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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 17th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie James View Post
I used a friends DV camera a week ago, and was disappointed because there was some kind of distortion that affected the footage every so often (would describe it as a "flash" of a white or black "splodge"), so I put this down to it being a tape rather than a tapeless format - am I wrong to think this?
C'mon Ollie, we've had HDV onto Mini DV tapes for many years now, and if tape was subject to splodges it wouldn't have got past the first hurdle.

I wouldn't worry too much about it being a grey import. The difference in price to the white import simply pays for another year's guarantee, and I bet you can buy that cheaper. It's still exactly the same Sony camera, remember, and guarantee repairs are still done by Sony here in the UK whatever colour of the import.

But to your original question. You can bet your boots that the NXCAM is the Z5 replacement. I know Sony appear to sub-divide the niche, but these cameras are just too close to remain in the same brochure.

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Old January 17th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
C'mon Ollie, we've had HDV onto Mini DV tapes for many years now, and if tape was subject to splodges it wouldn't have got past the first hurdle.

I wouldn't worry too much about it being a grey import. The difference in price to the white import simply pays for another year's guarantee, and I bet you can buy that cheaper. It's still exactly the same Sony camera, remember, and guarantee repairs are still done by Sony here in the UK whatever colour of the import.

But to your original question. You can bet your boots that the NXCAM is the Z5 replacement. I know Sony appear to sub-divide the niche, but these cameras are just too close to remain in the same brochure.

tom.
Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply.

Yeah, fair point - bit stupid of me to say that then! I've found the Z5 with the two years guarantee but it's 3818.75 inc VAT which is the same price as the NXCAM. It'll be a little while before I can afford a new camera, but considering what you and the other members have said, it would appear that the NXCAM is a replacement, and with that in mind the NXCAM is probably the best option to go for. Especially as the world appears to be moving to tapeless.

Have you any pointers regarding converting the AVCHD files to something that my computer could handle easier?

Thanks so much for all your help/replies - I've not been here long but have found this forum to be a very helpful place!

Ollie
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Old January 17th, 2010, 03:23 PM   #18
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You could use Cineform Neoscene Cineform Neoscene to convert or buy Edius Neo with Booster EDIUS Neo 2 Booster | Grass Valley for a little higher price and get native AVCHD editing.

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Old January 17th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #19
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Thanks for your reply Ron. I've heard of NeoScene before, so will look at it in greater detail!
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Old January 21st, 2010, 07:45 PM   #20
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I got to play with a pre-production NXCAM yesterday.
Controls - identical to the Z5
Outputs - has both an HD SDI and HDMI out.
The NXCAM also has built-in GPS sensors that will embed information as metadata. I'm thinking of applications for that. I'm hoping third party developers can use it along with time code to track shoots. Still, not finding much use for it in my head.

Yes. AVCHD has a maximum bit rate of 24 Mbps. Same as HDV and for certain design reasons. Everyone, right now, let's agree that bit rate is not the last word on resulting fidelity just as pixel count, sensor type and orientation, and proprietary processor alone doesn't determine quality. I know a lot of folks tend to get excited or distracted by numbers and spec but when was the last time your client ask for sensor type, pixel count or processor brand?

AVCHD is by most measures a more efficient codec than what we have on our HDV cameras. Because most edit software can't edit natively, AVCHD needs to be transcoded. It's here where the rub lies with folks. AVCHD really pounds the edit hardware processor. A minimum system should have a core duo second generation to mitigate stalls or crashing.

The up side is that AVCHD, even in prosumer level cams, results in surprisingly impressive images even with one-chip sensors. Finally, Sony is bringing AVCHD into its pro level cams after all, Sony is one of the AVCHD developers. The NXCAM will be THE cam to settle the AVCHD vs. HDV debate (in whatever area being discussed) because there will be a constant platform (the Z5 for HDV and NX5 for AVCHD) to measure.

