Looking at the Sony Z1 vs the Canon XH A1 at DVinfo.net

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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 7th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #1
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Looking at the Sony Z1 vs the Canon XH A1

I am a Sony PD170 owner user and will be up grading soon.
I have been looking at the Sony Z1 vs the Canon HX A1.

Has anyone gone through this problem as to which cam has a better look/picture?

If i stay with Sony at least the batteries/charges and to a certain degree the look will suite. Or is the Z1 an old Cam now?

I love the look I'm seeing on this web site of the Canon XH A1 . Or is the XH A1 an old Cam now?

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Simon
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Old August 7th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #2
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oh, i have gone through agonies, agonies i tell you, over this one.

it's really too close to call. the things that tipped the scales towards the A1 for me: 20x zoom, in-camera progressive imaging which i use a lot, pre-set options, but the big one was PRICE. since i was buying two cameras, this amounted to hundreds in savings. at the time, i couldn't even find a used Z1 for the price of an A1. and, at the time, the owners that were willing to meet the A1 pricing were selling cameras with hundreds of hours on the heads.

i already owned an FX-1 and was looking to upgrade 2 more DV cams.

the A1 and FX-1/Z1U play very well together, so if image is the primary concern, lay that to rest and focus on other reasons for choosing your camera. it is not that easy to tell them apart.

the Z1U is easier to operate. the button layout is easier. the viewfinder is bigger, the focusing seems substantially easier (better, imho, manual focus ring--the A1s is squirrely by comparison).

you can't really go wrong.

*rant mode on*

i've heard the claim that the Z1U is "old" technology, but, having shot a lot with both of them, i'd say that's silly. we don't even have good delivery systems to support 1080i technology yet. once Apple starts supporting blu-ray output in DVD Studio Pro. once we are all firing up blu-ray players to watch "Shrek IX". once we all are actually watching the evening news "presented in high definition" in high definition. then it will be old technology.

*rant mode off*

i think these cameras have some life in them yet....
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Old August 7th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #3
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Just wondering why you havent looked at the Sony V1U. I really like the HDV format but going from DVCam to HDV is a double edged sword. DV Cam has much better low light capabilities and also the audio is a better format. HDV has a much cleaner picture and is future proofing your library for when HDV hopefully becomes a format broadcasters except without question. The Z1 is a great little camera but the zoom is lacking, I would take a look at the V1U but it also has a worse Lux rating than the Z1, If low light is an issue to you and you must go HDV there is really only one camera to choose, the Z1.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 09:08 AM   #4
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It is a hard decision indeed! Coming from PD170 you will hate the low-light of any Canon; the Z1 has a decent electronic gain even though it doesn't come too close to the PD.

You need to also consider what will you be using this camera for...
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Old August 7th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #5
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in daylight or high light, all of these 1080i cams are equal. i produced an event with 8 cameras two weeks ago. and my little canon HV10 was in the mix, being driven around on a speedboat, and it cuts perfectly with the shore footage from a Z1U. you can't tell them apart. it's been said before, but the image quality with these HDV cameras isn't really what you're paying for--it's the ergonomics and feature set.

in low light conditions, this would be a whole different story.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #6
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I have a VX-2000 and an HVR-Z1. I think the Z1 is about 1.5 f-stops slower, but you can boost gain by 6 or even 9dB and still have a nice image, especially if you're downconverting to SD in your final product.

Another advantage to the Z1 is that it can shoot both PAL and NTSC (with the DVCAM option as well) in standard definition, or 50i/60i HDV. In fact, I originally bought my Z1 in order to do a big PAL project.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #7
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Yes the agony of it all.
With so many choices its doing my head in.
Great advice from you all.

Thanks

Cheers
Simon
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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John M. McCloskey View Post
The Z1 is a great little camera but the zoom is lacking, I would take a look at the V1U but it also has a worse Lux rating than the Z1, If low light is an issue to you and you must go HDV there is really only one camera to choose, the Z1.
From what I read, the greatest weak point in the V1 is just the zoom, because the Z1's can go wider. The V1 can go longer, but I think wider is more needed most of the times. For me it is, and most people asking add-on lenses on this forum seem to think so, because that is what I mostly find.

I am not sure about the low light capability of the V1, but I don't think it's better than the Z1.

The V1 has real 24p, if you need it. But the Z1 is PAL and NTSC, which all top HDCams already are. It's a shame that capability is not standard now that we are going digital and HD.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:00 AM   #9
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I have a Z1. If I bought today, I would go with the A1, regardless of the battery issue.

Of course, since I already have a Z1, it's now a waiting game for the Sony EX.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:16 AM   #10
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I'm now looking at the V1 with serious intent. Some of the footage i have seen here on this web site is what i'm after and since i already own a Sony PD 170.
lOW LIGHT is a worry but i can always put a light on the thing.
And the size looks very good.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Simon Ash View Post
I'm now looking at the V1 with serious intent. Some of the footage i have seen here on this web site is what i'm after and since i already own a Sony PD 170.
lOW LIGHT is a worry but i can always put a light on the thing.
And the size looks very good.
The V1's size and shape is very much like the PD170. But it can't go as low-light as the PD does and it can't go that wide.

Of course you can always use a light, but only in closer situations. You can't go into darker and wider situations as you did with the 170. I can't say for sure, but I think it may be at least 3 stops darker or more than the PD.

I think you should try the V1 first and see if you can get used to it.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #12
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From what I've seen and read, the Canon HDV cameras do poorly in dim lighting unless you adjust some low-level camera settings to reduce image noise. The FX1 and Z1U can produce a usable image in poor lighting with plenty of gain but no special camera adjustments, so they're a little easier to use in that sense. Battery life on the Sony cameras is also excellent: with the BP-970 I've shot weddings up to eight hours long before the battery finally ran down - owners of Canon HDV cameras tell me they have to swap batteries to get through a typical wedding. The Canons do have better zoom range and come with XLR inputs standard on the base model, something my FX1s don't have. The Sony V1U would give you an equivalent zoom range and XLR inputs but not be as good in low light as the FX1/Z1U, plus it doesn't have as good a sensor as the Canons. In fact the sensor on the Canon HDV cameras is the highest resolution of any HD camera under $10K, and this has resulted in measurably higher real-world resolution in comparison tests.

If I was shopping for HDV cameras today I'd be torn between the FX1, V1U and XH-A1. Best advice would be to personally test all cameras which interest you before buying, if you can arrange to do that.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #13
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Regardless of what you get, I'd hang on to you pd170 for as long as you can. I've found that the pd170 (in low light situations) cuts very well with HDV footage if the final prioduct is standard definition.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #14
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Great advice everyone.
It seems we need a bit of the PD170,Z1,V1 and the Cannon HX-A1 all rolled into one.

Which is the better cam? Z1,V1,HX-AI. Which gives the overall better rating/comes out on top?
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Old August 9th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #15
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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?
Which is the better flavor of ice cream? Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry?

I think there's been some very good info in this thread about all of these cameras. Spend awhile in each of our forums to learn much more. You need to match your own needs to each of their different strong points and weaknesses. Try to visit a store where you can actually try them, there's really no substitute for that.
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