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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 May 12th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #1
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how is the sony HVR-z1 in low light

anybody out there with experience with this camera please let me know.

I'm thinking about purchasing a few with the vtr's but i film hunting show's which are mainly filmed at dusk and dawn so i need a camera that performs real well at that time, any info greatly appreciated. Ineed a camera to perform good in low light

torrrey
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Old May 12th, 2005, 11:42 AM   #2
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Low light not what you'd expect if...

you have shot with most every prosumer miniDV camera (VX2x00, Canon XLxx GLx) and a few 1/2" chip pro cams (Panansonic JVC) and the Z1 that I own underperforms all of them at full open with 0 gain. It is very slow at that setting. The good thing though is that its gain is less noticeable (this is somewhat less accurate on a full resolution monitor) then any of the other cameras. you can gain up to 15 or 18db and it's not unusable. the 36db hyper gain is super noisy, but at normal levels it's really not that bad. Overall the light gathering is a few full stops less than the VX2100 / PD170 which is about the best, but the gain is usable which helps out a lot. Overall I would say that if you are pushing it, for your purpose with one of the two i just mentioned then you will be disappointed by trying to use the Z1 cuz it will just be too dark.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #3
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I own a Sony PD170 and a Sony Z1. The Sony PD170 is supposed to be the best low light performing camera. However, I would say that the Z1 is still a very good camera in low light. Put the camera in 12 db, black strech on, and voila' , you have a better picture than a Sony PD170. The gain in the Z1 is much better than the PD170. Much better. Need morel light, go to 1/30 shutter speed, and the camera would be even better in low light. Even at 18 db the grain in the Z1 is acceptable. In the PD170, 18 db looks bad.

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Originally Posted by Justin McAleece
you have shot with most every prosumer miniDV camera (VX2x00, Canon XLxx GLx) and a few 1/2" chip pro cams (Panansonic JVC) and the Z1 that I own underperforms all of them at full open with 0 gain. It is very slow at that setting. The good thing though is that its gain is less noticeable (this is somewhat less accurate on a full resolution monitor) then any of the other cameras. you can gain up to 15 or 18db and it's not unusable. the 36db hyper gain is super noisy, but at normal levels it's really not that bad. Overall the light gathering is a few full stops less than the VX2100 / PD170 which is about the best, but the gain is usable which helps out a lot. Overall I would say that if you are pushing it, for your purpose with one of the two i just mentioned then you will be disappointed by trying to use the Z1 cuz it will just be too dark.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #4
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Have to disagree about the gain looking good. I was very displeased with even 6db gain relative to 0. However, if you white balance properly, instead of using a preset, your low light sensitvity improves dramatically.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 04:29 PM   #5
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My experienced is the same as Augusto.
Peter, can you explain to me how a manual white balance at 3000K or 2800K or 3400K or something close will improves dramatically low light sensitivity compare to the preset 3200K?
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Old May 13th, 2005, 05:14 AM   #6
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The low light capability is good, but lens becomes F2.8 at extreme telephoto, means at that setting low light performance becomes about 3x worse. Is typical for this class of cameras/lenses.

0 gain setting is about equal to minus several dB of other cameras. At 12 dB gain, where other cameras show significant noise, this camera's picture quite clean.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #7
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I have an FX1 but I am sure the low light performance is much the same as Z1. I agree with all who have said that gain up to 12db results in very clean picture. My comparison is with DVX100 which has close to unusable gain above 0 db and when this is taken into consideration the FX1 is far more usable. As a guide DVX100 at 6db is like the FX1 at 15 or 18db. For my "home" video automatic shoot which will result in gain to 18db is still very acceptable as a family video. For more serious shoots 12db is about the limit and I use 6 and 9 db a lot to give me max depth of field.

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Old May 13th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #8
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In my many years in this business, shooting with different cameras and formats, I never heard of that trick? Was it a typo or something ????????

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Originally Posted by Peter Moore
0. However, if you white balance properly, instead of using a preset, your low light sensitvity improves dramatically.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #9
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My guess is that to the eye the black areas will seemed "stretched" with a more blue white balance therefore giving the impression of better low light but not actual more light pickup.
I recently used a 1/30 shutter speed at a wedding in lowlight without any gain and there was a lot of noise when I tried to bring up the shadow and mid levels using Prem Pro 1.5 color correction. Also there are a lot of artifacts when panning using the 1/30 shutter speed so be careful there.

If you used a VX2000 before the low light is going seem much worse with the FX1. If used a Canon XL series it will probably not seem a huge a difference. The sony VX series (the later models) have better low capability than just about anything else out there. I think it will take a while for the HDV chips and lenses to catch up in that area.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 03:10 PM   #10
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I still think the Z1 is better than any VX or PD150, 170 in low light.

The things is that most people dont know how to use the Z1 in low light. The Black Stretch should be on and gain even at 18 db is much more usable than what the PD170 delivers. I own both plus a couple of other bigger cameras and to me the Z1 ins better in low light than the whasout look you get in low light with the PD170, supposedly the best low light camera. But not really.

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Originally Posted by Jeff Baker
I think it will take a while for the HDV chips and lenses to catch up in that area.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #11
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sorry I meant "washed out look"
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:21 AM   #12
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Take a look at these images for low light comparisons between the Z1 and PD170.
http://excaliburvideoproductions.com...%20dsr250.html
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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:12 AM   #13
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I was shooting under stage lights, so that might have something to do with it, but all I know is that one of the cameras was not white balanced properly while the other one was and the one that was white balanced properly had amazingly good detail in the low light while the other one just looked dark and red. Both cameras had the same exposure settings (auto-iris, 0-gain).
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:44 AM   #14
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Peter is correct. The chroma level is reduced via manually white balancing the camera which results in what appears to be higher resolution and lower light capability. The fact that the chroma tends to smear when not properly white balanced creates the illusion of bad light levels----especially the red colors.

Lou Bruno


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moore
I was shooting under stage lights, so that might have something to do with it, but all I know is that one of the cameras was not white balanced properly while the other one was and the one that was white balanced properly had amazingly good detail in the low light while the other one just looked dark and red. Both cameras had the same exposure settings (auto-iris, 0-gain).
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:53 AM   #15
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Is this something that can be fixed in post?
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