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Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 02:10 PM

First big camera purchase
 
Hi

I am looking into buying my first serious camera. I was looking into buying the Canon GL2 until I came across the Sony HDR-FX1. So now I'm not sure if I should go with the Sony HD camera or the Canon SD camera. A friend of mine owned a GL2 and I heard nothing but good things about it from her.

Any opinions on this small matter would be great!

Thanks,
Amanda

Stephan Ahonen May 14th, 2006 03:06 PM

What are you using it for? That'll make a huge difference.

To be honest, when I think about a "serious" camera I don't think of the GL2 or FX1, or any of those cameras with the hand-held form factor. They just look too much like overly expensive toys for me to take them seriously at all. Rather, I think about cameras with a shoulder-supported form factor like Canon's XL series or JVC's HD100.

Boyd Ostroff May 14th, 2006 03:28 PM

Welcome to DVinfo Amanda (from someone else in the Philadelphia area :-)

I wouldn't worry too much about what other people perceive as "serious cameras," just pick something which feels comfortable to use and fits your needs and budget.

The FX1 is a much newer design than the GL2 and has many upgrades, although the GL2 is certainly still a solid performer for 4:3 standard definition video. But here are a few advantages off the top of my head for the FX1:

1. 1/3" high resolution native 16:9 CCD's vs. 1/4" low resolution 4:3 CCD's on the GL2. Aside from its HD capability, the FX1 will produce far better 16:9 standard definition video than the GL2.

2. Higher resolultion native 16:9 LCD screen and viewfinder. Again, much better suited to working in 16:9 widescreen. The FX1 LCD panel is also transreflective, meaning that you can clearly see it in direct bright sunlight.

3. Excellent manual controls - especially the iris knob - and lots of image adjustment with the ability to save multiple picture profiles.

4. Switchable between standard and high definition.

Now the GL2 does have the advantage of a more powerful zoom lens if you need to film things from a great distance (like events). If you are really only interested in 4:3 video the GL2 would be a good choice. But in that case you might also want to consider the Sony PD-170 and VX-2100 since they are better in low light than the GL2 and also shoot great 4:3 video.

Ken Hodson May 14th, 2006 05:04 PM

If you want a camera to grow with you as you develop, go with the FX1. It will last you many more years.

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 14th, 2006 06:58 PM

Having a couple of Z1's and several GL2's, you'll love either, but with HD coming...you'll be very happy with the FX1, IMO.

Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 09:53 PM

I am using my new camera for my film projects around campus, mostly documentary type stuff since that is what I am interested in. I need something that is fairly rugged that I can move around with and what not.

How are the sound capabilities on the FX1? I think that that is the only thing that is really worrying me about the camera. Otherwise, from what I'v heard that might be the way to go.

Thanks for all the help!


p.s. yeah I guess I just meant "serious" to me. I am going from a $400 to a camera in the thousands of dollars so that's a bit of a jump for me =)

Stephan Ahonen May 14th, 2006 10:51 PM

If you're doing documentary type stuff, I assume you will be doing a lot of handheld work, correct? The major weakness of GL2/FX1 type cameras is they are terrible for handholding.

Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 11:04 PM

Oh cool. (sarcasm.)


any other cameras you'd recommend?

Keep audio quality in mind too, please.

Thanks!

Tomas Chinchilla May 14th, 2006 11:10 PM

HD all the way and don't look back!!!!

Jack D. Hubbard May 15th, 2006 01:06 AM

Fx1
 
The FX1 and the Z1 are extremely durable cameras, with great lensing. I have used the Z1 in a lot of different shooting situations and have never had a problem. The same with the FX1. Both are great for handheld. Even at this point using the FX1 has the advantage of shooting both HDV and SD video which is a big advantage indeed.

Amanda Warner May 15th, 2006 06:56 PM

Ok so I have narrowed it down to the FX1 or the Z1. I like the Z1 because it has XLR inputs, but it's a little on the pricey side of things. But the FX1 doesn't have XLR inputs. I know I can buy the Beachtek adapter. Has anyone done this with the FX1? How was the sound?


thanks again =)

Frederic Segard May 15th, 2006 07:35 PM

Amanda, the Z1 may be a tad more expensive then the FX1, but it's worth having the on board XLRs. Having too may adapters and trinkets will bog you down, and if you have a problem, itís really annoying to debug the problem on location.

