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Vignetting Issue on 1/2 New XDCAM EX


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#1 Adam Smith

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 01:22 AM

Has anyone heard of this? Sony is supposedly working on a solution! I just don't understand how a major company could come out with a camera that has vignetting on new cameras! That is why love Panasonic and Red - the true leaders of the digital cinema revolution - HVX 200 and Red - these cameras revolutionized low budget filmmaking!
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:24 AM

That is why love Panasonic and Red - the true leaders of the digital cinema revolution - HVX 200 and Red - these cameras revolutionized low budget filmmaking!


And Sony hasn't led the "digital revolution?" They introduced the world's first true 24P 1080 camcorder, which ushered in HD as an alternative to 35mm film for features and television. In general I'm a bigger fan of Panasonic and their more elegant approach of high quality, simplicity & low price, but there's no denying Sony's leadership in video and HD.

I've only played with the HDCAM EX, but was pretty impressed with what they've been able to do. Vignetting sounds like an optical issue (which is unfortunate with a fixed-lens camera), but I haven't heard this before, so I don't know the details. My only major complaint was the focal length at the wide end.
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#3 Jess Haas

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:33 AM

I heard something about some slight vignetting in a pre-release version of the camera and I don't even know if there was really any truth to that. Do you have any actual information on the topic or are you just spreading an unsubstantiated rumor so that you can sling some mud at Sony?

~Jess
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 11:36 AM

I have tested the release version of the camera and this problem does not exist.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:27 PM

I have tested the release version of the camera and this problem does not exist.


There's a thread on DVinfo where some new EX owners say they're getting some vignetting when the lens is wide open, between 10mm and 25mm. Seems they're checking for the effect against a plain background and it sounds like the vignetting is seen on underscan. It appears to be happening on some cameras and doesn't affect every camera.

People there have been in touch with Sony about it, who seem to be running checks.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 04:37 PM

We have one on the showroom floor and I just tested it again. It has no problem. We have heard this complaint and we test every camera we sell. No problems. Sony says that they know of three cameras (in all the cameras that they've shipped so far, just three) that have had any issue. Any cameras sold from this point on should have no vignette issue.
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#7 Jess Haas

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 06:09 PM

That is great news. So Mitch, what are your thoughts on this little camera? I personally have never been a big fan of the look of sony cameras as they tend to look a bit too video compared to say that dvx100 which has a slightly more organic feel to it. What are your thoughts on the matter?

The specs certainly look great, but sony has always had great specs even when the look suffered a bit.

~Jess
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#8 Mitch Gross

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 10:21 AM

I'm very impressed by this camera. To get the look I like took some playing in the menus, but it is a very nice machine. There are things I don't like about every camera in existence, but on the scale of like & dislike I am very happy with the EX.
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#9 Mitch Gross

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 10:23 AM

In regards to this issue, from Sony:

We have QA'd all of our inventory for this problem to 100%
satisfaction. If anyone does have a problem with anything, we have
researched that it is a 10-minute adjustment (not a fix or replacement
parts/software). We have hundreds in the hands of customers right now
with no issue. My understanding is that if a customer has found an
issue, they need to contact Sony and we will resolve. The factory is
moving forward on production with extremely high QA protocols, and will
not disappoint. The only problem is that we still can't get enough in
the hands of our customers!
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 12:15 PM

Has anyone heard of this? Sony is supposedly working on a solution! I just don't understand how a major company could come out with a camera that has vignetting on new cameras! That is why love Panasonic and Red - the true leaders of the digital cinema revolution - HVX 200 and Red - these cameras revolutionized low budget filmmaking!


Hi Adam,

I think the problem was portholing, only happens with the lens wide open.

Same problem with Red & Zeiss Standards, most people don't notice the problem.

Stephen
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 12:31 PM

Adam should lay-off the exclamation point key for awhile! ;)
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 10:08 AM

Here is the new official reply by Sony. They plan to post this on various forums but asked me to post this here now.

