Z5 first impressions from a V1 user at DVinfo.net

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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 June 12th, 2010, 09:49 PM   #1
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Z5 first impressions from a V1 user

I finally took delivery of my Z5U on Thursday afternoon, and I'm pleased and somewhat relieved to have the camera in my possession after previous delivery of damaged goods, back-order from Sony, and twice-attempted delivery while away from the office on showsite! It's been a 4-week rollercoaster ride.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be moving up to a camera with larger chips. I spent some time looking over the camera, setting up the assign buttons and generally comparing the Z5 to my V1U which I'll be selling. For anyone else considering a switch to this camera or the NX5U, I have some initial observations.

Physically, the camera is about 1" longer than the V1 and heavier - the larger lens tips it forward a bit. With an NP-970 battery pack and MRC1 attached however, the balance returns to center. It fits in the same Petrol bag I've been using, that's a good thing. The lens is both brighter and wider than the V1 - in fact, as wide as my 0.8 Raynox lens. The focus, zoom and iris rings also have a nice feel - less servo-like than the V1.

I love the forward position of the LCD viewfinder, the clip style mic mount, the tape loading mechanism on the left and perhaps most of all the direct mount for my MRC1 which I've already been shooting with. I shot about 70 minutes of a club jazz duo onto CF last night, and I was able to focus and zoom (using my Varizoom VZ Rock) with great control and sensitivity.

Only a few things have me scratching my head a bit; (1) The viewfinder LCD and eyepiece are both slightly smaller than the V1, and there doesn't seem to be an underscan/overscan setting for the LCD. (2) the Z5 handle grip is hard plastic on both the top and underside. The V1 has a rubberized grip and a more secure feel in the hand. (3) The tape mechanism door and camera body have a slightly rough, sandpapery finish that shows marks quite easily - in contrast, the V1 has smooth plastic surfaces with are easy to clean. I wonder how much wear and tear will show in a few months? (4) The V1 has a power input jack that allows charging of a mounted battery, or powering the camera without a battery. No such jack on the Z5.

These are minor things. In all I'm excited to be working with a Z5 and I look forward to memorizing it's button positions in the next few weeks. Any advice is welcome - Cheers!

Sam
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Old June 12th, 2010, 10:04 PM   #2
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Sam, I'm with you on being confused about points 1 and 4. While the LCD is sharper than anything I've seen, it's smaller than the FX1s and FX7s I had been shooting with. And the power arrangement continues to confound me: the more consumer FX1000, otherwise identical in many respects, has the same power arrangement as the V1. I loved how you could just plug the thing in when you came home at night, and if someone tripped over the cord while you were shooting, it just popped out and you'd continue uninterrupted on battery power. Now if someone catches a foot your whole rig comes crashing to the ground. I'm sure the Z5 arrangement is "more professional" but I just don't get it.

But I am otherwise deeply in love with my Z5s -- for the first time ever I have no desire to move to a "better" cam.

BTW, there is no overscan setting because all the latest Sony cams are always in fullscan or Allscan mode -- whatever they call it when all lines are displayed. Supposedly.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #3
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I really like the new Exposure Mode Sony have added to the Z5 also. And being able to use the internal mic with an external shotgun is fantastic.

The only let down for me are the recessed buttons and hard to see LCD in daylight - the reason for me selling this otherwise superb camera.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 05:36 AM   #4
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there is no overscan setting because all the latest Sony cams are always in fullscan or Allscan mode -- whatever they call it when all lines are displayed. Supposedly.
really? didn't know that, but are we SURE? i noticed the other day whilst editing (on a full wide shot) a 'sliver' of my matte box sunshade in frame. played it back in camera and didn't see it....

and certainly agree with 1 + 4.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #5
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That's why I said "supposedly." It's not exact, but it's closer than the older models.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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I took my new Z5 to Minneapolis/St. Paul on Monday evening for a daylong shoot. After using the camera all day under "real world" conditions, I'm certainly glad I made my purchase. The wide end of the lens is worth the upgrade alone - how nice not to monkey around with a wide adapter!

