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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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Are 3rd party base plates worthwhile?

I am a little concerned about the security of the tripod screw on my EX1. I often carry my camera attached to the tripod, slung over my shoulder. I haven't had a problem yet, but this may be one of those "pay a little now, or a lot later" situations.

My question is : Do the aftermarket base plates like Olaf's, or Juiced Designs really increase camera security? Besides the 1/4" screw, these plates use 3 or 4 little tiny screws on the bottom of the camera.

Any experiences would be appreciated.
Pete
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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I got Olof's plate and shoulder brace for my EX3. I decided to get the plate for a couple of reasons. First, the horror stories of the weak stock screw attachment on the EX1/3's and stories of cameras ripping off of tripods. I felt for that $150 for insurance and peace of mind was a very small price compared to the cost of the camera.

Second, I use a Sachtler DV6SB tirpod and I had a hard time getting the camera to balance in some situations. Olof's plate has enough holes in the bottom that I can position my tripod plate so that I can achieve perfect balance now.

I can't speak for the Juiced Design plate but Olof's is very light and nicely made. I would recommend it.

Garrett
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Peters View Post
My question is : Do the aftermarket base plates like Olaf's, or Juiced Designsreally increase security?
Absolutely. Especially for the EX3, which has a stock baseplate that's about as strong as a piece of wet cheese. Several months ago I bought an EX3 base plate from DM Accessories and it made a world of difference. The stock EX1R baseplate is better than the EX1 but I'd still recommend an aftermarket plate for piece of mind. Remember that your employees sometimes forget to pick up the tripod and grab the camera handle instead. This is very hard on the stock baseplate. If I see one of my employees do this they only get to do it once.

- Don
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:56 AM   #4
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Had a bad experience with a Z1U falling apart from a failed mount screw. Had rail, matte box and big WA lens on the unit and had a bad habit of carrying it around by the rails. After a year the stock tripod screw failed and turned the bottom of the camera into a white metal and plastic dust storm. Had to glue a homemade plate to the bottom of the camera to salvage the unit.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:01 AM   #5
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It cost me 1000 to repair an EX1 when the tripod mount gave way! I now have Olof's plate with radio mic wing - no regrets.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:32 AM   #6
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I have a Juiced plate on my EX1 and it's really very good, lovely smooth curves and rounded edges. I would not use an EX without a base plate adapter.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:34 AM   #7
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I just got the stronger EX1 plate & wing (for wireless mic.) & shoulder bracket from Olof and used it over the weekend shoot. It's used 3 extra small crews + larger one = 4 screws to hold this plate to the bottom of the EX1.

It's much stronger than the original EX1 base and worth it.

Tuy
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Old March 30th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #8
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Clark:

As is the case with that famous card, "Don't leave home without one!". I cannot comment on other

brands of baseplates, and they may be just as worthwhile, but I just cannot say enough in a

positive way about Olof's Products - I don't leave home without his Baseplate, etc:
1. His baseplate absolutely works on my EX1 - the one large screw and the three
small screws provide a very solid, strong support, spread over a wide part of the
camera base, and that may be a good part of the secret, the broad spread of support,
thereby obviating any significant torque on any one screw (even though three of the
screws are VERY tiny, as is the case with the original base). I can lift the camera now
(and have done so often) by the handle (thank goodness, its strong!), no matter what
the weight of the tripod or other accessories mounted on the Olof base plate. And of
course the comment made by someone above applies about the advantage of having
more than one point upon which to mount the main sticks screw, in order to better
balance the camera!
2. The fabrication of Olof's base plates and associated gear is just absolutely first rate!
I speak with some authority here, having been a (only second class) machinist in an
earlier life. Olof has his own machine shop, obviously has some fine equipment, and
knows what he's doing! Apparently everything (press brakes, stamping, machining, boring,
threading etc.) is done in his own shop, with the scatter black finish farmed out at
another facility. To get those TINY screw holes on his base plate to line up precisely
with the tiny screw holes in the Sony bottom takes some doing, and done perfectly it
is (as Yoda would say) - as I've conveyed to him, he must have some darned fine jigs
and fixtures to accomplish all of the extant precision! The finish, freedom of burrs and
other anomolies is exemplary! It is a class act worthy of any camera upon which it is
mounted.
3. The variety of associated accessory supports he offers (including shoulder mounts)
reflects his responsiveness to the requests and requirements of his customers. He is
apparently expanding his product line to reflect the trend of customer's current needs.
4. He is willing and able to fabricate individual parts to satisfy individual, sometimes
very individualistic requests. I can personally attest to that, since I requested the
fabrication of a special support (to be mounted to the rear right of the standard base
plate) to accomodate my own specific design of a mounting plate for a nano Flash unit
(Convergent Designs) so that I could drop my EX-1 into a Kata 193 bag with the nano
attached. I specified a modification of one of his "arms", including the precise angle
bend of the device, as well as the placement of special mounting holes, and I was
fully accomodated!
5. In regard to (4) above, I have never in my long editing career as a video editor
(19 years) had such exceptional, responsive, and appropriate personal "customer
service". I was under a harsh deadline in my need for the custom arm, and Olof
responded to me post haste, not only in regard to the fabrication, but also in providing
frequent E-mails about fabrication progress, and response to some of my inquires.

