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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old March 5th, 2009, 07:15 AM   #256
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Can't agree with you there Tom. Wouldn't you expect a 3X dearer Canon XH-A1 to be sharper than the HV20? It's not. This is not the first time a consumer cam has shown a sharper image than its far more expensive counterpart.

The point of the more expensive cam is that it gives you a better image when you take the care to use the controls you are given. It gives you far more flexibility in a far greater range of shooting conditions. One of the things I've noticed that I haven't seen mentioned, is the great sharpness of the G lens throughout its zoom range.

You may be correct that a 'casual user' may get sharper results with an HV20 at times, but I don't think we have too many 'casual users' of the Z5. If the average Z5 user can't get consistently sharper results and a far better overall picture with superior colors than the HV20, shame on them. ;)
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Old March 5th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #257
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Can't agree with you there Tom. Wouldn't you expect a 3X dearer Canon XH-A1 to be sharper than the HV20? It's not.
Yes, that's what I'd expect to see - the XH outperforming the HV, but (as I say) only in experienced hands. But then again, the HV holds a lot of sharpness aces as my previous post points out.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #258
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It still amazes me that we can sit here and have a legitimate discussion about the sharpness and image quality of a $700 HV camera being on par or better than a $3000+ 3 chip prosumer camera under optimal lighting conditions. I'll always wonder if Canon knew what they had in the HV series or if it was a happy mistake.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #259
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It still amazes me that we can sit here and have a legitimate discussion about the sharpness and image quality of a $700 HV camera being on par or better than a $3000+ 3 chip prosumer camera under optimal lighting conditions. I'll always wonder if Canon knew what they had in the HV series or if it was a happy mistake.
I think Canon released more of those "mistakes" - ie. 5D m II. I read somewhere that guys at video dept went ballistic when they saw that short vid made with pre-release 5D :-)
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Old March 5th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #260
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Adam, I had the FX7 too for awhile, and I found that camera sharper than the FX1. But I always thought the FX7 was a bit noisy and certainly poor in low light. It always looked to me like Sony added edge enhancement to the FX7 contributing to its somewhat noisy image.
I never found it to be too noisy but I had the max gain locked at 6dB from the day I got it. When I do see noise, I just convince myself it's film grain and the way I wanted it.

Sometimes when I burn the dinner I tell people I meant it to be that way, and sometimes they believe me....

I've actually been very happy with the low-light performance of the 7, but I know I'm in the minority on this one. We'll see if the 1000 is as much better as they say it is today in the theatre. Just playing around with it last night, it felt like it could see in the dark... the image on the LCD was several orders of magnitude brighter than the real room was, with what seemed to be accurate colors and no noise at all. But you can't really tell anything about grain on a tiny LCD screen...
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #261
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It still amazes me that we can sit here and have a legitimate discussion about the sharpness and image quality of a $700 HV camera being on par or better than a $3000+ 3 chip prosumer camera under optimal lighting conditions. I'll always wonder if Canon knew what they had in the HV series or if it was a happy mistake.
If you think the HV series was good Ethan, you should check out the HG21. That's sharper and more resolute (with better colors too) than the HV series. But it still can't compete with what a properly adjusted Z5 can produce.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #262
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I've actually been very happy with the low-light performance of the 7, but I know I'm in the minority on this one. We'll see if the 1000 is as much better as they say it is today in the theatre. Just playing around with it last night, it felt like it could see in the dark... the image on the LCD was several orders of magnitude brighter than the real room was, with what seemed to be accurate colors and no noise at all. But you can't really tell anything about grain on a tiny LCD screen...
Adam, I'm sure you'll find a huge difference in the low light of these 2 cams. The low light of the Z5 is every bit as good as the champ, the VX2100. For HD that's surely no small achievement. BUT, I would encourage youi to go beyond 6db of gain...the Z5 can surely handle that easily.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #263
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With the FX1 and FX7, the choice was 6 or 12, and I found 12 to be a little grainy so I erred on the side of caution. With FX1000/Z5 you can choose from the full range so I will likely go to at least 9. Maybe 12 if it's as clean as you say.

Any advice on Black Compensation and Knee settings in a theatrical environment? Right now, just based on guesswork, I've got them set to crush the blacks and the Knee settings on HIGH because of the inherently high-contrast nature of stage shows. In the past we've had a lot of noise as the cams struggle to lift up the blacks. Obviously neither of my earlier cams had these settings so I'm experimenting...
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #264
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Actually Canon's HV30 CMOS chip is 1"/2.7, so it's actually noticeably bigger than 1"/3.
Tom, a 1/2.7" chip is larger than a 1/3 chip and it certainly sounds more impressive, but it isn't really a big difference. If you do the math it is .3704" to .3333". Less than 4 hundredths of an inch larger. Would the Z5, Z7, S270, and FX1000 be significantly better camcorders if they had 1/2.7" chips? I really doubt it would make much difference.

In digital still cameras. How can a basic Nikon with only a 6mp image sensor, produce a better photo than one of the little collapsible digitalís that has a 10mp sensor? Better lens, better internal processing, better controls, etc. It all adds up to a better image.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #265
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With the FX1 and FX7, the choice was 6 or 12, and I found 12 to be a little grainy so I erred on the side of caution. With FX1000/Z5 you can choose from the full range so I will likely go to at least 9. Maybe 12 if it's as clean as you say.

Any advice on Black Compensation and Knee settings in a theatrical environment? Right now, just based on guesswork, I've got them set to crush the blacks and the Knee settings on HIGH because of the inherently high-contrast nature of stage shows. In the past we've had a lot of noise as the cams struggle to lift up the blacks. Obviously neither of my earlier cams had these settings so I'm experimenting...
If you want a more contrasty look that will also help hide the noise, but yet still look damn good, try a master black setting of -10.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 01:01 PM   #266
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Would the Z5, Z7, S270, and FX1000 be significantly better camcorders if they had 1/2.7" chips?
Not in the slightest. All I'm saying is that the bigger the chip, the easier it is to get differential focus for any given object size at any given aperture at any given distance.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #267
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If you want a more contrasty look that will also help hide the noise, but yet still look damn good, try a master black setting of -10.
Thanks for the input.

Unfortunately, the FX1000 only lets us choose between STRETCH or COMPRESS with the blacks, and HIGH, MIDDLE or LOW for the knee point. Thoughts?
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Old March 5th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #268
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I'd leave the knee point alone and select 'compress' for the blacks. I once saw someone post a picture (maybe Jeff?) from the FX1000 with compress on & off and I thought the 'compress' presented a punchier picture.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #269
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Thanks, Ken.

I did compress the blacks and "punchier" is exactly the right word. I set the knee to HIGH and never had a zebra showing, so I assume it reduced the blown out areas to acceptable levels. I'll know more when I actually get the tape on the PC tomorrow.

Thanks for the help.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #270
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I think you need to stretch the blacks for stage environment because the problem is seeing detail in the shadows. Bring knee down so that the lights on whites will not overexpose them. I just wish my FX1 could do that. I end up exposing to make sure I don't loose detail in the bright colours and then play with gamma in post to regain the detail in the shadows. If you do the opposite( compress blacks), an actor with black pants on a dark stage with a white shirt will end up looking like just a white shirt moving around the stage!!!! Once you have compressed there is no way to recover in post. With stretch you can compress in post if you don't like it.

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