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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 November 29th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #1
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Green out of alignment

I have a Z1 and an FX1. Since I bought the Z1 the camera has had (I believe) the green CCD out of alignment, insofar as the footage has a green fringe on the left side of an object, and a magenta (red + blue) fringe on the right.

The Sony service reps have told me they "cannot improve the specs of the camera". If they replaced the block it probably would make no difference. They say that, just because the FX1 is fine, that is irrelevant to the Z1 as it uses a different block to the Z1. "The internal parts are different between the Z1 and FX1."

I don't believe them. I don't want to improve the specs of the camera. I just want the CCDs lining up. Anyone know if there is truth to what the say, please?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 08:38 PM   #2
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I've used both the Z1U and FX1.. and I've noticed no differences. The fact that you do set off an alarm for me. Are you positive you've compared the two cameras with identical settings and an identical subject (tests)?

What you're citing is most often called Chromatic Aberration, or CA for short.. it's usually due to the lens (or other items in the optical path from the subject to the CCD or CMOS sensors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration

While I'd usually just dismiss what you're saying about this fringing as "CA', the fact that you have very similar cameras (same front end - same lens and CCD sensors) and one has this while the other doesn't sounds like something's wrong with one of them.

Again, are you sure the FX1 isn't showing the same signs?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 10:10 PM   #3
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Since I bought the camera I thought it was chromatic aberration, however CA doesn't usually occur over the whole of the picture (usually the centre of the picture is free of CA). Nor is it usually 1 primary colour on one side. It is like poor convergence on a CRT screen.

It was only when I recently did a multi-camera shoot using 4 Sony HDV cameras that it became obvious that my Z1 was bad & obvious everytime the Z1 footage was used.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 10:27 PM   #4
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You sound like you know what you are talking about. Is the camera under warranty? Bring it in and demand that it be fixed or replaced. Raise a stink. Take them to small claims court if they refuse.

If you don't, you'll be cursing yourself every time you use the camera for years to come.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #5
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Colin.

The FX1 and the Z1 side-by-side should be more or less identical. If any camera is below spec, it should be the FX1 as this is the "consumer" camera.

I would expect a "below professional" spec CCD block to be found on the FX1 not the Z1. It may also be an adjustment issue. The final alignment and pixel offset for the "pixel shift" process must surely be an electronic solution as mass production build precision of this magnitude must surely be impossible.


I suggest two approaches to this.

Firstly. Ring your vendor and suggest you intend to go somewhere else and do they want the opportunity to have another go at it, given some shortfall in their original response might come to light.

Secondly. If this does not yield a satisfactory outcome. Ring the Sony professional premium dealer here in Western Australia on 08-92046666 and ask to speak to a technician named Steve. He knows what he is doing. Repairs on my stuff have been done right with no returns needed.

Please however be honest with him and explain that you have had an unsatisfactory outcome from your dealership. The W.A vendor has not had the benefit of the commission from selling a camera to you so it is not exactly fair to ask them to buy into finding a fix for you.

However, my local vendor has an interest, as does Sony, in not having the product get a bad rap globally, so you would reasonably expect some assistance or even a tap on the shoulder of your local vendor from the collective of Australian premium dealers and Sony.

This tap on the shoulder would probably take the form of "you will of course try again", with a deeper hidden meaning behind it, something along the lines of "don't make us call back", the imputation being, "your franchise may be up for grabs if you don't lift your game".

Finally, it won't hurt for you to mention to your vendor, that your problem is already being discussed on a public forum and that there is feedback which conflicts with the advice you vendor has given you and that negative impressions globally may already be damaging the Sony brand image.

Your vendor may fume within, wish your soul to perdition, may be tempted to have a fire if the financial situation is a bit grim or maybe drop your camera and make an insurance claim.

AV is a competitve business and hard to be in. Grey market out of the US and Asia does not help. So don't be too hard on them.

Polite and courteous goes a long way to a certain point but only so long as the priority of your needs are not subordinated to the slavering raging berserker who turns up on their doorstep with a failed Cinealta camera and threats of a lawsuit.

On the other hand, somebody at your vendor's, might have simply had a bad day and be more than willing to start over given the chance. ( We are all human after all. ).

The risk you will have to assess for yourself.

Good luck.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 30th, 2007 at 12:01 AM. Reason: error
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:33 PM   #6
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Great reply, Bob. Much better than my kneejerk reaction!
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:48 PM   #7
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If you want somebody reliable just a little closer, then we have an excellent service in Melbourne. Consumer, Broadcast and Professional Specialists for Sony in Melbourne (and possibly covering Sydney, but I'm not certain about that). I think naming them is a problem under forum rules concerning sponsors.

So I've emailed you.

Last edited by Serena Steuart; November 29th, 2007 at 11:54 PM. Reason: to add email advice
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #8
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Between Australia and America, (Edit - Vito. - sorry about putting you south of the Canadian border, Canadians may be more like us in OZ), there is a sort of cultural difference thing in consumer commerce but the gap is narrowing in the current generation.

US vendors have become accustomed to clients coming in, being forthright and assertive and know how to deal with it, even if the end of transaction "have a nice day smile" looks like it has been attached with safety pins.

Though the feedback may be traumatic, it exists and can be acted upon.

