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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 August 2nd, 2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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Love your camera

I haven't been posting much in quite some time on DVinfo but I just wanted to share some reflections for EX-1 owners.

I have owned my EX-1 for about 18 months. It was the second camera I purchased after going freelance 2 and a half years ago. I bought a Canon XH-A1 a few months before that for a specific job. It now gets rented and occasionally used as a second camera.

I am pretty big into new gear, cameras, gadgets, etc. I am constantly trying out and keeping an eye on what's coming out, what's new, etc. I have owned 2 DOF adapters (then sold one) and use one for certain productions. I am completely fascinated and in awe of the images produced by DSLR cameras like the Canon 5DMk2. I will get one of these probably when the next generation is out.

But basically this is a post for all EX-1 users to tell you to LOVE YOUR CAMERA. I recently started work DPing a new project for a documentary which involves a fair amount of travel and a decent amount of run and gun shooting. I looked into buying the 5D for this project but decided that with the size of crew and shooting style the audio issue would be an issue. I thought of bring my Letus rig and lenses, but then thought against it due to the size and frankly the hassle of dealing with it. So I ended up going bare bones, with my naked EX-1. Travel light, pack light, shoot light.

This project, though, has been an opportunity to re-fall in love with this camera. We are filming at small farms around the country and I keep being floored by the quality of footage we are getting. It is so nice to work with one camera body, one lens, no extra hassle. It's easy to get caught up in the shallow DOF craze, but guess what, you can still get quite nice shallow DOF with this camera, no gear added. Really and truly. I have had numerous people look at the shots and ask what adapter I am using and the answer is none. I really find, when using this camera my job feels much less like a job.

So, basically, for all you EX-1 owners who keep looking at the fancy NEWER tools out on the market, just remember that you already posses an amazing tool capable of extraordinary results.
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 09:16 PM   #2
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A Big +1

Sometimes I think many of us (myself included) focus far too much on making "this" look like "that," or trying to emulate a certain look or feel, much of which often pulls us further and further away from the power of the content itself. The beauty of the EX1, HPX170 and other tools is the raw technology they put in our hands. The skills of a good storyteller are still the most vital ingredient in making a truly compelling finished product.
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 09:58 PM   #3
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I though briefly about the whole shallow DOF pursuit that seems to cripple everyone's mind if they can't get it right... and it passed... I thought briefly about magic bullet looks so my videos could look like every other video... and it passed. I thought about what a pleasure it is to watch the video that comes off the EX cameras... and it stays with me. Love this beast, love what it does for me.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 06:58 AM   #4
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As a documentary film maker I shun most of the 'extra' tools out there. Trying to achieve the 'film-look' can also get in the way of telling the story. Yes, in some cases I have shot interviews that could have used staged lighting, a shallow dop, etc etc. It's a fine line.
Also, I shoot in really tough locations - think Himalayas and Nepal, so carrying tons of equipment is out. I take my Ex-3, Miller Solo sticks and two mics and mattebox.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 08:48 AM   #5
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Breath of fresh air

I for one really appreciate the thoughtful posts in this thread. The DSLR craze is here and for real, but nothing beats the compact size, full sound, and incredible images that can be achieved with the EX 1920x1080 cameras. With basic lighting know-how, DOF is easy to manipulate with 1/2" CMOS sensors--I find it very close to previous 2/3" cameras I've owned.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:33 AM   #6
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Just returned from a weekend shoot with my ex3 and when I saw the title to this thread I thought YES! A Kata 197 with extra battery, charger, Sanken mic, 6 MxRs, Tiffen steadystick, DM shoulder brace. Small Lowell light kit. Nothing else needed for three days of multi set up, indoors and out, interviews, music and sporting events. Results. Great pictures, no fatigue. I love this camera, especially the awesome view finder.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:07 PM   #7
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Very refreshing post, Benjamin.

I use ND's, a Polarizer, a couple of grads, and a Black Diff F/X 1/2 only with my EX1 and get beautiful results.

Having recently shot several reality pilots, a feature, and a documentary in Australia (mostly exteriors), I am also in a position to say I love the camera.

I don't have too much trouble achieving a limited DOF look. Having used cameras going way back to Ikegami D's, E's and various Sony's (Beta, Beta-SP, Digi), I'm comfortable positioning myself back from the subject to achieve this and layering on the ND's to reduce depth (if the subject calls for it).

I like the simplicity of using the camera, its very light weight, and I've found many great ways to get the bumps out while hand-holding. It's the just a matter of getting the right grip and using the other hand/finger to tether horizontal leans.

A lot can be achieved with this camera if you know what you're doing.

I found Doug Jensen's hardcopy guide and DVD helpful in getting to know the camera's possibilities. Experimenting with profiles and looking at them side-by-side on a timeline was most beneficial.

