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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 25th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #31
 
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Originally Posted by Jamie Kehoe View Post
This one goes out to Tommy with the comment on SD being obsolete. I definitely do not agree. If you are primarily shooting for DVD, there is no discernable difference. I have edited a lot of footage downgraded from HDV to SD off of Z1's and Canon XLHD. The Canon does have a very nice picture, but essentially on DVD the difference is nothing. I have a nice screen to view the end product on and I have tested footage from my PD170P compared to footage from the Z1, there is no difference. In fact, the Z1 has very poor dynamic range and will not beat the PD170P in low light. I can get an excellent picture with little grain even at +15db, whereas the Z1 would lose it in the blacks and because of poor dynamic range be hard to pull anything out without severe mosquito noise. The Z1 is prone to overshooting and blowing out the highlights and HDV is unforgiving if you have the focus slightly out. Also if you get a dropout, it is pretty severe on HDV, DV standard def is hardly noticeable. Nobody is interested in HDDVD or Blu-Ray just yet, also the majority of TV's are not true high definition, so until it becomes mass market, standard definition is far from over. Once they start producing High Definition TV's (that are affordable) and networks broadcast in all HD, then we may see the shift occur. For now and especially for shooting weddings and live events, SD is great. I would rather shoot with the PD170P for any night event than the Z1. Actually, I am waiting until Sony bring out something better!
First off, it's always a bit scary when a nearly 3 year old post gets dredged up. You have to read what you wrote years ago and it'll throw you for a loop. :-)
Second, I have to dispute the comment that "primarily shooting for DVD, there is no discernable difference." This simply isn't accurate. At all. Not only are these threads filled with hundreds of comments that the quality is easily seen, but it makes no sense. If it made no difference, why shoot Hollywood releases on 35mm, since *most* Hollywood films never make it to the big screen, they're for broadcast or DVD?
In my "weekend" job, I shoot between 5 and 12 scenes a day (skydiving). I'm the only guy using HDV. Every other person uses SD, most of them shooting PC109s. From editors to students, everyone comments on why my DVDs consistently look better.
The delivery format isn't the determining factor. The acquisition format is everything.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #32
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From shooting I've done and seen with a friend's Z1, the dynamic range is greater than the PD150, and I've done some low light shooting with the camera with no problem. No mosquito noise. I don't think SD is obsolete yet, but everyone I know is shooting 16:9, so having a camera with 16:9 chips is a definite advantage.

I'm on the board of a film festival and every year do TV spots as well as a trailer loop with interviews, etc., to run in 4 theaters in advance of the festival. This past year the friend with the Z1 shot the TV spots, which I included in my theater loop. I shot some interviews under very similar lighting setups with our DSR500ws, in 16:9, and his footage from the Z1 actually looked better than our $30K package. That sold me on the Z1,though I bought a Canon XH A1 instead because of the lens and 24 fps capability. I could have been equally happy with the Z1. I've seen none of the HDV artifacts, except in one overexposed shot, but you get that in DV also if you overexpose diagonal lines.

I know it's a strong statement to say a $5K camera looks better than a 2/3" chip camera with an expensive lens, but in this case it does; and I'm comparing downconverted footage on the final DVD. There are still some advantages of a 2/3" chip camera, and I'm not ready to give it up--but if I were on the market today, I wouldn't buy one. For the work I do--documentaries, corporate/training, some local TV spots, an occasional thing that goes to PBS or cable--HDV with any of the current crop of 1/3" chip cameras is good enough. Some things I've shot have been shown on Bravo and IFC and many festivals. I haven't done any feature work, but one of our best looking entries at last year's festival was "Mojave Phone Booth." It was shot with a couple of Z1s.These cameras, however, are not nearly as user friendly as a 2/3" chip camera. It takes longer to set up a shot, the controls aren't as fast or intuitive, and on a tripod a lanc controller is almost a must. For me this is true whether it's an SD or HD small camera.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #33
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I've been using a VX2000 and PD170 for a few years now, and last month I purchased an FX7. I can say that the FX7 wipes the floor with even the PD170. It's not really a fair fight. Honestly, how often do you shoot in the dark?
BUT...
I've used DSR-500's, Variacams, and HVX-200's pretty extensively, and let me stress the one thing I've learned; they're all just tools to get a job done. If your clients dont see the difference between SD from the PD170 and HD downconverted to SD with the (insert camera here) and you aren't comfortable with making the switch to HD, then do what's making you money.
Personally I'm never buying another SD camera again, but it's your money, your career, and your call.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 04:17 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle View Post
Second, I have to dispute the comment that "primarily shooting for DVD, there is no discernable difference." This simply isn't accurate. At all.
I have edited tons of stuff including a feature film shot on a Z1, with even the slightest amount of highlights blown out, it was impossible to get exactly right. With the PD170P you can be slightly overblown and it can pull it back due to better dynamic range. I will agree that for widescreen and broadcast HD the Z1 is king, but with an anamorphic adapter the footage from the PD170P is just as good in widescreen. I have seen what happens with footage shot and downconverted for use on DVD, viewing it on a high definition 720P screen (samsung) and I couldn't notice any discernable difference, I have tested this a few times. There is no really great software for authoring Blu-Ray discs, so unfortunately it is out of my realm for now. I use a PowerMac Dual 2.3GHZ G5. The PD170P has saved my ass when I cannot use light, such as in dark receptions with nothing more than candlelight to light the scene, you can't use lighting because people hate it. The Z1 would be dead in that situation. Most Modern TV's can accomodate for the 3:4 ratio and have it look normal and not squashed. Otherwise I use the anamorphic adapter for true widescreen.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #35
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Which one

