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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 1st, 2012, 05:37 AM   #1
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Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

And what's the life expectancy of an EX1/EX3? Since there are no moving parts ie no heads, we all know these camera's need much less maintenance. But obviously nothing lasts forever...
I believe the camera uses a laser to write to the flash memory: how long will that last?

(Obviously the camera will wear on the body, might get pits or scratches on the lens (when not properly protected by a UV-filter!), the LCD screen and the viewfinder may show slack etc. But if the camera is cosmetically and technically fine, is it just the laser that is an uncertain factor?)
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Old September 1st, 2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

No laser. If the camera works ok with no white dots in the picture when you gain video 20-30 dB - then I cannot see any problem with 500 hours.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 06:59 AM   #3
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Do you know how it writes to flash memory then? (ie is this the part of the camera gets used most? Is it most likely to go defect first?) And what does a white dot at 20-30db tell me? Thanks.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 07:14 AM   #4
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

I've purchase several used EX1s in the 100 to 150 hour range. The thing that seems
to go is the joint holding the LCD. In ~150 hours it is likely somebody has banged the lcd
hard and the joint is loose or in need of careful handling. The white screened-on markings
on the back tend to fade away too but this is not a big deal.

I would stay away from 500 hours unless I had actually seen the camera myself and
all the outsides looked good and the video that came out was stable.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Stuck pixels are a curse of CCD's and CMOS imagers. They show up as white dots. A certain number can be programmed out when you black balance. They show up more when gain is up. There are fixes but they are expensive and you have to send the camera in for service to have the imager "remapped" or even replaced if there are many pixels in clusters that are "stuck".

Data is written to cards as digital data streams (electrical current). SxS connection seems very robust, I have never seen a problem. If you use SD cards in an adapter, these may not be as robust as you are adding more connection points.

SxS cards do have a life but it is the cheapest part of the camera to replace.

I would say if an EXcam looks clean, the lens works well and the imager has no stuck pixels the camera is fine. Check back focus and that all the buttons work. Also check that the SDI and HDMI (EX1/R) work.

These cameras have proven to be very rugged and for me anyway very low maintenance. I would not be scared of a 500hr EXcam as long as it is clean and everything works. I have found the weakest point to be the bottom of the camera, I have seen many broken 1/4" tripod mount plates ripped out, this can be fixed with after market stronger plates, like the ones I make.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 03:29 PM   #6
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Thanks, guys. So I guess these cameras are pretty much indestructible. I'm thinking about trading in my EX1R (275 hrs) plus €900,- for an EX3 (500 hrs) So I'm bleeding quite heavily for a viewfinder and better ergonomics. I found that rigs don't work for me and the Hoodman Loupe will not turn my EX1 into an EX3. I really like the weight distribution on the EX3 and I want to be able to get low/high angle shots quickly, which a bunch of straps around my LCD will not permit.(unlike the EX3's VF with the flip-design)
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 06:15 PM   #7
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

An important thing to note is that the EX3 at this point appears to not have newer firmware updates. If you shoot exclusively SxS, you're fine. However, when it comes to media adapters, you will miss out on some of that functionality.

My EX1R just hit the 300 hour mark and is now on Firmware 1.30. 20 or so hours from a recent gig I did.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 10:59 PM   #8
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Flash memory is not based on any optical phenomenon. There are no lasers (or anything else optical) involved in any solid-state memory, SxS, SDHC, Compact Flash, USB thumb drives, etc. etc.

Rotating optical media (CDR, DVDR, BDR) use lasers to write (and read). But it is far more likely that something mechanical will break before any laser diodes fail. But, of course, this has nothing to do with any modern camcorders.

As others have mentioned, the flexing joints are subject to wires breaking, the connectors could have potential abuse (including the connectors that the SxS cards plug into). And, of course the lens, both the mechanism and the glass are vulnerable to abuse.

And the image pickup chips could potentially be damaged by exposure to too much light. Or simply to pixels failing over time. For example, a friend of mine had his camcorder (not EX) ruined by stray laser beams at a rock concert. The viewfinder could also be damaged by exposure to the sun.

But none of those processes are related to hours of use (except that the camera is simply older).
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
For example, a friend of mine had his camcorder (not EX) ruined by stray laser beams at a rock concert.
At least a camcorder is easier to replace than human eyes.

There is a principle about used cars that goes like this: Since it is difficult to tell whether a vehicle is good or bad, the buyer typically pays a price based on the value of an average vehicle of the same model, year and mileage. Since the seller already knows the buyer will pay no more than the average price, only below average models are offered for sale on the market.

At the same time, sometimes people sell things for reasons different than making a profit.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 03:14 AM   #10
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

I have the camera to test and it looks good. At frst the LCD screen looked washed out and blueish but by setting proper picture profiles, it turned out fine.

Seller has nothing except the camera, charger, battery and bag. No manuals, no cards, adapter ring which I read comes with the camera, no remote control, no cables.

The camera works on adapters/SDHC except for S&Q motion. But I still have the Sony cards to use that function.

Firmware is V1.02_0078 which is an old one, I guess, (I don't even have an OTHERS menu and had to push MENU/SEL/CANCEL simultaneously to even see the firmware) but I'm not sure if I need the upgrade. Anyone know how I could benefit? (I read some nasty stories about upgrading...)
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Old September 6th, 2012, 02:18 PM   #11
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

May I ask you how much you get for the EX1? I'm just going to sell mine with 180 hours. And I was thinking about something like 3400 Swiss Francs...
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Old September 6th, 2012, 03:23 PM   #12
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

I have an EX-1, one of the first ones off the assembly line. It now has 1455 hours on it and still going strong. Everything works fine, although my mic holder was knocked off once when I walked into the side of a door. The mic holder was easy to replace, and I've got a spare in case I knock it off again. Cosmetically, my camera is a disaster. The first models had problems with paint peeling off! Sony has recalled the units and have replaced the plastic panels, but not the metal chassis. Over the years, the perspiration from my hands eroded and pitted the exposed metal in the handle. I've never had this kind of problem with any other camera I've owned.

If your camera had only 500 hours on it, you can be sure it'll give you plenty of mileage!
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Old September 6th, 2012, 04:15 PM   #13
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

Think I'd try upgrading the firmware (with the owner present) before I committed to the sale. If he won't be in it, that might help your price.

You can get the manual off the web.

Cheers.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 05:33 AM   #14
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

I got it and am quite happy with it. Only issue I have with is the draining of the battery. But if that´s only the case when you leave your battery on after shooting, that´s not a problem because I always take my batteries off.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 03:20 AM   #15
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Re: Is 500 hours much for a used EX1/3?

My camera also had that battery draining problem, which was fixed by Sony Service Center. I think they changed a circuit board and upgraded the firmware for that particular problem.
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