This article is part of a series of tests FreshDV conducted with the Sony XDCAM PMW-EX1. Thanks to Miami rental house and Sony dealer Midtown Video for providing a XDCAM EX camera. And thanks to DSC Labs for providing test chart patterns. You can read more about ours and others experiences with this camera here.

FreshDV reviews the EX1In our continuing review coverage of the Sony XDCAM PMW-EX1 camcorder, we present here a 5-minute demonstration of the EX1 Picture Profile menus and options, showing the extensive control users have over color Matrix, Gamma curves, Black levels, Knee, and Detail settings. For a detailed analysis of the regular camera menus, watch this previously posted video. If you’d like to see what the different factory Gamma and Matrix presets do, look at these charts. You can download the Quicktime video manually, subscribe to our audio/video podcast feed, or watch the embedded Flash version below.

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Flash version of the Picture Profile options.

Thanks again to both DSC Labs and Midtown Video for making this EX1 test series possible. Stay tuned here or at our EX1 link page for more test results.


10 Responses to “XDCAM EX1 Hands-On – Picture Profiles and Image Settings”  

  1. 1 Cody Stanton

    Hey Matt,
    could you give us a few sample Picture Profile settings for various conditions to use with the EX1. Especially for low light conditions outdoors in order to get rid of the noise.
    Much appreciated,
    Cody

  2. 2 Matthew Jeppsen

    Cody,

    If you limit the gain on the EX1 (i.e. turn it off), you shouldn’t be seeing hardly any noise with the EX1. You can shoot at negative gain if you wish, that can clean things up even further. We just shot the EX1 next to all the major HD cameras, and it was one of the cleanest images among the lot.

    We’ve not had time to develop picture profiles and share them here, so until we do I suggest you setup a simple scene with highlights and shadows and tweak the gamma and black levels until you are happy with it. And if you make something sweet, post the settings back here please.

    -Matt Jeppsen

  3. 3 Cody Stanton

    Matt,
    first of all thank you for everything. I will do as you advise, i.e turn down the gain and tweak other levels.What I wanted to bring to your attention is ( his has been an ongoing Major subject on numerious threads) the blurring of footage, the streaking when people move across the scene, only in HQ Mode if the camera is panned and tilted in anyway. This does NOT happen in SP Mode.So you will hear misinformed people talk about how they ‘tested’ the camera and this was ‘simply not true’
    That’s why I’m bringing this to Fresh DV (the home of the truth)
    I shot a scene outdoors on a sunny day in HQ Mode and got some of the sharpest footage ever rivaling and even surpassing the footage simultaneously shot with my HV20 ( you must know that the HV20 has a reputation for some of the most amazingly sharpest footage in daylight.
    But the moment someone walked across the grass and into the scene,they were blurred and they left a streak behind them!!!
    I’m hoping you can get to the bottom of this.
    Only in HQ Mode.Happens when you pan and tilt too.
    -Cody

  4. 4 Cody Stanton

    Matt,
    I did as you suggested and the results were amazing! The noise was completely gone after i lowered the gain.I tweaked the gamma and black levels and I almost got perfection. What I want to do is spend a whole day tweaking the camera in a low light outdoors night type scene and create 6 picture profiles for for that type of scene. Then I want to come home and test all 6 on the Macbook Pro and choose the best and most realistic Picture Profile. Then I want to get back to you with that profile. What I’m looking for is PERFECTION and I’ve been testing this camera day and night to achieve that. (as far as Picture Profile settings are concerned)
    I’m trying to get to the point where I have 6 PERFECT PICTURE PROFILE SETTINGS that I can pull up for any given situation.
    For example, Times Square in New York City at night with all it’s brightly lit billboards and buildings and Las Vegas Style neon light effects is not the same as outside my front door and under the weird street lamps at night. Those are two different type of night low light outdoor situations that call for two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT Picture Profile NIGHT settings.
    Then again outdoors during the day when it’s sunny but could turn cloudy and overcast in the middle of a shoot also calls for two different Picture Profile DAYLIGHT settings that the user needs to pull up instantly. This is what I’m trying to achieve. Tweaking the camera to absolute Picture Profile perfection.
    The EX1 is a very complex camera that is driving a vast number of people to tears and some of them are on the edge of insanity trying to figure out the many issues facing this camera. Not everyone knows that there is a place called Fresh DV where you can run for help and hopefully a God called Matt Jeppesen will answer your prayers.Strobing, blurring when panning and tilting the camera, loss of resolution if the camera moves, are some of the issues facing users that thought the camera was good to go straight out of the box.
    If all of these issues are resolved (and I think they can be) this will be one of the greatest cameras ever because of it’s sheer portablity and what it can do then.
    And I think if anyone can crack the code, it is you. For example, after you told me to lower the gain, and tweak the gamma and black levels, I shot a scene outdoors at night and not only was there no noise, but when I did some zooming there was NO loss of resolution or any blurring at all for the first time! A car speeded right thru the scene. No problem.
    Thus, I will be testing the camera extensively this week and I’ll get back to you with all the numbers.
    Again, thanks for all the technical help, without which I would still be in ‘digital darkness’
    Cody.

