Ros wrote on 8/10/2009, 10:59 AM
I would go with the EX1...

Mind you that I had a love and hate relationship with it mainly because of the IR problem with some synthetic fabrics. I mostly shoot police officers, their dark blue pants and jackets would turn out brown! So I use a Schneider 486 filter and try not to zoom out more than Z10-15 on the zoom scale to avoid the green vignette. Tiffen should be coming out with a better filter....

I also use a Letus Extreme on many occasions. I have built myself a shoulder mount and it works great.

I use the MxR adapter and Sandisk 16gb SDHC cards which is really great. I just got back from Haïti on a shoot with 28 SDHC cards which didn't take much space, they all fitted into a micro Pelican case. I've had this camera since it came out.

I find the EX3 bigger and heavier but I do love it's lcd viwefinder, which is something I am working on to improve on the EX1. EX1 and EX3 share the same sensor. I didn't see any use for interchangeable lenses. The lens on the EX1 is very good, but when fully zoomed in, you will see some fringing and chromatic abberations, so I avoid to be fully zoomed in. It is very great in low light and I was able to improve this with the picture profile by over a f/stop.

At this point this is what comes to my mind, feel free if any more questions,

dreamlx wrote on 8/10/2009, 11:43 AM
Many thanks...

Do you have any example picture of the IR problem ?

Also how does the EX1 quality wise compare to the FX1 or Z7 ?

Concerning the SDHC cards, did you have any problem with card errors or does it work very stable ?

Can you please give me the model number of the SDHC card adapter ?

Thanks in advance
Ros wrote on 8/10/2009, 11:58 AM
I don't have any pictures of IR problem at this point, you can google it and you will find some.

I believe the Z7 and FX1 are HDV, not full HD, it's been a while. And I really didn't want to use tape anymore, no more rewinding! And you save so much time when digitizing, about 16 minute for a 58 minute shoot.

I use the Sandisk 16gb ultra II sdhc cards, and it's been extremely reliable, no errors with the MxR adapter from e-films.

Former user wrote on 8/10/2009, 12:22 PM
I'm shooting with an EX1 and love it. Rosto99 covered the quirks, so I'll just go with two more obvious but often forgotten considerations:

- remember to budget for extra SxS cards
- remember to budget for extra hard-drive space AND backup storage (I keep saying it, but Drobo is my new best friend) - there is no tape backup, so if your HD dies, your video is gone for good
Jay Gladwell wrote on 8/10/2009, 12:53 PM

Using the EX3 here. No issues. Beautiful images. The IR problem has proven to be minor. The Z7 is not in the same class as the EX cameras. Yes, the EX3 has some advantages over the EX1, but it really depends on YOUR needs and likes.

What is video and find out for yourself

farss wrote on 8/10/2009, 1:54 PM
Advantage of the EX3 over EX1:
Timecode in/out and CCU connection, this is what you need for use in OB.

Advantage of EX1 over EX3:
Smaller and more ergonomic. Control layout on EX1 isn't exactly stellar either. No need to add a plate to keep the camera in one piece, nice one Sony.

Both EX1/3 factor in replacing the mic holder. Get the DM Accessories plate to turn the mic holder into an extra cold shoe to hold the mic which you can then easily removed for stowing.

I would not say the IR problem is minor. No viable solution exists if using WA adaptor which is an issue for me as I bought the 16x9 0.75 WA adaptor.

Shooting with SDHC cards is nice. I use the MxM adaptors (same as the ones Hoodman sell) as they're a better fit than the MxRs.

Obvious advantage of the EX1/3 over the Z7, the EXs shoot every frame rate you'll ever need.

Laurence wrote on 8/11/2009, 5:36 AM
I have the Z7 which I bought mainly because every so often I do an extended foreign shoot where tape is more practical. I will be doing a shoot in Africa in November for instance where I expect we will come back with maybe 30+ tapes. That would be a lot of copying cards to a hard disc then backing up at nights after long days shooting. Other than this one issue, the EX series is superior in every way, and I never use tapes except on this type of shoot.

As far as the video quality goes, the Z7 is spectacular. Maybe not quite as spectacular as the EX series, but pretty amazing none the less.

If I had to do it again, I would probably go with the EX1 or EX3 though. At the time I purchased my Z7, extremely expensive SxS cards made by Sony were the only option. Now you can use an SDHC adapter and get a boatload of high capacity SDHC cards for a pretty reasonable price.
Ros wrote on 8/11/2009, 6:08 AM
When I had a DV camera, at the end, I would backup all my tapes on 2 hard drives, only because 20 tapes would equal 20 hours of recapture time (and wasted time rewinding) if your hard drive would ever fail. So at that point, tapes didn't mean much anymore for me.

