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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 January 25th, 2013, 07:53 AM   #1
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Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

Wedding videographer upgrading from SD to HD, just purchased an FX1000. My typical setup is this, this FX1000 would be set on tripod, wireless audio, headphones etc, and is my "main" camera. I use second camera handheld for wedding party and brides entrance. This second camera typically ends up with no more than 5-10 total minutes of coverage which is edited down to just a couple. My current setup is a pair of VX2100's. Question is this:

Could I get away with picking up an FX1 as a second camera for its limited usage and do you think the footage would "match" up ok?

I know the FX1000 is better in low light but I think ceremony's should be bright enough.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:28 PM   #2
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Could I get away with picking up an FX1 as a second camera for its limited usage and do you think the footage would "match" up ok?
The FX1 is essentially a widescreen standard definition camera with built-in upscaling to HD. Therefore, the image quality of the FX1 may look soft compared to the FX1000. However, after downconverting to SD for widescreen DVD the footage will match better. If the second camera is unmanned you may be better off using a tiny consumer camera with a good auto mode.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

Thanks Eric, the second camera is "manned" just for the few minutes of brides entrance. I had wondered if I could use a smaller camcorder, I have 2, a Canon Vixia HF R300 and also a Sony CX130. This would essentially eliminate the need for a second larger camera purchase!
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Old January 26th, 2013, 12:17 AM   #4
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

Your best bet will be something in the Sony cx5xx or cx7xx line. The other recent small Sonys have chips that are too small and the images aren't up to the FX1000's. Good deals can be had on the better small Sonys at B&H's Used Store and at Sony's Online Outlet Store.

The FX1 will indeed look softer by comparison, even when downscaled to DVD. Eric's description is somewhat misleading because it may leave the impression that the FX1 uses SD chips, which it does not, but his conclusion is correct that its HDV CCDs are noticeably softer than the HDV CMOS chips in the FX1000, even though their specifications are identical -- same resolution, same pixel count, etc.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; January 26th, 2013 at 01:13 AM.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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The FX1 will indeed look softer by comparison, even when downscaled to DVD. Eric's description is somewhat misleading because it may leave the impression that the FX1 uses SD chips, which it does not, but his conclusion is correct that its HDV CCDs are noticeably softer than the HDV CMOS chips in the FX1000, even though their specifications are identical -- same resolution, same pixel count, etc.
Right, the FX1 uses 1K chips in its imager which are about 1/2 way between an SD sensor and an HD sensor.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
I know the FX1000 is better in low light but I think ceremony's should be bright enough.
Get one of the latest sony cx7xx as a second camera, they have a much cleaner image at high gain and about the same low light performance then the fx1000.

they will match just fine with the fx1000.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #7
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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The FX1 will indeed look softer by comparison, even when downscaled to DVD. Eric's description is somewhat misleading because it may leave the impression that the FX1 uses SD chips, which it does not, but his conclusion is correct that its HDV CCDs are noticeably softer than the HDV CMOS chips in the FX1000, even though their specifications are identical -- same resolution, same pixel count, etc.
Adam, I'm not sure that the FX1/Z1 CCDs themselves have create a softer image than the current CMOS designs with the same photosite counts. I would put it down to the lens design, being intentionally tailored to the limitations of the first generation real-time MPEG2 chipset used in 2004.
'Pixel shift' in those days was a realistic design route to allow larger photosites and get better low-light performance whilst maintaining a higher effective recorded resolution. After all, one of the Z1's contemporaries, the Panasonic HVX200 had sensors with 960x540 resolution which was raised to an effective 1920x1080 24p by the same technique. That camera had far better recorded resolution because it had a lens designed to use the full performance of a professional encoder onboard.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 11:56 PM   #8
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Right, the FX1 uses 1K chips in its imager which are about 1/2 way between an SD sensor and an HD sensor.
Which are the exact same resolution chips as in the Z5, and no one is saying they aren't HD -- no one who knows anything about these, that is.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Adam, I'm not sure that the FX1/Z1 CCDs themselves have create a softer image than the current CMOS designs with the same photosite counts. I would put it down to the lens design, being intentionally tailored to the limitations of the first generation real-time MPEG2 chipset used in 2004.
'Pixel shift' in those days was a realistic design route to allow larger photosites and get better low-light performance whilst maintaining a higher effective recorded resolution. After all, one of the Z1's contemporaries, the Panasonic HVX200 had sensors with 960x540 resolution which was raised to an effective 1920x1080 24p by the same technique. That camera had far better recorded resolution because it had a lens designed to use the full performance of a professional encoder onboard.
This is a very credible explanation.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Which are the exact same resolution chips as in the Z5, and no one is saying they aren't HD -- no one who knows anything about these, that is.
It is definitely interesting that the FX1 and FX1000 have the same sensor resolution. I think Steve's idea that there was intentional softening in the FX1 taylored to the limitations of the first generation real-time MPEG2 chipsets makes sense. The image created by the FX1000 definitely looks good on bluray, regardless of what they BBC says about true HD cameras.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 11:45 PM   #11
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

