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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 19th, 2012, 03:05 AM   #1
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cheap handycam?

looking for a cheap ($1k max) handy cam that will cut reasonably well with my z5.

mostly for long wide, or hand held cu's.

any suggestions appreciated.

tia
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Old June 19th, 2012, 04:40 AM   #2
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Re: cheap handycam?

The Sony cx730 series will be a very good match and the same must be for the newer version that just came out. I compared the image to a sony fx1000 (which is basically the same as a z5) and the small camera can produce much cleaner footage (and with better color) at high gain values up to 24db (meaning it can produce better low light footage) It's lens goes a bit wider, it's much more stable when handheld and it looks a bit sharper. Side by side the sony cx footage can look better if set up right compared to what a z5/f1000 can produce.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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Re: cheap handycam?

I'd say anything in the xr or cx 500 or 700 series will do just fine. The only differences will be the features, some of which will exceed the Z5 on the newer models, which you won't need if you want them to match (i.e. 50p/60p).

Don't forget that small Handycams are horrible for handheld cu's because they are so wobbly, although the IS in these is pretty good.

Also remember that as the Handycams will shoot AVCHD and your Z5 is HDV, there may be some editing challenges mixing them on your timeline, depending on your NLE and PC.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Re: cheap handycam?

Quote:
that small Handycams are horrible for handheld
I do have a xr520 and a cx730 and all I can say the stabilisation on the 730 is of another level, the IS is not "pretty good", it's fantastic, MUCH better then my xh-a1 which already was good. I can do handheld wide shots that almost look as if they have been done on a tripod.

Just look at this shot, taken while holding the camera in front of me with 2 hands and zoomed in completely, if you watch until the end you see how much the zoom level was, that you can't do with a "pretty good" stabilisation :)

http://youtu.be/U8OClxZYy8k
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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Re: cheap handycam?

Noa is correct, with good technique and/or a minimal "rig" like a 560/561 Bogen monopod or simple cheap DV multirig copy, one of the newer handycams will be "plenty stable"... with practice, and perhaps a simple rig, you can get darn near "steadicam" results!


The stabilization in the XR500/520 (a couple model years old, but still excellent image quality was a "little" less effective - there was an improvement with the release of the CX500/520, which came out about half a year later, and handled "roll" better. XR and CX share same sensor, CX had no VF and smaller LCD, but great "pocket" cam (if you've got large pockets!). Super discrete, if you ever need to look "tourist-y", and still great image quality. I'd lean towards the CX which can be had pretty cheap... unless you want a VF, in which case...

The XR/CX550 was the next model year... Depending on your "wide" needs. the CX/XR550 (released simultaneously, one internal SS memory, one HDD) altered the lens range to put more emphasis on the "wide" end (IIRC it's about 29mm vs 34mm equiv?). Not a huge deal, but basically gives you roughly the equivalent of mounting a .7x WA lens on the older ones, nice if you need to shoot in tight quarters, and you can still mount the newer WA adapters for even wider shots (older HG WA's vignette because of the ultra wide native lens). The sensor in the 550's seems to be the same or pretty close to the one in the "500" series. Has a rather nice 3.5" LCD...if it had "P" modes, I'd say it was the best Handycam Sony made... but technology marches on...

The most recent "handycam" that you can pick up for under $1K is the CX700 - adds 60p, 24p. Peaking and zebras return after being "missing in action" in the 500's - the LCD shrunk back to a 3" from the 550's 3.5", a big step backward, IMO, but otherwise it's a nice camera. The sensor and lens seem to be slightly sharper (will likely make your z5 look a bit "soft")


The current CX760 is running around $1400... so a tad out of your range...

Aside from the current "retail priced" model, you can pick up a good used sample of most of the above for between $500 and your $1K. I'm clearing out a couple cameras right now since adding a couple A65's to the mix... PM me if any of the above spark your interest.

You may want to check posts by Ron Evans, a regular here - he shoots a mix of the above cameras and IIRC a Z5 and other Sony cams - firsthand "live fire" reports. Adam is also familiar with these, and his asessment is also good, I just elaborated a bit on it.

