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EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens

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Paul Zwicker
EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:33:53 pm

I need to find out how many of you have had this issue. Zoom does not move smoothly from the start then smooths out while attempting to do a slow zoom.

This is the second stock lens on my camera. It sticks just as badly as the first. Before I send it in again for yet another lens, I'd like a show of hands of those who have this issue.
For that matter if you got a "good" lens, please post.

Thanks for helping.

Paul Zwicker

ZwickFlicks LLC
Wisconsin, US
Sony PMW EX3
MacPro
Final Cut Pro 6.6
http://www.zwickflicks.com


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David Gallessich
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:10:40 pm

I have similar problem. Manual as well as auto.
You can hear a slight noise (camera mic definitely hears it) even in manual zoom. Not a great lens.


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Will Salley
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:15:22 pm

I have had no issues with the zoom on the stock lens. I rarely use the zoom anyhow.

Mac Pro 2x2.8 Quadcore - 10.6.2 - QT 7.6.3 - 22 GB RAM - nvidia8800GT - SATA internal & external storage - Blackmagic Multibridge Pro - Open GL 1.5.10 - Wacom Intous2 tablet - AJA io
SONY XDCAM EX3 - Letus Elite


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Ron Pestes
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:45:24 pm

I have had my EX-3 for over a year and had no problems of any kind. The lens has always worked as it should for me.

Apple Certified Master Pro FCS 2
Sony EX-3
MacBook Pro


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Rick Diamond
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:24:18 am

Yeah, mine sucks too. It's my second lens, and I just figured that that's all I can expect.

Rick


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Jay Gladwell
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:36:08 pm

I must be one of the lucky few. I've yet to encounter this problem with the EX3.



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Bala Chandran
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 4, 2010 at 8:52:05 pm

My EX3 has the same problem. In fact this issue has been discussed earlier here. I did call Sony to send it for repair and the guy in NJ told me that this is expected at speeds of 10 and under (!) as if it's a feature. I am surprised that more people are not complaining to Sony about this 'feature'. It stutters in slow zoom and it is expected? It does not say anywhere in the brochure that it is expected but they just came up with this idea when people started complaining.


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 4, 2010 at 9:05:43 pm

It is/was same issue with EX1. It was a mixed bag in that some were affected and others not. I caught mine before Sony set policy and they replaced my camera which is smooth down to 2 now.

The EX1R throws some kind of warning or something when using low speed zooms now (EX1R owner will have to verify what the exact message/mechanism is though).

Whatever replaces the EX3 I suspect will have a similar "feature."



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Bala Chandran
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 4, 2010 at 10:33:52 pm

So I am just lucky that my EX1 does not have this 'feature.' Besides, my EX1 picture looks sharper than the EX3's. May be my EX3 lens is faulty in that area too. But that could be another feature Sony has added to the EX3! Soft focus.
I want to add a third camera, may be the EX1r but the uncertainty of the lens jitter adds a certain jitter to my dilemma.


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 6, 2010 at 5:04:24 pm

[Bala Chandran] "So I am just lucky that my EX1 does not have this 'feature.'"

Some do, some don't. My first one had the issue and Sony replaced with on that didn't. They wont do that anymore and even have their "whatever it is" on the EX1R which notes slow zoom speeds are not reliable.

[Bala Chandran] "May be my EX3 lens is faulty in that area too. But that could be another feature Sony has added to the EX3! Soft focus. "

Check backfocus. Of course with EX3 you can buy a better lens.

[Bala Chandran] "I want to add a third camera, may be the EX1r but the uncertainty of the lens jitter adds a certain jitter to my dilemma."

It can certainly be if you like doing "creep zooms."





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Bala Chandran
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:11:26 pm

Creep zoom is my 'livelihood.' I specialize in dance productions, especially Indian classical dance, and my long shots call for a lot of creep zoom.
In any case I drove up to Teaneck NJ (from Virginia) yesterday and gave both the EX1 and 3 for firmware update. The EX3 warranty expires on Wednesday so I made it in before that. Let's see if I get lucky and they fix it. I have had bad experiences with Sony as far as service is concerned, they return stuff saying it's fixed when it isn't!


