Rented z1 for test with xl2-questions. at DVinfo.net

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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 April 8th, 2006, 07:01 AM   #1
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Rented z1 for test with xl2-questions.

I have the Z1 till Monday am, and hope to deceide whether I'll buy one as a second camera. I've been shooting for a while with the XL2, and want to check out comapatbility in look, color, etc.In addition to the great image of the Z1 (plus hdv option), I like the smaller size as a second camera.
Here are my questions so far.
1-White balance- from the manual it looks like the only auto white balance choice is either indoors or out doors. The XL2 also has a global wb...is there one on the Z1? (Of course I'll be manually wb ing both cams for my tests).
2- Gain- In changing light situations with the XL2, I sometimes use tv mode, or at least switch manually between o gain and auto gain. Can you switch to auto gain on the Z1, still keeping everything else in manual? The Sony manual is confusing on this.
3-PP- When you go into a setting and hit "reset"- Does this return the setting of the PP to factory default?
4- I LOVE the lcd...I can actually focus with it! But how do you use the viewfinder? i'm used to the shoulder mount, so I guess I'd need the shoulder mount brace to use the viewfinder.I tried it with a "spider brace" but the viewfinder was higher than my head and the lcd was too close to my eyes.
5-Hand held-I assume (other than tripod) a lot of people use the z1 hand held. I didn't do any shooting yet, but when I hand held it last night, I seemed to have a hard time keeping the image level (wasit to chest high shots)
I'd really like to hear from some experienced users, especially on the ergon omics of how you hold and shoot with this camera.
Thanks
Bruce Yarock
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Old April 9th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #2
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Hi Bruce! Writing this on a crummy public terminal at the airport on my way home from the Great DVinfo HD Texas Shootout... sorry need to keep this brief....

1. WB - you choose either indoor or out door preset from the menu and that's what you get with the switch in the preset position. For settings A&B, put the switch in tha position, point at a white or neutral gray target and push the button to create a custom setting. But personally I prefer to keep the preset in the outdoor mode. Then go to the menu for setting the user buttons and program one for outdoor WB shift up and another button for outdoor WB shift down. Now with the switch in preset position pushing each of those buttons will shift WB either up or down by about 500K (IIRC). This makes it really easy to tweak balance to taste either outdoors on inside. Not really scientific but I find it VERY handy, especially in situations with mixed sources like flourescent, incandescent or daylight.


2. Gain - push the gain button to toggle between manaul and auto gain. I don't use auto gain very often, so I can't answer 100% whether it affects the other parameters, but I don't think it does.

3. Yes, the PP reset restores eveything to the default, just like you weren't using a PP at all.


4. The only time I ever use the VF is when shooting towards the bright sun outside. I prefer the LCD for everything personally, and the transreflective aspect of that screen is a phenomenal feature that has not been discussed much.

5. I'm not crazy about handheld, but it's no worse on the Z1 than any other handycam sort of camcorder. I have the video innovators shoulder rest which works pretty well. But I find it easiest to use with the LCD screen instead of the viewfinder.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info, Boyd.
I spent most of the day yesterday fiddling with it (the Z1, that is) and trying to match it with the XL2. I used default PP2, with some minor tweaks. I found the Z1 to be more saturated,and a bit more brown than the XL2. I had to use the "sat. tech" preset (posted on dvinfo) on the XL2, and both cameras matched up fairly well.
Thanks for the wb shortcut tip. If I buy one, I'll set that up. I do try to manually wb when I have the time.
I love the lcd, but I used it last night in a low light situation, and the color I saw wasn't exactly what I ended up with. But all in all, it's great. the lcd makes handheld a lot easier, but there's no way I could shoot hand held without some kind of stabilizer.
I figured out the gain business last night.
Today I'll try some hdv shooting and see what that looks like.
Btw, have you used any of the posted custom presets?
got to get out there and shoot before I have to return it tommorrow.
Thanks again
Bruce
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:21 PM   #4
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There are many manual controls on the Z1, I think you'll have fun in DV or HDV.
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I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Btw, have you used any of the posted custom presets?
I've looked at those, but honestly, fiddling with the picture profiles ain't rocket science :-) I just experiment around a little until I find what I'm after. If you have the time, I'd suggest hooking the camera up to some sort of HD monitor, point it at different things and play with all the settings. That's really the best way to understand what they do.

After looking at the Canon, JVC and Panasonic cameras at the DVinfo Texas Shootout, I think the Z1 has the nicest LCD panel by far. Of course those other cameras have a lot of nice things going for them, and there are lots of valid reasons for choosing one. Have you decided that the XLH1 is beyond your budget? It looks very nice and might be a better match for your XL2.

Greg Boston shot some tests with the XL2 at the shootout, so look for some info on how it compares to the HD cameras here in the future.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #6
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If I sprung for the XLH1, I'd have to sell my XL2.
Bruce Yarock
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