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Notes on EX1 set-up

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derek hall
Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 17, 2008 at 2:47:16 am

Some notes on EX1 experiences and kit options.

Camera mount – not familiar with Bogen, I got the Miller solo legs with DS20 head - they work very well. I prefer heavy tripods but the Miller gives excellent portability especially when operating solo. The cylindrical carbonfiber legs and no spreader make it really versatile. Last week we shot a cyclist thru the rear window of an SUV and the footage is superb (partly due to the smooth transmission and suspension on the Toyota). We got a nice three-quarter angle from the same position, and great tracking using a cinesaddle through an open side window. In a situation needing lots of control at the long end of the lens I’d hire a heavy tripod for the job.

Overall the camera is too heavy as a “palm held” camcorder. I think it needs some form of shoulder support with an offset viewfinder. It’s the heaviest palm held out there; if you add a matte box, heavy battery, professional mic on top, and a wide-angle adaptor weighing 1kg, it becomes fairly heavy. Later I’ll experiment with shoulder mount extensions, but the viewfinder will still be an issue.

Because of the lack of resolution in the viewfinder I use peaking all the time even with the great LCD screen. An external monitor is preferable - next on my shopping list.

When needed I use a Sennheiser ME66 on top, mounted in a Rycote CCA for necessary clearance and vibration isolation.

Biggest problem to solve was finding a suitable 2-stage matte box which would accommodate a wide angle adaptor. I have ditched the Sony WA adaptor and am waiting for the Century Optics unit to arrive. The Sony has a permanently fixed lens hood which prevents use with a matte box, plus it is 0.8x, versus the more flexible 0.75x zoom-thru from Century.

I have gone for a Petroff 4x4 2-stage on rails. This allows the LCD screen to close and will accommodate the standard lens and WA adaptor with a simple ring adaptor which Petroff supply. I use the Petroff DV Professional rails and keep them on the camera all the time as they provide good support when working hand-held. I found that with some configurations a polarizing filter could only be turned through about 80 degrees; this too is solved with the Petroff 4x4. I looked at Cavision but didn’t like it and prefer Petroff to Chrosziel.

Some users have complained that a UV/lens protector filter stops the supplied lens hood fitting on the camera. A Marumi filter is thin and can be kept on the lens with the Sony lens hood. However, as with the Z1, I suspect it will have to be removed to mount the WA adaptor.

I’ve had the same issues as everyone with some of the fiddly buttons, batteries discharging if left on the camera, and lack of logic in the menu.

Very irritating that the preset white balance is only 3200, with no 5600 option. The Z1 allows you to warm/cool the preset and this would be useful.

Zebra – I’m back to using 70 percent, but I discovered that after changing the preset values both Zebra 1 and Zebra 2 both set to the chosen value, i.e. it is not possible to set them to different values.

Iris ring – great to have proper iris control but there’s a drawback on the EX1. When set to manual (as everything is on my camera) the ring does not disengage from the servo, the result is that a slow gently iris pull is not possible and the gear forces it to jump in small steps. Has anyone else found this, found a solution?

The ridiculous “Full Auto” switch can be activated just by brushing a fingertip against it. My first solution was a tiny square of gaffer tape – about 90 per cent effective. That is being replaced with a small black rubber washer which I’ll attach with double sided tape.

As for media, we’ve had not problems so far. The transfer tool dumps the media into FCP with ease, joins clips stored across two cards automatically etc. This week I’ll do a field test with a Windows laptop using MacDrive software to copy data via the Sony card reader to a portable LaCie drive, then import into FCP.

Down-converting to SD, 14x9 etc. Best to find out what the broadcaster/client wants and deliver accordingly as there are several ways to achieve the same thing. In an ideal world you could record the master back to an SxS card and swap with a fresh card from the broadcaster. For our current job we are squeezing the image using AE and outputting an anamorphic master on DigiBeta, which the broadcaster will ARC to 14x9.

As for the results, the pics and sound are stunning and this camera looks like a great investment. I hope the 32GB cards are released at NAB.

Has anyone been keeping a master list of all the things Sony needs to fix with the next version of this camera?


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Ron Shook
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 18, 2008 at 4:49:32 pm

Derek,

I really appreciate your work on this post.

Ron Shook
Shoulder-High Eye Productions
CreativeCOW Forum Host for Discreet edit*


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derek hall
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 19, 2008 at 1:03:57 am

Ron, you're welcome. It's been a tricky camera at times and feels like maybe Sony got it to market in a hurry without checking everything through, but no doubt they are taking note of the issues raised. The successor to the EX1 is looking good already...


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Ron Shook
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 19, 2008 at 4:32:42 pm

Derek,

[derek hall] "It's been a tricky camera at times and feels like maybe Sony got it to market in a hurry without checking everything through, but no doubt they are taking note of the issues raised. The successor to the EX1 is looking good already..."

