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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 15th, 2006, 04:52 PM   #1
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Mini-DV?

Just to clear something up, am I right in saying the the FX1 CAN shoot in Mini-DV as well as HDV, on the same Mini-DV size cassette?
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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:02 PM   #2
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Yes, the FX1 can shoot both DV-SP and DV-LP. But you can also shoot HDV and use the camera to downconvert to DV on the fly through the firewire port. This gives you an HDV master tape but allows you to capture and edit standard definition DV. And as a bonus, I think the quality is a little better than using the camera in DV mode.

The Z1 can shoot DV-SP and DVCAM, but not DV-LP.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #3
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It is not the best idea to mix DV and HDV on the same tape. It cause problems with capture. But it can be done.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 07:15 PM   #4
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That's true, but I assumed Aviv was just asking whether the same mini DV tapes could be used for either format and not if you could put both types of footage on one cassette...
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Old April 16th, 2006, 04:26 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'm pretty much wouldn't use the camera for HDV stuff now, seeing as niether my monitor or many TVs are actually HDTV ready...I've just heard it's a better camera in terms of manual controls and general quality than the VX2100, so I might invest in it. It takes the same Mini-DV tapes as the VX, right? Also, once I've digitized down-sampled footage, will it be .avi or .m2v (or whatever the HDV codec is?)
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Old April 16th, 2006, 06:29 AM   #6
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The FX1 can be used as a DV camera perfectly. You can shoot in HDV and downconvert in the cam "on the fly" while dumping it to the computer. They use the exact same tapes. Only the digital information is different. The FX1 is better than the VX cameras in every way but one. The VX/PD cameras are better in low light. This is no small thing, but if you find the FX1 to be sensitive enough (it really isn't bad at all), get the FX1. It really is a nice camera in so many ways. The better controls are enough reason to get the FX1, nevermind the HD.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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Cool, the VX2100 goes for 22.000 Rand which is 4.400 dollars, approximately, while the FX1 is R25.000 which is about $5000..I'm guessing the $600 difference is justified.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 08:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
Also, once I've digitized down-sampled footage, will it be .avi or .m2v (or whatever the HDV codec is?)
When you set the camera to downconvert, it behaves exactly like a standard definition camera as far as your computer and software are concerned. The tape will be HDV but the data coming from the firewire port is just standard DV, so everything would be exactly the same as the VX-2100 in terms of software and file format.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 09:41 AM   #9
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I'd say the FX1 is well worth the extra bucks Aviv. Sony have fixed a lot of the VX design quirks such as the lumpy-bumpy exposure adjustment and the impossible to get to exposure wheel when doing low-angle shots. In my tests the FX1 has much better flare control, the T* coating is superb, whereas Sony's own (PD / VX) coating is just ok.

The downside is the loss of telephoto reach. Whereas the VX only needs a powerful wide-angle converter for most folk, the FX1 needs a wide and a tele. The zoom range may well be more 'daily useful', but it rather lacks focal length punch.

The next thing is the low light performance. There's not much in it, but at telephoto the FX1 is a further half stop down, and this is a loss in the gloom as well as for the differential focus brigade. I'm in both these camps.

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Old April 16th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #10
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Hmmm, is there a noticeable low-light difference? I probably wont be shooting with proffessional lighting most of the time.

Which is better though? Shooting in Mini-DV or in HDV and converting to DV? I take it there's an option in-camera to switch between the shooting formats, but when I'm capturing, how would I tell it to convert to mini-DV?

I'm also assuming that a mini-dv cassette records an hour worth of HDV (the same as Mini-DV)?
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Old April 16th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #11
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Yes, everything is the same as far as tapes go.

There's a menu option called "i.Link Conv." When you enable this, everything coming out of the firewire port is converted to standard definition. This setting is completely independent from the choice of recording format. So, for example, you can be recording HDV live to tape and at the same time sending regular DV over firewire to capture on an external deck, laptop for hard drive recorder. When you play back a tape you simply choose whether you want firewire to send standard DV or HDV. It's really a no-brainer.

See this thread for low light info: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=54414
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Old April 16th, 2006, 10:24 AM   #12
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Sounds reasonable..I'm just stressing that in a country where HDTV is only going to really start developing in the next year or so, that this camera is an unecassary investment, especially when in 2010, and South Africa is totally HDTV, there'll be better cameras I can get. Does the 16:9 aspect ratio cause problems on normal 4:3 TVs?

I think at the moment, and for this business start-up, I'm going to go with the VX2100, which I've had my eye on for a while and am pretty sure of.

On a side note, at my school we shoot on Panasonic DV-15 (Mini-DV)...Our editing systems have Black Magic capture cards connected to a $9k Panasonic DVCPRO deck, we run the Mini-DV tape (through an adapter) in the deck and capture through component signals. The resolution is then a lot higher and the quality is outstanding, but the file size is around 40GB for four minutes...What system is this? I think the deck converts the Mini-DV signal to analogue and the Black Magic converts that uncompressed signal into digial.


Thanks a lot for all the advice so far.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
this camera is an unecassary investment, especially when in 2010, and South Africa is totally HDTV, there'll be better cameras I can get.
Well that's fine... but if that's the case, then why are we discussing all this? :-)

16:9 is no problem on a 4:3 TV is you're making DVD's. A properly made anamorphic DVD will be automatically letterboxed by the DVD player itself if connected to a 4:3 TV set. But you could also set the FX1 to standard definition 4:3 DV mode.
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Old April 16th, 2006, 10:55 AM   #14
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I think I'm a borderline obsessive compulsive actually :/ I generally need to be 102% of something before I invest, usually intuition provides that further 2% and at the moment I just have something telling me that for now, the VX is a better choice, although the FX is still technically and price-wise, a winner.

When you say that DV footage that has been down-converted from HDV during capture is better than footage shot in HDV, how much of a difference is there? Is there a noticeable difference between downsampled DV footage and the DV footage I'd shoot on a VX2100? I mean, will I ever actually see the huge quality difference between HDV and DV seeing as I have niether an HDTV monitor or TV?
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Old April 16th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #15
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If you only want to shoot 4:3 then the VX may very well give you slightly better results. But if you want 16:9 it's no contest no matter which mode you use on the FX1. The VX and PD series have low resolution CCD's that can't produce "real" 16:9.

The difference between downconverted HDV and native DV on the FX1 is not huge, but I find it noticeable myself. But there's been a lot of debate on this topic, so you'd need to make your own judgement.

Aviv, I just realized that you're covering much of the same ground in this thread as you did in another one. Did you see the responses there?

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=64921
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