So, just to stir up the pot and summarize, If I shot the brides entrance with a FX1 and rest of day/night with FX1000, would the difference in quality be noticeable, to the client that is? When we talk about matching are we talking about going back and forth between camera footage? Local Craigslist had has a sweet deal on a FX1.....
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Old January 29th, 2013, 02:40 AM   #12
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

Wedding clients won't even notice if you use a iphone as second camera, there are far better deals for about the same price then the fx1 (as a second camera) but since you seem to be determined to get one just go for it if you found a good deal on a fx1.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #13
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
So, just to stir up the pot and summarize, If I shot the brides entrance with a FX1 and rest of day/night with FX1000, would the difference in quality be noticeable, to the client that is? When we talk about matching are we talking about going back and forth between camera footage? Local Craigslist had has a sweet deal on a FX1.....
If you can get a good used FX1 than you will benefit from a camera that I think has good ergonomics (YMMV). I would use the FX1 when the lighting is better, and make use of the FX1000's better low light performance when necessary. Also, try to prevent any direct point source lighting falling on the FX1 lens otherwise it may cause vertical flares on the image.
You haven't said which NLE you are using, but I use Vegas Pro which handles HDV well even when the timeline is set for full HD. When the clips are on the timeline, you should colour match and adjust the dynamics of the clips to reduce the difference between the CCD and CMOS sensors.
Its true that there are better newer cameras available, but the FX1 is easy to use as it has all important controls as real switches/levers/buttons rather than requiring a mining expedition down through numerous touch screen menus, (I know, I have both an FX1E and a CX730).
As Noa says, the client probably wouldn't notice any difference between the two cameras' clips, but you might and may feel that it deserves some matching in post as I suggested.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #14
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

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... what they BBC says about true HD cameras.
Ah, so this is actually an anti-HDV screed, which makes it entirely off-topic and inappropriate for this thread, which is about whether one HDV cam will cut with another HDV cam.

The snooty elitist BBC white paper rejecting HDV has been thoroughly discredited, and they would never use the meaningless terms "True HD" or "Full HD", which are marketing jargon designed to fool gullible consumers and video newbies. They are meaningless because they have no real definition (pun intended) as they mean different things to different people. Some use them to refer to pixel count, others to color depth, or compression, or frame rate, or i vs. p.

HDV is HD. Period. Anything 720 lines or above is. It doesn't matter if it isn't HD enough for you, or if you'd prefer something H-erD. The people who officially defined the spec 30-odd years ago say so. It doesn't matter if the BBC doesn't like it or don't think it's good enough for their lofty standards. Discovery has been using HDV-tape for years on Deadliest Catch and other shows and has proven it looks better than fine if you know what you are doing.

As to the topic at hand, upon reflection I'm not convinced it was the optics of the FX1 that made it look softer than the FX1000. Having owned nearly every HDV cam Sony has made, I can tell you that both the FX7 and the HC3 -- both contemporaries of the FX1 -- were quite a bit sharper and punchier than the FX1, and no one would claim that their optics were vastly superior. The best you could say about the lens on the FX7 was that it was about as good as that of the FX1, but the HC3 had a tiny little plastic lens and no one would claim it was better than the glass on the FX1. Obviously the firmware could account for the punchier colors, but I still tend to think the sharpness difference could be due to the difference between CCD and CMOS.

But Noa's right -- clients likely won't notice. If you want an FX1, go get one. They're beautiful cams and easy to use. You could save quite a bit of money by picking up a used HC3, 7 or 9, but that's totally your choice.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #15
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Re: Combine footage from FX1 AND FX1000?

Thanks everyone, great advice as always !!
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