HDR-FX1 vs. Pro model 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 September 17th, 2004, 07:55 PM   #1
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HDR-FX1 vs. Pro model

From all my net research, it seems that the pro version of the FX1 is not likely to have Blue Ray recording or 24p progressive scan. What it will probably have is timecode out, XLR inputs, hi-rez viewfinder, DVCAM capability and additional firmware options.

The $7000 price tag has also been identified to a single, unconfirmed source. Given that the $3700 price of the FX1 looks as if it's meant to kill the DVX-100A, marketing tells us the "pro" version will be $5000...to kill the XL-2.

So as another post put it "speculation is the fun part," I say let the fun begin!
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Old September 17th, 2004, 10:17 PM   #2
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I would say the FX1 has already killed the hype of the XL-2. Pretty much all of my non-loving HD10/HD1 friends/videographers/DITs have stated they are now looking forward to the FX1 over the XL-2. This obviously isn't a scientific survey, but it blew me away.

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Old September 17th, 2004, 10:36 PM   #3
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I've never been a fan of Sony video cameras. In fact, when I owned my production company and had budgets of 25K to 50K for a single camera, I never bought a single Sony. I also am a long time Canon XL1/XL1s user and I can't say how under whelmed I am by the XL2. If Canon had released this camera at NAB in 2003, in answer to the DVX100, it would have been something. But for now, and for the first time, I'll anxiously await what Sony has to offer.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 11:04 PM   #4
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Wow, that's telling, Jeff. I am excited, too, but am waiting to purchase. I may just go for the pro version, while my producing partner may buy the JVC 24p (3 ccd).

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Old September 17th, 2004, 11:10 PM   #5
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Recently Sony has shoot itself in the foot on various products across it vast line of electronics. So I'm tempering my excitement and hoping Sony will bring a real winner to market.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:00 AM   #6
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Gee Jeff, I'm actually shocked to see that from you! I also am very anxious to see what Sony delivers, and will remain a little skeptical until we get some user feedback (as I would be with any product).

Regarding the XL-2, can you elaborate a little on your "underwhelm-ment?" Is it based on actual use of the camera, or just by the feature set and how it compares to the XL-1s? Were you hoping for an HDV camera? Or is it more related to the value for the price? From what I've read it sounds like the XL-2 is pretty nice, although a bit pricey. Competition seems likely to drive the price down before long though, don't you think?

Mike: you have an interesting perspective on the FX-1 pricing and you may very well be correct. Also note that it's priced very close to their own PD-170 (before rebate) which might imply they're targeting that market as well. I am very impressed with the way that this camera suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Nice job of keeping it under wraps on Sony's part, and the timing really did seem calculated to steal the XL-2's thunder. IIRC, Sony said to expect it sometime in 2005 after they showed the prototype last spring. I wonder if they moved the release date forward, or if this was an intentional "sucker punch?"
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Old September 18th, 2004, 02:28 PM   #7
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Man, if the pro version is 5K, thats what I will buy.
I was ready to upgrade from my vx2000 to the PD-170
until I heard of the audio issues. Then I heard of the possible HDV. Glad I waited!!

Dave
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Old September 18th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #8
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see my thread re: Canon and HDV in Canon XL2 forum

Folks, I attended the official Canadian launch of XL2 in Toronto this past week hosted for Canadian Videography VIPs by Joe Bogacz - see the post for more details.

I'll just summarize here by saying Joe (Assistant Director, Product Development and Support, Canon USA) took the old salesman initiative by opening his presentation by discussing the Sony HDV news head on before he even mentioned "XL2" for the first time. The first slide was simply "HDV" and that lasted for 10 minutes...

Canon is concerned, but not concerned enough YET to do anything. They are in a fix - the worst thing for Canon is that low-cost HDV (ie. consumer HDR-FX1) would deliver - Canon sees itself as a lens company and as long as high-end HD remains the defacto standard, they can make pricey high-end lenses. Canon's position is much like the that of OPEC oil barons who were afraid for a moment in the eighties that Cold Fusion/Hydrogen would potentially have made their oil reserves redundant...

Joe conceded privately that the "pro" FX1 was of more interest - they are wondering what kind of better lens might be on that camera vs. the "cheaper" model and that more than anything would dictate how Canon responds.

When I pressed Joe as to why Canon joined the consortium etc. but seemed so slow to come on board, his reply was that in their opinion the format wasn't refined enough yet to warrant a concerted effort. He did concede that they are working on HDV at the moment but it's early days yet.

He indirectly hinted that Canon's first offering in HDV would more likely be via the "low-end" fixed lens (ie. GL3 or whatever route) and here's why: Canon is a lens company first and foremost. Interchangeable lens XL style camcorders demand best lens possible. To make HDV version right now would mean including very expensive HD-calibre lens that would make cost of XL-HDV prohibitive. So the only way out is to go "cheap" and hope the cost of HD glass goes down once HDV becomes a "standard" in the industry.

A lot of people left the presentation early once the XL2 footage was starting to be shown - it did not win many over. Personally, I've achieved better results with Panasonic's new GS400 in cinelook mode - it too has native 16:9 but on 1/4.7" x 3 CCD but has very high effective pixel count. The XL2 is simply not much to write home about - there seems to be a narrow range of conditions under which it looks tremendous but out on "the street" under normal circumstances, it's not much better than before.

