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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 February 7th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #1
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New EX3 Owner needs advice

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post on DVi, I was referred to this site on another forum and was very impressed.

I am very lucky enough to have bought an EX3 before prices shot up in the 2009 stock. Because I knew of this price increase, I bought the camera somewhat in haste. However, I am extremely happy with the features this camera has, which should help me learn a lot in a short period of time. I make creative films, which is my career pursuit.

I have a few questions regarding my use of the camera.

I own a manfrotto tripod with a head that has a load weight of 4KG. I used it with my Sony A1 HDV camera, but i think the base plate is to small to even attempt with the EX3. Any suggestions on a cheap way to get around this?

At the moment my editing system only supports HDV, the HDV signal through the iLink cable is great - but I miss out on a few features using SP mode. Is there a way to convert something such as HQ 720P footage into 720P HDV? If not, I will have to get Premiere Pro CS4.

When I got this camera, a little pink pamphlet told me all the dangers of connecting and disconnecting an iLink cable while the computer and or camcorder is on. Apparently I am supposed to remove all power sources - is this necessary?

Lastly, the manual is particularly scarce on any other safety information other than the iLink issue. Is there anything I should be cautious of? I quickly discovered that you must check ALL the auto settings before messing around with the lens rings. Are there any bad ways to hold the camera (e.g. supporting it by the lens with your left hand, rather than the body). What about bright lights coming through the lens, like sunlight?

Thanks,

I look forward to contributing to these forums as much as learning from them!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #2
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Welcome. I have an EX-1, same basic camera. You'll enjoy yours, it's a great tool.

I think the base weight of the EX1 is about 7lbs so the EX3 with the viewfinder etc is probably a bit heavier. Product brochure says 7.9lb (3.6 kg) for EX3. I'm a proponent of having a little more tripod capacity than you need. The base plate is probably the least of your worries given the load capacity of the head. It may be time to consider a different head.

What editing system are you currently using? That will help us help you.

Ahh, yes, the Ilink warning card. The concern is about power surges through the cable into the camera. My opinion (completely unsupported by scientific evidence) is that having to shut down and unplug the computer is a bit extreme. I've never had to do that with other devices. On the other hand, there may be something peculiar about this camera's circuitry to motivate them to include that warning card. I, for one, have little use for the cable but I would at least power off the computer and camera as they suggest. No need to tempt fate, particularly since they went out of there way to warn against it.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #3
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Cheers Bob,

Yeah, I do shut down the computer - However I don't bother removing the Battery pack, although I read that the camera is still powered if the battery is in and it is off.

I editing isn't my key interest so I just bought the cheapest NLE I could find, with the most familiar layout, which was Premiere Elements. Did the job, was cheap and I learned how to use Photoshop as an added bonus (came with the program). If I could find a way to keep using that I would be happy for the time being.

Is it possible to replace the head of a tripod? My tripod legs are a Manfrotto 190D model and the head is a 128RC. The base plate is about 2.5 X 3.5 inches.

On another note, is it just me or does the battery release button do nothing when you pull out the battery? It seems very passive (it doesn't pop the battery out).
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Old February 7th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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Hello, and welcome!
You are going to find a wealth of information on this site. I also recently bought my EX3, and now routinely look here for answers to my many questions. There are a lot of very useful threads for just about any question you may have.
My first advice is this:

Buy the Vortex Media 'Mastering the EX3' DVD by Doug Jensen. Worth every penny.... unfortunately for you, it's going to cost a few more pennies to get since you are in Australia, but still worth it.

Two structural areas of interest should be considered. The tripod mount on the EX3, (woefully bad design) and the shotgun microphone mount. (equally bad design). There are lots of solutions for both, stronger support plates for the tripod mount, and LOTS of alternative shotgun mic mounts. The shotgun mic mount is pathetic, and also too low if you end up using a longer shotgun (something like a Sennheiser 416 or ME66) with a softie on it. You will see the softie in the frame at wide angle. These issues can be easily solved, and should not cause you to regret your purchase. Feel free to e-mail me directly if you want some suggestions on what I have tried and found useful, but there are also many other options others have had success with as well.

Polarizers. You can ONLY use a circular polarizer, not a linear one. Again, no big deal, but helpful to know now, if you haven't bought filters yet or before you attempt a shoot with a linear one.

Media alternatives. There is a company (this time, right in your own country) who makes a wonderful SxS card adapter which will allow you to use certain SDHC cards which are MUCH cheaper than the SxS cards with some minor limitations. The adapter comes from E-Films
I have found the best SDHC cards to be Transcend class 6 16GB. Available on Amazon for about $30 each. There are some limitations which you can read about on the forum, but they're minor and a great way to save some money.

