High Definition at 1920x1080 means 5 times more detail, resolution and sharpness than SD. With this in mind lens selection and focus become absolutely critical when out shooting in the field. I’m sure we’ve all at some point been on a shoot when our precise focus has been a little out but the lens is wide and we’re shooting DVCAM so can ‘get away with it?’
Not so with HD, if you’re not bang on with focus the whole image looks terrible. The Ex-1 has two really nice features to assist with this. Firstly, expanded focus which switches to a ‘grab’ from the centre of the screen which expands to about twice the size and allows you to check focus and the really clever thing is that you can do this while you are recording! In addition there is a really helpful peaking select that ‘snaps’ in to view when you are sharp. You can set the peaking to High, Middle or low and choose the colour white, red, yellow or blue – so there’s something for every shooting preference.
The first thing you notice about the EX-1 is that the lens and sensor make up two thirds of the overall length of the camera. The lens is fantastic! It feels like a broadcast lens and was very familiar from the moment I picked it up. The real focus control was very responsive and I was able to take advantage of the larger ” sensor and pull focus with really nice results.
The other key consideration when shooting HD is not to let the highlights blow out. If you do then that information is gone forever. To assist with exposure Sony has included a Brightness-level Display and a Histogram Indicator, both of which can be displayed in the View finder and the LCD. The Brightness level Display measures the average brightness level of the centre of the frame and displays this as a percentage. The Histogram indicator allows the operator to evaluate the distribution of brightness across the scene. Once you get used to using these they will be a great asset and definitely provide you with the tools to maximize the quality of your images – remember there’s much less margin for error when shooting HD. The camera may be small but the same care should be taken with focus, exposure, framing and good solid tripod support.
In other menu options it is possible to select one of four cine gamma curves. This allows for different ‘looks’ depending on what you are shooting. This combined with the ability to shoot 24p native allows the EX-1 to wear the Cine Alta badge.
This is a lot of camera for the money. I am amazed that it is not more expensive. The equivalent bayonet mounted detachable lens cost you around the £5k mark. The quality of the glass mixed with the 3 x ” CMOS Exmor sensors and the gamma control gives an image stuffed with resolution and pictures that look really lovely.
image from HDSDI