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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old October 24th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Hudson View Post
because, Zebras are what screwed me, I hate them. They serve me no purpose, I can look at my picture and know what's blown out without having stripes across my picture.
They do serve a purpose when set up correctly. The zebras on the EX1 have two levels which you can set. So you can for example see what is going to be out of range and what a correctly exposed skintone is. Combined with the histogram I find the EX1 a pleasure to work with.

On my Z1 I had a habit of slightly underexposing, but (so far) with the EX1 I've been perfect every time.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 09:31 AM   #17
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I agree with everyone here that zebras are essential. Anyone who has been shooting professional video for any length of time has come to rely on them. I even use the histogram (call me crazy)..... but definitely leave them on and learn to use them.

As for the IR filter, it's only really necessary if you notice the IR (or far red to be more accurate) contamination in your image. It will be obvious, and usually only effects some black fabrics turning them magenta. I have a 486 for when this problem arises and it works like a charm, as long as you don't shoot full wide. (there is a minor cyan vignetting at full wide) The new Tiffen sounds promising, but has issues of it's own, so no IR filter is perfect. I wouldn't suggest using one all the time as some here have offered... but rather only when the IR problem is noticed.

The only other advice I would give is if you are going to be using a polarizer (and it sounds like you will be outdoors a lot), you MUST use a circular (opposed to a linear) polarizer on the EX series. You will experience an objective color shift with a linear polarizer.

Oh, yeah..... and not to be too redundant, get Doug's video.

Happy shooting
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Old October 24th, 2009, 10:20 AM   #18
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After watching Dougs video with the EX3 in hand (twice), I felt extemley comfortable using all its capabilities.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #19
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Alister - Interesting point about the f stops. I never noticed it on any other camera before but perhaps i never looked hard enough at say HVX footage.
It certainly is an issue on the EX-1 that is quite startling. Have you ever seen it on a 2/3" camera.

Re: Zebras - Nathan I think you hit the important point when you said that zebras "screwed you" when you were a "newbie". Its a tool that you didn't know how to use. Don't blame the tool for your failure.


Derek:
"The new Tiffen sounds promising, but has issues of it's own, so no IR filter is perfect."

This is the second time I've read something similar on this forum. What problems does the Tiffen filter have? I know of none except that requires a white balance but so does the 486.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #20
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Leonard-
From what I understand (but have not directly experienced myself since I do not own the Tiffen filter) the reds are somewhat altered or muted when using this filter. It does sound like something which can be corrected in post however, if you want to do that. There also is reportedly the expense of approximately a half stop or so of light loss. Please correct me if this is not accurate.

I have not found the need to re-white balance with the 486, it does not appear to alter my color temperature. It does do a wonderful job of resolving the near red contamination issue, but the vignetting is something I would rather not have to work around. I don't think trying to white balance to correct for the vignetting would work anyway and to be quite honest I have not even found the vignetting to be much of an issue for me. (most of the time)

I think we would all love to not have to deal with the problem at all, and not be required to have to place an additional piece of glass in front of the lens if we didn't have to. Most of the time, I don't have to.... but I'm not shooting weddings or concerts or corporate events where there might be a lot of black fabric which needs to be black causing me heartburn either. So my experience is admittedly different than what many here might be dealing with.

Just my perspective, that's all.... but I don't think it's entirely fair to rule another manufacturer's product out so steadfastly. There really is no perfect solution as of yet as far as I know.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #21
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Thanks everyone. Great advice.

Obviously experience is the best teacher, but I don't have the camera yet and will only get my hands on it when I arrive in California tomorrow (the day before the shoot starts). If I had more time (and more money...) I would definitely check out a DVD like Doug's, but you have all provided me with some great last-minute tips.

I did find Alister's Gamma and Color Matrix Youtube videos quite helpful, and I also was happy to learn about how to execute automatic focus pulls by viewing the sample lesson from Doug's video. Great stuff.

