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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 March 8th, 2010, 08:26 PM   #1
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Z5 or Z7 for weddings

Now with the rebates the cost of the Z7 is about the same as a Z5 with the MRC1K. I only shoot weddings so low light and good lens control are the most important to me (I'm not concerned with changing lenses). I know the Z5 has a wider lens but the Z7 seems to have a faster lens, what camera do you suggest I buy.

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

Allen
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Old March 9th, 2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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If, as you said, you are not interested about changing lenses, then I would go for the Z5. The less parts to open the better. I am sure you will be tempted to open the lens compartment on the Z7 and maybe a small dust particle might enter that might give you problems. The quality as far as weddings is concerned is the same. The Z5 is a very reliable camera. I have been using it for nearly 2 years now with no problem whats so ever.

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Old March 9th, 2010, 02:30 AM   #3
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You say low light and good lens control are the most important to you, so the finger points squarely at the Z7 Allen. The Z7's lens is a 'proper' lens with that push-pull manual auto focus and at full telephoto it's a stop faster than the Z5's lens at the same focal length. A stop faster! It means you can get the same exposure in exactly half the light.

The Z7 also has that very neat spirit level in the v'finder, so useful for hand-held shots where you're holding the camera high in the air to film the confetti shot over the heads of the guests.

tom.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 12:02 PM   #4
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Actually Tom is correct since I misread your original post. I thought you said that you did not want interchangeable lenses. my bad.

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Old March 9th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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Allen, if you're not interested in changing lenses, here are the reasons I like the Z5. First of all, yes there is lens ramping, but the 20x lens makes a big difference for me. The 12x just doesn't cut it in certain situations. In addition, the built-in mic really comes in handy. It doesn't replace a quality mic but it's really pretty good and I use it more than I ever thought. That's what makes the Z5 a true run and gun camera for events. Pull it out of the bag and it's ready to go. Now if I was going to buy a second camera, it would probably be the Z7.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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I'm wholly in favor the Z5 over the Z7 for wedding and events coverage. Yes, the Z7 has interchangeable lens capability and is supplied with a fairly fast lens. However, the fitted lens with the Z5 has a greater zoom range and covers a fairly wide angle. It's 20x zoom range covers anything you need. Without the break needed to change a lens (not a trivial matter). Without back focus issues (not a trivial matter). Without the inconvenience and risk of carrying extra lenses (not a trivial matter). You aren't covering when you're changing lenses. And a lens change need, by definition, occurs as some transition, real or creative, where you DON'T need to be encumbered. The 20x G lens was made for event coverage.

Also, the Z5's low-light capability is remarkable enough on its own. A faster lens only buys you marginal depth-of-field effects rather than any significant performance in low-light. When you are shooting at the lower limits of the Z5, the lighting is so dim that a half to one-stop faster lens don't improve a look, it only makes dim scenes brighter which isn't necessarily a good thing. For instance, candlelight lit scenes aren't made to look like they were shot under a 2K broad.

Stick with the Z5 and flash drive setup. You'll be happy.

Dave
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Old March 10th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #7
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Z7 users correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Expanded Focus disabled if recording to CF card? Expanded Focus works on the Z5 in all recording modes. This could be a big deal if you depend on manual focus.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:17 PM   #8
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Long church Aisle: Z-5

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Wider angle lens: Z-5
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Old March 11th, 2010, 01:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Burckhard View Post
A faster lens only buys you marginal depth-of-field effects rather than any significant performance in low-light.Dave
Just so's we know, let's look at it this way. The room you enter with your Z7 is lit by four 100 watt lamps. You're there to pick off the guests as they chat over the champagne and you're working at max aperture at full tele.

You enter the room with the Z5 and you've now got to light it with eight 100 watt lamps to get the same exposure. You've got to have about 15 lamps lit if you use the Z5's max zoom. You can of course up the gain, but what's good for the 5 is good for the 7.

The extra stop is significant in my view, and a glance at any SLR lens price list will show you that a stop sure costs, and especially so with zoom lenses.

I'm not a big fan of the Z7 (I prefer the Z5) but I feel its pros shouldn't be dismissed as 'marginal'.

tom.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 05:51 AM   #10
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Thank you everybody for your opinions. Tom, you seem to like the Z7 features but you use the Z5, what made you decide to go with the Z5?
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Old March 11th, 2010, 06:02 AM   #11
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I used the Z7 for a wedding and have come to some conclusions that I'll post here later. The 7 gives wonderful images, no doubt about that, and that's bottom line really. It's the handling of the Z1 /Z5 that I like a whole lot better.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #12
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Tom, you're right to a point but who would shoot across a dimly lit room at full tele unless there was absolutely no choice whatsoever. When the 20X is needed, it pays dividends. As I mentioned elsewhere, it's the difference between a nice closeup of a face or settling for a head and shoulder shot. Again, there are benefits to both cameras but IMO the Z5 fits a little better in the event scene. When I purchased the Z5 it was the same price as the Z7, this just fit my needs better. I'm sure others feel the opposite. I don't think you can go wrong with either camera.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quite right Rob, and I too think the Z5 fits the event scene rather better than the Z7. The latter's interchangeable lens allows you to go super-tele with ease, a must for some filmmakers. The Z5 (complete with CF reader/writer) does indeed cost very nearly as much as the Z7. The minimal lens ramping on the 7 means every single focal length is faster than the same focal length on the 5 though, bar the widest angle.

I used two Z7s in earnest to film an entire wedding day. Iíd had the cameras a week to acclimatise myself with the layout of the controls and to shoot a lot of test footage yet I still set out somewhat nervously. Thereís no better way to test something than on a real paid for job.

First off, the Z7ís Ė6dB gain sensitivity option produces wonderfully quiet pictures. I plugged the camera HDMI into my big 46Ē LCD TV and up close you can see that simply switching the gain to 0dB ads considerable noise (grain) to the shadows. Itís not objectionable, but itís there.

The Z5 really lends itself to being held by the top handle. My left hand can cradle the weight of the camcorder, while at the same time I can quickly flick to another neutral density setting and lock or unlock the auto iris. On a fast action shoot itís very important indeed that these three settings (ND, exposure lock and aperture select) are there for immediate activation. The Z7 has been built with different ergonomics, and filming while holding the camera by the top handle is a no-no. The ND wheel is a pain Ė you canít immediately tell by looking at the knob which ND (of the 3) is in position and the exposure lock is ahead of the zoom rocker on the right hand side of the camera. You have to remove your left hand (which was supporting the weight of the camera) and reach over the camera to activate the iris lock.

So ergonomically, for my style of shooting, the Z5 wins. The Z5 also has a built-in stereo mic, and there are many times when capturing atmospheric sounds in stereo is important. The Z7 only has the mono shotgun.


tom.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #14
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Just ordered the Z7. Thank you everyone for your help & advise.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #15
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Good luck with it. Enjoy.
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