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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 November 8th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #1
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Buying 2nd camera PD-170 or Z1U?

I'm just getting started in Wedding Videography and I have a PD-170 now and I'm ready to buy my 2nd camcorder. How will the PD-170 & Z1U look when I edit a 2 camera shoot? I like the idea of the HDV and being able to downconvert to DVCAM and getting a better picture. I just don't know how the 2 will look together. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Last edited by Al Kozak; November 8th, 2006 at 08:25 PM.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #2
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Al, if you are in the market for a 2nd cam, by all means buy an HD one. I have experience with both cams. Before I bought my FX1, I owned a VX2100, the same picture as the Z1U and the PD-170.

I believe the video captured from both cams will mix very well together. Both have, essentially, the same HAD CCD's; the main difference is of course the resolution of the Z1U. And due to the increased resolution (smaller pixels) on the same size 1/3" chip, as you know, the LUX rating suffers slightly.

The low light quality is one of the only differences you'll notice. As long as you have good, or even decent light, the SD picture will look very much identical.

Now, the only other difference you'll notice for SD shots is the widescreen quality of the Z1U, which is a million... no actually, a BILLION, times better than the fake "16:9" mode of the PD-170. In order to intermix the footage from both cams with great results, you will have to shoot the Z1U for 4:3 (the Z1U allows you film 16:9 HD with 4:3 safety markers so you can down convert and crop in post for SD).

So... I say, go for the Z1U if your budget allows - it's a damn sexy camera. I honestly couldn't imagine paying $3k for the PD-170 in this day and age, eventhough it's a fantastic 4:3 SD cam. Get your foot in the HD door now. I love my FX1. Whenever I look at "old" SD clips from my VX2100, I think to myself, "I actually thought this looked good? I actually accepted a garbled mess of large, blocky pixels? Wow...". Trust me, you'll do the same, as I'm sure everyone does who shoots HD now.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 08:08 PM   #3
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I notice you mention V1U in one sentence, and Z1u at other...

Which are you considering. We haven't seen a lot of the V1U yet, but it is lot more similar in form factor to the PD170, than FX1 or Z1U will be. So if you love the form factor you have now, you may want to wait for V1U.

As far as mixing. You have to remember that the newer cams are 16:9, but can shoot 4:3, while the PD170 is 4:3, with a 16:9 electronic fix... That fix doesn't give you the best 16:9 out there. That being said, I just shot a 16:9 mix of my VX2000 and FX1 and it came out pretty decent.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 07:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies

I meant the Z1. I think I'll go with the Z1. I like the HD capabilities.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #5
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If you're doing video in darker places, I think you're best served by the devices with the best light ratings. For that parameter, the Z1/FX1 exceed the V1 as far as I've read, though I have never actually seen a V1.

Sony didn't add enough features to the V1 to make it soooo much better. If they added a zone auto-focus tracking system and a feature that would allow for a faster start/stop (such as a few megabyte buffer to tape) to allow instant on/off functionality, it would be a harder choice.
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Old November 11th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #6
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The V1u has a very similar look and feel, along with very similar ergonomics, to the PD-150/170, and the added bonus of 24p/30p makes things very attractive, indeed.

Future-proof your stuff. You can always shoot in HDV and down-convert nicely in your NLE (stay HDV until final output for the best quality) to deliver DV/SD content, but it's nice to tell clients when they have a Blu-Ray or HD DVD player that they can get an HD copy of it. And you get to make another sale.

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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #7
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the z1 is dvcam mode is quite a nice match for the pd150/170 with that nice bonus of the hdv
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #8
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As I said above, I have VX2000 and FX1. Today, if it was a choice for the same money-- and I think the Z1 and V1U are close in price, I think I would go for the V1U. The FX1 and Z1 are a bit larger weight and in form factor. The might make a difference in supporting equipment, like tripods, and flyeres... The V1U will be similar in size to PD 170, and it has a better telephoto range than any of the three. That might be important for back of the church shooting. I am sure that matching the two cameras can be accomplished..
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Old November 15th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #9
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Even if you don't have use for the V1 today, you may end up shooting someone's movie. You never know. Or shoot a commercial where the director needs 24p.

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Old November 28th, 2006, 08:04 PM   #10
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I also vote in favor of getting an HDV camera. There are many choices now, and what is best for you depends on your work. The Z1 is a real workhorse and I think it is good fit for the event and documentary industries. Once you get a z1, you will be tempted to unload your 170. If and what that happens, you may want to consider a small HDV for pickup and pov shots.
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