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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 June 30th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Tyrer View Post
Everyone...I've seen mention here about various bags...is anyone using a suitable backpack? I hike a bit to get good views so a bag would be a bit cumbersome.

Thanks
I'm very into Petrol bags at the moment. I have the PCBP 2N for my big camera, and also a PCBP 3 for accessories, but this bag will also take an EX3 I'm pretty sure. Check out Petrol Bags
Steve

Last edited by Steve Phillipps; June 30th, 2009 at 12:01 PM.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #17
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I have an EX1. There's more than enough information about the pros so here are some points I consider cons. Some of these apply to the EX1 as well. I don't see any of these as an acceptable sub $10k price tradeoff.

Some switches are flimsy, particularly gain, WB memory and power switch.

Handle is flimsy. With accessories mounted, a risk to use over the long term.

Shoulder mount is flimsy.

The increased size of the EX3 loses the benefits of small form factor characteristic of cameras in its class. A lens is a lens but the camera body and viewfinder make it prohibitive in situations where a small camera would excel.

The viewfinder/LCD is not detachable or retractable and is precarious in placement. Risk of damage with bumps and snags, difficult to stow. Insane when flipped up.

I'd like a more solid feel when push-pulling the focus ring. Feels to me like this is a candidate for damage given too many push-pulls.

The lens hood does not provide enough room for some round filters especially if you want to stack a pola on top of a clear filter. You can't do this. You have to take the clear off, put the pola on. One filter at a time and that with only certain filters that'll fit.

As with most cameras in this class you can not feather the zoom with the stock lens. There is a lot of contradiction about feathering and ramping across the net with these small format cameras. Many say they can feather. I've seen this capability on none of these cameras with stock lenses. Apparently they do not know what feathering means as achieved with a broadcast lens zoom servo. I haven't come across a zoom remote that can do this either with these lenses. Of course with the EX3 you can change the lens to one with a proper servo.

That's all I can think of now but I'm sure there are more.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #18
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EX 3 users: I'm curious: are you shooting primarily on a tripod or handheld?

If the latter, what are your thoughts about the "semi-shoulder mount" design? I'd love to love the EX-3, but I've always been leery of the "chainsaw" form factor ever since suffering a backache after lugging an XL-2 around all day. Although I've never held one in my hands, the EX3 looks even more unwieldy than the Canon.

How are the ergonomics? Can you shoot for extended periods comfortably with the EX3? Can you hold it steady? Is it well-balanced, or is it front-heavy?

I see there are a couple of third-party attachments for the EX3 that purport to make it more like a shoulder mount. Do these work, or no?

For point of reference, I am currently shooting on a JVC HD100 (with the Anton Bauer adapter) and really like the ergonomics and balance. How does the EX3 compare?
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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #19
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The camera, stock, IS front heavy. But with the Bebob V-mount adaptor and a V-lock battery it balances out nicely. I'm not real big on hand held, but set up like this I'm amazed at how long I can hold a shot without developing Popeye arms.

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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #20
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The picture quality in this price range is most important feature of the EX series in my view and the viewfinder sold me on the EX3. I can't carry a monitor on my shoots and I didn't want to put a sock on an EX1 LCD. Everything else that makes up the EX3 is icing on the cake. Some of which I may rarely use but they are nice to have available (genlock etc.)

I would say that the cons stated in this thread are a result of the price - if you don't like the form factor or the plastic body with little switches all you have to do is dig a whole lot deeper into your wallet.

If money was not a concern when buying a camera I would have had a lot of other cameras to choose from. But in this price range I did not believe any other camera (today) can beat the output quality of the EX series or else I would have bought it. I don't have any brand loyalty, I had Panasonic SD cameras before and loved 'em.

So until I get rich, I find it easy to put up with a few things that are less than perfect as long as the output looks great.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dave Tyrer View Post
Doug...thanks for posting the video I'm finding it very imformative. I see you're shooting the kind of stuff I want to do e.g. Widlife & Landscape. Are you using any kind of field monitor when doing this or just the built-in VF.
Dave, I'm glad it answered some questions for you.

Outdoors I only use the built-in LCD and have never felt the need to put up with the hassle of using anything else. Indoors I use a Panasonic 17" HD monitor mounted on a c-stand.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #22
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I frame codecs have all the information from each frame, while long GOP (group of pictures) codecs have all the information in 1 frame and then for the rest of the group of pictures (typically 7 or 15 frames I think) it uses a lot of info from the first frame and fills in the blanks - sort of!
So what this means, theoretically, is that in scenes with lots of detail and movement the I frame codecs should look better.
Not the best explanation, maybe someone else can do a better job!
Steve
steve, would this be a good analogy? I-frame is like over cranking (60fps for example) the camera for normal playback(24P) vs. slowing down your 24P in post to look slow mo. 60fps has lots of info/detail where slowing down 24P footage has less info/detail, not as smooth looking.

--does this help or did i confuse everyone?????
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Old June 30th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #23
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How are the ergonomics? Can you shoot for extended periods comfortably with the EX3? Can you hold it steady? Is it well-balanced, or is it front-heavy?
Ergonomics is the biggest drawback to the camera, and you'll find many threads here devoted to ways around it. By itself, i.e., without some sort of external support system/shoulder mount/weight re-distribution/monopod/handles,etc, the camera cannot be held for long periods of time without causing strain to either the right wrist or lower back. This is not the result of the chainsaw form factor, but rather the "innovation" Sony introduced with the rotating grip (also in the ex1). Much of the ex3 design appears as a way to mitigate this: the semi shoulder form, the cheek pad, the plate extension, but none of them are enuf to counteract the poor design of the grip.

