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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 November 10th, 2005, 08:40 PM   #1
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Sony FX1 Info?

Hello,
I'm new to the group and just thought I would ask if you guys liked your camera's. Of course, the most part of you may because I am in your forum but if you had a chance to do it over again would you purchase this camera or another being in the same price range? Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks much guys!

-Alfonso
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Old November 10th, 2005, 08:51 PM   #2
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I'm very happy with my FX1 and wouldn't trade it for any similarly priced DV camera. I'm still learning the ins and outs of using the camera and editing and encoding the footage, but my enthusiasm hasn't dimmed as I deal with all that. When I play FX1 footage directly to my HDTV it looks great, standard DVDs look better than from my old DV camera, and even my web video samples seem to look a little better. I really like the true widescreen format of HDV, and may produce all future videos in this format.

All things considered it's still early to be dealing with HD/widescreen video, but it's clearly the way all video is heading in the long run.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 11:01 PM   #3
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I have the Sony Z1 and I love it. Nothing I see coming out from JVC, Panasonic, or Cannon has made me wish that I made a different choice. The Sony Z1 is a great HDV camera at a great price. I assume the FX1 experience is similar.

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Old November 11th, 2005, 05:09 AM   #4
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I'm loving my Z1. It has everything I need in a camera. There are a few issues with the camera you may want to know about:

1. The LCD screen doesn't show the full vertical image. Since most people will be watching the footage on a 4:3 TV (letterboxed), they will see the full vertical frame. This can be a hassle if you don't have a portable monitor.

2. Non-fixed aperture lense. When zoomed out all the way, your greatest aperture is F1.6. When zoomed in all the way, it's F2.8. This is like most cameras in the price range. It's only really a problem when you're shooting in very dark situations or you're trying to achieve a shallow depth of field.

3. It takes a really long time to start recording sometimes. If you leave the camera on for awhile without recording, it can take as long as almost 10 seconds for it to start when you hit record. If you're in a controlled environment, this isn't a huge problem.

4. The audio seems to be a bit quiet when you leave it on auto. Put it to manual whenever possible. I was right in front of a guy speaking to the camera with a shotgun mic mounted on it (3 feet away from the speaker) and it was picking up -30dB. However, it was really clean so I was able to boost it no problem.

That said, I still love my camera. Lightweight, awesome zoom ring, great HDV and SD results and a good choice down the road. Good luck in your decision!
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Old November 11th, 2005, 06:25 AM   #5
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Really? It can take 10 seconds to drop into record? This is scary news for anyone contemplating getting one for wedding and real-time event photography. Can you expand more on your findings Mark, as the Z1 is high on my list.

tom.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #6
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Mark,

What shotgun mic are you using, I tried a sennheiser one but was very dispointed, it was very plastic feeling like and the sound was very AM radio type.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 11:53 AM   #7
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I've never used it on my camera, but there's a menu option on the Z1 for "quick record." The manual says that when you turn it on
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The time shortens slightly until recording restarts from the state that the drum has stopped rotating, but the transition from the last recorded scene may not be as smooth. Select this when you do not want to miss a recording chance
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Old November 12th, 2005, 06:43 AM   #8
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It may take up to 10 seconds if the tape mechanism has been stopped (it powers down automatically to preserve the heads and the tape). This occurs after several minutes of inactivity. Normal start times are shorter, but still a bit longer than instant-on DV cameras.

Be aware that the "Quick Rec" option mentioned above will cause timecode breaks.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #9
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Thanks guys with your info. I believe I will really start looking around now. I currently have the Canon XL1 and I've had it for about 6 months, barely getting into video. I love the look and the options, however, many of my friends are flossing their HD cams. =) I know feel it may be time to move on. Thanks for all your help guys.

-Alfonso
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Old November 13th, 2005, 04:03 PM   #10
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What Ben said is right - it only takes that long when the VTR goes into standby. If you've just been recording and you stop for a moment, it will only take about a second to record again.

I don't know what mic I was using because it was my friend's. However, since I posted my last message, I realized I had some of the audio settings wrong which quite likely affected things.

In all honesty, your best bet for figuring out if this is the camera for you is to get your hands on one. Matrix, a video equipment store with locations in Saskatoon and Regina, SK and Calgary and Edmonton, AB, shipped a Z1 from Calgary for me to try out. There should be somewhere local that will let you do the same.

Some people have complained about timecode breaks, but I haven't yet had one. I've recorded at least 15 hours of HDV footage over the past month and only had one dropout (which occurred on an old tape).

And Alfonso, the XL1 is a great camera! Don't feel the need to upgrade unless you're wanting more than it can do.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 04:58 PM   #11
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The main thing is i want to experiment with lens adaptors and matteboxes. I feel like I may waste that money if I spend it on my XL1 because it's not hd. I love the camera, mostly because it is my first high-end camera(not used to all the options). The main problem is I'm doing some work for a church right now with it and thats really the only thing making me keep it for now because I need to finish this on the same camera and I'm more than halfway done. If I can get a good deal on matteboxes and lens I may do it now, if not, i'd rather drop it on something I know for a fact will look great for awhile.
Thanks much.
-Alfonso
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Old November 15th, 2005, 02:26 AM   #12
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As the XL1 and the Z1 both have 72 mm filter threads (as does the DVX100B), anything you buy for the Canon (matt boxes, auxillary lenses etc) should carry over to the Z1. As there's no such thing as a special HDV converter lens you can go shopping now.

Matt boxes should ideally match the aspect ratio of the footage, so it'll be 4:3 on the Canon but 16:9 on the Sony. Make sure you get one that can be altered to suit.

tom.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 02:11 PM   #13
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I really don't like the mic/audio on the FX1. I think Fisher Price builds better mics!!! Other than that I am satisfied with the FX1. Once you go HDV you'll never want to go back to DV.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #14
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Yeah, the mic is horrible for picking up voices. However, I tape lots of live shows (bands) and it works amazingly well!

Also, if you're looking at getting a mattebox, take a side look at the camera - the mic might get in the way.
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