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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 19th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #1
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New Info about the Pro Version!

I went to the Southwest Communications Expo today (Phoenix) hoping that Sony had added the FX-1 to the "HD Truck Tour".

No such luck. The camera was not there. The sales staff that I initially talked to barely knew the camera existed, but I did have a VERY interesting discussion with a Sony engineer. He was very excited about the Pro version, having recently showed it at the Government Video Expo. He spilled the following, some of which I have not heard anywhere else:

- The pro version is 50i / 60i switchable.
- It has no time delay from the iLink output.
- The iLink output converts HDV to DV. Shoot HD if you want to, you can still post in DV. I don't know if this is live downconvert while shooting, but I'm thinking maybe so.
- He said Vegas "already supports" the camera. I thought there was an update needed first. I didn't ask further.
- The pro camera will use "larger CCDs" than the FX-1. This will provide a wider field of view, shallower depth of field and higher quality than the consumer version. This came as a huge surprise to me, as Sony has typically used identical CCDs in the consumer/pro cams.
- The camera will have TRUE progressive scan, at 25p and 24p (!!!). I was very specific about this point, and asked if the implementation was similar to the Panasonic DVX-100. He said "yes, very similar". The CCDs are timed at 24p, then write the signal using a 2:3:3:2 pulldown to 60i. You will be able to reconstruct full 1080, 24p frames in post.
- Expect the announcement in November, and shipping by late Feb., early March at "about $6000".
- Sony will have a big showing at Sundance in Jan., and will be bringing a digital cinema projector to demonstrate the camera to the indie filmaking community.

I can't wait to see all the goodies that Sony has put into this remarkable machine. I had always hoped this camera would do for indie film and HD what the VX-1000 did for SD video. It looks like that dream is inching closer to reality.

I've heard about "40+" differences between the 2 cams. Could we make a laundry list of "confirmed" features that justify the higher price? I'm already sold - what about you folks?
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Old October 19th, 2004, 09:46 PM   #2
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I hope that is true. However, I am very sceptical.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:13 PM   #3
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I knew I had heard them say 25p and 24p at the demo I caught at GV Expo. Thought I was losing my mind. Thanks for confirming this, Scott, although I guess we'll have to wait for it to be "official."
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #4
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I also hope this is all true - especially the larger CCDs.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:29 PM   #5
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The hair is standing up on the back of my neck...that's all I can say right now.

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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:40 PM   #6
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Holy Crap....

And I just bought a DVX... may have to buy this as well!
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:56 PM   #7
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I know what you mean! I'm seriously re-thinking my DVC30 plans, even though this is much more than twice the price and I don't even have an HDTV. D'oh!
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Old October 20th, 2004, 12:17 AM   #8
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if this is true, it makes sense and there will be no looking back for Sony...

Ohmigosh, 24p?

Well, considering Sony developed it for CineAlta in the first place, why not?

About time - since Panny brought it to the masses first - and Sony did put true 24p on some 1-chip cam this past summer, no?

If the CCD is better and true 24p, then definitely I'm holding off on FX1 consumer version and will wait for pro Z1 next spring - it will be worth the wait... with XLRs and switchable between 50/60i, all of a sudden $6K is sounding like a deal...

Okay, this is starting to make more sense now - but let's wait for the official news!

I wonder if Sony will wait to officially announce Z1 specs until AFTER FX1 has hit the market to "suck us in" so to speak...?

I figure it will be awhile before PC HDV plugins easily supporting the format will be ready anyway... there will probably be some bugs, etc. that hopefully will be resolved in a few months - so maybe holding off and waiting for Pro version next spring is prudent - should have a sense by then too how much I'll have to upgrade my computer hardware for efficient HDV workflow...

Gosh, more waiting.

Well, looks like I'll have to switch to Tai Chi TWICE a day now...

Ah, but this is EXCITING - must sound crazy, but I think about shooting with this new format every night before I go to sleep - WOW!
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Old October 20th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #9
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"moratorium" on new 3-CCD mini-dv cam purchases till next spring?

So, like if you were about to buy an XL2 and you got wind of this FX1, you're thinking "Okay, I'll wait till Nov. and then decide - I'll see if this HDV stuff is worth it"

but now potentially, many savvy cam buyers will wait it out for pro version, especially if CCD and 24p rumours are true...

so Canon must be going nuts thinking that people are waiting 5-6 months to make some sort of purchase that is not Canon...

Hmmm. Big price reduction in XL2 NOW might convince some people who are eager to shoot sooner rather than later to maybe not wait till next spring for "pro-HDV"????

I'd love to track mini-dv cam sales from now till next spring among prosumers/videographers to see if everyone is going to "wait-and-see."

It will be interesting too to watch for XL2's on ebay... that goes for DVX100's, too, I suppose...

