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Old July 24th, 2005, 04:38 AM   #1
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Will Z1/FX1 be upgraded to compete with HVX?

In response to Panasonic's heavyweight DVPro 25/50/HD attack, will Sony add more firepower to the DV Z1/FX series? Surely this is a done deal, the law of the market dictates that Sony as the current leader has to compete with Pana's big bore offering. For example, and this is merely blue sky thinking, could they add HDV Pro, Digibeta, XML 50, or even low end HDCAM recording to the prosumer model. Or might they go for a better CCD, a 2/3 for example, to give their prosumer cam a leg up to compete?

Out of interest has anyone got any practical thoughts on how a FX1/Z1 could compete with the HVX? Seriously I am sure its not a matter of how, but when...

Already Canon representatives have said (in vague terms at least) they are going to be announcing some kind of new prosumer HD camera in December, although what this is still unknown.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:45 AM   #2
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John, I moved this thread to our "Area 51" forum because we only discuss real products in the camera forum.

It think Sony is having a lot of sucess with the FX1 and Z1 so it seems unlikely they will make any changes until sales fall off. For example, did you see them rush to upgrade the PD-150 to a 24p DV camera when the DVX-100 was introduced?

Personally it just amazes me how people are "reviewing" and "comparing" this non-existent Panasonic camera to everything else on the market when it is still months away. No doubt it will be very cool, but at the present time it doesn't really pose a threat to Sony. And even after its introduction I don't think it competes directly. If you want to shoot HD with it you're gonna pay a whole lot more than you would for an FX1, and even significantly more than a Z1. I'd be surprised if the Panasonic camera sells in the same volume as the FX1 and Z1; seems like more of a niche product. But of course time will tell. And who knows what Sony might have up their sleeve?
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Sony as the current leader has to compete with Pana's big bore offering.
I know what you meant by that, but there's also another way it could be interpreted... ;-)
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Old July 24th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
In response to Panasonic's heavyweight DVPro 25/50/HD attack, will Sony add more firepower to the DV Z1/FX series? <snip>
No, Sony just doesn't seem to think that way. They seem a little out of touch with reality and what their higher-end customers want (I present as example the morphing of the incredible TRV900 into the HC1000). And financially it seems to work for them, cause they still sell a ton of product (just not to me).

And frankly, I don't think the HVX200 will even compete with the Z1. Honestly I expect all the wannabe independent movie guys to sell everything they own to get one of these (look for my auctions on Ebay). And of course people making successfull projects now with DVX100's and possibly XL2's will probably upgrade. But lets be honest, if the preproduction HVX model is an indication, the camera will be fairly heavy and very bulk for a non-shoulder mount unit. And the workflow presents issues already discussed to death. Suffice it to say if you plan to emulate the shooting style of a Z1 or other cam, you'll have to spend a fortune in P2 cards to toss into your backpack every 4-8 minutes. Don't like that, then have a laptop wired up or at least present with an assistant to swap/offload cards while you shoot. Or you'll have to add an external firestor or similiar product (add another $K to the price and increase bulk). The Z1 dude pops in a $5 tape and doesn't think about it for an hour. No, these are completely different beasts and not many people will have trouble deciding which one works for them.

By the way, if you want to discuss competition for the Z1, you should probably be asking about the HD100. Shoulder mountable, a decent removable lens, 24P on a $5 tape. Now THAT's something Sony should be worried about.

Just my 2 cents anyway.

