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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 April 4th, 2012, 11:20 PM   #1
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Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

Today I finally got around to doing side-by-side shots of subjects around the yard. Totally unscientific, but wanted to see from a visual standpoint how they would look side by side.

Cameras:
Canon HV30
Canon XA10
Sony Z5U (HDV)

Manual settings. 30 F/S Prog. White balanced for outdoors. Sony was set to "ProColor" setting. Playback was on a Sony HDV TV via HDMI with each cam on a dedicated input so I could toggle between the cams.

Results:
What suprised me most is how crisp and balanced the HV30 image looked. I was expecting it to be left in the dust but it really held up. I know from day to day shooting with the HV30, the most frequent problems I faced were low light noise and low dynamic range. But when I could take time to manipulate the image outdoors, in my test, it really looked great against the other cameras. I didn't do any night-time or indoor shooting in this test, but that would have really showed the weakness of the HV30. But outdoors, it produced great images and reminded me what I really loved about that camera back then.

XA10 image was more crisp and sharper than all the cams but just by a shade for the images I shot, not as much as I was expecting. My wife felt the pictures were clearer and just appeared to be higher resolution. I had several shades of red, pinks, some yellows, multiple shades of green, couple blues and skin tones as well. I basically on one series of shots, shot out towards the yard as the kids jumped on the trampoline. The Canon skin tones were warmer than the Sony's but that is how Sony and Canon differ. I was suprised that the Canon XA10 tended to overexpose a little more than I had seen in the past when there was a brighter backlight situation than the Sony. By that time I ran out of tape on the HV30 and didn't get that included in the test. Experience tells me the XA10 would have given the Z5 a run for it's money indoors and at night, but that'll have to be another time. Overall, the XA10 Looked great.

Z5's Image looked great also. Actually, I was suprised that it didn't seem to produce as natural of green in the flower bed as the Canon's. It seemed to be a lighter green, somewhat washed out. I redid the manual white balance shooting the kids on the trampoline and it seemed to bring out the greens better on the grass. It may be worth re-comparing in the flowerbed. The Canon's looked remarkably similar. My wife, in fact, had the HV30 confused with the XA10 image. Of course, in good light, almost all cams shoot great images, right? Overall, the XA10 has a lot better black IMO. The Sony seemed to hold its own in terms of resolution, but on fine lines in the background, it was subtly obvious the Canon did a better job producing smoother lines on object far in the background and was a touch clearer. OTOH, the Sony seemed to have a wider dynamic range and could handle wide color contrasts (white) better with a backlight w/o overblowing them as much. The skin tone nod definitely goes to the Canon XA10, but that is just the difference how Sony sets their cams up.

I would have liked to have a cam like a EX1R and an iPhone too, but didn't have available.

I know you guys are gong to be chomping at the bit for screen-shots, but I am in the process of re-doing my computer and I pulled my NLE off my PC. I wanted to throw a couple other cams into the mix but time was running out on my wonderful day, so I started with the ones that were on hand. I don't have any goals other than to see what differences there were between the cams in the outdoors. I posted this on the XA10 forum as well.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 01:05 PM   #2
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Re: Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

Even consumer camcorders can shoot beautiful pictures outdoors. The real test is in low light. I'd like to see that test done. Have fun with it though.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

From my experience I already know what to expect. The HV30 indoors is going to be grainy and can't handle as much gain. I did a side by side in indoor lighting conditions some time ago, not exteme low light, but the kind of low light one might run into during evenings with indoor residential lighting. The XA10 was noticably better and is quite an astonishing low light performer. Both cams produce great indoor video.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 12:18 AM   #4
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Re: Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

Max gain on the HV30 is 27db, and that really shows the grain in the picture in low light.

I still find my EX1R captures far more detail compared to the HV30 in all lighting conditions. The HV30 detail is thin compared to the EX1R, mostly because of the 3 native resolution sensors on the EX1R.

The Z5 and NX5 still use I believe 960x1080 or similar pixel count per chip. Most of the pixels are still done by interpolation.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

Quote:
I still find my EX1R captures far more detail compared to the HV30 in all lighting conditions. The HV30 detail is thin compared to the EX1R, mostly because of the 3 native resolution sensors on the EX1R.
I would hope so. Otherwise, there would be a lot more so-called professional videographers out there
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Old April 6th, 2012, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: Informal Camcorder Shoot-out. Z5 and Others

Quote:
I would hope so. Otherwise, there would be a lot more so-called professional videographers out there
Yeah, me too.
HV30 = ~ $600
EX1R = ~ $6,000
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