My first thoughts on the Z5 - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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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 31st, 2008, 06:01 PM   #16
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I've seen pics comparing the VX2100 and XH-A1 in low light. The VX2100 looked as bright as any of the other cams, but the HDV cams had so much more picture in them - you saw more wall and details etc.
Now with the Z5/FX1000 we're getting really good low light performance AND more picture detail. Looks like a good deal.
If I get a moment, I might try to do a comparison of my VX2100 and Z5 (when postie brings it).

Oh Happy New Year everyone. :)
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Old January 1st, 2009, 06:31 AM   #17
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Nice new toy

Well, having had my nice shiny new Z5 for a week and a half, I finally had a chance to actually tape something and start playing around with tape/CF/PC transfers etc. I'm pretty impressed with the technical image quality (specially in low-light - which was one of my deciding factors on choosing this camera) - can't say much for the creative aspects yet! ;-) I just did some shots to try it out - nothing creative about it. The weather has been too crap to go outdoors shooting anything (apart from a few chickens to see what the feather detail is like).

However, I have my first project (so far) with this camera looming in a couple of weeks time in France, so I really need to start playing round with it in earnest (as long as he doesn't mind) :-))

I mislaid my manual for the MRC-1K and couldn't figure out why the record button didn't seem to be working when trying to copy from tape to CF! Eventually, I decided to download the manual and print it out; whereupon I discovered that you have to press the record button and the un-labelled button next to it simultaneously. Duh! These are the sort of things I really need to get ironed out before I need to actually use it for something real!

It's a bit/lot bulkier than my old camera (not in the same league) but there is absolutely no comparison - it knocks spots off the old decrepid thing which is now retired due to excessive motor noise - which I discovered on the last job post-shoot (forgot the headphones!).

The only thing missing (in relation to the old one) is the IR night vision (one of my main requirements was for low-light work) but the low-light capabilities of this camera really impress to the point I don't think I'll need it.

My main criteria when spending weeks pondering over the various offerings were:

Wide-angle capability
20x Zoom
HD(V) and DV
Tape & Solid-State
Low-light capabilities
Solid-State medium not prohibitively expensive

The Panasonic option I was looking at ticked most of the boxes apart from 13x zoom and P2 medium being prohibitively priced (for me on an amateur budget).

Once I've had a chance to actually produce something properly (through to distribution), I'll have a better idea of how the work-flow is going to work out. This imminent job in France should be a pretty good test of it's low-light capability with live-action, as it's a panto. The final distro will be DVD (not many people are Blu-Ray ready yet) so it will be SD rather than HD but I'll be shooting in HDV too, so that I can do comparisons.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 06:47 AM   #18
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Hi Steve
Apart from not having my Z5 and media recorder delivered yet from Prestons, I could have written your piece. The 13x zoom was the thing that stopped me properly considering the Panny HC151.

I'm looking at how I'm going to both distribute and show my movies around. For the latter, a friend showed me this media player from Western Digital. It connects to a HDMI equipped TV or projector and shows movies that you've downloaded to a typical external USB hard disk.

WD TV HD Media Player ( WDAVN00 )

I'm going to get one asap. I know that Makro have them for 59.99 + vat.

Good luck with your cam.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:03 AM   #19
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The 13x zoom was the thing that stopped me properly considering the Panny HC151.
When I've demonstrated to people the difference between a 13x zoom and a 20x zoom I've often met with surprise at how little different that extra '7x' makes. It sounds a lot, but a fairly mild 1.5x telephoto converter on the 13x zoom will give you the same reach but not lose you the extra 2/3 of a stop that comes free with having a 20x zoom as standard.

The Panasonic 151 is hugely cheaper than the Z5, but of course can't record to tape and is somewhat more plasticy in construction I thought. But the money saved will but a whole lot of SD cards as well as that 1.5x telephoto converter.

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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:36 AM   #20
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Hi Steve
Apart from not having my Z5 and media recorder delivered yet from Prestons, I could have written your piece. The 13x zoom was the thing that stopped me properly considering the Panny HC151.
Hi Billy,

The zoom range wasn't the greatest priority (for the reasons that Tom mentioned). The main things were the tape/solid-state and low-light capabilities (especially the low-light - my old cam [an old Sony Digital-8] served me well for many years at SD - albeit a bit grainy at low-light - but when the motor noise started becoming noticable on the sound-track, I new it was time to replace it) and HD(V) not to mention cost of media.