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 15th, 2006 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amanda Warner
Ok so I have narrowed it down to the FX1 or the Z1. I like the Z1 because it has XLR inputs, but it's a little on the pricey side of things. But the FX1 doesn't have XLR inputs. I know I can buy the Beachtek adapter. Has anyone done this with the FX1? How was the sound?


thanks again =)

The beachtek will provide good sound, NP, but it's more than just having the XLR's on the Z1. The Black Stretch, dual 50i/60i, and other features are well worth the cost, IMO.

Boyd Ostroff May 15th, 2006 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
The major weakness of GL2/FX1 type cameras is they are terrible for handholding.

An inexpensive shoulder rest can help a lot: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=57910

Bob Grant May 15th, 2006 09:10 PM

Amanda,
if you're stretched for funds then I'd buy a cheaper camera and a good tripod, HDV and hand (or shoulder) held is not a good look. The Sony A1 still gives you XLR inputs via an audio bridge that can be removed. Add say a Miller Solo tripod (which is light and easy to rig) and you're set to roll.

Sure the A1 isn't a Z1, but it's nowhere near as threatening looking and does produce remarkable images for a camera of its size. Certainly if the budget can be stretched to the Z1 you will not be sorry. Just don't dismiss the A1 based on its size.

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 15th, 2006 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Grant
Amanda,
if you're stretched for funds then I'd buy a cheaper camera and a good tripod, HDV and hand (or shoulder) held is not a good look. The Sony A1 still gives you XLR inputs via an audio bridge that can be removed. Add say a Miller Solo tripod (which is light and easy to rig) and you're set to roll.

Sure the A1 isn't a Z1, but it's nowhere near as threatening looking and does produce remarkable images for a camera of its size. Certainly if the budget can be stretched to the Z1 you will not be sorry. Just don't dismiss the A1 based on its size.

Good point, Bob.
Amanda, if you want big...here is a bulked up A1.
http://www.vasst.com/Tempfolder/Big-A1U.jpg

Jemore Santos May 16th, 2006 03:28 AM

Douglas---Yes that is an A1 on steroids, but you know there are two small HDV cams, one is the A1 and the other is the other is the HD-10 by JVC which is pretty cheap considering the images, and get a decent set of legs on it. I reckon they are your best bet because they do have XLR inputs.

Leo Pepingco May 16th, 2006 03:47 AM

naaaahhhh Douglas... thats not a knife... This is a knife...

Greetings from OZ

Amanda, I own an FX1. And I believe that going HDV has assured me I wont have to buy another camera till maybe 2012. I'm a recent Theatre and film graduate and have done a lot of run and gun docos with the Z1 FX1, and the A1. As well as all the pro Canons (like the XL and XM/GL series) While in University.

I think the FX1 / Z1 are a perfect balance of size and maneuveability. However, the only downside is that these two cans can tax your arms if you hand hold them a lot.

If you are *really* serious about getting a camera, I'd go for the Z1. But if you want to be practical, the FX1 works. Because the add on costs for the likes of the Fx1 (like external mic & Beachteck) end up cheaper than a Z1 - You will however be giving up some really good pro tools that come with a Z1.. but, like any good film maker, it doenst make or break you, you just have to work harder, or be more creative.

As for the A1... For the price, it is amazing as a starter cam. Its audio is pretty much infront of the FX1 (But for a few hundred you can out do the A1) But the image will have to be handled like a baby because you will need a tripod, or some brace to get stable shots. Its really light and small, and footage can get really shakey. The strange thing is, becuase of Sony's looney nature to arbitrality determine what is "Pro" and what is not, the FX1 is a consumer cam, and the A1 is Pro... so you get some of the stuff the Z1 has (like black stretch and safety lines etc) but in a cheaper, smaller camcoderish looking camera. But dont let looks fool you - Its a powerfull camera...

