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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 February 5th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #1
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Low Light settings?

The FX1 seems to REALLY suck in low light settings on full automatic. Horrible levels of noise and graininess.

Is there a settings work-around?
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Old February 5th, 2011, 05:57 PM   #2
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I wouldn't say it sucks -- it's much better than the V1/FX7 -- but it'll never match the PD or VX series. You could lock the AGC LIMIT to 6 or 12, which will help with the grain issue but obviously give you a darker picture. For me that was worth the trade-off. 15 dB gain or above was pretty unusable and even 12 wasn't great.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Low Light Setting

Hi Dave,
Of course this will depend on your subject, but a lot of times I also
drop the shutter down to 1/30. Watch out for any high contrast or
rapid movements or you might be doing a deinterlace to remove the strobing.

thanks
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Old February 6th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #4
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I wonder if it is time to upgrade to an NX5U or something, if this would solve the low light grainy/noise issues
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Old February 6th, 2011, 09:27 PM   #5
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It's several orders of magnitude better. My Z5 (which shares most of the same components with the NX5, including the chip) can practically see in the dark. Simply amazing.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 03:21 AM   #6
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I'm really surprised to hear you say that about the FX1 Dave, as I find it's grain/sharpness trade to be excellent, and as a first generation HDV camera nobody complained. Of course if left in its auto mode it'll jump to +18dB at the first opportunity, so it's best you stick to wide-angle, remove filters or lens converters and if possible light the talent.

My NX5 is indeed better in the gloom, but we're only talking just over a stop - no deal-breaker in the great big scheme of things.

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Old February 8th, 2011, 06:34 AM   #7
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Where can i find the AGC in the menu?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 01:43 PM   #8
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AGC LIMIT is in the Picture Profile Menus. Page 35 in the FX1 manuals.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 12:32 AM   #9
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Re: Low Light settings?

What gain settings are best for low light?

The odd thing is, in low light, the external fold out LCD looks great in low light, the footage does not.

I can light things, but for run and gun, the subjects are often wearing light colored shirts which blow out everything, plus it just looks artificial compared to ambient light. Even inside rooms during the day with inside room lights turned on it looks really grainy.

Mind you, this is all using auto settings for everything.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 01:11 AM   #10
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Re: Low Light settings?

This is a choice of personal preference over noise or darker image. Over the years, most users have said don't go over 12 db. I have to agree with that. So in shooting a dark scene its:

1. be sure NDs are off.

2. Set all setting for manual setting.

3. I assign gain buttons to L-0, M-6, H-12, In low light, you will switch through those, and in lowest light you will land on H-12.

4. Set shutter to 1/60

5. Set iris as wide as it will go.

6. If you are using Cinematone, in one of the presets that has it on, I would turn it off for a low light situation.

7. If you are still not there, step shutter down to 1/30, if this isn't a heavy motions scene.

8. If still not good, press the Gain button, and camera will go into autogain.... You will probably be at 18, depending on maximum you have set in menus.

And remember, if you are shooting in a dark situation, shouldn't your image be reflecting that ? Sometimes, people think they have to have the camera light up the scene like its daylight.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 02:22 AM   #11
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Re: Low Light settings?

A good and comprehensive list Chris. I might add to your point 5 that using maximum wide-angle adds pretty dramatically to the low light performance. Avoid any telephoto settings, remove all filters and converter lenses.

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Old April 4th, 2011, 08:22 PM   #12
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Re: Low Light settings?

>taking notes big-time!

Thanks!
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