Indeed, while some are looking forward to faster workflow because they think solid state, file-based editing is quicker than spooling video off of tape. Nicht so schnell mein freund. Slow down pardner. The transcoding on some systems may take up to three or more times real-time to ingest than importing HDV tape which happen in roughly real time. Also, folks will have to adjust their soup to nuts workflow and consider how does one archive the files. Tape users simply label the tape and, boom, your archived.

The up side in using AVCHD over HDV is the probable increase in video quality in terms of resolution, especially in the horizontal. The claims indicate fewer artifacts especially in busy frames with movement. It'll be cool to see the shoot offs.

I'm hoping that edit software and hardware catches up soon.

Dave
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Old January 21st, 2010, 08:15 PM   #21
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When you move to tapeless you will have to think like an IT person. Tapeless is quicker. Most of my projects use two FX1's ( HDV ) and SR11 and XR500 ( both AVCHD). I can ingest the AVCHD using Sony Browser Software and convert to Canopus HQ, 2 hours of AVCHD in about 1 hour and 20 mins, 40 mins faster than the tape capture. Recent transfer from the SR11 or the XR500 of 2 hour and 15 mins took about 12 mins, the rest is the conversion time to Canopus HQ for editing in Edius . So I am ahead by 1 hour 20 mins for two AVCHD cams compared to the two HDV tape cameras. I can do a lot of editing in 1 hour and 20 mins. For backup I have an IT tape backup unit, a Quantum LTO3 HH ( which cost less than the AVCHD camera) with 400G tapes at about $25. Tape backup and restore is as fast as my hard drives will go on a sustained transfer of about 65MBps. Backup of 2 hours of AVCHD is really quick!!!! When I get the NXCAM to replace the FX1 I think I can get around 4 complete 2 hour projects with data from 4 cameras and the final output with project files on a single $25 data backup tape that is a lot more reliable than HDV or video tape. Physically its also about the same size as 4 HDV tapes so saves space a well.Certainly at the moment the HDV tape capture is the slow part for me. It would be nice to use native AVCHD and I am looking forward to the Edius NEO Booster technology being available on Edius Pro. My PC is a Q9450 Quad Core ( 2.66Mhz), 8G RAM running Vista 64 ( though most of the applications are 32 bit). Boot drive is 250G, temp drive 250G, working RAID of 1.5T and two 1T drives for project storage etc.
As an aside the XR500 often produces a picture much better than the FX1!!. That's why a NXCAM is likely my next cam to replace the FX1.

Ron Evans
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Old January 21st, 2010, 08:43 PM   #22
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well, a few personal pov's:

a. i HAVE to shoot tape for a number of clients, incl national broadcaster. this facet of my business is not going to go anywhere soon.

b. i've ordered a mc1k for a tapeless work flow for my own projects, BUT i'll still shoot tape at the same time. on a paying job there's no way i'm going to depend on a 'archived' hd, or the like. a clearly labelled tape is infinitely preferable to a badly organised, collection of hd's (that are not necessarily guaranteed to spin up after 10 years on a shelf!)

c. i edit client avchd regularly on my i7/920. it works for cut to cut, and basic editing, but for anything more (and it's always more eventually), i find myself encoding to .mxf (i use vegas) for serious speed / quality.

i welcome tapeless, but for the foreseeable future, it's not going to be completely tapeless (and that includes backing up to a quantum tape drive ;-))

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Old January 21st, 2010, 09:12 PM   #23
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Yes I understand your position. I don't trust hard drives either. The combination of simultaneous backup recording on the NXCAM is also good. My comments on IT approach also agree on tape backup which is the standard in the IT industry. As to organization of archive that is totally dependent on the person, whether using video tape , hard drives or any other form. When I go completely tapeless acquisition it will be possible to organize complete projects in a folder on the backup system with fast access. I use EMC Retrospect software as the backup software and this keeps a very nice record of whats where and can restore as needed very fast ( again much faster than recapturing video tape). The Sony Browser software also keeps a record of activity for the AVCHD too.
I use Vegas for the audio on the projects or family single track AVCHD ( essential cuts only ). Anything more complicated and the AVCHD gets converted to Canopus HQ and edited in Edius.

