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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 December 15th, 2008, 07:38 AM   #1
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Just not the same

The excitement of owning a new, long-awaited camera has quickly faded.

After shooting my second event with the FX1000, I must make a couple of points.

I come from a VX/PD background.

I have not learned to use the FX1000 properly yet.

I shoot primarily weddings, so I'm dealing with less than ideal lighting most of the time.

That being said: Out of the box the image of the FX1000 is so much softer than the VX/PD series. The images do no pop in less than perfect lighting.

Last night while shooting, the images looked great in the viewfinder, but I found myself on more than one occasion wishing I was shooting with my old cameras.

I must say, however the amount of area covered by the lens in full wide is fantastic, and this is especially evident during the dancing.

But while capturing the photo session, it was rough, to say the least. Images seemed to be washed out, bland, and too dark.

For those of you who are accustomed to the ease of use and almost idiot-proof older Sonys, these are a challenge.

I have a lot more shooting and learning ahead with this camera, but after last night I'm reconsidering my purchase of the second one. Problem is, in this price range, I don't see what my alternatives are other than a larger sensor, which translates into much bigger bucks.

Because of my infatuation with the images of the VX/PD series of cams, the FX1000 is just not as much fun to shoot with.

I imagine after getting the hang of framing shots properly in 16:9, which is still new and alien to me, I will feel better about it, but I also imagine I will long for the crisp, low-light ability of my old cams for a long time to come.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #2
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OK, I need to respond to myself.

I burned and played footage from the two weddings I've shot with the FX1000 and I must say they look better on the television than they do on my monitor.

The movie appears to be almost film-like, even though I didn't run 24p mode.

I feel much better about the cam than I did this morning.

It was true that the images don't pop as they did with my old cams, etc., but just because they don't jump out from the screen doesn't mean they won't look great on a widescreen set.

In fact I think after adjusting to things I may grow to like this camera more over time.

Don't mind me if I sound schizoid...
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #3
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hello jeff I'm sorry to hear the way you feel about your new camera, I have owned a fx1 for about 3 years and I have been very happy with the way it shoots I have used the vx 2100 and I'll tell you that at first the transition from the vx to the fx is some how disapointing, but after learning how to use this new cameras you will see the difference,

1- you have the ability to record in high def wich is the must have now, also on dv you shoot in native 16:9. I do mostly weddings and quinceañeras and never heard of a customer complaining about their video been too dark.

2- one thing I love about new technology is the crisp image wich is way better than analog equipment. one camera that is in the same price range with the fx 1000 is the panasonic hmc150 is about $100.00 dlls more but you have a tapeless camera with ccds sensors instead of the cmos which a lot of people complaint about. the only problem with the panny is the format avchd files, if you don't have a pretty strong computer you will suffer in post.

in all and all I believe this camera fx 1000 is worth it the buck and in comparision with the vx 2100 I prefered the fx with all and the vx is better in low ligth. that is the only advantage that I can see other than that the fx1000 is a camera you will be able to work for many years........if you don't mind the tapless check the panasonic
hmc150 that is a great gear and is about same price..........
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Old December 15th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #4
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the term "pop"

Hey what do you boys mean by the image does not "pop".

Also I have been using a Z1 recently. Gee its a bit of a dog really that cam. Having a slow zoom speed, short lens and iris on the bottom left front of camera made shooting really limiting.

Looking forward to these improvements in the FX1000. Of course no XLR's but I record audio for dance concerts in stereo via a DVD recorder and will use a ballen box to run stage mics to pick up singing.

I will get the cam today and post my first impressions.

Regarding recording formats I have been lugging along lap top and so record live that way as well as to Mini DV tape. It saves lost of download time.

Whats the go with recording to flash with the FX1000. Is it right that you can firewire out into the box/harddrive that mounts ontop of the camera? Hoping so.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #5
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Fx1000

Jeff said: "But while capturing the photo session, it was rough, to say the least. Images seemed to be washed out, bland, and too dark."

Jeff do you think you were underexposed here or as you said does it end up looking great on a TV?


