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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 April 25th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #1
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Which camera to purchase?

Hello, I was wondering if I could get some feedback on which camera would work best for me. I'm going on a long trip across the country and would like to do a lot of filming along the way. The video will hopefully be used in a narrative film that will look back into my life as it was years ago. I don't have much experience with cameras and need something that has a good auto focus and doesn't take a pro to use. I'll be filming indoor and outdoor shoots with different light levels and also be filming myself in some of the scenes. I hope to use some of this video in a film years later down the road. I've been looking at the Sony Fx1, HV1U and tha Canon XH A1. I guess I'm hoping to have a film look with getting some magic out of the cameras auto focus.
Please let me know if there is someone out there that might have a recommendation on which camera will suit my needs.

Thanks for your time,
Brian
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Old April 25th, 2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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I'll put in a vote for the FX1. It makes great pictures in full auto and still has plenty of manual controls you can use as you get more comfortable with it. And it's the most economical choice of the three.

But the other two have longer zooms if you need that. The V1 (and its now-discontinued little brother the FX7) has nearly twice the effective focal length of the FX1 at the tele end.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #3
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While the other 2 cameras are very good. I have to agree with Adam on the FX1. It will have everything to suit your needs as well as being more user friendly and better in low light.

While the FX1 doesn't have the fastest or best auto focus, it is good, and while it runs very good in auto you will have more than enough manual features to satisfy your needs for years to come.

The A1 will probably be too much camera for you. And while the V1 is great in good lighting, you may not be as happy with it low light due to the smaller CMOS sensors.

Although I would recommend at least picking up an on camera light for those low light situations, where the camera will stink either in auto (which it will most likely really suffer) or manual.

Overall though, in order to get the best out of your video, you should learn how to use the basic manual features of the camera (iris, f-stop, shutter speed, manual focus). No camera, photo or video, will give you optimal pictures in every condition on full auto.

God knows I wish it did, as it would make all of our lives easier.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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General questions

I was wondering if the xlr inputs on the V1U is a better way to go for using a wireless mic setup? Also, are the FX1 and HV1U similar in the way the auto focus operates? Do you know if there is someone who I might be able to pay for consulting with me on the differences of these two cameras? I really appreciate your taking the time to reply to my post.

Sincerely, Brian
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian L. Reynolds View Post
I was wondering if the xlr inputs on the V1U is a better way to go for using a wireless mic setup? Also, are the FX1 and HV1U similar in the way the auto focus operates? Do you know if there is someone who I might be able to pay for consulting with me on the differences of these two cameras? I really appreciate your taking the time to reply to my post.

Sincerely, Brian
Brian the V1 and FX1 are similar with how the auto focus will work. Sony's Auto Focus isn't as good as Canon's, but that is normal.

It will be good enough for most of your needs. The problem you will have with always running in Auto Focus, is that there will be times when your camera is going to hunt (especially in low light). So your image will be in focus and then your camera might try to focus on something else, this blurring what you really want to shoot. This is normal with any Auto Focus on any camera. this is why it's good to run in manual focus. Or even (while in Manual focus) push the "Push Auto" button on the side of the camera and let the camera auto focus on a subject. then fine tune a bit if desired.
This way your focus is locked and won't hunt.

As for XLR and wireless this is a different avenue to take. XLR's are great but not necessarily needed for wireless audio. You can simply run a XLR to 1/8 cable into the FX1's mic port and get wireless audio (but you will lose use of the mic.) and only have one channel input (but it will split dual mono to both your left and right tracks).

You can use an XLR adapter like that from Beachtek or Juicedlink to plug into your cameras 1/8 mic inputs and have the ability to use XLR connectivity as well as have separate channel level control.

Keep in ind though that as soon as you plug in a mic or wireless unit into your camera then you lose teh ability of the onbaord mic.

http://beachtek.com/prod.html

http://juicedlink.com/index_files/CX...dio_mixers.htm

I use an XLR box on both my FX1's with no issues at all. Keep in mind though that this will add to your cameras size and weight.

The V1U as I said is a very good camera with the same if not better control than the FX1. But it will suffer more in lower light than the FX1 will. But if you have an on camera light, then it won't make a difference either way.

BTW, I believe that both cameras come with a DVD showing you how to operate the camera. If not then there are plenty of good ones around for not much money.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #6
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I think Michael's got it exactly right, but I will note that I've had great luck with the FX1 autofocus. Shooting night soccer games, with field lighting but low enough light levels that the cam was on 6-9 dB gain, the autofocus stayed crisp nearly continuously. I was actually impressed given all I'd heard about how it would pale in comparison to my old VX2000.

Brian, when you say HV1U, you do mean the Sony HVR-V1U, right? Just want to make sure we're talking about the same cam...

I have both the FX1 and FX7 (basically the consumer version of the V1) and here's my take on how they compare:

Things I like about FX1:
wider at wide end
better low light (marginally)
Larger/more substantial/feels sturdier
placement of LCD

Things I like about FX7/V1:
Longer at tele end -- much
lighter to carry around
continuous data display in LCD even when in auto
HDMI out

If both FXes were available and around the same price (which they used to be) I'd say it's a wash and you could safely pick either, depending upon your anticipated needs. But with the FX7 gone and only the more expensive V1 available with the nearly identical form factor and same feature set (and then some) I'd say the FX1 is probably the best value for you.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #7
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Thanks,

I wanted to thank you guys for helping me decide on a camera...I decided to purchase the FX1. I think the advice about the low level lighting is really key for what I'm going to be doing. If you have any suggestions on lenses I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks again,

Brian
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