HDR-FX1 or HVR-A1U ? What's better for me? - Page 2 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 October 30th, 2006, 09:38 AM   #16
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Tape playback question....

As I wrote in the start of this thread, I film a lot of sporting events for the coaches, and to do highlight films for the kids every year. The Sony consumer camcorders I have been using have only been lasting me a year and a half or so before they start giving me problems playing back the recorded tapes. I shoot about 35 to 40 reels (tapes) over that time period. I clean the head with a cleaning tape about every second time I use the camera. Although I am very gentle with them, the transport mechanisms just don't seem to stand up and the video quality starts to degrade over that time period. This, and better quality video, are what is driving my decision to spring for a pro or prosumer model camera like the A1U or the FX1.

So, one more question I need to ask....is the fact that I play back these tapes through the camera for capturing going to continue to be a problem like this with the A1U or FX1 ? Is the transport mechanism any more robust in these cameras than the ~$500 consumer camcorders? Or..am I going to find that I need another playback device to save the camera anyway? This makes a huge difference to me, since it appears that a playback device for mini-dv tapes is a couple of grand in addition to the camera.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #17
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heads

i think all that cleaning you are doing might be the problem. "every second tape" sounds like an awful lot. it is a destructive process for your heads. i've been using my fx1 full time for almost two years now, have run tape cleaner maybe three times - only after dropouts show.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmet Lucey
i think all that cleaning you are doing might be the problem. "every second tape" sounds like an awful lot. it is a destructive process for your heads. i've been using my fx1 full time for almost two years now, have run tape cleaner maybe three times - only after dropouts show.
Emmet, what does "Full time" mean in terms of tapes? How many tapes have you shot in that year? Was the camera used to play all of them for capture?

Everyone: got the advise on the cleaner tape. To be honest though, this is what I was originally doing before the first camera failed, and the guy told me to clean it more often - only when the camera called for it to be done.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 11:44 PM   #19
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heads

full time = my job. about thirty 3-4 minute edtied films, from original tapes - about 60 tapes. all captured via fx1. camera has her quirks but about 1/3 those tapes were shot in winter conditions, on backcountry skis, hand held while snowboarding etc.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 06:57 AM   #20
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OK, so what I think I am getting from all of this is that:

1) My consumer cameras are probably just plain wearing out the head from playing back and rewinding tapes much more frequently (about 80 hrs of video per year) than the casual user would.
2) Using the cleaning tape more frequently than is called for is adding to the premature head wear.
3) Going to a prosumer camera alone is not going to help the situation. I am going to need to use an external rewind and/or playback device to avoid wearing the head at such a high rate.

So, I'm looking at $2500-$3000 for a prosumer HD camera and another $2000 for a HD DV playback device, or direct to disk device.

Now I'm starting to consider SD again. I can buy a good SD camera for around $2000, and can use a cheap $200 consumer camera with ilink as a DV rewind/playback deck. If I go through one of those a year, who cares.

IS my thinking correct here ?
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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:39 AM   #21
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There are little Mini DV rewinders as cheap as $20-50 bucks.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:44 AM   #22
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Just using a rewinder is enough?
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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:52 AM   #23
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Be aware that when fast-forwarding or rewinding your tape in your camera, the heads are NOT in contact with the tape. ie. there is no tape-head wear during this process.

I don't think a rewinder will have any effect on saving your camera except reduce wear on the winding motors and i don't think those tend to fail at all.

Certainly the thing to avoid is tape head wear.

One thing i just though of :
When you're in 'TAPE' mode, and you're not actually filming anything, (ie. in STBY mode) i would definitely POWER DOWN the camcorder for anything more than say 30seconds of non-use. The tape head WILL be spinning agains the tape and will be wearing both the tape and more improtantly the head.
Do you have the "power camera down after x minutes" option selected? I would certainly have this enabled.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:23 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
Be aware that when fast-forwarding or rewinding your tape in your camera, the heads are NOT in contact with the tape. ie. there is no tape-head wear during this process.

I don't think a rewinder will have any effect on saving your camera except reduce wear on the winding motors and i don't think those tend to fail at all.

Certainly the thing to avoid is tape head wear.

One thing i just though of :
When you're in 'TAPE' mode, and you're not actually filming anything, (ie. in STBY mode) i would definitely POWER DOWN the camcorder for anything more than say 30seconds of non-use. The tape head WILL be spinning agains the tape and will be wearing both the tape and more improtantly the head.
Do you have the "power camera down after x minutes" option selected? I would certainly have this enabled.
No, and this is a very good point in my case, because I tape a lot of HS football games. To get an entire game on a single tape, and to make for a good review tape, I only record the plays. That is to say I press record, capture the play, then press record again for standby mode. When the next play is lining up, I press record again...and so on. I have the camera sitting in standby mode as often as its recording. Timewise, the standby time may even exceed the actual record time.

It sounds like I would be better off using two tapes per game (one for each half), let each one run for a full half and then change tapes at half time. I can edit out the dead time in post. It sounds like this would significantly improve the head life I am experiencing.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #25
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Decisions...

I am now looking at both the A1U and the FX1. I have the cash for either but would really like to know which is going to be the best fit for us. We film all different types of scenes. We do have a lighting kit, so low light isn't an issue. I just want the best possible picture. Can someone make a suggestion without listing any other cameras? Is CMOS better than CCD? The FX1 looks pretty sweet, the A1U looks more amateurish. Regardless, I just want the best of the two added to our stock, help!
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Old November 6th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
I have the cash for either ... I just want the best possible picture.
As I said, I own both the Z1 and A1 and there is no denying that the Z1/FX1 has the better picture. It also has "physical" manual controls, not the touch screen stuff that's on the A1. I love my A1 but IMHO, the touch screen limits its usefulness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Can someone make a suggestion without listing any other cameras?
Yup, get the FX1! You will be glad you did.

~jr
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Old November 6th, 2006, 03:32 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by John Rofrano
As I said, I own both the Z1 and A1 and there is no denying that the Z1/FX1 has the better picture. It also has "physical" manual controls, not the touch screen stuff that's on the A1. I love my A1 but IMHO, the touch screen limits its usefulness.


Yup, get the FX1! You will be glad you did.

~jr
Or.... get the new FX7. It is smaller and lighter and has image quality comparable to FX1. Plus its 3CMOS, so you don't get the CCD vertical smear problem. Also Sony have made substantial progress on their EIP engine combining with the 3-CMOS-Clearvid sensors and it will handle highlights very well.

It's currently available at www.bhphoto.com for $2799 i believe (may be special offer):
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old November 6th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #28
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Great so now I am tossed between the FX1 and the FX7, LOL>...
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Old November 6th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Morris
Thanks for the input guys. It is really appreciated. At this point I am leaning toward the A1U, although I am still a little bothered by two points: the poor low light performance and the size of the camera.
Attached a light monopod when you need it. My pre-HDV setup was a Sony VX2000 and a smaller Panasonic GS250, both with optical stabilizers. To reduce vertical shake, I added monopods to both. Smaller cameras are easier to handle when the monopod is extended from chin level to waist level. You can grip the monopod with your left hand or just tuck it into your belly above your belt. There is a belt attachment for the monopod, but even after buying it, I never felt compelled to use it. A thin monopod gets shakey when fully-extended, so I avoid that situation with the above techniques.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Great so now I am tossed between the FX1 and the FX7, LOL>...
But it's a 'nice' problem to have !!
Do as much research as you can, decide your priorities on what you need, what you'd like, size&weight etc. Nobody ever said life was easy.... ;-)
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