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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 7th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
Not quite sure what you mean, I find it easier to run and gun with a larger camera than my EX-3. The layout of buttons and switches is so much better on Sony´s full size cameras.
Change whitebalance instantly with the flick of a switch

Even the Z7 have the "standard" ND filter switch all of the full size cameras have.
Why not on the EX series?


I'm not talking directly about the white balance switches. Just that the EX cameras are suppose to be the smaller, cheaper, easier to lug around, XDcams... yet because of some of the choices they made it's only smaller and cheaper, not really more convenient. :)
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Old February 7th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
The layout of buttons and switches is so much better on Sony´s full size cameras...Even the Z7 have the "standard" ND filter switch all of the full size cameras have. Why not on the EX series?
It's a good question to which we know the answer. Sony does not want to give away all of the "professional" functionality of their high end cameras.

I have hung onto to my PD-150 and every time I pick it up I marvel at the exquisite placement of the key functions that I shooter needs to know without thinking. Over time you can see how the usability of Sony's "entry" pro cameras has diminished over time and I do not view it as incompetence or design by committee issues. I think it is intentional.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Phairas View Post
I'm not talking directly about the white balance switches. Just that the EX cameras are suppose to be the smaller, cheaper, easier to lug around, XDcams... yet because of some of the choices they made it's only smaller and cheaper, not really more convenient. :)
I see, agree with you on that
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Old February 7th, 2009, 03:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Andy Stone View Post
It's a good question to which we know the answer. Sony does not want to give away all of the "professional" functionality of their high end cameras.

I have hung onto to my PD-150 and every time I pick it up I marvel at the exquisite placement of the key functions that I shooter needs to know without thinking. Over time you can see how the usability of Sony's "entry" pro cameras has diminished over time and I do not view it as incompetence or design by committee issues. I think it is intentional.
Maybe, but I have to say the Z7 that I used today feels less "stripped" than the EX series does. If it´s intentional as you say, it certainly is very inconsistent
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Old February 7th, 2009, 04:39 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Joachim Hoge View Post
Maybe, but I have to say the Z7 that I used today feels less "stripped" than the EX series does. If it´s intentional as you say, it certainly is very inconsistent
Actually this bolsters my point. The closer the camera comes to usurping a pro camera's abilities in terms of "specs" the more the 'some' the outward usability of the camera decreases.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Sorry Piotr, but I've got to tell you that ATW really is for amatuers. :-)

Just because you don't want to hear it doesn't make it any less true. In 28 years of shooting there has NEVER been a situation where I needed to rely on ATW. Not one.

Why are you fighting against something that you can't fix or do anything about? ATW is no good and and never will be any good, so why bother?

Focus your energy on learning to master the other white balance functions and you'll be much better off in the long run.

Doug
Then I guess the EX1 is an amateur camera. Sony put ATW in there didn't they? Who did they market the camera for? Chevy Chase and The Griswold family?

John
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Old February 7th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #22
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John,

If the EX1 is an amateur camera because it has ATW then so is the whole XDCAM product line. Even the $22,000 F355 and $30,000 PDW-700 all have ATW.

Does it work any better on those cameras? Who knows. That's exactly the kind of feauture I'd never use on any camera under any circumstances.

I don't know why they even put ATW on any of the cameras. I guess Sony falls into the same trap that has led Nikon and Canon to put every bell and whistle they can think of on their SLRs just because the other guy has it. Keeping up with the Jones. But the net result is a bunch of bloated, confusing, poorly thoughtout features that actually make it harder to get good results if you don't know any better -- and sometimes even if you do.

I agree that the EX1 and EX3 should have a 3200/5600 toggle switch for preset white balance. That was a big oversight by Sony.

So, I have two identical PP that I use 99% of the time. One has preset white at 3200 and the other has it at 5600. I can jump between them in less than 2 seconds by using the Direct Menu. It's not as easy as a dedicated button, but its close -- and I don't find myself using preset very often anyway -- let alone having to change it in a big hurry.

The best way of setting white balance will always be to do it manually with a reference card anytime the light changes. "Auto" anything is never good on a pro camera.

Doug
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Old February 7th, 2009, 05:20 PM   #23
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I found the WB setting awkward to begin with but now I’ve gotten used to carrying a white/grey/warm card with me as well as using that assign WB button at the front of the cam and the switch at the side – I can sort my WB in a few seconds (never needed to alter the WB any faster than that). All my work is outside and I have to deal with a constant WB change and ATW just doesn’t cut it unfortunately! I think my adopted method is quicker than changing to a pre-subscribed Picture Profile and more accurate IMHO. You can pre-set two WB setting on the side of the camera if you so need to do so!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #24
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Piotr is right about the bad ATW of the EX1. There are some situations when you don't have time or the light situation changes during the filming and this is where the weak auto mode of the Ex1 can produce you very bad footage. Especially when you give the camera to somebody without good filming skills.

