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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 12th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #1
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Head cleaning and cold weather reliability (Z1u)...

Just a couple of quick questions, I hope they can be answered quickly.

1. How often does the head need to be cleaned? I've been shooting with Sony DVM63HD cassettes only. My Z1U also came with a Sony head cleaning tape. Lately, I've noticed a few drop-outs here and there, but nothing serious. Also, how often can the Sony cleaning tape be used? Is it a dry tape, as no fluid came with it? (Sorry for the n00b questions)

2. Regarding cold weather reliability, I'm going to be heading out later this evening to capture footage of the 2006 Blizzard that has hit NYC. I've got a Petrol rain jacket over the camera and mic, but it's not insulated. Do I need to worry about using the camera for extended periods of time in freezing weather?

3. Sorry for this last question, but it just popped into my head. When the camera isn't being used for extended periods of time, is it OK to leave the tape in, or should I remove it?

Thanks in advance for your help.
James
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Old February 12th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #2
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It works fine in cold temperatures (20-32F) for me, but here it's DRY.

You should also be mindful when bringing a cold camera inside, causing condensation droplets to form. Put it in a sealed bag (even a garbage bag) before you bring it inside, and let it warm up before taking it out of the bag.

It may not be necessary to do that, you decide. Here in Denver, it's so dry it's not a concern. But the northeast is different.

It's easy to underexpose on snow. Give it some more exposure to keep the white stuff from looking gray on your video.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Tom... any opinion question #3?

Regards,
James
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #4
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I remove the tape after use. Whether or not this is really necessary anymore, or just compulsive habit I can't say.

In audio tape players of the day, it was a good thing to do because the playback heads could get magnetized from extended contact with the tape. With miniDV, I suspect the tape is withdrawn from the recording drum when it's shut off, even if you leave it in there.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #5
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As for head cleaner where I work we had a few Z1's which had some recording problems where in VCR mode playing back footage all you would see is a blue screen with TC rolling. Then when you held down the fast forward while in play you would see the picture with the time code. Spoke with a Tech. from Sony and he said after every five hours of video to run your head cleaner for about 5 seconds and since we began to incorporate this 5 hour rule everything has run great. As for the tapes where they were playing back blue screen with TC Sony Tech. said the tapes were ruined
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Old February 13th, 2006, 08:17 AM   #6
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I've only had my Z1 since last June, but have never cleaned the heads and haven't experienced any dropouts. No problem shooting outdoors this winter, including leaving the camera in the trunk of my car. I generally leave the tape in the camera all the time and have been doing the same for the last 4 years with all my Sony cameras.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John M. McCloskey
As for head cleaner where I work we had a few Z1's which had some recording problems where in VCR mode playing back footage all you would see is a blue screen with TC rolling. Then when you held down the fast forward while in play you would see the picture with the time code. Spoke with a Tech. from Sony and he said after every five hours of video to run your head cleaner for about 5 seconds and since we began to incorporate this 5 hour rule everything has run great. As for the tapes where they were playing back blue screen with TC Sony Tech. said the tapes were ruined
Thanks for the reply John. Can you reuse the cleaning tape, or does it have to be replaced once it reaches the end of its spool?
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Old February 13th, 2006, 01:07 PM   #8
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definitly do not reuse a head cleaner or ever rewind in a deck or camera which you intend to use. Head cleaners are a cheep investment and can be found at any Wal-mart. You can also buy some from places like tape on line which are good for 30 to 40 cleanings. Also, from what I understand it is bad for your heads to overuse a head cleaner. What I have been told is every 5 hours run the cleaner for about 5 seconds and never exceed 10 seconds, I guess it can wear the heads out.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #9
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As for cold weather I was in North Dakota this past January where it was -16 degrees F you could here trees popping and splitting it sounded like shotguns going off and the Z1 performed great. I think if we would have had the camera in the direct wind or the humidity would have been higher it probably would have frozen. The only thing I noticed was the LCD screen seemed to be in slow motion but all the footage turned out great. It was fun to try to find the buttons on the camera with frozen fingers, another tip buy some hot hands and put them in some thin gloves when videoing in the cold works like a charm.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #10
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Thanks again for all of your help and input John. It's very much appreciated.

Best regards,
James
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