From Sony:

Here's the official response. We are going to start addressing the user sites...but please feel free to use anything from the below. Again, all current inventory has been QA'd and does not exhibit any issues.

Since the launch in November, the PMW-EX1 has been received extremely well within the

market with a huge level of order commitments and very positive feedback from customers

using the product.

Sony regrets to inform you that there have been a small number of reports of a specific lens issue

with the camera, which upon further investigation by our engineering team, has been identified

as ‘unbalanced light falloff’ at the edge of the picture. The cause of this has been identified as

being a result of a mis-alignment of the center of the lens and the light axis. Sony takes such

technical matters very seriously and although this issue has only been seen on a very small

percentage of the units supplied worldwide, Sony has implemented a full review and

modification of the manufacturing process in order to alleviate any re-occurrence of this issue.

Sony will re-align any camera exhibiting the symptom described above at no charge to you at

the highest priority. If your camcorder exhibits the symptom described please call our Product

Operational Support Center at 1-800-883-6817, option 2-5-2 for advice on how to proceed.
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#13 Mark Henderson

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:14 AM

In the very first ones off the line there was a problem with this. I've read where Sony will accept the cameras back and will re-center the lenses free to solve the problem. The later versions do not have the problem anymore.

Contact Sony.

Mark
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#14 Nick Mulder

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 06:55 AM

re. EX1 lens - quoting myself here from:

http://www.cinematog...n...20&start=20

Now here comes an interesting part - The zoom in manual mode doesn't have enough friction integrated into it so much so that the zoom will creep when held in upright positions - i.e. set zoom to 5.8mm point it upwards watch it sink down by its own weight to around 10mm ...

I pointed this out to the salesmen, one seemed interested the other I can only guess thought I was being picky, he said I could simply keep it in servo mode to work around the issue, therefore in his mind there was no issue ... I said for a $10,000 camera (NZ dollars) that I shouldn't expect this to happen, he asked me if I had any experience with $10,000 cameras, I said no to which he kind of snorted and sat back satisfied as if again 'problem solved' - I decided at the time that further discussion wasn't going to help ... (but thought later that I indeed did have experience with cameras worth more than $10,000 and what the hell has the price got to do with it anyway, hell my servo $1500 handicam doesn't have this issue nor do the manual fujinon's and 16mm servo/manual zooms I use)

Was I being picky though ? I mean, well what if I wanted a wide shot (that stayed wide) in manual mode (for whatever reason) that pointed up then down ... Is there anything in the manual that says watch out for focal length creep? I'm guessing not as it was news to the salespeople, maybe I came across as a smartypants ...

Still though - thinking seriously of getting one


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#15 Walter Graff

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 08:28 AM

Here is the problem with this post and many like it:

When you buy a camera and take it out of the box IT IS NOT NECESSARILY SET UP TO ITS OPTIMUM. Not a single professional camera you buy and take out of the box is tweaked to get the most out of that individual camera. For years and to this day, when we buy a camera we send it to a qualified engineer such as Roger Macie - www.macievideo.com and Roger and his crew tweak the camera so that it sees everything optimally. I was just at Rogers place teh other day and there were some 15 cameras all being set up. If you haven't seen the difference between an out of the box camera and a properly tweaked camera, you are not getting the most out of your camera.

Sony is notorious for not setting cameras up well on the production line. We used to say that no two Sony cameras match until you have them properly registered. Production line cameras are set to rough standards based on electronic adjustments and since things such as flares and slight variations affect final adjustments, cameras are not always optimized off the production line.

And on the subject of vignetting, I have time and again seen folks use this term for what they see and when I see what they are talking about I see it is not vignetting. Many times it is simply improper white shading. Many of today's cameras have auto white shading and it does not correctly perform white shading.

