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Old May 28th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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EX-1 Vs. FX-1...need advice

Greetings.

In a few months I will be filming an event that will run 3 days. I will be filming almost from sunrise to sunset for most of this. I currently have a FX1 which i used last year, and everyone was pretty happy with the quality of work (edited in Vegas Pro 8--AMD quad core, 4 GB RAM, latest Nvida card).

Im thinking for this year upping things a little and renting an EX1 to get a nicer image. All of the footage will be in bright daylight.

I'm not paying for the rental, so it will be nice to learn this camera since i plan on buying it next year anyways.

In your opinion will the image and quality be that much better over my FX1 and is this a worthwhile expenditure of money (cost for 4 days, battery, shoulder mount, cards, shipping)--$500.

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #2
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I have a Z1 and an EX1. There is really no comparison - the EX1 is in a whole different league. Much sharper image, better dynamic range and far more control over the image. Manual controls are also far superior. We have discussed all this before if you read back through the forum.

But the Z1/FX1 are still good cameras and I continue to use the Z1 as well. Since you are already familiar with the FX1, you may actually get better results that way unless you are able to spend some time learning all the in's and out's of the EX1.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 08:03 PM   #3
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I upgraded from the FX1 to the EX1R and I'm extremely happy with the results. However, you really need to be educated on the EX1R capabilities. Before I ordered the camera, I ordered Doug Jensen's video, Mastering the Sony PMW-EX1: A Complete Guide to the Camcorder and the XDCAM EX Workflow
on the EX1, to learn as much about the camera as possible. Especially the settings. I would suggest spending a good bit of time learning the camera before you go on set. I think you'll find the transition going from the FX1 to the EX1R a fairly smooth one if you know more... Btw, I keeped the FX1 for B roll.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Martin Wiosna View Post
In your opinion will the image and quality be that much better over my FX1 and is this a worthwhile expenditure of money (cost for 4 days, battery, shoulder mount, cards, shipping)--$500.
I'm filming events (large corporate ones, mostly around Europe) on an EX1 after using a Z1, and all my clients noticed the difference in picture quality. The Directors and Producers I'm teamed with are looking for EX1 shooter/editors in preference to other technologies and cameras. I'd highly recommend you step up to the EX1 - along with all the other great advice here (Doug Jensen's videos, etc).

One thing: ensure that, at the very minimum, you have enough cards for a full day's shooting and assume that you will need to empty those cards and back them up each night. If you use SDHC cards, they're cheap enough to have enough cards so you do not have to do this until you're back home after the job. If you're hiring a kit, you will need at least 4x 16GB cards for general event coverage. What you don't want to be doing is emptying cards during lunch breaks or (seen this, don't do this at home) emptying cards during the filming.

But the major advantage of shooting events with EX1 over the FX1 will be shooting things that last more than a tape. You just keep swapping between Card Slot A and Card Slot B.

I'm not sure about the shoulder mount. Over the last decade of doing corporate events, the single biggest wow factor after the EX1 was a spider dolly (and after last week's job, I'm back onto wanting Steadicam). Shoulder mounts and matte boxes work well in controlled circumstances, but shoulder mounts can make all your shots start at the same height and matte boxes can waste time mucking around with filters and flags instead of getting on with the shoot.

And the Cache Record function? Pure genius. Got a couple of shots last week that made the video - would have lost them on a Z1/FX1 (for example, we were waiting for someone to turn up, camera caught two cyclists passing the venue, so just hit the button as they passed out of shot. Got the whole thing. FX1/Z1, press record once the heads have spun down, you'd be waiting - what, 7 seconds? Feels like 7 minutes?

Tape is gone. Dead. Z1/FX1 - way to soft at wide. Get an EX1, learn to love it, and it will reward you.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 12:01 PM   #5
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What is Cache Record function?
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Old June 6th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Trying not to sound evangelical...

Set this up through the camera menu, and the camera (when switched on and effectively in 'standby' mode) is continuously recording, and holding the last 7 seconds in memory. So if you're waiting for something to happen, you can be assured that when you hit the button (even five seconds after it happens), you've captured the last 7 seconds of material with enough 'handles' to use.

So instead of letting it roll, and roll, and roll, you set up Cache Record, wait for the moment, hit the button, and get the shot whilst getting enough BEFORE you hit the button to make the shot worthwhile.

This feature isn't exactly new. It was available on kit like the FireStore and on other camcorders ages ago, but now it's on our favourite camcorder - the EX1-R. Sure it runs the battery down quicker (only by a bit), and if you leave it on willy-nilly, you will have a bit of explaining to do to your editor (or put up with 7 secs of garbage at the front of each shot), but when you need it and when you remember to engage it, it is an awesome feature.

Like I said, it will get you the shots that will really 'make' your edit.

So I got two trains crossing each other in the background of a couple of hotels on the last few minutes left on a card, I got two cyclists shooting past a conference venue whilst I was chatting with the producer, I've got the moment when a stage show started unexpectedly, and so on. Even if you think you'll never need it, don't forget it's there.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #7
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If you're going to rent, I would recommend getting the camera a week or so early to get some experience with it.
I was going to rent an EX last year for a project I was doing but I ended up buying one instead and I'm glad I did. It takes awhile for me to pick up on the quirks of a new camera. It has been a year now I feel like I've finally connected with this camera to the point where I know how to get the look I want without thinking about things. But now when I have to go back to my old cameras - I have to stop and think how this or that is adjusted. (If it wouldn't be for a few loyal customers I would have sold my old cameras by now.)

That's my two cents, I just feel that if I would have rented I would have not known the camera well enough to do a good job - but then again maybe I'm just a bit slow...
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Old June 6th, 2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Thanks Matt. Does the EX1 have that feature too?
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Old June 6th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #9
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Alas not. The hardware required isn't in it. EX-1R only. I think it's called 'Marketing'.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 04:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
But the major advantage of shooting events with EX1 over the FX1 will be shooting things that last more than a tape. You just keep swapping between Card Slot A and Card Slot B.

Tape is gone. Dead. Z1/FX1 - way to soft at wide. Get an EX1, learn to love it, and it will reward you.
Was at some friends wedding yesterday and the videographer was using an FX1. Remarkably he managed to have a tape run out midway through the speeches.

My first thought was "well if he was using card it wouldn't be a problem", but then I quickly thought "but how the hell did he get himself into that situation anyway". I don't do weddings, but common sense says you would change tapes or cards before the speeches began to maximise your running time just as you would for any live one off event.

The EX1 is the way forward but for us Z1 owners there is still lots of life in the old dog as a B camera. Although my Canon Vixia HFS11 is now cutting into some of the B shots I was using the Z1 for. The march of progress.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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I agree Marcus - bad judgement survives improvement in the equipment.

Matt, thank you.
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