My First Observations on My new Z5U 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 May 2nd, 2009, 07:19 PM   #1
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My First Observations on My new Z5U

I just received my Sony HVR-Z5U. I have only shot a few minutes of video. Overall, I really like this camcorder. It is larger than I expected (especially since I've mostly used a PDX10). The camera is very well balanced, and has two positions for mounting the Tripod plate. I'm using the front one which balances perfectly on my Manfroto tripod. My tripod has a Manfroto Lanc camera control handle which interfaces perfectly with this camcorder. The auto focus works differently than what I'm used to; it tends to lock onto the higher contrast area, regardless of where it is on the viewfinder. I had an instance where in extreme telephoto, it locked onto the background instead of the central subject; however, when I manually select the subject and focus on it, and then switch to autofocus, it locks onto my subject and does not try to go back to the high contrast background. The image is very good just with the auto settings, so I expect that it will be even better as I find custom settings. I love the manual focus assist functions, they really work well. The LCD has a beautiful image, but I found I have to use the brightest settings in most instances. It still is not bright enough to use outdoors in the daylight. I don't think it will be bright enough even with an optional hood. I have a hard time seeing anything usable in daylight. However, in daylight the built in viewfinder works well, and the provided oversized eye cup works very well, even with my eye glasses.
Sony provided a decent battery and a high end dual battery charger with the camera. The removable lens hood has a built in manual shutter system that can be closed to protect the lens and the CMOS sensors (a great idea). Another feature that I really like is the ND filter system. The camera suggests the proper ND filter setting on the LCD screen; it flashes the suggested setting on the screen until you select it.
I do a lot of live video work where stage lighting and spotlights are used. From what I can see in the settings, I expect the camera to perform wery well in these situations.
I'll post more as I get better acquainted with the camera.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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Robert the more you use this camera the more you will love it especially the ability to record on a flush card as well. Did you buy the MRC1 Card Flash recorder?


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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:25 PM   #3
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The MRC1 will be later. The camera was all I could afford at this time.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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Keep in mind, when you're turning up the LCD to high, it may deceive into thinking
there is more light than you're actually recording
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Old May 5th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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I use the zebra function to confirm proper exposure.
I compared the Z5U LCD to the LCD on my Sony PDX10 and found that the Z5U set to bright with the backlight set to high is similar to the normal LCD setting on my PDX10. If the PDX10 is set to bright, then it is clearly superior for use outdoors. I'm disappointed that the Z5U can't be set brighter. I guess I'll have to stick with the viewfinder for outdoors shooting.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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Lens CA observations

I shot some video from extreme wide angle to extreme telephoto to check for chromatic aberation. I viewed the shots on a 56" Samsung HDTV using the HDMI output. On this first test (very limited shots) the only obvious CA that I observed was at the extreme telephoto setting when viewing tree branches against a fairly bright white sky. When just looking at the whole image, it did not seem to be objectionable. I got up close to the screen and viewed the branches to observe the CA. Although this is very preliminary, I don't see the amount of CA that has been seen on videos posted on various sites that were shot on the Canon XHA1. The amount of CA on the XHA1 is the one thing that kept me from purchasing one. Once I shoot an extensive amount of video, I will provide more observations.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Robert Petersen;1137952]I use the zebra function to confirm proper exposure.QUOTE]

I wasn't talking about something being washed out, I was speaking more about low light situations.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=Rob Morse;1138059]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Petersen View Post
I use the zebra function to confirm proper exposure.QUOTE]

I wasn't talking about something being washed out, I was speaking more about low light situations.
In low light, I can set zebra to a value just under 100% and then adjust the settings until I just start to see the zebra indicators. Thus the image is exposed with the bright areas just reaching 100% or near 100%. For example, if the zebra is set to 95% and the camera is in auto exposure, then I will see a small area with zebra lines. I can use this as a reference for setting manual exposure using the zebra function.
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