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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 September 1st, 2006, 10:47 AM   #1
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FX1 / Z1 - To wait or not to wait?

Hi guys.
This is my first post to the forum thus sorry if it has been asked before (even though I couldn't find it anywhere).
Well, I'm considering upgrading my HC1 to a bigger camera like the FX1 / Z1 and am just worried about these cameras being replaced in a short time like happened when I got the HC1. It just came off the market a few months after and was for some reason replaced by a "no so good", not to say "worst" camera, the HC-3.
The FX1 has been around for a while and the Z1 was introduced in feb/2005 (if I'm not wrong).
The thing is that I'm not on a rush. I can perfectly wait a few more months for the new camera. What would you more experienced guys do?
Also, how about general image quality when shooting nature landscape images? Would the FX1 (with 3CCDs) make a big image quality difference compared to the HC1 (CMOS) ?

Thanks a lot for your help!

Pedro
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Old September 1st, 2006, 11:05 AM   #2
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I've been a Sony man for quite some time. I have FX1, and camera is great. However, the new Canon cameras coming out in fall might street price close to the FX1, and I would love the extra zoom the specs are indicating. I think the Canon lenses have a very good reputation too.

But even more interesting are persistant rumors about Sony following up with competition to the Canons in the near future. Things such as 3 CMOS chips, perhaps a wider zoom range, and variable frame rate are on the claimes or wishlists. I bought my FX1 a year ago, and I am happy I did, but with the current status, I think I would hold off until late this year at least to see how the dust settles.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 11:10 AM   #3
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Well, I'm really an APPLE and SONY guy...
I'd love to stay with the sony's but would consider going for the other brands if image quality and price comes close to Sony's. Anyways I think the best of it is that it's gonna force Sony to do some action and put something new on the market.
I'd love to have an "FX1 priced" camera with true 24p for instance and that's what some good competition might bring to us.
3CMOS chips also sounds good...
Do you have the model numbers for these Canon that you mentioned and perhaps the link for the specs?

Cheers, mate!

PP
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Old September 1st, 2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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Hi there

I always weigh things up...'How soon do I need this camera?' If you can wait do so, if current project need a better camera I'd certainly recommend the Z1..

The Canon certainly looks nice, but I'm sure that now it's announced Sony will wade in to counter...

I've only had my Z1 since April, when my FX1 got nicked, but it will do until something substantially better is announced and available.

If an eventual Z2 comes out at 5000 dollars then the Canon XH A1 looks an excellent choice....but bear in mind there will always be a newer and better camera coming on the horizon.

Regards
Gareth
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Old September 1st, 2006, 11:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Paiva
Well, I'm really an APPLE and SONY guy...
I'd love to stay with the sony's but would consider going for the other brands if image quality and price comes close to Sony's. Anyways I think the best of it is that it's gonna force Sony to do some action and put something new on the market.
I'd love to have an "FX1 priced" camera with true 24p for instance and that's what some good competition might bring to us.
3CMOS chips also sounds good...
Do you have the model numbers for these Canon that you mentioned and perhaps the link for the specs?

Cheers, mate!

PP
Yeah, as I indicated, I have always been Sony too. I always looked with open mind, but stayed with Sony.

I've always equated Sony with PC User, and Apple with Canon users-- Things must be different down under :)

The new Canons are discussed at length in this new forum:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=138
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Old September 1st, 2006, 12:44 PM   #6
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better to wait...

I would at least wait till IBC which is in a week. Sony could have some announcements of a new camera there.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 09:11 AM   #7
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That's a good idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Berman
I would at least wait till IBC which is in a week. Sony could have some announcements of a new camera there.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 09:44 AM   #8
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Pedro, it looks to me that the HC1 is now available again, at least here in the UK. When the HC3 arrived the HC1 seemed to fall out of the shops, but it's back again, so I suspect Sony reversed a decision to discontinue it.

As I look at my Z1 it's just an inanimate lump of glass, magnesium and plastic. It doesn't weigh much, it doesn't cost much. It sits there like a powerful computer doing nothing, waiting for your input.

Once in the loving hands of a filmmaker the Z1 shows its amazing potential energy. There seems little it can't do (and nobody in any PAL country wants 24p anyway). It'll give astoundingly good pictures at +18dB of gain up, and go where bigger pieces of kit cannot reach.

I've owned lots of camcorders in my time, and in the analogue Hi-8 days I paid as much as the Z1 cost me (in real terms) for wolly footage with wobbly verticals and shifted reds. This Z1 is truely a landmark camera in the same way the VX2000 was, changing overnight the way a lot of broadcast TV footage is shot.

Canon have generally trodden their own path. The XM1 (GL1) was their good answer to the TRV900, the XL1 the really unusual and quite different alternative to the VX2000. Then along comes the XH G1 and A1 and in silhouette you'd not be able to tell them from the FX1 and Z1, so close is the cloning.

This shows an acceptance of Sony's form factor that confirms the suspicions of many; Sony got it right, and the DVX100 and JVC's awful GY-DV301 back this up. Of course all manufacturers have a tear-down department that means their new model benefits from the competition's mistakes and compromises, and in this regard the new Canon can be seen as a facelifted Z1.

But every manufacturer is leap-frogged by the competitor's new model, so the XH-A1 will be made to look lacking by Sony's (Z2) in 18 month's time. Its 20x zoom btw isn't any more wide-angle than Sony's. Will it barrel distort as much? Will it better Sony's 3 lux claim? Will it be subject to product recalls? Who'd buy a new car in the first 6 months of the production run? Not me.

