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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 January 7th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #1
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FX1/ZX1 DV Rec Mode

Hi All,

I havent used any HDV unit as such. I wish to know how good the quality of FX1 camera in DV Only mode recording is when comparared to DV only recording of PD150 camera.

I am considering buying one FX1 unit but majorly for DV/DVCA< mode recording pirpose and that too for 16:9 mode recording i feel it shall be better than cropped image of PD150 as FX1 boasts of native 16:9 CCDs.

I look for all suggesting or alternatives.

Thx.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 02:01 PM   #2
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According to all the reports I've seen, the FX-1 will be much less sensitive in a low light situation than the PD-150 or 170. I would certainly expect it to do better quality 16:9 however. The FX-1 doesn't record in DVCAM mode.

If your main interest is DV 16:9 and light sensitivity isn't a big issue then you might also consider the Sony PDX-10. It should be similar in low light, maybe 1 stop slower. But the price is considerably less, currently around $1,800 at B&H. It has XLR inputs with phantom power, DVCAM recording, BW viewfinder and shoots true 16:9.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #3
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I shot some material in a BBC Studio before Christmas side by side with our studio cameras. I used HDV and DV (16:9). We were all very impressed with what the FX1 can do. Like many people, I'm more concerned with the DV side at the moment, since that's going to be bread and butter today, whereas HDV may be jam tomorrow.
The images were very good indeed and compared very well with the studio output. However, I was fighting for light. If I shot wide open and stayed on wide shots it was fine. The minute I tried to get tighter shots, ramping by the lens lost me a stop or more. I ended up using 9db of gain. Since the camera produces really clean images, I didn't find that the extra gain had caused any image degradation.
If I was only concerned with 4:3 picture acquisition, I wouldn't even consider this camera - the PD170 will be much better, but 16:9 is the norm here, so I'll probably go with the FX1 (still waiting to see the Z1 though...)

Robin
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Old January 7th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #4
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Well is there any diff in fx1 or zx1 !!!
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Cheers !
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Old January 8th, 2005, 03:17 AM   #5
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Not in pictures - there shouldn't be anyway, other than actual image control - it's just how important iis it to me to be able to switch formats (PAL/NTSC etc)

Robin
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Old January 8th, 2005, 03:37 AM   #6
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Thans Robin for the views. I saw the PX10 but after using DV200 & GY5000 Pdx10 is definately of not my types. I still desire to go for a FX/ZX 1 PAL 16:9 DV only mode i wish to replace PD150 with this ... my shoot incorporate Corporate Videos, lives shows & events and I do use Battery lighs so low light is not any issue to me what I am primarily concerned of is the issue of shooting native 16:9 with greater quality then PDs.

Lets see wats future got in stock for us all !!!
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Old January 8th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #7
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I just got an FX1. I have a PD-150 and a PDX10 for 16x9 which was the only serious choice for a while. I shot scenics all day yesterday and the footage is AMAZING. Even waterfalls and rapids, I can see no visible break up of the image. I just don't understand what others are seeing. I shot the bottom of a waterfall where the water is just churning like crazy, played it back in slo-mo and it just looks great. I've only been able to look at the footage using the in camera downconversion to DV via firewire and even in that form it is a tick better than the PDX10 in 16x9. Also the zoom is the smoothest and slowest of any prosumer camera I've yet used. The zoom on the PDX10 is nearly unusable it is so finicky. Also if you set it to say you have a 4x3 TV it letterboxes the footage in CAMERA. This will save me a ton of render time as I used to have to do this in the EDL to show clients without a 16x9 TV what the stuff looks like.

As for the low light capabilities, here is my take. It isn't great, about the same as the PDX10 (I haven't fully tested this yet) BUT, BUT, BUT it is GREAT looking in 9db! Better than the PDX10, far, far less grainy then that cam in 9db. So I don't think that is as big an issue as it's being made out to be. DVX100 users are scared to go to gain, I've used one and I know why, but with this camera 9db is just about grain free, it's very very clean.

