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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #16
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On a news shoot today, the producer requested it shot in NTSC SD in 4:3 aspect ratio. He also wanted it shot on miniDV tapes so his editor can work with it. Not a problem on the Z1.

I'll have other producers who request stuff shot in 16:9 or in DVCAM mode. Other times, I'll shoot a narrative in PAL HDV for later conform to 24fps. The Z1 makes this all possible. Hard to give up such versatility.

But then again, the Canon A1 has a superb imager, 2x sharper images with better colour reproduction. So for the times I shoot only in HDV NTSC frame rates, it makes sense.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #17
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Boyd you are right.
I have been spending a lot of time in each fourm and i feel like i have gone around in circles. Thanks for your advice

Ian,
You bring up some great points about the Z1 and it's verticality as i live in Pal land and who knows what the client could want in the future.

Regards
Simon
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Old August 10th, 2007, 12:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Ash View Post
Which is the better cam? Z1,V1,HX-AI. Which gives the overall better rating/comes out on top?
You're making the mistake of looking at this in a linear "good, better, best" fashion and that's not a valid way to examine these choices. Boyd's ice cream analogy is excellent. "Which is the best flavor: chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?" Ask three different people and you'll get three different answers.

It's all about what's right for you, and you're the only one who can answer that. By all means, try before you buy. The right one for you is the one which feels best in your hands. No other consideration is nearly as important.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 01:03 AM   #19
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I had the Z1 and now have the XH-A1. I thoroughly enjoyed both. Out the of box, the Sony was easier to use and delivered the colorful vivid picture I wanted. The XH-A1 video at first was so identical to what I saw posted from the XL-H1 I was at first disappointed. It was one reason (price being the other) why I chose the Z1 over the XL-H1 at that time.

The learning curve was steeper for me on the Canon. That changed but it took a while to find the preset that gave me the look I was after, which in the end was not unlike the Sony. My opinion differs from some in that I think my low light footage from the XH-A1 has been better for two reasons.

1.) Most comparisons are made at the same gain level. +12 on the Canon is much grainier than +12 on the Sony which is hardly noticeable at +12. But the Canon also seems more sensitive to light at a lower gain setting. I never use more than +6. Others push it more but use coring and noise reduction. I don't. +6 is usually enough. Whether it actually is or isn't better, it's for sure close. I don't obsess over it.

2.) The other reason I think the low light is good on the Canon is that the lens remains razor sharp at F1.6 where the Sony gives up a bit at wide open aperture.

The Carl Zeiss lens on the Sony is best at the wide end, which is not all that wide. The XH-A1 lens is wider but fringes red/green when wide. At the long end, the Canon lens is sharp and aberration free. The Sony softens slightly on the long end and fringes blue/yellow. I judge the lenses overall about equal, with a slight lean toward the Canon for it's 20:1 range versus 12:1, and better telephoto performance, but both are really very good, just with different characteristics.

I totally miss the wonderful flip shade of the Sony, the Canon uses a conventional lens cap.

The optical stabilization is on or off for the Canon, the Sony gives a choice of a hard or soft setting, the hard setting is closer to what the Canon has. My video has been a bit steadier with the Canon, but had I been using the hard setting on the Sony more, I might have made a more valid comparison.

The LCD as everyone knows is unbeatable on the Sony. I prefer the audio sensitivity of the Canon built in stereo microphone. The Canon has the very useful iris ring. The Sony is better balanced, the Canon has a solid feel.

I judge the video from the Canon to be slightly more transparent, owing to the sensor, and has an organic halo-free non-sharpened look with nicely resolved detail. The Sony more than holds its own in many areas, picture clarity is understandably where it can't quite equal by comparison only, it stands fully on its own merit.

I would conclude by saying you can't go wrong with either one, except when you get to this level you're never quite satisfied either. I want HDCAM 2/3 inch 4:2:2 1920x1080i/p performance in a small format with a low price. Don't we all?
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #20
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Thanks guys for all your advice.
At the end of the day all these cameras will be great no matter which one is chosen.


To quote Tom Roper
I want HDCAM 2/3 inch 4:2:2 1920x1080i/p performance in a small format with a low price. Don't we all?

Yes please


Regards
Simon
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