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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 January 11th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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Looking for advice, please read.

I have this posted on the AG HMC150 forum & asking for advice. Take a look if you have time. Thanks.
AG-HMC-150, XH-A1 or HDR FX-1000?
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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It depends! On so many things! You need to list your requirements firstly.

For example what kind of zoom do you require? will 12x do or do you need 20x?

Do you want to work with tape or AVCHD?

Do you need/want the pro/audio that comes with the Panasonic 150? The AVCHD is not see as a mature format by most pros and the softness some complain about with it can be a drawback, as well as the difficulty in working with the files, but again that can vary with the OS and NLE.

I have the FX1000 and am unhappy with a few things with it, but I would not switch to the Panny or Canon. On the other hand the Canon owners are almost fanatical in their love of their cams. The Canon is a really nice camera and you likely would be very happy with it, but again it depends on what you need from it. If you largely run auto you might be better of with the Sony.

You need to tell us your background and your intentions with the cam as well.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jeff
I plan on doing weddings & other events; possibly HS sports-football & basketball.
In the past I've owned a Sony TRV900 & Panasonic DVX100. Overall, the DVX was a much better camera; especially with low light @ weddings. I also had a Sony HVR-Z1 HDV which was a great camera overall, but poor in low light.
Overall, the FX1000s 20x zoom would be a + & the 1.5 LUX should be much better than the HVR-Z1s. The lack of XLRs isn't too much trouble because I still have a BeachTek XLR adapter used with my TRV900.
I think the future is in tapeless format. JVC have a new tapeless model that records in mpeg2 MOV, on CF I believe-not sure. As you pointed out, AVCHD is difficult to edit, but, so was HDV when it was new.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 05:41 PM   #4
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Well George, Mark Von Lanken is liking the Panasonic.

I hate to admit to being easily influenced by others, but in his case, his recommendation, especially for wedding gear, is worth an awful lot to me.

I can honestly say you'd be safe with that cam. It would be the first cam I would look at today if I were in the market for another.

I do not care for the prospect of AVCHD myself. That is the main issue with the cam for me. But there are others who like it.

You could go around and around with this question for weeks on this forum and get different opinions. My personal recommendation is the Panasonic for you. Mind you I shoot with the FX1000 and I do love it. But there are some really stupid little things about it I do not like. A stupid menu scroll wheell, the 20x zoom which I have learned the hard way has as many drawbacks as it does advantages (for me, anyway) and the fact you cannot open or close the LCD Screen if you have something mounted on the shoe mount. These are relatively minor issues, but again if Mark is liking the Pansonic after he's had it for a few weeks, that is worth something to me. Put that together with the silly design flaws of the FX1000 and I say that the Panny is worth a real good looking over.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #5
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Well George, Mark Von Lanken is liking the Panasonic.

I hate to admit to being easily influenced by others, but in his case, his recommendation, especially for wedding gear, is worth an awful lot to me.

I can honestly say you'd be safe with that cam. It would be the first cam I would look at today if I were in the market for another.

I do not care for the prospect of AVCHD myself. That is the main issue with the cam for me. But there are others who like it.

You could go around and around with this question for weeks on this forum and get different opinions. My personal recommendation is the Panasonic for you. Mind you I shoot with the FX1000 and I do love it. But there are some really stupid little things about it I do not like. A stupid menu scroll wheell, the 20x zoom which I have learned the hard way has as many drawbacks as it does advantages (for me, anyway) and the fact you cannot open or close the LCD Screen if you have something mounted on the shoe mount. These are relatively minor issues, but again if Mark is liking the Pansonic after he's had it for a few weeks, that is worth something to me. Put that together with the silly design flaws of the FX1000 and I say that the Panny is worth a real good looking over.
What got me interested in the HMC150 was the fact that I had a good experience with the DVX100. It had it's flaws, too (like being semi-automatic. Really screwed up some shots until I got used to it!). And, the HMC150 looks to be very similar in operation-but HD instead of SD. The real question is would it be good in low light. The early HDVs were not. The FX1000 had improved on that.
The HVR-Z1 had an extension for the shoe that added clearance for the screen. Didn't the FX1000 come with one?
Thanks again.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #6
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No it doesn't come with that. With your Panny background I'd say your are a shoe in for the 150. You know Panasonic. Your heart is with the Panasonic. Follow your heart on this one. You already know you want it.

It is excellent in low-light. Not to rush you, but I truly don't think you need to look much further. Order your cam.

