Adam Wilt reviews the Z1 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 June 3rd, 2005, 08:38 PM   #1
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Adam Wilt reviews the Z1

Just got the July issue of DV Magazine and it features a 6 page review of the Z1 by Adam Wilt. They give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Wilt explains that he bought an FX1 last year, and then says "I am somewhat chagrined to find that the Z1 fully justifies its higher purchase price" He says his favorite upgrades over the FX1 are the All Scan Viewfinder, black stretch mode, color correction controls and the ability to totally declutter the viewfinder.

His review of the image is pretty much the same as his earlier FX1 review. He's disappointed by the relatively low horizontal resolution which he says causes "noticeable horizontal aliasing on fine vertical detail," which is also a gripe he has with the PD-170.

One interesting thing I hadn't read elsewhere is the difference between the Z1E and Z1U. He says that composite and s-video from a Z1U won't display the proper coloers on a PAL TV set, but the component output does not have this limitation.

He says the Z1 is 1.5 to 2 f-stops slower than the PD-150. He also said "The Z1's SD pictures are as sharp as those from an XL2 or DVX100, albeit with slightly more horizontal aliasing, and much more finely detailed than pix from the PD-150."

All together it's an interesting read. Wilt is not a huge HDV fan evidently. He concludes by saying that the new Panasonic and JVC cameras are going to duke it out for low budget filmakers "dream cams," but the Z1 sets the standard for low cost interlaced HD while also producing great SD footage.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 08:41 PM   #2
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Haven't seen this yet, so your report is much appreciated, Boyd! Gracias,
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Old June 4th, 2005, 01:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
One interesting thing I hadn't read elsewhere is the difference between the Z1E and Z1U. He says that composite and s-video from a Z1U won't display the proper coloers on a PAL TV set, but the component output does not have this limitation.
That's only the case if you leave the Z1U in 60i mode. If so, then 50i/PAL material will be played at 50Hz, but with NTSC colors, which is not very pretty. However, once you switch Z1U to 50i mode, all the 50i/PAL stuff will be played with normal PAL colors, also the 60i/NTSC stuff will be played with PAL color, which is my favourite way to watch NTSC through composite or S-Video. To me NTSC looks much better when played as PAL60. Especially the sharpness is greatly improved if played through the composite output. And of course the reds and blues are much more juicy and lifelike.

I have the Z1U and also a couple of PAL/SECAM/NTSC4.43/NTSC3.58 capable TV sets, so what I said above is true.

The only bug I've found in Z1U is when you switch to 50i mode the manual says that the clock will switch to 24-hour system. Unfortunately it does not, it still shows AM and PM everywhere :(
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Old June 4th, 2005, 01:45 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruslan Odintsov
That's only the case if you leave the Z1U in 60i mode. If so, then 50i/PAL material will be played at 50Hz, but with NTSC colors, which is not very pretty. However, once you switch Z1U to 50i mode, all the 50i/PAL stuff will be played with normal PAL colors, also the 60i/NTSC stuff will be played with PAL color, which is my favourite way to watch NTSC through composite or S-Video. To me NTSC looks much better when played as PAL60. Especially the sharpness is greatly improved if played through the composite output. And of course the reds and blues are much more juicy and lifelike.
(
This would only be relevant to SD. There is no "pal" or "ntsc" in HDland. It's just 50i or 60i. Colorspace is identical.
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Old June 4th, 2005, 07:30 AM   #5
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Well I have no way of knowing whether or not this is true, but the exact quote from the review is
Quote:
...the color modulation used for the Y/C and composite outputs is standard-specific -- there's a Z1U for NTSC countries and a Z1E for PAL -- so you won't be able to play 50 Hz tapes on a PAL-only television and see the proper colors if you use a Z1U. However the component outputs have no such limits; if you plan on using a Z1U for playback abroad, carry the component cable...
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Old June 4th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #6
 
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The above statement would be correct, since the Y/C and Composite can't carry the HD signal. That's something the article should have additionally pointed out, or knowing Adam, it probably was pointed out and an over zealous editor removed it from the article.
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Old June 4th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #7
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Just to be double-sure, I tried recording material shot in 50i on Z1U (while the camera is still in 50i mode) through composite output to my regular consumer Sony PAL VHS VCR. As expected, the result is the perfect PAL VHS recording (well, as perfect as VHS can go), with no change in colors or any other abnormal thing. The TV's "color system" recall button also displays PAL. So, Adam is not right, Z1U is capable of true PAL output trough composite and S-Video, when switched to 50i mode.

