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Old November 28th, 2006, 03:12 AM   #1
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Sony HVR-Z1 / Panasonic AG-HVX200 Dilemma

I'm teetering on the very edge here . . . so close to swapping my Z1 for the HVX200!

I really love the Sony Z1 but I dearly want improved action (especially SlowMo) and colourspace + all the other advantages of the HVX200.

Trouble is, the more reviews I read, the more confused I get.
_________________________

First issue is Barrel Distortion . . . I was horrified to read two reviews that mentioned it - but on checking the Z1, I see it's there too (and I hadn't noticed it).

Is it any better or worse than that of the Z1?
_________________________

Second is Low Light & Noise . . .

Better or worse than Z1?
_________________________

Third is Viewfinder and LCD - generally accepted as lower resolution than the Z1.

Is this a big problem?

What's the HVX200 like to (manually) focus quickly?
_________________________

Fourth is Loop Record ?

Is this facility (REALLY) available to me?

In ALL Codecs?
_________________________

Last - Downloading from P2s

I really don't want to spend any more than I must . . . is Firewire to Final Cut Pro practical?

If not, what's the cheapest acceptable method?
_________________________

Sorry to ask so many questions but it's really confusing when you've read as many reviews as I have. I want to make the right decision - and for me it's a big expenditure.

I know some of the questions can be answered by a trip to my Panasonic dealer - but playing with the camera in his studio won't come close to telling me what it's like out in the field.
For example, the Z1's Expanded Focus is a wonderful tool - but the button's really badly located (for my style of shooting).

Any help here would be very much appreciated.

Andy
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Old November 28th, 2006, 04:00 AM   #2
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Andy,
what kind of projects are shooting mostly?
I bought two Z1 one year ago and ended up trading them for two HVX200 a few month after.
My biggest complaint about the Z1 was the HDV workflow, the fact that it does not play well with other format.
After shooting 1 day with the HVX, I was sold. I found the HVX picture much better than the Z1 (i'm not talking pixel count or definition here, just pure eyeball comparison)
To answer some of your questions, Z1 is better in low light.
Focus (viewfinder vs LCD) seemed to be better on the Z1, but after several month shooting with the HVX I found it very easy to focus using the focus assist and the EVF fuctions when I don't have a monitor.
yes, loop record is available in all codec.
As far as the HVX workflow, well it also comes with pros and cons.
I personally don't believe in the direct to FCP record, because I like the freedom of shooting handheld.
You should look at the firestore option for continuous record.
P2 are expensive and you need at least three 8gig card per cameras to be safe.
At the end of the day, the HVX gives you so many more options in terms of formats, frame rates and looks.
I say go for it.
one last thing, if you ended up buying the HVX, get the HVX Book by Barry Green. it's a must.
e.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #3
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We had a Z1U and an A1U. We now have a HVX200 and are delighted.

One of the largest issues is workflow, as Eric indicates as well.

Viewfinder is much better on the Sony as is low light captures.

Other than that, there is no comparison in many of the features we use. Under and overcranking, etc.

But the big change is workflow.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Nickless
First issue is Barrel Distortion . . . I was horrified to read two reviews that mentioned it - but on checking the Z1, I see it's there too (and I hadn't noticed it).

Is it any better or worse than that of the Z1?
Z1 has more barrel distortion than the HVX.

Quote:
Second is Low Light & Noise . . .

Better or worse than Z1?
Z1 is a lot cleaner/less noisy than the HVX. But, it's also a lot slower, so to deliver comparable brightness you'd have to crank up the gain to about 6dB. Even so, it's a bit cleaner than the HVX at 0dB. Noise performance is the one area where the Z1 excels.

Quote:
Third is Viewfinder and LCD - generally accepted as lower resolution than the Z1.

Is this a big problem?
Do you want pixels to brag about, or the ability to focus? If you're wanting precise focus, the HVX has it all over the Z1. The Z1's not bad, but the HVX has a precise/repeatable focus ring, and you can use its "focus assist" feature while recording, which the Z1 can't do.

But no doubt, the Z1's LCD is more pleasing to look at.

One thing Panasonic did with the HVX is use a 4:3 LCD, so you can push all the display stuff out of your picture area. Timecode, battery status, audio meters, all that stuff goes in the "black bars" area, leaving your LCD display uncluttered.

Quote:
What's the HVX200 like to (manually) focus quickly?
HVX has the best manual focusing of any of the low-cost HD cameras. Only thing is the ring does take quite a bit of travel to go from min to max, so you have to really move the ring around if you want to do a significant rack. But because the ring moves so far, it gives you great precision in fine adjustments.



