HVR-V1U: Initial impressions (from Boyd Ostroff) 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 September 19th, 2006, 08:29 PM   #1
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HVR-V1U: Initial impressions (from Boyd Ostroff)

Now that I've had a few minutes to collect some thoughts, let me share my own first impressions from the perspective of a Z1 owner.

The images are absolutely beautiful. We saw footage on a large (maybe 24 foot) HD screen and there is absolutely no way you would have known these came from a camera with 1/4" chips. To my eyes they looked noticeably sharper than my Z1. They showed some wide shots of natural landscape scenes. One of them was a large field with tall grass blowing in the wind. Then there were some others with long rows of plants receding into the distance. Another had lots of trees with the leaves blowing in the wind.

So much for the people who think HDV can't handle these sort of complex scenes. They were absolutely stunning; I've shot this sort of thing with my Z1, but the V1 footage revealed much more detail in individual blades of grass and tree leaves. I'm sure the progressive scan helps a lot with this.

The outdoor footage also showed quite a lot of lattitude. The hang gliding and sky diving footage which DSE showed was very impressive on the big screen. I'm pretty sure the sky would have blown out to white in some of those scenes. And the lack of smear when shooting directly into the sun is also quite impressive. The digital zoom works amazingly well. It's hard to believe they have gotten such a clean 1.5x magnification out of this system.

There are many new menu items and camera features which I'd love to have on the Z1! TC link is cool; you can plug two cameras together via firewire and sync the time code. They don't stay connected as you shoot, but the codes stay in sync. They said this would work with a Z1 as well.

They have added a black compress as well as black stretch, 3 position adjustable knee and contrast enhance function. You can now assign picture profiles to the assign buttons which saves long trips through the PP menus. Of course you also have a new progressive menu item for 24p and 30p. An interval record feature has been added, like other Sony cameras.

Picture profiles can be saved to memory sticks now and shared over the internet. You can also name them by scrolling through an alphabet and entering letters (this is pretty awkward, but still a handy way to remember what the PP does).

You can now use both zebra and peaking at the same time, and you can also display a histogram on the screen. If you're using the hard disk recorder then you can view all its info on one of the status check screens. I'm sure there were some other new features, but these were some of the major things that caught my eye. One thing is missing though - you cannot shoot 50i (PAL) on the V1u.

The camera looks very sharp - a lot like the Z1, and it had a nice balance and feel in your hand. I like the fact that they got rid of the builtin microphone, like the PD-150. They offer a cool LCD sunshade as an accessory. It collapses and you can even close the screen with it attached. Much nicer than the Petrol hood I've used before. They also introduced a new WA adaptor with a lens hood that matches the regular one. Of course there's the new hard disk recorder too - it was much smaller than I expected. They offer a new accessory mounting plate for this and other things. They had a new LED light also. The HD and light use the same NPF batteries which is handy. The Sony rep said the HD recorder could run the full 4.5 hours on one of the little camera batteries so you don't necessarily need to use an NPF-970.

I think they have a real winner in this camera. The only thing I would miss from the Z1 is the PAL mode. I wouldn't hesitate for a second because of the smaller 1/4" chip size. All around I think Sony has taken user feedback into consideration and come up with a next generation that offers a lot of upgrades from the Z1 series. It's certainly worth a closer look if you're in the market for a new camera!
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Old September 19th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #2
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Split out from M.W.'s thread. This is such a good report that it needed to stand on its own.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #3
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Thanks, Boyd, this is excellent info. Sounds like a good upgrade for my FX1. Maybe I won't have to switch to Canon, after all. :-)
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Old September 20th, 2006, 02:43 AM   #4
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What we need to see is a low light clip. As an Sony A1 owner, I know that's the real test for cmos cams. Also I would like to know, have they got rid of this 'rolling shutter', wobbling picture effect?
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:45 AM   #5
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Not familiar with the rolling shutter effect, all the footage we saw looked great (as you would expect from a press conference :-)

I too will be interested to see the low light performance. I also wish they'd set up a Z1 side by side in the shooting gallery so we could see the differences. Funny thing - they were videotaping the presentation in the theatre using an A1 and a Z1, not a V1. My guess would be that their whole V1 inventory was out on the floor :-)
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Old September 20th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Not familiar with the rolling shutter effect, all the footage we saw looked great (as you would expect from a press conference :-)
These topics have some info (and links) about rolling shutter:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...olling+shutter
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...olling+shutter