Because the A1 has one CMOS chip, I have some issues with image quality and some red smearing... But its hardly noticeable sometimes... And because its one chip with 1440 x 1080 pixels... It is terrible in low light. And Even though the FX1 and the Z1 arent the best either, its not as bad and tollerable.

Now, having said all that, I believe that the FX1 sits nicely in the middle. And if you want the best of both world, get it... becuase in the end, after attaching a new mic, you pretty much have the same picture quality as the Z1, and *possibly* a better audio output if you get yourself a really good beachteck. And that to me is the reason I got an FX1...

Amanda Warner May 16th, 2006 11:17 PM

So, I think I'm gonna go with the FX1. Thanks everyone for the input! It has been much appriciated. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Ken Hodson May 17th, 2006 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amanda Warner
Thanks everyone for the input! It has been much appriciated. I'll let you know how it turns out.

No, no that won't cut it. We all gave advice so we all expect part of the profits!
;>)

Bo Lorentzen May 17th, 2006 10:07 AM

Ken - you just added about 3 minutes of scrolling credits. :-)


Bo

Dustin Ogdin May 17th, 2006 01:00 PM

Amanda, good luck with whatever you get. It may be too late, but I thought I'd suggest a Panasonic DVX as an option to consider as well. I'm biased as a DVX owner myself, but if you're interested in filmmaking and want a camera with good sound capability the DVX is worth considering. Progressive frame rates are great on this camera IMO. If you're only interested in HD, it's obviously not an option as an SD camera.

Hope you love whatever you get. Good luck!

Amanda Warner June 2nd, 2006 12:57 PM

Hey all,

Two more questions about the FX1:

1) I am planning on using this camera at school. Right now the software we have does not support HD, and so I was going to shoot in HD and then down convert the footage to use it on Final Cut Pro (I think we have Final Cut Pro 4). I know that the camera can do the down conversion, but I was just wondeirng how this works with importing the footage because we also have tape decks for SD footage. I also want to make sure that this will work with FCP so if anyone has done it let me know.

2) Is the beachtek XLR adapter recommended? I know I could (and actually would like to) go with the Z1 but that's a little too far out of the price range. I just want to know if I can still use that with shooting run and gun docs. And what external mic do you recommend?

Thanks again - you all are a huge help!

Paul Brand June 2nd, 2006 05:09 PM

RE: Two questions
 
Hi Amanda,

I, too, am considering purchase of the FX1. I've shot with it on a handful of projects and like the kind of footage it produces.


Regarding question 1:
I brought HDV footage into FCP4.5 as DV from the FX1 with no problem. (Make sure you have the FX1 settings in the camera menu right for the camera to do the conversion before you connect it to the computer via the firewire cable. Also remember the FX1 HDV is in 16:9 format so consider that when creating your DV sequences - is your output going to be 4:3, letterboxed 16:9, or 16:9 anamorphic.) At that time I also experimented bringing the HDV in natively via iMovieHD using the Apple Intermediate Codec. I wasn't happy with the results I got in iMovie, but then, it could have been my inexperience with the whole workflow working against me. I've since then used HDV 1080i footage natively in FCP5 with no problems. (I really like the results!)

Re Question 2:
I use a BeachTek knock-off (a SignVideo XLRPro) that works great with the FX1. I like the ground lift which helps eliminate any hum that the ground differentials may be causing. Only thing mine doesn't have that the newer BeachTeks have is phantom power or the LED VU meters. Also, the volume level on the earphone output on the FX1 seems a little on the low side, but the meters on the FX1 seem to be accurate and the sound I've gotten on tape has been quite good.

As far as mics, you might look at the Rode Videomic, or something like a Sennheiser ME66/K6 for your "boom" and a wired lav setup for your talent. Wireless lavs can get expensive fast and most of the cheaper setups aren't worth the money if you can use a wired mic instead. (You might look for a Sony ECM44b or ECM55b for a wired lav that isn't too expensive and doesn't use a proprietary battery for power.) If you need a wireless lav setup, consider the Sennheiser G2 series.

paul

"The best portion of a good man's life is the little, nameless,
unremembered acts of kindness and love." --William Wordsworth

Stephen Claus June 7th, 2006 08:12 PM

Just my opinion...
 
I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.

