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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 March 28th, 2006, 07:39 PM   #1
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Well it's that time for me to camera hunt. I came across this link http://www.ear.net/media/EAR_HDV_Comparison.pdf as another comparison.

Since weddings is the bulk of my focus at the moment, I'm wondering if I save money with the fx1 and the buy all the extra equipment, i.e. xlr adapter, if I would be back up closer to the Z1u.

I'm just thinking out loud, but I did want to post the link.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #2
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There are some things which you can't "add" to make the FX1 like the Z1. Some of the major ones which might be important:

PAL/NTSC switchable
DVCAM recording
underscan mode for LCD/viewfinder
black stretch
cinematone type 2
color correction functions
choice of peaking colors
timecode functions
4:3 crop when downconverting
more user buttons

In my case, I needed to shoot PAL as well as NTSC so there was only one choice. I also needed to be able to deliver PAL DVCAM master tapes while in South America without a deck.

I find the black stretch feature really nice, and the underscan mode on the LCD is also very handy. But the FX1 is a great deal if you don't need any of these things.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #3
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I got the Z1 over the FX1 just for the underscan mode. I was sick of not being able to see the full frame on the LCD.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 06:52 AM   #4
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Yeah, I'm just doing my budget, I have exsisting extra gear such as mics, dollys and stuff. So I'd only need the camera and tripod and an extra battery. I love my Gl2, but I want to have a camera as a back up, so my plan is to purchase a little into the future, (HD) and use my GL2 as a back up camera.

An extra 1k is just a big thing to chew on.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 07:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steven Davis
So I'd only need the camera and tripod and an extra battery.
You might want more than one extra battery. The one which comes with the camera is tiny. There's a recent thread on this topic here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=62765

Some people claim they get 2 hours from that battery but I remain very skeptical (I just don't use the original at all) - I'd only assume an hour of continuous use to play it safe.

The NPF-970 is the biggest battery and although I've never run one completely dead I'd guess you could get close to 5 hours on it. But it takes a long time to recharge on the external charger that came with my Z1.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #6
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Hi
While there is an undeniable upgrade between the Z1 and the FX1 you have to ask yourself, are you really going to need the different functions, as you'll get essentially the same picture, and with the audio adapter most people agree you can't really hear the difference:

1) PAL/NTSC switchable: Only useful if you move between Europe and the US
2) DVCAM recording: If you record in HDV and downconvert this is of no use.
3) underscan mode for LCD/viewfinder: Yes agreed has can be important... but careful shooting and experience using the camera, can over come this to a large extent.
4) black stretch: Probably the most useful aspect other than the native XLRs
5) cinematone type 2 : I think I can live without this
6) color correction functions: Can be done in post
7) choice of peaking colors: agreed at times would be nice as the FX peaking is near invisible.
8) timecode functions: Again no use to me, but can see the importance to others
9) 4:3 crop when downconverting:Would be useful at times but so far have worked around and don't plan on doing any 4:3, as I've never liked the format.
10) more user buttons: Yes would like to be able to assign white balance presets but not a major problem...

If I could afford it I would no doubt get a Z1 but from a purely shooting point of view I can't see I'd get a grand more camera for what I do... horses for courses... I spent the extra cash on tripod, mics, filters etc.. which I'll be able to use with my next camera too, whatever that might be.

cheers
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:35 AM   #7
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Thinking out loud more, hope it helps someone else.

Well,

I talked to Shawn at BH, and got a few questions answered.

If I were to buy an HD cam, then I have to use it or an HD deck to transfer. Which both options are less than desirable since I don't like using the camera for a deck and a deck is well, priced almost as much as the camera.

So if I would purchase the Z1 or Fx1, for now I would shoot in DV until more funds rolled around for a deck. Shawn also said that the HD cameras are not as good in low light. Does the low light improve if the HD camera is used in DV mode?

Again, I'm thinking outloud, thanks to anyone that reads my thoughts. I have read a lot in this section. I'll read it all again.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins
I spent the extra cash on tripod, mics, filters etc.. which I'll be able to use with my next camera too, whatever that might be.

cheers
Gareth
Gareth, did you get the Fx1?
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:44 AM   #9
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Yes I did..actually before the Z1 became available... but would make the same choice now...

cheers
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
If I were to buy an HD cam, then I have to use it or an HD deck to transfer. Which both options are less than desirable since I don't like using the camera for a deck and a deck is well, priced almost as much as the camera.

