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


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Old March 14th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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Pmw-200

Looking at buying the PMW-200 camera but in researching it the 1st firmware version looks to have some issues holding focus when it in auto focus. I think Sony has come out with a updated firmware
version to address this issue. Can anyone confirm this? Also is the camera now shipping with the updated firmware version because I prefer not to do firmware updates myself. I have the EX1r and really like this
camera. I could buy a used one and purchase the -200 in about a year when Sony has all the bugs worked out. Thanks for any input.

Larry
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Old March 14th, 2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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Re: Pmw-200

Just purchased the PMW-200 and it came with the latest firmware (V 1.10). Love the camera and it's a great complement to my Sony F330. No focus issues. Upgrading firmware on these cameras isn't difficult - just follow directions.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 08:14 PM   #3
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Re: Pmw-200

Word of warning, if you bought any third-party batteries for your EX1R, they are guaranteed to not work on the 200.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 09:13 PM   #4
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Re: Pmw-200

another word of warning:
be sure to upgrade firmware to 1.1, the back focus failure can be intermittent. I shot 5 events one morning and on the third event the back focus went out. The fourth and fifth event was fine.

The camera is great, I'm very happy with it, except for that problem.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 11:40 PM   #5
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Re: Pmw-200

EX1's and EX3's can suffer from the very same back focus issue (It's exactly the same lens and sensor). It's normally caused by bumping the camera when it's in an upright position.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #6
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Re: Pmw-200

If the camera is bumped and back focus is knocked out, it does not get back into focus until the back focus is manually set (however that is done on the EX1r), right? I knew of knew of the back focus issue on the PMW-200, but I check it when I bought the camera, and it was fine at that time. I did not realize it could have an 'intermittent' back focus failure.

In my situation, the camera was on a tripod for all 5 (30 minute) events. I turned the camera off between each event. At event 3 it failed to focus. One thing I could have done was go to automatic and try that, but there was not enough time and I just 'edited' that part out of the video in my mind.

I would recomment buying the camera, but anyone purchasing a PMW-200 without the firmware upgrade should not use it until it is updated.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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Re: Pmw-200

Thanks all for the info. I hate to sound stupid but what does back focus mean? I checked with B&H
and they would not give me the firmware version on the camera. I want to make sure I get 1.1.

Does anyone have the link to get the latest 1.1 firmware version if I can't buy a camera with it? Also,
will the instructions on how to get the firmware on the camera come with the download? If not, where would
that be? Does anyone know of a seller who will provide the firmware version on the camera? Seems like
a fair question. Thanks.

Larry
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #8
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Re: Pmw-200

There is plenty of information about 'back focus' online. Here is one: What is Back Focus when referring to camera lenses? - Yahoo! Answers

To the best of my knowledge, the manufacture date is how you know if the PMW-200 has the 1.1 firmware update. Camera with a manufacture date after November 2012 should have version 1.1.

It is not difficult to update the camera, but you do need a SxS card. I have read that USB thumbdrive will work too. Alister Chapman has a website location that has a link to download the firmware. I am sure Sony will send you a link if you ask.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:31 AM   #9
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Re: Pmw-200

I've managed to successfully update firmware with a Sony SD card adapter in the past. That was on the EX1R though. I don't recommend doing that unless you know what you're doing.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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Re: Pmw-200

Larry, unfortunately today's cameras are basically computers, meaning just like your home laptop or desktop, they usually require updates from time to time.

Fortunately they make these things pretty fool proof - I know many pieces of electronics lock me out of updates unless they're fully charged, on AC power, etc. Instructions and the firmware can be found on the Sony Pro website: https://www.servicesplus.sel.sony.co...el-PMW200.aspx

Now, if you're still not comfortable doing the update yourself, the solution may be going to a local camera dealer to purchase the unit. I'm sure they would be more than happy to help you update the camera right then and there on the spot. Not to mention forming a relationship with a local business with a personal interest in your success. Online stores are great for many things, but not much beats being known by name when you walk in the door. Cheers!
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:40 AM   #11
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Re: Pmw-200

Good link Bill on back focus. Now I understand. Thanks. Now that I know the manufacture date that has the updated firmware
that is simply what I will order. No need to worry about a firmware upgrade. I assume B&H will give me that?
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:51 AM   #12
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Re: Pmw-200

Nate the download link is perfect however I think I will order the camera after the November manufacture date and I should have the updated firmware. An on-line store s/be able to tell me the dates of the camera they have in inventory.

I am still interested, as a matter of learning, how to load firmware on to a camera. I know how to download it of couse but then do I simply drag the file on to a SxS card? If so, how do I get it from the card on
to the camera?
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Old March 15th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #13
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Re: Pmw-200

Larry,

You're really worrying about things right now that you will look back on later and realize were no big deal at all. First, of all you can't tell what firmware a camera has by it's manufacture date. The proper way is to go into the camera's menus and look at the page that tells you what firmware the camera is running. That will take you about 10 seconds.

Next you go to Sony's website and check to see what the current firmware is for your camera. If the numbers are the same, then you don't need to do anything. If there is a new version available then you can quickly download and install it. When you unzip the downloaded file it will include detailed release notes and precise installation instructions that are easy to follow. Anyone should be able to do it. In fact, you can download the firmware zip file right now and have a look before you even get the camera. Installing the firmware is easy and involves just a few steps that are clearly outlined in the instructions. Obviously you do not need to get the firmware from the dealer where you bought the camera or involve them in anyway.

You will also need to install Sony's Content Browswer utility software, SxS drivers, and UDF drivers on your computer, which can be downloaed from the same website as the firmware. Do not install files from the CD-ROMs that come with the camera because they are likely to be out of date by the time you get them. Always download the newest files from Sony.

Here's the correct link where firmware, utilities, drivers, etc. are all located for downloading
Sony | Micro Site XDCAM

I would wish you luck, but you don't need luck, just follow the instructions.

Mastering the PMW-200-160-150-100 Camcorders


Doug
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Old March 15th, 2013, 01:00 PM   #14
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Re: Pmw-200

The information in the Yahoo link is not really what this issue is about.

For a zoom lens to be Parfocal, that is to stay in focus as you zoom in or out the distance between the sensor and the rear element of the lens has to be set very accurately. If it is not then the focus will shift as you zoom in or out. This is why on most pro video cameras or lenses there is a back focus adjustment that alters this distance over a very small range, often only around +/- 0.5mm.

With lenses that are electronically controlled, like the one on the PMW-200/EX1 it is more complex. The lens itself is not ParFocal, the lenses natural focus changes as you zoom. So the camera/lens uses a Look up table of focal length to desired focus distance and dynamically alters the focus as you zoom to make the non-parfocal lens (vari-focal) behave like a parfocal one. This table needs to be calibrated from time to time, especially if the lens has been bumped or knocked (even when not in use) and in the case of the PMW-200, EX1 and EX3 (plus other similar cameras) this is what the Auto FB adjust routine does.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: Pmw-200

Ok "Don't worry be happy". I will move forward with the -200 purchase. Sounds like I will have two great cameras. I should be able to do some high end weddings and sporting events. To everyone thanks for your time and detailed instruction. This is simply an awesome site for video people to grow and be educated by some of the most knowledge people in the world!

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