IR contamination. You can read about that, too... but don't worry, it's not a huge issue, but something to be aware of. (and, it's an issue which affects lots of HD cameras, not just the EX. The RED camera and even the new Sony F35 are affected)

The above suggestions are all things I have discovered here on the forum, and very thankful to the many posts from members. Discovering all the above issues on my own would have been very time-consuming.... but finding help here not only saved a lot of time (and often money) but kept my blood pressure down as well!

Enjoy your camera.... the images are incredible, and the versatility of the EX3 continues to impress everyone who owns one.
cheers
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Old February 7th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #5
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Welcome to the proper forum Glynn.

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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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Yes, you can replace the head. In fact, many people select the head first and then the legs based on the size and capacity of the head. You can bring your tripod question over to the tripod/support forum and will get plenty of great suggestions. Just be sure to specify your price range because it's easy to spend thousands on tripods and support.

My battery release button works as engineered, I think. Although I haven't tried to pry the battery out, I don't think mine will release without pressing the button. It release the battery but, you are correct, there is no "popping" action: you still have to slide and pull it out.

The Vortex DVD is well worth the price. I purchased mine before the camera and intend to sit with it again. My camera arrived a week ago and the DVD will be helpful for fine tuning settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glynn Morgan View Post
Cheers Bob,

Yeah, I do shut down the computer - However I don't bother removing the Battery pack, although I read that the camera is still powered if the battery is in and it is off.

I editing isn't my key interest so I just bought the cheapest NLE I could find, with the most familiar layout, which was Premiere Elements. Did the job, was cheap and I learned how to use Photoshop as an added bonus (came with the program). If I could find a way to keep using that I would be happy for the time being.

Is it possible to replace the head of a tripod? My tripod legs are a Manfrotto 190D model and the head is a 128RC. The base plate is about 2.5 X 3.5 inches.

On another note, is it just me or does the battery release button do nothing when you pull out the battery? It seems very passive (it doesn't pop the battery out).
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Old February 8th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #7
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thanks everyone!

I appreciate all the lovely input people have given on my question and the EX3. I will take these notes into consideration. One last thing that has made me wonder. The camera's grip seems to take a lot of the cameras weight, even though it is also against your shoulder. I'm surprised how robust the lens must be to take this weight while the left hand is busy messing with buttons and settings.

Is there any precautions I should take when holding the camera with the grip?

Thank you so much again!
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Old February 8th, 2009, 02:09 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum. The people here are fantastic and this place is a treasure trove of information.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #9
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Welcome to DVi. I have a JVC HD100, a camera line renowned for getting its firewire board fried from hot firewire connections -- a $1400 repair job. An alternative to shutting everything off, and what I did, is spend $8 on a little 6" firewire adaptor cable that de-engerizes any possible charge in the line. Several vendors have them.

Also, EX1 and EX3 use the same lens and electronics yet they're different cameras, what works on the EX1 may or may NOT apply to the EX3, esp with regards to picture profiles.

The EX3 is newer and there's some conflicting info here about how best to use it, for example, there are varying ideas on where to set your audio trim as a baseline. The camera, technology, and how-to stuff isn't mature yet.

I agree with your comment about the hand grip. It's not a real shoulder mount, but the ergos are still better than the eX1's which are supposedly horrific.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:55 AM   #10
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How much pressure can the grip take then? I'm a small guy and it seems to put pressure on the lens at a strange angle unless I support the camera with my left hand. Is this normal?
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Old February 13th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
Welcome to DVi. I have a JVC HD100, a camera line renowned for getting its firewire board fried from hot firewire connections -- a $1400 repair job. An alternative to shutting everything off, and what I did, is spend $8 on a little 6" firewire adaptor cable that de-engerizes any possible charge in the line. Several vendors have them.
Could you send me a picture of what the adapter looks like? Or a link to a description? Sounds like a good safe guard.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glynn Morgan View Post
Could you send me a picture of what the adapter looks like? Or a link to a description? Sounds like a good safe guard.
It's just a 6" cable with a male firewire pin on one side and female on the other with a marking that says "NO POWER". I got mine at Firewire Depot but they're kaput from what I know. Try B and H. This might work too: FireWire 1394A Cable - Port Isolator :: Tape Stock & Expendables :: Equipment Sales :: Abel Cine Tech
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:43 PM   #13
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Thanks for that.

I don't really want to start new threads on these issues, but does anyone know why the one touch auto focus works so slowly? Sometimes I cannot even get it to focus if there is already another object in focus in the frame (even if it is just at the edge).

Also the zoom ring makes a sort of 'snap' noise when it changes direction using the W/T buttons on the grip or the handle.

Normal?

thanks.
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