I personally don't see the need for a $1000+ XLR mic just to record speech--especially when the final product will probably be played back on some crappy little tv speaker anyway (or over the internet). If you're recording live music to be played back on a high-fidelity surround sound system, then yes, spend the thousands on XLR equipment. Dialogue has a very narrow frequency/dynamic range compared to music and sounds perfectly fine to most people when recorded with "cheap" shotguns. And BTW, subtle background music does wonders to camouflage any noise from the cheap mics.

Most of us here are on a budget and have to make compromises. I would have loved to have bought the Z1, but I didn't think $1500 for XLR was worth it.

(Sorry for the rant.)

Stu Holmes June 7th, 2006 08:26 PM

thats no rant Stephen - that makes an awful lot of sense, especially as you said, if you're on a budget and have to make a decision to go without something on your wishlist.

Amanda - let us all know how it goes. I think FX1 will be a superb camera for you.

Douglas Spotted Eagle June 7th, 2006 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephen Claus
I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.

I personally don't see the need for a $1000+ XLR mic just to record speech--especially when the final product will probably be played back on some crappy little tv speaker anyway (or over the internet). If you're recording live music to be played back on a high-fidelity surround sound system, then yes, spend the thousands on XLR equipment. Dialogue has a very narrow frequency/dynamic range compared to music and sounds perfectly fine to most people when recorded with "cheap" shotguns. And BTW, subtle background music does wonders to camouflage any noise from the cheap mics.

Most of us here are on a budget and have to make compromises. I would have loved to have bought the Z1, but I didn't think $1500 for XLR was worth it.

(Sorry for the rant.)

For the record, there are a LOT of differences between the Z1 and FX1, and XLRs are only one of them. However, you do need to choose what works best for you, and go with that. But to suggest that the only difference is XLR and phantom power...that's about 43 features short of what's actually different.
FX1 is a fine camera, and will work quite well for those on a budget, and no need to feel like you should defend the purchase.

Brian Luce June 7th, 2006 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephen Claus
I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.


(Sorry for the rant.)

I think you're wrong on this one. From my experience the most common audio glitch in our company is a bad connection somewhere in the cables. I look at that puny mini jack on my old TRV900 and then look at the 20 odd people in our studio (all of whom are getting paid) and ask myself if I willing to bet on a flimsy mini jack. I don't take that bet. Even the XLR jacks on our betacam wear after a while. it's a constant worry.

And I'm not sure what type of situation you're refering to regarding using an on camera mic versus boom. But if a situation calls for a boom, it's madness to try and compormise with an on camera mic.

I'm not a sound person, I'm a producer, if anything goes wrong it falls on my lap. I have to minimize risks, sticking with XLR is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to ensure viable sound.

Duane Harper Grant June 9th, 2006 04:43 AM

FX1 Z1u DVX200b
 
This is my first post on DV-i. I've been reading almost non-stop for several weeks. Will be starting to do a docu-project very soon. First shooting will be talking heads; interviews and conversations. Will move into outdoor scenes and the project will eventually, hopefully find some legs and be something of a long form project. But for now will be produced as an in house documentary and promotional for a sustainable community initiative conference for teams in NA and other countries coming to Halifax, NS .

After weighing all the paramaters and trying to future proof myself a little, still being very new but eager to dive in and learn (have had video experienes years ago at Rogers Cable Systems) - I was just about to pull the trigger on an FX-1. Lately and possibly from now on, they are MIA. They may be gone from the shelves for good - nobody quite knows. So another intense evaluation and then I'm just about to hop off on a sony vx2100 and someone tells me that it did not do true 16:9, which I must say is a sticking point for me for some reason. Am I being to fussy about this? 4:3 to 16:9 done acceptably is a reality? So I just decided to chomp down on the bullet even further and spin for a hvr-z1u - (a lot of camera) and then started to read all of the wonderful things (Adam Wilt's review in DV and other people making films) with/about the pana dvx200a/b - 24p/30p with possibility of pana and 3rd party anamorphic and wide angle attachments. Is this really worth going this rout to ge a more non-video but at the saame time "good" looking project?

