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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 February 21st, 2009, 07:14 PM   #31
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Yes, I'm sure it would be nice if I sold my cameras, Ken, then there would be no alternate opinions on the camera and everyone could just get on with the business of congratulating each other on their purchases.
Jeff, that's not my objective here, trust me. You know very well I've compalined about what I consider shortcomings of this cam. Remember who started the 'face focusing' thread? I have no problem knocking aspects of cams I own, and I've done just that with the Z5. Buttons that are too small and focusing that sometimes resists faces to name two.

Every cam has flaws as we've all acknowledged, but in the end I find the picture quality of the Z5 to be the best I've seen in this price range. Picture quality has always been of paramount importance to me in choosing a camera and unless that same cam has some fatal flaw that can't be overcome, that's the unit I'll buy.

I've had Canons, Sonys, JVCs etc., so I have no allegiance to any brand whatsoever.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:18 PM   #32
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Based on what I know at this point in time, the Z7.

In fact I'm thinking of putting one of my Fx1000s for sale and replacing it with the Z7.

As Tom has pointed out the lens ramping is supposedly severe with the Panasonic. Other than the lens ramping I would look hard at the Panny also.

If you were buying two, I would get the Z7 first and follow with an FX1000.
Jeff, what confuses me is why you bought a 2nd FX1000 when you were already aware of the issues you confronted with the first?

Second, why would you even consider the Panasonic, now that you know it has the same or worse lens ramping than the 1000?? The lens ramping seems to be your major issue with the rolling shutter coming in 2nd.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 09:34 PM   #33
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Which is why all the brand new cameras from Canon, JVC and Panasonic go with CCDs.
tom.
Tom, when I said you were wrong about CMOS, this is what I meant. At over $10,000, this is also one of Panasonic's most expensive, high-end cameras. Guaranteed there are more to come from all the big boys. CMOS has too many advantages to be overlooked by these manufacturers.

Panasonic Announces New AG-HPX300 Camcorder - Panasonic
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 08:23 PM   #34
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Tom, when I said you were wrong about CMOS, this is what I meant. At over $10,000, this is also one of Panasonic's most expensive, high-end cameras. Guaranteed there are more to come from all the big boys. CMOS has too many advantages to be overlooked by these manufacturers.

Panasonic Announces New AG-HPX300 Camcorder - Panasonic
Well....Panasonic did not just discover CMOS, and selected CCD's for the newly released HVX200a, HPX170, and HMC150. I believe that this HPX300 is the first, and so far the only pro cam from Panasonic that uses CMOS.
At this price level ($10,700) its doubtful event/wedding shooters are whom its aimed at so rolling shutter effects caused by multiple flashes at a wedding won't likely be a factor for their target customers.
Barry Green wrote a couple very good articles for HD Video Pro magazine on CMOS vs. CCD design considerations that you should check out, they are excellent reads.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 08:48 PM   #35
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Well Steve, I think it goes beyond that 'target group'. I truly don't think that Panasonic would even think of putting out a +$10,000 camera that had flaws to the degree that some think CMOS have...wedding videographers or otherwise. Nobody in their right mind would stand for it and pay that price for admission if it were that bad. Afterall, this is one of their highest priced cameras, and they could have used CCD if they so chose.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 11:02 PM   #36
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It would look like CMOS is the future in image aquisition. That seems to be where the better DSLRs are heading, as well. As the technology behind the image devices improves, we will have less undesirable artifacts to deal with. Flash photography banding will probably become a thing of the past, eventually. But an old surfer once told me that if you wait for the perfect wave, you will never surf. Jeff, Ken, Tom, etc. are obvously surfing. Being a pioneer has never been easy.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 07:01 AM   #37
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But an old surfer once told me that if you wait for the perfect wave, you will never surf. Jeff, Ken, Tom, etc. are obvously surfing. Being a pioneer has never been easy.
Aint that the truth Greg! You see this all the time, no matter what the technology, no matter what piece of equipment you discuss. I see it all the time on the AVS forum, people waiting, waiting, waiting for perfection...as their lives pass them by.

No piece of equipment is perfect, but I'll tell you, after viewing my footage of San Francisco last night, I'd be hard pressed to find any better shots I've ever taken.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 08:22 AM   #38
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Very well put Greg!!!
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 08:42 AM   #39
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Ken, regarding buying a second camera, I had only used my first one for one wedding when I ordered the second. I figured the issue was my not operating the camera correctly, I only found out about the f-drop after my second camera arrived.