The next thing I need to get is the pan-handle attached LANC remote (not quite sure why the Manfrotto one is twice the price of the Sony one - anyone?) Still not sure about another mic on boom pole or whether to just stick with the cam-mounted gun-mic. I'm not sure what the stage layout/distance is going to be but I think it's only a small venue, so the cam-mounted should be OK!?! I'll be tripod mounted but will be shooting 3 performances [each from a different postion to increase editing options] over 3 evenings (Fri, Sat, Sun) but I hope to be able to get some dress-rehearsal shots to use as cut-aways/out-takes ;-) too.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:52 AM   #21
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only a small venue, so the cam-mounted should be OK!?!
The short answer is 'unlikely'. The semi-shotgun supplied with any camcorder may well have a restricted pick-up pattern, but it's still designed to be used close up to the sound. Unless your microphone comes fitted inside a parabolic reflector you can be sure it's designed to be used up close and personal.

A cheap mic up close (feeding a Minidisc recorder, say) will give you much better sound. A really really cheap tie-clip mic pinned to the actors will give you even better sound. That's just the way it is; the best place for a mic is hardly ever the best place for a lens.

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Old January 1st, 2009, 08:39 AM   #22
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They talk about the 6 blade iris diaphram giving you beautiful background blur, do you guys know if it has less dof than other 1/3 inch chips camera?
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Old January 1st, 2009, 08:48 AM   #23
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They talk about the 6 blade iris diaphram giving you beautiful background blur, do you guys know if it has less dof than other 1/3 inch chips camera?
No, the dof is the same, camera for camera, if they use the same surface area of chip. Note I don't say 'if they use 1"/3 chips' as you could be shooting in the 4:3 mode and therefore get greater dof because you're using a masked down area of the 16:9 chip.

The six blade diaphragm is pretty standard now, after the nasty highlights seen on a two-bladed one such as in the PDX10.

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Old January 1st, 2009, 09:44 PM   #24
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The short answer is 'unlikely'. The semi-shotgun supplied with any camcorder may well have a restricted pick-up pattern, but it's still designed to be used close up to the sound. Unless your microphone comes fitted inside a parabolic reflector you can be sure it's designed to be used up close and personal.

A cheap mic up close (feeding a Minidisc recorder, say) will give you much better sound. A really really cheap tie-clip mic pinned to the actors will give you even better sound. That's just the way it is; the best place for a mic is hardly ever the best place for a lens.

tom.
Hi Tom,

I think you're probably correct (in ideal cirumstances) but it's not practical (or economically/logistically possible - for me) to radio mic all the actors up individually and, being a small venue, I don't think I'll be that far away. Still, a seperate audio capture may be an option. I'll have a better idea when I run through a dress-rehearsal with them.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #25
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If I get a moment, I might try to do a comparison of my VX2100 and Z5 (when postie brings it).
That would be awesome.

The Z5 looks tempting to buy and replace my vx2100.

Last edited by Chris van der Zaan; January 4th, 2009 at 12:23 PM.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:42 AM   #26
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Sony remote issue

The next thing I need to get is the pan-handle attached LANC remote


Just a tip - The Sony Lanc remote (not sure which model) has a very slight lag in the zoom control.

Basically you press zoom and its not an instant zoom. Its only very minute but enough for me to not want to use it.

Any other reports on this boys?
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Chris van der Zaan View Post
That would be awesome.

The Z5 looks tempting to buy and replace my vx2100.
I don't know about awesome, but my Z5 arrived at 18.00h and I posted this quickley done test about 1am the following morning -
Note - I found it hard to get both cams to use the same f/stop, as the Z5 zoomed in further to get the sameish framed shots. And I couldn't work out how to control the shutter speed, f/stop, gain and apeture all at the same time with either cameras.

Here is my little test YouTube - HVR-Z5e v VX2100 Lowlight Standard def Shootout

cheers Billy
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Old January 8th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #28
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Loved the soundtrack!
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Old January 8th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #29
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Loved the soundtrack!
Destined to be a classic Jeff!
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Old January 9th, 2009, 12:23 AM   #30
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Thanks for your work. At first glance i am not impressed at all by Z5. But as you said quick, rough etc. I will wait for further tests.

Soundtrack. :)
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