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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 November 16th, 2013, 05:08 AM   #1
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Is the EX1R still a good option?

Hi all,

I'm looking to buy a camera for event and corporate videography (no weddings, thank you). I also go to the Cannes Film Festival every year and have some clients there that want promotional videos (I also do red carpet premiers, but for that I need a broadcast standard camera, for which I really don't have the budget... for now I am provided an XF305 for that).
I am still starting out, four years in the business, looking for a good, strong and reliable tool. I have worked with many cameras, the EX1/3 included, but up to now have only owned a DSLR. I want the simplicity and immediacy of a video camera, high-end audio and all, so I can give more to my clients without having to go out and rent all the time.

The problem is I am going a little mad from all the cameras that are out there today...
I have recently bumped in to a second hand ad for an EX1R, 850hr on the counter, for around 3,900$ (15,800NIS, if you were wondering). The package also contains two SD-SxS adapters, three batteries and a bag.

My question is if you all think its a good option and price. I can go see the camera, play with it, and I can also bring it in for a checkup at a pro camera lab here in Tel Aviv.
Do any of you own EX1Rs with around 800hrs? I know I need to look for 'stuck' pixels, I guess I will leave that up for the pros, but anything els I should look for?
Also, if I want to upgrade to broadcast standard and get some nicer color info - are both the HDMI and SDI 10bit? or only the SDI?

An answer will be much appreciated :)
Thanks!
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Old November 16th, 2013, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

I can't speak to the pricing but as far as the EX1R goes, the issue I think you have is delivering 4:2:2 to clients that require that. If you don't have the budget for a camera that has it builtin, then the way people do it is by adding an external recorder or renting one on demand.

In contrast to Sony's followon model the EX1R is well thought out and full of many features you will come to love. It's followon got rid of many of them. One example is the grip. I and many others greatly enjoy the rotating grip of the EX1R which is better than the original EX1 so many people complain about without actually using the EX1R version. That grip went missing when Sony made it's followon model. Notably, the EX/3 followon kept the rotating grip. If you travel, another ergonomic feature of the EX1R is it's small size (smaller than the XF305). There are some mic holder replacements that make the mic removable and even smaller for packing.

As far as the package you are looking at, I would plan on buying some real SxS media and not be totally dependent on SD.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

I own one up to 500 hours and am about to dive into the world of XQD cards with the 1.31 firmware update. (that's another thing, check around for firmware updates when you get the camera)

I'd say go for it. If anyone requests 4:2:2, get a Atmos Samurai or Blackmagic Hyperdeck for the job and you're set.

I'll report back if XQD cards work, because those are almost as good as SxS.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 06:16 PM   #4
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

Thanks for the info. I'm leaning more and more towards this option, provided a careful lab test.
@Les Wilson , as someone who owned the camera for a long time, do you know if the HDMI is 10bit? The Ninja is at a much nicer price point, and I think it's worth the hassle of HDMI cables.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

I still use my EX1r a LOT. I've looked into getting a Nanoflash for 4:2:2, but my requirements to date have not needed it so I've held off buying one. The difference in apparent quality is too small for my eye to normally notice.

There are so many things about the EX1r, though, that make me love it. It has an abundance of features that are very useful to me -- particularly fantastic video results. Issues that come up are always of my own making. The one thing that I wish it was better at is image stabilization. I was spoiled by my older Canon XH-A1 which was great for handheld shooting. The Sony is not nearly as good, but I would never go back!

Les' comments about replacement mic holders -- mine has never been a problem -- made me do some looking around and I may go with a J-Rod Twin Mount.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaniv Glaser View Post
...do you know if the HDMI is 10bit? ....
I don't know and it was debated here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...bit-10bit.html
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Old November 16th, 2013, 10:26 PM   #7
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

SDI is 10-bit and HDMI is 8-bit.

EX1R is still a great camera and completely viable in today's productions. I still own by original EX1 from 2007 and use it often.

However, if you'd rather have a super-35mm sensor camera that will provide the kind of shallow DoF that you're used to with your DSLR, there are some great deals out there on used F3's. Amazing prices that you might not believe. Put a Atomos Blade or Samurai on the backend of a F3 or EX1R and you've got an even better camera for not much money.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

Thanks for the replies everybody.
That's what I was thinking about the HDMI and SDI ports, just wanted to make sure. Thanks for the link to the thread, very informative.
I would love to get my hands on a used F3, but it's very hard to come by here in Israel, they are very loved cams and are still used a lot on productions here. Plus, they are much less flexible for what I need. For the occasional 35mm look I will always have my DSLR. For narrative I will most probably end up renting, because it really doesn't make much sense to buy.
The only problem with used EX1s here is the record counter. The one I mentioned in my OP is already sold, and the only other I can find right now has 1200hr on the counter. That worries me.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 07:20 PM   #9
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

Unless the camera has been beaten up, mistreated and or dropped, 1200 hours really means nothing on a digital solid state type camera. There are no moving parts so nothing to wear out. For peace of mind, have it checked out by a reliable shop but I'm sure you'd find that the hours mean nothing. I'm doing a studio set show at a trade show and we have a guy doing MOS interviews on the floor of the show using the same EX3 with an ATOMOS recorder (same set up as last year) and his camera has about 2000 hours on it an runs like a top.
No guarantees of course but I don't think the hours are as big a deal as they used to be with tape mechanisms.
OF course, your money, your choice. Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 03:38 AM   #10
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Re: Is the EX1R still a good option?

Things to look for on an EX1, these are some of the things I've come across on older EX1's and 1R's. If the camera has been well looked after these should not be present and the cameras are generally reliable and long lived, but older ones are getting on a little now. Find a nice one and they are still great cameras. Don't get hung up over 10bit with a camera with this level of noise, 8 bit is just fine. I would also look at Sony F3's, bargain of the century at the moment.

EX1/1R potential issues, some are cosmetic and minor, but others would need attention.

Loose or wobbly hand grip, this is actually really difficult to fix.
Dust on the ND filters or sensor. shoot a flat card at f16 and look for dust donuts with each ND filter. Hard to put right, if it's on the sensor extremely expensive repair.
Less than smooth servo zoom.
Loose and sagging LCD panel.
Loose tripod mounting plate, may just be loose screws but some suffer from cracked plates or if abused cracked chassis behind the plate.
Cracks and breaks in underside of the handle, towards the front. Plastic handle top piece loose.
Focus ring can become difficult to slide forwards/backwards.
Broken microphone mount (common problem, mount is easy to replace however).
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