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Use of Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD Camcorder


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#1 George Dodge

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:11 AM

I've been a professional film DP for over 35 years, but am now considering digital HD.
I do principally wildlife for television, and am thinking of purchasing the Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD Camcorder for this purpose. I need the answers to several very important questions:

1. Would a show shot entirely with this camcorder be acceptable to companies like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, etc. ??

2. Can Nikon 35mm lenses be mounted on this camera, and what adapters are available for this purpose?

3. Are 16mm film lenses adaptable to this camera, and if so, how?

4. What is the equipment I would need for downloading, editing, and copying the digital information off the flash cards? Computer requirements, etc.

5. Is there an Arri lens adapter available?

I'd appreciate any help you could give me if you are familiar with this camcorder and own one or have used one for production.

Thanks.
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#2 Jack Jones

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:48 PM

Hi,

I'm afraid I can't help you too much as I myself am currently looking to purchase an EX3. The Sony EX3 got a Silver Award status from National Geographic HD which means it can be used for 50% of a broadcast show, this is a great rating for a low-end broadcast camcorder.

Nikon 35mm lenses can be mounted and I would highly recommend a Letus Extreme 35mm adaptor. Example footage from it can be seen on youtube when searching for "Philip Bloom". I am unsure about 16mm lenses but I'd give Letus/Redrock a try and see if they produce adaptors.

As far as downloading and editing. The software comes with the camcorder and can be downloaded off of the Sony website (you can download it now if you like). The cards can be inserted directly into an expresscard slot or can be connected via USBmini on the camera - or a expresscard to USB adaptor. Editing software of choice can be used. I prefer Final Cut, others Premiere, Vegas or Avid. All but Vegas run on Mac and Windows, Vegas is Windows only. A MacBook Pro would be good in the field or a Windows equivalent if that's your choice. The expresscard card slot makes for much much quicker transfers so that is advised either way.

I'm unsure about the Arri lens.

Jack.


I've been a professional film DP for over 35 years, but am now considering digital HD.
I do principally wildlife for television, and am thinking of purchasing the Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD Camcorder for this purpose. I need the answers to several very important questions:

1. Would a show shot entirely with this camcorder be acceptable to companies like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, etc. ??

2. Can Nikon 35mm lenses be mounted on this camera, and what adapters are available for this purpose?

3. Are 16mm film lenses adaptable to this camera, and if so, how?

4. What is the equipment I would need for downloading, editing, and copying the digital information off the flash cards? Computer requirements, etc.

5. Is there an Arri lens adapter available?

I'd appreciate any help you could give me if you are familiar with this camcorder and own one or have used one for production.

Thanks.


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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:00 PM

George,

I am certainly no expert on the EX3, but I have seen the Letus adapter site and they claim that with the Letus Ultimate 35mm adapter you can use PL mount lenses. And Les Bosher over in the United Kingdom makes PL mount adapters for pretty much all ARRI mount lenses, whether they be ARRI bayonet mount, the straight ARRI standard mount, or the older ARRI (Cooke) standard mount. It would seem that this would allow you to use any of your ARRI lenses with the camera.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 07:54 PM

The EX3 can also accept an adaptor for B4 video lens mounts. You could use lenses made specifically for HD such as Zeiss Digiprimes or Fujinon lenses. I would highly recommend looking into that option.
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#5 David Brickley

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:58 AM

I've been a professional film DP for over 35 years, but am now considering digital HD.
I do principally wildlife for television, and am thinking of purchasing the Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD Camcorder for this purpose. I need the answers to several very important questions:

1. Would a show shot entirely with this camcorder be acceptable to companies like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, etc. ??

2. Can Nikon 35mm lenses be mounted on this camera, and what adapters are available for this purpose?

3. Are 16mm film lenses adaptable to this camera, and if so, how?

4. What is the equipment I would need for downloading, editing, and copying the digital information off the flash cards? Computer requirements, etc.

5. Is there an Arri lens adapter available?

I'd appreciate any help you could give me if you are familiar with this camcorder and own one or have used one for production.

Thanks.



Hi George,
I own an EX1 and am thoroughly satisfied with it. Obviously an EX1 isn't an EX3, but I think I can answer most of your questions enough to help, and hopefully other owners will chime in with their thoughts too. In response to your questions:

1. You should be able to shoot an entire show with this camera and have it be acceptable for broadcast on Discovery, Animal Planet, and others.

2 & 3. On the EX3, I'm pretty certain the camera has a Sony proprietary mount, so for both lenses I think you would need a lens adapter. Certainly the Nikon 35mm could be used as I've done so with my Letus. For 16mm, I'm not sure.

