by Herbert J. Kellner
Sony announces the latest addition to its XDCAM family of tapeless acquisition tools with the launch of the exciting new XDCAM EX™ compact camcorder. In addition to the existing XDCAM™ HD optical disc-based products, the new XDCAM EX camcorder, the PMW-EX1, offers all the benefits of tapeless workflow, selectable bit rates and outstanding picture performance that users have come to expect with XDCAM HD, coupled with new creative recording features and lens features which will redefine the standard for the professional compact camcorder market.
The PMW-EX1 is a highly compact, robust and high-performance camcorder that uniquely uses newly developed flash memory cards, the SxS PRO™, as its recording medium. The SxS memory card, which realizes 800Mbps high-speed data transfer, enables non-linear capabilities such as instant random access and file-based operation. Equipped with two SxS memory card slots, the PMW-EX1 can record up to 100 minutes of the highest quality HD footage at 35Mbps or 140 minutes at 25Mbps using two 16-GB SxS memory cards.
The image sensor used in the PMW-EX1 camcorder is a newly developed three x 1/2 type Exmor™ CMOS sensor, each with an effective pixel count of 1920 x 1080, which produce images in full HD resolution. The low-light capabilities of this new sensor will be of particular interest to all those who need to be able to capture footage in limited lighting applications.
The XDCAM EX camcorder is Sony’s first tapeless professional video camera that uses memory technology. The camcorder records to ExpressCard high-speed media and, compared to the current PC card technology, ExpressCards operate at a faster bus speed, are smaller and run on less power. The camera uses Sony’s newly developed SxS Pro™ card memory as its recording medium.
“The XDCAM EX series, with its full HD picture quality and system flexibility, is a powerful tool for boosting quality and efficiency in an array of HD production applications,” said Bob Ott, vice president of optical and network systems for Sony Electronics. It is switchable between 1080i and 720P with multiple frame recording capability such as 50i, 59.94i, 50p, 59.94p and native 25P, 29.97p and 23.98P. What’s more, the PMW-EX1 camcorder offers a “Slow & Quick Motion” capability, which is also commonly known as “over-cranking” and “under-cranking” in the traditional film world, allowing users to create unique looks or special effects of slow and fast motion. Having these functions, PMW-EX1 is on the product line of Sony CINEALTA™.
A wide variety of accessories are also available to support effective HD production, including a SxS memory card, USB Reader/Writer, a wide-conversion lens, battery, and charger. Further to this, in order to realize a more efficient, file based workflow solution, the following companies are planning to implement interoperability with XDCAM EX in their products below (alphabetical order):
- Adobe Systems Incorporated (Adobe Premiere Pro with MainConcept MPEG Pro)
- Apple Inc. (Final Cut Pro Studio)
- Avid software (Avid Xpress Pro HD)
- Dayang Technology Development Inc. (D3 Edit 3000 Series)
- MainConcept AG (MPEG Pro HD 3.0)
- Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd. (Matrox Axio & Matrox RT.X2)
- MOG Solutions (Toboggan MediaTransfer)
- Newauto Silicon Valley Video Techmology CO.,LTD. (Himaraya A1000/A1200/A1500 series)
- Sobey Digital Technology Co., Ltd. (E7, E2000)
- Sony Creative Software (Vegas™ Pro 8)
- Thomson Grass Valley logo (Canopus Edius Pro)
- Thomson (Grass Valley™ EDIUS™ Pro & Grass Valley EDIUS Broadcast)
After putting the EX1 through a rigorouse evaluation our team came to the conclusion that it;s hard to tell the difference between the video shot by this camcorder and the high priced HD studio cameras. Overall, the EX1 is a very good camera: pin-sharp, sensitive imagers with what looks to be considerable latitude, variable frame rates, the benefits of solid-state recording, HD-SDI and lots of “tweakability. It takes some time to find all the buttons and its functions because everything is smaller than on regular broadcast cameras. The biggest concern we had about this camera was reliability. But so far the PMW-EX1 has done stunningly well. This camera has exceeded all of our expectations.