comparison of FX1 to VX2k in low light at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 17th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 74
comparison of FX1 to VX2k in low light

I compared my FX1 and VX2000 cameras from moderate office lighting (200 lux) where neither camera is using gain-up, to reasonably dim light (30 and 11 lux) where both cameras need to use gain. Note, my final output is not HDV, but SD 720x480 at 4:2:2. The image quality from the FX1 isn't as bad as I'd thought in dim conditions, and it compares favorably with the VX2k. Impressive given how much smaller each pixel sensor is on the FX1.

Test procedure is described, and sample images shown on this webpage:

http://bealecorner.com/fx1/FX1-VX2k.html
John Beale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Thanks for sharing this, John -- good to hear from ya!
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 05:49 AM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
John: not bad, but why cripple the HDV by downsampling it to DV resolution before doing all the screen captures and Photoshop conversions? To really show the differences between these two cameras, how about doing the HDV frame grabs at full 1920x1080 resolution and comparing that to DV frames up-rezzed to the same vertical resolution in a 4.3 image ratio? Then people could see both the difference in native image detail between the two formats and the differences in framing between a 16.9 and 4.3 camera.

The internet has far too many examples comparing HDV to DV at SD resolution and almost none comparing HDV to DV at HD resolution. It would be nice to see someone buck this trend by doing the latter, which might give people a better clue why HDV is a significant format.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 74
HDV vs DV comparisons

Thanks for the feedback! My page is really just the answer to a specific question of mine, and I put it up in case it was helpful to others. I do wedding videography and I'm looking at SD output since that's all my customers want. I've been mentioning the HDV option but so far, I've had zero customer interest in it. From what I've heard from other videographers that's the common experience. I don't actually own a HD display myself, not counting my PC monitor. What my market sector is looking for now is cameras that work at dimly-lit receptions without using obtrusive lights, and the DVD plays back OK on the customer's TV.

I'm sure when HD TVs and especially HD DVD players become more mainstream, it will be a different story.
John Beale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Simsbury, CT
Posts: 247
Thanks for posting this, John.

So when you say: "What my market sector is looking for now is cameras that work at dimly-lit receptions without using obtrusive lights, and the DVD plays back OK on the customer's TV."

Does that mean you don't feel you can deliver this with the FX-1?
Dave Lammey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 74
FX1 suitability for event videography

I was worried that the FX1 wouldn't perform in low light, but in the conditions of my test I thought it compared well relative to the VX2k. My only other concern is that the autofocus seems slower, and more likely to be wrong, than the VX2k.
See for example http://bealecorner.com/fx1/FX1-focus.html

Admittedly, with pro cameras one is supposed to use manual focus anyway.
John Beale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 01:33 PM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,543
John, thanks a lot for sharing these tests with us - and thanks also for maintaining such a useful website which should be on everyones' bookmark menu if it isn't already! :-)

I really admire the fact that when you're curious about how something works, you take the time to devise a test. So often around here people ask questions which could easily be answered with quick tests on their own. Don't get me wrong - it's fine to ask questions - but when you do your own testing it brings a deeper understanding and helps develop a personal style.

Thanks again, and I hope we'll see more of you around here!
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Cape Town, SA
Posts: 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beale
I was worried that the FX1 wouldn't perform in low light, but in the conditions of my test I thought it compared well relative to the VX2k. My only other concern is that the autofocus seems slower, and more likely to be wrong, than the VX2k.
See for example http://bealecorner.com/fx1/FX1-focus.html

Admittedly, with pro cameras one is supposed to use manual focus anyway.
The manual focus IS a bit slower than the VX2k and also the PD170. I made the mistake ONCE of using auto-focus. The FX1 does perform well enough by standards for lower lighting conditions and this has been debated many times over on these boards.

Technology is growing in leaps and bounds and I just wonder what kind of CCD/CMOS (or other for that matter) devices we will see in 5 years time??