As a summary, here are some of the tips from this thread so far:

General Tips:
- disconnect the battery at night
- be careful not to accidentally press the "Full Auto" button
- camera runs hot (especially in high heat/high humidity)
- closing the irus to f/8 or more will cause loss of focus
- use peaking/expanded focus

Filters:
- get a Tiffen IR or 486 filter to avoid IR contamination when necessary
- use circular, not linear, polarizer filters

Thanks again. I will post again when I get back to let you all know how it went (and to possibly add some of my own tips to the thread).
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Old October 24th, 2009, 10:55 PM   #22
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You're on it Jonathan!
Have a great shoot, and enjoy working with the EX. It really is a wonderful camera.

One last tip I didn't think of if you don't already know about this.... but don't have the image stabilization turned on when you're on a tripod. This will cause some weird 'drift' at times where the lens is attempting to stabilize motion which isn't there. Only use the IS when hand-holding.

cheers
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Old October 25th, 2009, 03:07 AM   #23
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Derek,

Along with Art Adams I was one of the people who tested this filter and I was overjoyed with it. if you look at Arts careful tests on the Pro Video Website he looked at vectorscope readings of a color chart before using the T1 IR and again after using it with a camera white balance. They were identical thus implying no color shifting other than a white balance. We saw no changes by eye either.

I haven't actually tested the light loss but it looks like less than 1/2 stop to my eye. Its a very light green if that is what is meant by it subtly affects the reds.

Nevertheless I guess its true, some light loss and the need to white balance are negatives, but extremely minor to my mind compared to vignetting at wide angle- which is not correctable. Unlike the 486 you can also stack other glass in front of it without worrying about weird reflections.

Other than a miraculously clear filter, to me its as near a perfect solution as anyone could have hoped for - Plus its cheap.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 03:51 AM   #24
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I see diffraction softening on my PDW-700 when stopped down at f16-f11 all the time. As I said the higher the native resolution of the camera the worse the effect appears to be because the difference between soft and not soft is much greater. This is why if you use the EX in Auto it will ask for more ND whenever the aperture is past F8. On a 1/3" HDV camcorder the message to switch in more ND happens around F6.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #25
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Leonard,
As far as I know WB is not some harmless magic correction. If light from one part of the spectrum is being attenuated by a filter and WB is used to compensate then gain is being added in that part of the spectrum. By my very crude measurements based on the samples posted the loss in the reds is around 1 stop, probably more at the end of the visible spectrum.

That may or may not be an issue for some of us. I suspect it's going to have more impact for those like myself shooting stage productions where red is a very prominant color, I oftenly face the double whamy of red clothes lit with red light. On top of that I'm mostly wishing the EX had a longer lens so I've never come close to having to worry about the dreaded green vignette.

The other issue with stage shows is actually getting a clean light source to do a WB! Mostly I'm forced to trust the 3200K preset, it's been close enough so far. I could save a preset and hope I don't loose it somehow but I'm not the only person using the camera. So far the 486 has caused zero problems for me and many others.

On the other hand I have a WA adaptor, it hasn't had much use so far but when it does the T1 looks like the ideal answer if I think I'm going to have a problem.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #26
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Leonard-
Thanks for the additional input..... and as I said, I haven't even used the filter so I can certainly not speak with any experience using it.

I think what it all boils down to is what you are willing to deal with.... for some, re-white balancing may not be an issue while for others it may cause some difficulty. Losing any light sensitivity may be a problem for specific shooting situations, other times it won't make any difference at all. (maybe even help keep the iris in the coveted middle ground)
Some people will not tolerate the vignette of the 486, and I agree that having to place it foremost in a matte box or stacked on top of any other filters on the lens is a pain. I do admit that after shelling out around $300 for the 486 the price of the Tiffen is VERY attractive! I think I'll end up with both, and utilize them accordingly to my particular shooting scenarios.

It will be very interesting indeed to find out how the new EX cameras handle this far red issue in the coming weeks..... and to see if Sony has implemented a solution which may be incorporated into our current EX lineup.

cheers
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Old October 25th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #27
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Thanks Leonard, you got what i was saying to an extent. I wasn't necesarily saying, there isn't use for the zebras, however, they screwed me as a newb. So land learning to use the camera, people aren't going to be flying all over on the run. So taking their time and learning to use the camera, try really finding out what comes out of the camera instead of throwing on all the helpers. I still personally don't use them and all my footage comes out great!

