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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 1st, 2010, 04:17 PM   #1
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Just Returned From First Long Shoot W/Z5

Hi guys,

Just returned from a 2 week trip/vacation in San Francisco and sites in N.California. Documenting the sites, potential future travel video. It was trial-by-fire since I only had the cam a short while prior to leaving and had a bunch of work projects to complete that kept me from properly exercising the cam's features. Thanks for the guys on this site for answering a few key questions for me while on the road!

I just reviewed some of the video - really stunning. Even the video shot under poor lighting conditions looks good. Everything shot in 30P. A good amount was shot in the 'auto' mode (mostly what my wife shot) and that turned out great as well. Better than I had expected. I read a lot of remarks on newsgroups that the Z5 auto and auto-focus modes weren't very good. I disagree. Of course manual provides more control. I could have use my camera light more, and more wireless in certain situations are my only regrets. This is one powerful little (well, not that little) cam. I was also suprised how well some of the footage from my little Canon HV30 turned out. Should be able to mix in easily.

On a side note, I can definitely say I was not 'out-camera'd' at any of the tourist spots we visited. I did see a guy that had what I think was a JVC HD200-U (a cam I seriously considered buying instead of the Z5). I swapped out the Sony mic for a Sennheiser ME64 and added an on-camera blimp and a furry for better audio. That makes for a larger rig that garnered a lot of funny looks and stares. I did meet one guy near the xmas tree at Fisherman's Warf shooting a music video with a Z1. Good guy. We took brief moment or two to admire each other's cams. I insured my stuff prior to leaving so I wouldn't have the weight of worrying about theft issues, especially when getting into some parts of the mission district, SF.

One question I DO have is your experience with battery life with the Z5? With the 960 battery (tape only acquisition) I was nearly out of juice every night. We use the VF 85% of the time, and the phantom Sennheiser draws some juice. Very little tape reviewing. With the VX2000 I used to use (no phantom mic) the battery would last a couple days under similar shooting. I don't have any details on how much time the cam was on but I was expecting a little better battery life. What are you guys finding?
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Old January 1st, 2010, 04:49 PM   #2
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The camera is great but it is a battery hog.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 07:54 PM   #3
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I only run the 970, myself. It goes for a good bit longer than the 960.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Yeah, the 960 really isn't meant for use on that beast. With our 970s we get a good six to eight hours, a bit less when using the MRC1k powered from the cam. As they haven't made 960s for quite some time, it's likely yours are fairly old, and that could be affecting their life too.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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I use the 970 together with a 950 from my old Hi-8 cam. I'm using (almost) exclusively the MRC1K with 32GB Sandisk 30Mb/s cards and found on a 4 hour shoot (rock concert type thingy - mentioned in another thread) I managed on the single battery and 1 cards worth of data (about 3 or so hours worth of non-continuous shooting) - which I estimate will eventually edit down to between 1 - 1 hours (still working on it at the moment). Also used a HDR-XR520VE as second cam which seems to be editing in well enough and a panasonic which I was less than impressed with it's low-light results and couldn't use in the end (which limited the cuts somewhat).

Some of it's up on youtube (Rockin Olly) for those that may be interested and haven't read the other thread.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 08:24 PM   #6
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Yeah, maybe it's time to go to the 970. I guess I didn't know there was much of a capacity increase over the 960. Thanks for your input guys..
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Mark,

While I've shot stills and video for decades, I've never run out of juice. It's because I always carry three battery sets. Even when I grabbed the bag for a supposed 20-minute shoot, the batteries all go. You never know.

My workflow is to always charge the batteries after a shoot. It's built into the process. Batteries always go on a charger the night before a planned shoot. At site we're on the mains power and batteries are on a charger.

Clients might forgive you when someone knocks over a camera and breaks it or when talent gets in a car accident but they'll never forgive a dead battery. Tip: Arrange that someone knock over your camera and break it before admitting to a client you're without power.

Dave
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 09:11 PM   #8
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Dave, I agree with the spare batteries strategy. I too have extras.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 03:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Morse View Post
The camera is great but it is a battery hog.
Depends on what you're used to. Just a few years back, I would have at least 4-6 Np1 batteries with me while shooting with a Sony BetacamSP UVW-100. I would feel safe that 6 batteries would last 3 tapes (60min total).

For me, if a battery lasts for 120min of shooting, I stop keeping track of how long they last.

Although I do operate under the rule of: If you don't want your battery to die, always carry a spare.

I'm more likely to run out of power in 5min if I only have the battery on the camera. If I'm lugging 2 batteries in my pockets, I'm probably going to get 6 hours off the battery I forgot to charge last night. (But that is just my luck.)
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