Sony XDCAM EX in my hands!

sony_xdcam_ex.pngI will new in New York City next Tuesday morning to visit with Sony at a hands-on event for the XDCAM EX. I am very interested to get some tim on this camcorder as it was behind glass when I saw it at NAB. It seems to offer considerable manual control, and quality in quite a small package, and for what might be an incredibly attractive price.

Sony certainly took a fresh look at camera design here and took some different approaches with how they design camcorders: sideways battery, squared off microphone, viewfinder hanging off the back, etc.

The planned XDCAM EX format will expand upon Sony’s XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition systems, using flash memory technology: the SxS™ memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard™ industry standard.

As much as I have been dead-set against P2 (for high cost, complex usability, record time limitations, and lack of acquisition archive materials) I am still interested to see what Sony has to offer. It looks like quite a capable camcorder. If Sony can keep the media costs down, and can make a relatively inexpensive accessory that makes SxS -> DVD or BluRay copying very simple and fast, then they may just have a winner on their hands.

According to Ott, ExpressCard’s higher speed and smaller form factor will make Sony’s evolution to flash media a natural progression and open the door to a broader range of applications for tapeless production.


“The XDCAM EX camcorder will make the most sense in small production systems, where the shooter and editor is often the same person,” Ott said. “In this type of production environment, you can easily control the flash media as it cycles between shooting and feeding the NLE.”

Ahhh, but the problem here is, if it’s a single shooter… who’s wrangling the media off the cards and onto something else? If there’s no media wrangler (and associated gear- both at considerable additional cost) then the shooter has to have enough empty SxS cards to handle whatever may happen- and that can get expensive- just like P2.

The planned camcorder is based on MPEG-2 compression technology with three, ½-inch imagers. It will be switchable between 1080/60i and 720/60P, and be capable of recording 1080/50i/30P/25P/24P and 720/50P. The camera will also have slow and quick motion functionality.

The camera will feature two card slots, and users will be able to record approximately 120 minutes of content on two 16 GB cards.

Yea, at 720p24. Shoot 1080i60 and your record times will be a lot shorter. I’ll report back on this when I get back from the Sony event.


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