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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 28th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #1
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Advice on a Sony HVR-Z1P HDV 1080i

Guys,

I am looking to hire a Sony HVR-Z1P HDV 1080i Professional Camcorder, and would like advice on whether I should proceed or just rely on my smaller Sony DCR-PC110E handycam.

Purpose:

- I am in a football team and we are competing at an annual 4 day event
- I would like to film some of our football matches via a tripod and also film off-field footage
- I would like to connect the camera to a plasma TV each evening to review the match footage with the team
- At the completion of the tournament I will use the footage to compile a short doco for the players to keep. The match filming will be shared around the team. One challenge with my current Sony Sony DCR-PC110E handycam (itís approx 10 years old now) is the zoom is very touchy and this setting cannot be changed unfortunately.

Questions:

- For the purpose outlined above what would your recommendation be? To hire the Sony Z1P or just use a handycam? Or the few hundred dollars I am spending on the hiring of the Z1P should I put this toward purchasing a new handycam that would do a good enough job?
- Is it a large unit and not that easy to move around with?
- As there will be a different people sharing the filming over the 4 days, is this unit rather complicated to use, or for the purposes outlined above only a few features would be needed, so it should be easy enough to use by all?
- Should I avoid using the Mini DV Cassette tapes on LP as opposed to SP? Will this impact quality?
- I assume with the wide lense we will be able to capture more of the football match as opposed to the smaller handycam? The advantage will be less movement of the camera trying to pick up the play - I am hoping.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Anthony
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Old January 28th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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Well, the Z1's HD and the PC110 isn't so no contest there. The Z1 will appear roughly six times sharper.

But your other concerns are well-founded. The Z1 is a big professional beast, built like a tank, and possibly daunting and somewhat complicated for the novice. You can leave it on full auto, even at night, and get stunning pictures, but don't even think about hand holding. You must use a tripod or monopod at all times to get steady footage.

Shooting tape in LP mode increases the chance of a dropout and not all cams will play this back properly if you don't have access to the Z1 in the future. Image quality in and of itself would be unaffected.

Shooting with your lens wide will result in very unappealing footage. You need to get close. But if you are just trying to capture the flow of the action and not have anything that's actually dramatic or entertaining, I suppose it's okay.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; January 28th, 2010 at 09:45 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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Adam thanks for the valuable feedback.

In regards to hand holding what about for off-field action filming... I was looking to get this footage for the doco I want to put together....eg. someone filming will be walking around perhaps interviewing the players, back at the hotel, around the pool, on the team bus, etc. Obviously a handycam would be better suited for that however if I am going to get the camera for the onfield action I would like to use it to get a consistant picture on the final doco (as opposed to using two cameras and different qualities).

i was recommended the Sony HVR-Z1P HDV 1080i however there are a number of others I could rent instead (I guess more modern smaller unit may be more expensive so that could become a factor):

SONY HVRZ5P 3CMOS CAMCORDER
Sony HVRS270P SHOULDERMOUNT INTERCHANGEABLE HDV CAMERA
Sony HVRZ7P PRO INTERCHANGEABLE HDV CAMCORDER
Sony HVRV1P HDV 1080i CMOS Camcorder
Sony HVRA1P HDV 1080i Compact Camcorder


Once again many thanks for your assistance.

Anthony
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Old January 28th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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Remember, the smaller a unit is, the less stable it is to handhold, even it the weight isn't an issue. The Z1 is both heavy and small, so your wrist will probably tire quickly.

The S270 has the best form factor but it's a huge beast, and expensive. You could look at the HD1000, which has a similar form factor but is really a consumer Handycam in a big package, and isn't great in low light.

A "Poor Man's Steadicam" is often simply attaching a small monopod to the cam and holding the top of the monopod, thereby lowering the whole assembly's center of gravity. Never hold the cam itself; the monopod could pull the socket out of the bottom of the cam.

This is all really important because there's not too much that screams "amateur" more than crappy shaky handheld video.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 01:55 AM   #5
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Adam,

Maybe I on the wrong track with the larger models I was suggesting above.

What about something like a SONY CX520 - apparently it has good three way stabilization, would this sound like something more appropriate. I guess my main goal is get good footage of the matches, not affected by poor zooming - I will use a tripod regardless of the camera. The off-field filming I could restrict to a handycam.

Thanks again.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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At a certain point it just becomes a matter of personal preference. The CX is a fine little cam with good OIS, and should do pretty well in low-light if that's an issue. It won't have a lot of manual control but it sounds like you won't need much. If the smaller size and simpler form mean more people will use it to shoot more decent video, then there's no downside.

For sports I like the FX7/V1 for its longer zoom. I couldn't shoot soccer without it.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 05:56 AM   #7
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Thanks

Adam - Last post I promise!

Okay today I went to a video rental store and was recommended the Sony HVR V1P HDV 3CMOS Camcorder. It was very light and small (to my surprise) and I was told this would do the job I was after. There is also a wide angle conversion lens I can use with the camera.

There was the Sony DSRPD170P DVCam for slighter cheaper, but this was SD and for the little extra the HD version above sounded a better option.

Sound like I am on the right track?
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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I have two FX7s, which are the consumer cousin of the V1, and I love them for sports because of their really long tele lenses. The only caveat is they aren't great in low light if you are doing night shooting (or in poorly-lit hallways or team bus).

But yeah, they're great.

I would avoid the PD170 like the plague.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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That's a pretty strong comment against the PD170. Why?
If one feels they need HD or widescreen then go with a cam that offers that.
But, other than the shorter zoom range and native 4.3 format I'm wondering why you would say "avoid the PD170 like the plague"?
I own a Z1U and have a pretty good idea of how good it is. Also own a PD170 and, not only do I find it very reliable but it's historically known to have a reputation as a solid proven workhorse. Other than the reasons I originally stated and that the 170 might need a wideangle adaptor for the kind of job being discussed here I find the statement a bit puzzling.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 12:27 AM   #10
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"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

"...other than the shorter zoom range and native 4.3 format," no reason. That's enough for me. The horrible widescreen mode on this cam and its brethren moved me to HDV and I haven't looked back. It was a great cam in its day, but 360 lines of DV on a 1080 screen looks about as good as B&W VHS. The Z5 is now every bit as good in low light, which was the only reason to continue using the old workhorse.

And unless it was an anamorphic widescreen adapter, a wideangle add-on lens wouldn't change the aspect ratio and thus wouldn't help the widescreen issue.

But that's just me.
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