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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old October 21st, 2009, 08:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brooklyn, USA
Posts: 4
New to EX3

Hi All-

I posted a similar post on the Under Water/Over Land forum, but I thought I'd put it here as well since it seems more appropriate now. I'm a pro photographer, and I'm in the process of trying to film birds in flight for educational and identification purposes. I purchased (and returned) a casio EX-F1 to see what it could do. I've posted a video that I processed in iMovie to give a sense of what I'm's the link:

The video shows both uncropped and cropped samples, to give a sense of the level of detail I'm getting (it seems low to me).

In general, I'm happy with the way these videos show the flight shape and style of the was tricky but not impossible to keep the small birds in frame, and with some more practice (and luck!) I'm sure I'd have usable footage in that regard. My method was to shoot at 300fps (the camera goes up to 1200fps), set the focus on infinity, and track it by hand (no tripod). Shooting in HD mode gave me videos that had ghosting and other weird artifacts as the birds flew...not at all fluid. Not sure if this is something I did wrong in the settings or that can be fixed in post, but my guess is it just doesn't work for this sort of thing.

Which leads me to the next step. I'm going to rent an EX3 in New York and use it for this weekend. While the Casio did capture the shape and movement of the bird, the detail seems poor on the small birds, and I'm hoping to impove that with this bigger camera. This is going to cost a bit, so I'm hoping folks can give me some help with how to best approach it. For one, I think the lens that comes with the camera may be a bit short (seems to go to about 400mm in 35mm terms...correct me if I'm wrong). I'm not sure if that lens is capable of autofocusing what I'm doing (especially on the first two samples in my video clip, the warblers) - if it can that would be amazing. If not, can I get enough DOF to shoot without worrying about focus? Secondly, I'm considering adding an adapter to shoot with 35mm nikon lenses, so I can use my 200-400mm f/4, or something else that will give me more reach than the included lens. I'm expecting to have to focus this thing by hand - again, does the video give you more DOF than a SLR would? Keeping the bird in frame is hard enough, but doing that and manual focusing is going to take a lot of luck (I can do it with the SLR about 30% of the time with the small birds).

Finally, I'd appreciate any feedback on different settings I might try with the EX3, or settings to start with, so that I can test what gives the most detail, and also allows me to slow down to half speed or less in post production with minimal loss of fluid motion and detail. Also, in post, is there a way to crop and center the bird, so that it stays in the same spot in the frame throughout the clip? That way I can focus viewers on the flight style and shape, and not the general path the bird takes.

OK - a lot to ask! Thanks again for any and all help, and I'll definitely post results from the EX3 when I'm done.
Scott Whittle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 21st, 2009, 03:35 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mount Washington Valley, NH, USA
Posts: 1,365
A 200 mm would be equal to a bout a 1000mm lens, don't even think about hand holding.

The standard lens is equivalent to about a 400mm lens zoomed all the way in.

Definitely rent an excellent set of sticks and head.

I would use cine gamma 4. If you shoot 720 24P you could over crank to 60 fps, about a 2.6 slowdown, can be nice. Expose as you would for any camera don't use auto iris.

Birds are hard but can be very rewarding.

DOF is the same for 200mm lens on a 1/2" chip as on 35mm film. But the 1/2" chip has a multiplier of about 5, so it frames like a 1000mm.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Olof Ekbergh; October 21st, 2009 at 03:37 PM. Reason: added info
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Old October 21st, 2009, 06:03 PM   #3
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video, even hi def, will not blow up nearly as well as a full size still camera on RAW.

Get in there with the lens, not with cropping. You will need a good tripod & fluid head. Auto focus isn't on the EX-3 nor on any pro video camera
Ed Kukla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 21st, 2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: London UK
Posts: 80
Hi Scott.

If you are looking to shoot birds with the EX3, check out the clips by Ofer Levy here.
Video Clips

Mike Tapa.
Mike Tapa
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