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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 August 13th, 2005, 01:01 AM   #1
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To FX1 or PD-170

I had read the prior thread on this and didn't quite find what I was looking for. I as well am trying to figure out if my next purchase should be the FX1 or PD-170. They both fit the price range I am looking at. I am really concerned that the FX1 will not give my the same features I am looking for compared to the 170. Some background on the system the footage will be edited on.
Dell 4550, 1g Ram, 2.5ghz P4, 128mb ATI, Vegas 6b to edit. One of the reasons I am considering the FX1, is to take advantage of the new capture/logging codec Vegas 6 offers. I do not plan on upgrading the edit system until late 2006 or early 2007. I do mostly weddings and other assorted projects.

1. I know my edit system meets the "basic" requirments, will it really be able to handle HDV?

2. The XLR's on the 170 are a big plus as I plan on running two wireless mics into channel one and two. The FX1 lacks this, is there a XLR box that can be attatched ala the PDX-10?

3. While I ALWAYS use an on-camrea light at receptions, is the FX1 up to the task?

4. What about shutter and iris control, which do you like better?

5. In your best opinion, can the FX1 be anywhere as flexible as the PD-170? I.E. I want to be able to shoot in as many different situations as possible with out wondering if the camera is up to the task.

I've been shooting with my GL-2 and renting a PD-150 or 170 over the past two years and have just loved the sony's, I guess that's why I've been thinking about the 170. I am hoping to get one of the two and have it last me at least two to three years before purchasing another model. Any ideas or thoughts would be most welcome. Thank you in advance for your time.

- Devin
We learn by doing, we learn better by making mistakes!
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Old August 13th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
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I have a Z1 and a VX-2000 and can tell you that these new Sony cameras are a big step forward. Of course you will have to decide whether the improvements meet your needs.

First, I think you should compare apples to apples when looking at the FX1 vs PD170. In other words, compare the FX1 shooting in SD mode and consider HDV as an added attraction. Numerous reviewers, including Adam Wilt, have said that the FX1 gives you a better SD image. Shooting HDV and using the camera to downconvert to SD will give you a little better image than just shooting SD, plus an HDV master tape if you need it later. If you want to work in widescreen SD then there's really no contest since the PD170 doesn't do that very well.

Of course a better comparison would be the Z1 and PD170 since it has the pro audio features, but I assume that's beyond your budget. I doubt that the PDX-10 XLR box would work on an FX1 due to the hotshoe interface. But Beachtek and other companies make compatible adaptors.

I work on the Mac so I can't comment on your computer and software.

I've never used an on camera light, but why wouldn't an FX1 be "up to the task"?

Shutter and especially iris control are way better than the other Sony cameras. The action of the iris knob is terrific.

In the flexibility dept I think the FX1 will easily come out on top. The picture profile function gives you many more options than the PD series custom presets.

To me, the FX1 and Z1 really show that Sony listened to user feedback and they represent an nice evolution of their earlier designs. Be aware that it is larger and heavier however. I almost always work on a tripod so this isn't an issue for me personally. If you like the 150 and 170 I think you'll be pleased. Can you rent one? That might be a good idea for starters.
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Old August 13th, 2005, 06:44 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,504
There are many reasons to look into both cameras, but I would recommend doing a search for this exact same question as it has been posed and answered already better than I can explain.

I can give some recommendations here however.

The PD170 is better in low light than the FX1. Not by much because even though the FX1 has a lower lux rating, the HD picture gives you more pixels to work with and hanse holds the blacks pretty well.

The Z1 is definitely more expensicve and worth looking into as it has a black stretch feature on it that holds the darks fantastic at low light. It also has built in XLR that will also be an added bonus. The Z1 can aslo shoot in either DV or DVCAM mode, just like the PD170.

Think of the FX1 as the replacememnt for the VX2100 and the Z1 as the replacememnt for the PD170.

The manual controls on the FX1, Z1, and PD170 are fantastic, but the FX1 and Z1 have even more manual control options than the PD170.

Also you can shoot in High Def on the FX1 or Z1 and downcobvert from the camera to your computer to edit and render fantastic DV footage.

Lastly, if you go with the FX1 or Z1, you will eventually need a faster system, yors will be fine for now, but may choke here and there.

Also, I work in Vegas6 as well and would highly recommend purchasing VASST's Gearshift plugin for Vegas. It will enable you to work seamlessly with teh HD footage by allowing you to pace a DV proxy on the Vegas timeline that will enable you to work like the video was DV normal footage.
Then convert the video for ourput as either DV or HD footage.

I hope this helps for a start.

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