My old PD 170 did a way better job on ATW and other auto functions than the EX1. I could give it for example to my wife who has not much knowledge about filming, and let her film an interview somewhere. With the Ex1 I can't do this.

However, I still hope the next version of the Ex1 will be without these problems.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 11:12 PM   #25
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I suspect the issue may be a little more complex than has been considered.
CT defines the light emitted by a black body at that temperature. Many light sources don't obey that simple concept. What is the CT of a sodium vapour lamp for example, whatever it is that number alone would tell you very little about the nature of the light source and good luck getting most cameras to correctly WB under those lights.

The EX cameras seem to be doing much more complex WB adjustment than say a PD170. Press the WB button on 170 and it has the answer in under a second. The EX takes seconds, it may well be building a new set of matrix settings rather than using a single value based on CT.

Certainly whatever the EX is doing takes so long as to render any chance of a functional auto WB remote.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 01:47 AM   #26
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Bob's post above excepted, I assume everyone bitching about ATW has exhausted all menu possibilities. Actually I assume the opposite because I know it's easier not to.

Piotr's original complaint is that it takes from 1 to several minutes to revert back to the tungsten temperature.

- I set shockless white to off
- I set ATW speed to 5
- I put the camera on the tripod and aimed at a white card.
- I toggled the Zylight Z90 between tungsten and daylight presets.

It took 3-5 seconds to begin ramping in either direction, and another 3-5 seconds to completion.

1.) Lock the camera in manual, gain, shutter and iris.
2.) Switch on the brightness indication readout.
3.) Press the white balance button on a daylight illuminated white card while on ATW.
4.) Point the camera at a tungsten light.

The ATW operates with hysterisis.

A.) If the brightness is more than about 85%, it will not ramp to the tungsten temperature. If the brightness is below 75-80%, it should.

B.) Until the brightness drops below about 20-40%, it may not ramp to daylight from the tungsten temperature.

The green/magenta balance of the light influences the responsiveness to the conditions A.) and B.) above. More green hastens the ramp to daylight. Less green hastens the ramp to tungsten. It may be that ATW is tracking green channel levels.

(The Zylight Z90 is a dimmable on-camera LED light with variable temperature and green/magenta corrections.)

I was able to pan around the room with mixed lighting and observe the ATW was tracking up and down as should generally be expected. It's possible to confuse it. It's possible to be confused by it. But as Bob noted above, it seems to operate within some rules similar to TLCS. It's probably more sophisticated, and possibly more computational, slowing the response. But I have to assume it works toward a situational goal, of allowing the shooter to walk through a hallway, pan around a tungsten lit room with daylight coming in the windows, and hold the tungsten preset while not getting tripped up by the daylight. As such, I think it's probably intended to complement the TLCS, which has spot and backlight presets as well. If you're going to use it, you should probably use it with TLCS and auto focus, and let it do it's thing. Start by turning Shockless White Off. Set ATW Speed to 5. From that starting point, you can further dampen the response as you feel it merits.

And for those of you who like to argue against automation settings without ever trying them, have at it. My opinion is that if these automation settings can be made to match the conditions I would choose if I was manually setting for the situation, then the extra hands freed for multitasking should cause shame for any professional ignorant of that benefit.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 02:20 AM   #27
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Thanks for a thorough test Tom. I admit I haven't tried my ATW because I rarely use it, but its BS to attack Piotr for wanting it to work correctly.
On occasion ATW may be the best setting for a "professional result", I know I've used it when walking between rooms or from outside to inside when I need to keep rolling.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 02:57 AM   #28
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I think ATW should work correctly but having said that I would never think of using it unless a particular situation arose. I remember using it on a Digibeta back in 2003 to walk from outside to interior following talent - it did the job. Have not used it on my EX1 but may now check it out.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #29
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On the odd occassion that I have wanted to quickly adjust white balance I have simple pressed the WB button on the front of the camera (whilst using the camera in a pre-set mode) and this seems to have been quite successful even though the camera was not aimed at a white card. I'm sure that it wont be suitable for all situations, but it does work on many.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:40 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Geoff Addis View Post
On the odd occassion that I have wanted to quickly adjust white balance I have simple pressed the WB button on the front of the camera (whilst using the camera in a pre-set mode) and this seems to have been quite successful even though the camera was not aimed at a white card. I'm sure that it wont be suitable for all situations, but it does work on many.
Without a white/gray/warm card (or any object with this spectrum), filling your frame, this can be very misleading - this is what I mentioned in the second part of my original post in this thread.

Also remember that out of the 2 methods (dial-in vs. AWB), only one can make for the green/magenta cast.
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