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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 6th, 2006, 02:45 AM   #1
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Report on V1

After warching 2 hours of V1 media via HDMI into my Sony 50" A10 RP-HDTV -- I've only got one word for the V1 -- WOW!

One example. Took camera into a Tony Roma's and shot a 90+ year old woman from about 35-feet in Full Auto. Her white hair was totally real. Liver spots. Puffy features.

Then my wife noticed that there was a glistening tear on the edge of her eye!

At least as good as anything I see on Discovery HD.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 02:58 AM   #2
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How do you think it compares to the FX1/Z1? Noticeably better? A worthwhile replacement, especially if blowing it up to film?

I know it may be hard, not seeing the same footage on the same screen but I have the idea that you know! Any comments would be great!
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Old October 6th, 2006, 04:35 AM   #3
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I recently had a V1 in the UK on loan from Sony for a few days so I could review/test it.

I found the image quality in interlaced about the same as Z1, in progressive it looked a little soft.

Compared to JVC GY-HD111 I found the JVC retained detail on wide shots much better than the V1, better resolution and contrast too.

However, the V1 I had was a pre-production model so there is a tiny chance it was not tuned to perfection.

Also, I've spent a long time tweaking the settings in the JVC and it is a lot easier to get a decent image from it because of the manual lens, aperture ring etc and the general way the JVC works like a proper camera.

Can't say I was blown away by it.

Not taking anything away from the V1, but it is only 3,295.

I personally think there is still room for another Sony camera. Sony UK say the next step up from a Z1/V1 is XDCAM HD, but this is a jump from 3,295 to 12,095. I think Sony should bring out a camera half way between those prices of say around 6,000 with an 1/3rd inch interchangeable manual focus lens system like the JVC. I think this would give improved image quality over the Z1/V1, but not quite as good as XDCAM HD, but every bit as good as JVC ProHD series.

Have I gone off topic here? sorry about that.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 06:37 AM   #4
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I don't know that I want detailed liver spot shots!
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Old October 6th, 2006, 08:27 AM   #5
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I read Nigel's review, also Spot's. From the few skydiving clips I've seen, I will honestly say I'm not blown away by the V1U, and to be fair, the clips from the Canon XH-A1 from the IBC are completely underwhelming.

I have NO DOUBT that Steve's video inside Tony Roma offers a more insightful clue to the V1U's performance than what I've seen from it. But here's the red flag. I was expecting this comment, and it happened.
Quote:
After warching 2 hours of V1 media via HDMI into my Sony 50" A10 RP-HDTV
The problem I have with that, is that for many the V1 is the first opportunity at viewing HDMI output from a HDV cam, likely with a recent large screen HDTV display. I think it should be acknowledged that these TV types fundamentally excel at displaying HDTV formats, better than digital computer monitors, they have better scalers, better deinterlacers, true ATSC timings, not to mention a beautiful large and bright display.

Anecdote:

I took some Z1U footage I shot in Alaska last summer, authored the native m2t into the HD-DVD format. I popped the disk into a Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player connected via HDMI to a 42 inch 1080p LCD HDTV at Best Buy. Within a few seconds, there gathered a small cadre of curious patrons observing the display. What were they thinking? Only they know, but my judgment was that the programming was as successful at captivating the attention for a few minutes as the 1080p HD-DVD demo disk that I had just removed. As good as anything I've seen on Discovery-HD? Honestly not but I'd require some AC Nielsen data before accepting that liver spots and puffy features inside Tony Roma will equal the spectacle of mating water buffalo in the Serengeti. And I don't require that in any case. All I really want, is to see some actual clips that do justice. The eyes have it.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 08:55 AM   #6
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Yeah lets see some of that 2 hours worth of footage so I can be the judge if it looks good or not to me.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:06 AM   #7
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V1 is available for firm order at GBP2,950 (INCLUDES VAT) in the UK Nigel if you search around reputable dealers.. In fact using the dealer that advertises at the top of your own site (!), the price gap between 111E and V1 is £1,050 and not the "£650" that you started in your review.

But anyway.... i read your review and was wondeing why there was no comment at all about low-light footage etc? I personally would have liked to have seen more detailed feedback on the machine and its capablities.

No offence at all, but the first 50% of the review seemed almost exclusively a talk about competitors and a rehash of information which is already known!

Anyway, it was useful input i thought at this early pre-sales date.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:18 AM   #8
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Stu

To be honest I felt the need to give a bit of input as to the competition and background, considering this is Sony's first budget progressive scan camcorder.

I didn't go into low-light on it (and never have on other cams) simply because I personally don't film bats in caves ;)

I know where you are coming from, but people get a bit too hung up on low light. Images always look best when lit.

Just for you, the V1 has much better low-light capabilities than an F350 XDCAM HD, and is only a tad worse than Z1, about half a stop at the most from what I could gather.

There is no re-hash in that review, it is all my own wording, I don't do cut/paste press-releases, but people do want to know those things and I've had a ton of emails from folk who have read it who were pleased with what they described as an informative review.

Each to their own though. Some people will like it, others won't. There will be a ton of V1 reviews over the months, mine is simply one tiny little take on it.

