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Preston G4


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#1 Glenn Kaplan

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:43 PM

I just ordered a new FIZ 3. You have an option to get the old boards or the new G4. If you want to switch later its $450 per radio. The problem is that my new unit will not talk to other non G4 units. As we all know one nice thing about the FIZ is that you can swap and switch pieces with other cameras i.e. A cam to Steady cam pass the wireless zoom off to the camera that needs it. turn on the single channel to control iris.
Now I asked Preston if they would sell me some old boards that I can use until more people swap or put in and out depending what I am doing or what other FIZ's I am working with. They are more $$ than the new ones. Maybe when Preston has 100 radios swap over to 4G then they might lower price?

What is the thoughts about switching over to 4G???
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#2 Charles Papert

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:47 AM

I have the same concerns you have, Glenn. I've opted to wait to switch mine out until they are more common for the reasons you listed.

Many Preston owners may not actually be aware of this situation unless they have been in for service in a while. Howard and co. have developed a new transceiver board that uses different frequencies that are less crowded than the 2.4 gHz bands (I hope I have that right). The upgrade is $450 for each unit that sends or receives, i.e. has a radio (so hand unit, MDR, single channel hand unit, radio Microforce etc). The board is not backward-compatible with the older ones so you have to do your complete system, and then it won't be mix-and-match with any older components. The new board should show increased range and reliability with less interference. I have been noticing occasional zaps with the single channel hand unit on the iris control from the DIT station (momentary iris transients) and also with my radio Microforce, so I've been contemplating the new boards but even outside of the cost, the lack of compatibility with other FIZ units is worrisome.

Another upgrade that is much more palatable (because it's just a simple software/firmware upgrade) is that the Microforce now has programmable soft stops, or feathering. You can dial in a varying acceleration or deceleration curve to the stop point in conjunction with the adjustable range. This will make fast zooms with a feathered stop much easier to nail. It will work when the Microforce is attached to the hand unit or the radio module, but not when directly mounted to a motor.
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#3 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:31 AM

Just had a humorous thought... if this was a Toyota, there would be a massive recall and a federal agency hovering over the Preston Labs with questions....
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#4 Ben Rowsell

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 01:30 PM

Another consideration is that the G4 board upgrade only applies to the new HU3, not the HU2. I have the G4 version and have had no issues yet. One of the other advantages not mentioned is that the battery life on the handset seems to be back on par with the HU2 - ie a full day from 1 battery.
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#5 Mike O'Shea

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 06:26 PM

So, if you upgrade to the new G4 boards does that mean that the old FIZ 2 hansets will no longer work? Can the older handsets be upgraded also?
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#6 Ben Rowsell

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:46 AM

So, if you upgrade to the new G4 boards does that mean that the old FIZ 2 hansets will no longer work? Can the older handsets be upgraded also?


What Preston told me is that the upgrade applies to the MDR2 and the HU3 so no, the older handsets cannot be upgraded.
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:43 AM

mmm--I believe the F/I handset and the Radio Microforce are also upgradeable, and also the V/F receiver.
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#8 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:27 AM

mmm--I believe the F/I handset and the Radio Microforce are also upgradeable, and also the V/F receiver.



yes, all currently available preston wireless products can be upgraded, at $450 each....takes only a couple of minutes....
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#9 Lee Kazista

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:13 AM

Can we do an online poll of who has what and when people plan on switching if at all?

Lee "a guy with almost 40 non G4 devices" Kazista
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#10 Rick Drapkin

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:07 AM

Personally I feel that Preston should do the upgrade for free if not a huge discount. I own 2 complete fiz3 packages. Yesterday I did both packages at the cost of $2000.
I dont know about anyone else, but when I switched to the hu3 , I've had nothing but problems. My old hu2 NEVER had any issues. Now it's a complete crapshoot when my assistant pulls focus . I know that the preston on a whole is a great product,however knowing that the boards that come with it originally would be working an extremely
busy frequency. So does this mean when the 4g band get really busy, we all will have to do this once again ? I feel this problem should have been thought about from the beginning.I just completely fustrated about the whole thing.
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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:59 AM

Personally I feel that Preston should do the upgrade for free if not a huge discount. I own 2 complete fiz3 packages. Yesterday I did both packages at the cost of $2000.
I dont know about anyone else, but when I switched to the hu3 , I've had nothing but problems. My old hu2 NEVER had any issues. Now it's a complete crapshoot when my assistant pulls focus . I know that the preston on a whole is a great product,however knowing that the boards that come with it originally would be working an extremely
busy frequency. So does this mean when the 4g band get really busy, we all will have to do this once again ? I feel this problem should have been thought about from the beginning.I just completely fustrated about the whole thing.



I've NEVER had an issue with my HU-3, it's been absolutely rock solid.
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#12 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:28 PM

while it is certainly unfortunate that we are in this situation, it is understandable. When the microwave Preston was conceived, let's say 7-8 years ago, the usage of the 2.4Ghz band was less than it is these days. I think it is only smart that Preston worked on solutions, like they did.
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#13 Rick Drapkin

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:24 AM

while it is certainly unfortunate that we are in this situation, it is understandable. When the microwave Preston was conceived, let's say 7-8 years ago, the usage of the 2.4Ghz band was less than it is these days. I think it is only smart that Preston worked on solutions, like they did.

I understand that, but when the HU3 came out a few years ago, the 2.4 gig frequnecy was already extremely busy. Preston's answer was " did you read an article called
" the wireless jungle " . So I'm trying to understand why the hu-2 works flawlessly, and the hu-3 gets lots of interference . I'm happy to hear people like Eric Fletcher have had no problems, lots of other people have not been as fortunate. I've had problems at Paramount studios on stages 19, 20, 21. I've had problems at Universal. Out on car shoots in the middle of nowhere, and now in an office building in Van Nuys. Maybe I'm just very unfortunate to have 2 bad units.
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#14 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:52 AM

I've had problems at Paramount studios on stages 19, 20, 21.


Paramount seems to be a RF cespool. there is a RF blackhole on the back half of stage 8 where NOTHING RF works, Walkies, Cell Phones, Prestons, Scorpios, Wireless mics. Nothing get's in or out over there.

As for your other issues I don't know. Have you talked to Preston?
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#15 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:20 PM

Can't say I've had any problems with the HU3, but the truth is i liked the simplicity of the HU2 better. I just finished a shoot in Puerto Rico and had some serious lack of range issues with the single channel hand unit. I had 2 there and one even had the the HU2 style stubby antenna retrofitted to it, which was supposed to work better than the built in antenna. It was worse.
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