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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 November 5th, 2009, 12:19 AM   #1
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opinion please - v1 vs z5

i've put an awful lot of hours on my v1 and though i can't fault it, i think it's time i got a new camera (i shoot for a number of clients - ALL TAPE) just as i would my car after 150k km.

so, i asked sometime ago v1 vs z5, and it seemed the general opinion was the z5 was wider at wide angle, and 2 (?) stops better in low light (NOT a real worry for me as i light what needs to be lit!). i was wondering if anyone would like to elaborate...

has anyone here had any experience with the two cameras, and if so, i greatly appreciate your comments.....

leslie
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Old November 5th, 2009, 04:09 AM   #2
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I'd be also interested in peoples thoughts and as well as comparing the Z1/Z5/Z7 for features/costs/real life thoughts?
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Old November 5th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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I've owned and used the "little brothers" of all these cams except for the Z7 (the FX equivalents) so I can pontificate at great length. What exactly do you guys want to know?

I originally started with the FX1 and was blown away at the time by its rich, stunning picture, even if it was a little soft. But the lens just wasn't long enough for the sports work we do so I picked up a couple of FX7s, and was impressed by the longer reach as well as what I thought was a superior data display scheme, better zoom functions (soft start and end, which I know some hate but I like) and sharper, punchier picture. It's not great in low light, but it is decent.

When the FX1000 came out, I picked up a couple of those and found that they had the same ease of use as the FX7, vastly superior low light to either the FX1 or FX7, and wider and longer zoom than the FX1 (but still not as long as FX7). Many more controls than either cam. Not crazy about the menu button/wheel on the side rather than the back, but not a big deal.

When I had to go back to the FX1s because my FX7s and FX1000s were out for rentals, all sentimentality vanished and all I could think was what a PITA they were to work with. They're all gone via eBay as of this week, with the funds earmarked for two Z5s. Eventually I will swap out the FX1000s for Z5s as well.

The long lenses on the FX7s are essential for me, so I don't think they are going anywhere soon, although I might consider swapping them out for V1s at some point -- if they're still available on the secondary market. Both the V1 and Z5 do progressive, which the Z1 doesn't, if that's important to you. I've never considered it but I suppose it should come in handy.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: Here's a link to a fairly useless comparison chart from the Sony site:

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/productComp...,HVRZ1U,HVRZ5U

...useless because they report the data differently for each cam so you can't really go across each feature and find where they differ. But here it is anyway.

Last edited by Adam Gold; November 5th, 2009 at 06:11 PM.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 05:13 PM   #4
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I own a Z5 and love it. I find it a lot better than the Z1 for a few reasons.

Firstly, audio controls are a lot better on the Z5. They have moved the controls to the centre of the left side instead of the back and I have moved the XLR options from the menus to actual switches on the body.

Its better balanced than the z1

Two cold shoe mounts on the camera is handy

Good in low light

Offers easy upgrade for solid state in the future with CF card recorder.

Aperture ring is handy, along with a re assignable button next to the zoom rocker which is handy for quick auto exposure.

anyway theres a few reasons why I like the Z5 reason why I went for it over the z7 was because of the price and 20x lens.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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I had a V1 and I now have a Z7. While the Z5 and Z7 do share some components/features, there are differences. One advantage shared by the Z5 and Z7 is that the CMOS chips are larger than the V1. While the DOF control on either one isn't nearly as good as my old 2/3" betacam, they are still superior to the 1/4" chips in the V1 family. If I work at it and have suitable conditions, I am able to throw the background out of focus with the Z7. Since I came from a Betacam background, I find the more "normal" controls on the Z7 to be far superior to the more "consumer type" controls on the V1. I always thought the V1 produced absolutely stunning images, but I hated the controls. Especially the lens controls. I just feel I have a lot more creative control and can get the look I want much quicker and easier with the Z7. I have used a FX1000 (Z5's little brother) and I much prefer the overall layout of the Z7. I know it might surprise some people, but I don't even miss the 20x lens of the Z5. If I had to do it all over again, I would still pick the Z7.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #6
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We have the V1, Z5, Z7, EX1.

