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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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What to look for in new camcorder

I have been viewing the very informative EX1 video by Doug Jensen as well as using his "EX1 Workflow Test Drive," so you can see I'm being very careful and doing my homework. Now with the rebates out, I'm getting very close to purchasing the EX1. I've always purchased from B&H and they have a 15 day return policy if there is something wrong with the camcorder. Hopefully, there isn't. Here is my question: "When I receive the EX1 and open the box, what should I look for to make sure I have a good, operating camcorder?" (If I was an experienced pro I wouldn't have to ask this question - but I'm not, and there may be some important tips to be aware of.)
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #2
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(from memory)

1) Check that the ND filter wheel operates properly.

2) Shoot some footage using all the different frame rates and make sure it's good.

3) I'm sure there are others but I can't remember them....

I think most of the problems people have had will be very noticeable even to an amateur.

Good luck and welcome to the XDCAM EX club! :)
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #3
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Set the slow zoom speed to 2 and test using the programmed zoom handle on the top button. It should zoom smoothly.

The Vignette issue should be solved but you should check for that. Someone should dig up a link to that test.

Make sure the camera has firmware 1.11 or 1.12 (just in case there's some old stock still sitting around).
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 30th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #4
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Various problems were experienced in the first batches of EX1 production, but I wouldn't expect any of these to be found in one currently produced. These were:
1) vignetting in the corner of the image at medium focal lengths
2) back focus not compensating for ND filters
3) lettering on body easily rubbed off
4) battery drain while camera "off"

These faults were repaired by Sony and firmware upgrades improved things in many areas.

In any new camera you need to check that all functions work according to the book and in particular check the lens using critical focusing charts. The EX1 holds focus well through a zoom, so check this is so with yours at max aperture. If not then back focus is likely to be out of adjustment. Spend the time needed to understand camera functions, and you'll quickly find if something isn't up to scratch. Conduct tests that allow you to make critical judgements. You must keep notes and use a subject that allows you to judge the effects of changes (not random shots in the garden or house).
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