I'd settle for a firmware update or EX1A that clears up some of the issues. I'm expecting more a big brother shoulder-mount version long before a successor, a big brother with the same internal quality, more and less fiddly switches, TC I/O, i.e., an ENG version that's quicker to operate on the run. It would probably cost 60-80% more. Not that I want one. Much of the beauty of the EX1 to me is image quality rivaling cameras 3-5 times as costly at a size and weight that enables support options like Steadicam that are 2-3 times less costly than for a heavier, bulkier camera. You sacrifice a little speed with the EX1 vis-a-vis a more traditional camcorder, but in return you get the better of several other worlds.

Quick question: The Petroff 4x4 2-stage on rails? What's it made of? Plastic or Aluminum? I ran into this mostly plastic possible option for Matte Box. Dunno if it would work well but it's less than half the cost of the Petroff:

http://www.imagewest.tv/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=55

[derek hall] "Overall the camera is too heavy as a “palm held” camcorder. I think it needs some form of shoulder support with an offset viewfinder. It’s the heaviest palm held out there; if you add a matte box, heavy battery, professional mic on top, and a wide-angle adaptor weighing 1kg, it becomes fairly heavy. Later I’ll experiment with shoulder mount extensions, but the viewfinder will still be an issue."

There are options out there for shoulder extensions that offset the camcorder so that you can use the viewfinder, but that still leaves you with a lot of weight on your fore arms. The only logical solution for extended handheld use to me short of a Steadicam rig is something like the Varizoom DV Media Rig where weight is born partially on the shoulder, but even more on the hips and your hands are pretty much free to guide and manipulate the camera without arm strain:

http://www.varizoom.com/products/supports/vzdvmediarig.html

Ron Shook
Shoulder-High Eye Productions
CreativeCOW Forum Host for Discreet edit*


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Kerry Brown
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 19, 2008 at 9:42:56 pm

You can have your WB preset at any temp you want in the profiles. PP1-6
You might think of aTortlerig Rig from 16 X 9.

KB


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Derek Hall
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 26, 2008 at 12:02:26 pm

I guess you could have a profile with everything standard except for a 5600k white balance preset but that feels like a rather inflexible workaround. What I don't understand is why it's not possible to bring up the white balance and simple dial it to whatever value you want, say in 100k increments. That seems the most logical way to control it. If that was possible, you could take a normal reading, and the simply dial it to a warmer or cool setting.

Re. the Tortlerig, I had a look at that but from my POV it defeats most of the reasons for going handheld, e.g. being able to quickly work at floor level, or at an angle, or to manouver into difficult spaces etc. Having the backpack and the pole thing over my head would negate most of the reasons for coming off the legs. But I appreciate the suggestions - it's good to suss these things out.






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Craig Seeman
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 20, 2008 at 10:12:49 am

[Ron Shook] "I'd settle for a firmware update or EX1A that clears up some of the issues."

I expect a firmware update which fixes issues and adds features. I think if they came out with and EX1A at this point they'd get a lot of angry folks who'd demand upgrades. That's the kind of thing Panasonic would do (DVX100, DVX100A, DVX100B).

[Ron Shook] "I'm expecting more a big brother shoulder-mount version long before a successor,"

When you compare the EX1 to F335, I think the above is likely. EX1 has many feature the 335 lacks. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a shoulder mount EX announced. Sony has said the EX1 is the first of new series.





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Ron Shook
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:13:02 pm

Craig,

[Craig Seeman] "I expect a firmware update which fixes issues and adds features. I think if they came out with and EX1A at this point they'd get a lot of angry folks who'd demand upgrades."

Makes mucho sense.

[Craig Seeman] "Sony has said the EX1 is the first of new series."

Hadn't heard that saying. It's good to know. Thanks,

Ron Shook
Shoulder-High Eye Productions
CreativeCOW Forum Host for Discreet edit*


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Derek Hall
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 26, 2008 at 11:44:55 am

The MX-5000 matte box looks interesting and a real good price. However a problem with the EX1 is that the lens barrel is directly under the swing-out LCD and handle, so the difficulty is making sure that the matte box and especially the rotating filter stages are clear of the LCD screen. I wish they'd kept the LCD on top like the Z1.

The reason I went for the Petroff is it enables the LCD screen to swing in/out and still operate the filter holders. Also it fits nicely with the Century Optics lens adaptors so it solved all the issues I was having with finding a good matte box with rails.

The Petroff is both plastic and aluminium, mostly plastic. The flag is aluminium and has slide-out wings to increase the width. Another advantage of the petroff is it requires no tools to adjust, has easy fit adaptor rings, and all the adjustments can be made with a quick turn of the plastic wing-nut things. It is more expensive so it's not a good budget item.

I'm still waiting for the Century Optics wide angle adaptor to come off the assembly line so I'll let you know the results when I have it all together.



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jim Kinsey
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Mar 31, 2008 at 2:41:55 am

I just hooked up the Cavision to my EX1 and the LCD closes just fine. It's close but Cavision did their homework and it fits nicley. I bought one for my HVX200 also. Now I will see if I an get some good deals at NAB on a filter set(s)..

JK



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Bill Kerrigan
Re: Notes on EX1 set-up
on Apr 5, 2008 at 2:24:00 am

The RedEye wide angle adaptor is available now.

http://www.vfgadgets.com/RedEye.htm



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