DSE, yes I also know that when output from component there's no difference for PAL/NTSC, except for the frame rate. It's just that let's say you have a small multi-system monitor that only accepts composite or S-Video, then you'll get much better pictures if you display NTSC as PAL60.
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Old June 4th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #8
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Does this mean that the color encorder switches from NTSC (3.58 SC freq) in 60i mode to PAL(4.43 SC freq +swinging burst+ V switching...) when tehcan is set to 50i.I doubt... Or is yr multistandard TV(decoder) just showing a decoded 50i NTSC 4.43 signal (yr PAL indicator could be just activated on the 4.43. SC presence...)
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Old June 4th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre De Clercq
Does this mean that the color encorder switches from NTSC (3.58 SC freq) in 60i mode to PAL(4.43 SC freq +swinging burst+ V switching...) when tehcan is set to 50i.I doubt... Or is yr multistandard TV(decoder) just showing a decoded 50i NTSC 4.43 signal (yr PAL indicator could be just activated on the 4.43. SC presence...)
Of course it switches from NTSC 3.58 in 60i mode to PAL 4.43 in 50i mode. Why wouldn't it? If a $100 multi-system VCR or many sub-$100 multi-region DVD players can do this type of switching, why would you think that a $5k camera couldn't?

Yes, it's real PAL, it says it's real through TV's system status display, it records real onto PAL VCR, it looks like real PAL to my eyes (where I can spot a real PAL instantly on my bedroom multi-system TV without even hitting the system button, after having that TV for several years).

Z1U outputs the real PAL in 50i mode, without any kicks or tricks. But it's got to be switched to 50i mode.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 03:58 AM   #10
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Of course a double color encoding system is not the issue. CCD readout and layout dual line system(525/625) compatibility is less evident. And b.t.w. why is this "important" double color standard spec not mentioned by the manufacturer.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 09:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Just got the July issue of DV Magazine and it features a 6 page review of the Z1 by Adam Wilt. They give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
By the way. The review has been posted on the dv.com site so anyone can read full article now if still waiting for the hard copy (like me).

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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #12
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The 1080 vertical pixel count could indeed result in 480 and 576 horizontal lines/frame avoiding the CCD readout problem, but this doesnt mean that the 50Hz output is a Pal encoded signal. A multistandard color decoder chip can perfectly decode a 50i signal containing 3.58 NTSC chroma modulation.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre De Clercq
The 1080 vertical pixel count could indeed result in 480 and 576 horizontal lines/frame avoiding the CCD readout problem, but this doesnt mean that the 50Hz output is a Pal encoded signal. A multistandard color decoder chip can perfectly decode a 50i signal containing 3.58 NTSC chroma modulation.
I'm sorry Andre, but it is a real PAL output. For another proof, my Canopus ADVC-100 box only understands real PAL or real NTSC, it cannot accept PAL60 or NTSC50 in color when converting from analog Composite/S-Video inputs to DV. With Z1U's PAL output it get's it perfectly. I'm sorry, but it is a real PAL output without NTSC color frequency, when in 50i mode. And of course in 60i mode you will get NTSC50 when viewing PAL/50i material.
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Old June 6th, 2005, 03:17 AM   #14
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Ruslan, thx for the extra info I am "almost" convinced that you are right and Wilt is wrong...I am not familiar with the Canopus products, but keep in mind that multistandard decoder chips are cheaper these days than the single standard versions and many convertors have them inplemented. Final proof would be the picture (straight from the camcoder) on a composite/YC connected monostandard TV/monitor, or a vectorsope analysis.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #15
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So has anyone confirmed Ruslan's comments?

I would be really interested to know whether or not a Z1U will play back PAL on a PAL set correctly using either composite or component connections.
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