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mike gorga
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 7, 2010 at 7:03:05 pm

I have the same sticky zoom problems. There is no excuse. Hell I have better zooming on far less cameras. I wonder if the lens from my old Sony 537 rig would fit this? Half inch. Not HD. Hmmm lets check this out.

In my career I've waited too many months to get gear back that has the identical problem it had when it left the shop. If the zoom WORKS...that is...changes the focal length...then it's considered fine I suppose.

This is a smaller problem than losing a day shoot because of card failure, or camera causing card failure, but thats another story.

Mike Gorga, Producer/Director
MEGCOMM Film & Video Prod.
800.816.1884


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Chuck Green
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:30:17 pm

My EX3 is sticky/uneven on zooming, even using an external zoom controller (VariZoom Rock EX). My EX1 had no zoom problems, with or without the controller. It is hard to tolerate during jazz performance recordings, when I want slow, smooth zooms.


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Gil Kedem
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:09:10 pm

Hi All

We have 3 cameras Sony EX3 and using 3 units of Manfrotto 521EX Zoom control on them. All cameras have the same issue of uneven / jerky zoom.

I am currently looking to buy additional 2 units of Zoom Control and am glad to come across your comments. I thought it was an issue of the Zoom Control and not the lens and was willing to spend more money on better more professional units.

If anyone can recommend a zoom control that works well with the EX3 I will be grateful.

Regards


Gil Kedem
Camera Department
Channel 66


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Bob Cole
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on May 1, 2010 at 11:30:21 am

I'm thinking of buying an EX3, but reading these reports gives me pause.

What about simply putting on another zoom lens? There is the Fujinon XS8X4AS-XB8 4-32mm, a 1/2" lens which appears to be designed for the EX3a. I realize that is sort of a specialty wide-angle lens, but has anyone tried the zoom on it? Or any number of reliable 2/3" lenses, although it might be difficult to find one that goes wide enough to fill the EX3's 1/2" target.


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Hugh Marley
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 5, 2010 at 9:01:32 am

I have the same problem.
In my case an EX1 that has been updated to the latest firmware.

The unit is just over 1year old and originally had this problem but slight and not all the time.
It has recently got considerably worse making a slow zoom impossible.

The lens on my Z1 (much older) does not suffer this "feature" but then a totally different manufacturer makes it.

Hawke.


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:44:10 pm

And Sony no longer considers this a valid warranty repair issue from what I understand.
Test using the programable zoom setting and see if it stutters during the zoom. I believe Sony's cutoff point is now 8 or 10 rather than the lowest point of 1 the camera can be set too. In other words, if it's stutter free at 8 or 10 they may say it meets normal spec.

Either way, do the test and then contact Sony and make your argument just in case you get a sympathetic tech.



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Hugh Marley
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 6, 2010 at 4:32:46 pm

Thanks for the reply. After reading many posts I tried the handle zoom setting, it is smoothish down to 2 and perfect from 5 up.
The other factor that I didn't mention is that only zooming in on the rocker is jerky, zooming out on the rocker is fine.
It looks as if in my case it is the control that is the problem but not knowing the technology or being able to find any detail anywhere it could be any component in the control chain.
Its time to contact Sony.


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Paul Zwicker
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 6, 2010 at 6:03:19 pm

Craig is pretty much right on the money. Sony no longer sees this as a problem. I do not have to time to fight this anymore and have gotten nowhere in the past with the techs and cordial (over the phone) supervisor in New Jersey.

Keep your fingers crossed and hope you get a "good" one.

Paul Zwicker

ZwickFlicks LLC
Wisconsin, US
Sony PMW EX3
MacPro
Final Cut Pro 6.6
http://www.zwickflicks.com


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Bob Cole
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 6, 2010 at 6:28:35 pm

[Paul Zwicker] "Sony no longer sees this as a problem."