It's easy to test when you shake camcorder or make really fast pans. Shaking makes picture wobbling and fast pans make vertical objects bend.
At least in first generation CMOS cams it has been visible. (It's another question is it a problem for every shooting style).
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Old September 20th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #7
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Poppe, if you're running around madly shaking the camera and randomly executing fast pans, you're not going to get a good picture from any camera ... :-) But if the V1 has the rolling shutter effect, Boyd would probably wish that his Z1 had it too. :-p

Perhaps Spot will put up the video he took hurtling 90 miles per hour towards the earth and spinning like a mad man. You could look for the shutter effect there, but even if it does show up, neither Boyd nor I noticed it, and that was on a 36' screen.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski
Poppe, if you're running around madly shaking the camera and randomly executing fast pans, you're not going to get a good picture from any camera ... :-)
Like a said, it surely depends on your shooting style, is it a problem or not. Personally I don't find it a huge problem.. But you don't have to shake the hell out of your A1 to notice the wobbling. Bright light (fast shutter speed) handhelded shoots and it's there. By 'super shaking' the camcorder I meant that it's easiest way to see what rolling shutter effect is.
It would be nice if Sony has fixed this in new CMOS camcorders.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppe Johansson
It would be nice if Sony has fixed this in new CMOS camcorders.
I think it has. Either that or its MUCH less noticeable. CLearvid CMOS design is quite different from A1/Hc1 CMOS design.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #10
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Speaking of shutters, the V1 has a preference menu where you can display shutter speeds as either degrees or fractions of a second. You can also choose either feet or meters for focus distance.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #11
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Boyd / Heath / DSE / Chris etc

Liked the 'intro' review by DSE on the V1U. Very useful.
Also the first impressions from various people on this forum are great.

I was just wondering if DSE (or anyone else who's got their hands on the V1) intends to write a longer review with some more detail? That would be great if you could (or is about to). I've no idea how long he had the machine for or if Sony don't want anything bigger than that intro article published yet.

- just curious.

thanks!
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes

I was just wondering if DSE (or anyone else who's got their hands on the V1) intends to write a longer review with some more detail? That would be great if you could (or is about to). I've no idea how long he had the machine for or if Sony don't want anything bigger than that intro article published yet.

thanks!

Stu,
More to come. Once the cam was announced, the embargo was lifted on me speaking about it. There are very lengthy reviews coming soon from me, both in print and web form. I'll also do one for DVInfo.net. Every magazine is clamoring for a review right now, and until two days ago, there were only three in the US, and only one of those three was the most updated, so for 2 weeks, I had the only "close to release" version of the camcorder. Now there are 5 of the newer models, so far as I know. Boyd and Michael saw all 5 in one place yesterday. I did just post a bunch of pix on the VASST site as well, hopefully this will provide some points of discussion.
http://www.vasst.com/resource.aspx?i...a-7a9431fe3407
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Old September 20th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #13
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I don't see the pictures or any video on your site!
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Old September 20th, 2006, 11:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Stu,
More to come. Once the cam was announced, the embargo was lifted on me speaking about it. There are very lengthy reviews coming soon from me, both in print and web form. I'll also do one for DVInfo.net.
Excellent ! Very much looking forward to your further review.

many thanks in advance Spot
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Old September 20th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #15
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Low light

I have been following HDV for almost a year now, and the first camera that caught my eye was the A1. CMOS was the future for me. This camera seems to have brought that dream of the 3 CMOS, although, sadly, not the 2/3" ones...

But, that's not the question for me. As I get closer to raising the money I need to get my own HDV camera, the V1(e) seems to be the winner, but it's followed closely by the Canon XH-A1 due to one simple matter: low light sensitivity (I tend to shoot a lot in the streets at night, with little to no extra lights whatsoever).

So, in spite of the size of the sensors, and considering DSE's review, is the V1 equally as good or even better than, say, the Canon XL-H1 in low light conditions?

Thanks for all the info. This is indeed a very exciting time!
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