If you have a choice, which camcorder would you choose for weddings, live events, corporate productions and maybe the odd TVC or two. Between these cameras, the Sony Z1P, Canon XH-A1, Sony HVR-V1P, Pansonic AG-HVX200. Maybe if you want to do some progressive shooting, this might rule out the Z1. I know that JVC make a smaller handheld style camera with some professional stats, which I think comes within the range of these cameras. Any experience or info into any of these and what are some of the caveats and good points?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 10:59 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
I've been using a VX2000 and PD170 for a few years now, and last month I purchased an FX7. I can say that the FX7 wipes the floor with even the PD170. It's not really a fair fight. Honestly, how often do you shoot in the dark?
BUT...
I've used DSR-500's, Variacams, and HVX-200's pretty extensively, and let me stress the one thing I've learned; they're all just tools to get a job done. If your clients dont see the difference between SD from the PD170 and HD downconverted to SD with the (insert camera here) and you aren't comfortable with making the switch to HD, then do what's making you money.
Personally I'm never buying another SD camera again, but it's your money, your career, and your call.
Ethan, quick question.

Are you downconverting in camera to capture 16:9 SD.
Or are you caprturing native HDV, editing HDV and downconverting to 16:9 SD DVD?
If teh later, what software are you using?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #37
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The big plus point for the Z1 has got to be the 16:9 aspect ratio straight out of the box. What couple that can afford to hire any one of us to film their wedding day comes back from honeymoon and watches their (SD) DVD on a 4:3 TV? In Europe: none.

OK, you can bolt on an anamorphic to the PD170, but you're then left with distorted viewfinders, differing DoFs vertically and horizontally, wierd elliptical out of focus highlights and the distinct possibility of vignetting at zoom ends. Not only that, but the ergonomics of the Z1 are miles in advance of the PD. The screen can be used in blazing sunlight, the aperture control wheel is pure delight and the zoom range is far more useful for those who dislike adding converter lenses.

Even if you film in the SD mode, the Z1 wins. It's video amplifier is far quieter than the PD's, so easily clawing back the stop lost in the gloom.

tom.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #38
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Michael,
I much prefer to capture the native HDV and work with that, but if you're working in SD, I don't see a problem with converting in camera. It's just a personal workflow prefrence of mine to work with formats natively if I can.
I use Final Cut Studio to do all my editing/sound/dvd's/whatever.
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Old June 29th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #39
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(I've written this before ...)

I don't regret my choice of the Z1/FX1 (have both) to supercede my VX2000. I was thinking about PD170 and started with the Z1. With the VX2000, I needed the wide angle adapter and thus shot at 4.8 for a sharper image. With the shorter focal length of the Z1/FX1 lens as well as the 19:9 format, I no longer need the wide angle lens for my purposes and shoot the Z1 at f/2.8 . Overall, the image is way cleaner with superior color, although I'm comparing HD to SD. I have yet to compare in-camera downconverted HD->SD to VegasVideo downconvered HD->SD. The only downside of the Z1 has been the loss of motion precision due to the MPEG2 video compression, be for fast action martial arts or that weird 1/2 second sticky-GOP thing on closeups. I'm not sure how to fix that problem.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 03:50 PM   #40
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Well Iam with you Jamie on this one

I have been using a XLH1 for weddings and yes if you see the picture on a HDTV vi the HDMI socket is fantastic, but as yet nobody has blue ray players so what s the point

I have been out filming my son at a forest park today and took along my 170, came back home played it on our big tv (not HD) and it looked stunning nobody could fault it, yes it is not as good as HD but its bloody good and very accessible you can play it on all tv's
but you can't with HD

Iam not knocking HD because it will come but at the moment the 170 looks good on widescreen or on 4:3 tv's and that will do me
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 05:21 PM   #41
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[QUOTE=Jamie Kehoe;702897] I use a PowerMac Dual 2.3GHZ G5. The PD170P has saved my ass when I cannot use light, such as in dark receptions with nothing more than candlelight to light the scene, you can't use lighting because people hate it. The Z1 would be dead in that situation.
[QUOTE]

Sounds like the solution for you is the EX1. I recently made the switch, and the light sensitivity of the 1/2" Exmor sensors is amazing. They exceed my VX2000 with superior color and blacks, and of course, resolution. Actually, the footage from the EX1 blows away that from the Z1.
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