I played the raw tape I shot using the downconversion to firewire and went directly into a JVC set top DVD recorder via the firewire, recorded at XP speed (roughly 9mb) and it looks awesome on my TV.

I'm very happy with this camera and I haven't even seen any of the footage in HD yet! I see little to no reason to ever shoot in DV mode using this when the downconversion is so clean. (Unless you want 4x3) That way you have the original in HDV to boot.
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Old January 8th, 2005, 05:51 PM   #8
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Thanks Paul,
You've confirmed my take of using a little gain if need be - the camera will handle it really well, whereas a lesser cameera would be throwing out noise everywhere!

Robin
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Old January 9th, 2005, 08:22 AM   #9
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Paul: thanks a lot for the comparison between the FX-1 and PDX-10. This pretty much confirms what I suspected, but it's nice to hear from somebody who is familiar with both cameras.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 10:22 AM   #10
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I agree with Paul on the low light performance of the FX1. I have had mine since early December. I shoot in theatre environment dance etc. There has been a lot of comments about how FX1 is not as good as DVX100 in low light. I rent DVX100 and AGDVC200 before I got my FX1 so know them quite well in this same light situation. As Paul has said the DVX100 is not usable with any gain really above 0db. My suspiscion is that there is already a lot of gain applied so that it will compete with the VX2000/PD150 etc. At 6db the DVX100 is just not usable and is very similar to my VX3 Hi8 in quality. IF one compares cameras purely on the numbers then one will be missled. It is the usable quality that really matters and in that regard the FX1 can definately be used at 9 db bringing it more in line with the others and certainly the DVX100. Over Christmas I used my FX1 for family party records etc on full auto HDV. The data code on playback showed wide open and 18db and the image though with some grain was excellent shown on my Sony HiScan 1080i TV.

Ron Evans
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Old January 9th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #11
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Boyd,

It was your comments and comparisons on your website that lead me to purchase the PDX10! That camera has more than paid for itself becuase I needed true 16x9. I can tell you the FX1 is a pleasure to use compared to the PDX10...some other points, the LCD is quite a bit sharper on the FX1 and in true 16x9 ratio. There are more choices for tweeking the image, it's lens is much wider than the PDX10 when zoomed out, the steadyshot has three different levels
and I sure love the shot transition buttons! You can program in perfect rack focuses and zooms, all with feather starts and stops and variable transitions rates from 2 sec. to 15!

Biggest plus of all when compared to the PDX-10 is NO VERTICAL SMEAR! That was the flaw I had the most trouble with.

Oh yeah....did I even mention it's HD too :)

The audio is a drawback but I can get a beachtek and work with it, as I do scenic/nature videos it isn't a big deal right now...

Since I feel I owe you one Boyd, I could send you the DVD I dubbed from the downconversion in camera...just e-mail me with an address!

Paul
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Old January 10th, 2005, 02:06 AM   #12
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Interesting point I'd not heard spoken out loud before - that the DVX100A is in permanent 'gain up' mode even when it displays 0dB, simply to compete with the Sony's at the same price. It would certainly help explain the graininess of the image at times, that the technical specification tends to cover up.

Glad you've found the vertical smear problem's gone away Paul, but at what cost in size, weight and cost. That's the thing about the PDX10 - in the auto mode it's a fine little camera - but once you start to twiddle those dials you find that you can actually make things worse. But look at the image quality in 16:9 auto mode - startlingly good for the tiny size and low weight.

Does anyone know if the PDX10 is still in production? The TRV950 has long since died, so has the PDX survived the chop?

tom.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Frederick: As for the low light capabilities, here is my take. It isn't great, about the same as the PDX10 (I haven't fully tested this yet) BUT, BUT, BUT it is GREAT looking in 9db! Better than the PDX10, far, far less grainy then that cam in 9db. -->>>

Well, pdx10 has 1/4.7" ccd's, so you can't really expect low light sensivity from it...

Btw, has anybody compared fx1's video noise levels with straight component output compared same image from tape or fw?

Is it the mpeg compression that smoothes the grain or just noiseless signal from camera?
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