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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 February 20th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #1
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Waiting for the Z2

Over the last month I have read a lot about the FX1/Z1. A lot of good things have been said about them. Nevertheless I think it is to early to switch to HDV. If one spends over 5000 euro one may expect to get a cam which is able to get well footage on action. For instance a basketball game is out of the question at the moment. Guys we have have to wait till the FX2/Z2, like the jump Sony made from the VX1000 to the VX2000. Hopefully it will be around next year around this time.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: Waiting for the Z2

<<<-- Originally posted by Hans ter Lingen : For instance a basketball game is out of the question at the moment. -->>>

why is this out of the question - can you explain it more preciselly?

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Old February 20th, 2005, 10:10 AM   #3
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I doubt Sony would give only a 1 year product life to the FX1/Z1 series cameras.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 10:18 AM   #4
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It's gonna be a long wait...

I'd suspect that Sony will bring out a "bug-fix" to the Z1/FX1 on about 12-18 months, and a Z2 in about 24 - 36 months. They may well release a full-size HDV camera with additional specs sooner, but not in the same form-factor as the Z1.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 10:29 AM   #5
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I also don't think sony will release a new model soon. They made a gigantic leap with this one, now they'll just wait and see what the competition will do. Remember they released the vx2000 five years after the vx1000 ('95 - '00). Until the new pana comes (we'll have to see what that one can deliver), the fx1/z1 is the best low-cost HD-solution.

Also I think the problems with the action shots is less apparent than some posts claim. Sure, if you review this from a technical point of view, you know there will have to be a rez drop due to GOP compression. On the other hand, it's almost undetectable unless you make a whip-pan, and even then is the eye much less aware of resolution because your seeing motion blur anyway (unless you put shutter to 1/10000).

Bottom line is, you can read all you can on forums and reviews and marketing pages, what really matters is what you think of it looking at it (from a proper display). You say you have read a lot; have you already seen (moving) fx1/z1-footage on a HD-display? Compare footage from this camera and others (xl2 - dvx100a) in a pro video store and make your decision from there. It's really easy to keep reading and reading reviews but in the end you'll just have to see it. Good luck!

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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #6
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Guys i am not even so critical in footage as you all are but sharp, smooth footage without artifacts even my wife can detect when fast panning shooting action is the minimum what you can demand from a camcorder. Else I just buy a didgital still cam.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:14 PM   #7
 
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Hans, the camera HAS smooth, sharp footage, as much as any film cam is going to have. You can't do a high speed pan with a 35MM cam either. The compression format CAN create a problem, but if you know your tool, then it's not a problem, it's a feature.
I don't care what tool we're discussing, whether it's saws, motorcycles, or caster wheels, if you know the limitations of that tool, you'll be a much better user of the tool.
HDCam, HDCam SR, Varicam, BetaSP, all have their limitations.
Just don't expect to shoot racecars while sitting in one and trying to whip pan at 200 mph. Otherwise, you'll be fine.
If this cam can provide great footage in a helicopter moving 60 mph and bouncing up and down, it's gonna work fine for you, too.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #8
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The biggest change going from the VX1000 to the VX2000, was low-light capability. The VX1000 had notoriously poor low-light function. The Z1/FX1 already have excellent low-light capability(perhaps not quite as good as the VX2000, but certainly FAR better than the VX1000). So I guess what I'm saying is you shouldn't expect the same difference in picture quality in the next version of this cam. Jump in, the water's fine!

As for the basketball game being "out of the question", huh? My friend has the FX1 too and shot his son's basketball game in a rather dimly lit school gymnasium. The result was utterly stunning. We both said this could have been on ESPN HD, it was that good. You really should try to see this camera in action.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #9
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I have seen some stills of the footage of a basket ball game and I could not even read the name on the shirt!!!! Maybe the guy did not know yet how to operate the fx1. So what you are saying is that it is suitable for sports events but also the kids playing around even at fairly low lighting conditions????
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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #10
 
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Hans, rather than reading BS parroted by anti-HDV folks, go shoot the camera. Even if it's just in the camera store. Asking questions along these lines is shooting ducks in the dark, you'll never be satisfied with the answers you get until you see the footage for yourself. I've posted all sorts of footage on our site, there is all sorts of difficult and challenging footage, but until you see the EXACT THING you've got in your mind's eye, you'll not have the answer you want. Go find it. Others here have, they've chased it down.

I can't answer why the footage was unreadable. Maybe he didn't know the cam, maybe it was downsampled badly, maybe his editor did a bad job with it, maybe the kid was simply lightning fast, maybe he parked his cursor on the wrong frame. There are a hundred reasons why it could have looked bad, and the only one answer is for you to have controlled the situation and worked with the cam yourself.
Obviously, the hundreds of owners of this cam can't be so wrong, right?
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Old February 20th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #11
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Where I live the Z1 is not available yet and the fx1 is not in stock anymore so I can not do a test in the store. So maybe you guys can do a simple test for me. I want to know if it is possible to make a 180 degrees panning shot starting from left (focus infinity) and going to the right (again focus infinity) in 2 seconds. In between (thus at 90 degrees) the focus point should be about 10 m. Do you get a footage with no artifacts and in focus direct out of the Fx1/Z1 (so no conversions) on to a plasma screen or HD monitor????
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Old February 20th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #12
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Sorry, but a 180 degree pan in two seconds would be a worthless shot with any camera in my opinion. Except for so-called "swish pans" that are made blurry on purpose. Also I know of no auto-focus camcorder lens in this price range that can update itself this quickly.

You could, however, pre-set a series of focus points (from infinity to 10m back to infinity) with the Z1.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 05:46 PM   #13
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Chris : Youare right that it is not a shot you will use a lot but it is to see how good the cam is. So what can I expect from this cam on this point?
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Old February 20th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #14
 
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1. Not even the F900 could do a 2 second, 180 degree pan.
2. Even if it could, it would look terrible on delivery, which is MPEG in *most* situations. (broadcast or DVD delivery)
3. IF you could get a good pan at that speed, there is no way you'd be able to tell if it were artifacted or not because of the blur that would accompany the pan.

There is a plethora of footage downloadable from the web. There are reasonably fast pans on the VASST site. I've also shot extremely high speed motion with the cam at the Eddie, which is the largest and allegedly fastest surfing competition in the world. You can download that yourself from the VASST site.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #15
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In April I plan on strapping my Z1 onto my Durango and a couple race cars when my car club has it's next lapping day. I broke my car so I can't try it on that one, but I hope to get some beautiful shots. I'll try to post some shots of that.
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