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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 May 17th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #1
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Does Z1 still shine?

Now that the V1 is out is there still a compelling reason to buy the Z1?
Can you tell me please where you feel the Z1 still has the edge over the newcomer? We will be buying a few cameras for an international documentary and have already tested the V1 and think it's great but would like to know if we should also consider the Z1.

Doc will be shot HDV but probably not broadcast HD.

Thanks
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Old May 17th, 2007, 07:38 AM   #2
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I personally prefer the look of the V1 but it's a bit like asking what's the best beer.
I seriously doubt there's any definative answers to the question. If you need progressive the V1 wins. If you need a wider lens the Z1 wins. If you need a bit better in low light the Z1 wins, batteries last a bit longer in the V1.

In your case it might come down to which camera do you feel more comfortable with.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 08:15 AM   #3
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Hi Sean,

I've not used the V1, but the most compelling reason for me is ergonomics... the Z1 is larger, better set out, all the buttons in the right places... whitre balance, gain, iris etc.. (I just hate having to go into menus for basic functions)
The top mounted LCD is also a big plus for me as I can use the camera on a shoulder support framing with the LCD.

Other than progressive scan using the CMOS chips, which to be honest I can live without right now... I can see no benefit of the V1.

Also depends how soon you want a camera... If I had to change now I'd wait for the end of 2007 for the new XDCam EX... that or the shoulder mount HDV camera... both these models have more appeal to me than the V1.

just my two euros worth..
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Old May 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #4
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See my thread here http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=93106

I have both, and will keep both. I bought both to have flexibility in shooting. Something to keep in mind.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #5
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The V1 has the HDMI interconnect, a fab 20x zoom, is cheaper, lighter, more compact. It has 'smear-free' CMOS chips. If you've come from a PD170 you'll feel right at home inside 15 minutes. It'll take you half a day with the Z1.

Ah, but the Z1's more expensive for good reason. That top screen (so easily placed on axis with the lens for tracking shots) is the best in the business, full stop. It doesn't need a Hoodman, and Sony make a Hoodman for the V1. Guess why?

The Z1 uses bigger 1"/3 chips. Doersn't sound much, you'll say, but they're 78% bigger in area. In a side-by-side comparison test 2 weeks ago the Z1 had a nice soft foocus background to the test flowers while the greater D o F on the V1 rendered the background sharp. And that was with the Z1 working at half a stop smaller, because it's that much better in the gloom.

If the Z1's chips were smeary the V1's CMOS would make sence, but they're not, so they don't. The V1 also needs a wide-angle converter right out of the box, and Sony sell a feeble 0.8x with a huge hood. Why didn't they make it start at the Z1's wide coverage and go further - like the Canon A1?

But that 20x zoom is a darling, I'll give it that. And if you can't afford a Z1 then the V1 (for all the silly placing of the side screen) is a beauty.

tom.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 09:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins View Post
I've not used the V1, but the most compelling reason for me is ergonomics... the Z1 is larger, better set out, all the buttons in the right places... whitre balance, gain, iris etc.. (I just hate having to go into menus for basic functions)
The top mounted LCD is also a big plus for me as I can use the camera on a shoulder support framing with the LCD.

Other than progressive scan using the CMOS chips, which to be honest I can live without right now... I can see no benefit of the V1.

Also depends how soon you want a camera... If I had to change now I'd wait for the end of 2007 for the new XDCam EX... that or the shoulder mount HDV camera... both these models have more appeal to me than the V1.
For me the main reason for buying the Z1 was it being PAL/NTSC, as I am moving between productions on two countries where I have both systems. Also PAL allows a smooth film transfer.

About the top-mounted LCD, I can't agree on that. As I rarely use hand or shoulder mount on my projects, I need an LCD screen I can flip to the side, so I can make a quick peek to the side when I stand by the camera, every now and then.

Even if I am using a portable DVD LCD screen now, the V1 side screen might be a good thing. I wonder why they didn't allow the Z1 screen to flip to the side too.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 10:15 AM   #7
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I'm still happy with my Z1 after two years. Carlos' point about PAL/NTSC is well taken and was the reason I bought the camera in the first place (to shoot a PAL SD project).

Personally I like the position of the LCD screen for both handheld and tripod use. And it's still the nicest LCD panel I've seen (although granted, none of them are so great for focusing in HD).

For shooting performances I need as much edge in low light as possible so that's another plus. Tom and Gareth make excellent points as well about ergonomics and chip size.

The 24p and 20x zoom are really nice features on the V1 however, and the footage I've seen from that camera looked beautiful. So if you want those features, don't need PAL/NTSC, are willing to give up some low light performance and physical controls, then the V1 is a great value.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #8
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I must say I agree with the LCD's image quality, even if you certainly need the Focus Peaking capability with it.

For hand-held use it's good, but as I said I am not so sure about tripod use. On many situations I like to have the LCD flipped and clicked in to the side, and you can't do that on the Z1.

But of course, it has to do with the way I got used to on my interviews, which is staying just beside the camera, so the subject seems almost to be looking at the lens and is not. It provides an immediacy that you can't get in any other way.

The external LCD screen has helped on this matter, particularly when I sit on the other side of the camera. On situations when I have been shooting alone I could adjust the camera for a closer angle.

On the comparison tests I have seen (a German site I can't remember the URL of) between the Z1 and V1, I liked the results of the Z1 better. But it was a close margin and the images were small. On larger sizes, what Tim points out about CCD size, the larger will prevail.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 06:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies people. I really appreciate it. Yes we are coming from the land of the glorious PD-170. And you're right we feel right at home with the V1. I've been very impressed with the dynamic range so far but a little concerned about low light.

As for the lens we will definitely get the wa adapter even though it's only slightly wider. There is a rail system that beafs up the camera allowing us to mount things on the back and we will also run a Matte box with French flag.

I agree the top LCD is a very clever idea on the Z1 and it makes hand held work feel a little more natural. I guess having 25P is something that we may consider using as we like the "film look".

Thanks again for all the comments.
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