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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 July 15th, 2005, 08:25 PM   #31
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Haha, very funny :-) But I do agree, having PAL and NTSC in a single package is terrific. From time to time people ask whether they should shoot PAL instead of NTSC because of the frame rate and increased resolution. The current wisdom is always that you'll be making things harder for yourself in the NTSC world if you get a PAL camera. Well, now you don't need to make that choice. Scott Billups says in Digital Moviemaking
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For someone who has a good practical understanding of the technologies involved, PAL is a no-brainer; but for someone starting out, the best NTSC system you can get your hands on is probably going to serve you well. The important thing to keep in mind is that with NTSC, you're starting out with a significant handicap
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Old July 16th, 2005, 04:40 AM   #32
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I'll contact you

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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
Jeremy do you do weddings around Johannesburg?

I live in the states but my wife is from S.A. We are having another wedding in S.A. this December and I have been really trying to find somebody there that can shoot HD. It is even better that you have two HD cameras. I know Cape Town is a long distance from Johannesburg.

Please send me an e-mail so we can talk about it.
watch for the mail - let me know when you get it
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Old July 16th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #33
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I seem to have stired the pot a bit since my first post of "8 things to consider...." so some responses to other responses! And a 9th reason at the end of this too.

Re low light - again I say whichever way you look at it when you are forced into having to shoot at +18db on the Z1, on the PD170 you would only be shooting at +6 - that is a two stop difference!

Re comparison with other Sony cameras PDX10/PD150/170. Shooting in HDV, downconverting and just using DV will still give far better quality than any of the DV cameras. I just can't see any reason you would buy a straight DV camera anymore, unless of course you do a lot of very low light shoots where the PD170 may be the better choice for you.

Boyd I was curious about your comment re shooting at a lower shutter speed, you said ..."And if you're shooting DVCAM instead of HDV then you can set the shutter at 1/25 (PAL) or 1/30 (NTSC) and gain another stop with no apparent resolution loss because of the oversampled CCD's.only if you were shooting DVCAM". Didn't quite see your reasoning here as you can also still use those lower shutter speeds when shooting HDV too.

David, as Augusto says you can pull the plastic cover down from the audio controls for better access.

Many of you don't seem to have the problem with the positioning of the Iris button that I do (my main 'shooting' gripe with the camera) as it seems most of you seem to shoot mainly on a tripod. Have just been looking at pictures of the new Panasonic HVX200 on their web site and am pleased to see the Iris button in a far more accessable place, and right next to the focus controls too. As far as I know all other cameras have the Iris button in a prominent position and for very good reason - in many shooting situations it's the one control you are almost constantly changing as you move through different lighting conditions.

Can't see the HVX being very useful for doco shoots as the 4G memory card (about $1,800) only holds 8 mins of HD and the camera only records DV to tape. Looks to be excellent in many other respects though.

By the way here's the 9th reason to consider if buying a Z1. It doesn't have Syncro-Scan (!!) which the DVX100 and DVC30 both have, which makes shooting computer monitors a total pain (unless LCDs) and means you usually have to go down to 6fps to get a half reasonable picture. Get with it Sony!

Cheers, Tony W
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:12 AM   #34
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Quote:
Boyd I was curious about your comment re shooting at a lower shutter speed
Didn't quite see your reasoning here as you can also still use those lower shutter speeds when shooting HDV too.
When you shoot at less than 1/60 (1/50 PAL)most cameras just use field doubling and write the same data to both the odd and even field. This theoretically cuts vertical resolution in half. You can clearly see this on my PDX-10 and VX-2000 for example (in practice it's really not half resolution, because in normal shooting mode the cameras do some averaging of vertical lines to prevent flicker so you never really attain the full 480 lines).

But on the FX1 and Z1 the native image is something like 960 pixels high, and in DV mode it's processed such that you get the full 480 lines at 1/30 shutter speed. This is something which Adam Wilt also pointed out in his review of the camera.

You don't really have this advantage in HDV mode however. Sure, you can shoot at 1/30 sec exposure but you will be halving your vertical resolution.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Wilson
I seem to have stired the pot a bit since my first post of "8 things to consider...." so some responses to other responses! And a 9th reason at the end of this too.

By the way here's the 9th reason to consider if buying a Z1. It doesn't have Syncro-Scan (!!) which the DVX100 and DVC30 both have, which makes shooting computer monitors a total pain (unless LCDs) and means you usually have to go down to 6fps to get a half reasonable picture. Get with it Sony!

Cheers, Tony W
Tony, why did you but the camera in the first place!

Its been said before and will probably be said a thousand times more - avail yourself with all the information and make your own informed decision.

