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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 August 25th, 2006, 11:34 AM   #1
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Z1 or XHG1

Is Sony gonna have there hands full with the Canon XHG1. I have been running a Z1 for the past few years and love it, but this new Canon XHG1 looks like its surely going to turn some Z1 users heads. I could strip my Z1 of all its accessories and without spending a dime on adapters switch within minutes to a 20 by zoom lens. And also not have to by a different deck or tape stock. Cant wait to see if Sony has a counter punch and not tapeless please. I still think Sony has a better blue print to there camera layout functions than Canon. But come on Sony that 20 by lens on the Canon is gonna smoke the Z1 with a Century1.6 vingetting add on teleconverter. Just look at the thread here on DV info pertaining to teleconverters,its a big issue. Come on Sony we believe in you.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John M. McCloskey
XHG1 looks like its surely going to turn some Z1 users heads
It's turned mine.

The Z1 HDV looks very 960x1080 if you give it really hard stuff to compress (like lightning strikes) - big wide pixels. It's never quite been 'sharp' - I get to edit lots of DSR570 footage, and I'd choose 570 over Z1 anytime, though with a careful cameraman with good settings, the only differences you should consider are Depth of Field and lens sharpness (with a nod towards latitude).

The XH-G1 has a lot of tweakability, which I hope will expand latitude. I expect better from Canon than Sony regarding the lens. I want a Z1 form factor with an HD version of XL2 image quality - please (pretty please with knobs of butter on top) let us have true 25p/24p progressive SD in 16:9! The camera only has to last us 2-3 years (if that - the Z1 is into laptop write-off periods).

The only thing I worry about is whether I can cut together Z1 (b-roll) and G1 (a-roll) footage...

IMHO, of course...
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Old August 25th, 2006, 12:54 PM   #3
 
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The Z1 HDV looks very 960x1080 if you give it really hard stuff to compress (like lightning strikes) - big wide pixels. It's never quite been 'sharp'

That sounds a little "odd" to me. Most every instance that someone has said "the Z1 isn't sharp," it turns out that they've had stabilization enabled. This makes all the difference in the world.
As far as lightning strikes, I'd never shot these before, but have shot a lot of sparklers in complete darkness, as have other pre-production testers of the Z1. They are clean, crisp, and clear.
However ironic, on the drive home from WEVA last night, I found myself in a shower of lightning strikes and no rain, so opened up the Z, and shot a lot of the images with 3dB gain enabled, and no gain enabled, at various settings. The shots are crisp, clear, and noise free. I also don't use stabilization.

That said, the Canon A1 turned my head over the past two days at WEVA as well. Very much enjoyed the camcorder, and the feature set is very sweet. Canon thought this one out quite well. I'll be one of the first in line to get one.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
It's turned mine.

The Z1 HDV looks very 960x1080 if you give it really hard stuff to compress (like lightning strikes) - big wide pixels...
The canons are also hdv-cameras with only 25 mbits to spend on the picture so there won't by any difference there.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
The canons are also hdv-cameras with only 25 mbits to spend on the picture so there won't by any difference there.
25Mbps is plenty for most everything anyone does in the lower end of the field. The encoder is where the money is, not the bitrate. So many folks seem to forget it's the quality of the encoder that determines quality. Of course bitrate is part of that, but an efficient, intelligent encoder is what makes all the difference. This holds true for any compressed format. Most folks mistakenly believe it's all about the codec.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #6
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DSE, how do you think the new Canon will handle low light compaired to the Z1. I have been surprised with the Z1 adding gain up to 9db with very little difference from 0db do you think that will be the case with the Canon. Also what about the audio capabilities of the Canon have you seen any specks as of yet?
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #7
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Actually I have some frame grabs of lightning strikes from my Z1 - will try to find and upload later today. They look sharp, however the interlaced format leads to some resolution loss. Since the flash is so fast, it's only caught in one of the 60i fields which has the effect of halving the vertical resolution.

Maybe this is what you're refering to? I think this is just a limitation of any interlaced camera however...
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:55 PM   #8
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Hey folks, this thread started out about a Sony successor to the Z1 to compete with the newer cameras that competitors are bringing to market. Kind of putting Spot, er, on the spot to drift into the details on the Canon cameras here in the Z1 forum. For discussion on the Canon XH A1/G1, here's that forum:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=138
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Old August 25th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #9
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The main thing I wanted to know was if Sony Z1 users had any interest in the new Canon line which brought about any concerns of there Z1's. The 20 by zoom with such a similar body style to the Z1 and also nothing from Sony except tapeless products in the last year. Thought some good issues would arrise from a the question, "XHG1 vs. Z1." Once it hits the market, this could be a UFC title match "XHG1 vs. Z1."
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Old August 25th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Most every instance that someone has said "the Z1 isn't sharp," it turns out that they've had stabilization enabled. This makes all the difference in the world.
A Z1 is NOT as sharp as a DSR-570 with a 13k lens. :)

Proof of elongated 960x1080 pixels: http://www.mdma.tv/images/hdvpixels.jpg

FYI, OIS is disabled on this tripod shot, but because it is OIS, it should not make a difference to resolution because it's optical, not relying on interpolating pixels (e.g. a consumer camcorder such as PC-7).