While I agree with many of Max's cons (flimsy switches, pola filter use), I don't agree with others. The handle is fine, the viewfinder flipped up is just ...flipped up (good for tripod interviews), and the camera is still definitely in the "small camera" category. I also find the zoom feathering about on par with the dvx100, which I loved.

I don't know anything about the new Panasonic, and others may wish to weigh in on its pros and cons vs. the ex3, but if it handholds nicely, that may be a reason for getting it instead. But I'm not familiar with the p2 system and its drawbacks. And I think the new Panny is 1/3 not 1/2 sensor, so you'd need to check out its image vs. the ex3.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #24
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It's not really the same idea.
Simply, if a long GOP codec has a group of 7 pictures, the first will contain all the information, the next 6 will look at the first one and use a lot of the information contained in it to make up these frames. So if the image was of a brick wall where nothing changed and nothing moved the other 6 frames would be perfect, but where there is a lot of detail and/or a lot of movement, the first frame is very very different from the following 6 and this is where it starts to fall apart - although at high data rate (perhaps 50 mb/sec or more) it's apparently not that big a problem.
With I frame codecs though it's never a problem as they look at each frame individually.
Anybody got a better explanation!
Steve
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Old June 30th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #25
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So what this means, theoretically, is that in scenes with lots of detail and movement the I frame codecs should look better.
Not quite - for a scene with a lot of detail the long-GOP codecs should have the advantage, for motion it should go to the I-frame only. Logic is that for I-frame each and every frame gets allocated the same amount of data, and for a highly detailed image it may not be enough. You could end up with a situation where there is visible blocking, and it could be relatively static (and objectionable).

With long-GOP it's possible to allocate a far higher amount of data to each of the I-frames, so much better detail rendition, and if there isn't too much change between frames the codec will maintain it. But yes, too much change and the codec will show problems. Somewhere here the phrase "all else equal" needs to be used.

In practice, these issues cease to be very relevant for either if the bitrate is high enough. In the case of long-GOP, they become effectively meaningless if the motion is such that the motion blur is more significant than the codec losing out. The motion blur masks any artifacting. From my experience, that's the case with the EX codec. albeit not with 25Mbs HDV - the extra data rate makes a great deal of difference.

The other thing worth saying (again, with all else equal) is that long-GOP is inherently more efficient than I-frame only - better quality for the same data rate - but requires more power to edit. That is maybe the most significant difference between the two systems. Long-GOP gives a quality at 35Mbs that an I-frame codec would need about 100Mbs to give. That could mean the difference between being able to use very cheap memory (SDHC) and having to use very expensive memory.

IMHO, if there is any one thing about the EX that is not good, it's the handheld ergonomics. In pretty well every other respect, it's amazing value for money, and being able to use SDHC as well as SxS is the icing on the cake.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #26
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In addition to the other cons:

1. Whitebalance. It should have a switchwheel like the full size cameras have, or at least an out side switch to easily switch between different Kelvin

2. ND Filters, same as above, hey even the Z7 have a switch wheel for the ND filters, the ones on the EX-3 feels very flimsy

That said, the images I have produced with this camera is amazing.
Itīs very versatile,;
I have used it with LETUS adapter and still lenses for a music video,
with still lenses instead of the stock lens to get some great eagle shots
with the stock lens for a lot of action sports, and on the Steadicam Pilot.
For a major documentary.
And used it for SD TV work! Down converted in post. Looked very good when broadcasted.
And about to finish a feature using the stock lens.

The viewfinder is great, they have even "adapted" it for the XDCAM HD 700 camera. I was so when I worked with that camera for the first time to see the colour as sharp as that viewfinder. (That viewfinder costs about the same as an EX-3)

Last edited by Joachim Hoge; June 30th, 2009 at 04:02 PM.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 03:51 PM   #27
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Hi Dave,

It is practically impossible to describe all the pros and cons of the EX3 in a forum posting. You might be interested in watching this video I put together last year.
What's So Great about XDCAM EX?

Doug
Doug,
I sure hope Sony is paying you a nice salary cause your instructional skills are flawless. Great work on the demo dvds and this video. bravo!!!
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #28
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Doug,
I sure hope Sony is paying you a nice salary cause your instructional skills are flawless. Great work on the demo dvds and this video. bravo!!!
I wish Sony was paying me a salary. I wish I could even get a discount on the cameras I buy!
The most I get is a small "appearance" fee when I teach a class, such as the one I did in Boston today. I'm not complaining, though it is a win-win relationship.

Thank you for the nice feedback.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:41 PM   #29
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One of the great "pros" for the EX3 and wildlife photography is the ability to use an adapter to directly attach a 35mm SLR camera lens.
As a result of the optics versus chip size you get more than 5x magnification with no loss of sharpness or f stop.
As of this afternoon, Vortex Media is now selling the Adaptimax-Plus in the USA.
Adaptimax Plus - Nikon Lens Adapter

FYI, we also just introduced the Tiger Claw. It is as a very simple solution if your tripod quick release plate has two screws instead of the one screw and a registration pin that the EX1 and EX3 are designed to work with.

Most high-end tripod heads from Sachtler and Oconnor don't have a registration pin, and so keeping the camera from spinning on the plate (no matter how hard you tighten it down) is a constant problem. The Tiger Claw fixes that. I guess Sony has a retro-fit planned for their cameras, but I have yet to see one in action. The Tiger Claw is available now and I've been using a prototype for 4 months. It makes all the difference. No more slanted horizons!
Tiger Claw Tripod Adapter
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #30
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Doug, thatīs just what I need. The Tiger Claw looks very good.
As for the Adaptimax, I bought one from Steve as soon as I could and it really is a great piece of equipment. I got a great eagle shot this winter using it. Highly recommended.
Downside, I guess the shipping cost will match the price of the Tiger. Oh well
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