There are many of us who have bought these cameras and are getting great results from it - and its paying for the wife's shopping sprees!

Not intended to flame, I just get a bit miffed when someone wants to knock the cameras - there just isn't anything else available in this price range. These are not Cinealtas or Varicams - they are plain ol prosumer and lower end proffesional cams.

The same type of postings were done before they were even released! This won't work... that wouldn't be acceptable... this ring should be there blah blah blah.

Live with the camera - else flog it!

Yes, other maunfacturers have now had the prime opportunity to read all these posts and try and improve on their designs - BUT THE SONY WAS FIRST!

Just my .02 - and don't shoot me for being fiercely loyal when it comes to my bread and butter

Cheers
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Last edited by Jeremy Rochefort; July 16th, 2005 at 09:54 AM.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 09:31 AM   #36
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Why criticize so much camera when is nothing even remotely as good at this price range, and Sony now brought price of this image quality further down with HC1, which sells for 1,800 USD. Guy who started thread and hates the Sony camera he owns, he should sell it, get one he like, maybe JVC HD1, which is true progressive, works great on sunny days at noontime, is brand that he maybe trusts and admires. To each his own. Why whine? Do it! Get the JVC!

Radek
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Old July 16th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #37
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No offense guys, but I am one who loves to read feedback, both good AND bad feedback, after people spend several thousand dollars on a product. I think Tony's point was not just to "whine," but inform us.

It's always good to get feedback from real users to balance out the marketing we hear about "every camera being right for us."

If you don't want to read the negatives, you can always just stop reading this thread.

Kevin
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wild
No offense guys, but I am one who loves to read feedback, both good AND bad feedback, after people spend several thousand dollars on a product. I think Tony's point was not just to "whine," but inform us.

It's always good to get feedback from real users to balance out the marketing we hear about "every camera being right for us."

If you don't want to read the negatives, you can always just stop reading this thread.

Kevin
I have no problem with negatives, but its when the negatives like
Quote:
- if you are thinking about getting a new camera - WAIT
come along, thats when I jump to the camera's defense.

Should a user wish to air his opinion about the negative of a product, then by all means - just do it in a context which is within the boundaries of keeping it objective and not discouraging the purchase thereof - and no, I don't work for Sony or any of its dealers or affiliates!

I read many, many 100's of posts on the cameras, both positive and negative, BEFORE I went and purchased the camera (FX1). After using it for a while, I most certainly took cognicence of any negative comments and balancing those with my own experience, balanced that against for what my needs were and then went and bought a Z1 as well.

Every single customer of mine, big and small, are amazed as to the quality of the delivered product I have given them (and here I refer to quality of footage). They have no clue as to what the positives and negatives are - all they want is a good end result.

The kind of work that I do (for the corporates) does not allow me the luxury of experimenting - I have to deliver!

Anyhow, I thinks thats the end of my rants.

Cheers
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:47 AM   #39
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Like Kevin I really welcome a range of comments from experienced users - especially when they use the gear as I intend to. Tony Wilson uses the Z1 as I would, so his comments are very welcome - although I know that certain problems he has with it wont be as big a deal for me.

Like Jeremy, I think the Z1 is an amazing device, and like to read well thought-out and unemotional criticism. It seems to me that one can pretty quickly sense the level of passion or detachment in posts - and the longer the post, the easier it is to work out. You then attribute greater or lesser value to the comments, but it's always better to have more commentators than fewer.

When I walk into a showroom, or hire a device before buying - I want to be aware of every conceivable limitation, especially at a time when Sony, JVC, and Panasonic each have such distinct takes on low-budget HD cameras, each with their very strong and very weak points.

Keep the comments coming!

Nigel
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Old July 16th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #40
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1/30 Shutter Speed and resolution loss with Z1/FX-1

Correct me if I am wrong. But I thought that the advantage of shooting on 1/30 shutter speed and retaining most of the resolution was only -repeat, ONLY- if you shoot on HDV mode and then downconvert to SD mode. That's when you do not lose resolution in SD.

BUT if you were to originate on SD mode with the FX-1 or Z1 shooting on 1/30 shutter speed, the loss in resolution would be the same as if you were to shoot with any other DV camera. I am not quite clear now on this now. Boyd, If you are sure about this, please, clarify. Or anyone who knows about this, it would be important to know for sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
But on the FX1 and Z1 the native image is something like 960 pixels high, and in DV mode it's processed such that you get the full 480 lines at 1/30 shutter speed. This is something which Adam Wilt also pointed out in his review of the camera.