This is my first camera; something that I need a lot of versitality and reliability with. I commiserate with you Amanda. Let us know what you decide. Meanwhile time is running out for me. I needed to decide yesterday (or the day before).
This is a great resource and it's been great reading. Thanks

Douglas Spotted Eagle June 9th, 2006 09:12 AM

Duane,
Trying to replace an FX1 with a VX or PD series camera is like replacing a Mercedes with a Volkswagen. Both german cars with four wheels, but the similarity ends there.
Taking 4:3 to 16:9 requires a fairly significant hit in resolution. Not good.
Additionally, it can easily mess up your composition.
If you letter box it, you lose a lot of screen space.
FX1's are out there, maybe the big stores are out, but I had one in my hand just last night in Edmonton.
Look deeper. Native 16:9 is important if your end product/future product is to be the best it can be. FX1, A1, Z1, all are native 16:9. In fact, ALL HD camcorders are widescreen. HD is widescreen.

Steven Davis June 9th, 2006 09:22 AM

Both
 
I have both the Z1 and Gl2. I bought teh Z1 to back up the GL2 and visa versa. Like many have said, it depends on what you are going to do with it. I do weddings mostly at this point, so I will use the Z1 as my primary. I also do corporate stuff that is in small classrooms, so I'll use my GL2 for that. I love both cameras. My Gl2 has been a gem. I bought it first and I have been very happy with it. <Vent ahead> I basically bought the Z1 recently because CANON wouldln't get off thier arse and compete in terms of price and product.<end vent>

Steven Davis June 9th, 2006 09:23 AM

?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Good point, Bob.
Amanda, if you want big...here is a bulked up A1.
http://www.vasst.com/Tempfolder/Big-A1U.jpg


Where's the camera? <grin>

Douglas Spotted Eagle June 9th, 2006 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steven Davis
Where's the camera? <grin>

At this minute? It's sitting in a case in my hotel room in Edmonton, Alberta. <wink>
But the pic was taken at a tradeshow event.
I LOVE my litepanels.
Next week, we're shooting an extreme segment, and the FAA won't allow us to wire lights to airplane power. The LitePanels are saving our butts.
Between DVRack, LitePanels, AT 101u's, and batts on camera, we've got a great field production studio that can be used at 14,000 feet without having to file an FAA document. Now if the damn stewardess would just shut up about "please turn off all electronic devices until....."

Steven Davis June 9th, 2006 09:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
At this minute? It's sitting in a case in my hotel room in Edmonton, Alberta. <wink>
But the pic was taken at a tradeshow event.
I LOVE my litepanels.
Next week, we're shooting an extreme segment, and the FAA won't allow us to wire lights to airplane power. The LitePanels are saving our butts.
Between DVRack, LitePanels, AT 101u's, and batts on camera, we've got a great field production studio that can be used at 14,000 feet without having to file an FAA document. Now if the damn stewardess would just shut up about "please turn off all electronic devices until....."


Yeah, the lite panels are nice. Probably someting I should look into eventually. Hehe I'm trying to pay off my recent purchase. I picked up a http://www.paglight.com/paglight.htm and haven't used it as of yet. I was just joking that you have a lot of stuff on that rig. Looks nice.

Duane Harper Grant June 9th, 2006 10:58 AM

Puttin' the hammer down
 
Thank you DSE for the reply and the really good info. Me thinks my mind, but not my soul if you will, is made up. It naggs me - the trade off? the pana is sticking in my mind for it's true 24p - 30p - sacrifice 16:9 and HDV for that? - will have to go anamorphic to get 16:9 in just SD in the pana. I'm torn. I think practicality wise I know fx/z1 - but the lure of 24p. The dvx2000 is as far as i'll entertain going w/ pana now - will not/can not go with p2 HD now. Will have to walk into B&H and get a cam tomorrow ATL - it's come to this and if it is the FX-1 is not there will go with z1u. It's down to the wire.