If you ask me as a Z1 owner to list the changes I'd like, I would have to say that the 12x zoom has a neither-here-nor-there range. It's neither wide not tele, and whereas the PD170 only really needed a wide-angle converter (which Sony bundled for free to get rid of the lens mountain), the Z1 needs both to give your pov some slam. The Z1 also needs a decent viewfinder with proper focus resolution capabilities. It needs to be moveable as well - to slot into the accessory shoe for instance for those that favour shoulder mounting.

So Canon have answered. They've also addressed the weird Sony decision not to include Memorystick, and for some having the aperture dial around the lens barrel is the place it should be. Canon have always surprised the world with their production engineering techniques that have allowed aggressive pricing - to the point where Minolta are forced to chuck in the towel.

It could be different in the states, but the here-and-now requirement in the UK is for 16:9 footage, and has been for some time. Lots of widescreen TVs are sold here and some don't even come with a 4:3 format programmed into the remote, such is the swing away from it.

If you can afford the price, size and form factor of the Z1, go for it now. You're in the middle of the model's life span, an ideal time to board the train. All cameras take some time to adjust to. The more you use the kit, the happier you'll be. The happier you are, the better your films. If you wait for the Canon you might find yourself waiting for Sony's answer, and you'll never join up.

tom.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 10:39 AM   #9
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Dear Tom.
Thanks a lot for your message.
I couldn't find the HC1 back to Sonystyle's (american) website:
http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...o&Dept=cameras
It's a shame as the camera is quite good and much better than this HC3.
I didn't understand though what you mean by "nobody in any PAL country wants 24p anyway". I tought the 24P was for a film-looking style and would perhaps provide a shorter depth of field? Would you rather shoot it 1080i50 ? Why? Doesn't the progressive mode provides a more stable and vivid image specially for fast moving objects?
What's exactly this Canon model that you're talking about?
If it has solved most of these Z1's problems, why not go for it then?
The thing about the Z1 is that I just don't know if it's extra features worth the big price diference from the FX1...
Well, thanks a lot mate!
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 11:55 AM   #10
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I agree, the HC1 is better than the HC3, though the HC3 is better in low light funnily enough.

PAL shooters tend to go for 25p because that's so easy to do from the standard 50i. NTSC users are shooting 29.97 fps, so a conversion to 24i is as difficult to 25i, so they might as well choose the film standard of 24i.

There's very little difference between them on screen of course. Both are mych more jerky in pans, zooms and subject motion than 50i or 60i, but then that's what gives the film look its characteristic feel. 24p doesn't affect the dof in the slightest - unless your camera loses light when switched into progressive. many do, and in that case yes, the lens will have to be opened up a stop (or you'll go into gain up) to allow for this.

The Canon I'm talking about is the XH-A1. Why not go for this cam? Read my last paragraph again.

tom.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
If you can afford the price, size and form factor of the Z1, go for it now. You're in the middle of the model's life span, an ideal time to board the train. tom.
Tom's posting has a lot of down to earth cold hard facts.
Speculation about a replacement for the Sony Z1 have been around for about 6 or 7 months now.
As I have commented on previously, Sony plan the production lines of their pro models for a lifespan of about 4 years at a time.
Even if they might release a lot of different consumer and even prosumer models in that time - they do not "kill off" ongoing production lines.
IF any new Sony cameras turn up in the next few weeks or months it is very unlikely they will be intended as replacements for the Z1.

I have more faith in the information I get first hand here in Kumamoto, Japan than in the rumours that circulate in the USA etc.

But time will tell.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 08:02 PM   #12
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For the record, and there are heaps of posts around this forum to back me up, I would always choose a Z1 over a FX1. FX1s are great, there's no doubt about it, however the extra features you get with the Z1 will save you time, money, and trouble. Sure you pay a bit more for the Z1, but it's a complete package. You need to purchase a couple of extra "addons" to get the FX1 up to the challenge.

I've got a Z1, and I love it. The only other camera I would concider would be the Panasonic AG-HVX202. However, I'm happy with my purchase. If you purchase a Z1, I doubt you'll be unhappy. It's an amazing camera. If you always wait until something new and better comes along, you'll always be waiting. I'd bite the bullet, purchase the Z1 and start filming. Good luck!

Last edited by Chris Hocking; September 2nd, 2006 at 09:32 PM.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 10:31 PM   #13
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"IF any new Sony cameras turn up in the next few weeks or months it is very unlikely they will be intended as replacements for the Z1.

I have more faith in the information I get first hand here in Kumamoto, Japan than in the rumours that circulate in the USA etc."

I still think Sony has to counter the new Canon offerings, or they will lose market share very quickly. Is this a normal circumstance in the development game, or have they recognized they have to make a quicker than normal move. The financial wizards on cable are saying Sony has lost sparkle because of poor marketing recently.... you may be right, if their analysis is right...
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 11:08 PM   #14
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Rumors have supported the idea that the next FX1 will be a slight upgrade with the fact that you get 20X zoom, and 3CMOS sounds cool. But I think that Sony will try to broaden the gap between the fx series and the proffesional HDV line. I think alot of people on the fence about cameras have just bought the FX1 with a beachtek so they want to get people to jump for the Z1U. The leaked picture I have seen is pretty dissapointing its pretty much a HDV VX2100
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 12:36 AM   #15
 
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Now *that* is amazing. I wish I had the ability to look at what many feel is a mocked-up photoshop job, and know it's featureset and capability from that graphic. With that sort of ability, I could make a lot of money foretelling futures. <sarcasm off>

It astounds me to keep reading "critiques" of a few new products coming to market, rumored to be coming to market, or mere "I wish this existed" when there is no actual product to be discussed nor talked about. It's understandable with IBC coming that there is a lot of speculation on potential product, but to actually be criticizing a potential product before it's even announced, let alone shipping? I think this thread prolly needs to be in Area 51, based on the criticisms of a non-existent and non-announced product.
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