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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 October 6th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #1
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Repair or Not?

Last night, the impossible happened. My FX-1 of six years dropped off a Steadipod from five feet landing on a chair and cracking the piece around the audio jacks. As a result, the lens assembling is sticking at an angle so that the image is distorted on the LCD. I tried to allign it manuually but it's stuck and I don't want to break something else inside. Otherwise, the unit operating fine and tape transport is intact including the screen.
lens doesn't appear to be cracked either. It landed on a wicker chair and the other casualty is the accessory
shotgun mike holder which now needs larger washer insides to replace the ones that broke off when the camera fell. I'm checking online for repair places to try to fix it and in a hurry! I have wedding to shoot Saturday for a friend! Guess I'm renting a cam here then!. Any thoughts on realligning this lens assembly myselfr in time for Saturday? Thanks folks!

Anthony
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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There is a Sony guru in Holland who has taken a Z1 or FX1 to pieces down to the discreet parts almost. There is a link to his website and his pics of all the camera parts a fair way back in this discussion forum.

I'm on a real slow connection so won't be hunting back through it myself for you.

He is also apparently the go-to guy in Europe for repairs.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:41 PM   #4
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Definitely plan for a rental, while there's a possibility you can "realign" things, any impact sufficient to move the lens around like that may well cause you other problems you don't want at a paid gig... better safe than sorry.

Post some pix of the damage and perhaps you can get more guidance.

Also if you need parts, it will take a couple days to get them, plus tear down and repair/reassemble.

What is your level of "knack"? Sonys aren't hard to take apart, and if the damage is strictly physical, you might stand a chance, but if there's other issues it can get over the head of the average tinkerer somewhat quickly...
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Old October 12th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #5
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Repair or Not?

Well, got the news yesterday. The cost is going to be over $2,500.00. The repair place in Connecticut is telling me that the lens assembly has to be replaced as well as the drum (?), amongst other parts. I didn't receive a breakdown of parts and labor though so I'm requesting the camera be returned to me asap.
Meanwhile, I rented over the weekend for a wedding shoot a Panny DVX-100B which I was unfamiliar with and lost some really good outdoor shots due to the fact that it was blazingly sunny day and the ND Filter on Pannys is manual use only, unlike the Sony which prompts you when needed. As a result, the shots were blown out. And, it was DV all the way and 4:3 due to the fact that the Panny will shoot 16:9 but letterbox (like the VX-2100) and people don't like that on the screen!

Speaking to professional videographers, I understand that this cost is about right due to Sony's high cost for parts. I'll really will miss that 3 CCD advantage in the FX-1 but I guess it's CMOS sensor tiime! When I get it back, I'll put some pics on this site so you guys can view the exterior damage. Thanks for all your kind suggestions. Cheers!

Anthony
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Old October 12th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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You could easily pick up a new (used) FX1 for that kind of money and still have a very nice capture deck with your old one, and give up nothing that you're used to. For only a few bucks more you could move up to a used Z1 and still have your CCDs.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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Hi Adam. Nice to hear from you again! A couple of years ago you offered me some very sound advice for camera placement at weddings as well as audio tips and I never forgot them. Yeah, I could purchase a used FX-1 for tha price but (1) used camera could have problems or be worn out in the head area and (2) the cost of, say a new FX-1000 is a little more than the cost of repair ($3200.00).
The idea of using it as a playback deck is intriguing! Never thought of that. One of the repair items mentioned by the repair service was the replacement of the drum. Never thought a drum could be damaged by a fall but I guess it's possible. Now, I'm looking at the FX-1000 or perhaps the AX2000 which as you know is tapeless. I really prefer tape though as it's cheap and I can edit comfortably with it. I also like the price of the FX-1000. What I don't like about that cam is that you can't fasten a shotgun mic mount on the side of the LCD hinge like I could with my FX-1! The lcd is smaller than my FX-1's and I can't mount the shotgun bracket of the Rode on the cold shoe as you then can't open and close the LCD screen. Nothing is perfect, i guess

Thanks for the suggestions though! Cheers!

