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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 3rd, 2010, 07:19 PM   #1
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Need suggestions on which HD camera to buy

Hi all, new to the boards here and was looking for some advice on my upgrade to HD..

Longtime VX2000 user here who films mostly professional sports press conferences and 1 on 1 handheld interviews for use on the web...

My budget is about $2500-$2800 and I'm looking at getting something gently used.

I'm torn between getting a FX1000 or an older (and now discontinued) Z1U (or Z series) camera.... I have a beachtek that I don't mind continuing to use, so the onboard XLR's don't phase me too much, unless there's something you guys feel I'm missing by running the beachtek as opposed to the onboard XLR's.

Other than that, how's the video quality vs the 2 cameras, reliability etc?

Any other HD candidates I should be considering in my price range?

thanks again
Bill
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 08:58 PM   #2
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Bill,

Consider the Canon XHA1 in that price range. It has great Canon Fluorite L-Glass with 20X optics, and good 24F and 30F modes in addition to 60i. A nice used one can be found for around $2,250. Also look into the Canon WD-H72 wide angle adapter ($350)and get noise suppression software to help clean up low light scenes and get it's performance closer to much more expensive gear. I personally prefer the older XHA1 to the newer XHA1S, but the "S" has better monitor outputs, a stronger firewire connection, and servos for both zoom and focus. The older model's controls just feels smoother to me and can be had cheaper as it is discontinued. Otherwise performance the same.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 09:08 PM   #3
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The FX1000 is much sharper and markedly better in low light than the Z1/FX1. If you don't care about the XLR inputs, the FX1000 may be your best bet. But the Z1/FX1 are real workhorses despite their age. Note that the FX1000/Z5 are CMOS, and if you are doing press conferences with flashes going off you might not like the way the CMOS chips handle the flash (some people are furious, others apathetic about this). The Z1/FX1 are CCD, so they don't have this issue. Lots of posts on this here and elsewhere.

The Canon is great and much-loved, but a couple of generations old at this point.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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Adam,

Granted the A1 has been around since 2006, but just looking at a few posts comparing the A1 and the 1000, I'd say the A1 is still holding its own:

XH-A1 vs FX1000

XH A1S or FX1000: Which to buy?

Sony HDR FX-1000 better than A-1?

As with many discussions on the forum, they are not conclusive either way. I don't have personal experience with the 1000, so I can't personally compare and I don't doubt it's an excellent camera. I know from experience the A1 still turns out great results. I just hired a crew for a corporate event with 2 A1's, and spent a weekend with my son shooting a senior film project on another 2 A1's. IMO their biggest problem is a undersized, under-rez'd LCD screen.

And, of course there is tape to deal with. I'm an odd ball in that having gone to digital media I am still paranoid without tape! Maybe this concern will go away once I start storing all my archives on cloud drives, which I'm in the process of researching.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 08:41 PM   #5
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The new rage is DSLR cams that shoot stunning HD video, some 60P! They are really giving traditional video cams a run for their money. Fits your budget, and probably perfect for sports and interview shooting. The 7D is one of the latest offerings.
Canon | EOS 7D SLR Digital Camera with 28-135mm | 3814B010 | B&H
Rejouer?Little Camera, Big Movie, Jon Silberg
Read the article in this thread, watch video:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...5dmkii-7d.html

Do some searches on the web and youtube and you will see. Lots of pro's are begining to use these to do high-end work. The optics are there. Tremendous depth of field. Great low light, lens options. For audio, you can add a small digital MP3 recorder if need be. Good luck.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 12:07 AM   #6
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For a Vx2000 user, the FX1000 would the logical choice, IMO. Just be prepared with the switch to any of these cameras...there is a period of adjustment needed.

With your price range the still cameras suggested are not logical for event work, not to mention the workflow, a nightmare by some accounts.

I went from the VX2100 - VX2000 to the FX1000 and it was a tough adjustment, but the quicker you learn the better off you will be.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; January 6th, 2010 at 09:14 AM.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #7
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I'm with Jeff on this one. As a VX owner you'll slide smoothly into FX or Z ownership. You'll understand the menus, have carry-over batteries, chargers and LANC controllers. You'll be up and gunning in half a day, no worries.

Of course the Canon XH alternative is a good one and the 7D also, though expensive if you're starting vdSLR ownership from scratch.

Note that the Z1 has far more than XLR inputs over the FX1, and the focus assist, zoom readout, hours meter and much deeper menus will have you so pleased you opted for the blacker model, I can tell you.