It's not a problem for me either. I was considering an EX3 several months ago, but when I saw this thread, I thought, "Why bother buying a problem?"

Bob C


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Mark Morgan
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 18, 2010 at 2:00:55 am

I have two ex3's both have the sticky lens issues and I have been ignored by Sony, one lens was replaced by Sony but it ended up with the same problem


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stephen Moro
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 21, 2010 at 9:06:25 am

I have noticed this problem for the past few months

Firstly id like to say that the zoom servo (rocker) on the lens was never great - from the start i found it difficult to get smooth zooms (unlike the Z1) But u could always get around the problem by using an external zoom demand (canon or fuji) but now it sticks even with an external zoom control

I called up Sony tech support and they said "put it on a zoom speed of 10 and above"
i then explained that this setting in the menu (hi and low) is only for the mini zoom control on the handle. No one uses this. Everyone uses the main large zoom demand. So basically what Sony are saying is that you need to start (with main servo zoom) at 10 speed (which is impossible to do) or use the mini zoom control on the handle (and set the speed to 10) so ull get a jump at the start of the zoom but the actual speed once it starts should be smooth (this is also unusable as u get a 'push' or 'jump' if u will at the start of the move

It seems that the only way to get around the problem is to use an external HD lens (Canon HJ14x4.3mm) but its a 30k USD lens. I have this lens but its just not practical using it. Firstly it makes the lens massively top heavy - hand held work is ridiculous and difficult. Its just not what the camera was designed for

So u really have no option but to use the camera with the stock standard lens and dont zoom (or go manual zoom) which doesnt look very good

ANY FUJI OR CANON ZOOM DEMAND WILL NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!

I did find that blowing around the zoom barrel with compressed air will help quite a lot
This is also i find a little dangerous - but it improved the zoom - but not eliminated the problem

I think the only way to fix it would be bring it into Fujinon (but its such a small lens i doubt they would service it)

Has anyone tried to have it serviced at Fuji?

Ive been made a fool of because of this problem - I dont think clients really believe you when you try to explain that its in fact the tools not the tradesman thats the problem! Sony and or Fuji have a lot to answer for! Maybe someone should do a write up story for ASC and related DOP / camera magazines warning people of this problem.

Think there are so many EX3's out there Sony simply just doesnt care anymore about helping cameraman have this problem solved. Without is being fixed i find the camera useless!


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Paul Zwicker
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 21, 2010 at 1:10:29 pm

Well I would not go so far as to say it is a useless camera. It does make great video-though having a very obvious bump in a slow zoom does make that aspect unusable.

I had to shoot a live show with 20' projection of my camera as it zoomed into the podium. Nothing like looking inept with a that issue projected for all to see. That was last year when I had had enough and sent it in for "repair". Came back the same way.

It's too bad that a nice camera like this continues to be shipped out with this issue.
Some of us do not have the cash to upgrade lenses and add the extra front weight.
The tv show I shoot with the EX3 happens to be a fast-paced duck hunting show. Most of the time it calls for quick zooms into the bird. The camera fails when I have to push into a 3 shot or 1 shot during in-field interviews. Manual zoom does work when my hand isn't frozen from being in the cold wind and rain.

I wonder what Sony's response would be to a petition to replace this lens if enough users signed up!

ZwickFlicks LLC
Wisconsin, US
Sony PMW EX3
MacPro
Final Cut Pro 6.6
http://www.zwickflicks.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 21, 2010 at 2:09:50 pm

Petitioning won't work.

I think the reality of the situation is that in order to make the lens within the tolerances needed consistently would drive up costs considerably.

It's sad because it eliminates creep zooms from one's artistic arsenal.

As noted above my EX1 had the issue and Sony replaced the camera (before they changed their policy) and I get smooth zoom down to speed 2. The feel of the rocker though still makes it hit or miss on whether I can avoid the lurch.

