Holding the EX1 against chest
I know there's been a lot of discussion regarding handholding the EX1 but here's a question I haven't found an answer for yet.
I am looking to buy an EX1 but my only worry is that I do a lot of handheld work and I don't fancy using shoulder mounts/monopods in the belt. At the moment I'm using a Z7 and when I shoot handheld I lean the rear of it on my shoulder/press it against the front of my chest. This works quite well but with the position of the battery on the EX1 i'm worried that this method would cause damage.
What is your experience of this? Does it seem safe to those of you who already own one?
How long do you plan on hand-holding? It can certainly be done but it will get heavy and it is awkward. It's not all that different than the Z7 in relation of the viewfinder & LCD. To answer you question, the battery mount is fairly rugged and I don't think you'l have any issues as far as anything breaking. My issue is that while resting the camera on my front shoulder like that, my eyes can no longer focus at that 4-5" distance to the LCD, so I need to hold the camera about 10" away for the bifocals to even have a chance. :)
I have shot several hundred hours with both the EX-1 and the Ex-1R.
What I have found is that if the Hoodman eye piece is used on the fold out view finder and if you use the large battery (either Sony or Switt) and rest it on your colar bone or chest, you can have very stable and confortable shooting with the Ex-1. I cock the grip on my right hand up just click up from horizontal and place my left hand under the lens hood with my index finger around the little foot at the bottom. This allows my thumb to operate the manual focus easily. There have been times that I have shot constantly for 3-4 hours when shooting dirt automobile racing. The only thing that really gets tired from this position is the small of my back.
I also have the Ex-3 that is configured with a brace that allows a large Battery to be placed as a counter weight over my shoulder. The standard view fnder on the Ex-3 is much like using the Hoodman on the Ex-1. You actually have 4 points of support. Your right hand on the grip to operate the zoom and the take button,the contact with your colar bone or chest, your eye in the view finder and your left hand on the lens hood.
It also helps to glue a piece of foam on the back of the large battery as a cushion for your chest.
Hope this helps
Kato Video Productions
We have two EX-1s and have no problem doing long shoots similar to Ronnie. I actually prefer lower level shooting by tucking my right arm into my body to stabilise and looking down at the flip-out monitor. I find some shoulder mounts uncomfortable as they put the camera higher up, so your arms get tired...and shake quicker. It's an awesome camera for fast run and gun style shooting!
Yes but Bryce, don't you then find that your camera position is too low for shooting faces. A shoulder mount is the correct height from that point of view but I agree, the EX 1 can't really be shoulder mounted. The brace that I use almost gets over that problem, but not quite.
You have gotten some great advice here.
imho, if hand-holding is important to you, you have to go to a good dealer or a big convention (NAB?) and just try every camera you can lay your hands on. It's a very personal thing, and what suits one person may not, literally, fit you. By and large, the newer cameras are not very adjustable to accommodate a given operator's preferences and body-type variations. This is quite puzzling to me, because this problem was clearly solved 20-30 years ago, by the designers of the Betacam and the Aaton.
I have tried to ease hand-holding the EX1R, but without much success. It's a shame, because the beauty of the camera is that you can carry it so easily, maneuver it in tight spaces, and still get incredible images. Adding a shoulder brace changes the highly portable character of the camera. There are several shoulder braces; the one I tried didn't work that well. Using a viewfinder magnifier helps; it's "close" to being right for me, but not perfect. If you are accustomed to the old Betacams (with their extensible (word?) viewfinders and built-in shoulder pads, with the battery nicely placed for balance aft of the shoulder) ... well, you won't be as happy about hand-holding an EX1/R all day.
My solution was to get a monopod with a quick-release. That way, I can get rock-solid shots, even at tele, move around freely (without tripping up people with tripod legs), and pop the camera off when I need to get a low angle, high angle, or do a move.
I added a very solid metal bottom plate and rods to my EX1R, and that helps me a lot. I can grip the rails or the plate, and it's all quite solid. But it was a task to get everything lined up correctly.
I had to use a client's JVC camera that looks just like a half-size Betacam, and found it quite nice, except that the viewfinder was rather low-res. Maybe the newer JVC cameras have a better viewfinder.
Good luck and please report back what you discover.
Well Arvid, i is a problem but I've managed to shoot several difficult documentaries practically all hand holding my EX 1. I use a simple shoulder mounted support, the name of which escapes me right now, but it's similar to the Sony one which sells at over $400! Mine cost me here in the UK about $100. The support is light, easy to fit, with quick release, with a padded curve that goes over my shoulder extending down to a pad which rests on my lower chest. With the right hand holding the grip and operating the zoom and start/ stop, my left hand focus, aperture etc. I can shoot for hours, no problem, except that I mustn't breathe heavily during a shot, no good if I've had to move fast to get to the action!
Hand holding is a vital part of film making these days since it became acceptable not necessarily to have everything rock steady on a tripod. Nothing really replaces the old Digi Beta's and DSR 300's other than mega priced super 35mm cameras, which sit really conveniently on the shoulder.