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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 24th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #1
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Hows its 4:3?

OK, sorry for asking so many questions, but I want to make sure I buy the right thing. How does the FX1s 4:3 (Which would have to be SD) look, in comparison to other native 4:3 cams. Is it about the same, or is it worse since it is designed for 16:9? This will probably be the main factor in my desision because I don't see my self using the 16:9 (or HD) very often compared to the 4:3.
If the quality is the same in 4:3 compared to, like the pd170, there seems no reason to not get it.
Thanks again!!!
~Matt~
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Old August 24th, 2005, 06:14 PM   #2
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I shot a little PAL 4:3 for a project and it looked OK. But I'd be surprised if it was as good in 4:3 mode as a VX-2100 or PD-170. If your primary use is 4:3 then your money might be better invested in a PD-170 or DVX-100a. You might expect the FX1 to behave more like a 1/4" chip camera in 4:3 mode, since you're chopping off the sides of the 1/3" widescreen chip.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot! That is the kind of answer I was looking for. Now all I need to decide is how important 16:9 is really going to be to me.
~Matt~
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Old August 24th, 2005, 09:18 PM   #4
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Well, most all TVs will be moving to widescreen over the next 10 years
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Old August 24th, 2005, 09:33 PM   #5
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Maybe not quite so. The Z1 and FX1 video signal to noise ratio is better than Sony PD170 and VX2100 by about 1 db. This is a significant improvement in overall noise even at ZERO db. Compare the dark areas and noisy colors like blue or red when you shoot with the Z1 and the PD170. Also in low light while the PD or VX may appear better, in relatively mild gain even at 9db, the Z1 and FX-1 are better. In contrast rendition, they are about the same. They all have problems with blooming, however, because of the black stretch feature of Z1, when compared to VX and PD models which lack that important feature, the Z1 can deliver better blacks. So I would not quite think these HDV cameras would behave more like 1/4" chips in DV 4x3 mode. Maybe, resolution wise, maybe. And we are not even talking about camera features which make these HDV cameras superior.

However, I agree with you, if the intended use is primarily 4x3 DV mode, the money maybe better invested in PD-170, VX2100, DVX-100a or Canon XL2.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
I shot a little PAL 4:3 for a project and it looked OK. But I'd be surprised if it was as good in 4:3 mode as a VX-2100 or PD-170. If your primary use is 4:3 then your money might be better invested in a PD-170 or DVX-100a. You might expect the FX1 to behave more like a 1/4" chip camera in 4:3 mode, since you're chopping off the sides of the 1/3" widescreen chip.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
because of the black stretch feature of Z1, when compared to VX and PD models which lack that important feature, the Z1 can deliver better blacks.
Good points.... I'm really happy with my Z1, and also not interested in shooting 4:3 personally.

However Matt was asking about the FX1 and I don't think it has black stretch, does it?
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #7
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You are right, the FX-1 does not have black stretch. And same here, not interested in 4:3 either. Even letterbox looks better than 4x3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Good points.... I'm really happy with my Z1, and also not interested in shooting 4:3 personally.

However Matt was asking about the FX1 and I don't think it has black stretch, does it?
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Old August 25th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #8
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Thanks Guys! I was refering to the FX1 because the Z1 is out of my price range. I think I'm probably going to go with a Pd170 because I know I can use it now and that it works well. If in 3 years HD/ 16:9 becomes the norm, I'll get an HD cam, maybe it will still be the FX1/Z1. Also I want to say that if I could shoot 16:9, I would do it and get the FX1. But for 90% of my projects in the next 2 years at least, 4:3 is pretty much a must.
Plus, this will actually be my first cam with a lot of manual control, so I'm still learning.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 03:58 PM   #9
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fyi though... The mic that comes with the PD-170 is the audio equivalent of "tin can" sound. It has a very narrow/inept frequency range with poor bass response. Consider also a new mic if you don't already have a spare one to go with that cam.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #10
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Urban legend control

Lets get something straight here. Does the FX1/Z1 have a 1/3 chip or a 1/4 chip. Surely its still a 1/3 even if you're using 4:3? It's only a matter of taking the edges off it from 16:9, its my understanding the chip is bigger than the PD150 chip because of the 16:9 shape, but about much the same size if using 4:3.

I saw this subject on the DVX forum where there was the usual insecure blather from DVX users trying to prove their camera was superior to everything else going etc etc.

I am certain the FX1 is 1/3 even with 4:3?
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Old August 26th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #11
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I don't think so John, but maybe someone else has better info. The CCD's on the PD-170 and the Z1 both measure 6mm diagonally. So if you shoot 4:3 video on the Z1's 16:9 shaped chip then you obviously are reducing that diagonal.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 09:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
Lets get something straight here. Does the FX1/Z1 have a 1/3 chip or a 1/4 chip. Surely its still a 1/3 even if you're using 4:3? It's only a matter of taking the edges off it from 16:9, its my understanding the chip is bigger than the PD150 chip because of the 16:9 shape, but about much the same size if using 4:3.

I saw this subject on the DVX forum where there was the usual insecure blather from DVX users trying to prove their camera was superior to everything else going etc etc.

I am certain the FX1 is 1/3 even with 4:3?
Since the image becomes cropped in 4:3 the cam is only using about 82% of the available CCD area, compared to 16:9. The rest is thrown away, in effect a reduction of CCD size. But not as small as 1/4, which is a reduction to 75% compared with 1/3.

If the cam should use the whole CCD the optics must be redesigned to fit the 4:3 over the whole CCD.

But the inches isn't the whole story (as men always like to think... ;-) ), Sony has also made improvements to the CCD, so it's hard to compare new technology with old.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #13
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Ok perhaps I should stop worrying about the size then. It's what you do with etc.

:)
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Old August 26th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #14
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Bjorn is correct. IIRC, the Sony camera CCD's have a micro miniature lens that helps to focus light onto each pixel, thereby increasing light sensitivity. Also, the newer cameras such as the Sony HDV and the Canon XL2 have greatly improved noise reduction algorithms that take some of the taboo out of running the gain above 0 db.

-gb-
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