Sony last year sponsored some big stuff at Sundance - I think they in part arranged for Ben Affleck to show up and I think they sponsored Alanis Morrissette's performance night...

I had heard last week from a producer I know who's dealing with Sony that there would be big news on the broadcast horizon for Sundance - it's all starting to add up.

Wow, Sony buying Sonic Foundry last year and now responsible for Vegas NLE on the PC side... Vegas already supports 1080i HDV editing and just needs revised capture utility to get it into the computer... Latest versions since Sony took over are so much better, more refined - I'd take Vegas over Premiere/Avid any time...

Is this some sort of master plan to take over the world?
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Old October 20th, 2004, 03:02 AM   #10
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Re: "moratorium" on new 3-CCD mini-dv cam purchases till next spring?

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Kubat :

I'd love to track mini-dv cam sales from now till next spring among prosumers/videographers to see if everyone is going to "wait-and-see."

-->>>

I really dont think its going to do much to sales, you read a few magazines here in Australia and XL2 is the best thing since sliced bread as recommended by supposed pros here.

Remember not every person in the world sits in the dvinfo forums to listen to the lastest rumours and untill its official the 24p feature will remain just that, a rumour. You dont know if the sony guy got a little confused with the cineframe mode :). But hey it was enough for me to wait till next year ;)
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Old October 20th, 2004, 03:12 AM   #11
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Re: if this is true, it makes sense and there will be no looking back for Sony...

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Kubat : - and Sony did put true 24p on some 1-chip cam this past summer, no?
No. They put a 24P "simulation" on that cam. No true 24P from Sony on any product under $35,000.
Quote:
If the CCD is better and true 24p
I've been wrong several times in the past, but that won't stop me from speaking out again...

There is almost NO chance this is true. I mean, think about it: a larger CCD would require a different focal length lens. We've already seen brochures and mockups of the "pro" version, and it has the same lens.

Also, someone posted a link to an official Sony brochure that shows the pro model -- it talked about XLR's and other features not on the FX1, and there was not a mention of larger CCD's, nor was there any mention of progressive scan.
Quote:
You dont know if the sony guy got a little confused with the cineframe mode :).
I think Tre's right, probably confusing it with CineFrame.

Before anyone gets me wrong, let me say that I will be the first guy in America to buy the pro version. I'd love for the rumors to be true, 'cause my money's already going to the cam, and that would just make it a bonus. But I cannot FATHOM how this rumor could be true. It makes no sense, given what we've seen from Sony themselves (on the printed brochure). The lens issue alone invalidates the idea of it having larger CCD's. I guess progressive-scan is a possibility, but if so, that almost definitely means that the hardware would be in the FX1 and they just intentionally crippled it (like the original Intel 486SX processor).

Sure it's fun to talk about, but seriously, there's no way it can be true.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 04:30 AM   #12
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Thanks again Barry, I guess we'll all know more over time.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 05:55 AM   #13
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speculation from Industry insiders that HVR-Z1 DOES have different lens...

Well, these recent points raised by Barry seem to temper things a bit...

but I should mention that at the Canadian XL2 launch last month, no less than Canon's Joe Bogascz (Assisant Manager, Product Development, Canon USA - sorry if I don't have his full title correct) speculated privately after the formal presentation that Canon was watching with interest not so much the FX1 but the pro Z1 - "It will be interesting to see what lens they end up putting on their pro version of HDV" - indicating that Canon had some pretty good info that the differences between Sony's two flavours would be significant to justify the price differential.

Hmmm.... Chris, can you get on the fast-track to DSE since he attended the second HVR-Z1 preview at Govt. Expo - maybe he can weigh in on this here and settle this - Chris, you yourself said you thought they said true 24p? Did Spot hear the same?
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Old October 20th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #14
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I think the larger CCD issue is misleading. The lens will resolve 1440 x 1080 using the offset green CCD. By using true 1440 x 1080 CCDs rather than 960 x 1080, the camera would not require new glass.

I think this is also where the "P" argument comes from. We already know the CCD block on the FX1 cannot produce progressive images, otherwise Sony would have included the feature. But if the pro version is in fact using different chips, there is at least the possibility of 24p and 30p.

If true, this goes a long way to justify the $6000 price quoted above, although I remain skeptical as Sony seems to have a deep corporate commitment to interlaced video throughout thier product line. I also remain confident that many functions done in-camera, including "looks," film or not, is best left to post.

After waiting for the XL-2, I can wait a little longer for the Z1. I don't want to, but it seems patience, along with a weaker liver, has come with age.
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Old October 20th, 2004, 06:24 AM   #15
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<< Chris, can you get on the fast-track to DSE >>

I sure can... because I'm having dinner with him tonight!

;-)

The "larger CCD" thing probably refers to a higher pixel count, not a physically larger size? Maybe.
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