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Old January 22nd, 2010, 08:15 AM   #24
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Good conversation here. I'm glad people are looking at more than just a single point in a issue that is as important as workflow all the way through archiving. I want to add that in my HDV experience, the tape was always the backup to simultaneous recording onto hard drive which in my case has always been Focus Enhancements products. I used the JVC specific DR-HD100 and now the FS-5. By doing so, of course, I get the benefit of having two capture media from the get go, a "tapeless" file-based workflow, immediate edit capability without transcoding, simple archiving, and lots of peace of mind. In the early days as a producer on corporate shoots I once had to request a reshoot because one of the guy's hard drive (not a Focus drive) and his sole capture medium pooped out. The talent was a company VP. Fortunately, everyone was gracious enough to allow us the reshoot but the client warned me, as I deserved, that we could go elsewhere if that happened again. You can be sure I now insist on redundancy.

Regardless, I'm excited at the prospect of the NXCAM. Along with the possibilities of other technology, I think it moves our industry forward. In the meantime, we can't forget that technology occasionally hiccups.

Disclaimer: I have no financial or other interest in Focus Enhancements other than being a customer of their products.

Dave Burckhard
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Old January 25th, 2010, 06:47 PM   #25
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Aside from tape v/s solid state memory, does anyone know already if the AVCHD codec on the NXcam is improved over, let's say, the Panasonic 150?

With a modern (and faster?) encoding chip on the Sony, it could make better use of the all the advanced coding possibilities of AVCHD compared to older AVCHD cams right?
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Old January 26th, 2010, 03:23 PM   #26
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Bram, hard to tell what you mean by "improved". Again, wouldn't it be great if we could look at one spec or one number or one technology to tell if one camera is better than another? No one will be able to answer that for you because there are so many factors that determine what's "improved." Not even video shootouts will answer that question for you because you also have your own personal workflow and legacy equipment. Changing video gear is like changing swapping out an engine in your car. If it's more powerful, you have to upgrade the transmission and drive chain, rework the suspension, probably modify other subsystems. Yeah, a Chevy 327 is going to be more powerful than an inline four but is it an improvement if you have to make so many other adjustments?

Don't mean to make a mountain over a mole hill but I think you really have to do consider your entire workflow and investment in your gear including your edit system before tackling the decision of camera changing.

Dave
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Old January 28th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #27
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It was just that I read somewhere that the Panasonic (being a first generation AVCHD cam) doesn't use the H264 codec to it's best.

Supposedly newer cam's with more powerfull processing could give you (much?) better quality with the same codec / bitrate.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #28
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Glad to see my topic has generated questions and answers from other members too! So thanks for that - it's answered some of my other questions!

I've been doing some more research, and after watching some demo footage of the NX5, it does look fantastic, it'll still be a while until I can afford one - but it does look like the Nx5 would be the better camera for me at this point in time.

Thanks for all your help guys, very helpful!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:47 AM   #29
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I have at the moment the Z5 and I am planning to buy this NX5 but I am scared that my newly purchased PC would not handle the AVCHD format well. My PC is Intel Core (TM)2 Quad CPU 2.40GHz - 4GBRAM - Windows XP Pro. What do you think shall I buy another Z5 or the NX5?

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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #30
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Stelios, at this time no computer will handle native AVCHD well.
While native AVCHD can be cut on a timeline, as soon as you start adding transitions, effects (color correction) and the like your computer will bog down. So most will transcode their footage to an intermediate codec anyway, like Cineform, ProRes etc.

this should work well fro most computers and software. The only downside to this if the extra time needed to transcode, still less than capturing tape, and the 3-5X file size increase from native AVCHD to intermediate codec.

But overall if you transcode from the compressed AVCHD codec to an Intermediate, you should be just fine.

PS. for me I am going to be moving to Z5 from FX1 cameras. The main reason is that even though I have been using the MRC1K with my FX1s of a couple of years now, I still like the archival nature of tape, and not be entirely solid state. If I was ready for all solid state though, I would get the NX5/AX2000 in a heartbeat. All solid state means that need to configure a reliable backup and archival solution for past projects as well as projects to be edited.
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