Philip Williams
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Old July 24th, 2005, 05:27 PM   #4
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You guys make me feel like I just walked into church with the letters 666 written on my forehead!
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Old July 25th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
I'd be surprised if the Panasonic camera sells in the same volume as the FX1 and Z1; seems like more of a niche product.
Niche product? I don't think so. If you're amazed at how everybody seems to be going gaga for a not-yet-shipping product, and comparing it to everything else on the market, there's a simple reason for that. This camera reads, on paper, as everything you ever wanted in a small camcorder, and even a few things we never knew we wanted or needed. People are doing the comparisons because it's a real question - if you are in the market for a $5-6000 camera, it might very well be worth the 4-5 month wait for the Panny. I think there are plenty of folks that would have bought an FX-1 or Z-1, and are now in a wait-and-see mode. I'm one of them. I don't need to switch to HD, and even after getting and HD camera, most of my final masters will still be SD, but I would like the option - to future proof my footage and to have more options in post. I'll wait for the HVX, and I bet a lot of other people will, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
if the preproduction HVX model is an indication, the camera will be fairly heavy and very bulk for a non-shoulder mount unit.
After handling the preproduction mock-up, I think it competes very favorably with the FX-1/Z-1. Although a bit heavier (the FX-1 is unnaturally light for it's size), it feels well-balanced. Cameras like these are certainly pushing the limits of both size and weight for this form factor. I would most likely get a shoulder mount like the Anton Bauer Stasis, or more likely the DVRig Pro, which is an extremely flexible and inexpensive rig. Even after decking out the HVX with a shoulder mount, a Firestore unit and a remote zoom controller, it will still be an outstanding value.

As to the original question of if Sony will have to compete with the HVX: I don't think it's a qustion of if, it's a question of when. Sony seems to be firmly entrenched in this product development/production cycle. They will probably not update the current crop of HDV cameras to include 24p or modify the HDV codec. But you can bet that someone at Sony is looking at the HVX, Panasonic's "Mini Varicam", and thinking about developing a sub-$10,000 "Mini-CineAlta". Maybe instead of P2, Sony will focus on Blu-Ray, or develop another type of solid-state storage. Two things are certain: JVC, Panny and Sony are all talking about a tapeless future, and they are all talking about capturing in HD at bargain prices, even if you deliver SD today.

I'll give it about 3 years: by that time, you'll see solid-state options aplenty, with bandwidth sufficient for 1080p, and prices low enough for even consumer use. You'll also see the majors start to quietly drop SD product lines. Canon has already stated the XL2 is the last SD camcorder they will produce.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 05:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Anderson
Niche product? I don't think so. If you're amazed at how everybody seems to be going gaga for a not-yet-shipping product, and comparing it to everything else on the market, there's a simple reason for that. This camera reads, on paper, as everything you ever wanted in a small camcorder
I think you may not have understood the context of my remark. I don't think a niche product is a bad thing, in fact it's great that Panasonic is making a product that addresses these things. However this camera seems to target digital filmakers and that seems to be the very definition of a "niche" to me.

OTOH, look at the marketing of the FX1, it's being pitched to consumers with disposable income that want the latest tech-toy. There's a little Mom and Pop type camera/home entertainment store just down the road from me that probably makes most of their money on plasma screens and home theatre gear. They have been running half page ads for the FX1 in the local shopper newspaper - you know, the free paper that says pork chops are on sale at the Acme Market and your neighbor is having a garage sale.

Do you think they will advertise the Panasonic P2 there? My only point is that I think Sony is looking for larger sales volume of its cameras which offer a much lower entry cost with the FX1.
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Old September 23rd, 2005, 07:36 AM   #7
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I think Boyd is right & keeping it real. I love what I have read about the HVX, I waited until NAB last spring to see when it will be available, what people thought of it after trying the cam & what I would be looking at cost wise on this baby. Didn't have an idea of when it would be available. Couldn't tell my clients I would wait until whenever it would be. So, I bought an FX1(already had an xlr & mic, etc. so saved on not getting the Z1U). I figure I can get away with this for another year or two, see how the field levels out & prices come down. Being in Canada the US list prices I have seen, would be way over budget for me at this point. Also, I rely heavily on reviews from many sources (like here, and user reviews) before deciding to buy something for my work. So would have to wait even longer until seeing the brave souls who buy & use it in the field think about the cameras. I think a lot of people are in my position too.

So, FX1 is a good & cheaper alternative that lets us hold out and see how things will go down the line. Upgrades are a given, and the cameras we've seen so far reflect that each company's camera seems to be tailored to different markets. As much as I am drooling to see the HVX in action. I think the biggest innovations are coming soon. But what a year it has been so far huh?

I know a lot of you can afford to and will be upgrading to the HVX when the time comes. So this is by no means a biased or negative post. I can't wait to see how this baby works out!
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