Anthony
Cheshire, CT.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #8
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If the FX1000 is a serious candidate for you, then there's a very slightly used Z5 package available in the Classifieds section which, for admittedly a few dollars more than a new FX1000, would give you the best of both worlds, tape and tapeless. Shotgun mount issue solved and the included card recorder (only in this package; not normally included at retail) mounts seamlessly without using up an accessory shoe. Includes a decent mic for backup if your Rode goes south.

I can't say enough good things about the FX1000 or the Z5 and frankly I'd buy the package if I didn't have 4 of them already.

Worth thinking about, at least.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 05:56 AM   #9
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Awesome! I'll definately check that out. Thanks!
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Old October 13th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #10
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That quote is pretty typical for a Sony repair... right up into the "replacement" cost range... ONLY reason I can think of for replacing the drum is the # of hours on the camera... maybe they are doing a complete "go through" and you could get away for less at another repair facility, might be worth shopping around a bit.

Worst case sell the carcass on eBay, keep the mic mount and start hunting for a replacement - FX1's come up in good condition sometimes, and I've seen some good deals on Z1's with low hours on the meters - they are old enough now they don't bring as much because there's "newer and better", but if you don't want CMOS...
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Old October 14th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #11
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Good suggestions. Thanks. I'm not totally turned off to CMOS but facing a tough crossroad in that the next camcorder to invest in is either tape based or chip based as in the AX2000 or a Z5U. One is prosumer and costs around $3500.00 (AX2000) and the Z5 is around $3900.00 without the CF card recorder which add to that makes it much more expensive. Kind of reluctant to purchase used equipment for this price range and no extended warranty either. Tried out the FX1000 over the weekend and was turned off by the fact that there's no place on it to mount a shotgun mount, unlike the FX-1. That's why the AX2000 is so attractive. But, I'm also reading on B&H's site complaints about editing in the AVCHD format

You're probably right about the drum though. The service center stated it would make the cam as good as new which includes worn drums. I've used it continously since 2005 so maybe they are worn out now. Parts alone will cost me over $2300.00, according to the service center. They're shipping it back this week.
I'll probably use it as a playback device now.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #12
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It is available as of yesterday...drop him a line. It's a very good deal.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #13
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Hey guys. The cam came back from the service center (not Sony) and they were able to get the plastic housing near the microhone input section into place so on it's face, you can't tell it's damaged. All electronic functions are working fine, including zoom and focus but, as the pictures show, i get this concave image on side side of the lcd and you have to literally zoom the lens full in and then postion the camera accordingly before the blur goes away. Almost like an individual who has catarcts or something! As I said, everything else about the camera is fine, including the tape transport. Here's those pictures you asked for, now that's home.

Jeff. Thanks for that info on a used FX-1.. I'll look into it. Does anyone feel like I do about being reluctant to go to the CMOS/chip type like the FX-1000 or the AX2000? I know, it's the future knocking and for five years, I reallly enjoyed using thsi cam! Cheers.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:07 PM   #14
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As I've posted many times before, I dearly loved my FX1, probably in an unhealthy way. At one point I had three of them. But after switching to the FX1000 and then the Z5, these newer cams simply blow the FX1 away. No regrets here.

And I completely disagree with Jeff about the low-light ability of the FX1000/Z5. It's every single bit as good as my old VX2000 was and is, in my opinion, unmatched in its class in its ability to see in the dark.

I think a Z5 does the best job of meeting all your needs without you having to give anything up. Tape, card, however you want to shoot, no mic mount issues. There aren't a lot of used ones out there but the package I referred to before seems to still be available. For me, the lack of an extended warranty isn't an issue as I generally think these are all really bad investments. The package available here has zero hours on the heads -- the shooter has used only the card recording unit.

Seriously, I don't get a toaster or anything if he sells it, but you should at least check it out.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 05:54 AM   #15
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Adam. I took your advice and viewed his offer. I'm also considering at this point (1) inquiring of other cam repair centers for a quote or (2) making the move to buy the AX2000 which is under $3700.00. Notwithstanding that it doesn't offer many of the professional features of the Z5, it does offer XLR connections, shotgun mount and I beleive the same lens and its lighter in weight too. I've been reading reviews at B&H's site and they're varied from people who love the AVCHD format to those who don't from an editing standpoint. Do you know anyone who is using this cam and their opinions?
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