Australian clients when screwed, often have a habit of simply going away, switching vendors or even entire brands, never coming back and instead propagating their version of the experience, as our political apparatus has recently been reminded to its peril in the last Federal Elections.

So the lesson in Australia is for the vendor to be a little more pro-active in customer support because otherwise, the feedback and thus automatic monitoring of competitiveness may never be known until too late when word-of-mouth dissatisfaction penetration becomes 100% and the enterprise fails.

There is some sort of parable which goes something like, "beware the retribution of the quiet man", which is probably the functional model here.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 29th, 2007 at 11:57 PM. Reason: error
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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #9
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Having a good handle on the problem makes for a solid start in getting things fixed. We've seen in discussions on XDCAM EX that people often launch off a hostile attack because they think they have a problem (or, in the case of the EX, think they might have a problem if they ever get the camera). Of course a good dealer or service provider will investigate before telling you that you're imagining things (or, as in this case, saying all Z1Us are like that). That's the advantage of dealing with people who actually are expert; they listen and advise and if necessary investigate. It saves a lot of time when you have done tests that establish the nature of a problem. I don't expect a service to be free if they have to investigate (unless under warranty).
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Old November 30th, 2007, 02:01 AM   #10
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("Having a good handle on the problem makes for a solid start in getting things fixed").

Second that.

It is also helpful to try and learn some of the internal Sony nomenclature (technical wordstuff) which is sometimes unique to the product. Identical functions in other camera brands may be labelled differently.

Talking in one's own personal paraphrase (my own particularly bad habit) then explaining what is meant sometimes confuses things even more.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 01:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Pearce View Post
I have a Z1 and an FX1. Since I bought the Z1 the camera has had (I believe) the green CCD out of alignment, insofar as the footage has a green fringe on the left side of an object, and a magenta (red + blue) fringe on the right.
Colin, can you post two stills from the same shot with the two cameras? That might help us narrow down your issue. The two cameras should yield perfectly identical images when using identical setting (and not using settings on the Z1 that are not available on the FX1). The difference between the two cameras is only in the additional features of the Z1, the optics and the image processing electronics is identical.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 04:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Colin, can you post two stills from the same shot with the two cameras?
This is the closest I can do (the Z1 is still in the repair shop). This is a multi-cam shoot, so different angles. No colour correction.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~artphotos/z1.jpg
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~artphotos/fx1.jpg
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Old December 1st, 2007, 06:07 PM   #13
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Obvious difference.

CA on the Z1 is bad..

Colin is your Z1 in the shop for repair due to CA issues, or something else?
I have not heard before of CA issues with Z1 that *weren´t* also apparent on the FX1, so i would say your individual Z1 has a problem.

Shame that you're meeting some apparent resistance on this issue..
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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:52 PM   #14
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Colin.


It looks more like optical CA to me because the colour separation is towards the outer portions of the image and not readily apparent towards the centre.

I am assuming from your camera position and the focus separation that your camera zoom was on the tele end. This is a known provocation for lens CA which has been discussed here on another section for JVC HD100 with standard Fujinon lens.

The lighting setup, which features colour separation will have aggravated this lens behaviour. The colour fringes are almost identical in tonalilty to the magenta and green lamp filters on the left of your Z1 image.

The position of the camera relative to the lighting source means more intense return to the camera and stronger contrasts than for your FX1 camera position, another CA provocation. Tighter or wider aperture (iris) settings than mid position (f5.6 - f6.3) are also sometimes implicated.

All those excuses aside, it is still not a good look and suggests a technical fault to me.

It may be something a lens recalibration operation by the camera tech may be able to fix somewhat.

A question. Are you using a clear filter on front of your Z1 camera to protect the lens and none on the FX1?

This colour abberation could possibly also be created by CCDs which relative to each other might be rotationally out of alignment or skewed from the build stage. I imagine there would be a certain level of tolerance for this defect.

When you consider the degree of miniaturisation, it is something of a minor miracle that any of these things ever work at all

If skewing is the case, then my imagining is that lens recalibration or electronic adjustment of the pixel offset may not fix it completely but shift the apparent abberation to the centre or somewhere in between.

Trouble with all this theory and supposition on my part, is that I know only enough to be a danger unto myself, so other brains and people more technically agile should be heeded.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 1st, 2007 at 09:54 PM. Reason: errors
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Old January 25th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #15
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Here are links to samples of the continuing problem. They are take at the same aperture of the standard ISO 12233 resolution chart, and are about 300KB each (at native 1440x1080).

My (good) FX1 displays some chromatic aberration (if you look at the corners the green is consistently closer to the centre of the picture than magenta). However with the troublesome Z1 the colour misalignment is much worse. Also it seems to me that the green is rotated clockwise (centred south-west of centre), as if the green CCD is out of position.

Here's the problem Z1 at 10mm f/5.6:
http://www.snapdrive.net/files/269864/10mm-f5.6-Z1.jpg

Compare it to my FX1 at the same settings:
http://www.snapdrive.net/files/269864/10mm-f5.6-FX1.jpg

The troublesome Z1 again, but at 54mm:
http://www.snapdrive.net/files/269864/54mm-f5.6-Z1.jpg

And again compare it to the FX1:
http://www.snapdrive.net/files/269864/54mm-f5.6-FX1.jpg
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