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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 16th, 2007, 01:17 PM   #1
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low light

which is better in low light, the Z1U or the new V1U. Also does the V1U do as good of a job at +9db gain as the Z1U. Which camera would you choose for low light capabilities and keep good picture quality.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #2
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The Z1U is I believe one stop faster than the V1U. That said, even at +6db the V1U picture is still quite good. I shot some interview tests last month using available light through a window at 0, +3, and +6. I sent the clips to a client for import into his Premiere system and he was satisfied even with +6. Of course I try to light well and keep the gain at 0 whenever possible.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #3
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The Z1U is rated at one stop higher than the V1U, as noted in the previous post. Owning several of both, you can see a notable difference in low light, but increasing the gain and utlizing the manual controls, the V1U image isn't that off from the Z1U - matching them up seems fine, too. I try not to go above 9 or so dB with the V1U, but have done 12 in certain situations and then soften it in post - it's really not that bad. In terms of choosing which camera, there are huge benefits for each camera and it really comes down to what you need...low light, zoom, weight, controls, and so much more. If it's based on the lux ratings only, then the Z1U would fair better...but the image of the V1U is really great as well.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #4
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relative confusion over gain

When is gain considered gain. When it is visible? Gain on z1/ccd is visible at 6, gain on v1/cmos is visible at 12. So it is relative to the sensor. I think the v1 has more detail, contrast and color in low light. My point is that you have to compare the picture and not the settings.

At what point is it not worth shooting in low light? You simply need to add light or no matter what you shoot or your video will be compromised. So the setting are relative to the picture. I think the v1 has a 6db difference from the z1 if you are comparing settings numbers but it can produce a better picture in acceptable low light. In unacceptable low light the z1 can produce a better inflated image but it is compromised, for that matter the pd-170 beats them all in low light but I would never want to edit anything that the v1 could not handle in its range.

translated, if you need low light crappy video than the v1 is not for you but I have not personally had to deal with it because my clients would never want video that compromised by low light.

I have used the V1u daily since the first batch shipped in late Dec 06. It has blown my mind with how the CMOS sensors respond, little smear and contrast that will make you think you have a 2/3" pro cam. I will never buy another CCD prosumer camcorder, CMOS is the way on the lower end of the price range.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #5
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I totally understand your concern with adding light when needed, but there are situations where you will not have access to lights and thus depend on mother nature to furnish your lighting. Thanks for the clarification of low light features with the Z1 VS. V1. How about the new Canon G1 compaired to the V1 or Z1 in low light. Where does the G1 stand among the Sony's.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 06:56 PM   #6
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I'm going to be looking into something that may help V1 users. I have noticed that the noise on the V1 is mostly color information. The noise specks mostly look like red and green dots. There is video noise reduction software available specifically for chroma noise that may be useful for us. There is also temporal-based noise correction software that could be helpful. Since noise changes faster than normal images, pixels before and after noise may be used to extrapolate the correct values. Of course, this wouldn't be acceptable for use in many circumstances, it may be useful in those odd scenarios where adding light is not feasible and perfect image quality is not expected.

Also, look into 1/30th shutter at 30p to give you one more f-stop of exposure. My limited tests have me believing it is viable in most situations. A little motion blur is better than lots of noise. Progressive frames allow this slower shutter speed on the V1 where interlaced cameras would revert to 15fps when shooting 1/30th shutter. Just reduce camera movement a bit to keep the whole frame from blurring. People expect motion blur on fast-moving objects, but not on the whole scene.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John M. McCloskey
I totally understand your concern with adding light when needed, but there are situations where you will not have access to lights and thus depend on mother nature to furnish your lighting.
There are clients who pay for the content, not for how pristine it looks. They are not going to pay you to carry lights and certainly not going to want to lose the content while you set up lights.

The idea that you'll get "crappy" video is only true if you think a bit of noise is crap. I used +15dB in a night market. The audience will never see the noise because the area under the sales tables is not the content they are looking at.

Discovery HD has shots on board a boat in the artic night. Who cares if the "image" has noise. The image is not the story. IMHO, the image tends to become content to the degree there is no real story. That's why Eye Candy is used for demos and commercials.

That said, once you learn HOW the V1 adds gain, you can use at least +12dB to +15dB gain without it being visible in the content.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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I absolutly agree that the story outweighs the exposure of the video. So lets say, you are about to video the best story ever caught on video with the best audio equipment run by the best sound man in the buisness and you had to shoot it on HDV, and could use no artificial lighting and the opening scene was to be on a mountain top right before the sun rises over the mountain(low light). Best story, best audio, and you wanted the best HDV footage you could get in low light. What camera would you use in the HDV world that would compliment the best audio, best story, what camera is going to get you the best picture(low light fully wide). And also you must have it edited 4:3 for broadcast.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
The idea that you'll get "crappy" video is only true if you think a bit of noise is crap. I used +15dB in a night market. The audience will never see the noise because the area under the sales tables is not the content they are looking at.

Discovery HD has shots on board a boat in the artic night. Who cares if the "image" has noise. The image is not the story. IMHO, the image tends to become content to the degree there is no real story.
Absolutely agree with this. Its all about the content.
Yes try to keep noise low, but it's the content thats important and i personally don't really mind a bit of noise if it enables me to get an image.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 03:28 PM   #10
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I had assumed that the Z-1 would be better in low light due to the 1 stop difference.
At the Sony exhibit at this year's Sundance, the rep told me that the V-1 is a stop slower, but makes a "better" image than the Z-1 in low light. The exhibit area was quite dark and gloomy- definitely what I would call low light- they had tripod mounted Z-1 and V-1 side by side pointed out to the room. At least on the camera LCDs the images certainly looked comprable. Maybe the V-1 color was slightly better.
It was no substitute for comparing captured footage on a HD monitor, but I came away fairly impressed.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:19 AM   #11
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Best HDV

in the HDV world that would compliment the best audio, best story, what camera is going to get you the best picture(low light fully wide). And also you must have it edited 4:3 for broadcast.

John,
The quick answer is you simply would not use HDV, but since you put the scenario out there, here's my thought.

I would go with the Sony V1u... greater latitude, richer color, less verticle smear than what you can get from Canon and JVC. As far as audio goes, it wouldn't make a difference; they're all compressed MPEG 1.

John
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Young
... but makes a "better" image than the Z-1 in low light.
That's why it's so hard to use numbers or even use words like a "stop slower" to compare cameras.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
That's why it's so hard to use numbers or even use words like a "stop slower" to compare cameras.
So what do we use then? I am still confussed on how a cam can produce a better image in the dark when it is a stop slower. How does this work? Is this because of the CMOS sensors?
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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #14
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great question Ken, is it the CMOS of the V1 that makes it a better low light camera than the Z1 3CCD. Which would have a cleaner look at +9db gain, fully wide, low light, no artificial light, the Z1 or V1. From what I have gathered so far the Canon or JVC isnt in the league of Sonys for low light HDV. I hate to harp on such a small issue but I know all the HDV cameras work great when light is bright, which one works the best in low light just might make the purchasing difference. Little differnces matter. Thanks
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Old February 20th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #15
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Well i did work with both cameras in recent events ,(weddings & bar mitzvah's)
the Z1 is the better camera then the V1 in low light , we are 4 crews in the company and we all agree on that one , we returned the V1's ...
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