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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 July 25th, 2009, 11:37 PM   #16
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Greg, you cannot get e-mail messages via the forum so to answer your e-mail question here briefly...

It is important for me to clarify that I didn't say the images from the Pansonic were better, I said I preferred them as they appeared in comparison to the footage from my FX1000. I also did mention that I've read comments presented in the Panasonic forum of owners of both cameras and that they have said they preferred the Panasonic. So I might personally think the Panny's images are better, but I mean that it is my opinion only. I think which is better is subjective question. By the way the Panasonic has plenty of weaknesses: Horrible onboard audio, a terrible LCD, and more if I could think about it for a minute.

Geoff, if you like the images from the PD170, you might really like the Z5, as it may be the closest new camera to the PD170 in it's attributes.

Despite my less than ringing endorsement of it, it will likely be my next purchase, if that means anything.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 02:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Laves View Post
As for your original question about the comparitive dynamic range, from what I have shot, the dynamic range of the Z7(and Z5) is obviously better than my VX2100. I shot some footage of some oil field workers under bright sunlight on Tuesday. One of them had a bright white hard hat and I could expose perfectly for the face and the hard hat was not blown out at all. I was impressed. While the VX2100 is a great camcorder, it would not handle that situation as well.

In regards to low light capability, my experience is that the image from the Z7 clearly blows the VX2100 away at 0 db gain.
Haven't posted in a while, but thought the original question might warrant a reply on my part: I have to agree with Greg here. I have the Z5, had and used the VX2000/PD150/PD170/Z1 extensively. I am shooting in eastern Africa a lot at the moment and there really is no comparison, the dynamic range of the Z5 is clearly wider than the older cameras. With the Z5 I can record details in highlights that I never could before. Shooting with the histogram helps, you can see what you're doing and even go over 100IRE in-camera a fair bit. In FCP I can see that the info is all there, with no banding, so I can bring it all back down to legal levels; the amount of detail in the mids and shadows is surprisingly easy to get back too, without generating noticeable gain. This was always much more difficult to achieve before.

With the older cameras I always had to shoot with a polarizer to get the mids down and increase that perceived dynamic range. I simply don't have to do that with the Z5 (though it's not a bad idea there either).

As for low-light shooting, I'm shooting in the same situations as I always did before, and much happier with the resulting footage, +6 Gain is no problem at all. I'm always shooting 25P at 1/50th sec, I don't get any strobing (clients can't see any either).

My point? Get the Z5, it's a fantastic camera (or the Z7 if you want a manual lens).
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Old July 26th, 2009, 06:16 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Despite my less than ringing endorsement of it, it will likely be my next purchase, if that means anything.
Jeff
If you were near by me I would have let you my camera (Z5) for a weekend to shoot so you could compare it to the FX1000 you had and the Panasonic one. It would give you the opportunity to make up your mind, for sure, if this is the next camera to buy.

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Old July 26th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #19
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To all you guys, I thank you

I really appreciate your input to my questions. Still lots of information for me to consider...and yes...I'd better start a new thread or at least look at QnA - "which camera to buy" in the search function first.

Thx all
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Old July 26th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #20
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The input has been so enriching I have to add more.

Tom
..."the dynamic range of the Z5 is clearly wider than the older cameras. With the Z5 I can record details in highlights that I never could before." Also great news.
Can you explain -
"Shooting with the histogram helps, you can see what you're doing and even go over 100IRE in-camera a fair bit. In FCP I can see that the info is all there, with no banding, so I can bring it all back down to legal levels; the amount of detail in the mids and shadows is surprisingly easy to get back too, without generating noticeable gain."

So you are overexposing? [can go over 100IRE] - if you are overexposing - blowing out highlights, the mid and shadows are already well exposed [certainly not under] so why do you say they are "surprisingly easy to get back".

You also say
"With the older cameras I always had to shoot with a polarizer to get the mids down and increase that perceived dynamic range. I simply don't have to do that with the Z5 (though it's not a bad idea there either)."
Thats an intriguing statement. Can you explain more. How does a polarizer help the mid tones?

Greg
"I shot some footage of some oil field workers under bright sunlight on Tuesday. One of them had a bright white hard hat and I could expose perfectly for the face and the hard hat was not blown out at all. I was impressed"
Great encouraging.

Thx
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Old July 26th, 2009, 09:44 PM   #21
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I have shot with the PD-170 since it came out and have been shooting with the Z5 for the past few months. I disagree that the Z5 handles lighting as well as the PD-170. I always feel as though I'm searching for more light. I will say this though, in post, I can increase the brightness and saturation much higher than I ever could with the PD-170 without losing detail. I will also say to be fair, I shoot in some dark locations. I love the camera. I just wish It had another stop. I've been thinking of trying the 30p. That may be the ticket.
As one final note, the PD-170 couldn't shoot 16:9 or HDV nor did it have solid state backup. So in the big sceme of things the Z5 is superior. I recently purchased a new light and it did make a big difference.

Sorry, one more thing. As Greg said in an earlier post, if you're shooting in a location where you can keep it 0db it clearly outshines the PD-170 in picture quality. If you look around I'm sure we've had the discussion about pros and cons.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #22
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Thx for the info Rob, much appreciated.
Got any idea how this camera compares to the JVC GY201?
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Old July 27th, 2009, 01:24 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Morse View Post
I have shot with the PD-170 since it came out and have been shooting with the Z5 for the past few months. I disagree that the Z5 handles lighting as well as the PD-170. I always feel as though I'm searching for more light. I will say this though, in post, I can increase the brightness and saturation much higher than I ever could with the PD-170 without losing detail.
Rob, I think the Z5 handles lighting better than the PD170, but I understand what you mean. When you're shooting HDV, it does often seem as if you would want more light, just the nature of the beast. But, you allude to the benefit of the Z5: in post I can recover the needed info in a way I never could with the older cameras, including the Z1. I'm assuming it's the CMOS sensor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Jak View Post
Tom
So you are overexposing? [can go over 100IRE] - if you are overexposing - blowing out highlights, the mid and shadows are already well exposed [certainly not under] so why do you say they are "surprisingly easy to get back".