4. The equipment you'd need are: a card reader (comes standard with the camera), XDCam Transfer software (free download for Mac or Windows), copying functions as any standard file transfer does on a computer. I don't know offhand of any minimum system specs, but any computer I've encountered seems capable of accepting the files.

5. Haven't heard of an Arri lens adapter, but that doesn't mean there isn't one out there.

Hope this helps!
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#6 will griffith

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:11 PM

1. Would a show shot entirely with this camcorder be acceptable to companies like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, etc. ??

If you deliver on their accepted formats.

2. Can Nikon 35mm lenses be mounted on this camera, and what adapters are available for this purpose?

There is a direct EX3 to Nikon converter, however it will add a large multiplication factor http://www.mtfservices.com/

3. Are 16mm film lenses adaptable to this camera, and if so, how?

Not really. You would need a DoF adapter, but those usually cover 35mm. Try http://www.letusdirect.com

4. What is the equipment I would need for downloading, editing, and copying the digital information off the flash cards? Computer requirements, etc.

You would need a Sony SxS reader such as this... http://www.bhphotovi...emory_Card.html
You would also need a computer, such as a PC or Mac that supports it and editing software to boot. May I also suggest a good backup plan for non-computer storage as well,
such as tape and/or Blu-Ray data storage or DLT.

5. Is there an Arri lens adapter available?

No. See # 3. Letus makes a PL mount for their DoF Adapter.


The EX3 is an amazing camera for the price and we are very happy with ours.
IMO if you are shooting a lot of wildlife (extreme telephoto) I would get the mechanical Nikon adapter which will actually make you lenses "longer".

Edited by will griffith, 05 February 2009 - 05:12 PM.

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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:18 PM

You do not need the reader. The camera itself can mount as a card reader via USB, and any laptop with the proper card slot (like my Macbook pro with an express34 slot) can take the cards directly into them. You just need the drivers which comes with the camera.
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#8 will griffith

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:38 PM

You do not need the reader.

Correct. It is also overpriced. However, it does free up your camera if you
want to offload whilst continuing to shoot. :)
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

Amen to that!
Though out on location, might as well just invest in a macbook pro. If anything you can look cooler and/or throw on FCP to it for the DIT to start logging/backing up.
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#10 will griffith

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:49 PM

might as well just invest in a macbook pro.

It's also kinda dumb that the sony card reader requires power.

The other totally awesome, but not so new idea, is you can easily use the
SxS cards as really fast thumb drives. This totally helped me out the other
day. Although they make for a really expensive thumb drive!

Edited by will griffith, 05 February 2009 - 09:50 PM.

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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 11:04 PM

Ha, but I bet it won't break down as often...
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#12 Mihai Bodea

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:34 PM

the price of the express card reader is as high as that of a cheap laptop with a express slot, hard drive, os and solitaire.
you can use SD card adapter as an alternative for a fraction of the price.
considering the 1/2" sensor I can't find any use for Nikkor or 16mm lenses mounted directly on camera. anyway, working this small need proper alignment and very fine lenses.
for high quality broadcast you can record via hd-sdi onto digital recorder 10bit 422 signal.
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#13 eric oh

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:22 PM

E-films <http://e-films.com.au> makes a good, inexpensive SD card adapter. The SD cards itself quite inexpensive compared to the price of the Sony (or SanDisk) SxS cards.

As for lens adapters, there are 3 main makers each with their pros and cons.

- P+S Technik <http://www.pstechnik...-pro35-ex3.php>
Pros: Mounts directly onto the EX3 lens mount instead of in front of the lens like the other systems, image is properly oriented.
Cons: Expensive, 1.5 stops light loss.

- Letus35 <http://www.letus35.com> or <http://www.letusdirect.com>
Pros: 3 different models (Extreme, Elite, Ultimate), Back focus adjustment for Elite and Extreme, 0.5 stops light loss, image is properly oriented, relatively inexpensive, different bundles depending on your needs.
Cons: Mounts to the front of the EX3 lens as opposed to the lens mount.

- RedRock <http://www.redrockmicro.com>
Pros: Inexpensive, lots of accessories (follow focus, mounting options, etc.), 0.5 stops light loss
Cons: Image is inverted (upside down), mounts to the front of the EX3 lens instead of the lens mount.

best,
e
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#14 Jason Davenport

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 01:31 AM

E-films <http://e-films.com.au> makes a good, inexpensive SD card adapter. The SD cards itself quite inexpensive compared to the price of the Sony (or SanDisk) SxS cards.

As for lens adapters, there are 3 main makers each with their pros and cons.

- P+S Technik <http://www.pstechnik...-pro35-ex3.php>
Pros: Mounts directly onto the EX3 lens mount instead of in front of the lens like the other systems, image is properly oriented.
Cons: Expensive, 1.5 stops light loss.

