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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 June 8th, 2008, 08:36 AM   #1
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Low Light

I have a Canon A1 and am not happy with its low-light capability. I am use to the PD-170, which makes dark scenes look brighter than they really are.

Would the FX1 be a better choice? How does its low-light performance compare to the PD-170 or PD-150?
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Old June 8th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #2
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I have a Z1 and a VX-2000. I'd say the Z1 is around 2 f-stops slower than the VX. However, you have a very clean gain boost on the Z1 so its more difficult to compare. I shoot HDV of our opera performances, and some of them are really dark. I often need to use +12dB gain on the Z1. I use in-camera downconversion to SD when I capture, and still find the image acceptable with the 12dB boost. At 9dB it would be pretty hard to spot in downconverted footage. I even use 15dB boost sometimes, and considering how dark the stage is, I think it looks pretty good.

Under these conditions, for a SD final product, there's probably not a whole lot of difference from the VX-2000. But that camera has a really noisy gain boost and you probably wouldn't want to go beyond 3dB as I recall (don't use it much these days). I gather that the PD-170 and VX-2100 have a cleaner gain boost.

Other things which help are turning on black stretch, not using cinematone and setting the shutter at 1/30 or 1/25 (PAL). I haven't used an A1 so I can't really comment on the difference in low light situations there. However I think you will find a number of other threads if you search this forum for "low light".
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