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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 12th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #1
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Just joined the club

Well after much soul searching I took the plunge today. Took a ride up the turnpike to B&H this morning and walked out some $5,000 poorer, but with a brand new HVR-Z1 in tow. Like everyone else who visits for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the whole B&H experience. I got there a couple minutes before opening and people were lined up around the block like it was opening night!

Anyway, I've hardly had time to do anything with the camera yet, but it certainly has most of the features I've always wished my PDX-10 and VX-2000 had. But it sure is big and heavy also. However, seeing it in the display next to the XL-2 made me feel a little better about that :-)

Although I'm looking forward to working with HDV eventually, the main reason I bought the Z1 is the requirement of working in PAL on a big project that's fast approaching.

So now I'm looking forward to getting into the game, instead of watching from the sidelines like I've been doing for the past few months!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 07:24 PM   #2
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Hey Boyd,

Let me be the first to say, Welcome to the HDV club !! And that is from a fellow PDX-10 owner.. I Think you will be very very pleased by this camera.. I am still quite in awe of some of the footage i am able to now capture..

Mike Moncrief
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Old June 12th, 2005, 08:20 PM   #3
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Welcome , friend.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 09:17 PM   #4
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Whew! Yeehaw, Boyd, that's the spirit. Are you keeping your PDX10?
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Old June 12th, 2005, 09:24 PM   #5
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Good question... Some of you may know that I'm headed to Argentina soon to do video projections for "Valkyrie". Well, that project looked like it might fall through due to a strike by the theatre employees, but this weekend we had word of an impending settlement.

I'm not doing anything with my old gear until I return in July. By then I'll see how comfortable I am with the Z1, and whether I want to sell the PDX-10 and VX-2000. The PDX-10 might work will with the Z1 in a DV environment however... then again it would be nice to get a few bucks to offset my recent investment :-)
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Old June 12th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #6
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Great Boyd -yea- it's big isn't it ? My advice is keep your pdx10 - a second , slightly inferior point of view is 1000x better than no point of view at all. On Argentina , that's a whole other ball game. Always keep it in tow, strapped or in a bag- the dirtier the better. Low profile , you won't be ,but if you're cautious , you can get back home with your camera. If you have it tripoded still be careful if you're alone. If you go thru customs and for whatever bad luck , it gets a customs agents' attention - be sure to have a copy of your receipt ( a far superior idea is to have a copy of a fake receipt for about half the price also on hand ), and try to play the mini dv consumer card. Do you speak spanish ? I wouldn't tell them it was for a paying gig. South American countries , in general , are very protective of foreign workers esp. carrying very beautiful and expensive objects , like hdv cameras. Be a rich amateur tourist . I've lived in latin america for 20 years in 3 different coutries ( never been to argentina) and they all have a similar aduana system based on the border guard grafting for the majority of their salary. So avoid customs agents and street thieves and have a great trip.
ps - my own thoughts on crossing the mexican border was this camera was one size too big to say it was just a typical video camera. I never had a fear before with my pd100 , but the z1 attracts attention much more so , than a pd150 , for example . Mexican aduana agents are now very hip to new technology. They have a collection of the most current macmall catalogs ( the truth ! ) Importation is big business. If you're inclined , there's probably a profit to be made . I'm sure the z1 is probably 50% higher there in price. Something to think about.
Have a good , safe trip and enjoy your new modern marvel- Kurth
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Old June 12th, 2005, 10:16 PM   #7
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Congrats Boyd!

I actually had a guy come up to me on the street in Buenos Aires and buy my digital camera right off my neck. Seems its hard to get any electronics gear there due to stiff taxes/restrictions.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #8
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Geez Kurth, now I'm getting paranoid ;-) I will have a work visa, and don't plan to walk around town with the camera. Any filming will be done at the Teatro Colon facilities. I'll also need it to dump video onto PAL tapes from my Powerbook. The rest of the time it will probably be locked in the hotel safe or somewhere comparable. And I'm gonna get insurance on it before I leave...
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Old June 13th, 2005, 08:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Good question... Some of you may know that I'm headed to Argentina soon to do video projections for "Valkyrie".

Uh, need any help?

:-)
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:31 AM   #10
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hi boyd: i always enjoy your ruminations on things dv-related. might i ask why you decided to take the HDV plunge the Z1 instead of holding out for the forthcoming HVR-A1U, with its more pdx-10-esque form factor and significantly less expensive price point? interested in your reasoning...