IMO, you can't go wrong with ANY of the above as a cheap "B" cam, I gave up on the expensive "A" cam a long while back when I figured out I could get the image quality (if not the manual control) in a smaller, less expensive package! In some ways because the "consumer handycam" line is in CONSTANT refresh/update (thus why the CX500/520 has better IS than the XR50/520 in just a few months of "product cycle"), you may find the consumer cam beats a "pro" model that doesn't get refreshed that often... IOW that Z5 is about 3-4 years "outdated" <wink>, at least against a CX760, the others are a bit more contemporary, as you can see by the model years.

Hope that is of some help to you - you should be aware that AVCHD takes a bit more "oomph" computer wise to edit than HDV, it will be 1920x1080 vs. 1440x1080, but neither should create any issues of great concern.

If you have any Q's, feel free to ask!
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Old June 19th, 2012, 08:06 PM   #6
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Re: cheap handycam?

as ever some very useful / knowledgeable advice. thanks.

bit of background - i have been hiring a friends v1p (my old camera in fact), however, it has developed a serious back focus problem (which i've read about over on the v1 forum). talked to sony here (on friends behalf) and they reckon it'll cost anywhere from $400 > $2k to fix, depending on what the actual problem is.

i've said i'd chip in $250 since it's a great 2nd camera for me in many respects (batteries, xlr, good colour match, etc.,). obviously it's his call, so my original question is / was based on the repair not going ahead.

in all probability any 2nd handycam will be fixed wide shot on legs (think 2 shot interview), or 'edgy' cu (my 2nd cameraman is so rock solid - even with a small handycam - that i usually have to add camera movement in post ;-)). and, as long as it records audible audio, it'll sync with pluraleyes - though i will miss the backup of a second camera with xlrs.

so the info you all given is going to help me tremendously make some sort of decision... thanks again
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Old June 19th, 2012, 11:27 PM   #7
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Re: cheap handycam?

Keep in mind the V1 is now probably REALLY outdated... if it's getting long in the tooth and starting to suffer from "old age", replacing it might be the better part of valor? $400 maybe, but too close to that $2K, and you'd be better to put it into a newer cam, IMO, and sell the remains on eBay for whatever they bring. At the least, make sure you get a solid estimate before authorizing the repair!

I loved my old FX7 (V1's "non-evil twi" in grey vs. black), but I knew it had been outmatched a long time ago. Sadly, you'll probably be a LOT happier with a newer handyam image wise, even if the ergonomics aren't as nice. Don't be afraid of the small cams, they don't "bite" once you get to know them!

Shouldn't have a problem with the onboard audio, and maybe stick a shotgun with a 1/8" adapter on it (not ALL the small cams have audio inputs though... I think the CX500/520's lacked them due to the smaller chassis.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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Re: cheap handycam?

anyone have any experience with the panasonic tm700?

have a friend who is most taken with it - mind you, he's cutting against his 3 chip semi-pro panny.

it seems to have garnered rave reviews?

and does seem cheaper than the equivalent sony's....
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Old June 29th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #9
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Re: cheap handycam?

Ill just throw something in to think about.
I have a fair few cams, a Z5 and a Sony SR8 among them. I have found that whenever I do a multicam shoot, or have chosen to use one of the Sonys with the Canons or JVC cams, that I get huge problems trying to match anything red from Sony to anything else.
For instance, recently had a few cams filming a dance. The GoPro, JVC GYHM100 and a Canon HM40 all had the girls dress as orange, the Z5 looked almost a burgundy.
All other colours in the scene were the same, just reds were the issue.
It appears Sony Cams just interpret reds a little differently than the others.
To answer the obvious, XV colour was not on.
To sum up though, if I was trying to match a Z5, I would def go another Sony.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 03:58 PM   #10
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Re: cheap handycam?

I'd concurr on the color matching - you might want to "borrow" a Panny and shoot some test footage (personally, I'd be watching the BLUES, but reds are "fun" too). Maybe try their newer offerings as well (700 is 2-3 model years old now?).

Brands tend to keep color profiles fairly close, but between brands, not always so much... As tempting as another brand may be, it'd have to be pretty compelling either in features or price to get me to intermix brands... been there, done that, and IMO you're better to stay within a given brand if possible. That said, I do believe that things change over time, and if a particular camera catches your fancy, it might be worth at least a "test drive" to see if it will meet your needs and intercut acceptably for YOUR needs.
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