Impressions of the Sony EX1
Shooting XDCam with a new breed of camcorder
The images look so sharp and beautiful on the high quality LCD display one needs to be careful not to fall into the trap of forgetting to do the basics. Check focus with the expanded focus facility, use the auto-mode intelligently and manual exposure for precise control. One needs to be careful with gain. The camera works best in manual. Manual everything - focus, exposure and white balance. Lesser cameras do more for you when it comes to auto-everything. The EX1 wants to be driven in manual.
The camera seems to be more unforgiving than some of the more affordable HDV models. This is a not a point-and-shoot imager. It can be used in this way - Sony have provided a "full-auto" button to quickly let the camera operator get the shot quickly but this needs to be used as a function among many functions - not as a method to rely on.
Focus is critical - of course this applies to any camera but with the EX1 the high quality lens provides sensitive focus and if one relies exclusively on what they see in the view finder or LCD screen it can be easy to miss being slightly out - point being - get it right, pay attention, otherwise what looked beautiful at 2 and a half inches may look less than beautiful at 42 inches or larger.
Understand the benefits of the ND filters. These cut down the light which hit the sensors and give control over depth of field. The less light the lesser the depth of field and the greater the potential for those "filmic" shallow depth of field shots. However, this may increase the need for gain - and gain on this camera can be quite fierce. The defaults are 9 and 18db - however, this can be set to a milder 3 or 6db, accessible on a two button gain switch.