To buy an HDRFX1 or not? 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 31st, 2005, 10:35 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 75
To buy an HDRFX1 or not?

Hi all,

I have a big question about this camera as well as your opinions on my situation and if i should go with a different camera OTHER than an FX1. I have a GL2 right now that produces pretty good quality for what I do, but I am looking to step up to the future with native 16:9 widescreen. I shoot Motocross races where bikes go by me super super fast as I get very close to them on the track. I would like to get the most out of my shots (i.e. color, lighting, etc. but mostly those), I also like to run a high shutter speed, but on my Canon I only run it at 4000. My question is do you believe this camera is good for close up shooting at with high speed riders going by/coming at me? I am very interested in the picture quality, but I need something that will fit my shooting.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
If you would like to check out some of the work I have done, go to www.tsrmxvideos.com, but i can supply a direct link to my latest video here: http://www.tsrfilms.com/videos/redbud.8.28.05.wmv to get a feel for what i am doing.

Thanks,
Ben

Last edited by Ben Bixby; September 1st, 2005 at 12:28 AM.
Ben Bixby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 02:43 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 65
I cant compare with a GL2, since I've never tried it myself.

Generally speaking a FX1 would be a step up with HD resolution and native widescreen. I think you will be amazed with the optics and image resolution of this cam, and that the bikes will look really good. It can do 1/10000, but of course that requires a really bright scene (strong daylight), or you will need to use a lot of gain, which adds to the noise in the image. I've shot some at 1/10000 myself and it produces extremely sharp motion, although somewhat difficult for the mpeg compression to handle when much is going on in the scene. It can become blocky, but this is normally only visible in still frames, not when played up on a monitor.

In extreme cases, when you need to zoom and adjust focus really fast on those bikes coming at you (for example due to a big iris and fast shutter combination), you should know that all optics are servo controlled, and respond a fraction of a second after you turn the rings. Normally this is not an issue at all, but I just wanted you know.

Although pretty useless for fast paced random action, you should take a look at the "shot transition" function. If you can anticipate the action well enough, this could perhaps take care of some difficult cam operations for you. For instance keeping zoom and focus on a bike coming at you full speed.
Bjorn Moren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 05:56 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 611
Ben, consider, if HD is necessary for you, that the MPEG2 compression the FX1 uses for HD is very good, but its weakness is high speed movement in rapidly changing shots, and your intention to use high shutter speeds will exacerbate the compression issues. As Bjorn says, in most cases it won't be too noticable (especially when downscaled to standard def ), but it could mount up as you go to DVD. it just so happens that the VASST website has some motocross footage in High Def that you could look at, generally it's of a high quality compression wise but in a couple of shots (for example in a clip where loads of dirt flies straight into the camera) you can see the compression starts to become more noticable.

It might be worth renting an FX1 for a couple of jobs and seeing how it works out for you before buying one.
__________________
Shorts::Cut - www.shortscut.org.uk
The Short Film Festival for Portsmouth & Southsea.
Dylan Pank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 07:18 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Posts: 1,418
I've owned both and still have the FX1. I've purposely panned faster than normal to test the FX1's "mpeg movement issue" and I see none! If you simply shoot at the highest shutter speed available under the lighting conditions- I'm sure you're motosports footage will be fine. The switch to HDV and 16:9 native should be another bonus for you and potential customers as it wont be outdated anytime soon.

As for the "fast movement issue" in all honesty- I haven't seen it yet. Perhaps with slow shutter speeds or in auto mode where slow shutter speeds might be automatically chosen, there might be issues where the mpeg compression breakup is visible- but I haven't personally seen it with my unit. We know it exsists as there are samples and posts attesting to it, but if you're prepared and know how to get around it- I think the FX1 makes a good sportscam.

PS- Although I haven't shot in DV mode- people have posted that the FX1 is easily a match for GL's, DVC's etc in regular DV mode. You can always shoot in DV and grow with the camera and know you'll have a camera that's ready for HDV when you are!

Good luck.
__________________
Steve Nunez-New York City
www.stevenunez.com
Steve Nunez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 10:18 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 128
Steve,

How are slow pan shots or crane shots where the camera does not follow any object. Like a pan across a landscape. What happen to the details of the landscape.
Maheel Perera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 12:53 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 75
You guys are awesome! Thanks for the info! This definitley helps in my thoughts about getting one, and I was also thinking into the future for HDV shooting and the option of DV shooting (being switchable), so that I still had that option in the future. Thanks for the links, and info!

