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Old March 6th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #1051
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Backpacking? Travel with a small light and inconspicuous camera that doesn't scream "STEAL ME!"
I'd go with the Sony HDV as well.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #1052
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So I downloaded some video from a HC1 and it doesn't look to bad.

I priced it out and I should be able to get it for $1600-$1700 with tax, new. Which is decent, I think. I guess I will go with a HC1 unless anyone can argue with me not to get it ;)
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Old March 6th, 2006, 07:41 PM   #1053
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You have a few more professional benefits with A1U. Though I have the FX1, the Prosumer version of the Sony Z1, in this case, I think you can pick up the A1U for a small difference. Therer was a $500 rebate on it that got you to $1999 at BH, but that may be gone
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Old March 6th, 2006, 07:46 PM   #1054
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By the way, I may be lazy, but I think FX1 at about a foot long is a bit large to back pack around Europe. But that's just me.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #1055
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Yeah I think the FX1 would be too big as well. I plan to have a day pack with my video camera and my digital rebel ( I think I'm going to bring it ) and a pocket PC. I also might take this future camera skydiving and the FX1 would be too big for that too.

I priced out the difference between the HC1 and the A1U and it's $700 CAD (that's with the $500 rebate). That's if I get it shipped to Seattle and a relative brings it over the border for me avoiding customs... Otherwise it would be even more with customs... So are the extra features worth that much?
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Old March 6th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #1056
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Alberts
I priced out the difference between the HC1 and the A1U and it's $700 CAD (that's with the $500 rebate). That's if I get it shipped to Seattle and a relative brings it over the border for me avoiding customs... Otherwise it would be even more with customs... So are the extra features worth that much?

If you are on a tight budget? No.
You planning on adding an external mic? Get an XLR to miniplug adapter for $20.
Otherwise, you are rocking. Not sure if you want a tripod at all (I wouldn't if I didn't have to)
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Old March 6th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #1057
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I have the Z1 and you'd be amazed by how light it is. I think it weighs something like 4.4 lbs. If you do go with one of the Sony HDV cameras, the ability to shoot HDV/SD and downconvert is one feature you'll really come to appreciate down the road!
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Old March 6th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #1058
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I went looking for a thread that covered differences. Here it is:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...hlight=A1U+HC1

I copied this out of post 10 on that thread:

For $500, you get:

XLR inputs on an amazing audio module (at least $250)
A pretty decent microphone ($200)
Better lens hood w/ auto lens cap ($70 for the A1's lens hood)
Traditional shoe adapter (priceless)
Black Stretch
DVCAM
Peaking
B/W EVF
Full scan mode
CinemaTones
CinemaFrames
Excellent timecoding
and much, much more...

There are over 40 features that the A1 has over the HC1, making $500 a small price to pay.

However, it all depends on your needs. What do you need the camcorder for? If all you're doing is family videos, save the money and buy some accessories. If you plan on doing some indie-filmmaking, I would definetly go for the A1 as XLR will be essential
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Old March 7th, 2006, 10:51 AM   #1059
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Thanks for digging up that post for me, and all the other input guys.

My friend that would be able to get the camera at cost + 10% is unable to now, so that makes the price difference a little less. So I think I just may go with the A1U seeing as I can justify spending the extra money now other than kicking myself in 6 months because I didn't get the extra features.

Now hopefully I have some relatives that are going to cross the border in the next month and then I'm set!

Now I need to figure out what batteries to get.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 08:15 AM   #1060
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The HC-1 is pretty nice. I believe Douglas had mentioned something about a hack that will turn a HC-1 into a A1, features wise, not hardware.

And no, he did not give out specifics on where the link is. Do a google search is all I can say. Supposedly someone in Finland and Germany have done it.

Now, I just need to find a hack for the fx-1 to a z1.

If you are traveling, I say worry more about getting a larger battery for your camcorder, you'll never know when you'll need to record and the battery is low. Also, a power converter for your camcorder and other electrical equipments.

You'll also want a bag for the camcorder that is waterproof if you'll be backpacking throughout Europe.

Good luck, and have fun recording your trip. Check out stevengotz.com for some ideas on travel and hdv filming. His site also list some sites you can make money on HDV stock footage. You might as well make some money on your trip.

Another trip site is the intrepidberkeleyexplorer.com. Get some ideas on how to shot your travel for fun.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 02:29 AM   #1061
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Thanks for the links John, I'll check them out!
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Old March 13th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #1062
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best camcorder for indoor sports, aka FX1 vs PD170 part 17

My wife and I have started a weekend hobby business filming dog agility - basically people and their dogs running around an obstacle course. Speeds are comparable to filming a soccer game, and I have to pan to track the action, so using a faster shutter speed is desirable. In our area about half the events are held indoors, typically at indoor soccer fields, horse arenas, or expo centers. So the lighting isn't great, think of a high-school gymnasium and you get the idea (Iím guessing 60 lux). Of course, I also want a camcorder that can handle the same job outdoors. To make the scenario even more taxing, I'm typically filming 300-400 one minute clips a day, and need a fast cycle time between stop and start (1 second or less at times).

I've been using a Panasonic GS250 to start (we had no idea what the typical weekend gross would be, so I had to stay cheap), but the GS250 doesn't cut it indoors. Its also already in the shop, at 4 months old and about 25 hours on the heads. Indoors I'm typically running the GS250 (rated at 12 lux) wide open, 1/60th shutter, gain at +12 to +15 dB, which gathers enough light but is still a murky image.