You don't really have this advantage in HDV mode however. Sure, you can shoot at 1/30 sec exposure but you will be halving your vertical resolution.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
When you shoot at less than 1/60 (1/50 PAL)most cameras just use field doubling and write the same data to both the odd and even field. This theoretically cuts vertical resolution in half.
Boyd, I can confirm the opposite from my own FX1E experiments. Please correct me if I'm wrong or misinterpret you.

Looking at frame exports from Premiere for a HD shot of shutter 1/50 and a HD shot of 1/25 I see no loss in vertical resolution at all. In the still parts, the images look exactly the same. In motion parts the full vertical resolution is still there at the 1/25, but due to the longer shutter time there's twice as much motion blur. But as I see it, this doesn't result in less information, just different information.

1/50 at 50i is odd CCD lines capturing the image for 1/50 sec and then even CCD lines for 1/50, and so on. And then transmitted as they were captured. Going to faster shutter speeds only gives a lesser percentage of the available 1/50 sec window for each odd/even frame.

1/25 at 50i is odd and even CCD lines capturing the image at the same time for 1/25 second, and then the fields are transmitted as odd/even interlaced. No loss in vertical resolution, only more motion blur. In reality it is 25p, but split up and transmitted as odd/even fields.

1/12 at 50i is odd and even CCD lines capturing the image at the same time for 1/12 second and then the fields are transmitted as odd/even interlaced, both fields being transmitted twice while the next image is being captured by the CCD. And so on for longer shutter times.

So I wouldn't say that images coming at half the speed but full resolution (1/25 50i) contain more or less informaton than images at the nominal speed and half resolution (1/50 50i). The only difference is amount of motion blur. It all changes at 1/12 and lower because the full images are transmitted several times, so the transmitted information is less and less.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 07:58 PM   #42
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Whew!

Jeremy, as one of the first to start using and promoting MiniDV cameras in the professional area since 1996 with the VX1000 and having shot hundreds of hours for many broadcast television documentaries with both the VX100 and PD150, plus run courses at the Australian Film Television and Radio School on how to use these cameras, I think reasonably qualifies me to make a comment or nine about the Z1.

You seem to forget I have consistently said how great the pictures were from the camera and have also noted other good features. My point in placing this post is simply to make folk aware of some of it's limitations before jumping in.

To try and appease you Jeremy, here is a list of some of the finer points of the camera (in no particular order) -

1.Great pictures, even when just shooting straight DV/DVCAM
2.Ability to output HDV to DV
3.Ability to output Stretched/Letterbox/4x3 (handy if shooting HDV but only have a standard monitor on set).
4.True 16x9
5.Huge range of picture control
6.Assignable buttons and ease of set-up (for bars/markers etc)
7.Wide-angle lens (wider than a 170 with a wide-angle lens screwed on)
8.Readout of distance and zoom length display.
9.More 'steps' in Iris so less 'clunks' when changing iris manually.
10.Shot transition feature (in an era of no assisitants, a fantastic tool)
11.Component output to view HD on HD monitor/TV
12.Ability to record to DV tapes and get 60+ mins v. DVCAMs 44 mins
13.Extended focus
14.Skip scan (if that was also on the PD150/170 I never realised it!
15.LCD/Viewfinder marker guides (would have liked to have the 150 guide too)
16.Ability to remove all info and just see picture on LCD?viewfinder
17.Great pics when using all gain settings
18.Pal/NTSC
19.Battery display feature.

There, happy now!

PS I have a few more negatives too so don't push me.

Cheers, T
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #43
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Forgot to say - Boyd I saw your explanation re shutter speed and lines etc (bit technical for me!) but looking back at tests I did (1/25 PAL) on an HD monitor I saw no difference in picture quality except for normal shutter blur and would have no issue shooting HDV at 1/30. With ballet it might be a problem but in opera they don't move so quickly do they!!! By the way in a theatre I wouldn't have thought the light would have got that low (perhaps you were shooting rehearsals). On stage do you always use the Indoor factory setting? T
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:11 PM   #44
 
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This thread is beginning to head in the direction of antagonistic posting; let's try to keep it to the tools of the camera and leave the pointed and personal comments out of it, please?
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:34 PM   #45
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Tony: actually opera can be very dimly lit. There can also be a lot of movement (believe it or not!). Sometimes it's so dark that the ambient light spilling from the orchestra pit overpowers the stage lights. We were doing Wagner's "Die Walküre" and this sort of heavy dramatic piece can get really dark. Added to this, the theatre in Argentina is modeled after European houses and they use "bridge spots" which are followspots mounted on light bridges above the stage. They tend to point straight down most of the time, and even worse, with modern staging the singers come all the way to the edge of the stage which puts the follow spots behind them. The result is almost no light on their faces.

Even so, the Z-1 produced some nice images at 1/25 50i wide open with 12 dB gain boost.
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