-Ben
Ben Bixby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 01:34 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Posts: 1,418
I'll pan across something detailed like a tree or grassfield and report what I find. I know I was concerned about the posts that spoke of fast action breakup as a result of the mpeg compression method and the interlacing when images changed drastically from one moment to another. The type of GOP scheme (HDV1080i) the Sony uses supposedly has a hard time when images change tremendously from one moment to the next where the GOP messes up because of drastic image cahnges from one frame to the next and it can't reconstruct the missing frames- all I can say is that in my LIMITED use of my personal camera- I haven't seen it happen: individual results will vary!
__________________
Steve Nunez-New York City
www.stevenunez.com
Steve Nunez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 01:38 PM   #8
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
I think the camera is a pretty good insurance policy. If DV dies and HDV replaces it, you're covered. If not, you've got a quality 16:9 DV camera too.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2nd, 2005, 10:01 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Posts: 1,418
Here's a 1/2 res video shot today with the FX1 panning the sky/treescape following radio control helicopters- pretty demanding of the FX1- it did really well!

H.264 codec- so you'll need the latest Apple Quicktime Player

http://www.stevenunez.com/videos/IvanHeli.mov
Right-click and "Save As" (don't try to play inline w/browser)

(highly compressed- but shows the FX1 does well with pans)
__________________
Steve Nunez-New York City
www.stevenunez.com
Steve Nunez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3rd, 2005, 09:31 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 547
The thing to understand about HDV is that if you try desperately to break the MPEG-2 format, the very worst you'll do will be equivalent to DV compression. In other words: the picture quality is not likely to be worse than DV ever when shooting HDV. It may not always exceed DV, but you won't lose anything for shooting the format.*

*This is based upon observations of my own, deliberately doing zoomed whip pans with a 1/10000 s shutter. When compared at similar magnification do DV footage, while artefacts differed, the net effect was indisinguishable to me. This statement is also by no means a pure fact - only a personal observation. You will be best off doing your own tests to confirm satisfaction. It may be sufficient to state that HDV footage will appear superior in quality to any televised HD broadcast you've seen of similar sporting events, because the bandwidth is higher in HDV than on HD broadcast. Likewise, if you've been impressed with HD broadcasts, you'll be impressed by HDV with a carefully managed workflow.

-Steve
Steven White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3rd, 2005, 10:39 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 128
Steve

Thanks for the trouble taken. I am downloading.

Steven,

An interesting obsevation. Also very logical when one cosider the difference of resolution of HDV and DV. And from a person who is a Engineering Physics Ph. D candidate and a VFX hobbist.

Thanks Steven.
Maheel Perera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3rd, 2005, 11:08 AM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Gwaelod-y-garth, Cardiff, CYMRU/WALES
Posts: 1,215
Ben,
I use the XM2 as well as the FX1 - and most of my work is in SD at 16:9 for broadcast in the UK.
It's a great camera, but the only thing I miss is the tighter zoom on the XM2.
You're not going to get as close in on things with this camera as you do already with the Canon...
Apart from that, it's an awsome camera for the money!

Robin
Robin Davies-Rollinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 4th, 2005, 04:02 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Posts: 1,418
This clip is about as tuff as can be for HDV compression with 1080i. It shows a waterfall with constantly changing frame information yet the FX1 never missed a beat. Many people claim water is difficult for the FX1 to deal with as mpeg GOP compression starts to break up the images.........not to my eye- have a check:

:::compressed with H.264 at 1/2 resolution and 15fps at medium quality setting- I think you'll see the FX1 can handle movement and changing picture info pretty well:::

Download- right click and "save as"

http://www.stevenunez.com/videos/waterfall.mov
__________________
Steve Nunez-New York City
www.stevenunez.com
Steve Nunez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 20th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 50
I have the GL2 and the FX1 as well. Both cameras are sweet, and I agree with Robin about zoom(although I don't use zoom that much). You will enjoy working with this one! I have done quite a lot of passenger jet take-offs at very close ranges. Doing hand held speed pans, and tripod pans too. All my footage was smooth no weird effects in them. And deinterlacing in post produced a really great image. I know it isn't as fast as motocross in your face work, but should give you somewhat of an idea.

Also, Dylan has a good point too if you really want to experience it first hand. Rent one and decide. I think it comes down to personal preferences and what your own eyes see.
Sean Hansen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 20th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
I have a Sony FX1 and a Canon GL2, and the former completely blows away the latter in terms of image quality! I can't say how well HDV would handle recording a fast-moving motorcycle, but I shot some tennis footage recently at 1/1000 second shutter speed and the results look good to me, with the tennis ball perfectly frozen in mid-air in each individual image (i.e. each deinterlaced field). I also shot some test footage of cars driving past my house across the field of view of the camera, and at high shutter speed the wheel rims don't show any obvious motion or artifacting. (Cars on my street are typically traveling about 35-50 MPH.)

I concur with the recommendation to rent or borrow an HDV camera to test it for your specific purpose before buying one, but for general videography HDV is amazing for the price.
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 10:22 AM.


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