V1 vs Z5, The best advantage of the Z5 would be the ability to dock the MRC1 although you'd have to buy that separately. Also, better in low light but not a mind shattering difference. I would not upgrade to the Z5 over the V1.

The Z7 however, comes with the MRC1 and best of all, the lens can be set so that the focus ring doesn't spin and spin and spin...you can also do crash zooms with it. It has a sharper image than the V1. The sony wide angle lens that you can buy for it is really wide. Cons, for really long zooms, it's focal length is way, way shorter than the V1. I like its ergonomics better than the Z5.

I really like the V1 form factor as its a really light and small camera that get great images. However, the Z7 is just a way better camera. I don't like the Z5 since it too similar to the V1. If you are going to upgrade, save up and get the Z7.

Also, if image quality/35mbit wasn't a factor, I'd choose the Z7 over an EX1.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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This is interesting feedback, especially on the Z7. The feelings about its ergonomics are decidedly mixed, with some loving them and some hating them. It's good to hear from those who like the way the Z7 is put together.

After meticulously going through the manuals side by side, it appears that the Z5 and Z7 are virtually identical in functions, with the key differences being that the Z5 has the (much) longer and (slightly) wider lens (although not interchangeable), includes an internal mic which the Z7 lacks, but does not include the MRC as standard, which the Z7 does.

Aside from the differences in the tape compartment, the button and control placement seem very similar. It is interesting to hear the perception that the Z5 controls are too much like the V1, as they are in fact quite different and the Z5 and Z7 are nearly identical in layout (most notably the MENU button and recessed selection wheel on the side, rather than on the back as in the Z1 and V1). The Z5 with the MRC1 works out to about $350 cheaper than the Z7 with the MRC included.

In the days when integral lenses were vastly inferior to interchangeable lenses, it would have been a no-brainer to go for the Z7, but as the new "G" lens of the Z5 has received rave reviews, the T lens on the Z7 has a much shorter zoom range and you can't buy a Z7 without the lens, for me it seems the Z5 is the way to go. The real zoom ring and manual exposure control right by the zoom rocker would be nice, though.

I'm probably missing something here...
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Old November 6th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #8
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I dunno, I really dislike the Z5 as compared to the Z7. You are right, the integral lens of the Z5 vs the interchangeable lens of the Z7 in the real world is a non issue.

For me, it is not justifiable to go from the V1 to Z5. I'd skip the Z5 and go for the Z7. If i were to choose between the V1 and Z5 new, I'd go for the Z5 of course. The LCD on the V1 is absolutely horrible.

For me it is the proper lens functionality that seals the deal. You slide the focus ring to the manual setting and loose the spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning infinity focus and you can get rid of the deliberate in, in, in, in mechanical zoom. That is HUGE, for me anyways...

In the OP she states that she shoots on tape, BUT CF recording is such a time saver. Everyone should at least try out tapeless once, besides you can record on both tape/CF anyways. I did that for the first shoot with the Z7. After that I said 'bye bye' to tape.

Adam, as your earlier post says you do a lot of sports shooting, I would think the Z7 wouldn't have the reach you need. But grabbing the little knob to do a crash zoom would come in handy.

Oh and also, the Z5 buttons feel much more plastic-y as compared to both the V1 and Z7. Sony kinda cheap-ed out on that...
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Old November 6th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #9
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hi ed,

she is actually a he ;-)

i'm stuck with tape - i shoot for, among others, abc tv (the national broadcaster), and they want tape, as do nearly all my clients.

yes, tapeless is attractive, but not at the cost of my clients.....

i'm finding your responses very illuminating indeed. many thanks for your time and trouble. it's helping me slowly decide what to do.

leslie
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Old November 6th, 2009, 04:10 PM   #10
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whoops! sorry about that!
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Old November 6th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #11
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Ed, your points are all well-taken. One of the great things about this forum is that you get all sorts of feedback from those who have actually used the cams in question.

