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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 February 13th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #16
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Ben - good posts. One question -Do you think firmware could turn a z1 into a 60p dvcam ? thanks -Kurth
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Old February 14th, 2006, 02:14 AM   #17
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What would be really nice is to have a firmware upgrade that would encode mpeg 4 streams at 20mbps or so.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #18
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Kurth Bousman and Robert M Wright, the answer on both remarks is: not possible.

Going from 60 fps interlaced to 60 fps progressive doubles the data rate. There's no way to record 60p with DV or DVCam. The JVC HD100 records 480/60p in HDV though.

Regarding MPEG 4: I firmly believe that the HDV (aka MPEG 2) compressor inside the Z1 or FX1 is implemented in hardware given the fact that no Desktop CPU can compress an HD stream to 25 mbit/s MPEG2 in realtime at this time. Besides, the benefits for MPEG 4 are mostly to be found in the low data rate region.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 09:31 AM   #19
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I'm certainly not holding my breath for Sony to come out with a firmware upgrade for the FX1/Z1 to provide MPEG 4 compression! Even if it was possible, it would never happen (that would be even more of a political feat than a technical one, to redo the HDV standards that radically!). I'm not so sure MPEG 2 compression on 1080i material couldn't be done with a desktop processor. Those dual core Athlons appear to pack quite a punch (apparently AMD leaped ahead of Intel in the dual cores for video compression speeds). I haven't used one yet, but I am looking forward to the day I build my first dual core Athlon computer. Hopefully, in a few months. I have to finish up three computers first though! (one for my mother, one for my eldest son and one for my grandaughter are the current projects)
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Old February 14th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #20
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I agree with Ben on all comments.
Via firmware no one can do it, you have to change so many devices on your Z1 that best you can do is save your money and buy another camera.
The purpose of this thread seems a joke, by the way.

But there is one thing I would like to know the opinion of Ben, despite this is not exactly the right forum and thread.

Ben, I have a Sony A1 as a 'B camera'. This camera is sold by Sony as a 'pro' camera, but it has a big 'mistake' (in fact this is not a mistake, it's the irritating way that Sony uses to protect higher markets from lower markets): one can not see at which f-stop is shooting while you are in record mode, but you can see at which f-stop was shoot the footage when it's in play mode. Unbelievable but true.
In this case, I'm almost sure that it can be fixed by firmware, but of course Sony is not going to do it. We (the owners of this model) will have to do it as soon as the guarantee expires.
What do you think about it? Can it be done?
Thanks for your help.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #21
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To all you guys, I'm talking about MPEG-4 AVC otherwise known as H.264
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Old February 15th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #22
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Jack, what you're talking about is purely a daydream.

Almost the whole camera - from the CCDs all the way to the output stages - would have to be replaced, redesigned or reconfigured. (Probably the lens and the tape transport would be the only things that wouldn't get replaced.)

The only chance for what you're talking about would be some kind of Andromeda style mod and breakout unit, taping directly into the CCDs, which would then apply a bob/weave de-interlace before dumping to somekind of non linear random Access storage (flash memory or hard disc).

The MPEG2 encoders in the Sonys are hardware units, not like a PC or a DVB box where you can just update with a new codec when one gets a released (decoding is generally far less processor intensive than encoding anyway and can be handled in software with a generic processor much more easily.)
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Old February 15th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #23
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Obviously, there is no way it will ever be practical to upgrade a FX1 or Z1 to using a MPEG-4 compression codec (I guess you never know what some nut, with to much money and time on their hands, might do in a laboratory though), but I sure would like to see one of the serious camcorder manufacturers (Sony, JVC, Canon, Panasonic) take a closer look at that Sanyo camcorder. That may be a "toy" camcorder, but if what I'm reading is correct, it does represent a remarkable technical achievement.
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