(my own reasoning usually amounts to a sort of buy-on-the-fly, impulsive, uncontrollable toy acquisition thingie followed by either twinges of buyer's remorse or the thrill of having hit on something really useful and good...it's quite random!)
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Old June 13th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #11
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sorry Boyd - I just tried to condense 30 yrs. experience traveling in latin america into a paragraph. The best thing is, you have it insured so you won't have to fight for your life trying to foil the getaway ...oops , there I go again .
Man , have a good trip. Will you get to leave "good airs" ? I think everyting really beautiful to see is down south. Maybe it's time for alittle sick leave payback time , eh ? Post some photos when you get back , if you're able.
Will you be projecting a live feed z1 image with fcs ?
.. and Tommy is right . You can sell both items there for a nice profit , come back and have another b&h day. I'd recommend backing up your PB , so you could sell it there. You could probably get close to what a new PB would cost here , even if it's 1 1/2 to 2 yrs. old. It's called tariffs and they're a b%$#ch . People in latin america earn 1/4 to 1/8 of what american earn and pay twice as much for " things ".
travel safe - Kurth
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Old June 13th, 2005, 01:00 PM   #12
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Be sure you get all your U.S. Customs forms filled out, stamped, and signed for all the equipment you're taking, with serial numbers, etc. And, it's a good idea to take a copy of your receipt so you can prove that you purchased it in the U.S. I've never had any trouble with customs in coutries I've traveled to, but I have had difficulty getting back into my own country with equipment, even when I've had all the paperwork done to perfection.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
hi boyd: i always enjoy your ruminations on things dv-related. might i ask why you decided to take the HDV plunge the Z1 instead of holding out for the forthcoming HVR-A1U
My logic really had nothing to do with those factors actually. Nobody is holding a gun to my head and saying I need HD :-) In an ideal world I would just wait another 6 months (or more) and watch some of the dust settle before buying anything.

But I do need PAL capability two weeks from now, so this was when I needed to buy and have time to get familiar with the equipment. Now I could have opted for a PAL DV camera (like a PDX-10, etc) but that doesn't get me too excited and I'd end up spending $2,000 on a rather specialized thing.

The Z1 is more expensive, but it gets me PAL, NTSC, native 16:9, nice manual controls and HDV as a bonus for future projects. It seemed more like an investment rather than just a solution to an immediate problem.

From what I've read, the A1 doesn't look too attractive. Let's assume that the single chip image quality is good, just for the sake of argument. The manual controls look very limited, it's a bottom loader, and I don't think it shoots PAL (could be wrong about that?). But most important, it isn't available yet. Even if it was, I wouldn't buy one right away before reading what other people think. At least I felt like I was aware of the weaknesses and strengths of the Z1.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #14
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Congratulations on the new camera, Boyd! Let's hope you can use it in Buenos Aires too and that your job happens.

In a way you did what I am planning to do: get myself a PDX10 now and an HDV later on, preferably the Z1. The X10 is small enough to take it with you everywhere and not call for any attention.

Kurt: if you have never been to Argentina you shouldn't provide such comments.

To start with the Z1 is not larger than a PD150/170, so you can take it through customs there with no problem. I just did, taking a 170 camera with me from Rio de Janeiro by plane, and entering through the same airport Boyd will get to. Such cameras are not considered professional, and shouldn't get any attention from them. A person not living in Argentina is entitled to carry a photo or video camera.

But just in case do not wear any fancy metal or plastic box for it, like a Halliburton or similar. As you should take this camera with you on the plane, then a smaller cushioned bag should do.

The place where you show your work visa and where customs is are also different, so that shouldn't be a problem either. Is there any place in US airports where you declare stuff you are taking out and coming back with? If there is such a thing, that paper they provide is proof enough that you are taking your camera back with you.

But IMO there shouldn't be a problem in any case.

I wouldn't try to sell such a camera there, because you can get into serious problems if you find the "wrong" people to deal with. Except if it's someone you get to know and trust: then go ahead. The case Tommy tells is probably about a digital photo camera, involving less money isn't it? But it's a very risky situation foreigners should avoid.

About dangerous situations shooting with your camera, that is very rare in Buenos Aires, except if you go to specific places, where people do not go. In fact it's one of the safest cities in Latin America, even if now not as flourishing as it once was.

Carlos
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Old June 13th, 2005, 07:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez
To start with the Z1 is not larger than a PD150/170
Actually I have to disagree with that... have you seen them side by side? It looks HUGE to my eyes. The photos of the Z1 by itself are deceptive since the style and proportions suggest a PD-170. But the Z1 is larger in all dimensions, and the lens shade is especially large. Actually I was thinking about removing the lens shade and putting a plastic cap on the UV filter, it looks a lot smaller that way :-)

Thanks for the reassurance though Carlos! Things are in a confused state down there as they try to readjust the schedule due to the recent strike. Hopefully I'll have some more info in the next two days.

BTW, I have a little news about the other project we've talked about... will drop you a note :-)
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