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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 October 4th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #1
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HDR-FX1 Good Long Term Investment?

Hi all. I've worked on 4 or 5 weddings for family and friends this past year and have been using the HDR-HC1. The results have turned out really great! I'm now currently working with two HDR-HC1s for muliple view shots etc but was considering investing in my third cam (which would of course become my main cam) with the FX1.

What i'm wondering is if the quality different between the Main Cam FX1 and the HC1s will be such a big difference. I'm hoping they are not too far apart in quality that the FX1 will make my HC1s not even worth using during the video editing process. Can anyone give me some feedback?

Also, would an investment in an FX1 now be wise? By summer 2006, will a newer version of the FX1 be out from Sony or will the FX1 be around for 2-3 years before they update the model? The price has come down from when the FX1 first came out so is it expected that the camera might drop down even more?...possibly to just a little over $2000 or is about $2800 or so about as low as it'll get?

Thanks for the help all!
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Old October 4th, 2005, 05:59 PM   #2
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Keep in mind that neither Canon, nor Panasonic have announced a competitor for the FX1, and that the JVC low-end cameras have a pretty shoddy reputation at this point.

The real question I'd have if I was you is if the low-light ability and extra manual controls would be worth the increase in price to you over the HC1. You might be better off considering the A1U as well.

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Old October 4th, 2005, 06:29 PM   #3
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From what people who own both cameras say, the video quality from both the Sony's are similar and should intemix well. The FX1 is better in low light but in good light they both should mix well with no problems.

As for an investment- like Steven said earlier- there really is no competitor to the FX1 right now- well have to wait and see what Canon releases as their GL2 HDV spec model.

The FX1 is quite a bit bigger than seems in photos- I have both the FX1 and HD10u and find the 10U's smaller size perfect for candid travel as where the FX1 is a more purposeful camera (if that makes sense.)

The FX1 is a fantastic camera- go for it if the finances allow- you'll like it.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #4
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As others have said, there really is nothing that competes with the FX1 right now. Its price is so much lower than the other cameras (1/3 the cost of the Canon, 1/2 the cost of the Panasonic and JVC) that it really has a market segment all to itself.

Have you seen one in person though? The HC1 is *tiny* compared to the FX1 -- the FX1 is a beefy little camera. If you're happy with what you're getting now from the HC1's, you should probably be plenty happy with what the FX1 does.

Quote:
By summer 2006, will a newer version of the FX1 be out from Sony or will the FX1 be around for 2-3 years before they update the model?
Well, nobody can predict what Sony will do. All we can do is look at their track record and see what they have done in the past. The VX1000 was on the market for about four years before it was replaced by the VX2000. The VX2000 was on the market for about three years before it was replaced by the VX2100.

Now, the FX1 could be thought of as a VX2100 replacement maybe, if you're so inclined to think that way. And I think the VX2100 was on the market for only about a year before the FX1 came out (dates are getting fuzzy here). But it's not really a direct replacement; it's the first of a whole new product line.

I would think that it would be quite surprising if Sony were to replace the FX1 as early as Summer 2006. I expect it will probably be a current model for at least another year or year and a half.

Now, as someone mentioned elsewhere, a Canon GL3 is a distinct possibility. However, if you're looking for something to match your existing HC1's, I would wager the FX1 would be the best bet.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #5
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Cameras will always change (newer models, better tech) you could go on chasing it forever.

The Sony VX1K lasted how long? (and its probably still being used), so to answer your question it will probably be around for a long time.

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Old October 5th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #6
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HDR-FX1 Good Long Term Investment?

I bought my first Sony VX1000 in 1997 paid for it $3500 the same year bought an Avid Media Composer 1000 paid for it $65000 US Cy
My VX 1000 coul easily fetch now $1000 my Avid no more than $2000
Compared with Non linear equipment my camera has been a much better investment and I still use it along with my PD 170 and HVR-Z1 I would say that this kind of cameras are very wise investments
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Old October 5th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #7
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constant use

Thanks for the feedback everyone! With perhaps a once or twice a week 10 hour use, will these cameras last us a good while? Thanks!
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Old October 5th, 2005, 12:17 PM   #8
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I think HDV probably is going to eventually replace DV, although not for a long time. So in my opinion it would be a good investment. Sony seems to evolve their cameras for a few years before replacing them. The VX1000, as noted above, was their first 3 chips DV camera and it lasted several years. The VX2000 was better, but it certainly didn't make the 1000 obsolete. It had a cleaner picture and some improvements. When the VX2100 came out, it was not much different at all from the 2000, except for minor improvements. Same with the PD150 when it became the PD170--same chips but minor improvements. In their professional cameras they do the same thing. The DSR500 evolved into the 500/L1, then the 570. You would not be able to tell the difference in image between the 3 models, but each one had some nice improvements. Same with the 300 series.