Jeff said " I also imagine I will long for the crisp, low-light ability of my old cams for a long time to come."

Jeff I have been using a Z1 recently and OK its not like a VX on low light but to me its still pretty good. If the FX1000 is in between then it will be fine. I think 16:9 the more you look at it wins as the cinema look gives it all a tough of class.

On top of that things just look and are closer. For dance concerts that little dancer at the back of the screen can be seen a bit better and well shooting is incredibly easier.

16:9 > 4:3 well there is no comparison. It took me an extra 12 months to wait for the right cam. Hoping the FX will be OK as I pick it up today.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #6
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Well, as I said after burning a disc, I was somewhat pleased with the images. As far as the photo session footage, I didn't actually include it on the disc, should have.

I definitely could have opened up the iris, but didn't.

All in all, the 16:9 is very nice, you are absolutely correct.

I do beleive as I learn to use the camera I will be even happier with it.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:19 AM   #7
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Out of the box the image of the FX1000 is so much softer than the VX/PD series.
This is the bit I simply cannot get my head around. The FX has very nearly 4x the resolution per frame than the VX/PD, so where does the word 'softer' fit into this Jeff?

You're a long-term poster here, you know the score. I've used the Z1 for three years now and just 2 weeks ago went back to use the VX2000. Yikes! The camera's side-screen was horrible, the 4:3 aspect looked like the 1950s. No wide-angle to speak of. Low shots obsure the iris control wheel and button with the (low res) side screen.

Yes, you'll get to love the FX. OK, it's probably a stop slower than the VX, but its gain-up amps are a lot quieter and you can pump it by +6dB over the VX and it'll still look fine.

And Martin - I just love that beautifully damped, knurled aluminium knob that controls the Z1's iris. It falls perfectly under my left thumb as I support the camera and allows me fine tune of the aperture with delicate ease. So much so that I'm not looking forward to having to use my left hand on the lens ring of the Z5.

tom.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:52 AM   #8
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audio and FX1000

I am hoping the audio limiter that was so good on the Sony TRV900 is also on the FX.

on the TRV900 which I expect was similar with the VX2000 you could go into any mega loud situation and the camera just wouldn't distort when switched to "auto" on the audio.

I only which they would keep auto and manual but when in manual still allow you to have the limiter kicking in.

I mate of mine (that means pal or buddy in Australian) has a Sony dsr200 (the big 3 chip 10X zoom DVcam and yep it has the above feature allowing total control over levels but with a limiter in play. This is surely the best scenario.

Also what about the CF recorder. It this what takes the flash cards and so where and how does it mount on the FX?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
I just love that beautifully damped, knurled aluminium knob that controls the Z1's iris. It falls perfectly under my left thumb as I support the camera and allows me fine tune of the aperture with delicate ease.
tom.
Tom, that's filth, you've got a dirty mind.
I like the Z1 too but you've gone too far, I'm getting all hot and bothered.

;-)
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #10
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Jeff, did you use or try any of the Custom Picture Profile settings in the camera.
These can make a huge difference in how your overall image appears compared to straight out of the box settings.

If you push the sharpness, color, auto AGC and Iris limit, you can achieve some sweet looks without the need for much work in post.

Now I don't currently own a FX1000, but did come from VX/PD territory and have been working with FX1's for a couple of years now. And if you do some experimenting with the CP then you can get some stunning out of camera footage. I shoot manual everything all of the time and use the cameras controls as best I can. I don't trust the camera to adjust for me, except for reference.

The only thing that you have to remember if you use the Custom Profiles is to make sure that you have the right one selected before your shoot. Recently, I did a shoot for someone and forgot to change my Picture Profile settings. The profile that I set had a sharpness setting of only +6, which of course produced a soft overall image.

BTW, I hate the 3 position Gain switch and really prefer a smooth gain exposure like the old PD series cams. But a neat low light trick that I picked up from someone here is to set my 3 position switch as L-0, M-6, H-9, and then go into the menu and set my "Auto Gain" to 12-15 db. Now you have 4 gain settings, as for times that you need extra gain, simply switch your camera "Gain" to "Auto" and you have the extra boost that you may need.

