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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 15th, 2011, 08:34 AM   #16
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So if I'm working with auto-focus the viewfinder issue won't be a big deal? I'm using the view finder exclusively while moving around and following a person, so manual focus in this situation is pretty impossible anyway (at least for me.)

I'm hesitating. The money gap is really stretching me.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #17
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Ouch.. Autofocus is NOT the EX1s strong suite. It has a tendency to latch on to unexpected objects that are not what you want. Also with the larger imagers focus becomes much more critical and very obvious when its wrong.

I would never recommend using autofocus in conjunction with the viewfinder on an EX1. My experience with that combination proved it doesn't work. Even with peaking turned on it doesn't work.

Except for certain special situations I don't recommend using full autofocus on the camera at all. If you are following the rule of thirds you won't like what it focuses on. Its heavily biased to the center.

It would be worth it to rent an EX1 for a weekend and you'll see. If you were here in North Carolina I would let you see both side by side. I'm not overstating how horrible the original viewfinder is or how unpredictable the autofocus can be.

If you really need to use the rear viewfinder there is no option. Buy the EX1r.

Use autofocus sparingly. Try to get in the habit of running manual. Its not hard with a little practice.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #18
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Chris, I agree completely. If someone knows in advance that they intend on relying on auto-focus, none of the EX cameras is a good idea.

John, if you're serious about auto-focus, you might want to consider the Sony Z7U or Canon XF300. They are much better at focusing. Sure, they are only 1/3" cameras, but that's one of the things you give up by going to a 1/2" camcorder. No matter what camera you choose, I would still encourage you to learn to shoot without auto-focus, but at least those cameras are way better at it.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #19
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Chris, that's so nice of you to offer. Unfortunately I'm in Israel these days...

So you guys are able to focus while moving, and your subject is moving, even on a bright sunny day? I'm amazed. Is it really just experience?

I actually rented an EX1R for a day last month and loved it. Used auto-focus with no issues -- well, almost with no issues. In one situation, while it was low-light and I think 15db gain, the auto-focus did fail me.

I also played a bit with the Panasonic AF100 and the auto-focus over there, with the Lumix 14-140, was way worse. I guess the even bigger sensor is the culprit.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #20
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On a bright sunny day you can close down the lens and depending on your zoom setting everything will be in focus. That isn't the best test of the autofocus system though. Zoom 50% or more with the lens at F2.8 and you'll see what I'm talking about. If something with good contrast moves slowly into the center of the lens the camera will focus on it. Regardless of what you want it to focus on. There is no face recognition or anything like that running in the camera to help it hold onto a subject.

If you are going to close down on the lens enough that everything is in focus you aren't using this camera to its true potential due to diffraction softening the image. If this is your normal operating mode you may want to consider a Z7U. It has better autofocus and in bright sunlight it will make a great image. Also the batteries for the Z7 are a lot cheaper than the EX1. I only mention this due to your comments about wanting to stay within your budget.

When I'm shooting cars at the track there is a reason why I shoot with a V1U and not the EX1r. I can set the V1U to autofocus and let it go when following cars around the track. The EX1r can't reliably do this. I run around in the pits with the EX1 shooting interviews. Its shallow depth of field works great to bring attention to the person being interviewed.

I love my EX1r. Its a great tool. Some things its better suited for than others. You will get the best out of it by running it more manual and playing to its strengths. Unfortunately its strengths can't be realized when its in auto anything.

This is only my opinion. Your mileage may vary. ;)
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Old February 16th, 2011, 07:41 AM   #21
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Alister is spot on.

I think getting the EX1R and waiting till the bank account fills up for accessories is wiser than compromising to an used EX1 so you can buy accessories now. I find that the accessories I *think* I need at buy time aren't necessarily the ones I need after using the camera.

Hoodman makes a nice diopter for the EX1R that turns the LCD into a VF. It's not perfect but definitely usable. See Westside AV for accessories. They make a short and long shoulder mount that is very popular although I don't have one (yet). :-)
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #22
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Just a few thoughts before the OP thinks an EX1 is completely unusable :-)

I've personally never used my EX1 viewfinder, I always use the flip out screen.
And it's never let me down. Having to keep my head so near to the camera isn't something I've done in a long time. Mind you I do still have perfect vision.