So what's the best camera for the job? I'm fairly narrowed down to the Sony PD170 vs. FX1, and keep agonizing over the low light vs. resolution issue. I've read all the threads comparing these two cameras, but haven't seen any discussion on filming indoor action shots. I don't see myself going HD for another 2-3 years at least, but I've read the FX1 gives a higher res image even in SD mode (I'm using another camera to import, so I would stick with recording in SD). I would like to go tapeless in a year, to reduce wear and tear, so performance with a Firestore or Citidisk is important.

So here are my questions:
1) What's my better bet for a good picture, inside? The FX1 looks to be 2 stops more sensitive than the GS250, so inside maybe I could go to 1/100th and +9 dB (still wide open). The PD170, at another 1.5 stops more sensitive, would potentially let me go to 1/200th and +6 dB (or close the aperture a stop, but thatís just dreaming). So whatís better for action shots, the faster shutter speed or overall resolution? Will either camcorder get rid of the murky colors inside?

2) I assume the FX1 will give a phenomenal picture outside. What about the PD170 Ė everyone talks about it in low light, but what about when light isnít an issue?

3) Any thoughts about reliability of the two cameras, especially with all the starting and stopping? Will the camera last longer if I run one continuous shoot and break the clips up while importing?

4) Anyone know of a store in the Baltimore/DC area where I can try these cameras?

And some specific questions about the FX1:
1) will the FX1 run a Firestore tapeless with the on-camera record button?

2) Iíve seen reference to a 1/2 second or 2 second delay between the action and the Firewire-out signal (at least in HD). Is this true, and does it create complications with using a Firestore? It would be horrible if I had to break for at least 2 seconds before starting the next clip.

3) Iíve read of Z1Uís (and presumably FX1ís) sometimes taking as much as 5 seconds to cycle between record stop and start. Has this bug been fixed?

4) Thereís a cryptic reference to the FX1 having problems in bright light on camcorderinfo.comís review of the Sony HC1. Anyone have any problems in full sunlight?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the length. The community on dvinfo.net is fantastic, and Iím looking forward to your thoughts on this issue.

-Terence
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Old March 13th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #1063
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The FX1 is clearly a better camera, unfortunately this doesn't help make your decision. Indoor sporting events are really going to be unforgiving on a camera if it doesn't have great light sensitivity. The FX1 isn't bad, but you won't be able to use a moderately-fast shutter with minimal gain like you could with the PD170. I have used both, and I would say that the PD170 is a full 2 stops different than the FX1. If this content will never be delivered on HD, the PD170 will do a better job for now. If you were shooting outdoor sports or independant movies where you control the light, I would tell you to get the FX1 with no hesitation. Events with minimal light not in your control are the realm of the PD170.

If they had put 1/2" CCDs in the FX1/Z1 to give it equivalent light sensitivity as the PD170, the cameras would be worth twice the price. Unfortunately, some situations require the best light sensitivity possible. Don't forget that if you zoom tight to your subject, you are reducing the light gathered by the lens since the f-stop numbers increase automatically.

The FX1 (belonging to a friend) that I used went dead and needed a new mainboard. I haven't heard much about PD/VX cameras going bad when fairly new like some FX1 stories. I think the drums always turn when the camera is on, so reliability probably won't change with stops and starts. Shutting off the camera and probably removing the tape to shoot without recording will reduce drum hours.

I don't think there is a bright light problem with the FX1. There are ND filters built into the camera that can be used in bright sun.

Outside, the PD170 looks like a decent video camera. The FX1 also looks like video, but the increased resolution in HD looks nice. It may also have a slightly better exposure range. It seems easier to keep detail both in the highlights and shadows simultaneously.

The FX1 is a superior camera largely because of better secondary features like the focus and exposure control. The flip-out monitor is also better and in a more useful location.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 09:20 AM   #1064
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Thanks Marcus. Overall I guess its impressive that the FX1 is as sensitive as it is given the price. There probably isn't much they can do to improve the sensitivity of the CCDs at this point (there are methods used to improve quantum effiicency in scientific cameras, but they all require vacuums, cooling, and more power than is practical in a portable camera). So getting the sensitivity of the PD170 would require a 0.58" chip (3x the area), along with a bigger lens, which isn't going to happen at this price point. So we have to accept the compromises.

Does anyone know how widespread the FX1/Z1U motherboard failure problem is? I've read about the potential links to power spikes, and advice to only run off the battery, but I'd like to be able to plug in at times. Has there been any signs that Sony has fixed this problem in new units?

-Terence
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Old March 16th, 2006, 01:06 AM   #1065
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Perhaps another option...

Even though you are looking in the sub $3000 category, I HIGHLY recommend the JVC 500/5000 (or 550) cameras.

1. The BEST low light performance I've seen since...tubes... in a sub $10,000 camera.

2. If you want Firestore, the JVC's (500 and 5000, cant on a 550, ) has an option to mount (pretty much permanantly) a modified FS-3.

You might be able to find a used 500, and pay a JVC servicer to mount the Firestore, probably not exceeding $7000, with the Fuji 14:1 lens. It isnt the best lens, but does the job. Later on, you can upgrade the lens.

It'll cost more, but an almost true professional camera, XLR, excellent low light, better lens than any handycam, and shoulder-stability.

But if you are cut down between the FX1 and 170, go with the FX. You have HD capability, and might pick up a few clients with it. Not too many people I know want anything on the 170 anymore...
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