FX7 worth the new price? 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 December 1st, 2008, 06:09 PM   #1
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Fx7-vx2100-gl2??

Im thinking of buying a new FX7 but Im wondering about the low light issue and the 1/4"cmos because of some things Ive read.I do not have a cam. right now and I shoot mostly outdoors(surfing and skateboarding) so Im wondering how the FX7 would perform in low light outdoor,clouds,overcast,fog etc..My budget is at about $2100.00.B&H has a good price on GL2's w/a rebate offer and Ive been looking at a VX2100.I dont have to shoot in HD and at this time do not have a program to edit HD but it seems like it would be a good idea to have down the line or if someone requests it?I also like to shoot bands indoor which could be a problem with the 4lux rating?Im not making alot of money(if any) on my stuff but it seems to be heading in a good direction and I need a camera.Any input is greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

Last edited by Mike Graves; December 1st, 2008 at 10:45 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 07:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mike Graves View Post
Im thinking of buying a new FX7 but Im wondering about the low light issue and the 1/4"cmos because of some things Ive read.I do not have a cam. right now and I shoot mostly outdoors(surfing and skateboarding) so Im wondering how the FX7 would perform in low light outdoor,clouds,overcast,fog etc..My budget is at about $2100.00.B&H has a good price on GL2's w/a rebate offer and Ive been looking at a used VX2100.
You may want to research exactly what people are referring to when they say "low light" -- I'd like to see some clips myself. What you described isn't low light to me, unless the sun has already set.

I just bought a FX7 myself and definitely think it's worth the money, I love the controls, ease of use, and image quality. It's a fun camera to use.

I ran some tests in what I'd consider low light (too dark for me to shoot in without adding light). From what I'd read, I expected terrible footage but I was surprised and thought it did a pretty nice job. So, I guess it depends on what's considered low light and what you're shooting.

Not much else in HD/HDV in its price range. If you don't need/want HD then a VX2100, XL2s, GL2, et al., would be a good choice. The nice thing about a HD camera is that you can shoot in HD and down convert to SD now and know you have all the gorgeous footage in HD for later.

Good luck!
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Old December 1st, 2008, 07:51 PM   #3
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Thanks Dave.About the HD/SD, thats the way Im thinking(shoot HD and edit SD)
I dont think Ill be shooting any weddings unless its a friends, which seems to be the main arguement over the 4lux.As far as the price those 3 are all in my range Ive just read so many arguments between the FX7 and the VX2100 and time is kind of a big deal right now so I need to pull the trigger on one.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:22 PM   #4
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Thanks Dave.About the HD/SD, thats the way Im thinking(shoot HD and edit SD)
I dont think Ill be shooting any weddings unless its a friends, which seems to be the main arguement over the 4lux.As far as the price those 3 are all in my range Ive just read so many arguments between the FX7 and the VX2100 and time is kind of a big deal right now so I need to pull the trigger on one.
I don't have a lux meter but 4 lux has got to be dim. I shot in a room lit by a 60 watt bulb and wasn't expecting much. I had no problems shooting, camera didn't seem to hunt for focus, etc. WAY better than I expected from what I'd read. I plan to take the camera out at dusk in the next week and shoot as a test.

One thing, if you decided on a FX7, since everyone (B&H, Amazon, Adorama) seems to be selling the FX7 for list price ($1999, U.S.) you might want to look at buying direct from Sony if you're thinking of getting the extended warranty. I bought the 3-year with accidental damage and discovered it would have been cheaper had I bought the camera from them for some reason.

Normally, I pass on extended warranties but a friend just paid a chunk when the Firewire port stopped working on his JVC. Six months later the main control switch broke and that repair cost a bit. He said spent $700 total. I mentioned to him that I was debating on the extended warranty and he shouted, "GET IT!" He's cheaper than I am, so I did. :-)
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:30 PM   #5
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Sony FX7 is Great - For Some Things!

I've used an FX7 for a few years now and I love it, but it may not be for everyone. Most of my work is outdoors filming wildlife. So I wanted a 20x lens and a light camera and the FX7 fits the bill perfectly, perhaps better than any other camcorder. But it does have limitations, for example, the lens is fixed and the format is HDV (great, but not always accepted by the industry). Also, I think the picture quality drops off just a bit at full telephoto and with the iris wide open, but then again, my eyes aren't what they use to be. And I do think the low light complaints are legitimate. Based on what you said I would go with a HDV camera, and perhaps look at a used FX1 (I've used that and it is comparatively better in low light) or even a few of the new low-end "prosumer" models (but I haven't used those). But if you want HD, inexpensive, and portable, then the FX7 is a great choice.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:33 PM   #6
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Bad Reviews??