How do you think people who shoot film are able to get good pictures? So NO, they are not ESSENTIAL. You don't NEED them to be a good camera operator. It's just a helper that if you choose to use, then feel free. Zebras are not something to learn by, but use after you learn the camera and it's capabilities. If you just throw on such helpers and only rely on what they say for everything and adjusting accordingly, then what did you learn out of it?

I say, if you have the time, try learning to shoot raw (without the helpers) then move into the helpers, such as peaking and zebras. Don't depend on them to tell you what to do. In other words you should be able to look at something and understand where your camera needs to be set. Whether you need to throw on more ND, or close down the iris, etc. Training your eye to know what you need to do in different situations is key. You'll be faster and better. Referencing a little helper after you have learned this may bring peace of mind, however it shouldn't be what dictates your settings.

What if someone wants you to shoot on a film camera instead? I have something this week where I am provided with an old Bolex 16mm film camera to shoot with. I'm glad I learned to not use zebra for that very reason. And in a few months I have a 35mm film shoot coming up as well.

Learn your cameras capabilities, understand how to analyze situations and set your camera accordingly. Stripes on a screen (zebras) ARE NOT ESSENTIAL, and you don't NEED them. Whether you choose to use them as a visual reminder or not, is up to you.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #28
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Allister , Thanks for the notes on diffraction. I've always heard that it could degrade the image but have never seen it and I've talked to amny shooters with teh same experience, but I'll bet we've just never looked close enough and i'll bet you are right that the increased resolution of the EX is to blame. Very enlightening. That's why I like these forums.

Bob,
One stop in the reds? It sounds awfully high to me, but I know you are an exacting technician. I won't be able to test my filter till my camera gets out of the Sony repair gulag, but I will ASAP.
Am I right in understanding that you're saying that the consequent re- white balance may work fine in all respects except that it will add noise to the red channel? I guess that does make sense. I don't usually worry about those sorts of issues but maybe that's because I'm a shooter not a post person. Also the EX is so much better on the noise front than many other cameras that I don't worry about it much.


Nathan,
We all develop our own methods of shooting and I'm happy your methods are working for you, but I think you doth protest a bit too much about the evils of zebras.

As a brief insight to the reason people use zebras - its not as a crutch for those too inexperienced to trust their eyes.
I've been shooting for over 25 years as have many of my friends. We all began in film with light meters. We all noticed long ago that we could not trust viewfinders ( esp LCD's) because they could often fool you into thinking you had more or less exposure than you would see on a monitor later. This is especially true in situations that are dark or where there is not a great deal of contrast. In fact this is also true of monitors in general.

As a result every shooter I know uses his zebras as one tool in the arsenal of making sure you have proper exposure. I prefer to have a monitor on set as well and I love the new LCD's like my expensive Panasonics that have waveforms as well. Most serious professional sets will have a waveform monitor unless cost or working style prohibits it. Many times I've been fooled into thinking I had the right exposure when a waveform check tells me I'm a little off. The zebra like the waveform is an exact measurement and thus is indispensable to me.

Relying on the viewfinder alone I fear will eventually catch you in the shorts, but if you've found a way of working you're happy with my best to you.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 04:31 PM   #29
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Jonathan, a late repeat because the most important thing for a newbie ex1 user is missing from your list. Doug Jensen's dvd. Skip a couple of meals but if you ain't got time to fully put the camera through the hoops, watch the dvd as many times as time allows. Nothing else will provide you with a better way to use the camera. Forget filters and the like if you need to save money. Off colour black will be the least of your problems with this camera in your hands for the first time. I had my first shoot two days after getting the camera and have been shooting for 20 plus years. The dvd saved my rear end.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Hudson View Post
use the extra tools, minus zebras. Again, I hate zebras. Wish they left them off my camera for a more useful function. Peaking is a way for me to solve my focus paranoia. LOL!
Excuse moi for barking into the business of EX1 owners - I have to second what Nathan said from a V1 user point of view. Zebras are annoying and useless, peaking gives me the sharpness I need even looking at the much worse V1 LCD screen. Zebras off, peaking on, stress off.
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