And you are right, the lens ramping is more serious issue to me. Let me explain why.

I have built my business on closeups. Several years ago, I submitted a video to the owner of a company who at that time did premium wedding videos. His work was amazing (he has sinced stopped doing weddings as he found them unprofitable, he does only corporate work now). I respected his work and viewed him as a mentor.

Anyway, he watched the video I had submitted to him, which I fully expected him to be blown away by. Instead of heaping praise upon me, he had two suggestions: Closeups (get them) and he also told me I did not use transitions properly.

He emphasized closeups above all else. I won't go into the details of his instruction here, but to this day my biggest "seller" is a demo clip I have online that begins and ends with closeups that could never be achieved with the FX1000 under the same circumstances (distance, etc.).

I closely study people out of habit (years of working in nightclubs will do that) and I will observe potential customers as they view my wedding videos. It is amazing to watch the subtle yet profound changes in body language during the portions of my videos that feature these closeups (usually set to some appropriate music, of course). The woman will reach out and grab her fiances hand, or the man will put his arm around his bride-to-be and they will snuggle.

Once, while talking to a customer, I asked her why she liked my sample clips as much as she said she did. Her answer was, "Jeff, it was the strangest thing, but I felt as if I somehow knew all of the people, almost like they were family. It was a strange sensation, and I can't explain it, but I do know I want you to be my videographer."

I will sometimes point out to customers my closeups as they watch my work so that they understand that these are a feature of my work. It is amazing how many videographers will not go in for the closeups during the ceremony. I am the opposite. While filming I am always looking for the chance to completely fill my LCD screen with the image of my bride's or groom's face, or both at the same time. Now if find the closeups are not flattering for a person, I avoid them, but otherwise they are, to me, essential.

I sometimes forget that all wedding videographers do not employ closeups as I do. So the issue of the lens ramping is likely not as important to all others as it is to me. But for my style of work the loss of them is devastating.

I may or not get the Z7, as I have threatened to do. This year I have to put a stop on my spending, and to take a loss on a new camera and to spend $2k on another one while people around me are losing their jobs doesn't seem practical or even morally acceptable, but how I see this is likely to change back and forth several times before I make a decision.

For corporate videographers the issues of rolling shutter and lens ramping, for the most part, is going be of minimal if of any importance at all. For a non-wedding videographer who has not or will not experience these frustrations there is no first-hand experience on which to address these things.

But when a wedding videographer brings up these questions, as a wedding videographer myself I can respond knowing how these things affect me. These are not nitpicks but serious issues.

On the other hand, there are wedding videographers who do not mind the rolling shutter. For those who are not bothered by it, I might silently wonder why they are not, but that is their opinion and I respect it.

However in my case when I have a medium shot or closeup shot that is ruined by this phenomenon, again, this to me is a serious issue, not a nitpick.

I shot a wedding Saturday and rolling shutter was not at all an issue. It was brightly lit, the reception was well-lit also. However last month I shot in a very dark room and it was absolutely devastating. It looked terrible, especially during the cake cutting, as Tom will attest.

Now I have praised the FX1000 as much as I have damned it. It does shoot great images, and I love the results I have gotten overall with it.

But for wedding videography, it certainly has issues. I highly recommend the Panasonic based on Mark Von Lanken's recommendation, but it offers only a solution for rolling shutter, not much else. I am also recommending to my friends locally to look at the Z7, and one of them has bought one.

It is important to remember that just because we have a nice piece of gear that it will not work for everyone. I feel no loyalty to any brand of camera, no more than the corporations feel for me. And even though I might be posting on a Sony thread, I feel it is perfectly acceptable to recommend another brand of equipment to someone who asks.

I view loyalty to a brand as a weakness, not as a quality to be admired. The day someone from Sony corporate calls and asks me how my camera is working out that might change, but I somehow doubt that I will ever see that happen.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 09:15 AM   #40
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Jeff - as you know your lens ramping is only an issue (and only apparent) when you're forced into using apertures wider than f/3.4. If you're shooting outside in the sunshine at f/4 (say) then the ramping won't be apparent and won't be an issue. If you limit yourself to a 12x zoom then that f/3.4 becomes f/2.8.