So if I would purchase the Z1 or Fx1, for now I would shoot in DV until more funds rolled around for a deck. Shawn also said that the HD cameras are not as good in low light. Does the low light improve if the HD camera is used in DV mode?
Hi Steve,
I've not had any problems downconverting from the camera...works fine. The Z1/FX1 are not as good as the PD170 and co in low light.. but they are not that bad and the gain up to 12db is virtually noiseless...
Also if you read Adam Wilts site he maintains that you can drop to 1/30 in HDV and this is only marginally lower quality in SD... ie. you don't get the loss of resolution you would with a regular SD camera.
Not ideal but these are wonderful cameras...

For my shooting if the light is that low then it will be poor quality anyway, so I try to add lighting...

Regards
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins
Hi Steve,

Also if you read Adam Wilts site he maintains that you can drop to 1/30 in HDV and this is only marginally lower quality in SD... ie. you don't get the loss of resolution you would with a regular SD camera.


Regards
Gareth

So it would not be too painful shooting in DV, then using my old DV deck to transfer.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
An extra 1k is just a big thing to chew on.
But please do consider it as an investment. Spend a few months renting a crane instead of purchasing, or hold off the purchase of a radio mic. The extra mile that the Z1 goes to is, IMHO, worth it - even if it doesn't appear to be so straight off.

Once you get to shooting with black stretch on HDV as standard, then downconverting to 4:3 DV for ingest, that's when the mere $1k seems pennies compared to the flexibility and saleability to clients.

Look at it this way: the FX-1 is an expensive luxury for those who are trading up to the very limit of their budget. The Z1 is a bargain for those who would have considered bigger kit.

There's a part of me that imagines some suit in Sony kicking himself for making it only $1k more expensive. :-)
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Steven Davis
Does the low light improve if the HD camera is used in DV mode?
Well the it's still the same camera no matter which mode you use. There is one thing which can help in DV mode however. You can shoot at 1/30 sec (1/25 PAL) and gain an extra stop without losing any resolution like you would on Sony's SD cameras. At 1/30 second all the Sony cameras do field doubling where you lose half the vertical resolution. But on the Z1/FX1 the field doubling is done at HD resolution and then downsampled, so you should still have the full 480 vertical lines. Of course 1/30 sec shutter speed has a slightly different look to it than 1/60.

Yeah, if you want to capture an HDV tape you need to use either the camera or an HDV deck which should go without saying :-) Personally, I don't have a problem with this for the amount of shooting that I do, although whenever I shoot SD I use an old camera for capture. But I think the image looks better when captured as HDV and downconverted to DV in-camera, I especially notice a bit more detail in wide shots.

Gareth: I agree with all your points. It's important that people really consider them all with regard to the types of work they do - or might want to do in the future. Like I said, I only got the Z1 because I needed a PAL camera. In fact, I wouldn't have gotten an HD camera at all last year if that project hadn't come along, so the FX1 was never even on my list. But the FX1 is a lot of camera for the price, and in many cases it will be a much more practical choice from an economic point of view.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #14
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Hi Steve,

I have actually used an older mini DV camera to load SD stuff to Premiere Pro with no problem...

Naturally if you shoot HDV it'll need to be either imported as such, downconverted on camera or imported and downconverted in post... either way you'll need to use the camera as a deck or as you say splash out on a separate HD deck.... personally I don't have a problem using the camera.

I'm not sure if Adam's affirmation holds true in standard DV...

cheers
Gareth
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Old March 29th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #15
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Thank you.

Thanks all, I'm going to be reasearching money now because I like the idea of investing in the future. Not that I have a desire, but I imagine the Z1 would have more flexibility for other video projects such as local commercials etc. If I was to move that way.

But do like weddings, I know, I'm crazy, but they are fun, and I want to provide quality. That's the reason I was looking at the Z1 which is above the median for what most people use for weddings around here.
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