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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 March 26th, 2009, 08:39 AM   #1
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Product Life Cycle of EX-1/EX-3

Hi folks! My first post here after finding this site. I've been lurking for a bit to see if this feels like a place for me, and given the quantity and quality of discussion here, it really looks great. Bravo to you all for having such a useful forum.

I'm new to the whole world of digital video, but love learning. My research keeps pointing in the direction of the EX line for a possible purchase. My goal is multi-purpose: a business application of creating product marketing videos and perhaps some with a training element, and personally just for general interest and exploration as a hobby.

I'm not in a dead rush to buy, and hence my question: what do you suspect the product life of the EX-1 and EX-3 (I'm more interested in the EX-3) will be? These cameras have been out for about what; 1 1/2 to 2 years now, correct? Any sense from past history (or current knowledge) of how long before Sony is releasing new models?

I'm sure you all know the technology conundrum: you're new to something, make a purchase, and 4 months later replacement products are announced. Not that the current ones aren't terriffic, but I just wonder what consensus might be in terms of timing on a next generation.

Thanks!
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Old March 26th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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Rich,

I am not aware of any new EX cameras on the near horizon, however, since we are less than a month from NAB, you might want to wait until then before making your decision.

If there is anything new coming out in 2009 you can be pretty certain it will be announced by April 20th. Of course, even if something new is announced, it could be several months before the product would actually start shipping.

So, if you're concerned about missing out on the next generation of camera, wait until NAB -- but I don't expect anything new. If you have an immediate use for a new camera, buy now. You won't regret it.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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Betacam lasted about 15+ years. The Panasonic DVX100 mini DV camera has had a run of about 6 years or so. The Sony F900 HD camera was out around 1998 and is still going strong. Those were all popular cameras.

It will be interesting to see how fast producers are willing to adopt the tapeless workflow. There are a LOT that still want to walk away from the shoot day with a tape in hand. There are a LOT that do not want to wresle with downloading footage to 2 hard drives in the field. For $50, the new SDHC cards may allow a producer to walk away with an hour of material in their hands.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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Sony got a lot right with the EX1/EX3 series, and well received cameras tend to stick around for a while. The Canon XL1 went unchanged for many years, and the 6 year run of the DVX100 is another good example.

I think the lifespan of the EX1/EX3 will be even greater than those cameras. We aren't transitioning away from 16:9 anytime in the foreseeable future, and the EX series delivers broadcast quality HD. As solid state storage gets cheaper, the tapeless workflow will become all the more appealing.

Newer and "better" cameras will always be arriving on the market, because technology always advances. But the EX1/EX3 will always be capable of capturing beautiful moving images. New cameras won't make the existing models any less capable.

The EX1 was a substantial purchase for me, but I feel confident it will serve my needs for a long time to come. To the original poster, you just have to decide whether you feel the same way.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #5
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If you can afford to make a trip to N.A.B. next month in Las Vegas, it might prove valuable to you. You can checkout every camera on the market, including the new ones that will be revealed at N.A.B. National Association of Broadcasters | National Association of Broadcasters Home Page
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #7
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There are lots of pros in the market with many years and credits under their belts using much lesser cameras.

All the above comments pretty much tell the story... The EX3 was introduced last summer. In it's price range it arguably is still top dog.

It's really an embarrassment of riches to most people's eyes, at this given moment. Like anything, if you aren't in a rush and you are thinking of buying, you can always wait for something better but it you want to be a "cameraman" then you gotta shoot. What pricetag does that have?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #8
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Welcome to the amazing world of HD video. I was among the first broadcast engineers with colleagues from about 20 countries, to discuss and set the early CCITT standards for HD digital television in Geneva in the mid/late 80's. We had the prviledge of seeing NHK's massive prototype HD camera's, 2" tape storage and tabletop projector. We saw some of the first HD footage shoot and recorded in Japan, then played back on 2" tape in Geneva on a wall size 16:9 screen. Compared to studio quality NTSC/PAL 4:3 video, this HD digital video was breath-taking and truly awesome to witness some of the earliest prospects for HD technology. I waited patiently for the first DV cameras and watched the annual NAB announcements.