So I would say, yeah, it probably would be a good thing for you. Especially since you already have the single chip model. My guess is that the VX2100/PD170 will be the last non-HDV cameras Sony makes in that 1/3" chip market. But that's just my guess. Who knows what lurks deep within the bowels of the marketing gurus. Once they consider a market to be "mature," then they always seem to come up with something new to keep us enslaved to our credit cards and bank loans.

As far as longevity for the number of hours you mentioned, Sony estimates head life on the DSR500 to be 1500 hours, and from what I've seen of the smaller cameras, they should get the same or close. I've never seen chips wear out, and heads can be replaced. At your rate of use, the camera should last until well into the next format revolution.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 12:46 PM   #9
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thanks for the info Bill

Thanks alot for that info Bill. All signs point to investing in an FX1. Darn you all! j/k Thanks again!
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Old October 5th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #10
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as others have said any new FX1 would be a slight improvement ( based on history of other sony cameras) ... IMO there is a bigger image difference between the FX1 and HC1 then any future improvement to the FX1 and it's repalcement ... there should not be a problem getting FX1 and HC1 to cut together on clips that have enough light ...

long term investment = hummmmmmm to me investment means you get a return on your $$ ( it grows ) .. so if you are making $$ ( or near breaking even) and the 3rd camera will improve your product ( either because you need 3rd camera plus it can get a better image in lower light- so you use it for those sections ) and because of your 3 camera coverage clients want you ..then it is a good investment ... if you are losing $$ then you have to rethink the "investment" ...
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Old October 5th, 2005, 04:42 PM   #11
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i just purchased a used fx1 for about the same price that i purchased my original new gl2. when i think of it in those terms, the fx1 does not seem terribly expensive for what i hope it will deliver, even though, at the time of the gl2 purchase, it seemed like a boatload of cash. it is amazing how my perspective on what constitutes "expensive" shifted once i started purchasing video gear!
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Old October 5th, 2005, 07:56 PM   #12
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The DSR-250 has just been discontinued....that leaves only the PD-170 in PRO. 1/3" 3-ccd chip SONY market. Of course they have smaller consumer 3-chip cameras.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I think HDV probably is going to eventually replace DV, although not for a long time. So in my opinion it would be a good investment. Sony seems to evolve their cameras for a few years before replacing them. The VX1000, as noted above, was their first 3 chips DV camera and it lasted several years. The VX2000 was better, but it certainly didn't make the 1000 obsolete. It had a cleaner picture and some improvements. When the VX2100 came out, it was not much different at all from the 2000, except for minor improvements. Same with the PD150 when it became the PD170--same chips but minor improvements. In their professional cameras they do the same thing. The DSR500 evolved into the 500/L1, then the 570. You would not be able to tell the difference in image between the 3 models, but each one had some nice improvements. Same with the 300 series.

So I would say, yeah, it probably would be a good thing for you. Especially since you already have the single chip model. My guess is that the VX2100/PD170 will be the last non-HDV cameras Sony makes in that 1/3" chip market. But that's just my guess. Who knows what lurks deep within the bowels of the marketing gurus. Once they consider a market to be "mature," then they always seem to come up with something new to keep us enslaved to our credit cards and bank loans.

As far as longevity for the number of hours you mentioned, Sony estimates head life on the DSR500 to be 1500 hours, and from what I've seen of the smaller cameras, they should get the same or close. I've never seen chips wear out, and heads can be replaced. At your rate of use, the camera should last until well into the next format revolution.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 08:36 AM   #13
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B&H still has lots of 250s, and the 570 and 400 and 450 are still selling. The 450 only came out this year, so it would seem Sony still has a commitment to DVCAM. Even so, I don't think I would spend big money on a DVCAM camera these days.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 10:03 AM   #14
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Fx1 and 24p?

Can anyone speculate on what the chances are that whenever the FX1 gets upgraded that it will have the 24p mode that many people have been wanting?
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Old October 6th, 2005, 10:24 AM   #15
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always happy to speculate! i doubt it will happen at the current price point, but for $100, you can purchase filters which will deliver 24fps quality in post. i think the fx1 and nattress filters will keep me happy for awhile, at least until HDV becomes a standard, prices drop, and more options become available, but i believe that's sorta off in the future. and i want to take a whack at HDV now without breaking the bank.
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