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Old October 17th, 2007, 07:29 AM   #1
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Sony HVR Z1 v. HVR V1 v. Canon HX A1

Hello,

Long story short. We use a Canon XL1S and is a wonderful tool, but we had to make the initial transition to HD (still going to be using SD, and start using HD for some things and for chromas) until we can afford the Canon XL H1 or the new Sony interchangeable lenses when it comes out.

In the meanwhile, we were going to buy the Canon HX A1, we saw the Sony F1X and liked it. We were going to buy the new HVR Z1 until we saw the price tag of 5470 Euros (thought it was going to be cheaper). Saw the alternative of the HVR V1 with a price we can afford right now, and the decision now is more complicated.

I know they have to be different camera segments and markets, but what I'm going to loose for not buying the V1 and not getting the Z1?

Would it be better to get initial choice of the Canon HX A1 instead of the Sony HVR V1, because it has more features (thing I dont know)? Of course I'm asking to people who has used them and had practical use.

Is going to be a hard transition since I'm used to using interchangeable lenses and manual lenses and manual focus of the XL1s, but I would like to get the best choice of camara while we are in this transition.

Any clarifying anwswers?

Thanks in advance.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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I can't comment on the Canon since I've never used it. I've always liked the ergonomics and design of Sony camcorders.

The V1U is a better camcorder than the Z1U in my humble opinion. Even though the chips are slightly larger in the Z1U I feel that the 1/4" CMOS chips in the V1U do a fantastic job, and many of the reviews I've read feel it produces a much sharper image than the Z1U. The resolution charts for the V1U are much higher than the Z1U as I understand it also. I've also always been annoyed with the vertical smear that occurs with CCD sensors when I'm doing event videography, CMOS eliminates this entirely. Sure CMOS may have a quirk or two of its own, but they don't affect my shooting style one bit so I much prefer shooting with CMOS camcorders like the V1U and FX7.

24P is why I bought the V1U but I don't feel I've made a single set-back in choosing that over the Z1U. The size/weight is an added bonus as well. The new inter-changeable lens HDV camcorder looks amazing, but it won't be out till next year. If you can't wait, then pick up the V1U :)
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #3
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Not to mention using the HDMI connection and doing live-capture (instead of recording to tape) with a Blackmagic Intensity card (coupled with Cineform) bypasses long-GOP HDV and gives you uncompressed (or straight into Cineform's excellent wavelet codec). You also get 4:2:2 color sampling instead of 4:2:0

You can't beat that either, I don't think.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #4
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Jose: all of the cameras you mentioned can be used effectively for basic HD videography, but since you're used to Canon cameras and like good manual focus the XH-A1 may be the best choice for your circumstances. It would also probably color match better with your XL1 than the Sony cameras would, although those can be adjusted to some extent to help with that.

I have two Sony FX1s and like them, but the lack of XLR inputs and limited (12X) zoom range are downsides compared to the XH-A1 and V1U.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jose Milan View Post
Any clarifying anwswers?
Jose, the only thing truly clarifying is the fact that it doesn't really matter which one you choose... they're all capable of producing superb images. Pick the one which feels best in your hands. You can't go wrong no matter which one you buy.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:36 AM   #6
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I'd agree they're all good choices. The Z1 does have a feature which none of the others have however. It can shoot in either PAL or NTSC standard definition as well as 1080i60 and 1080i50 HDV. This doesn't matter to a lot of people, but it's the reason why I bought mine since I needed to do a PAL project and didn't want to buy a separate camera.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 09:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
I'd agree they're all good choices. The Z1 does have a feature which none of the others have however. It can shoot in either PAL or NTSC standard definition as well as 1080i60 and 1080i50 HDV. This doesn't matter to a lot of people, but it's the reason why I bought mine since I needed to do a PAL project and didn't want to buy a separate camera.
FYI of course, the XH A1 can be updated for $500 to support NTSC and PAL.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:14 AM   #8
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Jose, I went this way too this year. I spent few months researching and comparing V1U, Z1U and A1.
I ended up getting A1, wchich in my opinion was the winner for what I do.
Low light capabiloty is the same if not better than Z1U. V1U, as you probably know not too good.
A1 wins for me with 20x zoom over 12x of Z1U. Also the iris ring, wchich, if you want to have constant control over aperture, is a must.
You also can tweak the A1 more than 2 others.
I wish A1 had a bigger lcd, but I overcame this issue with Ikan monitor.
V1U is an excelent camera, but if you need low light, it's a no no. It's also only one system. I don't know if it matters, but it's either PAL or NTSC.
Z1U is 2 system and A1 you can upgrade if you need it.
The other thing is that for the price of Z1U you can get A1 with a lot of accessories.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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User of V1E PAL. Had finished some projects and like the way of V1E made for me. Color In/Out door is great. :)
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Old October 18th, 2007, 05:27 AM   #10
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Hello everybody,

Newer updates!!!

