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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 May 15th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #1
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EX1 or Z5? Some questions

Hello All,

For some time already I have been thinking about replacing my HVR-A1E as secondary and Camjo-camera. I already have an HVR-S270E as primary cam. The maximum price I'm willing to spend is 5000 EUR/GBR excluding VAT. Important issues are zoomrange, wide-angle, sound quality of the delivered/internal microphone, abillity for Solid State workflow, low light quality (most important of all) and the abillity to use my Sennheiser ENG G2 set. I prefer Sony or JVC equipment. The best options on the market seem to be Sony's EX1, Z5 and Z7.

The Z5 is the cheapest option, also because I can use the MRC-1 delivered with my S270. I am never using two cameras at the same time. The Z7 seems no reasonable option because it has less wideangle than the Z5 with the standard lens. Unfortunately the S270 uses a different wideangle lens.

The EX1 is affordable but much more expensive. If it's prestations are very good compared to the Z5 it's an option but can somebody maybe compare? A few questions somebody maybe can answer for me?

How is the EX1's wide angle compared to the Z5 ?
How is the EX1's picture quality compared to the Z5?
How is the EX1's lowlight performance compared to the Z5? (most important!)
How is the sound of the delivered microphone of the EX1 compared to the Z5?
Can we read the SXS cards with the expresscard reader integrated with the last generation laptops and if so how fast works this?

Thank you very much for your advice.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #2
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You don't care about 1/2" chips vs 1/3" chips and XDCAM 35mbps VBR vs HDV 25mbps CBR or overcrank or 1920x1080 chip?

Seems you are not looking at the "mission critical" improvements the EX1 has. They are all more important to me, at least, than what you list

BTW 1/2" chips tend to be much better in low light than 1/3" chips. You seem to be missing the key differences between these cameras and why someone would step up to EX.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #3
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it would seem to me that since you already have the S270 which is 1/3" and is basically the same camera as the Z5 AND the Z7 is only different because of the lens (while there are other differences the biggest is the professional lens VS. a servo type lens) so to ME the logical choice would be the EX1. Bigger chips, XDcam vs. HDV which gives you the bigger image, better in low light.
So for my money since you already have the S270 and never need 2 cameras at once then why not step up to the EX1.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gabor Heeres View Post
Hello All,

I prefer Sony or JVC equipment. The best options on the market seem to be Sony's EX1, Z5 and Z7.

The Z5 is the cheapest option, also because I can use the MRC-1 delivered with my S270. I am never using two cameras at the same time. The Z7 seems no reasonable option because it has less wideangle than the Z5 with the standard lens. Unfortunately the S270 uses a different wideangle lens.

The EX1 is affordable but much more expensive. If it's prestations are very good compared to the Z5 it's an option but can somebody maybe compare? A few questions somebody maybe can answer for me?


How is the EX1's picture quality compared to the Z5?
How is the EX1's lowlight performance compared to the Z5? (most important!)
Can we read the SXS cards with the expresscard reader integrated with the last generation laptops and if so how fast works this?

Thank you very much for your advice.
For what the HDV format stared out as, it has found its way - intended by Sony or not - to the consumer market. Sure, the 270 is not within the financial reach of the average consumer, but I see so many HDV consumer cameras - and 3 CMOS/CCD cameras at that!!!

Don't get me wrong, the HDV quality in good light is 'better than the sum of its parts' but it still lacks in real picture 'grunt'. Remember, it is the entry level to the HD format.

XDCAM EX is steps up the ladder compared with HDV for reasons already outlined by Craig & Don and then some. It is in a different league to HDV. The XDCAM EX cameras were, as I have read, developed by Sony's broadcast division.

I can answer with the utmost authority that my latest version of the 15" MacBook Pro, which has 1 express card reader and the SxS software drivers (download the software & install BEFORE inserting the SxS card), will quickly & easily read the BPAV folder and all its associated files. Using Sony's free Clip Browser software, I transfer the files (with CRC always on) to 2 external Lacie Rugged bus powered drives. I have done this dozens of times since I took delivery of my EX3 & laptop in 2008, each transfer giving me perfect results. The transfer is quite fast but it depends on how much footage has been recorded on the cards.

Go to your local Sony dealer and get them to set up the Z cameras and the EX camera and do your own comparison for the final decision. You may opt for HDV but if you can see and justify the extra cost for the EX camera, then your time will have been well spent as it is YOU who is spending the money, not us. It may be that the EX tapeless workflow does not suit you at this time - or maybe it does. For me, the EX is the minimum HD level that I would spend my money on at this time.