Obviously I've never even actually held the Z7, but from what I can deduce it's so similar to the Z5 that I can't figure out how one could like one and really dislike the other. Having used the FX7 in all sorts of conditions for quite some time -- and given that it has the same LCD as the V1 -- I'm also perplexed as to how one could find it "absolutely horrible"; it's quite bright and clear, and larger than that of the Z5/Z7, if not as sharp.

The lens ring functionality is indeed a major attraction of the Z7, especially the ability to crash zoom mechanically, but for me, you're right, the longer reach of the FX7/V1 is very useful and outweighs the other stuff. Even the Z5 isn't long enough, so that's sort of a moot point.

Obviously the tape vs. CF options on both the Z5 and Z7 are identical, so not an issue. Of course the V1 works the same way but lacks only the direct mounting/connection to the MRC of the newer cams.

So like most things, I guess there isn't really any clear answer. It appears that most of the stuff you like about the Z7 is also there on the Z5, with the (admittedly significant) exception of all the lens stuff, and the rather subjective "plasticky" feel of the buttons, about which I can't comment. It seems like most people agree that the LCD, chip, low-light performance, CF, controls and audio options are all better on the Z5/7 than the V1, with the only real advantage of the V1 being the much longer lens.

Here's a Z5 vs. Z7 comparison chart showing they are virtually identical except for the lens...

Sony | Product Comparison Chart

...again, unless I'm missing something.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #12
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The design of the Z5 and Z7 are totally different, the Z5's design is closer to the Z1. The Z7 is something new, sort of like those studio "box" cameras with a lens attached to it. I wouldn't say one is better than the other for hand held work, i think you'd get accustomed to either rather quickly. So you are correct, no real world difference sans the lens functionality.

Really, the LCD on the V1 (don't know about FX7) is bad as compared to the Z5/Z7. It's the sharpness difference. I know I got used to the LCD on the V1 and could hold/get focus with it. But it is night and day compared to the Z5/Z7.

I still like the V1 if you need to go hiking to a location and such. It's pretty sturdy as well. I've dropped it off a tripod w/mattebox attached a couple of times, exposed it to salty air/spray at the beach, wrapped in a trash bag to shoot in constant drizzle...
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #13
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It depends what you need. When I bought my Z5, the Z5 & Z7 were basically the same price with the MRC-1 added. I chose the Z5 because it fit my needs better. I love the lens, I love the built in mic for run & gun situations and some other minor features. As far as manual focus, it is actually a better feel to the focus than my PD-170 had. It doesn’t matter if it spins continuously, it takes less than a second to know which direction you need to go in.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 10:33 PM   #14
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Adam, while some of the buttons on the Z5 and Z7 are very similar, they are slightly different. Obviously the ND control is completely different but the buttons that are similar on the Z5 are more recessed into the housing than the Z7's buttons. While that doesn't seem to be very significant, when you are working by feel and don't have the time to really look at the buttons, The Z7 buttons are much easier to work with. Just a small difference when you are trying to get a shot that makes it a plus.

The 20x zoom is nice. No arguement there but the real world difference in the size of the image you see on the TV is much less than you would think. And the Z7 lens doesn't have as much iris ramping when the lens is zoomed in all the way.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 12:48 AM   #15
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All excellent points, Greg. Had no idea about "feel" of the buttons, which it's why it's great to hear from people who actually use the gear -- the specs and diagrams don't tell you everything.

The tele end of the Z5 works out to about 50% longer than the Z7 -- 590mm vs. 384mm (in 35mm equiv), which is significant for me when shooting kids at the plate from center field or way down at the opposite soccer goal. Even better is the V1/FX7's 748mm, which effectively doubles the size of the kids -- which means that rather than a boring shot of the kid head to toe at the plate with lots of headroom, I can now get a shot of the batter from waist up and see the expression on his face as he grimaces while swinging. For me, priceless.

But for the theatre shows we do, the whole zoom factor is irrelevant. We rarely approach either end of the zoom range (although more versatility is always better).

So it's all about the best tool for you. I don't know about the OP, but I'm learning a ton from all the other posters here.
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