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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 29th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Sony charge is $135 and turnaround is 5-8 business days.
If this is what Sony is asking for a non-warranty firmware upgrade I reckon this will be similar to what they charge to revive a bricked EX.

So isn't the choice between loosing your cam for sure for 5-8 days + $135 and very probably not loosing your camera and saving said time + money?

To minimize risk, use a clean PC/Mac; i.e. with as little running on it s possible. Disable anything that may interfere or cause unexpected warnings (like Anti Virus). I like to close any system tray icons (Windows) I can. Preferably disconnect everything you don't need and always connect your camera directly to the PC (as opposed to through a usb-hub).

I prefer updating from a PC to doing so from a Mac, but either should work.

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Old March 29th, 2010, 08:41 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
I hate to throw cold water on this FUD thread,
Originally Posted by George Kroonder View Post
So isn't the choice between loosing your cam for sure for 5-8 days + $135 and very probably not loosing your camera and saving said time + money?
Tom, not FUD, my info was from Sony directly over the phone. RISK does not guarantee failure nor mean failure will happen most of the time. It's like seat belts and care accidents (or backing up to hard drives alone). People might never wear a seat belt and go years without a care accident . . . then they die. Was it worth the RISK? If the risk goes from 1/1000 to 1/20 it still meant 19 out of 20 will be OK. If you're that one person, the risk was NOT WORTH IT.

As time goes on I do hear more reports of bricking. The numbers still seems small but that's of NO CONSOLATION to the person it happens to. In every case they insist they followed the steps.

George the cost of firmware upgrade does NOT equate to the cost of repair. A bricked camera may require a circuit board replacement which I suspect could be in the thousand dollar range give or take and, given Sony's repair history, could take weeks, so you can toss that downtime on to your losses if the camera gets bricked.

Maybe you don't insure your business, your gear, etc. but that's about what the $135 amounts to. It's Sony insurance that they take responsibility for any issues.

Don't forget, based on my own experience with Sony's 1.11 EX1 upgrade, that a superficially successful upgrade can have hidden problems. In my case Sony redid the firmware update on the spot while I waited, after discovering issues a few days after their first upgrade.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Tom, not FUD, my info was from Sony directly over the phone.
Craig, I'm not saying you are responsible for the FUD, however the information that said you have to have at least V1.14 before doing the upgrade is BS. Firmware upgrades are always risky.

And Sony had plenty of time to announce any corrections, without resorting to passing the word through low level minions who want to charge money.

When doing firmware upgrades yourself, a level of proficiency is required. If you don't feel you have it, I agree you shouldn't do it. On the other hand, this was a smooth process for me, but I carefully read the instructions and followed all the steps.

My EX1 is working perfectly, as it did after the upgrade from V1.05 to V1.11 which I also did.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #19
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Tom, I just read elsewhere from someone who claims to have followed all the steps and seems to be competent. BTW my own experience is that what Sony posts on the web isn't always most accurate (unfortunately). I trust the "lowly" tech I spoke to on the phone. In my past experience they've given a much more realistic view of things. They're not "call center" folks. These are genuinely their "ground troops." From my experience as a facility Video Engineer, I trust these folks more than "web statements" coming from management.

The cost of repair of a bricked camera is just over €2000 OR $2800 (USA).

Personally I think you're flat out dangerously wrong to recommend this risk or to suggest all one needs to do is follow the steps exactly. It is NOT about user confidence or skill (although that can play a role). The risk is there and users need to understand that risk before undertaking it.

Feel free to drive without seat belts. You most likely wont get into an accident on any given day especially if you're a safe driver. On the other hand accidents may not be caused by you and even if not they may be fatal.

So in USA dollars it's:
$135 and 5-8 days
$2800 for repair if failed
Nothing if you succeed.

You'll have to decide whether saving $135 and 5-8 days is worth the small but present risk of $2800 repair.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #20
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I finally took the plunge on my EX3 and did the update. My sphincter muscle is still sore from it being contracted for 15 minutes.

But all is well. I even did it on my Mac. Now I can fill a Hoodman 16GB card with 60fps overcranked footage and it doesn't even hiccup.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:49 AM   #21
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I did not "recommend" anything. I simply said the information about having to have firmware more recent than V1.11 installed before the upgrade was wrong, and so was your tech who told you that. And yes, I did feel it was worth the risk, I have confidence in the things I am willing to try. And I don't have confidence that people who say they bricked their cameras followed all the steps. What else would you expect them to say?
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Old March 29th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #22
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Let's not forget.

Does the firmware update provide anything you really need??

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Old March 29th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Charles Newcomb View Post
Gints: It isn't likely I'd be doing any cache recording while handheld, and when I'm on the sticks I usually have the Varizoom controller attached. I have never seen any start/stop bounce while using the Varizoom. But your point is a good one.
I didn't notice the wobble for handheld operation, but I did notice the wobble when I was doing recording on platform that is not particularly stable under changing conditions. I passed getting one as the EX1 didn't offer a large variety of controls that I like on zoom controllers (such as focus and push-auto-focus), but I realize that it is needed for my time of shooting. I was hoping to rig up the little EX1 remote with some optical cables, but it's just not reliable enough. Gotta get a Varizoom.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Bob, I read 4 or 5 reports of people bricking their camera and I believe they followed instructions. One reports, for example, the firmware installer crashed during the install. Another reported a USB power issue popup although everything was mains powered as you mention.

