HVX200 vs. Z1 (FX1) for the simple guy at DVinfo.net

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Old September 14th, 2005, 12:08 AM   #1
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HVX200 vs. Z1 (FX1) for the simple guy

No one complained about the Panasonic DVX100(a). It was 24P, stable and easy DV workflow. It was 16:9 when the others weren't. Panasonic delivered what we asked for. I use the past tense because it's shortcoming was only that it was (is) SD.

All we (under $10k budget crowd) needed is the same type of camera in an HD version.

Enter HDV, primarily the Sonys. I bought one. But it is the HD version of a VX1000. No 24P (we begged). And the codec is not nearly as easy to deal with as DV. I am not happy with all the monkey motion necessary to get where I want to go.

I just talked to my buddy who recently shot an indie film with the FX1. It can be done. I asked his workflow. He shot in 50i. Used Gramme's filters to de-interlace and add a "film-like" look. Then conformed to 24P using Cinema Tools. Slowed the audio down 4%. He didn't tell me how much cpu time it took to do all this. I was afraid to ask. A long road traveled to get what comes off the P2 card directly. And the DVC ProHD codec is better and easier to use. That is well documented everywhere on this site.

Sony did not give us the standard def cameras we wanted. And now they are not giving us the HD products we want. I won't guess why. Good news is that Panasonic will. Sony has sold a ton of HDV cameras because we are hungry for HD. And that this was our only real choice to get our feet wet. But Sony shouldn't be surprised when Z1s are on eBay as soon as the Panasonic is released. History repeats itself.

Anyone want my Z1 in two months?
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Old September 14th, 2005, 01:51 AM   #2
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Yes, but probably many others out there are very happy with it- have done tv shows, documentaries and short films in HD. And have a workable and solid workflow in HD-now. Which means immediate business, immediate revenue, immediate results. And good.

The Z1 has proven to be a good and reliable camera. HDV looks good, no doubt about it. And its cheap , costing about 3 dollars per tape (1 hour recording). It doesn't however, have 24P/25P. And no 720P/60.

THose are the points the Hvx have on its favour. Shooting options and a 4:2:2 codec. The leica lens could also be a plus, as well as the cinegamma (this could be done in post, tough). It has a major down point of recording hd only to P2 cards, which limit the capacity to only 16 gb of hd recording at launch. The firestore solution, promissed for March, may very well be delayed if past history of FOcus launches are to be taken into account. Add to that both camera's prices: in order to get the hvx to record hd with the MOBILITY of real life shooting, you need to at least shell out more $2000 dollars than the z1, wich is hd ready and shootable in HD in real life situations right out of the box (you can shooth hvx from a linked laptop. I know that, but this is impratical and a lot more limiting for the camera work...
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #3
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i would be delighted if there was a sudden influx of lightly-used, cheapie Z1s hitting the market in two months. that'd be dreamy.

not counting on it, though!
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Old September 14th, 2005, 10:02 AM   #4
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Company is Oakley.

Current equipment includes Sony HDCAM, Varicam, Arri SRII, Aaton Aminima, Z1, FX1, DVX100a, Smoke HD system and FCP HD.

I guess my frustration is based on the fact that Sony never seems to give the market what it asks for in this part of the market. How many users voted for 1080i only? Panasonic seems more attentive to what the wish list is. Sony certainly is capable of giving us the perfect camera... they just don't. Maybe they feel the need to protect the high $$$ business?

The Z1 is a great looking camera, has some great features, and IS useful BUT is not what we wanted. It is a "workaround" camera. Need to work around what it is to get to what "we" need. If the Z1/FX1 had 24P, they would have crushed it... even with HDV codec. But they left the door open to Panasonic to come take a big bite of the market (again).

I acknowledge that I use "we" only to reference many of us I have spoken to, but not all of us.

We use our Sony 900 a lot. This isn't a total trashing of Sony. Just the division that determines the under $10k models.

www.oakley.com
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Old September 14th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #5
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Man, I remember my Oakey Iridium interchangeable shades from 1986. I can't even look at pictures of myself wearing them back then without laughing. I went to your website. That company has grown!
By the way, I don't think either of those cameras are for the "simple guy". But if you're getting paid big bucks for corporate stuff, the HVX will provide for MUCH better compositing, logos, titles, ect. in it's colorspace. Tough to impress your customers with bad composites and green screen spillover on your actor.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #6
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I agree. Sony is completely ignoring this market. I think the Z1 looks OK out the component but the HDV format is a huge limitation.

It's obvious just from the fact that we have people like Jan in here with us actually answering questions, that Panasonic has a much tighter hand on the pulse of this market. They definitely did with the DVX100/A, and i'm sure they will with the HVX200 as well.

There's really little they(Sony/Canon/JVC) can do to improve the true output data quality of a new camera without dropping the DV(HDV) tape media all together. There's just no way around it, unless maybe they add something like HD-SDI and externally record it(Canon XL-H1). It's a bold move to come out with a new format to handle the extra data, Panny delivers.

Cheers,
Juan

Last edited by Juan P. Pertierra; September 14th, 2005 at 03:59 PM.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Jannard
I guess my frustration is based on the fact that Sony never seems to give the market what it asks for in this part of the market. How many users voted for 1080i only?
You did. When you bought it.

I don't want to sound critical, but exactly what are you complaining about? If its the Z1/FX1, well, you knew it didn't shoot the frame rates you wanted. You knew it didn't shoot progressive. And if you took the time to download one of the many available M2T video files off the internet the day after the cam was released in Japan, you'd have also known the difficulty of working with MPEG2 based video.