Here is another fact. Most all cameras that use lens mounts have some sort of vignetting. In the lowest light conditions, you may see slight darkening at the very edges of the screen well out of picture safety. This is due to manufactures trying to mass produce lenses that are very inexpensive. It is not new. We have dealt with various levels of vignetting, portholing, and other lens/camera chain imperfections for the 25 years I have been working in this business. And many instances of vignetting actually have nothing to do with the lens but with the micro lenses manufacturers use. If you don't know what they are, they are little chips of optical plastic (like little magnifying glasses) that are glued to the front of CCDs. And like a magnifying glass their purpose is to magnify light so a CCD is more sensative. Problem is these chips of plastic help you least when you need them the most, in low light conditions and often cause problems related to vignetting. Should a camera lens combination you buy have perfect optics? Sure. Do you get perfect optics with a $20k camera? Sorry to say not entirely, but optics that are perfect for todays general uses. Most of today's zoom lenses have some 13-21 elements in them. There is a lot that can go wrong in that chain that makes for a not so perfect lens, but that is what manufactures offer for the money. With lenses the phrase you get what you pay for is very much true.

Prosumer cameras that use permanent lenses use a different type of optical system than real lenses usually do not vignette due to the nature of design. But that design offers lesser quality overall than a real lens. Put one of those HVXs on an optical bench and you'll see that it's a pretty crappy lens but does what it needs to do well for a prosumer camera. Since I have worked in this business the common phrase I always hear is that a camera is a box with a lens on it meaning that the path to a great picture starts with a great lens. You can have the most amazing camera but without an amazing lens you have a lousy camera. Sorry to say that today's mass produced ENG style lenses are simply not made to exacting standards. They are not made bad, just not made like a $40k lens Put a $30k lens on a $10k camera and you will see that you now have a $40k picture. Put a $6k lens on a camera and you'll have a picture, just don't look at it too long.

I notice that many people have come to the conclusion that regardless of the price point of a camera or it's intended design, it should perform like it was a $200k camera that can shoot a motion picture for IMAX. Here is the bad news; 95% of all video camera use today is for everything other than motion picture use. For ENG/ broadcast/corporate, videography and industrial use, the largest uses of all video cameras today, a bit of portholing and/or edge vignetting is perfectly acceptable and undetectable with normal use. You get what you pay for, and in the case of cameras, without properly setting a baseline for letting that camera see a picture optimally, you are not getting all you can from a camera.
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#16 Nick Mulder

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:27 PM

Here is the problem with this post and many like it:

When you buy a camera and take it out of the box IT IS NOT NECESSARILY SET UP TO ITS OPTIMUM.


Ok, yeh I can work with what you are saying (and I read the full post) - but can the sales people please tell us this, and if they do tell perhaps not in such a roundabout grumpy 'told you so' way.

My suggestion that a little more friction be introduced to the system may account for the movement was met with no reply (like the adjustable springs/bearings well into my 16mm zoom) - this would be 'setting it up to its optimum' (assuming the servo can still drive the required friction to stop the creep)

Referring here not to the vignetting but to the lens focal length creep issue.
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#17 Boyd McCollum

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:34 PM

Here is the problem with this post and many like it:

When you buy a camera and take it out of the box IT IS NOT NECESSARILY SET UP TO ITS OPTIMUM. Not a single professional camera you buy and take out of the box is tweaked to get the most out of that individual camera. For years and to this day, when we buy a camera we send it to a qualified engineer such as Roger Macie - www.macievideo.com and Roger and his crew tweak the camera so that it sees everything optimally. I was just at Rogers place teh other day and there were some 15 cameras all being set up. If you haven't seen the difference between an out of the box camera and a properly tweaked camera, you are not getting the most out of your camera.


Hi Walter, I just learned about Roger Macie from a local ENG shooter the day before you posted this. I'm looking at getting an EX-1 and thought it might be a good idea to have them set it up. Do you have a ball park figure for what the service costs?
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