And now prices on hard drives have dropped significantly....I use 1tb drives on a docking station with sata connection. I copy to my backup drive first and then copy from the backup drive to my work drive, so this way I know if anything is wrong with the backup drive. I usually keep the SDHC cards till the editing is done.

My last shoot was in Haïti, and that was the first time where I had so little to carry along! Imagine having 28 SDHC cards in one little case as opposed to 28 betacam tapes or DV tapes or even SxS cards.

All my cards are numbered, so there is no writing on labels on the field, just move up to the next card. That was really great!
PerroneFord wrote on 8/11/2009, 6:53 AM
Yea, I don't see why you wouldn't treat your SDHC cards like tape on the shoot. Just keep the cards until the shoot is complete, and everything has been backed up twice. That's exactly what I do. Shoot, copy to my editing machine, and copy to my laptop.

With the same raw files in both places, I only need my NLE project file copied back and forth day to day to keep current edits, grading, etc. on both environments.

I can't remember the last time I used a tape for my use. I only use them to hand off to the local PBS station.
dreamlx wrote on 8/11/2009, 3:00 PM

I have temporary an EX1 here for testing now.

I have made 2 observations:

1. if shooting 1080 50i, shutter speed 50 seems not a valid choice, only 60 or 100... which one do you choose ?

2. for having color temperature presets for white balance, you have to define a picture profile

Are my observations correct or do I ignore something ?

The image quality is really stunning and the depht of field seems much shallower than the Z7 which should be due to the larger CMOS. I think the EX1 is my favourite.
farss wrote on 8/11/2009, 6:08 PM
1) Yeah, that confuses me too. I've always thought the standard shutter speed for 50i was 1/50. On the EX I simple set shutter to Angle and 180deg. If you do that and switch back to time it shows 1/100. Maybe that makes sense if it's the exposure time per field?

2) You can have one user defined preset plus fixed tungsten without using a PP. There was certainly a bit of understandable wailing over this limitation once the camera got into a few hands.

For sure the EX1 is a great camera, you gotta spend many more dollars to get better. It's not the best camera for everyone though.

Serena wrote on 8/11/2009, 8:28 PM
No camera is a perfect solution for all needs, so always establish what you must have. If you shoot wildlife then the interchangeable lenses on the Z7 and EX3 will be very attractive. The stock Fujinon lens on the EXs is very good, but falls off in contrast and chromatic aberration at full focal length. If you are likely to get addicted to shallow DoF then it makes sense to use a prime lens in place of the zoom. On the other hand if you're unlikely to spend the big bucks for additional high quality optics, then interchangeability isn't worth the extra cost.
There are many videos shot with EXs on Vimeo (e.g. Philip Bloom's blog), so there is no lack of material to look at. Read postings on DVInfo for user experience.
dreamlx wrote on 8/11/2009, 9:00 PM
As I am owner of a Z7 also, I did some low light tests, and for low light 1080 50i it seems that 1/60 is the way to go as with 1/100 the EX1 will be noisier than the Z7.
Serena wrote on 8/11/2009, 9:38 PM
Why is that? The sensors and processing algorithms are different.
dreamlx wrote on 8/12/2009, 3:31 AM
One personal question out of interest to EX1 and EX3 users. At which mode (1080 50i, 1080 25p, 720 50p) do you generally shoot ? Also at which shutter speed and other settings do you generally shoot.

My final destination is mostly DVD so I think may be it would be better shooting and editing in 720p50 and re-interlacing using Avisynth prior to encoding.
megabit wrote on 8/12/2009, 3:45 AM
1. if shooting 1080 50i, shutter speed 50 seems not a valid choice, only 60 or 100... which one do you choose ?
Simply switch the shutter off - this will give you 1/50th.
This is a general rule to conform the shutter speed to your frame (field) rate.

Of course, Bob's point on using shutter angle instead of speed is also valid. Shutter off = 360 deg.

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SWS wrote on 8/12/2009, 7:35 AM
My thoughts in looking at these cameras was the fact I just wasn't ready to commit to a tape-less system. Being an old geezer having started in the 60's with film. So I chose the Z7 over the EX3. knowing the EX was the better quality camera. I just liked having tape to fall back on if needed. That being said after using the CF cards I really love tape-less. I really haven't needed to fall back on the tape at all...well maybe twice. I guess I'll consider the Z7 as my way of transitioning from tape to tape-less and soon I'll be looking to see what Red does with their Scarlet and what SONY might do with their next gen EX-type cameras...another 2 cents.