This has helped me out in receptions where the lighting can be all over the place.
Of course on camera lighting or off camera supplemental lighting can help quite a bit as well. I have always used lighting, even for my VX/PD shoots. It as great that the PD could shoot in the dark, but the image generally turned to mud.

What I have taken away from early posts on the FX1000 is that the overall image isn't much brighter than the FX1 in very dark venues, but the color seems to hold up much better. Which is great to hear because the FX1 would produce a darker image than the PD series cams, but the overall color was superior in the FX cams.

I am looking forward to the FX1000 even more than my FX1's because of extra picture settings such as Black Stretch, Knee settings, histogram (I love this coming from a Photoshop background) which will give me even greater control over my overall image.

All in all I think if you delve deep into the cameras settings you will find that the FX1000 wil produce as stunning image in both great and low light.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #11
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so, be happy jeff 'cause you'll love your investment I asure you!!!!!
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Old December 16th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
The movie appears to be almost film-like, even though I didn't run 24p mode.
i think this is a common thing. Things look great once you get new equipment and then once you start using it you start to have pangs about the old stuff.

Most often it is a case of having to get to know a new friend. Kind of like replacing a faithful old pet that died with a new one. The new pet isn't the same as the old one, but has new characteristics that are unfamiliar.

I find that quite often equipment needs at least a month to 'bed in' in terms of the mind and how it is used. Many times the things that you thought were restrictions turn out to be useful.

it is a shame most manufacturers don't allow a try before you buy scheme that gives ample time to become accustomed to equipment before purchasing.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #13
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Lots of great feedback and support. Michael, great tips.

As I mentioned I had not played with camera much before using, and I do regret it. I read up on the Iris ring AFTER the shoot, OMG I can't believe I shot without it.

With the VX2100 during photo sessions when faces were too dark in full wide, I simply zoomed in on the face and hit the Iris button and I was often set perfectly. I wasn't able to do that with the new camera, it was very frustrating.

Tom, the softness I am referring to is the lack of contrast in the images compared to the VX2100. Resolution and contrast are not the same. On my hi-def set when customer watch my videos, they are still consistently blown away by footage from my VX2100. Images are bright and clear and often stand up well against professional photos mixed in with my video. Running in semi-manual this is not happening with the FX1000.

The FX1000 has a setting to boost the contrast, so even sony is aware the the FX's image is soft, as they attempt to compensate for it.

When my wife watched the footage from the FX 1000, I asked her how she thought it looked, and she shrugged her shoulders. She said it look "regular". Pretty sad. She admitted it was nice in that the image fills the screen, but that was it.

It is pretty clear that I have a lot to learn about the operation of the camera to obtain the best footage. Unfortunately it is not as idiot proof as my older cameras, and will require more tweaking than I am accustomed to using.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 01:10 AM   #14
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Tom, that's filth, you've got a dirty mind.
I like the Z1 too but you've gone too far, I'm getting all hot and bothered.

;-)
LOL :) ..Very funny..
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #15
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Jeff so true about the VX2100 being an idiot proof camera. It wasn't exactly an idiot proof camera but performed pretty well in all auto when needed.

However once I moved to the PD170 I realized the benefits of learning the camera settings and using them all of the time in full manual. After getting the PD170, I then started running my VX2100's in all manual as well. As a reult my images popped off of the screen much better than running in auto.

This of course helped me when I transitioned to the FX1, as the FX1 has much better manual controls over your image than the PD170 ever had. The only downside was the 3 position gain setting as opposed to smooth scrolling gain. But I already told you my slight workaround for this.

The only thing that I had to learn was how and when to use the picture profiles in the camera and what each setting did. Once I started to figure this out, the image really took off and as a result I spent much less time in post color grading or correcting my footage. I still do some color work, but not as much as I used to in post.

I look forward to using the FX1000 and even more picture profile settings that were once reserved for Sony Pro cameras only.

I'm certain that once you have time to learn the camera, you will love the image it produces.
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