Thanks again and sorry for the wrangling out loud :-)

Douglas Spotted Eagle June 9th, 2006 11:10 AM

The panny is a nice camera. No doubt. My BIGGEST angst with it is wrapped up in the hype that surrounds it. I've used it on two corporate shoots and it's been OK. The workflow, IMO, isn't at all what I was sold it to be. Nearly as slow as capture to tape, and at the end of the day, you have no archival ability save it be for two hard drives duplicated. Transfer of P2 to the computer isn't nearly as fast as I'd hoped/been told it would be. The bi-directional upsample bothers me as a practice, but the imagery is very good.
I don't care about 24p, never have been a big fan of 24p for acquisition. As a rule, I've shot 25p in the past, and more or less doing it today. Lack of 24p isn't stopping shows like House Arrest, Baghdad ER, Monster Garage, etc. from using the Z1 and A1 cams, the JVC is being used all over the place, so is the Canon XLH1 as well.
Bottom line is, none of the low-cost HD cams are bad. Each has advantages over the other. I happen to really like the Sony and Canon cams, and the JVC is stunning in the right hands. I like the over/undercrank of the Panny, but hate to hold it, it's not a comfortable cam for my squatty hands. I like the menus on the panny, and even tho the display is exceptionally weak, they've got a great focus assist in the cam.
Trade-offs, trade-offs.
If you take out all the "specialty" things that all the cams do though, and just look at pure feature list in a general sense and ignore anything outside of that, you'll see quickly why the Sony and Canon are the two that are selling best and being used most, IMO

Duane Harper Grant June 9th, 2006 11:27 AM

appreciate the info DSE!
 
I know that the pannny is more of a specialty camera and in a way, that is what the alure is and also the distraction. Feature set taken into account, the fx and z1 give a broader range of use, down conversion, and future proofing if you will (how much is a ? - IMO). The canon is outta reach for me so was not something I looked at seriously. JVC's form factor - shoulder mount is not what I want at this time which brings us back to doe.

btw - what does the z1 have to give (manual) focus assist in HDV? Tricks you have come up with?

again, many thanks - dhg

Ken Hodson June 9th, 2006 12:03 PM

There seems to be some miscomunication here guys. Duane keeps referring to the DVX200, which I thought of as typo of HVX200, and it appears DSE is thinking the same thing, but then Duane mentions loosing 16:9 which makes me think he is really talking about the DVX100. Duane do you want to clarify?

Boyd Ostroff June 9th, 2006 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duane Harper Grant
btw - what does the z1 have to give (manual) focus assist in HDV?

The FX1 and Z1 both have a peaking mode which outlines objects when the edges are sharpest. The Z1 has the ability to choose different colors for the outlines, which is helpful. They also have a button which magnifies the center portion of the image in the viewfinder/LCD and helps a lot with focus. But the "gotcha" is that this function doesn't work while you're recording. And you must also choose between whether you want to use peaking or zebra patterns, which are controlled by a 3 position slider switch.

The autofocus on the Z1 is pretty good - about the same as my other Sony cameras, and there's a "push auto" button you can use to pull focus while in manual mode. The Z1 has a focus over-ride feature which can be enabled in the menus. This allows you to manually focus by turning the ring even when the camera is in automatic focus mode.

Other than the standard trick of zooming in to focus, I'm not aware of anything else to help on the Z1. The LCD screen is really nice on this camera - and also seems quite adequate to use in standard definition mode. But there just aren't enough pixels there to accurately judge focus in HD. Having played a little with the JVC, Panasonic and Canon HD cameras at our "Texas Shootout," I think the Sony LCD is by far the best and as a bonus it's trans-reflective which means you can clearly see it in direct midday sunlight.

Jack D. Hubbard June 9th, 2006 05:24 PM

Z1 and Litepanels
 
Spot,
Based on your recommendation, I have had my Z1 for a year now. It runs flawlessly. For me it is camera that will work during the transition to the next capture system...disks...flash cards..drives. That is going to take a while and the Z1 is great in the interim. I am just getting to the point where I can use it well, consistently.

And the LightPanel is superb! Got the DV kit at NAB I have been using it has an interview fill both outside and inside. Great for wrinkles; put it on a steadibag pointing up to clean up the shadows on the neck. Made the lady look great.

Here's a question: I got the daylight version of the litepanel, spot, not flood, because I thought the throw of light was better. The gels and diffuser kit seems to work very well. What's your experience?


Regards,


Jack


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