Cheers
__________________
MJ Productions
Never let the need for money outweigh the need for Quality, Friendly and Professional Service
Jeremy Rochefort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 01:54 PM   #9
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,863
John Beale's site should indeed be bookmarked -- he performs extensive, detailed tests, with thoroughly-explained methodology, and the fact that he donates his time to put together such explanations is very much appreciated!
Barry Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beale
Thanks for the feedback! My page is really just the answer to a specific question of mine, and I put it up in case it was helpful to others.
John: that's fair enough, and the comparison is useful in terms of demonstrating low-light capabilities. Perhaps you could just add two images at the end of the page showing a full-resolution frame grab from each camera so people see what those are like. Also, if there's any way you could post a few seconds of actual video from the two cameras (at SD resolution), that might give a better impression of differences in grain between them. Just looking at the still images, it looks like the VX2k at 12db has much more pronounced grain than the FX1 at 18db, and this would be very noticeable in a finished SD video.

My own recent experience with the FX1 is that I was able to get usable footage on a dark dance floor using as little as 10 watts of on-camera light, which allowed me to get right up next to people without disturbing them too much. During the toasts I ended up using 20-30 watts and would have liked to have a little more, but I'm trying to get away from the blinding 50 watt lights I've used in the past with my SD cameras.

My conclusion is that if you really want maximum low-light capability you should be looking at big-chip SD cameras rather than something like the VX2k or FX1. When we get big-chip HDV cameras that should pretty much put an end to this discussion, because then HDV will be equally sensitive and have less grain than all but the best DV footage.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2005, 01:21 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 74
noise testing

good suggestions- I'll try to do it when I can get some time free, I'm in a crunch right now. No question but that the FX1 can turn in some nice images with good light. I haven't seen stills quite like this from my VX2k for example: http://bealecorner.net/D30/050428/boathouse1.htm
John Beale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2005, 04:55 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Vilseck, Germany
Posts: 89
Thanks for the reality check

I appreciate the test, but more importantly, your comments about zero client interest in HDV is crucial information. I had about convinced myself that I needed to trade in my DXC-D130 and DV500 for a HDV unit before the bottom fell out of the DV market. It looks like I might have a few more months to sit back and wait for the dust to settle on the HD100 and HVX200.

As much as I hate to admit it, I can't think of a valid argument to turn in a 2/3" camera for a 1/3" camera that shoots on a format that doesn't have a market yet.

Anybody, besides the movie guys, have clients asking for HD video?
Steve Roark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2005, 07:24 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Simsbury, CT
Posts: 247
John: any plans to shoot a wedding with your FX-1, now that you feel better about its lowlight capabilities?
Dave Lammey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #14
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Roark
I appreciate the test, but more importantly, your comments about zero client interest in HDV is crucial information. I had about convinced myself that I needed to trade in my DXC-D130 and DV500 for a HDV unit before the bottom fell out of the DV market. It looks like I might have a few more months to sit back and wait for the dust to settle on the HD100 and HVX200.

As much as I hate to admit it, I can't think of a valid argument to turn in a 2/3" camera for a 1/3" camera that shoots on a format that doesn't have a market yet.

Anybody, besides the movie guys, have clients asking for HD video?
John's not alone. I asked around while at the WEVA convention -- *nobody* I asked had one client yet express the slightest interest in HD. Keep in mind that only about 7% of the US, and 0% of Europe, even have any sort of HDTV set.

No doubt it's coming, but "a few months more" may be more like a couple of years before it becomes a factor of significance in your market. Other markets (like those producing products for national broadcast) -- yeah, they'll have to be HD-compliant a lot sooner; some networks are even demanding HD masters now. But weddings etc... I think you've got plenty of time.
Barry Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2005, 12:34 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
I asked around while at the WEVA convention -- *nobody* I asked had one client yet express the slightest interest in HD.
Hi Barry. It's too bad we didn't have a chance to meet at Expo, or I could have told you in person how interest in HDV is shaping up with my clients. (They all love the way it looks.) Also, if you went to any of the HD seminars you might have heard how one company is already booking something like 25-30% of their weddings in HD, and another one has decided to simply go all HD and market that as a key feature -- with good success.

The thing here is that if you simply ask people, "hey, you got any interest in HD?" they may not know what to say, but if you actually show them HD samples they instantly take an interest. For now this is something which requires some marketing to sell, but then that's part of being in this business.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:38 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network