I highly doubt, that once you come to terms with AVCHD files, you will be sorry.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 10:50 PM   #7
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George, I don't have any recent experience with any of the Canons. That stems from a couple of bad experiences I had with 2 different Canon camcorders a few years back. I realize that my bad experiences have no relevance when it comes to the new cameras. But it just kind of soured me on Canons. I can’t help it. I have used the Panasonic 100 and the 200. I thought the DVC-100 was a great SD camera but I still preferred the video, layout and operation of my VX2100. When I used the HVX200 I had the chance to do a head to head comparison to the video from my Sony HVR-V1U and my opinion was that the video from the V1 was cleaner and clearer. Not a very big difference but it was enough that it was obvious. Every videographer who had a chance to see the footage back to back had the same opinion. I don't expect the video out of the HMC-150 to be better than the HVX-200. Now, on the other hand, I have been playing with a friend’s FX1000 for a couple of days and the footage seems to be really good. I mean really good. No, it is not a perfect camcorder, however. For example the f-stop changes from 1.6 to 3.4 as you go through the zoom range. That is a significant change in exposure. But I have been living with that on my V1 (also a 20X zoom) so it isn't a big deal to me on the FX1000. That phenomenon is less obvious on cameras with only a 12X or 13X lenses, but they do it also, just to a lesser degree. In spite of that issue, the 20X lens is still pretty awesome. So I can live with that flaw. Also, I was disappointed to find out that the FX1000 doesn't do in-camera downconvert like its cousins. So if I use my friends FX1000, I will have to do it in post. But that is supposed to give better results anyway. I am still learning the intricacies of the white balance controls and the picture profiles but I think if someone learns how to use just some of the capabilities of the FX1000, you will have the ability to produce images that lesser cameras will be unable to match. And I agree with Jeff that the buttons and control wheel on the FX1000 are more of a hassle than other Sony camcorders. But I am learning them. And one last thought, I don’t care what new software comes down the road later, I am pretty convinced that AVCHD is not quite as good as HDV from the frame captures I have seen. But the bottom line is probably that there are no bad camcorders and you need to get what you think is best for you. Good luck with your choice, George.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #8
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....Also, I was disappointed to find out that the FX1000 doesn't do in-camera downconvert like its cousins...
Does anyone know if you can downconvert with the HDV-Z5? I am under the impression that you can do it.

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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #9
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Lens ramping isn't a flaw Greg - it's almost a design necessity to get cameras designed and built that you're strong enough to lift and rich enough to pay for. You can have non-ramping zooms but they sure cost - go look at any DSLR lens line-up and have a look-see.

And of course these cameras downconvert HDV to DV.

Also - don't get too hung up on the low-light issue. What matters when you're making movies is what's between your ears, not what's between your palms.

tom.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #10
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And of course these cameras downconvert HDV to DV.

tom.
As I've learned Tom, both the FX1000 and Z5 downconvert, but the Z5 has more options to do so.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #11
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Ken, since I have a loaner FX1000, I didn't get a manual with it but I couldn't find "downconvert" anywhere in the menu. So what options do you have?
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #12
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Here ya go Greg, check out page 79 where it explains it all.

http://www.docs.sony.com/release/HDRFX1000.pdf
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Old January 13th, 2009, 04:27 PM   #13
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Also - don't get too hung up on the low-light issue. What matters when you're making movies is what's between your ears, not what's between your palms.
tom.
Tom,
I respect that you are a knowledgeable guy, as most at this site are, but I'm not quite getting your meaning. LOL!
If I'm shooting the bride & groom doing their 1st dance on a very poorly lit dance floor, I need all the help the camera can give me. Too slow of shutter speed & I get motion blur; too fast & they're silhouettes at best. Certainly a camera that captures better in low light is a plus, isn't it; especially, when pricing is about the same?
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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:27 AM   #14
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George, I might be mistaken but I believe Tom is saying the differences in the cams we're discussing are so slight that in the end you'd be safe with any of them if you know how to operate the one you choose.

One of the highest priced videography outfits in Cincinnati uses cameras that are absolutely dreadful in low light (very old Panny's) I don't even know how they get by with them. However their technical skills are such that betweeen their shooting and editing skills they turn out amazing videos that command ridiculous prices.

That is why, no matter what camera you choose, the most important thing in the end is the shooter, not the camera.

The differences in low light betweent the Panasonic and the Sony is so slight it is absolutely insignificant.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 03:50 AM   #15
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Beautifully put Jeff. Couples have been dancing together in 'romantic' lighting for many years and we've been recording them on ancient tube cameras onwards. You can always get round an obstacle. Talk to the DJ, say how much you like shooting into his flashing lights.. Switch on your diffused camera light.. Do some slow shutter work.. Don't be afraid of that gain switch.

But don't think that changing from a Z1 to an EX1 is going to make your first dance sequence into a 'better film'. Only you can do that.

tom.
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