Impressions of the Sony EX1
Shooting XDCam with a new breed of camcorder
PAGE 4 The EX1 is fitted with 3 half inch CMOS sensors. Every other camera in this league (at time of writing) has 1/3rd inch sensors. The bigger the sensor, the more light that can be soaked up, thus the better the image potential. Plus bigger sensors allow one to shoot with more shallow depth of field - how much of a difference there is between 1/3rd inch sensors and 1/2 inch sensors in arguable.
As with other affordable HD models there can be problems with panning. Move quickly and the image can fall apart. Move at a slower speed and decent to good results can be achieved. Shoot 720 50P and this pretty much does away with the problem of panning. I'm a big fan of the 720 format and to shoot at 50P produces exceptionally good images. Furthermore, it has been recommended that one doubles the shutter speed in relation to the frame rate at which one is shooting - so if one were shooting at 25 frames per second - manually set the shutter to a 50th of a second. Shoot at 50 frames a second, set the shutter to a 100th of a second. I've still got to experiment with this method however it was suggested to me that this helps prevent panning problems. Another important point is if one pans with a moving subject then the subject will remain sharp while the motion blurs. This can be used to good effect. One should be aware that this "panning issue" is not exclusive to affordable HD or MPEG - film suffers from this too. Watch pans on the big screen - fast pans suffer from motion problems, slow pans appear much better. One always has to work to get the most out of a camera or a format.
When shooting tapeless the question of "what to do with the media" is more important than anything. I'm always nervous about dumping to hard drive and clearing cards. I feel much more secure having 2 hard drives and keeping these in separate bags. Lose a drive and you lose your entire days shoot or even more if you have several days footage on a single drive.
The transfer process is incredibly fast. It takes less than five minutes to transfer an 8GB cards worth of footage onto a MacBook Pro. This equates to 5 times faster than real-time. This is a trouble-free process which is perfectly suited to onsite production. Simply put the XDCam EX card into the Express 34 slot on the MacBook Pro, launch the XDCam EX software, highlight the clip or clips you wish to import and press the import button. A progress bar zips along to show the transfer as it takes place and if one wishes "in" and "out" points can be marked to choose the portion of the clip one wants to transfer. It is remarkably simple and quick to highlight everything and transfer the entire contents of the card to hard drive. One then simply needs to eject the card, reformat and you are then ready to shoot again.