I'm looking at buying a used ex1 from an associate of mine. The camera has approx 500 hours logged on it. Would this be considered a lot of use or not? I'm not sure how this is measured for this cam since I'm coming from a PD170 background. Thanks.
Hmm, well I'd say you don't have to worry about tape head wear or tape path alignment issues.
Check software version though because you'll want it to be 1.11 or 1.12 to use SDHC cards. It's only $100 for the upgrade but Sony's turnaround on that could be 3 weeks based on some people's experience.
The world's a different place when hours has nothing to do with head hours and threading and tape path wear and head cleaning, etc, etc, etc.
If you think about it the only issue may be with the contacts of the Express 34 slot contacts as Craig has advised. 500 hours could be from someone constantly keeping the camera on and you know the record time must be a small fraction of this time. The good thing is that it is only about 1 year old and that is not enough time for any tapeless camcorder to fail. Someone spoke of a 3% per month from release date depreciation for the XD Cam 700 HD cameras, so you must decide what is a good value for yourself.
IMO Items for sale are only worth what someone is willing to offer, not what sellers demand.
Actually there a bunch of issue one should check for not related to hours so much as "early model" issues.
It would be a chore to list all the details (and you might be able to search to find them) but here goes and others feel free to add:
Check to see firmware version (you want 1.11 or 1.12)
Battery Drain issue
Stuttering programed zoom when speed is below 5 (try 2 for example)
Neutral Density filter not switch properly.
Letters (names of buttons and switches) being worn off.
Back focus being out of alignment.
All these things were fixed by Sony without charge (firmware upgrade is $100) but if you're not the original owner and the camera is out of warranty, this could be quite expensive.
Also check focus ring (make sure you test full manual too) and zoom ring in manual.
You MIGHT want to ask if it includes the 8GB SxS card that came with the camera and the free one he got for registering the camera (those are worth hundreds of dollars each). Don't forget the small battery that came with the camera as well.
The most important thing is to check those air vents to see if they're little spiders nesting there. Check for cobwebs.