You also say
"With the older cameras I always had to shoot with a polarizer to get the mids down and increase that perceived dynamic range. I simply don't have to do that with the Z5 (though it's not a bad idea there either)."
Thats an intriguing statement. Can you explain more. How does a polarizer help the mid tones?

Thx
Geoff, I can't always get the correct exposure in camera, even if I'm overexposing a bit. I'm shooting in extremely high contrast environments: faces with darker complexions, everyone standing in the shade, direct sun on sand, etc. So, what to expose for? I've given up trying to get the 'right' exposure in camera and instead simply try to get all the info without blowing out any of the color channels. With the older cameras the darks were too dark and the brights were flat lines on the scopes, can't do anything with that. With the Z5, the brights aren't usually blown out like that, and the darks and mids have lots of gradation to them, so it's much easier to adjust the image in post to get a good looking exposure. The extremes don't seem so extreme anymore.

For example, I was filming in a very arid place a couple weeks ago, sand and soil reddish in color; loaded up the footage and thought I had botched the job because the red channel was way overexposed. But, was able to bring it all back down to acceptable levels with no loss in detail. Next problem, faces were all at about 40IRE, too dark, but had to expose like that so as not the overexpose the majority of the image. Applied secondary color correction and brought the faces up to normal levels. No grain, no noise, no problem. Looks natural. It was just not that easy to do before.

SO, if I'm really put to the wall on this, I'd say that the images from the Z5 (and Z7) have more gradation to them (for lack of a better term), making it easier to adjust those images in post. And, the bright/dark extremes seem easier to tame.

Re: the polarizer, it cuts reflected light on everything (not just the sky). Saturation in the image is increased, but more important for me was that instead of a hard transition from dark to light values in the video image, that transition became much more gradual because the polarizer reduced the glare coming off of things in the image by bringing down a lot of the bright values into the mids. I was left with a less videoish-looking image that was easier to adjust in post. I haven't got around to getting a polarizer for the Z5 yet, but have been able to get away with not having one at the moment.

I realize as I'm writing that I've always been on a quest to get more detail/info into the middle value range of the image. Extreme brights/darks in the video image always looked amateurish to me, but we were stuck with that for a long time with the 1/3 inch chip camera. Panasonic took the first crack at addressing this with their profiles in the DVX100, and I think Sony has finally caught up in this regard with the EX1/3 and the Z5/7. The Picture Profiles on the Z5 allow for all sorts of control of the image. I have just one go-to profile that I leave on all the time.

It's been said here many times before, you have to know your camera, what it can and can't do. With the Z5 I can push the extremes in a way I haven't been able to before. I never shoot SD, always shoot in HDV and down-convert for SD projects. I'm sure that has an effect on the footage.

I hope I've made some sense, and apologize before-hand if I've sounded pedantic. Cheers!
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Old July 27th, 2009, 10:42 PM   #24
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No you haven't sounded pathetic at all Tom. It is great that you have such an understanding of videography that you can and have wanted to share your thoughts. I'm sure many others have gained from listening to your reports about the Z5 and techniques generally.

Yes i can understand the contrast ratios you have to deal with. I've been in similar situations in Oz in the desert and aborigines, but now I'm in Indonesia and have to deal with not so much sandscapes and people but darker skinned people in [say] a paddy field. Last week I was trying to balance a field workers face under a typical Asian hat - the conical Petani against the sky. It didn't work out so well. The latitude didn't hold up but that may be in part because i don't know the intricacies of this camera well. You hit the nail on the head when you said how important it is to know the variables of your own camera. Couldn't agree more and that is one reason why I am not hiring again. I just don't know what I am getting from the hire plase. In the past two weeks I have used two different 170's. I know its theoretically the same camera but as we know, all have their own characteristics, let alone settings that others have set before I use the camera - dangerous!

Very interesting that you can manipulate the full latitude of the chips to tape in post. That as you say is a real breakthrough for Sony 1/3". It definitely sounds like the latitude is wider than on previous camera's, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to stretch in post.

Re: the polarizer issue,
"it cuts reflected light on everything (not just the sky). Saturation in the image is increased, but more important for me was that instead of a hard transition from dark to light values in the video image, that transition became much more gradual because the polarizer reduced the glare coming off of things in the image by bringing down a lot of the bright values into the mids. I was left with a less videoish-looking image that was easier to adjust in post."

I have NEVER used a polarizer in a video shoot, specifically because it increases saturation, but I will have a go now. Your uncluttered explanation why it works- "bringing down a lot of the bright values into the mids" is great. I can't understand why it would bring down bright values in the mids but I'll certainly have a big look. Are you talking about using a circular polarizer?

We are all looking for that consistency of great looking images Tom, no less so for those of us who shoot lots of exteriors or uncontrolled lighting situations and your explanation helps.
Thx all, I've learned from this entire thread. Here comes the Z5 or will I do the Z7? We'll see.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 10:30 PM   #25
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I like the z5 ... has wide angle lens plu will zoom x20! what a joy!

I like the z5 ... has wide angle lens plus will zoom x20! what a joy!

[QUOTE=Geoff Jak;1177525 Here comes the Z5 or will I do the Z7? We'll see.[/QUOTE]
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