Sony EX-1

We’ll we got the approval to move ahead with the new video equipment purchases.

Here’s what we ordered and my initial thoughts to what’s come in so far:

Sony EX-1: I looked at all the cameras and settled on the EX-1. Here was my thought process.
-The JVC HM100 was the smallest with the smallest chips. Since we chose the EX-1 and this camera shoots the same format. I might think about adding this camera if we need a “B” camera.
-The Pannasonic HMC-150 seemed a step up in optics and image from the HM100 but AVCHD is a newer codec and could be problematic
-The Pannasonic HPX-170 is a step up optics and codec from the other two cameras. 4:2:2 color space is great for fx work and grading. I was very familiar with it having shot with the HVX200 for the last year. But P2 cards are expensive, even the new “E” series. It’s an older codec but it is very easy to work with. The image sensors are not full HD size and as a result the image is softer than other cameras.
-The JVC-HM700 has interchangeable lenses, shoots on SDHC cards and uses the same codec as the EX-1/3. The form/ ergonomics of this camera are the best of the group. But it’s also the most expensive. Once you add a power supply it was pushing $8k

So what stood out to me about the EX-1?
-I really think it has the best optics at it’s price point ($6,099). It’s full 1080p with 1/2″ sensors and it shows. Very sharp images. Very clean with little noise.
-I’ll be doing a lot of green screen work but the higher resolution should offset the loss of color space.
-Even though it’s long GOP file structure the HQ setting blows HDV away.
-It does use SxS media which are expensive but I’ve found using a MxR adapter from allows me to use cheap class 6 SDHC cards in the camera. At this time with the SDHC card + adapter is about $100 for 16GB. This made the cost difference between the EX-1 and the HVX200 or HPX-171 negligible. It also increased the difference between the EX-1 and the JVC GY-HM700.

So what are my thoughts so far?
1. The images this camera creates is awesome! I’ll post some footage I’m editing now later this week.
2. The control for focus, zoom and iris on the lens are great. So much easier to work with. I’m going to be spoiled by it and be shocked when I shoot with another camera.
3. Ergonomics for handheld work is tough. But most handheld cameras when I shoot off the tripod I end up holding the camera by my gut. When shooting this way the EX-1 has a nice feature allowing you to rotate the hand grip.
4. There is a lot of tweak-ability in the picture profile menu but unlike Pannasonic you don’t get some “starter” profiles to jump off of.
5. I don’t know if it’s because of the higher resolution or if it’s the 1/2″ sensors but I find the focus more critical than the HVX200. I’m assuming it’s the 1/2″ sensors giving a shallower depth of field meaning a smaller “in focus” zone.

Overall I have to say I’m very impressed with the EX-1. I’ve shot some “studio” interview shots with only 2 cheap Smith-Vector lights (we have a light kit ordered) and the shots looked amazing. I’ve shot a few run-n-gun things around the church where the light was not as flattering and it’ll take some tweaking in post.

Hopefully I can develop some picture profiles for various scenarios. But the fact is it’s hard to get great looking shots in bad lighting situations.


June 10, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized, Video.

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