  5. 5 Cody Stanton

    Matt,
    here’s a bizarre story. I was on my computer and in the back of my mind wondering if there would ever be a camera that combined the look of Canon’s XLH1 with the superior specs of the Sony PMW EX1.
    I then went to Google and typed in EX2 just to see if Sony came out with anything new that topped the EX1.
    Instead a page full of links to everything EX3 popped up. To my astonishment this new offering from Sony did indeed look like a Canon XLH1 had been fused with the EX1
    Matt, do dreams turn into a reality? Are our subconscious minds able to physically manifest our wishful thinking into objects of reality? I remember you saying to me recently that Sony was unlikely to come out with a anything new that topped the EX1. I mean the EX1 JUST came out last year, so of course no one would expect this new development ( the EX3)
    It’s expected to retail at $13,000 and be available by the end of the year.
    Philip Bloom just tested it out and gave it amazing comments.
    This camera wipes out anything Canon or JVC has going on at the moment.
    Ok Matt, pinch me. I must be dreaming.
    Cody

  6. 6 Matthew Jeppsen

    Cody, we’ve got a new 17 minute video on the Sony EX3. Check on the homepage or at FreshTV.

    -Matt Jeppsen

  7. 7 Cody Stanton

    Matt,
    that video was insane! Thank you for letting me know. Everyone’s wondering what the price of the EX 3 is going to be, and even though Bob Ott of Sony did mention it was going to be ‘less than $13,000′, I have to wonder what that translates to. Earlier in the day I was at B&H Photo and one of the guys did some numbers crunching and predicted that the EX 3 would be available at B&H Photo in September and for around $9000 to $10,000. Well, I guess that’s less than $13,000, so Mr Bob Ott was on the money!
    I’ll tell you why I personally believe that the B&H Photo price guess might actually hold some weight. It is because B&H never carries the equipment immediately when it comes out, waiting instead first for it to drop in price, thus keeping in tradition with B&H’s reputation of very competitive pricing. I’ll even tell you who will get it first in New York City. That would be Abel Cine Tech. At full price.
    I am just waiting for you to personally get your hands on the EX 3 and do one of your thorough reviews. Can’t wait. Philip Bloom was able to do a real good job and I’m getting to like this camera a lot. I even have the money ready for it. But I will wait till you take it apart. I really really hope it is not too much bigger than the EX 1. According to Philip Bloom, the camera is basically the same as the EX 1 as far as rolling shutter goes, same bit rates, same half inch chips and so and so forth. But the camera, according to Philip Bloom, is leaps and bounds ahead of the EX 1 in many other departments such as viewfinder, shoulder mount, button placements, addition of a hard drive etc. Plus the ability to change lenses…..not that some of us would ever come around to doing that, but still want to KNOW that we can if we need to(as Bob Ott correctly predicted)
    For me personally, the shoulder mount and viewfinder was the greatest change, making critical focus a reality. I guess the EX 3 is a beast from the future.
    Cant wait for you to get a hold of this camera and tear it apart in your lab!
    quick question. How does this affect Canon, JVC and Panasonic?
    Cody

  8. 8 Matthew Jeppsen

    We’re hoping to get our hands on one shortly as well…we shall see. In the meantime, Phil Bloom really did a fantastic job going over the major features and capabilities.

    How does it affect the other three big camcorder mfrs? Well, JVC and Canon seem to be marching to the beat of their own respective drummers…they are basically just offering incremental updates this year. Perhaps we’ll see something big from Canon later in the year in the solid-state arena (that’s my personal prediction). Panasonic has added a few nice improvements to the HVX, and a fantastic camera with the 170. I think they’ll do just fine with the crowd that generally prefers Panny gear.

    -Matt Jeppsen

  9. 9 Svend Even

    Hi I am very interested in the setting Cody Stanton is talking about. Could you sen d them to me? Or give me a hint about where to find information…

    Matthew Jeppsen what kind of tips on the settings did you gave Cody.

    I am looking for an good setting to film in bad/little light indoor.

    From Svend Even
    Norway

  10. 10 Matthew Jeppsen

    Svend, I believe that Cody was referring to Negative Gain. Go in your EX1 menus and turn lowest manual gain setting to something like -3db and you’ll see the image clean up just a bit.

    The other thing that Cody did was take some time to tweak his gamma and color settings. This is largely a trial and error thing, and ultimately depends on what you intend to do with the scene and image.

    Good luck,

    -MJ