What is the XDCAM EX system?

XDCAM EX recording is a system that records onto flash media cards. The first model in the series is the PMW-EX1 handheld camcorder.

Can you tell me more about the PMW-EX1?

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 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.

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 SxS Card Reader, a wide-conversion lens, battery, and charger.

What type of media does the XDCAM EX system use?

The system uses SxS™ (S-by-S) memory cards, which were jointly announced by SanDisk and Sony. The cards are based on the PC industry's widely supported ExpressCard™ standard.

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.

How does the SxS card system compare with the P2 card system?

For an in-depth comparison between SxS and P2 please read our SxS Vs. P2 FAQ.

How can this be an XDCAM camcorder if it uses flash media and not optical disc?

Sony launched the XDCAM system as a brand name for all types of tapeless, file-based recording. The first XDCAM products used optical disc. Now optical is being joined by flash media in Sony's growing XDCAM line.

Why did Sony use the ExpressCard™ standard? Why not PC Cards?

Compared to the PC Card, the ExpressCard standard supports higher bus speeds, lower power consumption and a more compact form factor. The same industry group that created the PC Card, the PCMCIA, created the ExpressCard standard to replace the PC Card. The PCMCIA official website declares: "Please note that the PC Card Standard is closed to further development and PCMCIA strongly encourages future product designs to utilize the ExpressCard interface."

How does the XDCAM EX camcorder compare to the XDCAM disc camcorders?

Both support high definition. The XDCAM EX camcorder is a handheld model with a fixed lens. The XDCAM disc-based camcorders are all shoulder-mount models that accept interchangeable lenses.

What codec does the XDCAM EX camcorder use?

It uses the same MPEG-2 Long GOP encoding Main Profile at High Level, for broad compatibility with a wide-range of third-party non-linear editors and servers.

Does this mean that Sony will no longer develop XDCAM optical disc products

Because the market is diverse, Sony will continue vigorously to develop both optical and flash media products. Sony expects that the XDCAM EX camcorder will be best suited to operations where the same person shoots and edits — and the media cards stay under that person's control. Sony expects that Professional Disc™ based recording will be best suited to larger operations and those where the videographer must hand over recorded assets to clients and post houses.

What's the possibility of a hybrid camcorder that offers both optical disc and flash media?

Sony is currently considering future directions.

What are the basic specifications of the PMW-EX1 camcorder?

The camcorder offers the following features:

  • Three 1/2-inch type Exmor™ CMOS image sensors
  • 1080/720 switchable recording
  • Slow & Quick Motion
  • Built-in lens with full manual focus ring
  • 3.5-inch LCD monitor (viewable area, measured diagonally)
  • Built-in stereo microphone
  • Recording onto SxS™ memory cards
  • MPEG-2 Long GOP codec
  • 140 minutes recording onto two 16 GB cards
  • Full range of interfaces including HD-SDI, SD-SDI, component video, S-Video, composite video, i.LINK®* HDV interface and USB