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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 22nd, 2005, 08:43 PM   #1
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Only Shooting SD

I'm still debating between a PD170 and the FX1. I will most likely only be shooting in 4:3 SD, at least for the next 3 years or so. Is it worth sacraficing XLR inputs and other pro features for the HD FX1? How easy is it to down convert into SD?

Right now, I'm leaning with the PD170, because I feel it will do well for the time being, until Sony comes out with a better HD cam. I view the FX1 as the VX1000, with more, better upgrades to come. Am I right in thinking this?
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:00 PM   #2
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I think the manual controls and image adjustment on the FX1 are a big improvement. I've read that the BBC is replacing all their PD-150's with Z1's even though they're only shooting SD. The discussion I saw of this cited a better image, better controls and better optics.

However, if you really only want 4:3 then I see little incentive to get an FX1. You will be using a smaller area of the CCD on the FX1 than on the PD170 since the sides would be cropped off. It's also bigger and heavier.

But as soon as you want to do a project in 16:9 SD, then all bets are off. The FX1 will be a big improvement.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:10 PM   #3
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How good is the 16:9 SD quality of the Z1U. Our school won't have it until next week.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:19 PM   #4
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Looks great to me. My PDX-10 is substantially better than a PD-170 in 16:9, and the Z1 is a notch up from that. If you really want better res in SD mode you can also shoot PAL...
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Looks great to me. My PDX-10 is substantially better than a PD-170 in 16:9, and the Z1 is a notch up from that. If you really want better res in SD mode you can also shoot PAL...
Ah the beauty of living in PAL land - sigh!!!!!!

Matt, this needs to be a serious consideration on your part.

What I would suggest (and I'll try and take my bias towards the FX1 and Z1 out of this equation - ahem) is that you hire a FX1 and test for yourself.

Quality is the factor here and INHO you would get better results from an FX1/Z1 and downconverting in camera and post. Downconverting is as easy as setting one option in the camera. As Boyd has rightfully said, if 16:9 is what you might need, then the answer would be the FX1/Z1.

Forgive my bias but I also stood before the same choice a while back and went with the FX1 with a bit of good wishes on my part and after a lot of research and searching forums. Needless to say, I have not been sorry and have subsequently purchased the Z1 as well.

Right now, I'm leaning with the PD170, because I feel it will do well for the time being, until Sony comes out with a better HD cam. I view the FX1 as the VX1000, with more, better upgrades to come. Am I right in thinking this?

I wouldn't go as far as to compare the FX1 to the VX1000 but I get your point. Think of it like this, if Sony does bring out an upgrade to the FX1/Z1, that means that the PD170 and the like would move one rung further down the food chain making it a less desirable cam to purchase (think of resale value). Now if this upgrade does happen, I would be in a better position to sell my FX1/Z1 and upgrade. The market will then be more receptive of a second-hand FX1 as an entry level HDV cam for someone, especially if price is a factor. Just look at how quickly these cameras get sold when offered second-hand (providing the seller isn't asking an over the top amount).

The other question is, how long are you prepared to wait for the next generation? IMHO, these will be a while since the A1 hasn't hit the streets yet and that is the "professional version of the HC1". Methinks Sony is a way off announcing there next generation HD cams.

Good luck!

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