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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 February 4th, 2008, 09:19 PM   #1
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Let's talk about NightShot, please...

I have my HVR-V1 all set up and ready to go. Finally getting the hang of it.

The one thing that blows my mind though is: THERE'S NO NIGHTSHOT FEATURE ON THIS FREAKN THING!!!

Why oh why is this? I had a $300 Sony Hi-8 cam (R.I.P) and EVEN IT HAD NIGHTSHOT! Now your telling me that they couldn't have, at least, slipped this basic feature in to my $5,000.00 camera?

Well... I suppose the answer I can anticipate will be something to the effect: "this is a pro-sumer camera, not a toy with cheesy effects."

But here's the deal... I'm a broadcast journalist with the US Army. I'm about to deploy to Afghanistan for a year (in March). I don't know about you guys... but I think I'm going to REALLY need that nightshot feature.

So my question to you:

1)Why did Sony leave this basic feature (included with their $300 camera) off of their $5,000 camera.

2)What are my options? Should I go and drop $300 on a consumer cam just in case? Or, is there some kind of fix (or feature) that I don't know about?

Thanks guys.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:31 PM   #2
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Hi Bill -

Sony hasn't had nightshot on any of their "high end" cameras, at least not the HD stuff AFAIK...

You're right, it seems like it wouldn't be a big deal to have on the "pro cams", but they didn't do it. Only thing I can think of is the 3 chip models may not be able to process the IR as easily as the single chippers... MAYBE that has something to do with it?

Anyhow, if you want that capability (and yes, I should think it will be handy!), you can take a look at the HC7, it has nightshot, is compact and has decent manual control. The HC7 is being closed out and replaced by the HC9, seeing some good deals on it well under 1K. The 9 should be available before you ship out, and is black rather than silver.

For even more durability if you expect harsh environments, the CX7 is cool too, but tapeless could present a storage problem, and MS duos are not cheap - plus it lacks a viewfinder, which could present problems - don't want to light yourself up w/the LCD!

Both ARE high definition and would complement the "big gun" nicely for b-roll, better that a cheap SD cam. I've got the FX7 (V1 "consumer" version), HC7 works well with it!
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #3
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I have nightvision (or "NNightshot" as SONY calls it) on my "knockabout" TRV-350. I wish I had it on my Z1 but of course not. However, the camera's ability to "see" IR is highly dependent on the intensity of IR light source. The camera's built in IR "light" source on the little consumer camera is pretty pathetic, working well to only about 6-9 feet. (But cool nonetheless).

Now, being in the military you may have IR light sources that could really cast some illumination... but if you expect much out of a SONY nightvision self illuminated camera in other than close quarter situations you will be disappointed. Even the add on SONY light source is pretty anemic. There are aftermarket folks (bat kinda people mainly) that have some kick-a** IR lights, but they are pretty pricey but man do thay appear to make a difference, though I am only speaking from their website demos here:

http://www.batmanagement.com

Anyway good luck in Afghanistan. Let us know how you make out and when you return safely!


Chris
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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Sony hasn't had nightshot on any of their "high end" cameras, at least not the HD stuff AFAIK...
The HVR-A1U has it, and believe it or not, the new HVR-HD1000U has it as well.

So if you need something a little more substantial than one of the HCs, at least in terms of either features or shoulder-mount, you might give those a look. Too bad there isn't one with the features of the A1 and the shape of the HD1000U. Yet.

But of course all the caveats Chris points out would likely apply...
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Old February 7th, 2008, 08:38 PM   #5
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Turn on film gamma and its slightly darkens the dark spots but theres no grain. Works similar to the nightshot in my old VX-1000
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Old February 14th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #6
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Well, the V1 does have the Hypergain feature, which actually picks up a lot of light, and a looooot of noise as well, but not completely unusable!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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Bill, Nightshot is not currently possible to implement on 3CCD/3CMOS cameras because the beam splitting prism, which splits R/G/B light to the 3 sensors, almost completely blocks IR light due to the physics involved. That's why only the 1CCD/1CMOS camcorders have Nightshot, whether they are considered a professional model or not.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #8
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hypergain

Sony promotes their "Hypergain" feature to be close to a color nightshot, but it's rediculously grainy. Still usable by any means, but not the prettiest picture you can get out of it.
I'm thinking of picking up some kind of IR light, whether it's a flashlight that I rig to my cam or one of the professional kits. Has anyone messed with IR lights and have some footage from the V1u?
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