Thanks for the kind replys...I have to tell you that while posting my question I also was making some calls to regional stores and was asking for prices and options and the offered me the option of JVC GY-HD110E, which has a FUJINON lens and the option of interchange them, just like the XL1S. The thing is this camera cost almost 6000Euros but I have the chance to buy it for 4250 Euros!!! Is not a ripp-off, since is the store we usally get things from.

HD is very new for me and dont really control the workflow of HD or if I'm backing myself since the JVC is HD, but 1280x720 and not 1080.

It can go 1080i/50 or 1080i/60 but only across component video cable, but I think you really need one of the most powerfull pc's in the world + a card like BlackMagic or Ajax (I'm talking from the very basic knowledge I know from reading a little I've never seen this workflow or if it cost too much) or buying special hardware. So I have doubt in this topic...how powerfull must the pc has to be to be able to handle this type of stream (whic I think is 100+Mb/s)???

The thing I love about the JVC is it lens which are superb and handling the camera is much close (if not better) to the XL1s and the price is very good.

So new question arises (remember I'm totally new to HD).

1. Is it really that important not having 1080 straigt of firewire or the tape??

2. Is possible to go powerfull pc + card (BlackMagic or Ajax) and get 1080??

3. How powerful the pc has to be??

4. We use ONlocation to record straight to disk, can it be used with this camera.

5. The camera is only progressive, not interlaced...If we ever want to output to television, will this be a problem or it can be overcome??

6. Might I be loosing something else getting the JVC

Don't know if this is getting of topic now, but what you people think of the JVC option now????
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Old October 18th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #11
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I'll try and answer some of your questions as far as I'm capable:

1. No, not really... but if 1080p ever becomes a new standard, then MAYBE you'll have some regrets about having only 720p...

2. Don't know the answer on that one.

3. How powerful does your PC have to be to edit HDV? I've edited a play from a Z1 in HDV a couple of months ago, my pc is 2 years old, 1GB Ram, with Premiere Pro 2, and it all went VERY smoothly...
Much better than I expected, so your computer has to be heavy, but you don't need a super-über heavy pc by all means...

4. Don't know the question on that one either precisaly, although I think if you have firewire, you can *amways* record straight to hard disc on location - you do mean a laptop or computer right? -, it's just maybe a bit dangerous that there's no bump against your firewire cable, so it won't loose the signal...

5. That's no problem, just that you won't be able to offer your clients something else then progressive, although that may not be a problem.

6. I would still opt for the Canon XH A1, because you'll know some controls better, coming from another Canon, but most importantly: if you'll ever buy a Canon XL H1, you will have no problem matching them!
There also have been some reported problems with split screen effect and such on the JVC, although I don't know in how far JVC resolved this via firmgrades or not...
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Old October 18th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #12
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Hello Mathieu,

Thanks for the answers, still theres some questions that I still have, but you've answered some of them.

I still dont know if theres a problem using progressive video for transmision over television?

Thanks
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Old October 19th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #13
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I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. A television can display both interlaced as progressive, I *think*.
Only if you have clients who would WANT 1080 interlaced footage, then you could maybe have a problem, but I don't know your situation.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jose Milan View Post
I still dont know if theres a problem using progressive video for transmision over television?
Jose, you're asking a question that has been debated for years now here in the States, with no final answer.

The short answer is yes, progressive footage can be used and is used in television. But I think your real question is, from what I'm reading in your posts, the quality. And this is where the answer is subjective. Sure, 1080 lines are more than 720 lines, but does it matter? To the eye, 720p looks just as (or almost) as good as 1080i on static images - it's a different story with high speed moving images. Bandwidth on over the air (OTA) television is only 19 MB/sec, so the 25 MB/sec 1080i suffers when further comressed to 19 MB/sec, where 720p does just fine. This is why one of the leading sports transmissions provider (Fox) has chosen 720p for all of its live sport transmissions. To further complicate things, HD sattelite transmissions are even more compressed, somewhere around 12 MB/sec, resulting in compression artifacts and macroblocks.

Bottom line, Jose, you're diving into a subjective teritory - I would encourage you to first read as much as you can about it, then do some tests and make YOUR OWN decision based on that.

I hope this helps,
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Old October 19th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #15
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Minor correction to Ervin's post: the figures are all Megabits per second (Mbps), not Megabytes per second (MB/sec).
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