Best wishes.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabor Heeres View Post
Hello All,

For some time already I have been thinking about replacing my HVR-A1E as secondary and Camjo-camera. I already have an HVR-S270E as primary cam. The maximum price I'm willing to spend is 5000 EUR/GBR excluding VAT. Important issues are zoomrange, wide-angle, sound quality of the delivered/internal microphone, abillity for Solid State workflow, low light quality (most important of all) and the abillity to use my Sennheiser ENG G2 set. I prefer Sony or JVC equipment. The best options on the market seem to be Sony's EX1, Z5 and Z7.

The Z5 is the cheapest option, also because I can use the MRC-1 delivered with my S270. I am never using two cameras at the same time. The Z7 seems no reasonable option because it has less wideangle than the Z5 with the standard lens. Unfortunately the S270 uses a different wideangle lens.

The EX1 is affordable but much more expensive. If it's prestations are very good compared to the Z5 it's an option but can somebody maybe compare? A few questions somebody maybe can answer for me?

How is the EX1's wide angle compared to the Z5 ?
How is the EX1's picture quality compared to the Z5?
How is the EX1's lowlight performance compared to the Z5? (most important!)
How is the sound of the delivered microphone of the EX1 compared to the Z5?
Can we read the SXS cards with the expresscard reader integrated with the last generation laptops and if so how fast works this?

Thank you very much for your advice.
I can't really answer most of these questions directly other than by comparing data from the published spec sheets. I should add that the EX1 only ships with internal mics. Add whatever takes your fancy but factor in replacing the supplied mic mount with something more servicable.

As an EX1 owner of course I have to say it can produce the best images of anything at remotely the same price point. This simply does not mean it is the best camera for everyone and every shooting scenario. The only real way to judge how well it will perform with you at the wheel is to borrow or rent one and try it and your capabilites in your shooting scenarios. Realise that "auto" anything with the EX cameras is problematic at best, depending on what you shoot and your own capabilites you may do better with a "lesser" camera.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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The only real way to judge how well it will perform with you at the wheel is to borrow or rent one and try it and your capabilites in your shooting scenarios.
I'm not even sure if that holds true in many cases. I've seen people rent a camera they have no idea how to use, botch the picture and then blame the camera.

If you've driven a car you can't very well rent a plane and expect to pilot it crash free. The EX is a very different beast. If one were to spend on a rental I'd say buy the Vortex EX training DVD as well. It'll get you up and running with the camera in just a few hours, which will make more valuable use of the rental time with the camera.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 04:50 AM   #7
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Thank you all very much for the good advices you gave me. It seems that the EX1, although on the market for some time already, is still one of the best handheld camcorders on the market. I think I will try to get the EX1 for some longer time to try it.

I only am affraid I will get rid of the picture quality of my S270 when I am starting to use the EX1. I only chose for this camera because my main client (a regional TV-station) asks for a "big camera" when doing ENG-items together with a reporter. A fellow freelancer has an EX1 for daily use. They were not willing to give him the items using the EX1. He now bought a HD1000 just for that work and now he gets the orders for such items. They don't even care about the minor picture quality of a HD1000 compared to an EX1. They just think the bigger the camera the better the quality. Crazy but true.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gabor Heeres View Post
They just think the bigger the camera the better the quality. Crazy but true.
And this is why people invest in big matte boxes, external power systems and rails.

I thank my lucky stars I've not had to do this - yet. But to be sure: 'big' cameras turn people on, and to deny this fact is to risk losing out.

Or, rather than spend money on matte box, rails and power, consider the EX3.

The EX line and the HVX line are superb cameras in good hands, and all can be pimped up to satisfy the most leaden of 'talent', but it's the images at the end of the day that will get you more work. The biggest part of the Eclair NPR or Arri 16SR was the film mag. Size doesn't matter in terms of quality.

If you're shooting where you really shouldn't, if you're shooting kids or the public without drawing attention to yourself, or even (as in a friend's case) if you're part of a company that shouldn't be seen to spend lots of money but needs to deliver, then the Z5 will suit well enough.

But the EX line over the Zs, for all the reasons above (Craig et al), is a huge step beyond in terms of quality and look. You're going from propeller to jet. Low light, dynamic range, depth of field, frame rate, SxS/SDCH workflow (CF doesn't cut it for me), two slots of tapeless media (not one), for me there's still only two killer cameras in this classroom: EX1 and HVX200.

Or EX3 and HPX300 if you go next door.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I'm not even sure if that holds true in many cases. I've seen people rent a camera they have no idea how to use, botch the picture and then blame the camera.

If you've driven a car you can't very well rent a plane and expect to pilot it crash free. The EX is a very different beast. If one were to spend on a rental I'd say buy the Vortex EX training DVD as well. It'll get you up and running with the camera in just a few hours, which will make more valuable use of the rental time with the camera.
Indeed Craig!

As someone who works part time for a rental company I could relate some great client stories. Then again none of them are from people who frequent this or any other video forum. Some people simply expect knowledge and skill to fall into their lap or they expect the guy at the counter of a rental company to spend an hour or two giving them one on one training for free.
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