AM   #9
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This is what I don't understand, you're obviously very knowledgeable and respected in this field, as are others that say there's no problem, and yet what I saw was so blindingly obvious and awful I can't imagine you'd not see it too. Maybe I had 2 duff cameras to look at!
I'll be getting an EX3 to play with in Jan so will be able to have a better look at it.
Also, it was my understanding that the EX lens was pretty good, or is it just sharp? Certainly I had no issues at all with the still image quality of the EX1, I thought it was sensational. And the lens handled pretty nicely too. And I'm sure you agree with me that even many of these lenses that do cost twice as much as the EX3 are pretty medicore too!
Steve
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #10
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Sounds like you need to find another dealer. Your dealer should in my opinion at the very least give you the option to try another camera to see if yours has an issue or not.

Skew wouldn't look anything like that. The whole image would skew, not just one corner.
The EX3 and EX1 lenses are known to have barrel distortion at the wide end.

Is the distortion as bad on the right? I would expect to see an equal amount of distortion on both sides of the lens. If this is only on the left side it would suggest a problem. Never seen anything as bad as that with my EX1 or EX3.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:57 AM   #11
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The barrel distortion is typical of lenses that are wider than 35mm. Only very high end lenses that costs an arm and a leg would have NEAR perfect rectilinear responses that you are hoping to get and these lenses cost in the vicinity of 4-6k for a prime still lens. You're getting a camera with a very sharp and crisp zoom comparable to the best Fujinon's out there for double that and it comes with all these electronics too. I think you are expecting too much for a zoom and for too little. 35mm focal length is already considered a wide angled lens and some degree of barrel distortion is expected. If you got this whilst on the longer end 45mm onwards then I would say there was a problem with the lens but as it is, it looks fine to me.

Update:
The images does seem a bit soft with some CA. Have you tried stopping down a bit? f4-5.6 is a good number.. and try shooting a long wide fence at the same level and perpendicular to the fence. That should help identify if there is really a problem you have there.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:00 AM   #12
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you're obviously very knowledgeable and respected in this field, as are others that say there's no problem, and yet what I saw was so blindingly obvious and awful I can't imagine you'd not see it too.
Don't get me wrong, I have seen it. But I just haven't seen it in normal shooting. I just picked over some pans and jib shots I did with the EX3 recently to see if I could spot anything. Not a thing. Nothing.

I've just been over the footage I used in the EX DVD to look for handheld and panning shots. Again I cannot for the life of me spot any CMOS wobble or skew anywhere.

I've seen the effect on very fast pans. But just not in normal shooting conditions. Can anyone point me to an example of a slow pan where this effect is supposed to happen?

Quote:
Also, it was my understanding that the EX lens was pretty good, or is it just sharp?
It is pretty sharp, but like inexpensive 2/3" and 1/2" lenses for other cameras, it suffers in other areas. It is built to a budget and people have to accept that. The EX3 was designed to be able to change lenses for a reason. So that people could get hold of better optics.The lens that comes with the camera is just a stop-gap.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
I've seen the effect on very fast pans. But just not in normal shooting conditions. Can anyone point me to an example of a slow pan where this effect is supposed to happen?
I dont see it happening if one is not panning faster then the refresh speed of the sensor. My guess is that if you pan across the equivalent of a frame width faster than the time it takes to refresh the sensor (1/24/25/50/60th sec) then it could theoritically skew. Think its easier to get it skewing at slower frame rates than the faster ones but then again, who does these things and incorporate those into their edited videos/films anyway?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
what I saw was so blindingly obvious and awful I can't imagine you'd not see it too.
It's there. I find that, in the thick of things, it just doesn't manifest its self as a show stopper. Mate, this EX1 thing has some big problems with back focus and blacks, and those you need to fix. CMOS is a bit of a non-issue.

Take a look at this: click on www.mdma.tv/cb and select the Winners Circle clip, and (sorry about this) wait until you're about 1 minute 17 seconds into the clip. There's a dolly shot that whips through the hotel reception. See that awful CMOS distortion? Of course not, not if I didn't tell you to look for it. That's the point.

If you want a real problem with the EX1 (and the Red and Z7 and CMOS in general), shoot under those funny Metal Halide slightly-orange lamps used to illuminate exhibitions and stadia. Strange traveling bars of light. Don't trust the viewfinder, don't assume you can spot this in real time. You need to play back the footage in x4 mode or faster to see it.

But it's not a Sony problem. Just a CMOS problem. In in PAL land, shoot at 1/60th and it will help a lot.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:27 AM   #15
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Simon, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Years ago when Sony 530/637 etc cameras came with a "free' lens (it was the VCL something or other) it was acknowledged that they were merely for keeping the dust off the ccd sensor. Serious shooting was not really considered, I think JVC had a similar policy. Having said that the EX1/3 has a pretty good lens, that can be easily proved by shooting off the wide angle or full telephoto settings. When compared with real HD lenses that cost 14K or more the EX cameras are a bargain. I think the EX1/3 barrel distortion is a small price to pay for such all round performance.
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