Problems with softness in such cases seem to have more to do with the MPEG2 compression system of HDV than the lens per se. Crop a SD hole in an HDV shot and compare with a similarly composed shot in DV.

I find that in-camera down-converted HDV has a 'fabric softener' difference to an equivalent shot from DVCAM (which I quite like actually), and others more qualified than I have shot charts et al that says HDV-to-DV is softer than DV. Even the Texas Shootout said that the Z1 was a little soft.

To haul this rather pudgy post back on topic (!), I am under the impression that the Canon is a 1440 block, not a 960 block like the Z1. I am also aware that there's a lot more tweakability to the camera so that one can spend those 25 megabits per second wisely getting MPEG2 to do its best work, and not get all uppity about detail (over-enthusiastic edge enhancement aka Z1 sharpening) or its underwear in a twist about areas of bland detail (as illustrated in the little clip above).
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Old August 25th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
A Z1 is NOT as sharp as a DSR-570 with a 13k lens. :)
Back up the bus..... Didn't say it was. Wouldn't expect it to be. It's also not as sharp as an F750 with a decent lens either. We''re comparing apples and oranges. On the Z1, most everytime someone says they've got a soft image, it's due to stabilizer enabled. In your case, that may not be so.

Proof of elongated 960x1080 pixels: http://www.mdma.tv/images/hdvpixels.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
Crop a SD hole in an HDV shot and compare with a similarly composed shot in DV.).
Have done so, and on an HD monitor, I don't see the differences, when comparing images from the same camera or similar cameras. Just did this same procedure this morning in comparing AVC vs HDV vs DV.


I find that in-camera down-converted HDV has a 'fabric softener' difference to an equivalent shot from DVCAM (which I quite like actually), and others more qualified than I have shot charts et al that says HDV-to-DV is softer than DV.

[/QUOTE]
Even the Texas Shootout said that the Z1 was a little soft.
To haul this rather pudgy post back on topic (!), I am under the impression that the Canon is a 1440 block, not a 960 block like the Z1. I am also aware that there's a lot more tweakability to the camera so that one can spend those 25 megabits per second wisely getting MPEG2 to do its best work, and not get all uppity about detail (over-enthusiastic edge enhancement aka Z1 sharpening) or its underwear in a twist about areas of bland detail (as illustrated in the little clip above).[/QUOTE]

Good to know you catch the differences, because that's where the differences really show up and matter. The DSP and encoder are what really matter. Your argument to a point, is the same one I make about a different camera, and while pixel shifting has its issues, it's also not the beastie that many make it out to be as demonstrated by all sub 15k camcorders. BTW, DV pixels aren't square either. ;-)
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Old August 25th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
25Mbps is plenty for most everything anyone does in the lower end of the field.
And 640kilobytes of memory is everything anyone will ever need. Ofcourse the encoder matters, but 25mbps is still not enough when one has to encode on the fly. 50 mbps with a gop of 6 would be "plenty for most".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
HDV-to-DV is softer than DV
Well it should be. It's compressed twice. First into mpeg and then into dv.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Since the flash is so fast, it's only caught in one of the 60i fields which has the effect of halving the vertical resolution.
progressive 30 or 24 frames per second would've missed that flash completely. The more fps the better when shooting nature and going for that documentary style.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 04:35 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
And 640kilobytes of memory is everything anyone will ever need. Ofcourse the encoder matters, but 25mbps is still not enough when one has to encode on the fly. 50 mbps with a gop of 6 would be "plenty for most".
Look, if you're buying a low-cost cam, you have to make a few compromises, and that's the nature of my comment. 25Mbps is broadcasting, compositing, and delivering just fine for "most." Is it the same as XDCam at 35, which is by far "good enough for most?" Nope. Is it HDCam SR? Nope...Does it carry the cost of either? Nope.
25Mbps on a hardware encoder, if the encoder does well, is impressive enough to be used on large screen and small screen projects. It's certainly not SR, but given the small format...impressive nonetheless. Whether it's Canon, Sony, or JVC.
Either way, the format is doing just fine in the industry, so I guess there is no point in debating the value of its existence.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 04:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
progressive 30 or 24 frames per second would've missed that flash completely.
Actually, probably not, as most lightning flashes do last significant fractions of a second, or even more than a second (takes a finite time for the ionization/plasma energy to dissipate). Assuming a near-instantaneous flash, though, the probability of imaging the flash would depend on the shutter speed to frame rate ratio. Even photography flashes are rarely missed by the video camera...much to the annoyance of any event videographer!
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Old August 26th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #15
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The rumors circulating about sony's new cam (3CMOS, smaller form factor, bettter zoom, etc...) is definitely gearing up to be competitor to the new canons. But unfortunately, I don't think any cam canon or sony plan on releasing this year will provide a definetive winner in prosumer cameras.
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