Last edited by Mark Savage; August 3rd, 2009 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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Most of the 35mm adapter footage I've seen with these cameras looks like a DOF demo video from a 35mm adapter company. The eye candy factor can be tasty but it doesn't say much else other than "look, shallow DOF"!

This tells me either a lot of the adapter owners shouldn't be playing around with a 35mm adapter OR that I should stop watching 35mm adapter videos because they kind of make me a bit nauseous.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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I'm sure going to love mine! I only have to get the check for my last job to have the ammount I need for a brand spankin' new EX1 with some accessories! Woo hoo!
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Allen View Post
Most of the 35mm adapter footage I've seen with these cameras looks like a DOF demo video from a 35mm adapter company. The eye candy factor can be tasty but it doesn't say much else other than "look, shallow DOF"!

This tells me either a lot of the adapter owners shouldn't be playing around with a 35mm adapter OR that I should stop watching 35mm adapter videos because they kind of make me a bit nauseous.
To me it's all contextual. Very few shots exist totally in their own space. Which is why the 35mm adapters are not a top priority for me. I can get this look if I want it. If the material dictates it.

Ultimately, I'm going for shots that call attention to the drama and the mood. The adapters are a good tool for achieving certain looks, but they're becoming a bit of a cliche at the moment.

Material/subject will always dictate the look for me. A "look" will not dominate the subject.

For what I do, that philosophy works. But it's not a papal bull.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 09:55 PM   #11
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I was an early adopter of the 35mm adaptor thing but for me it was always a subtlety rather than the excessiveness that I think we are all agreeing we have seen in the past few years. I never "pushed" to make things shallow when using it, I just chose the lenses I wanted and where I wanted the camera to be and let the chips fall where they may, unless a particular effect was desired (exactly how I shoot 35mm also)!

I too am a fan of the EX series. I shot a short for a friend a few months back on the EX3 and didn't even consider using an adaptor. Just like I have since the early days of DV, I work with the format instead of against it. Depth and separation can be created with lighting. Not a problem.

On point, I almost forgot that I shot a short with a pre-release EX1 and the Redrock M2 a few years back. As the intent was to demo the pairing of the two for a Sony promotion, I made sure to include some slightly showier moments that I might have normally (first shot has noticeable rack focusing, shot of plate crashing was meant to highlight overcranking) but otherwise it was as subtle as I usually like to be.

tablemanners
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I was an early adopter of the 35mm adaptor thing but for me it was always a subtlety rather than the excessiveness that I think we are all agreeing we have seen in the past few years. I never "pushed" to make things shallow when using it, I just chose the lenses I wanted and where I wanted the camera to be and let the chips fall where they may, unless a particular effect was desired (exactly how I shoot 35mm also)!

I too am a fan of the EX series. I shot a short for a friend a few months back on the EX3 and didn't even consider using an adaptor. Just like I have since the early days of DV, I work with the format instead of against it. Depth and separation can be created with lighting. Not a problem.

On point, I almost forgot that I shot a short with a pre-release EX1 and the Redrock M2 a few years back. As the intent was to demo the pairing of the two for a Sony promotion, I made sure to include some slightly showier moments that I might have normally (first shot has noticeable rack focusing, shot of plate crashing was meant to highlight overcranking) but otherwise it was as subtle as I usually like to be.

tablemanners
After viewing Table Manners in early '08, I was sold on XDCAM EX and bought a couple of EX1's for a big project for the medical center. It was the best business decision I ever made. I have an EX3 now, too, and 3 commercials are running right now on the major networks in Houston that were shot with that camera. I love these cameras. I meant to tell you thank you.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #13
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Love your DVInfo forum too!

I love my EX3, but you know one of the best things about DVInfo is the great talent that takes time to post here - like Charles Papert (and there are many others too numerous to mention).

So love your DVInfo forum too!

thanks guys!!
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Old August 4th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Eckstein View Post
just remember that you already posses an amazing tool capable of extraordinary results.
%200 agree, but I just couldn't pass on unbelievable picture of 5D, I use it as a B cam with EX, and having troubles to match them in post, 5D is so much sharper, even with the contrast and sharpness all way down;
I love them both, but lately, i tend to use 5D more often, plus it takes amazing stills :)
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Old August 4th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
%200 agree, but I just couldn't pass on unbelievable picture of 5D, I use it as a B cam with EX, and having troubles to match them in post, 5D is so much sharper, even with the contrast and sharpness all way down;
I love them both, but lately, i tend to use 5D more often, plus it takes amazing stills :)
And as newer, better, or different gear comes out, I will pick that up too if I see it making me money or making a different product than I can deliver now. There are certainly countless tools out there that make for a good toolbox, so to speak.

I think the EX series does a good job of making it's user's better shooters, because it is a lot of fun to work with and the results can be so nice.
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