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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 10th, 2012, 02:35 PM   #1
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Setting manual exposure on Z5

I've been asked at short notice to help on a shoot using a Z5. I haven't yet touched the camera but I have looked at a copy of the manual. However, I cannot see how to set the exposure manually.
I normally use a Canon XHA1 where an exposure indicator appears in the display when the camera is set to manual. Is there something similar in the Z5?
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Old April 11th, 2012, 12:28 AM   #2
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Even when you switch from AUTO to Manual mode on the master switch on the side, each parameter stays in Auto until you tell it not to. A little A appears next to each to tell you they are still on Auto.

Touch the button for each variable and they will become highlighted and the A should go away. Then you can adjust Shutter by using the dial, Gain by using the switches, or Iris by using the ring. To get into manual Iris mode, touch the Iris/Exposure button near the lens, then rotate the rearmost ring on the lens.

You will likely want to set up your three Gain levels (L, M, H) beforehand. Many people set -3 or -6 as the L setting.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Thanks Adam. I feel a lot more confident.

David
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Old April 11th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Just to clarify a little: On the DISPLAY SET menu, if you have CAM DATA DISPLAY set to ON, all your exposure variables are visible all the time, and the A appears when they are in auto mode. Only Shutter gets a little highlight box when you select it. The A does indeed go away on all variables when each is switched individually to Manual.

But if CAM DATA DISPLAY is set to OFF, then the variables are not on the screen when they are in Auto mode, but they appear when you switch each to Manual.

In the Z5E manual, Manual exposure adjustment is discussed on pages 28-33. The LCD display functions are on page 80.

The other tricky thing is on page 67: Iris/Exposure. Here you set what the third ring does. On IRIS, rotating the ring adjusts the Iris and that alone. If you set it to EXPOSURE, it will also adjust Shutter and Gain as needed. Generally this means Iris in the middle of the range, Gain at the low end and Shutter at the high end. The cam is programmed to always use the lowest Gain possible and to pretty much keep the shutter locked on 60 (50) except during extraordinary circumstances. It will scream at you to up the ND filter rather than adjusting the shutter, and will do the latter only if you refuse to do the former.

You can spend all day getting lost in the menus of this beast. But it allows you an extraordinary degree of creative control. For fun, go into the Picture Profile menus and start twiddling with color values.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Hi Adam

Thanks for your tips.
We had our first shoot this afternoon so I had an opportunity to play with the camera for a couple of hours this morning. Without your tip that the camera settings remain in auto despite the "overall" setting being manual, I would have found the camera quite an obstinate beast.
I've got the camera with me this evening and I'll try out a few more settings.

David
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Old April 20th, 2012, 05:12 AM   #6
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Iris/Exposure. Here you set what the third ring does. On IRIS, rotating the ring adjusts the Iris and that alone. If you set it to EXPOSURE, it will also adjust Shutter and Gain as needed.
Well I never knew this about the Z5, and that's quite a big difference to the NX5 then, when the third ring is only ever an aperture ring. You can reverse its operation in the menu.
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Old April 20th, 2012, 02:35 PM   #7
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Right, it's reversible on the Z5 as well.

It's a bit confusing because Sony is typically cryptic about this function. The IRIS/EXPOSURE button merely switches you into manual mode so you can adjust by turning the ring. But the MENU version of IRIS/EXPOSURE is where you choose which you want the ring to adjust. This has tripped up more than one hapless user.

There are actually a couple of other features that the Z5 has that the NX5 lacks. Nothing earth-shaking, but enough so that I've decided you will pry my Z5s out of my cold, dead hands. I may actually pick up another one as a backup. To me, the pinnacle of the Sony HDV cam with all the benefits of tapeless.

The only thing I hate about it -- and I've said this many times before -- is the power connection arrangement. I much prefer the prosumer/consumer version to the pro brick interface.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 06:17 AM   #8
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

I think the Z5 lacks the active Steadyshot of the NX5 feature doesn't it?. Must admit - I use it all the time I'm hand-held, and I'm guessing the resolution loss is something akin to the 1920 / 1440 difference - i.e. very slight. To take out the last remaining tremors I'm using Mercalli, and lo - rock steady camera shots. Love it.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 11:26 AM   #9
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

I think you may be right. There are four Steadyshot settings available but none are called "active." Have to admit that as I shoot on tripods all the time, I've never actually had it turned on.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Are you stating that there is a resolution loss when using the different "steadyshot' settings?
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 03:25 AM   #11
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

The technical answer is yes, but the aesthetic answer is no. Remember the finest lenses have accurately cemented elements, all tightly toleranced on the optical axis. Steadyshot is the very antithesis of this, as it involves vibrating various internal elements within the zoom's optical system. These elements have mass and therefore inertia, so they'll always 'slightly lag behind' and they'll 'slightly overshoot' as you wobble the camera. The hard and soft settings of SS appear to affect the speed of response of the vibrating elements rather than their excursion limits.

If you pan or tilt with the camera on a smooth-headed tripod, with SS on you'll notice tiny 'jerks' if you view the footage critically. Turn SS off and the jerks will be gone. These jerks are there in hand-held footage too of course, but the smoothing effect of OIS is reckoned to be fair compensation.

Active SS on the NX5 is something different again. In this mode the camera zooms in slightly so as to allow the vibrating elements to move further off axis in their quest for image stability. If the camera didn't perform this little zoom you'd see the image corners darken as vignetting takes place. You can sometimes see it if you have a powerful wide-angle converter fitted - jerk the camera quickly and note the vignetting in the corners.

With Axctive SS engaged I reckon you have a 4.5 to 90mm lens, as against the stock 4.1 to 82mm lens. There is of course a small loss of resolution - but this is either acceptable or not acceptable to you (aesthetically) in the same way as post stabilisation is.

For me, doing a lot of hand-held work at times, the loss of resolution is a fair price to pay for what can be made to look like tripod stability in the final film.

tom.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 07:34 AM   #12
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Re: Setting manual exposure on Z5

Thanks for the reply... I guess there is always a "trade-off" for everything!
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