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Forums Sony Cameras EX-1 Replacement

  • EX-1 Replacement

     Keith Henderson updated 2 years, 5 months ago 4 Members · 24 Posts
  • Keith Henderson

    March 11, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Hello All,

    My trusty Sony EX-1 that has served me so well since 2009 is in need of replacement. It has developed some issues, and I am seeing the need to upgrade, especially with 4K and higher resolutions now upon us.

    I produce a wide variety of content for distribution on the internet, and it is quite possible that the EX-1 was perhaps “too much” camera for what I have been doing, but an old friend advised me way back when, “Treat cameras like tires for your car and computers: Buy the most you can afford at the time.” And that seemed like sound advice.

    So my question to you all is, what are your recommendations for a new Sony model replacement for my EX-1? Needless to say, I haven’t researched video cameras much in the last few years, so I’m asking for your help and opinions. I would greatly appreciate advice on two levels/pricepoints:

    The first would be for the $4,500-$6,000+ range, as I paid $6,000 for my EX-1

    The second would be in the $2,000-ish price range, let’s be realistic and say $1,500-$3,000, I’d like XLR connections, for instance.

    Yes, 4K is mandatory, and I’m hoping that Sony is now using SD cards as opposed to the outrageously expensive SxS that had to be used with the EX-1.

    This is all off the top of my head, I’ve been wanting to post this for a while now and am ready to make the jump to replacing my Sony EX-1.

    Thank you all!

  • Craig Seeman

    March 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Sony PXW-Z90 if small size is OK. It’s 10 Bit 4:2:2 in HD. Shots 120fps slo mo continuous and 240fps “bursts” at useful. quality and up to 960fps and a bit reduced quality. Shoots 4k (UHD) 8 bit 4:2:0. It has incredibly useful autofocus (lots of programmability) for run and gun. 1″ chip although lens is mostly f4 but can be f2.8 when full wide. XLR in and SDI out (in addition to HDM). Very good customizable profile options include S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma HDR). 1″ type sensor for reasonable depth of field control. $2798

    Otherwise if you want some thing that straddles run and gun an documentary camera with interchangeable lenses the Sony PXW-FS5. Super 35 sensor type. Built in variable ND. Otherwise fairly similar features to the above. $5248 with 18-105mm f4 lens.

  • Keith Henderson

    March 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm


    Wow, thank you for all that! I’ll give them a look today. I don’t need changeable lenses, so if there is another larger form camera you might have in the higher price range I’d be grateful for that. I am, however, also quite grateful for these recommendations as well. Thank you!



  • Craig Seeman

    March 12, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    [Keith Henderson] “o if there is another larger form camera you might have in the higher price range I’d be grateful for that”

    It seems the Z90 has features that aren’t yet in the larger cameras such as the Z150. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll be seeing some updates along the product line for NAB.

  • 3 Create COW Profile Image


    March 14, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Craig’s advice seems pretty comprehensive (old time Cow contributor, Hi Craig!), but I thought that the PXW-Z150, had a higher spec than the Z90, maybe not. I replaced my EX 1 with the Z150 last year and although it shoots 4K, higher bit rates etc etc I don’t see any other improvement. In fact in one particular it is worse, namely the inability to keep the aperture setting at wide (f2.8) all the way through a zoom. As has been mentioned, these new small Sony cameras, although notionally with bigger sensors, do not make it easy to narrow the DoF. The aperture ‘ramps’ as the focal length is increased so that, at full tele, you only have f4. If only they had fitted a better lens the camera would be perfect (the weight balance would presumably be disturbed with a bigger lens).

    The EX 1 was brilliant, as all users will know, but things move on I’m afraid. Craig, how does the Z90 compare with my Z150? I don’t want or need to shoot raw, is that the major difference?

    Michael Slowe

  • Craig Seeman

    March 14, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    [Michael Slowe] ” but I thought that the PXW-Z150, had a higher spec than the Z90, maybe not.”

    Nope. Z90 has new autofocus, S-Log, Hybrid Log Gamma (HDR) and slow motion 120fps continuous, 240 burst all the way to 960 (but lower resolution). The autofocus is major. It’s the first time I’ve ever decided to use autofocus when doing run & gun shooting. The newer sensor in the Z90 is generally better as well.

    [Michael Slowe] “nability to keep the aperture setting at wide (f2.8) all the way through a zoom.”
    This is normal with larger sensors. EX1 was 1/2″ the 150 and 90 are 1″ which would require much more expensive lens mechanisms to maintain aperture throughout.

  • Keith Henderson

    March 14, 2018 at 6:51 pm


    I did some cross-checking on both models on the trusty B&H site and it looks as though the Z150 has a few improvements over the Z90, and I’m looking seriously into the Z150 because of it.

    So far, the advice from you both has been very helpful and I appreciate your input!



  • Craig Seeman

    March 14, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    [Keith Henderson] “it looks as though the Z150 has a few improvements over the Z90, “

    Absolutely not. Other than ergonomics it’s older and is missing a lot of features. If anything, Sony may update because it’s behind the Z90.

  • Craig Seeman

    March 14, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    See Alister’s comments after the review.

    MARCH 5, 2018 AT 12:37 PM
    The only benefit the Z150 has is it’s bigger and has separate rings for zoom and focus on the lens. So less fiddly to use on a tripod and may be more acceptable on a professional shoot. The Z90 is the better of the two cameras otherwise in my opinion.


    MARCH 9, 2018 AT 6:27 PM
    A common problem is people comparing the low light performance of a S35mm camcorder with a camcorder with a much smaller sensor with much smaller pixels. The two will never perform the same. The NX80/Z90 are a generation later than the Z150 and NX100 and have a better sensor and better AF

  • 3 Create COW Profile Image


    March 15, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    There you have it then, Z90 probably better than the Z150, although it’s a bit late for me. I do prefer having proper rings on the lens for focus, zoom and aperture though, how does the Z90 operate without them?

    Michael Slowe

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