FX-1 first impressions 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 October 8th, 2004, 08:01 AM   #1
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FX-1 first impressions

My Five cents
=========

I have been at a Sony pressconference, where I had the posibillity to handle the PAL FX1 consumer model for 10 min, while a Sony Rep breathed Lava down my neck.

I have mailed Chris Hurd the comparison between PD170 and the pro FX-1 and the consumer FX 1, and I expect him to make this info public, as I have no posibillity myself to host it.

First Impressions.
----------------------
It handles like a sumo-PD170. Has a little JVC-300 feeling over it, in a positive way. Very nice handling and weight distribution. Better left hand handling than XL1, as the Iriswheel and focus- zoom rings feels very natural. The comming shouldepad will make this even better.
Good zoom, but focus ring is free spinning. Sony says focus is also programmable, so you could program focus, Wb, and other picture parameters and assign them to one of the user buttons. And "fade" between two set ups - af form of follow focus, with wb and more thrown in.I did not test this statement.
Nice WF, and good monitor screeen. Position problematic in connection with assessory shue. First open screen and then mount lights etc.
Very good information system in WF. Nice focus and peaking functions.
Monitored output on a 60" plasma. Outstanding, repeat outstanding! Pana + Canon go home, this is the dreammachine! Sony rep states it is a preproduction sample and they are still tweaking quality. DOF is hovever DV-like.

Other facts
--------------
Sony expect to sell more than 10.000 in the next 6 months in Europe. Production is being ramped up due to excessive demand. "We are being swamped with orders" - "There will be more than one feature film in Europe using FX1 in the near future"
There will no be a 1080p model, as this is not part of the HDV spec.


Less than 99% confirmed facts
---------------------------------------
Two more units - a PC350-like and a DSR-250-like units are in the pipeline. Unknown if PC350 unit will have 3 ccds.
PD-170 will get a refresh if demand is high enough. Else it will slowly fade out. May be used i a pricewar with Pana and Canon.
Same goes for PDX-10. There will not be a HC-1000 in prof. edition. Sony wants a consumer line (sd), a serious consumer(HDV), a low end pro (HDV) and a pro line (HD)
BBC is talking to Sony, with regard to FX1.



My notes from my PDA - Hopefully you can decrypt them
----------------------------
Non-perpetuating Zoom Ring - Arri-like-ish
Definitive zoom position control - nice feel
Smoother, More delicate control that PD170

Selectable Zoom Control - can use ring or the two zoom-controls

Large 16:9 Viewfinder 0.54-inch (16:9)
Approx. 250K dots (1120 x 225 dots)
B/W & Colour selectable - proff. model only
Simultaneous use of LCD & VF - proff model only
Enlarging of Viewfinder for easier focusing (x2)
Make focusing easier for high resolution of HD images
The center of the screen is magnified twice when the magnified focus button is pressed
Valid on LCD & Viewfinder


Peaking or Zebra in wiewfinder, but not at the same time.
Zebra [70] to [100] Appears in areas within 5%
Ex. [70] : 65-75%
[100+] Appears in areas of over 100%

Peaking is not very pronounced in consumermodels viewfinder. Sony states function is far better i b/W-mode.
Large Eye Cup

Built-in Stereo Microphone
Wide range microphone - Reduction of wind noise & mechanical noise
Audio XLR Inputs - proff model only.
Separate Audio Volume (2ch) - prof model only
Direct adjustment (Menu control on DSR-PD170)

50/60 Hz (PAL/NTSC) Switchable - 1080i60/1080i50/576i50/480i60 - DV/DVCAM (only prof-model - there will be two consumer models one NTSC one PAL)

The light entering the lens can be adjusted by rotating the new Iris Dial
F1.6 to F11 (24 steps)
Dial turn direction can be changed on the menu

Three positions (H / M / L)
Pre-assignable by various values
0 / 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 15 / 18 dB
Default : H (18dB) / M (9dB) / L (0dB)


2 shooting conditions can be stored to Memory A and B by using the one-push white balance button
WB Preset : 3 sets of preset values on the menu is assigned to a preset button
OUTDOOR 5800K
INTDOOR 3200K
MANUAL 3200K 7500K


Status Check
The status of each setting can be immediately checked without going into the menu
- Audio status
- Output status
- Assign Button status
- Picture Profile status

Personal Menu
Faster menu access is possible by pre-setting the menu items which are frequently used by the user

Battery Info
Battery level & Possible shooting time are displayed on LCD panel by pressing the Battery Info button - Even with power-off

Making a Film-like Picture
- Cineframe 25 An effect to appreciate a 25 frame/sec style like a film - PAL model only (NTSC???)