Sony is certainly aware of the issue and their response was to change the policy that speed 10 is the smooth base threshold, rather than change the manufacturing tolerances of the lens.

I wonder if the 320 or 350 has this issue?

I'll bet Sony is going to think the lens issue through in the next camera design. Side note is that I understand the NEX-VG10 has no zoom rocker at all.



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Chris Newlin
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Aug 25, 2010 at 11:16:36 pm

EX1r, about 6 mos. old.
sticky zoom, seemingly at anything other than whip zoom.
can't use camera for "live" events and program recording.
as for making manufacturing too expensive for that type of tolerance... with all respect, I've used many other cheaper cameras that could at least get the zoom right... (no comparison at price point for imager, etc.... but for a "zoomer" we're not talking breakthrough technology here...)
it's a design defect, or a really bad manufacturer's defect that is too expensive to address for this many units already out...

but I'm shopping around for something else.

EclecticBubba


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Frank Dimmock
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:21:41 am

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum, so please go easy on me!

I've bought an EX3 recently and found the slow zoom problem with the lens. I bought the EX3 primarily as an HD upgrade from my SD DSR-250 and PD-170 for wedding work and of course slow zooms are essential.

The dealer has confirmed the problem and checked my lens on several other EX3s and other lenses on my EX3 and they are all the same. They are obviously not impressed and lent me an excellent lens for my first job, but that doesn't solve my problem. I broke the bank buying the EX3, so can't afford a new lens and Sony aren't interested. The dealer has asked me to email them with my complaint and they will forward it to their Sony representative, but I don't know if that will do any good.

Being an engineer and having access to world-class electromechanical engineers, I'm wondering if anyone has attempted to cure the problem or knows of the exact cause? I've obtained the schematic diagram for the camera, but can't find one for the stock lens. There appears to be a 3V and an unregulated 12V supply through the lens connector, but short of dismantling my lens, I can't easily learn any more.

Question: Does anyone have any hard info on the problem, know of a technical solution or even have a broken lens I can obtain to pull apart please? I'm of the opinion I can resolve the problem with a better motor/gearbox, maybe using an R/C servo or similar?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Frank.


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stephen Moro
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:33:02 pm

If u contact a technician at ur local Sony Broadcast repair center im sure they would be able to help
They would also probably have several broken ones they would give you if u wanted to take them apart


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Don Greening
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:50:27 pm

[Frank Dimmock] "I'm of the opinion I can resolve the problem with a better motor/gearbox, maybe using an R/C servo or similar?"

My opinion differs slightly. Since this is an 'economy' lens manufactured by Fujinon It may be logical to assume that the tolerances and/or clearances are somewhat more loose than a more expensive lens. If that's the case then no amount of fiddling with it will work. My assumption is based on the fact that if you're trying to do a crawl with a speed of less than ten increments then Sony considers that acceptable and will not consider fixing it. If, on the other hand, you're still seeing a problem with a setting of more than ten you're completely within your right to ask for a warranty repair or replacement.

- Don

Don Greening
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Chris Newlin
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 18, 2012 at 9:19:57 pm

in my research, one of their techs admitted that "the motor in the zoom is not as stable as some customers would like." That's about as far a detail as I could get, but was certainly an admission that they know about the problem. However, as you know by now, they just shifted their "spec" on the speed which they consider a stable zoom, and refuse to fix to any decent tolerance. Despite their marketing materials which suggest that it's a pro lens.
my lens, btw, was unstable at speeds greater than their suggested "10".

If you have any time left on a dealer's warranty, just return the camera and get a refund (if that's possible). IMHO, even if you were really good at coming up w/ a solution, how much personal time/energy/frustration can you deal w/ over the problem? (Unless, of course, you plan to market your "fix" to the many many unhappy customers!) While they will often "exchange" a lens (once), the replacement is likely to be faulty as well. (I tried this as have others.)