Yesterday was an industrial shoot, handheld all day, with the camera in all sorts of angles focus pulling all the time. The shots aren't sustained of course, I keep things moving all the time.

A more traditional shoot like this: YouTube - BBQ BOOTCAMP was a long day handheld in the summer, burning my arse on the BBQ's. Some sustained interview type shots, with an assistant on a radio boom.

I use long Swit batteries, so I can snug the camera up against my neck while still using the screen.

I sometimes use a cheap body mount for sustained interviews on the should where the camera is rigged with multiple radiomics and lighting: CVP SM1 Shoulder mount camcorder support bracket system - Ideal for most handheld DV / HDV camcorders, it clips onto my backpack with a carabiner for added security.

Duncan.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #23
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The viewfinder on the EX1r is an improvement over that of the EX1 but it's nothing to get excited about either. Once you get to know either one you'll be able to recognize focus. You'll need to use the image doubling feature on either for certainty. Ergonomically I really don't think there's any difference. Also, $4600- sounds a bit high for an EX1.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #24
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Thank you very much for this info, Mark & Craig. Craig, a question: at around 1:10 of your BBQ video (great job!) you seem to move around the subject for a few seconds and change angle while doing so. Are you adjusting focus while moving? If not, how come he stays in focus?

I realize this is a basic question and I really appreciate the opportunity to learn something here.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark OConnell View Post
...Ergonomically I really don't think there's any difference. Also, $4600- sounds a bit high for an EX1.
I beg to differ. Many of the changes in the EX1R were ergonomic improvements that Sony made as a result of listening.

orange switch backgrounds
power switch with lock
S&Q button
reengineered grip
... and maybe some firmware things I'm unaware of.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #26
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Not to pat ourselves on the back, but Sony sent Alister Chapman and me to the factory in Japan shortly after the EX1 was launched to give the engineers feedback. A lot of those suggestions showed up in the EX1R, so I can say for certain that Sony does listen and is very interested in customer feedback . . . athough I must admit we're still waiting for a few things. :-(
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Old February 17th, 2011, 12:12 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eithcowich View Post
Craig, a question: at around 1:10 of your BBQ video (great job!) you seem to move around the subject for a few seconds and change angle while doing so. Are you adjusting focus while moving? If not, how come he stays in focus?
John... I'm not Craig, but I checked out the video at 1:10 and notice how he is shooting wide and deep? The subject stays well within the range of focus even moving closer or away when using a deep DOF.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #28
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Thanks, Buck. I'll experiment with it using my good old PD170. While shooting two feature documentaries (over 300 hours of footage) in some chaotic situations the auto-focus failed me once! But I guess this is the time to become more proficient with the manual focus.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #29
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Was the IR contamination fixed on the EX1R??

Does anyone know??

Was the IR contamination issue fixed on the EX1R??

Thanks,

William
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Old February 17th, 2011, 11:06 AM   #30
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Hello, Duncan here,

The moving shots weren't hard, as has been said it was all wide and bright with deep depth of field, so nothing difficult. The problem with these jobs is often nervous talent, and doing it all in a rush in one take. As was the case with the BBQ job.

Something like the dog food commercial on my YouTube channel was so easy compared to the BBQ job.
Again shot in half a day with no script or precise plans. They say never work with animals, but the dog was amazing. (He's also the John Smiths dog with Peter Kay in case you're in the UK).

I do occasionally get work where the client has planned things, but it's seems to be less the case these days. Ha.

I believe the infrared issues we have are considered 'features' rather than 'faults'. Personally when I have a problem, I use a T1 filter under the lens hood and re-white balance the camera.

I have noticed I always have to hit the white balance twice. I use a Lastolite 18% gray card on the gray side, auto iris on.
The first time gets it close, but the second time, even on a static shot will adjust slightly, does anyone get this?
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