Of course if you went to an EX1 (which is about a stop more sensitive than your Sony) then you could look on it as if it was your camera with an f/1.2 to f/2.4 lens. Of course the EX1's 12x zoom won't get you such tight closeups from the same distance - a great advantage of the 20x zoom.

I'm glad to here your a BCU man. I too love this look, though I'm careful to back off a bit with couples of a certain age.

tom.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 09:32 AM   #41
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Right Tom.

And indoors for getting ready segments I can move closer than I would normally and get some closeups, which I've done, but I hate asking for a minute while I do that. When I'm at very close range and don't have to zoom as much there isn't too much of a problem.

The time it interferes most just happens to be at the time I least need it to; it's that distance between the first row of pews and the wherever the bride and groom are on the altar. As you can imagine I'm not trying for these closeups from the back of the church, but from the front.

Additionally, I find myself pulling back and staying out of the way more than ever as I have matured as a shooter. I have found more and more it is really appreciated when I am barely noticed, and I try to shoot accordingly. Unfortunately with my FX1000 it demands the opposite in many cases.

You might notice a common "thread" in my posts. My "irish" comes out if it seems people act like I'm bashing a camera when I'm in fact complaining about aspects of it. Then I will go overboard in the severity of my tone. What I have figured out finally is that those who are least concerned with the issues I'm concerened with are not wedding videographers for the most part, or they have a completely different shooting style. Now that I have a handle on this it will help me to see the differing points of view.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 09:50 AM   #42
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Jeff, I fully understand your dilemna. I'm actually a bit surprised that you haven't had issues with the autofocus. Since you're often zooming in on faces, that's the one area that I've found the autofocus to pretty 'reliably' fail. To me that would probably be the biggest frustration.

I've learned workarounds for that, but if I were doing wedding videography with a constantly moving subject, even manual focusing or using focus assist, would go south as soon as the subject left the plane that I had last focused on. Obviously the more zoomed you are the more you are subject to focus errors. So it does surprise me this hasn't bothered you. I often see focusing issues with professional HD broadcasts and it bugs me no end.

As to the lens ramping, yes, you could limit your zoom ratio but I understand that the 20X on the G lens isn't as close as you might expect given the very wide image that it starts off with. But I'm wondering if you couldn't just shorten your distance a bit to the subject to fill up the frame before the lens ramping begins.

It would seem to me that you wouldn't have to move up much to approximate the 12X zoom you had with the 2100. To me this is an easier workaround than the rolling shutter issue.

As far as the rolling shutter issue is concerned, I guess we all have different tolerances for different artifacts. As I've mentioned I've looked closely at the rolling shutter issue and it just doesn't bother me as it does some others. Again, the fact that clients don't complain either, shows that many people don't see any significant issue. On the other hand, minor focusing issues bug the hell out of me and might not others. Thus I'm particularly sensitive to the autofocus issues on the Z5/1000. The only shots I was less than thrilled with were a couple of shots of my wife, zoomed up, with a nice shallow depth of field that were slightly out of focus. I'm still learning to focus this beast consistently and effectively.

But with all that said, I've now reviewed my HD footage from San Francisco as well as my SD footage from my first Z5 shoot, and all in all I couldn't be happier. This is a second go-around for this client and I was able to compare some shots in the same environment as I shot with the 2100. The Z5 is simply a much more professional looking image. The CMOS sensors are less prone to flare and have a greater exposure latitude. That, together with the greater sharpness, gives a much nicer image in my opinion. At times it may not have quite the 'hyped' contrast of a 2100, but I actually find that creates a more professional looking image with greater texture and detail.

For you Jeff, the Z7 could be the answer. Good luck.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:02 AM   #43
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I have found the auto focus to be a bit slow, but it is nothing that learning to operate the camera better will not fix.

Unfortunately the other two things are not as easily fixed. I did try moving closer to get a closeup during the vows Saturday, but the priest stopped the ceremony and ordered me to leave the altar.

Actually that didn't happen, but I have heard of videographers/ photographers who actually have gone onto the altar during a ceremony. Can you imagine that?
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:09 AM   #44
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I've seen a number of wedding videos where the videographer did go onto the altar. I guess some don't mind being obtrusive if they got the OK from the priest. I'd feel very uncomfortable doing that.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:13 AM   #45
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Yeah, I couldn't do that either...you likely would lose any potential customers in the audience to boot. Additionally I can imagine someone seeing a photo with me in it and asking "who's that guy with a camera up there?".
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