Now I'm a HUGE progressive video fan - its the reason my first DV cam was the Canon Elura. But even I give Sony credit for bringing a very nice 1080i HD cam to market before anyone else, and at a pretty good price point to boot (well, for the FX1 anyway). Maybe instead of complaining about HDV and/or Sony, perhaps the complaints should be directed at the other manufacturers for being so far behind? Really, it sounds like you bought the Sony because you were desperate to play with the latest affordable HD toys, and only Sony had something available. So instead of waiting you got the one you didn't like. Hey, everyone does that. How many people buy a cool car, knowing that a major update/improvement might only be a year or two away? I guess I just don't see the cause for complaint. No one FORCES us to buy the latest toys :)

By they way, I'm in no way defending Sony. I'm not a big fan. Come on Sony, proprietary accessory shoe? How greedy can one get. And the way they decimated the TRV900. HC1000? Ugh. But people keep buying, so I guess they'll keep building.

Philip Williams
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Old September 14th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #8
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Philip,

You are absolutely right. I have no reason to complain about buying the Z1. No one put a gun to my head. I wanted to get my feet wet. And I knew what it was (1080i) before I bought it.

It doesn't change the fact that Sony knew we all wanted 24p and didn't give it. Nor does it change the fact that Panasonic will eat them for lunch beginning in a couple of months. As you imply, I should not be complaining about the Z1 but celebrating the repeat of history where we finally get what we want in the HVX200. Point taken.

Jim
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Old September 14th, 2005, 03:49 PM   #9
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ummm... if I can't record for at least 45mins straight - that Panny is a useless piece of glass & plastic.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #10
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Jim, I'm glad you didn't appear to take offense at my post, as none was intended.

On the bright side, your Z1 will probably have a good resale value and pay a good chunk of the HVX. I know that an HVX with extended field recording will be costly and/or a bit inconvenient (Firestores, P2s with storage drives, laptops, etc..) but man, I bet the resulting video will be FANTASTIC.


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Old September 14th, 2005, 10:38 PM   #11
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"ummm... if I can't record for at least 45mins straight - that Panny is a useless piece of glass & plastic."

you may not be able to now, but it will happen and sooner rather than later. With the Firestore coming out, and P2 technology moving as fast as is does, it won't be too long before we'll have the capability for long recording with external firestore device OR high capacity lower priced P2 cards. It won't be in the next 6 months, but it will be be soon.

It's P2 recording times are limitied now, but we'll see those limits rise as newer high capacity cards are developed. And you'll always have the firestore options.

I'd hardly call that a useless piece of crap. I'd say it's more ahead of it's game, and the storage will catch up. Unlike the HDV tapes, which while not limited in storage, limit themselves in bits per second, and those HDV limits are not going to change.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 10:45 PM   #12
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Ok, I agree to some extent, but I think its not so simple as Panasonic gives us what we want and Sony doesnt. I do think Sony is greedy with their endless proprietary accessories/media (why not go with standard formats? make extra money by needlessly making them pay for proprietary discs/memory/accessories? UMD/memorystick/proprietary accessories certainly make compatibility a pain for the consumer).
Anyway, so Panasonic is selling the HD camera with all (or at least a lot of) the stuff we want for $6000. The Sony is HD(V) for under $4000 nowadays. Doesnt seem like such a difference in price, but when you add in $250/GB for P2 (still not sure how that works when flash memory is $70/GB even if P2 contains extra components for RAID), its more like $10000 before you can shoot. Ok so hopefully there will be Direct to Disk options for the Panasonic, but its likely it will still end up being $1000 (since firestores tend to be more expensive than a laptop with the same hard drive that could be used to capture and edit video). Still, most people are used to spending <$5000 on pro-sumer video cameras. And those are the same people used to getting their media for about $5/hour. So which people are going to suddenly decide they want to spend about twice as much on the latest camera+media? I dont expect it to be all that many. I personally find myself trying to find used 3ccd dv cameras for <$1500 so I certainly will not be spending $6000 on a camera.
There are no perfect cameras. The DVX didnt have 16:9 or >SD or highres chroma or something better than tapes. the HVX addresses those problem but at twice the price and possibly a big media problem. I agree it will be the best camera in the price range (assuming the video looks nice nice) but then again it is debatable whether it is even in the same price range.

Personally, I dont seem myself buying the HVX at that price, but if i did buy an HD camera it would be the one I'd want. I'd rather go the homemade HD camera route for now. Now lets see how my $2000 HD camera turns out. Maybe by the time i get fed up with my homemade camera HVX's will be nice and cheap on ebay.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 12:18 PM   #13
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If I can't afford the tiny p2 cards immediately, could I just plug the camera into a dual 2.3 powermac during shooting? Is that possible?
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Old September 15th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
If I can't afford the tiny p2 cards immediately, could I just plug the camera into a dual 2.3 powermac during shooting? Is that possible?
Hi Betsy, I think if you spend some time Searching on this forum and/or the other forum web site dedicated to DVX users, you should find all your answers. This whole P2/Laptop/Firestore Vs. Tape stuff has been beaten to death on both forums I believe. I'd especially recommend you read the posts by Barry Green on the subject.

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Old September 15th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #15
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I've checked in on this particular forum a lot but I don't remember seeing yay or nay on the viability of a PC workaround lately.
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