Is the Ex-3 worth the difference in cost over the EX-1? How practical is it to change the lens to a longer lens cost wise? Right now I will be down converting everything to SD, I'm hoping to get some HD business as well but does it make sense to go with this HD only camera considering all the SD work?
The key difference between EX1 (which I have ) and EX3 is both the interchangeable lens and the ergonomics, overcrank as a knob, TimeCode in, other small niceties. Lenses can be expensive. If you like the creativity and it means more bookings or a higher pay rate then it's worth it.
HD for SD holds some great advantages. Future proofing if the projects have a lifespan beyond the immediate use is a big one.
Editing HD in an SD timeline is another big one. You have room to reposition shots as well as "dolly" in or track across digitally (think Ken Burns but with moving images).
I show work to my (potential) clients on a 46" HDTV. HD becomes an easy sell at that point. Some even pout that they have to show SD. I mention how easy it is to playback 720p for example from a computer or show them stuff on Vimeo in 720p set to (almost - scaling off) full screen and often seeing that on the web seals the deal.
Beyond the items Craig mentioned is the remote control port to allow for shading and iris control by the DIT tent, and the ability to sync timecode between cameras. I love the viewfinder too. IMO it is worth every penny for the EX3. If it will be of use to you.
Mike's right about the viewfinder, especially for eyes over 50. The camera is truly a delight with that exceptional viewfinder. All the ergonomic woes easily solvable with not too expensive add ons. Also strongly suggest a strengthening plate like DM's.
May I ask you fellows for an opinion? I too use the EX1 and don't want to go to the 3 BUT I have great problems with the screen in daylight. I have considered getting the EX3 'hood' that fits over the screen as a spare part from Sony (£300!!!!) and somehow attaching it to the screen of the EX1. Has anyone tried this? It may well be cumbersome but as long as it can be fitted with easy to use clips of some sort I would like to give it a try. I have the 'sock' with a glass at the end that a guy in the States is marketing but it is a bit too floppy for critical focusing and is a real pig to fit and remove quickly. This focus problem for us 'oldies' on these new fangled screens is becoming serious. Old men didn't used to make films, they do now but there are problems!
The EX1 is easier to handle than the EX3 but the big difference is that viewfinder as someone else has written on this thread.
All joking aside, the EX-3 viewfinder is fantastic for outdoor shooting (and it doesn't attach to the EX-1 screen without a lot of tape). The connectors for video out are durable BNC connectors, no silly little "AV" cord like the EX-1 (something you would expect on a $500 consumer camcorder). The adjustments for the viewfinder LCD and the over/undercrank are readily available knobs, not just menu items.
The removable lens has not been a factor for us; in fact, for wide angle stuff, we use the same bayonet-mount Sony WA converter that we use for the EX-1. We don't find ourselves needing extreme telephoto.
The EX-1 works with our Steadicam Merlin vest rig. The EX-3 would not.
They each have their strong points, although I'd have to say the EX-1's is simply its size.
Right Tim, I also have that hood and it's the one I use most. True the expanded focus helps a lot but leaving it on messes up the framing so you can't do that. I'm going to keep trying to find a way to utilise the EX3 view finder but it's tricky.
I had a few minutes so I removed the EX-3 viewfinder and held it up to an EX-1. I got the impression that you didn't have one of these to play with, so I figured I'd give it a try and show my results. It didn't work very well, but was better upside-down than it was the way it's oriented on the EX-3.
First hurdle: The base of the EX-3 viewfinder piece isn't flat. It doesn't match the face of the EX-1 LCD in that regard. Unless the gaps are taped shut, it'll let outside light in.
One other source of interference is the tab for the shoulder strap (does anyone actually use those?) - it protrudes to a point where it would hit the EX-3 hood unless you offsest it to the left a bit.
Conclusion: It's not a matter of simply holding the viewfinder to the LCD. Yeah, with enough gaffer's tape you might make it work. It's got its issues, but it is possible. Even if it's ugly, if it makes the viewfinder work in a situation where it'd be otherwise unusable, then go for it. I didn't investigate whether I thought the LCD support was up to the task of supporting the weight of the viewfinder (and whatever means of attachment one would use) - that's another factor that I'd suggest investigating.