"The reason this camcorder is so cheap or reasonable is because it compresses the signal to Mini DV at mpeg2. If you are going to use this camera to edit video, consider what it will look like after you compress it again to a DVD, which is mpeg2! Double compression! Unless you can afford a HD hard drive directly out of the HDMI, you're gonna wish you didn't buy this one. I say spend a little more and get the Canon XA1 HD cam."
This was one of the negs. from someone, what do you think?I normally pass on ext. warr. also but like you just said it could be alot cheaper in the long run.I was planning on buying from Sony or B&H probably Sony.
Dan- thanks for the input,the 20x is good for what I shoot also.Havent found a used FX1 in my price range,I also am very scep. about buying used.
Thanks again.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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A Few More Thoughts

Mike - I kind of re-read your original post. With the FX7 you will not have any light problems outdoors, even on the cloudiest of days. It's only indoors where it can become an issue. Yes, if you have an extra $1,000 then the Canon XH-A1 might be a better choice, but with that $1,000 you could buy a very good tripod. As an fyi, I often use my FX7 with a Focus harddrive (saves me a lot of tape). Also, the FX7 doesn't have HDMI, but it does have a Firewire. Good luck.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:55 PM   #8
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Hi Mike,

1) Every HDV camera stores its footage as an mpeg2 transport stream on a MiniDV tape. That's what "HDV" means, by definition. If you want a better HD storage format you're looking at, say, an EX1 at at least twice your budget.

2) I second the earlier comments that the outdoor situations you describe are not problematic low light situations in the sense that 'low light' issues are being referred to in reviews ... the problems are in poorly lit indoor situation where an FX1 will give you an extra stop or two of exposure.

At $2000, with used cameras not in consideration, there really isn't any competition IMHO - I love mine!

Edit: the FX7 does have HDMI!
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mike Graves View Post
"The reason this camcorder is so cheap or reasonable is because it compresses the signal to Mini DV at mpeg2. If you are going to use this camera to edit video, consider what it will look like after you compress it again to a DVD, which is mpeg2! Double compression! Unless you can afford a HD hard drive directly out of the HDMI, you're gonna wish you didn't buy this one. I say spend a little more and get the Canon XA1 HD cam."
This was one of the negs. from someone, what do you think?I normally pass on ext. warr. also but like you just said it could be alot cheaper in the long run.I was planning on buying from Sony or B&H probably Sony.
Thanks again.
Different people have different visions, needs and expectations. One of my other cameras is a Canon HV30 which a lot of people, especially pros with deeper gear pockets, look down their noses at. Yet, I've seen a LOT of seriously awesome movies from that camera (search Vimeo) and see it used as a b-rolls to a lot of other cameras. Some people have "pimped" theirs (35mm adapters, rails, mounts, LCDs, battery packs, et al.) to make most full pro cameras look small by comparison. Some have spent $3,000+ just in customizing their setup. Instead of seeing the HV30 as a camera, they look at it as the engine in their full rig.

The HV30 has a single 1/3" CMOS and is HDV. While I like my HV30, it's the size, feel, control, and features of the FX7 that make it so nice to me. I think you'll LOVE the 20x lens that I have read even works well in digital zoom mode (which I'd normally avoid) giving you 30x!

When the FX7 was the same price or real close in price to the Canon XH-A1 I'd probably have gotten the XH-A1. It's a bit bigger but larger sensors, customizable to the max -- you can download and share presets, etc. But now that there's a $1500+ difference in price, no contest, FX7. Wait a sec. The XH-A1 is HDV, too, not HD. Maybe they were thinking of the H1A which is HD and $6,000 and not the "XA1". For $6,000 I'd be looking at a Sony XDCAM EX1 and playing with a Kensington ExpressCard reader and CompactFlash cards. WAY more camera than I need right now.

Adorama has free shipping on the FX7 as does Amazon, I think. I like Amazon as they're easy on returns. If you get one and decide you don't like it they will take it back.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:00 PM   #10
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Also, the FX7 doesn't have HDMI, but it does have a Firewire.
Am I missing something (won't be the first time) but the FX7 has HDMI out.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:07 PM   #11
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Yes Dave it does have HDMI out.You like Amazon over ordering from Sony?
Thanks for your input also Graham.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:11 PM   #12
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Hdmi

Well I stand corrected - it does have HDMI out!!! Obviously I've never used it, in fact I don't know if I've even opened the cover to the port (I use one of my other camcorders for those rare times I want to send something strait to the HDTV).

I'm reluctant to advise someone to judge video quality from the web, but I recently sold some footage to Nat. Geo and Discovery using the FX7. Go to HD Nature Footage Video Clips and type "vole" in the search box, specifically clips V02111 and V02152 (there was one other, but I don't have it at my fingertips right now). The footage was filmed indoors, but I used several lamps.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:12 PM   #13
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Also, when reading reviews, be aware that there are some people that are just critical and no one makes anything good enough for them. Have serious top of the line gear and see anything "less" as a waste of time and money. Or, are absolutely crazy about the pure quality of the image, even more so than content.

So, you could have an awesome surfing or skateboarding video that surfers, skateboarders and others can't get enough of watching. They'll praise your skill and brilliance in creating something so moving, and can't wait for you to go and create more. Yet, someone will see it and not see the movie for the content, but will criticize the focus, the color, find that it has too much noise in the shadow areas, the sand isn't crisp enough...

Consider yourself and your audience first.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:15 PM   #14
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Yes Dave it does have HDMI out.You like Amazon over ordering from Sony?
If you're not sure and want to test the waters, yes. The lower price on the extended warranty (should you want it) is outweighed by the return policy at Amazon. Then, Sony may have a 30-day return policy, too. I'm not sure. I have returned something to Amazon as it was zero hassle.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 10:34 PM   #15
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As an fyi, I often use my FX7 with a Focus harddrive (saves me a lot of tape).
What is a focus hard drive?
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