Only one feature caused me to think twice during the shoot - and I'm interested to know how the rest of you manage this detail quickly:

White balance. My V1U has 4 presets accessible by pushing the white balance button and scroll wheel without delving into menus (indoor, outdoor, custom A and custom B). The Z5 seems to have just 3 (custom A, custom B, and whatever you left it on last). After fiddling too many times with the menu to toggle between indoor and outdoor, I just left it on "manual wb temp" and either set a custom color temp or scrolled up and down as needed. Is this the best way?

Sam
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Old June 24th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #7
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Sam, I've often thought that this arrangement makes no sense, that if there are only three selections to choose from, you should have the option of having them be Indoor, Outdoor and one custom, rather than having to go into the menus to choose between indoor and outdoor as the default, with two customs.

But others probably disagree.

Your way makes sense.
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Old June 25th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #8
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Adam, I agree, it is somewhat annoying. I guess the 4th setting is auto. If I have time to white balance I keep it on the custom settings. If not, I keep the setting on manual and just adjust it by eye. I have a general idea of where the temp should be and my video has looked great. It may be better to put it in auto but it always seems too cold to me.
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Old June 25th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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Is there an underscan setting for the V1U?

Hi Sam

I read with interest your post on the HVR-Z5 and I want one too! However, what really tweaked my attention is your point number (1), which implies that there is an underscan/overscan setting for the HVR-V1U viewfinder.

If that is so, where is it to be found? EDIT: Found it: "ALLSCAN mode"

I've looked in the owner's manual and searched the index but there's no mention of it anywhere.

Thanks,

Howard Harrelson
Northridge, CA

Last edited by Howard Harrelson; June 25th, 2010 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Found the info, thanks!
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Old June 26th, 2010, 04:04 AM   #10
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Z5 is always allscan, you can see it if you attatch your cam to an allscan monitor.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #11
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I really being able to use the internal mic with an external shotgun is fantastic.
could somebody confirm that it is possible to use the internal mic in one channel whilst recording the shotgun in another channel?

Also does anyone know if there is a Brochure from sony on the FX1000. I've looked through the Z5U official brochure and want to find out if 4 or 5 nice features are also available on the FX1000 before I choose which to opt for.

Many thanks
David
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Old July 26th, 2010, 05:10 AM   #12
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Hello David,
On the Z5 there is no problem to use the internal and external mic. You can even use the external mic in a way that one channel is on automatic and the other on manuel.
So you see there are plenty of possibilities for the sound.
On the FX1000 this is not possible while both channels are always together.
Another point is that the Z5 has the direct contact for the HVR-MRC1 unit.
If you have the choice between the Z5 and the FX1000 take the Z5 (in my opinion)

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Old July 26th, 2010, 05:15 AM   #13
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thanks for your reply dirk. So with the FX1000 it connects via firewire (possibly opening you up to issues I've read) and with the Z5U it clips directly on? Does the camera battery go in the usual place between the CF unit and the camera body or does it go on the back of the CF unit like with the hard drive?

Love the sound of the audio options on the Z5U. Even better than using the Beachtek DXA-4 box with my current FX1. Is there any kind of attenuation built into the audio controls on the Z5U to prevent peaking/distorting in a loud wedding dance floor environment?

To save hijacking this thread too much I've posted my other 'are these Z5U features on the FX1000' questions here:

could FX1000 owners confirm these features...
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Old July 26th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #14
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So with the FX1000 it connects via firewire
Exactly.
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Originally Posted by David Payne View Post
(possibly opening you up to issues I've read)
What issues?
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and with the Z5U it clips directly on?
Correct.
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Does the camera battery go in the usual place between the CF unit and the camera body or does it go on the back of the CF unit like with the hard drive?
The former.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #15
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thanks Adam. Do you find that taking off the CF unit to change battery is a pain? Ive read a thread about someone smashing one to pieces after dropping it, I assume they were changing battery.

I've read something about using the hard drive unit via firewire with the FX1000 and the camera having little phases of recognising it in the wrong way (i.e - recognising it in a way in which will not enable recording directly to it. (sorry i cant be specific or accurate, i didnt save the link)

However as I type this I realise that that was the hard drive unit not the CF. Not sure if the same problems would arrise with the CF unit
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