I'm sure Simon Wyndham will be posting his findings here soon as he has the same camcorder I had on loan from Sony UK. I suspect he will be compairing it with his Sony XDCAM.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:34 AM   #9
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I personally think there is still room for another Sony camera. Sony UK say the next step up from a Z1/V1 is XDCAM HD, but this is a jump from 3,295 to 12,095. I think Sony should bring out a camera half way between those prices of say around 6,000 with an 1/3rd inch interchangeable manual focus lens system like the JVC. I think this would give improved image quality over the Z1/V1, but not quite as good as XDCAM HD, but every bit as good as JVC ProHD series.

Personally I agree with Nigel. I currently own a Sony HD camera, and I love the format. Althought the V1 appears to be an exciting step in the right direction, I am becoming frustrated with built in lenses. For me, my next camera will have an interchangeable lens system like the JVC or Canon but not cost as much as XDCAM HD.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Cooper
Stu

I didn't go into low-light on it (and never have on other cams) simply because I personally don't film bats in caves ;)

I know where you are coming from, but people get a bit too hung up on low light. Images always look best when lit.
As someone who has used small format cameras for documentary production, where one can be at the mercy of the available light, I do find it an important characteristic and should be noted in any serious review.

What I need to know is how much I can ride the gain on these new cameras. Steve Mullen's comment that under 100w light and 12 dB of gain the V1 renders the image like the human was priceless. Screen grabs would also be gratefully received.

I've read countless posts, on this board and others like it, from the WEVA crowd who also find low-light an important factor when choosing a camera.

Its not a trivial issue and you must realise that it is not possible to set up 3 point lighting when interviewing a junkie in a sink estate....:)

TT
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #11
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Nigel I thought your review was very good. A lot of people here on DVinfo forget that not everybody out there in the world has been following HD cameras for the last few years like some odd cult like we have. There is a lot of back history that needs to be told. If you left all of it out then some new person would be more confused trying to figure out what you were talking about. They would end up having more questions then what your review would have answered for them.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Tremble

Its not a trivial issue and you must realise that it is not possible to set up 3 point lighting when interviewing a junkie in a sink estate....:)

TT
Now that's funny ;)

I personally didn't whack up the gain on the V1, but another guy in the UK (Simon Wyndham) who has the V1 for testing/review has put the gain up and I'm sure he told me it held up just fine.

From my Z1 days I found you could gain up a bit and the image quality did not suffer, I think the new Sony CMOS technology holds up even better and is supposed to be indistinguishable from zero gain; within reason.

I'll bare in mind low-light capabilities for the future.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 10:32 AM   #13
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Nigel's review

I read Nigel's review. Now I've somehow by default become a Sony regular. It just seems that whenever I needed or wanted a piece of equipment, Sony had the right combination of features to fit my needs. You see, I am not earning a living from these things, its an avocation for me. I suppose I'm the ultimate Sony consumer. I have an FX1. This year, when we first heard about the Canon new offerings, there was a fresh look. Sony now counters with a camera that meets a lot of different needs, and that old consumer "need to have" blood began to boil...

Nigel's review was a breath of fresh air. It was honest, candid, and certainly gave me pause as to whether moving there to V1 or to a Canon will really gain much. The jury is still out on that, but Nigel's review is greatly appreciated..
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Old October 6th, 2006, 10:46 AM   #14
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Thanks Chris

We are all individual and different camcorders suit different requirements and people.

As you know (after reading my review) I used to own two Z1 camcorders and was very happy with them, then I read an article that convinced me I should be shooting progressive hence my selling them.

It was only because I have been using the JVCs a lot recently that I could easily see that I preferred the quality and characteristics of the JVC, but I would never tell anyone to buy the JVC Gy-HD111 over the Sony Z1. It depends on the application it is being used; the right tool for the job.

Personally I find servo-focus lenses very difficult to use and much prefer a full manual lens such as the one found on the JVC.

I'm a big Sony fan too, in fact I currently have on loan from Sony UK an XDCAM HD F350 model, which I'm putting through its paces over the weekend just for my own personal use. If the F350 is a jump up from the JVC I'll be selling off the JVC gear and buying an F350 instead. Then the V1 in 1080p mode would make a great second camera to this.

I believe that all the semi-professional/high-end prosumer cameras ranging from 3500 to 5700 i.e. the JVC GY-HD111, Canon XL H1, Panasonic HVX200 and Sony Z1 and V1 are all pretty much the same with little between them in the right hands so I'd say go for the camera that suits your needs. If you like servo-focus auto focus then the JVC is out, if you like solid state the Panny is the only option, if you shoot wildlife then interchangeable lenses is a must so the Panny and Sony cams are out; see where I'm going here.

I would really love to see Sony bring out a Sony GY-HD111 though ;) They would then have every corner covered, kind of like BMW having every area of the car market covered with a 1 series, 2 series, 3 series, 5 series, 6 series and a 7 series. Sony need a 5 series for 6,000 then there will be no stopping them.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 11:19 AM   #15
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What monitor do you use Nigel? I don't belive you can really compare HD cameras on a 19" monitor. Try looking at the difference on a 30" CRT or larger plasma and then you will really see what's good and what's not. I have tried to use a JVC 19' HD CRT and everything looks fine, no artifacts, very little grain. Then look at the same feed on a 40" plasma and all the grain, mosquito noise, differnces in sharpness soft focus etc LEAP out at you. One of the key issues with HD is that most viewers are going to be using a big screen and big screens are very unforgiving.
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