I started with the Sony VX2000 and Apple's first generation FCP/DVDSP editing suite. Countless hours of learning and fun delivering project after project of digital video delivered for analog and finally digital TV. Then at last, I made the jump in October 2008 to Sony's EX3, knowing that I could also produce, burn and deliver on Blu-ray.

As mentioned above, I also have not been disappointed because seeing the EX3 video on my 50" Pioneer Kuro Plasma is as exciting and impressive as when I first experienced with NHK's prototype HD in Geneva. It is truly amazing how far the technology as progressed to tapeless recording, onto our desktop NLE and delivered to our HD big-screen TV's. All digital, no moving parts in the recording chain plus the HD quality is indeed breathtaking. So when ever you jump into the HD pond be prepared for lots of learning and excitement. Cheers!
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:04 PM   #9
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"I'm sure you all know the technology conundrum: you're new to something, make a purchase, and 4 months later replacement products are announced. Not that the current ones aren't terriffic, but I just wonder what consensus might be in terms of timing on a next generation".

One criticism of both the EX1 and EX3 has been their ergonomics: some users say they are difficult to hold for extended periods. Perhaps Sony will respond by announcing a shoulder-mount form of the EX3 at NAB next month.

It would not be a new generation, it could be done fairly quickly, and Sony has done this kind of thing several times before. But they usually charge a lot of money for simply putting the camera on one's shoulder!

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Old March 26th, 2009, 11:19 PM   #10
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The EX3 was released in the second half of 2008, which makes it less than 1 year old. The EX1 has been out longer but not for 2 years.

If you can wait for a while, then do so, but if you need to buy soon, then start making a return on your investment ASAP. To get the most out of the cameras, you really need to experiment and practice with them, especially for you, learning about video production. Allow some time for that aspect as well.

Hope this helps.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 09:11 AM   #11
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Hi, Rich-
Everyone here has made some excellent points. You won't be sorry if you buy now, and if a new model does come out it will likely be several months before it's available and certainly will cost more. I wouldn't anticipate any major technology changes at this point, however after several discussions with Sony, IF anything 'new' was to come out at NAB, it would likely be in the form of some structural changes. The EX has a few design flaws which have nothing at all to do with the image quality, but build design. Sony is aware of the issue with the pathetically poor design of the shotgun microphone mount, and the equally poor design of the tripod mount. This might be one of the first places Sony would improve the EX line. The good news is that you can very effectively overcome these design flaws with excellent products available from various sources. You can find these products in various threads on this site..... another tremendous benefit of this forum.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #12
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My thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts and helped me understand the status of these cameras. My window looks to be around 90 to 120 days out for a potential purchase, so anything discussed at NAB can easily be taken into the decision before that time.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions afterward, and from the quality of the comments it seems like I've found the right group to discuss that with. Thanks guys!
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Old March 27th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #13
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I love the XDCAM EX format but I find it hard to believe it will last more than 2 or 3 years before Sony replaces it with something bigger/better. The competition is just too strong for them to just sit on it. And as for cameras, I'd also expect there will be newer XDCAM EX cameras- at least at NAB if not a bit later this year.

-Noah
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Old March 27th, 2009, 04:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Herbert View Post
I'm sure you all know the technology conundrum: you're new to something, make a purchase, and 4 months later replacement products are announced.
I think this will always be the case. I held off buying into HD for years, waiting for the EX1. Over a year later and would make the same decision today.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #15
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I think the EX format is here to stay. JVC are adopting it and Sony are going to be bringing out SxS adapters for the PDW-700 type cameras. Looking back at HDV the Sony Z1 took 5 years to be replaced with the Z5. There were other cameras like the Z7 but they were not really Z1 replacements. I would imagine that at the moment Sony's engineers are working on a shoulder mount camera to complete the range, however when that will come to market is anyones guess. My Sony contacts are always keen to stress that EX is to be a full "family" of products.
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