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dreamlx wrote on 8/12/2009, 9:07 AM
SWS: Well I already own a Z7. For the first purchase, I decided based on the same argument as you. But having only good experiences with the Z7 (there was never any need to read a tape because of card failures), I think I will definitely make the next step and go tapeless.
mikelinton wrote on 8/12/2009, 6:41 PM
We've used the EX3, and EX1 extensively here... (we've also used the Z7, Z1 etc. just about every HDV Sony camera).

The biggest difference between the EX1 and EX3 is how the operator uses the camera. The EX3 is much nicer to hand hold, having the magnifier on the LCD makes it easier to focus, and the little shoulder 'butt' makes it a lot more stable with less fatigue.

Image quality wise, they're the same - we've haven't noticed any difference, the camera optics and electronics are essentially the same.

As someone else pointed out, timecode out etc. on the EX3 - but if you're not doing live switch or things of that nature, probably not a big deal.

I would stay away from the Z7. Camera is good, optics are good - but the HDV codec doesn't hold a candle to XDCAM EX. You get 35mbit over 25mbit which is nearly 50% less compression. If it comes down to budget, get the EX1...

The biggest disadvantage to the EX1/EX3 is the XDCAM EX memory. 2 things here 1) archiving (we archive to Blu-Ray disc, which is the cheapest way to go really - but if you shoot a lot, plan on spending a lot of hours burning) - backup to hard drive alone is just not reliable. 2) cost - 16GB is expensive, but a simple work around (dare I post this on a Sony forum?) is to buy a couple eFilms SD adapters, and a bunch of SD cards. We use them, they work great - some limitations, but the benefits of $45 for 16GB of storage more than offest the limitation (which is not being able to overcrank to 60fps).

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions let me know... we've probably shot 500hrs+ on the EX1 & EX3 over the last year.

Laurence wrote on 8/16/2009, 7:43 PM
I would stay away from the Z7. Camera is good, optics are good - but the HDV codec doesn't hold a candle to XDCAM EX. You get 35mbit over 25mbit which is nearly 50% less compression. If it comes down to budget, get the EX1...

Just wanted to correct this a bit. The EX1 shoots 1920x1080 vs the Z7 shooting 1440x1080. That is about a third more pixels and 35mbps is about a third more mbps than 25mbps. The compression rate per pixel is the same. In fact the EX1 has a 1440x1080 mode which uses 25mbps and I would guess is almost identical in quality to the Z7. On the Z7, this is the maximum bitrate since that is all that hdv tape will handle.

Most people have a hard enough time telling the difference between 1280x720 and 1920x1080 HD let alone 1440x1080 vs 1920x1080. Yes there is a difference, but it is more subtle than you might think.
mikelinton wrote on 8/19/2009, 12:59 PM
My math was off - 25mbit to 35mbit is 40% less compression 1920x1080 to 1440 is 33% more pixels. So yes, it's nearly the same compression per pixel but side-by-side on a monitor the Z7 in my opinion doesn't look as good as the EX1 or EX3... we've actually just finished a project with the Z7U footage mixed primarily with EX1 footage, and side-by-side the EX1/3 looks better in almost every shot.

Codec aside, the 1/2" sensor in the EX1/EX3 vs. 1/3" is also something to consider in the overall picture.

Don't get me wrong, the Z7U is by far the best HDV camera in that price-point, but operationally, functionally, image quality wise the EX1/EX3 is the hands-down winner in my opinion.

Laurence wrote on 8/20/2009, 8:35 AM
I can see where the larger chips would give you shallower depth of field (which I would love). How different does the image look? Is it subtle or does it jump out at you?
ScorpioProd wrote on 8/20/2009, 11:29 AM
How does the low light capabilities of the EX1/3 compare with the Z7?

And noise when gain is added?

I would think the 1/2" chips would have a significant advantage in low light, but is that the case?

mikelinton wrote on 8/20/2009, 1:05 PM
You do notice shallower DOF going from 1/3" to 1/2". In terms of how different it looks, the EX1 has CineAlta settings that allow you to tweak the crap out of the image, so that has a big factor in overall image. But you really have to look at them, and decide for yourself... some people think the HVX200 puts out an awesome picture, so some of it is personal preference.

In terms of low-light I haven't compared the two side-by-side, but we've been able to shoot some phenominal low light stuff on the EX1 using the EX Slow Shutter settings, and some other tricks in the camera. But we've been extremely impressed with the latitude of the image sensor, as well as low-light capability. As far as gain goes 6db is about as high as we've gone on it and it looks pretty good in on an HD monitor. 12db is probably OK if you don't have a choice (although lighting the scene is always a good start). :)