- Cinematone Gamma - Gamma curve meant to create a film-like picture

HDV-plugin to Premiere in 2004, bur first in Vegas 2005??!? Sony states that more marketing muscle will be used to promote Vegas, as product is important to HDV strategy. i to proc. is supposed to be done in post.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 08:50 AM   #2
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Hey wow, great post with excellent information!

Can you confirm a ship date on the "Pro" version? That's probably what we all want to now more than anything...when will we get to hold this thing.

Murph
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #3
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Re: FX-1 first impressions

<<<-- Originally posted by Jos Svendsen :
50/60 Hz (PAL/NTSC) Switchable - 1080i60/1080i50/576i50/480i60 - DV/DVCAM
-->>>

Does this mean that both pro and consumer model are switchable between PAL and NTSC? I read at another place that only pro will be switchable.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #4
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Regarding Vegas and marketing strategy, I got a Sony catelog the other day and noticed that they are promoting CineForm's Connect HD as an accelerator "of HD video within Sony Vegas editing software." It's listed in their "references and resources" section of the catalog.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:15 AM   #5
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The sony rep mentioned january, but also stated that they are trying to get production-logistics right, as they claimed to be swamped with orders for FX-1.

I take this as "Pro date may slip, as we fulfill FX-1 orders"

He mentioned, that they are very very interested in getting as many units out as soon as possible, as they really want to block competetitors.

Here he mentioned Panasonic and JVC - I asked about Canon. He replied " I hope they have a good margin on XL2" He stated earlier, that PD-170 is regarded as cannonfodder (it may be a joke) in a pricewar on high end SD.

And he mentioned that the FX-1 pricepoint was the mid pricepoint in their HDV strategy.

All this gives me the impression that Sony sort of accepts that they have lost the SD 24P battle to Panasonic, and wants to do Blitzkreig on HDV, where JVC is being out CCD-ed and Canon will discover that that they are swamped to the gills in Sony HDV's before they can respond.

10,000 units in Europe in the next 6 months - and probably more in the US. That is a lot! And this makes it very difficult for the competetion to get a hold.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:16 AM   #6
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I'll second Cieonatechori's question about the consumer switching between NTSC and PAL.

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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:18 AM   #7
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Only the pro model will be able to switch between PAL and NTSC. There will be the usual two consumer models.

rgds
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:21 AM   #8
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With regards to Vegas, the problems lies in capturing a HDV MPEG-2 stream. Vegas can edit HD today, but it can not capture HDV. Sony have to rewrite the capture module in order to do that.

I have no information on bundled sw with either of the models.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:23 AM   #9
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FYI, to edit HDV in Vegas, one can use CineForm's Aspect HD.

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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #10
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<<<<<<<All this gives me the impression that Sony sort of accepts that they have lost the SD 24P battle to Panasonic, and wants to do Blitzkreig on HDV, where JVC is being out CCD-ed and Canon will discover that that they are swamped to the gills in Sony HDV's before they can respond.
10,000 units in Europe in the next 6 months - and probably more in the US. That is a lot! And this makes it very difficult for the competetion to get a hold.>>>>>>>




Don't you just love a free market place. Competition is a beautiful thing.

Jos.... Excellent write up. Thank you! I wish more people did this who have seen the camera.

Did you say you sent Chris material to host. What did you send? Side by side shots done at the show?

Michael Pappas
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:08 PM   #11
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Heath McKnight!


Have you ever captured HD from your camera from the component out to a capture card like a Kona 2, so that you get a 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 file right from the beginning in your NLE sw?
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:11 PM   #12
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I only use FireWire. Talk to Darren Kelly about the Kona HD card.

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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:11 PM   #13
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Hi

Well - I feel that I get som much from the nice and very wise people in these forums, that I am delighted to have the posibillity to give somthing back.

I've sendt Chris a 5 page powerpoint presentation with a very good overview of the diffrencies between PD170/FX-1 pro/FX1- consumer + an overview of whats included in the box + an overview of planned extras - WA converter, shoulder pad, nice bag etc etc.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:16 PM   #14
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Heath!

Have you uploaded any production footage from your work in HD to any site. Just curious......
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Old October 8th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #15
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I will be putting up a link to my film, Release Me, when the movie is done (10 months and counting, sorry) and the website goes live.

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