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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 March 20th, 2007, 10:31 PM   #1
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FX1 quality?

I have a chance to get an FX1 (slightly used) at a pretty good price.... and I don't know A THING about them in terms of quality. Are they reasonably good cams?

Thanks.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #2
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The loaded question.

What it is: Good 60i HDV, good 16 x9 DV, good 4:3 DV. Durable, tough camera.

Good low light for HDV camera. (HDV gerally not as good in low light as say a Sony VX 2100) Great viewfinder. Has a lot of user controls, including iris, shutter, gain, has scene transition, picture profiles storable 6x, manual or toggled zoom, switchable. Great Sony battery systems with low power usage.

Does not have: real 24p or 30p. (Does have simulated 24p and 30p. )
Needs wider telephoto range.... See Canon A1 or New FX7 for these.

Despite some wishes, I think this is a solid camera and I think it is holding up well against new models. If you are spending 4k, I would go with Canon A1 or Sony V1U, at this point, but if you are spending $2,000 for a used, this is solid camera.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 04:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Anthonisen View Post
I have a chance to get an FX1 (slightly used) at a pretty good price.... and I don't know A THING about them in terms of quality. Are they reasonably good cams?

Thanks.
As far as the HDV cams go, comparatively, it is a great deal. I opted for the Z1, so I didn't have to worry about pro mic adapters or downconverting to 3:2 in post (the Z1 lets you do it through the camera). However, overall I have not been super-impressed with HDV vs. DV. You need to light just about everything. Even some daytime shots that are plenty bright enough with the naked-eye are barely visible through the viewfinder. I dunno', for what it gives you in return (over a nice DV cam) isn't too impressive. That said, if you know you want HDV, then the FX1/Z1 is a good camera in that mix. Good luck.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 08:52 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Chris Barcellos;645329]
Needs wider telephoto range.... See Canon A1 or New FX7 for these.
QUOTE]

It also has the widest angle of all of the HDV cameras in that price range. That was one of my selection criteria, as the 16:9 in combination with that extra wide angle allowed me to forego the wide angle converter. That was a major quality boost, as I had to stop down to f/4 or f/4.8 before the sharpness returned with my VX2000 and Canon WA58 0.7x converter.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:25 PM   #5
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I'm sorry about misspeaking. When I said wider telephoto range, I meant rather than 10x or 12x, would like to have had 20x or more. That is what I meant by wider. On the wide angle side, FX1 is pretty good as it stands.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Shane Coburn View Post
You need to light just about everything. Even some daytime shots that are plenty bright enough with the naked-eye are barely visible through the viewfinder. I dunno', for what it gives you in return (over a nice DV cam) isn't too impressive.
I have been using a Z1 (the pro version of the FX1) for two years and would really have to disagree with that statement. If you're finding daytime shots "barely visible" then you must be doing something wrong. I also have a VX-2000 which is widely acknowledged as one of the most sensitive cameras for use in dark places. I think my Z1 is about 1.5 f-stops slower than my VX-2000. That's really not too shabby IMO. And the gain boost is very clean on these cameras, so you can certainly add 6db gain without seeing hardly any noise. 9dB is also quite acceptable, and I even use 12 dB sometimes.

I shoot live archive video of our opera performances, and sometimes these are very dimly lit. Sure, I'd like another f-stop or two, but by adding gain it really isn't much of a problem. Contrary to what Shane says, I find that my Z1 can often see MORE than my naked eye can see on a dimly lit stage.

But don't just take my word on it, see this collection of links about the FX1 in low light: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=54414
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Old April 4th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #7
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As an FX-1 owner, I can say I'm very pleased with the camera. I've shot with lots of Sony cameras, BVP's, DXC's, etc. For its price and chip size, you get a great all-rounder camera, good image quality and decent usability in post.

At the under $10,000 level, the image quality between cameras seems to be pretty close. When I've seen imaging from the JVC, Panny or Canon HDV cameras, the quality of the shooting/cinematography has been much more important than the relatively small differences between the cameras.

If you want to make money shooting/DP-ing/renting to DV filmmakers, than the 24P, 30P issue could be important. Otherwise, enjoy!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 07:04 AM   #8
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I have an FX1 and a Z1.....

At least once a week I research whats new out there, and there just isn't a big enough reason for my to switch to another camera. I'd have to seel both cams to get just one (plus some change) canon H1.... which would be the only one that has much more to offer but won't work on my merlin.

the v1's not it.... more dof, res loss ( and other issues ) progressive.

canon a1/g1..... don't care for the view finder.

jvd h100-250..... bad lens CA and capture pains and won't work on my merlin

The FX1 and Z1 are just easy..... and reliable..... and the fact that I can be in rural kentucky and go to a walmart and buy an "L" series battery is pretty cool. For $6k and have one on sticks and the other on a merlin.... haveing 2 cams at the same time opens up a lot of possibilities... in fact, I've been tempted to get an HC3 and use it as a 3rd and a post deck (only $800!)

If I were to get a good budget project or an extra chunk of change..... I'd UPGRADE to a F350 or even better RED. .... But I'm sure I'm not alone here.

so.... for the money, the FX1 is the best bang for the $.... get one while you can, and have fun!
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