Production EX3 Review/ Windsor Waltz

Finally this week, after selling one of my EX1s, I bought a production model EX3. The UK price really sucks compares to the USA and Japan price, but that’s another topic. Why such a huge price difference?!

The last time I properly shot with an EX3 was when I reviewed the pre-production model back in April and I shot my short “3 days in April”.

So, how do I feel about it 4 months later? Is it worth the money? Is it worth upgrading to?Well yes and no. I am or was in the fortunate position of owning two EX1s. So I sold one to get an EX3 but if I owned just 1 EX1 would I have upgraded to an EX3? Possibly….It is just the EX1 is still such a great camera but most importantly, small. The EX3 is no longer a small camera, it is a medium camera. It attracts more attention and more importantly doesn’t fit into any of my “hand bagagge” sized bags. So when I fly I will have to carry it loose and put the bag that fits it into the hold. It does attract more attention, the big viewfinder (the part that stops it fitting into any of my bags) juts out and makes the camera look bigger than it actually is. I really wish they could have made the viewfinder removable for putting into smaller bags making it easier to fly. It couldn’t have been that hard to have done?

Viewfinder with the icuff on
Viewfinder with the icuff on

The flimsy SXS cover is better than the pre model but still not a patch on the solid EX1 version. The other things I didn’t like about the EX3 haven’t been changed. The shutter switch is still in an awful position and some other switches could have done with being improved upon.

But, there is still so much about the EX3 that is better than the EX1. Having a proper viewfinder, even this chunky thing is such a step up. The ergonomics have been improved drastically. The over and under crank knob is a joy. Although I need a way to go from 1080p to 720p quicker than going to the last thing in the last menu. I want to be able to assign it to a switch. Of course the main plus is the interchangeable lenses. For my test filming, well as soon as I got the camera really, I took off the nice EX1 Fujinon lens that comes with it and put on my 1/2″ Canon HD 20 X lens. What a difference it makes, having that extra length means getting a shallow DOF is achievable, nowhere near as easily as with a Letus or the like but it is possible.

When you lose the stock lens you also lose expanded focus of course and steady shot. Now steady shot really is a loss as even with the redesign shoulder rest it is not as rock steady as a full size camera like my F350. The proper peaking control on the viewfinder makes focusing a doddle, even with the loss of expanded focus which I really do miss and will miss even more when the Letus relay comes out for the Letus Ultimate and Extreme.

It is a really great camera and I doubt I will use my F350 much now. Would I recommend buying this over the EX1? Yes for most people, no if you need a smaller camera. The price difference is quite large and the picture quality is identical.

I am still tempted to use my EX1 for my 35mm adaptor stuff  and keep the EX3 for shooting with the Canon lens. The EX1 and Ultimate is about the same length as the EX3 and Canon. I can put it in my flight bag and carry it as hand luggage. A big plus for me. But the viewfinder, cranking knob and the interchangeable lenses mean this is my new A camera and will most likely go everywhere with me. It will just be a bit long until Letus bring out their relay!

To test the camera with the Canon I did some filming in Windsor, apart from getting almost arrested by the police for filming on the Queen’s grounds at Windsor Castle it went well.

You can see the results here


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  1. The benefits are obvious from a creative point of view, but when price is taken into account you start to wonder if the benefits are really worth it – EX1’s are dropping in price now and its just possible if you search to buy two EX1’s for the price of an EX3, and at the end of the day (love that saying) its the creative eye of the videographer that makes a film that works, not the camera completely – you’ve proved that over & over with the EX1 – the EX3 adds a few useful tools agreed, BUT … ????
    If Sony took a few k’s of the price, maybe.

  2. Philip, I am not convinced that to upgrade to the EX3, just for the simple fact that the viewfinder makes it stand out( not discreet) and hard to travel with. I certainly like the fact that I can take my Petrol backpack and stuff a Z1U or A1U and EX1 in it and move along through the airport. On bigger shoots where you have crew the EX3 might be a great option, with extra lens etc, but nothing that I have use for right now.

    Thanks again as always you help with my decision in this fast changing industry we are all in.

  3. Just a simple question, but not meant to be taken the wrong way. Did you pay to use the music on your video clip, or do you have a licence for using music on the web?

    I ask this because I too would like to use music tracks on my videos and although I have a large collection of Royalty free music, most of it is forgettable.

    Regarding the video, especially the Windsor shoot. How do you get away with shooting (filmimg) people today, there seems to be so many do’s and don’ts and short of turning every person into Pixelated monsters I am not sure how we will be able to capture everday life people. Just imagine if way back in the early 1900 if photography was subjected to the same bans that are in force now, what a loss this would have been to historic pictures.

    Keep up the good work, I have enjoyed looking at your work – hope to meet you on a press launch some day.

    Regards Vincent

  4. Hi there.
    Just if anyone care, I use the Kata CC-195 for my EX3, and fits pretty well, and I believe is the smallest bag for it, and also you could take it with you on a plane (hand-bag certified for flight, as they say).
    You can just put in there a few batteries and other small things, but still the camera fits fine.

  5. Hi Phil,

    Great work as usual.
    Have you checked the Strut GTC-3 bag @ AbelCine?
    I’m visiting NYC for a few days and I saw them at that store. They look great and apparently are carry on size. The fit is perfect for the EX-3.

  6. Hi Phil, thanks for your reviews!
    Do you know if the EX3 has the IR contamination problem just like the EX1. I have been searching the web but I can’t get any clear info on that matter. I know it has the same sensor but did the built-in infrared filter been upgraded?


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