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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 May 29th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #1
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V1: climbing the learning curve

I would like to share with you my latest experience with this wonderful machine. After having spent several weeks measurebating "artefacts" in the progressive mode (25PsF), I finally and reluctantly accepted the quality, but felt very constrained in possible settings by a couple of factors (especially when shooting progressive):

- shutter speed; either keep it at 1/50th, or smearing (if slower), or strobing (if faster) will occure - and the picture will suffer from the dreadful rolling shutter effect !

- exposure: even with ND2 on, at shutter speed of 1/50 and full sunshine, I'm gonna struggle to not close the iris below F5.6 in order to avoid diffraction (and the resulting softness); I need an extra filter or won't be able to get decent picture from a sunny beach !

The above considerations made me wonder: "why is Sony even allowing for faster shutter speeds and/or tighter apertures; why don't ND3 or 4 exist for even more efficient exposure limiting; etc"...

Today I thought to myself: what the heck, I'll try it different way! I set the shutter speed to 1/300th, flipped ND1 on (full sunshine at noon) - and started shooting freely, like there was no tomorrow! I run and jumped with the camcorder, using the fastest and most ridiculous pans and zooms possible - without a tape, everything was recorded to the DR60 in my pocket, ready to be displayed on my HD monitor back in the office in no time...

And guess what: perfect video did I produce!

- strobing? none!
- rolling shutter? zero, null !
- HDV compression artefacts? niente! zadne!

Extra benefit: I could use apertures as wide as 1.8 in full sunshine, which translated into considerably limited DOF. Yes, I could actually choose what I want in focus - in practical terms!

Gee, I'm loving this camera even more from now on... It is much, much more forgiving than all those sceptical reports were suggesting. Also - as I reported elsewhere before - it's much better in lowlight than the specs themselves say... It all boils down to this statement: the V1 is the best camera this size and weigth the money can buy, period.

-IMHO, of course.
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; May 29th, 2007 at 09:51 AM.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #2
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I quit being a measurebator a while ago when I realized I wasn't being creative. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

heath
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:00 PM   #3
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Are you suggesting-- in your experience, that in 25p mode (in my case, 24p), that cranking up the shutter speed will cure numerous film ailments with little (no?) downside? You didn't experience any deminshment of the "film" look? Are there particular circumstances you might NOT do this?

I posted elsewhere a frustration with what someone called "juddering" when filming a procession in 24p, at a range between 3-10 feet... sharpness was offered as one of the implications (I've since cranked down to 3 in closer-ups), as were light and angle....

I'll have to check out implications of higher shutter speed....
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #4
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Greg, please do not miss the main point of my post: all I'm saying is that the V1 is very capable, and can be very forgiving, in a much broader range of settings than many (including myself) considered favourable, or even viable.

I'm not saying that from now on, I'm going to freely use whatever shutter speed is needed to keep aperture from closing too much; on the contrary - I'm going to equip myself with a set of filters so that I don't need to limit the exposure with the shutter speed. There are situations (probably in majority) when obeying the golden rule of 1/48th (1/50th for PAL) - especially in progressive mode - is a must. However, it's good to know that using faster shutter speed does not necesserily mean unwatchable video! Fast shutter allows for wider apertures, and this limits the DOF - one can really start to be creative without spending thousands on 35mm adapters. Also, my experiments today proved to me that the infamous rolling shutter effect, typical to CMOS machines, is inevitable with anything faster than 1/100th; it isn't! And this is good and relaxing to know, as well. Last but not least: I really put my V1 under a very heavy stress, and yet it doesn't show any HDV compression artefacts. Ain't it encouraging?

All in all, my point is the V1 is an even better machine than I thought.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:22 PM   #5
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Piotr,

thanks for sharing, I will definitely try to shoot with your settings and see what happens.
Btw I used polarizer in the same situations to manage light. My 77mm filters (I have it for my still Canon cam) work perfect with step down ring.
The polarized picture is great, deep colors, etc. Maybe you should try.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #6
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Zsolt, I'm after a polarizer myself. I heard something about unwanted "deep blue noise" that it might introduce on CMOS camcorders. Did you notice anything like this?
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #7
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I have not seen anything, Piotr. Although I am not aware of what that does mean exactly.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #8
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I have the Cokin "P" filter system (84mm?) and it works well with the V1. I bought a 62-72mm step-up ring so I can also use the fairly standard 72mm round filters and the 72mm Brevis35 35mm adapter. With the Cokin filter holder and low-cost hood, I can pop in a polarizer and ND filter in seconds. The holder is like a super-cheap mattebox so it can even allow the polarizer to rotate. The polarizers for the Cokin P are round glass and the linear works perfectly with my V1 and my former VX2000. For under $100, you can get a filter system with hood, polarizer, and ND filter. I also recommend getting gradual ND filters. The V1 has a fairly small lens diameter, so the graduation on the filters seems very soft. I recommend the 121 ND "G2" filter. The filters with softer gradation are listed as stronger, but they are rated at their darkest point so they seem lighter. All of the 121 filters I have seem about the same strength. I would say to start with the 121 "G2" and maybe the lighter 120 "G1" filters. The softer gradations are almost too soft, but that does help them not to be noticed in the final image.

One nice benefit of adding an ND filter is that it eliminates that stupid flashing ND2 ND2 ND2 warning on the screen.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:35 PM   #9
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Good link on Cokin filter systems:

http://hollywoodindustry.digitalmedi....jsp?id=111946
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Old May 30th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for that link. The Cokin Z is essentially a 4x4 mattebox equivalent for much less cost. Unfortunately, it is twice the price of the "P" series which also are a nice fit for cameras the size of the V1 and Z1. The only shortcoming of not being a standard 4x4 or 3x3 size is that it was hard to find any type of contrast filter. I settled on a 72mm Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3 filter that I put behind the Cokin holder. I shot a wedding last week with the Ultra Contrast, a polarizer, and a gradual ND filters combined. With all those surfaces, I was very careful to make sure everything was perfectly clean.

One more benefit of the Cokin filters, or any square filters, is that there are cheap clear or UV filters that can be put in front of everything for protection. The inexpensive ND filters could also be used in this regard. For people that shoot in hostile environments, the ability to instantly pull a dirty filter would be invaluable. Heck, a guy shooting an off-road race with the mud flying could put two of these filters out front and pull them as they got dirty. If you have a screw-on filter protecting your lens, if it gets dirty you are going to lose shots as you try to get it clean. The Cokin P clear or UV filters are only about $15 which is about half the cost of a 72mm protective filter. There are glass filters that start to go way up in price. Fortunately, the $40 linear polarizer works well with the V1.
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