Finally, it looking over what I have just written, it appears almost too complete and glowing.
But I will tell you that I have been condemned (that is not too strong a word, actually) for
being too demanding, unforgiving, and obdurate! And I am sick and tired of the gross
dis-service promulgated upon most of us by the soft ware and hardware firms. When
I run into a product and a service like this, I am astounded, and I will tell you my praise is
fully justified. What an exceptionally positive operation Olof and his wife are running!!!!!!!
Finally, I must say that I am not a shareholder in Olof's firm, nor a promoter or distributor of
his products. I'm just so satisfied, I could bust!

Last edited by William Urschel; March 30th, 2010 at 07:18 AM. Reason: I wasn't finished!
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Old March 30th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #9
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Another vote for Olof/WestSide AV bottom plate for EX1/3 and nano holder for EX350.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #10
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Here is some shameless promotion.

I started making these because I use the EXcams myself and I was appalled at the poor camera bases. I have repaired a few of them for unfortunate users and I find there is areal need for this solution. I keep the price as reasonable as I can. These are made here in NH in a small CNC shop.

My system can be ordered here:
Westside A V Studios WEB Store

You can also contact me with any questions or special requests.
olof@westsideav.com
603.383.9283
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 05:41 AM   #11
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Yeah - Olof's solution (the base plate, the wing with receiver's shoe, the nanoFlash bracket, and the small shoulder pad) are working so well that they have become a permanent part of my EX1...

In fact, I never take them off; here is why:

- for Run&Gun, this is the best way of using the otherwise not ergonomically great EX1 camera
- if I want some extra stuff attached (like the matte box and external monitor), I can put it as a whole on my RedRock shoulder-mount
- for using with Letus and the mattebox (also with external monitor), I just assemble the full rig on my tripod.

Not needing to reconfigure Olof's gear for various rig configurations, plus this extra peace of mind thanks to the stronger baseplate, are well worth the investment!

*Disclaimer: all the above works so flexibly thanks to using the Hoodman loupe - also recommended.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:38 AM   #12
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I bought the DM Accessories plate after trying the plate from Olaf. Sorry Olaf but the DM plate is a much better, more precise fit. It is a little more expensive but it fits like a glove.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:49 AM   #13
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We're using and selling Olaf's EX1 plates and DM Accessories EX3 plates. Both work exceptionally well. We've also replaced all EX mic holders with DM Accessories EX flats.

Being a rental company if there's anyway to break something our clients will find it and so far these 3rd party solutions have saved us from any repairs. On my own EX1 I find it's one less thing to worry about. The only issue we've found is all of them still require regular checks that the screws are done up snug. This is not a design issue, we regularly have to check all the screws on the cameras. I've found the two in the side of the EX1 LCD screen working loose regularly.

In summary, to answer the OP's question, an emphatic yes.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 08:05 AM   #14
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Unlike Bob, I never rent my rig out - instead, I have spent considerable amount of time and effort to develop configurations that would suit my own, personal needs/limitations best. Lots of trials and errors - believe me!

Here is a picture of my EX1 with Olof's solution, mounted on my RR shouldermount and seated on the tripod. Due to some limitations of the RR mattebox / EX1 fit, the functionality of the rig depicted would never be possible without the solution from Olof, or the loupe from Hoodman.

It's now perfectly balanced on the tripod and on my shoulder. The two batteries used (the long U95, and the PAG 100 Wh) not only help balance the whole rig; they allow 3-4 hours of continuous usage of the camera, nanoFlash, Comer light, and Marshall monitor.

If I want to go lighter for some run and gun, I can simply take the camera (along with the nanoFlash) off the rig, and use it comfortably hand-held - using the small shoulder pad (visible in the picture just under the long U95 battery) as the additional support.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 12:27 PM   #15
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Just to add that the Juiced Designs plate is also a perfect fit. I reviewed the juiced plate here: XDCAM-USER.com Juice Designs EX1 Base Plate.

It even has machined recesses for the little dimples on the base of the camera.
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