Quote:
Fourth is Loop Record ?

Is this facility (REALLY) available to me?

In ALL Codecs?
Yes, as long as you're recording to the cards, and you have two cards, and each card has at least 1 minute of free space available.


Quote:
Last - Downloading from P2s

I really don't want to spend any more than I must . . . is Firewire to Final Cut Pro practical?
Completely practical, excepting only that you can't be using the camera as a camera while you use it as a card reader. So if you want to shoot a longform program (say, a two-hour lecture) and you need to record more space than will fit on your cards, there you'll have a problem. What I recommend is getting a PC laptop to offload to, they're dirt cheap and are far and away the lowest-cost offload solution. For $400 you can buy a new laptop that has a card slot on it that'll take the cards, or you could probably pick up a serviceable unit off ebay for under $200. Offload to external firewire FAT32-formatted hard disks, and then you can plug those hard disks straight into your Mac and import the files from there.

Quote:
For example, the Z1's Expanded Focus is a wonderful tool - but the button's really badly located (for my style of shooting).
HVX has expanded focus too, but the difference is that it doesn't take over the entire display, it uses a window within the display. Because of this, they let you use the feature *while recording*, something that you can't do on the Z1. So if you need to touch up focus while recording, you have that capability, whereas on the Z1 you really can't use the magnification at all while recording.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #5
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I rented an HVX200, and found the LCD/viewfinder adequate for focussing with the standard lens - even when we backed up and zoomed in for a short depth of field. Had I used a 35mm adapter, I would have wanted/needed a monitor.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Z1 has more barrel distortion than the HVX.
Excellent!

Quote:
Noise performance is the one area where the Z1 excels.
I'll have to look into this when I try the HVX.

Quote:
Do you want pixels to brag about, or the ability to focus?
I'm a professional (stills) photographer - I want a camera that a) I can afford - and b) I can Focus!

My first Video Camera was a Sony PD170 - what a lovely little thing it was - but manual focus?? Forget it! The Z1's a heap better - but still lamentably poor at focussing compared to still camera lenses. (Why)?

HVX sounds just up my street - I realise it won't be anything like a stills camera to focus - but at least it should be a step in the right direction.

Quote:
Yes, as long as you're recording to the cards, and you have two cards, and each card has at least 1 minute of free space available.
(This with regard to loop recording).
Pure Bliss - much of what I'm shooting for our next project is is dogs behaving spontaneously - can you imagine a better use for loop recording?

Quote:
Offload to external firewire FAT32-formatted hard disks, and then you can plug those hard disks straight into your Mac and import the files from there.
Sounds great - so the FAT 32 format won't affect the Media Files?

Thanks everyone for the great input.
I certainly feel a load better about the HVX now.

Can't wait to try one at my dealer's premesis.

Any furthur input is very welcome!

Andy
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Old November 28th, 2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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Take a look at these dogs....
Nice work by Robert Fagan

http://www.motionzonehd.com/product....9&cat=0&page=4
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Old November 28th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #8
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nope. now that you're converted, we need your inputs :)
good luck with the dogs.
e.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schrengohst
Take a look at these dogs....
Nice work by Robert Fagan
Nice indeed . . . I know how difficult it is to get good shots like that!

Andy
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Peltier
nope. now that you're converted, we need your inputs :)
good luck with the dogs.
e.
I know - I'm just greedy!
Eager to learn more.

Andy
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schrengohst
Take a look at these dogs....
Nice work by Robert Fagan
Nice work, 4sure.

Any idea what type of camera was used for that dog clip...or what file format?
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Old November 29th, 2006, 06:50 AM   #12
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Mr. Fagan shoots with the HVX200 and P2 cards.
The dog clip was shot at 60 fps with DVCPRO HD.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schrengohst
Mr. Fagan shoots with the HVX200 and P2 cards.
The dog clip was shot at 60 fps with DVCPRO HD.
. . . and the dog's name?

Andy
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #14
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I will ask Robert....
Woof!!
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schrengohst
Mr. Fagan shoots with the HVX200 and P2 cards.
The dog clip was shot at 60 fps with DVCPRO HD.
OMG. Thank you Very Much for providing the link to that video clip. It's the first sample of the AGHVX200 I finally got to see and I think it's:

FABULOUS! STUNNING! AWESOME! IMPRESSIVE TO THE MAX! HARD TO BELIEVE!

I couldn't specifically find the camera model on the site so thanks for confirming it was the AGHVX200.

BTW, I think the dog's name is: 'Here boy!"
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