If you are vested in the EX3 line, one solution available, (though expensive, but one that I ended up taking) is to buy another lens to go on the unit. (Fuji or Canon make lenses for this camera.) You can also of course use various adapters with still camera lenses.

But do not expect any satisfaction from Sony, they will not repair the lens.

EclecticBubba


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Frank Dimmock
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Apr 25, 2012 at 11:34:33 am

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, I realise that if the slack is in the actual lens barrel itself, I can't do anything without taking the lens apart. According to the people at True Lens Services in the UK, that's not possible without destroying some of the retaining rings and of course there is always the danger of damage, misalignment etc. It's not a route I would go down. If the problem is the lack of torque from the motor, or stiction in the gears in the drive, that should be fairly easy to overcome with a better motor/drive/control. A miniature stepper motor is a possible solution. I don't really want to take the zoom handle apart either, but I might just out of curiousity!

I see the problem as more of a challenge and just knowing the actual cause would be a good start, apart from the fact that the root cause is Sony's lack of care in making it work properly in the first place! I know it's a Fujinon lens, but it is specific to the Sony EX3 and the buck stops with Sony.

I'm waiting for feedback from the company I bought the camera from, as they are pretty disgusted with the response from Sony UK. I bought the camera 2nd hand and the original Silver Support ran out in August last year, but I still have 18 months of the dealers warranty remaining.

I may end up having to buy a new lens and maybe I will get some "assistance" from the dealer. The logical upgrade would be the XS8x4AS-XB8, but I understand it suffers with the same zoom problem as the standard lens. There are other alternatives, maybe a good SD lens I can use with the supplied ACM-18 adapter, but I need to do some research first.

Thanks,

Frank.


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Frank Dimmock
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Feb 18, 2013 at 7:55:51 pm

Hi all,

This is just an update to my last post in case anyone is interested in my progress.

As I think you all probably guessed, I got nowhere with Sony and basically they ignored me. The upshot of that is I won't be buying another Sony product and my partner who was looking to buy a an EX3 will be buying Panasonic!

The zoom problem is caused by a cr@p motor/gearbox specification - the actual motor is a good quality part, but it is just not up to the job. It has quite a low reduction ratio and just hasn't got the power to drive the lens smoothly. The motor is supplied by 3 Volts and if the camera is held vertically and the zoom operated, it works fine in one direction as the weight of the internals drop in the driven direction, but reversing causes bad juddering as it tries to "lift" the lens. When inverted, the exact opposite happens.

I have sourced a replacement motor gearbox and a spare lens and am currently grafting the motor in place of the original. It's actually quite simple because the motor is a barrel shape and an industry standard 16mm diameter. The new motor is a 6 Volt one with more power, a much higher reduction ratio and will be driven with a variable 0 to 12 Volts from the main lens supply. Control will be probably a PWM controller powered from the 12 V supply, but controlled by the original 3V motor feed. This means all the original functionality of the handle and remote zoom will still work in addition to the rocker control, plus of course any plug-in controller. The PWM will be from either a PIC or an analogue circuit, but that's phase 2.

Frank.


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Paul Zwicker
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Feb 18, 2013 at 8:05:17 pm

Frank,

Keep us posted if you figure out an alternative solution to this motor issue. Thank you for investigating it and posting.

Paul Zwicker

ZwickFlicks LLC
Wisconsin, US
Sony PMW EX3
MacPro
Final Cut Pro 6.6
http://www.zwickflicks.com


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Frank Dimmock
Re: EX3 Survey: Sticky Zoom on stock lens
on Mar 1, 2013 at 9:57:21 pm

Hi all,

I thought I would let everyone know if they haven't already discovered that the PMW-200 has the same lens as the EX1 and EX3 and appears to have exactly the same problem with the zoom. I had hands-on at BVE in London on Tuesday and vented my frustration at the Sony rep on their stand. All he could do was "apologise" and roll out the same old party line of "built to a price point" when I told him about the problem, but then I don't suppose I could have expected anything else.

Frank.


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