And read Adam's post about CMOS. As an events filmmaker I'm one of the fast and furious.

tom.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 03:00 AM   #8
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i can't believe people are spruking the canon 7d as a serious contender for event work!

it might take great pics (it surely does), but it's in no way a practical camera for run 'n' gun, event work, or anything that needs pans, zooms, auto focus, decent audio, etc.,

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Old January 6th, 2010, 06:43 AM   #9
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I'm a proud owner of a 7D but can't imagine using it as a primary camera for event work. It excels for gathering high impact images when you can either control the action or can afford to miss a few of the shots (or in my case closer to 50%!). Except for some aliasing issues its images are breathtaking, a different level form the other cameras we are discussing. The very strength of the large sensor/DOF brings makes maintaining focus exceedingly difficult; especially for a lone operator. Yes, you can throw on a wide angle lens and improve your odds of hitting focus, but how interesting will that be for a paying customer? There is a reason why a Panavision crew has several people operating the cam and actors hitting distance marks! As a second cam, for short vignettes, or controlled creative work I'd recommend the 7D/5D very highly. Just expect to spend $5K to get it modestly equipped if you don't already have DSLR lenses, bags, auxiliary sound equipment, and basic accessories. Plan on updating your hardware to something extreme to gracefully edit native files or add interim proxies into your workflow.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 09:34 AM   #10
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I agree with Tom's comment that the adjustment from the VX2000 to the FX or Z cam's is relatively easy. I just made the same jump (VX2000 -> Z5U). The Z cams are quite a step up in $$ too. If $2,800 is your initial top end, seriously consider streatching a little further if you can to go with a Z5 or a Z7. A Z5 is about $1,400 more which is a lot, but a relatively small amount more for how long you might keep it and the extra features you get ...what it lets you do. Your work will be better in more ways than just HD with finer exposure and picture control, better audio and all the rest. Every aspect of these cams is more than a couple notches above the VX series just because of evolutanary advances. When I pick up my VX2000 now it feels good and solid, but toy-like compared to the Z5. It'll go on Ebay pretty soon.

On the D7, I should have remarked that I don't own one yet (...considering the plunge). The D5 lets you control audio levels (not sure if the D7 allows that yet but most expect it to soon). It may not be a fit, but definitely you should learn-up on it. One neat feature that attracts me is that most people think you've just got a still camera and remain unguarded. If you are definitely limited on funds the A1 is probably the best cam. It has XLR's as well.

I bought a DVD training video to get me up to speed on the Z5. It was like $75 but it really helped cut the learning curve.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #11
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Hi again all..... thank for all of the feedback and suggestions.

After lots of consideration and weighing the comments, I'm going to move forward with what I thought all along.... going with the FX1000. It seems to be the best fit for me at the present given my needs and budget....and at the present I have access to a great used one with very low hours on it

I did think long and hard about the Z5U, but I couldn't justify the $4K or more for this unit, for what IMO amounts to XLR imputs and the capability to record on SD cards (with another 1K investment)

Given the current state of the economy and online publications coming and going like crazy, it would take me quite some time to recoup a $4-5K equipment investment.

With the recent sale of my VX2000 for just over $1100, I'm going to be able to drop about $1000 in out of pocket cash and pick up the FX1000.

I think that's a pretty painless upgrade to HD - I pick the camera up on Friday and can't wait to give it a test drive...

thanks again
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Old January 7th, 2010, 01:56 AM   #12
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You've thought and chosen well Bill. And you must be some sort of salesman to get so much for your VX2k in this day and age. What was bundled with it - your car?

:-)

tom.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #13
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Okay, and now tape...

I've always used the Sony Premium tape on the VX2000, but because I'll now be shooting HD, I'll be purchasing some of the Sony HD tape (significantly more $$$)

Just checking out Ebay, and see the foreign sellers (Hong Kong) have deals that deliver tapes at under $7 per, which is pretty good comparatively speaking.

anyone have any dealings with the Hong Kong tape dealers and any stories to tell good or bad? Can i expect the same tape, not inferior or knockoff from purchasing through these channels?

Anyone have any domestic dealers with deals as good as this?

thanks!
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Old January 7th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #14
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The HD tapes are a waste of money. The ONLY issue with any tapes I've used are the HD tapes, and I lost a half hour of footage. With the regular tapes, never an issue. I would research this more before I spent, if I were you.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #15
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certainly agree with jeff - regular dv tapes (stick to ONE brand) will suffice. with what you save buy brand name tape - i use sony, buy many use the slightly cheaper panasonic.
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