- Letus35 <http://www.letus35.com> or <http://www.letusdirect.com>
Pros: 3 different models (Extreme, Elite, Ultimate), Back focus adjustment for Elite and Extreme, 0.5 stops light loss, image is properly oriented, relatively inexpensive, different bundles depending on your needs.
Cons: Mounts to the front of the EX3 lens as opposed to the lens mount.

- RedRock <http://www.redrockmicro.com>
Pros: Inexpensive, lots of accessories (follow focus, mounting options, etc.), 0.5 stops light loss
Cons: Image is inverted (upside down), mounts to the front of the EX3 lens instead of the lens mount.

best,
e




Letus now has a direct relay to the EX-3.
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#15 DS Williams

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:09 AM

Check out Cinevate.com


They make an incredible adapter called the Brevis. It's a better and more robust product than the Letus in my opinion, and the flip section actually cuts down on the chromatic aberration present in the images from other adapters, like the RedRockMicro, version 1 (They have a new one out though, as does Letus and SgPro)
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#16 shootist

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 06:57 AM

A little late to the discussion, sorry.

Most cameras can be accepted by the SD cable networks. Interestingly, the EX cameras were the forst small sized cameras accepted by Discovery HD. They do not accept SD, HDV or the HVX200 P2 except for very limited use.

There are several Nikon lens mounts for the EX-3. The magification factor is 5.5X! Great for wildlife. But some of the cheaper Nikon lenses can look a bit soft, have a lower contrast or more chromatic aberation. They are also not designed for follow focus or smooth zooming 'in shot' so plan accordingly.

There are 2 B-4 mounts. One with electronics enabled and one without. The electronically enabled mount is made by Fuji and provides all servo functions to the lens, enabling control of iris plus power to the zoom motor. It costs around $1700.
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#17 Glynn Albert

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:08 PM

George,

I am certainly no expert on the EX3, but I have seen the Letus adapter site and they claim that with the Letus Ultimate 35mm adapter you can use PL mount lenses. And Les Bosher over in the United Kingdom makes PL mount adapters for pretty much all ARRI mount lenses, whether they be ARRI bayonet mount, the straight ARRI standard mount, or the older ARRI (Cooke) standard mount. It would seem that this would allow you to use any of your ARRI lenses with the camera.

Best,
-Tim


I have the EX3 and the Letus Ultimate i would not recommend the cheeper versions, I also have a PL mount for it, but usually use Zeiss primes. I did however recently use the PL mount on an Arri 17mm lens on the for a SAG Ultra low budget feature. It looked great and it only takes about 5 minutes to go from the Nikon mount to the PL if your at all handy.

Glynn Albert
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#18 joel Peterson

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 03:43 AM

Hi there
Any one help on this point

I am about to go away and shoot on the EX3 I shall be downloading and saving the files onto my Macbook Pro.
When I return to civilization I will need to transfer those files to a 3rd party editor who uses Avid on a windows platform.
Are there any issues here that I should be aware of.
Thanks in Anticipation.
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#19 joel Peterson

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 05:55 AM

A little late to the discussion, sorry.

Most cameras can be accepted by the SD cable networks. Interestingly, the EX cameras were the forst small sized cameras accepted by Discovery HD. They do not accept SD, HDV or the HVX200 P2 except for very limited use.

There are several Nikon lens mounts for the EX-3. The magification factor is 5.5X! Great for wildlife. But some of the cheaper Nikon lenses can look a bit soft, have a lower contrast or more chromatic aberation. They are also not designed for follow focus or smooth zooming 'in shot' so plan accordingly.

There are 2 B-4 mounts. One with electronics enabled and one without. The electronically enabled mount is made by Fuji and provides all servo functions to the lens, enabling control of iris plus power to the zoom motor. It costs around $1700.



With respect to Discovery HD not accepting HDV for example. Thought you may be interested to know some friends of mine completed a feature Doco shoot entirely on the Z1 then up-resed it and Discovery purchased it without question!
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#20 David Williams

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 08:59 PM

Hi there
Any one help on this point

I am about to go away and shoot on the EX3 I shall be downloading and saving the files onto my Macbook Pro.
When I return to civilization I will need to transfer those files to a 3rd party editor who uses Avid on a windows platform.
Are there any issues here that I should be aware of.
Thanks in Anticipation.


To retain flexibility, sometimes the best option is not to export to mov or mxf, but simply copy the entire BPAV folder on to your storage drive. That way you can export to mac or windows at a later stage in any fashion you wish. I'm pretty sure Avid can use MXF on windows though, but double check.

Also, when in doubt, try the manufacturer, they can often help :)

http://pro.sony.com/...kflowDocs.shtml

Edited by David Williams, 16 May 2009 - 09:00 PM.

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