Software installers are not infallible. My own experience with Sony's upgrade to 1.11, while not bricking my camera, did require a second install.

One can forgo seat belts when driving or insurance for gear because, after all, accidents are rare . . . except when they happen to you that one time.

IMHO if the costs for repair of a bricked camera where low or Sony had a "warranty" on the installer it wouldn't be a big deal. The very fundamental question is can you and/or your business take that very small risk of a very large expense if something where to go wrong.

I don't think Sony had any motive to lie to me on the phone when they noted the firmware version as a risk factor. In fact I have seen that elsewhere as well. I had read that under 1.13 is a risk.

Although I haven't checked, it may well be that those who bricked their cameras (that includes some EX3 owners) may have had a firmware version that fell into the area of greater risk.
The recommendation is to have both the camera and the computer running off mains and with a battery installed. Main power can fail for sure. The probability of both a mains failure and a faulty battery at the same point in time is lower than the odds of winning a million in Vegas on your first bet.

It is likely that a previous update included a more robust loader that could say better recover from a comms failure. If this is the case then Sony should clearly say so.
The quoted cost of repairing a bricked camera is absurd. Programmable devices are usually in sockets and even SMD FPLAs can be reprogrammed in circuit. It's quite likely that not many or any repair centres have the gear to do this however a floating supply of exchange boards deals with this at minimal cost.

I don't think this is a deliberate attmept by anyone to spread FUD to make a dime. The costs quoted to have Sony do the work leave little room for profit once you factor in overheads. What does seem to be happening, at least in this country, is a tussle over who can carry out what work. Sony AU's position is that if the camera is under warranty then the authorised repair centre can carry out the upgrade and at a cost fixed by Sony. If not it has to be returned to Sony AU for the work to be done. None of this carry on is in anyones interests. This means a considerable cost to some users having to pay the costs of shipping their camera across this vast country.

The other issue is what happens if you do have the approved for upgrade revision and something still goes wrong. Is the camera then going to be repaired under warranty?
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Old March 31st, 2010, 07:01 AM   #25
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I've got four cameras with very early (1.2xxxx) firmware that have been an ongoing headache and need upgrading since those early versions were, well, broken........I also work in a system that is loath to fix or maintain anything once they own it and so I've been putting the maintenance off for some time. I was therefore overjoyed when I saw this update. Now, apparently they don't advise it if you have one of the early firmware versions. Any ideas why?
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Old March 31st, 2010, 07:45 AM   #26
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If you do some searching, I'm sure you can find what you need to make the update to 1.11. Then you can update to 1.20.

FWI, Sony recommends using a special USB cable to connect the camera to your computer. I didn't, but I did use a cable that I don't use everyday. The manufacturing tolerances of these cables seems pretty loose. I wouldn't use the same cable that you use to connect to pocket hard drives. There is too much risk of damage to the wiring that could cause a communication fault at the wrong time.

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Old March 31st, 2010, 09:09 AM   #27
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It all comes down to what Sony is WILLING to do (or not). If Sony does the upgrade it's likely warranted like any other Sony service. Out of warranty repairs cost but the repair itself is covered.

BTW someone with a bricked camera reported that

Sony Japan is looking for a solution to reset the Firmware on the DPR-board. Now this can be done only in the factory. With a working solution each authorized service center around the globe could then do the reset without exchanging the complete board for 2.800 USD ..
Which means that Sony is looking in the direction you've pointed out as possible. If the cost ended up in the hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars that it certainly might be worth the risk of doing it yourself since the cost of failure wouldn't be devastating.

Basically it seems Sony released this firmware without any systemic forethought on policy if failure should occur. Let's keep reporting as the policy establishes itself.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 12:22 PM   #28
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The "brick victim" I've heard from said Sony will do the repair for
The camera must be shipped to Japan (apparently not available through the local service center)
Turnaround would be 2-3 weeks.

Of course I hope they make the Firmware reset available to local Sony service centers to cut down on turnaround time.

When you consider:
DIY with risk and immediate use
$135 with 5-8 business days turnaround
$390 with 10-15 business days turnaround

DIY would seem a reasonable risk. Let's see if we can confirm this with some of the others who've experienced bricking. Keep in mind the cost and time to ship to Japan for bricking. If that could happen at local service center instead it would be a major relief.

Now wouldn't it have been easy if Sony actually spelled out this policy on their websites.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 09:07 AM   #29
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Creating upgrades that destroy cameras like EX1s and EX3s is, at least, good for business! Might improve sales figures.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 04:26 PM   #30
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I upgraded my original 1.05 to 1.11 . Then to the newest 1.20 release all by myself. The 1.11 upgrade was worth it. The 1.20...although I love the ability to shoot 60fps on my cheaper memory, it was not worth the big risk.

It's good to hear that a repair may not be too much. If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would not have done the 1.20 upgrade. It's just not worthwhile risk. Now if it had cache recording and standard def recording, that's worth a $300+ risk.

I actually just had another camera scare that's never happened before. After reviewing a clip with Record Review my screen turned green (like it does for a brief half second when switching formats) and froze there. I switched it off for 30 seconds, went to media mode. Viewed a clip and turned the camera off again. Switched it to camera mode and it has worked fine every since. Firmware related? Who knows...
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