Cool feature of XL2 - direct capture via software/SDK out to a laptop via firewire in realtime including 24p modes so you don't even need tape if you're in a studio - just patch in to a computer. Sure, it's awkward, but so is shooting with Viper or Dalsa or CineAlta setup to hard-drives... it's much cheaper than going to firewire decks like... who am I thinking of? You know - those blocks that hook up to the XL2 - Fire-something... You know...

On a totally unrelated side note - I just got "Starsky and Hutch" Season 2 5-disc DVD set for my birthday yesterday - that show rocks and my wife got me the best birthday present ever.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 03:45 PM   #9
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i do not understand:
>>Cool feature of XL2 - direct capture via software/SDK out to a laptop via firewire in realtime<<

As far as i know all the DV camera i get since now can deliver directly the picture from the DV plug , there is nothing new here ?
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Old September 18th, 2004, 03:48 PM   #10
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tied in to SDK, you can do DV-Rack type stuff

So, Francois, what you can do is capture in directly via firewire and say apply digital effects/filters on the fly DV-Rack style.

Canon is pushing this as a big thing. I dunno. I kinda like shooting on tapes for portability and then capturing - it's not that hard to do...
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Old September 18th, 2004, 07:27 PM   #11
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A higher quality lens on the pro version would certainly justify the floated $7000 price tag. But that would certainly imply that the lens on the FX1 was somehow "inferior." As far as I know (and I don't know much, so please point out any factual errors) Sony's consumer 2100 and prosumer 150/170 shared the same glass. What they did do with the 170, I understand, was include a wide angle adapter. Again, I'm not really framilar with Sony's DV line, so if I've said anything incorrect, please feel free to set the record straight.

If they do offer a higher quality lens at $7k along with the other added features, it is still in line with the cost of an XL-2 with your choice of lens and the hi-rez viewfinder.

I am making the comparison to the Canon not for a HDV vs. DV argument, but for one at price point, where dollar for dollar (or euro for euro) which cam is going to give us the most bang for the buck in terms of pretty pictures regardless of the output format.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 08:11 PM   #12
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Re: tied in to SDK, you can do DV-Rack type stuff

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Kubat : So, Francois, what you can do is capture in directly via firewire -->>>

Yeah, this really isn't anything new. I have used an inexpensive shareware program called BTV Pro on my Powerbook connected to my camcorder by fireware. It can capture video directly to disk, display various video scopes, capture time lapse video and even serve as a production monitor in full screen mode.

I'm assuming that the SDK on the XL-2 gives you some additional control of the camera's menus and controls though.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
As far as I know (and I don't know much, so please point out any factual errors) Sony's consumer 2100 and prosumer 150/170 shared the same glass. What they did do with the 170, I understand, was include a wide angle adapter. Again, I'm not really framilar with Sony's DV line, so if I've said anything incorrect, please feel free to set the record straight.
There were numerous changes from the VX2000 to the PD150, including the addition of DVCAM recording mode, a B&W viewfinder, XLR audio connectors, the ability to control gain regardless of the aperture setting, and the ability to individually control the level of each audio channel.

As I understand, there are similar caliber differences between the VX2100 and the PD170, but in the PD170 you also get a wide-angle lens included.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 10:47 PM   #14
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The more I hear, the more it seems my opinion about Canon's attitude bears fruit. Which is a shame really because they have the potential to knock the socks off this level of the market, but refuse to do so.

I am also perplexed by the comment about having to provide such a high quality HDV glass on interchangeable lens systems so that it will probably appear on cameras like the "GL3" first. Is this so they can release a "sub par" lens for that type of camera and people will be happy? Wasn't the flourite one on the Gl2 sharper than the Xl1s stock one? Other manufacturers who make fixed lens *pro* cameras (DVX, PD150) etc put good glass on those too (Within an obvious budget) but they don't cripple them just cause they're a fixed lens camera - that's all those company's make so they need to make them good. What makes it even more strange, is that that Canon person stated that Canon is a lens company and that could hold them off. OK, I understand that means they might eat into their pro HD market, but really if anyone was going to be able to make a good lens with good definition for a good cost, it would be Canon you'd think.

It also seems to me that anyone who follows the DV market would have to be a moron to not know that HDV cameras are going to start coming to market very soon. And on top of that, know that regardless of whether the image quality stands up to the quality of DV (Not res, but other things like motion artifacts, editability etc that people talk about) that people are going to jump on it cause it's the next "big thing" and High Definition is a bit of a buzz word at the moment.

It's going to be an interesting year anyway - now if I can make my Xm2 hold out that long, I should have some sweet pickings in that time!

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Old September 18th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #15
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I'm neither pro or con on the XL2 or the new Sony. Their all tools of the trade. But it seems to me that of course Canon would come out and say this stuff about lens, etc. They want to sell the XL2.

But I agree Canon could have taken over the market, I've said it before they have no high end cameras so they wouldn't have lost money on $25,000, $35,000 and $65,000 cameras.

They could have made the XL2 HDV or we'd be wiling to pay a little more for a XL3 HD. If they did the would have blown everyone out of the water. So to bad some hot shot Canon VP isn't reading this and if he is tell your bosses they could have made a bundle.

Come boys take a gamble for once in your lives.
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