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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 May 2nd, 2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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FX1, Z1 monitor flip

Using any 35mm adapters with FX1 or Z1 cams result in 180deg. flipped image.

Rotating cam's LCD screen won't help. Not only will it end up in the wrong (inconvenient to view) position, but also it only flips image one way - Vertically - while you also need horizontal flip.

Placing a magnet by the LCD trick: will it work with these cameras? No it won't. LCD image flip on those is controlled by an electric contact (seems like a microscopic slice of coal) that slides over a ring in the LCD monitor's rotating base. The ring has a small part of it missing - so when the coal slides over that, it loses the contact and that's the signal for the cam's electronics to vertically flip the image. No amount of magnetism will do the same. So yeah, you'll have to disassemble your LCD base to place a micro-mini switch that'd break the wire that goes to the coal. Will it help with a 35mm adapter? No: you still need a missing horizontal flip.

I have to tell you that the easiest way to solve the problem is to simply have an external LCD monitor, and physically just flip it 180deg. when using any 35mm adapter.

I found a 2.5" LCD that only requires 9V power, shows a useable picture, and costs under $80 delivered.

See photo here:


I modded the LCD to accept cam's composite video.

Then I placed the monitor on the camera and simply flipped it 180deg, so it shows correct image.

That's it. No need to magnetise or disassemble your HDV cam. Result is 100%.

If you ever tried to follow action with 35mm adapter attached, by just looking at your cam's monitor, then you know it's not doable - you tend to pull the camera the opposite way! This solution allows you to track the shots easily, looking at the correct image.


- The LCD monitor is Liliput. I bought it on eBay (your risk...) for less than $80 delivered. I like it because it weighs next to nothing, and is affordable.
- Image is crappy but still useable for the purpose - which is to help tracking moves. Mount this monitor right above the cam's one (which gives you the wrong-side-up but sharp picture you can use to pull focus.)
- It comes with a connector and a breakout cables. I didn't need the breakout cables the way they came. Instead of cannibalizing them, I decided to make my own version. What you need:
1. Use your tester in ohm-meter mode to see which wire goes where. You only need power and video signal/ground wires.
2. The connector is the same as PS-2 male used on keyboards. I didn't have an old keyboard, but after looking in my cable box, I found what I though was S-Video cable, and it did fit perfectly.
3. For power, use a 9V battery via a connector - I bought mine in RadioShack for about $2, but you can rip it off some toy from a 99c store, I guess.
4. If you only need it for this cam, then use 1/8" stereo jack - the type they have on consumer stereo headphones - to get the video out of cam.
4a. If you want more compatibility, then use a RCA jack instead, and on top of it have RCA female->1/8" stereo adapter. For the adapter, I simply used stereo RCA->stereo 1/8" one from RadioShack ($4?).
- I'm not responsible if your camera or your head blows up because you decided to make your own cute flip monitor. Other than that, you should be fine if you know what you're doing.

Note that some 35mm adapters do flip the image internally (but at the cost of the added optics, which further degrades the image...). Then you get the right-side up image without this monitor.

Also note that I get the image not only on this monitor, but also on tape right-side-up with 35mm adapter. How? Simple: I flip the camear itself when the adapter is attached. This prevents any headaches in signal monitoring or post.

And lastly, if you plug in a Component cable, your cam will shut your composite signal off. So you cannot use these 2 simultaneously. Most folks however uses FireWire, and that will work with composite signal simultaneously just fine.

I hope this helps.
Alex Raskin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:29 PM   #2
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I've certainly gotten the magnet trick to work on my Z1 using cheap little magnets I got at the craft store. Just tape them on the inside of the hinge near the top. Works flawlessly for me.

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Old May 3rd, 2006, 12:06 AM   #3
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Yes, it works and because of this position, it stays in place. Definitely there is no need to disassemble anything! Just try it by putting a magnet on the left of the "reset" label. The magnet should not be weak but not too strong also. If you place it much lower, then the LCD will turn off (the camera will think that you have folded the lcd as long as you keep the magnet there) so if this happens don't panic. In the right position it works flawlessly indeed.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 05:52 AM   #4
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Hey guys, on my Z1U image flips vertically when you interrupt the micro coal contact, as I noted. Maybe there are 2 different systems in place to do so - magnet *and* the coal contact? Interrupting the coal definitely flips the image vertically.

But in any case, you need a horizontal flip too, and the magnet/contact simply don't do it.

If you indeed managed to flip the image 180deg. on Z1 by placing a magnet or some other trick, please share - I'm sure everyone would like to know, me included!
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:34 AM   #5
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It sure does flip the image vertically AND horizontally! Guaranteed!
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 12:11 PM   #6
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Z1 Magnet Flip Demo Clip

Because an image is worth "a thousand words" and a video probably a million, here is a video clip I uploaded that demonstrates the flip capability of Z1 using a magnet in full motion :)

Mac & Windows: (~4MB)

also a mirror for Windows: (~0.9MB)

Note: if your download manager is not enabled (to take the link) it will playback inside your browser.

Edit: One reason I prefer the magnetic flip, is that it is hard to beat the quality, brightness and convenience of using the Z1's/FX1's LCD. Also, the required position of the small magnet is very convenient too. It's far from critical components like the heads of the tape system and can be secured easily.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 10:14 PM   #7
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I have a HC1 and I've tried for the longest time to get the LCD to flip with a magnet but it wouldn't work. Does anyone know if the HC1 uses the same mechanism as the Z1 to flip? If so, any idea where the sweet spot might be?

btw, I've already searched the HC1 area and I think I'd try my luck here. Thanks.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:59 PM   #8
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People, you are brilliant! :))

I tried the magnet and lo and behold, works just like Ken said! Thanks man.

I agree with you on all the points you made.

Sorry for not posting back faster - very busy day.

So now I have to sell my little monitor to the owners of some other cameras that cannot flip their LCD images. Or maybe I'll just keep it for quick video signal testing :)
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Old May 5th, 2006, 12:19 PM   #9
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Glad I helped! Good luck with your projects!
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