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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old October 7th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #1
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some questions for ex1 users

im about ready to shift to hd from shooting dsr300 cams.
ive been leaning to the ex1 , but hear alot of good things about the panasonic hpx300 and hpx170.
with the pannys at 100 mbps vs. 35 on the sony, is this overblown?also, my main hangup with the ex1 is the utter impossiblility to handhold this cam for any length of time. my whole deal for going with the sony was that it was smaller and a handheld unit, until i actually held it.
is this not a big factor to ex1 users and the overall quality of it makes it a better choice over the panasonics?
input welcome.
and ive seen the typical shoulder adaptors for the ex1, really cheesy to me.
has anyone seen footage from the above panasonics and compared to ex1
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Old October 7th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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I always want the best picture quality and the EX1 delivers this easily. If the EX1 looks too sharp you can soften it but to my eyes the Panasonic pictures are not as good. In theory I think P2 is better but the Sony EX codec being a newer technology looks just as good subjectively. There was a time before EX when I would have gone P2 but for the ridiculous card costs. A card wrangler cannot be justified on my budgets and the pressure of downloading cards on a shoot is too much. I intercut HDCAM and EX1 material without any problems. The hand holding issue is easily overcome with a shoulder mount - I use a Cavision unit from my Z1 days although most of my material is shot on a tripod.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #3
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Hand holding the EX1 isn't the problem supposed but a shoulder brace always improves steadiness with all cameras not configured for shoulder support. I'm not sure what you mean by "cheesy". The hpx300 is a different class (more comparable to the EX3) and Phil Bloom has a review of the hpx170 (not in the EX1 class).
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stamos View Post
with the pannys at 100 mbps vs. 35 on the sony, is this overblown?
Yes. Don't be fooled by those numbers. Panasonic's codec is inefficient and their 100 Mbps ACV-Intra cannot compare to Sony's 35. I've seen the comparisons side by-by side and the difference is amazing. I think it is funny when people naturally assume an inefficient codec is better just because it uses up more storage space. With that logic, a car that gets 10 mpg must be better than one that gets 25 mpg.

You should also compare sensor size, ease of ingest, how your computer can handle editing the footage, cost of cards, amount of time you can fit on a card, power requirements, pixel count, lens optics, cost of external card readers, viewfinder/LCD picture quality, etc.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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"I" frame only codecs are a thing of the past and no longer necessary as modern computers are more than capable of decoding long gop codecs such as Mpeg 2. AVC Intra is only a little bit more efficient than the old DVCPRO HD codec. My guess is that Panasonic chose it because regular AVC or H264 is very processor intensive and as a result not well suited to news or other fast turnaround applications. It really doesn't make a lot of sense using a 100 Mb/s I frame codec on solid state media that is still very expensive. Sure I use a NanoFlash at 100Mb/s but that's using low cost compact flash cards, plus I have the option to record at 50Mb/s or even 35Mb/s if I need to reduce the card usage, Even at these bitrates Mpeg 2 looks very good indeed. Discovery have approved 35Mb/s XDCAM for mainstream broadcast, which shows it to be robust enough for most everyday applications.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #6
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As for hand holding the camera, if you don't want to use a shoulder mount, give the FigRig a try. It works really well (much to my surprise).
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Old October 8th, 2009, 11:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by John Hedgecoe View Post
As for hand holding the camera, if you don't want to use a shoulder mount, give the FigRig a try. It works really well (much to my surprise).
Honestly, I wouldn't use the EX1 on a FigRig except for VERY short stints. I own both a FigRig and an EX1, and I've used them together. It's not something I'd recommend.

That said, I can't think of a scenario where I'd want to operate either the EX1 or the Panny's truly handheld. It's just TOO shaky. Running with the FigRig is shaky enough. Especially for large screen or theatrical viewing. I am always mystified at people who knock the EX1 for being hard to hand hold. If you want a hand-held camera get a 1 pound consumer cam. If you want professional looking results, then support your camera (tripod, steadicam, dolly, crane/jib, figrig, something).
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Old October 9th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #8
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How do you focus, etc. when using a FigRig - it seems to me if you remove one hand from the rig it would be real hard to hold with the just other hand...
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Old October 9th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #9
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You don't. Or you use a follow focus. No different than operating on a steadicam, dolly, remote head, or any other moving support. Or you can autofocus if that works for your application.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #10
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That said, I can't think of a scenario where I'd want to operate either the EX1 or the Panny's truly handheld. It's just TOO shaky.
No question, the EX is a bear to handhold.
For me, the best compromise, if on the run, is either a monopod, or a side mount handle like the U-Grip- camera braced against chest, right hand on camera grip, left on the U-Grip handle- still not as steady as a monopod, but a little more "mobile".
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Old October 9th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #11
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Handheld is no problem with a shoulder mount from cavision. It's less than $300 and I can go handheld for days on end. You can spend more, lots more, but I am totally satisfied with this solution. You can attach the tripod plate to the bottom and it never has to come off.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #12
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If you are using a shoulder mount, I no longer consider it "handheld". You are using a support at that point.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 01:56 PM   #13
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I suppose you can make an argument for that. But personally I consider it handheld and I feel pretty handheld. Yes, the shoulder part is resting there on my shoulder but my two hands are the only things controlling the camera.

What if you had a full size shoulder mounted camera. Would you not consider it handheld when shooting with it on the shoulder? To me, the shoulder mount just converts the EX1 to a shoulder mounted camera.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #14
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To me, when you "handhold" you don't have anything screwed into the camera. A shoulder-cam being operated on the shoulder doesn't have a baseplate and has no means of support other than the body.

When attaching a brace to the camera, such as with the item you linked here, you have a baseplate, a set of rails, etc. You could even fit a zoom/focus/iris controller to the handgrips if you like so that you don't even need to physically touch the camera. I don't consider that hand-held operation.

BUT I do see your fine line here. Semantics really.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #15
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I have found that by far the easiest most flexible and cheapest solution to handholding is a fanny pack, a Bogen monopod and a bogen tilt head . I can do this for hourtsa nd its easy to change position or go low,etc.
Its still not as a good as a shoulder mount camera though and the new Panny sounds worth looking into.
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