FX-7 Is it good? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old October 15th, 2007, 01:56 PM   #1
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FX-7 Is it good?

I am a part owner in a small video production company and we are thinking of move to HD Now I have read that the FX-7 compress the video to MPEG-2 and when you go to SD DVD it well compress again losing quality. Is this right? Second we video outside 90% of the time (hunting and fishing) So low light is very important to us. How is the low light and battery life on this camera. Thanks for all your info!
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Old October 15th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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Also what tapes to buy? Do you have to use HD tapes?
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Old October 15th, 2007, 02:42 PM   #3
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If you're shooting low light, none of the current crop of HDV cameras from any manufacturer will be as light sensitive as their DV couterparts. Expect the HDV cameras to come in about 2 or 3 stops under the DV cams. In good light however, the DV cameras get soundly trouced by their HDV brothers in overall image quality.
I can shoot for 6+ hours with my FX7 and a Sony NP-970. If you need more shooting time, bring two NP-970's.
I just shot an outside wedding this weekend with my FX7 and the picture quality was as good or better than a DSR-300 but with greater depth of field (meaning more things are in focus as compared to the DSR-300 at a given focal length).
If you're still on the fence, I'd find someone in your area who owns a FX7 or FX1 and use it on a typical low-light hunting shoot to see if it's the camera for you.

Many people advise that you use high quality HD branded tapes when shooting HDV, but I'll disagree with that based on my personal experience and nothing else. I have no scientific proof to back up my practice of using regular DV tapes and am not saying that nobody has ever had a problem using cheap DV tapes in their HDV camers, but I personally have not had a single problem using Maxell DVM60SE tapes. I do NOT however recommend using different brands of tapes in your cameras very often if at all. There have been numerous discussions about the dangers of doing so, and it has been my experience (again, just personal experience here, no hard scientific proof) that mixing brands of tapes in any prosumer level DV or HDV camera will eventually result in dirty or clogged heads and nasty dropout or worse.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #4
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Also what tapes to buy? Do you have to use HD tapes?
Any MiniDV tape will record HDV. Issue becomes preventing drop outs. The tapes operate exactly the same, but HDV apparently has sturdier case and mechanism and tape itself is supposed to have more stable medium. Without any real industry standards, though, one company SD DV tape could be the same as another's HD. In SD DV, you have always faced same drop out issues. But since HDV actually GOP where a series of frames is dependent for some of its information from a preceding full frame, a drop out can affect more that just a single frame.

In practice, I have been using one tape brand (MiniDVs fromTDK) from Costco, and I just haven't had problems. But if you are doing professional one time shots, I say get the best.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 04:02 PM   #5
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I for one love my FX7! As the others stated, to see if you can actually get some time on one before purchasing and seeing if it "fits you". Other than that, they are nice camera's and with lots of options for the price...

I also use standard Sony DV tapes. I started off using the HDV tapes and just tried out the standards and have never gone back to the more expensive. They seem to do just fine and also I only use them once and either archive or throw away, so it has been good thus far with this method. But either will work.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 08:40 PM   #6
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...Now I have read that the FX-7 compress the video to MPEG-2 and when you go to SD DVD it well compress again losing quality. Is this right?...
No, this is not right. MPEG-2 is true, but it is not right that it leads to loss of quality.

All HDV cameras use MPEG-2 compression, at a 25Kbps bitrate. This is how HD info is squeezed into the same storage space as DV.

The image is (almost) always beautiful if well lit and well shot. Yes, it will be further compressed (to about 6-9Kbps) to go to SD DVD, but with a solid workflow will look better than DV of the same subjects.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 10:34 PM   #7
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"Now I have read that the FX-7 compress the video to MPEG-2 and when you go to SD DVD it well compress again losing quality. Is this right?"

Yes, this is correct. If you are comparing DV converted to MPEG2 on a DVD to HDV converted to DVD - HDV wins. With all professional/prosumer recording formats, there is a loss going to DVD. The same is true transferring film to DVD. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't use HD or film that will wind up on DVD. Start with the best format possible and you will get the best results.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the info! This one of the best places on the web to find info on video production. Thanks again!!!
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Old October 16th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #9
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Matt:

We miss you at third base in San Francisco !!! :)
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Old October 16th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #10
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Matt:
We miss you at third base in San Francisco !!! :)
But will you miss Barry?
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Old October 17th, 2007, 07:51 AM   #11
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Matt:

We miss you at third base in San Francisco !!! :)

Now thats funny I don't care who you are!!!!
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
"Now I have read that the FX-7 compress the video to MPEG-2 and when you go to SD DVD it well compress again losing quality. Is this right?"

Yes, this is correct. If you are comparing DV converted to MPEG2 on a DVD to HDV converted to DVD - HDV wins. With all professional/prosumer recording formats, there is a loss going to DVD. The same is true transferring film to DVD. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't use HD or film that will wind up on DVD. Start with the best format possible and you will get the best results.
An explenation why would be that DV color sampling is done at 4:1:1 and when you deliver to DVD (which is 4:2:0) you're essentially dropping the information in the last color channel.

HDV however, records in 4:2:0 so you can deliver straight to DVD without affecting the color sampling. When you shoot HDV, there is also superior error correction.

Watch DSE's video "How HDV Works" (it's on YouTube).
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