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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 28th, 2013, 07:46 AM   #1
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FX1000 grainy low light?

Shot my first wedding with new to me FX1000. Disappointed that my low light (later in evening at reception) portions are quite grainy compared to weddings previously captured with VX2100. I am of course still shooting full auto. As a newbie to manual control, if I make iris adjustments, can I "see" this on the LCD screen? Any thoughts, tips and ideas would be greatly appreciated as I shoot some practive evenings before next wedding !!
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Old April 28th, 2013, 09:03 AM   #2
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

The fx1000 is almost equally light sensitive as a vx2100 (I owned a vx2100 and my father still has a fx1000 and we did compare when he got his camera, only like you said at high gains the grain really shows.

After my vx2100 (also had a dvx100 back then) I got myself a canon xh-a1 and that one was horrible in low light, I then compared to the fx1000 and that one was much better, the grain structure was much finer and allowed higher gains to be used before it got ugly, then I got a sony cx730 as b-cam and we saw it was equally lightsensitive as the fx1000 (not zoomed in as it ramps quickly) but it was much cleaner, where you would see the grain crawling all over the screen on the fx1000 the cx730 would give a much cleaner output at comparable exposure levels.

Only thing I"m trying to say is that every new generation camera's gets better in dealing with low light and high gains and that your fx1000 still is using older technology, the only thing you can do is limit the gain levels and adjust underexposure in post, or you can use high gains and use neatvideo or just leave it as it is. There is no wonder solution to this problem I"m afraid.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

Thanks Noa,I am excited to hear this, although I must just need to learn to stop using auto-mode and learn to use iris and gain manually. I use a 20 watt Sony video light and I just feel my results on the VX2100 (in auto mode) are far less grainy than the FX1000 (in auto mode). Fortunately, I am able to run a video-denoise and significantly clean up last nights wedding, but need to let go of auto and do this correctly in the future...

Do you think iris and gain are noticed in the LCD or am I "trusting" my settings?
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Old April 28th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

I don't have the fx1000 with me now but from what I remember you could see the iris and gain values on the lcd screen in manual mode, if you turned the iris ring on the lens to compensate for a low light situation first the iris would open up and when that was fully open the camera started to apply gain. I also do remember there was a setting to set a max gain the camera should not cross. I would keep 15db gain as maximum. When you probably saw was the camera applying full gain which I think is 24db.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #5
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

You have to limit how much the cam auto-gains up. I had mine set to 6 or 9 db and the picture was stunning and virtually grain free. It's what convinced me to move up to the Z5.

AGC LIMIT, Page 67.

You can still shoot in full auto. You can also display absolutely every setting in the LCD if you so choose.

Remember how months ago when you said you were considering an FX1000 and I said the most important thing you could do was sit down for two hours with a cup of coffee and the manual?

Your cam is the second best HDV cam ever made if you just learn how to use it. And they have this great book that came free with your cam (on CD too) that tells you.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

C'mon Adam, I am a male, I don't read manuals or ask for directions :)

Joking aside, I just ran to my camera and found my AGC was set to "off". I see lots of choices including 6 and 9, I will take some test footage this evening. Thank you so much for the tip. I feel like Tom Cruise in the race car movie, he said he could drive the car fast but did not know any of the technical stuff.

Thanks again as always!
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Old May 1st, 2013, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

I get it, really I do. I like full auto too. This cam is much smarter than I am, I admit it, and I like to let it do the heavy lifting. But going through the book is fun and it helps me understand what it can and can't do. Then I set the limits on what I let it do and what I want to do and it's a very happy partnership.

Spend some off time with your new partner and it will be well worth it. You can basically shoot full auto but set some limits and get the best of both worlds. Twenty minutes in the menus will have you set for life.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

WOW, did some experiments in low lighting, that AGC setting is amazing! I did 3 tests, first with it set to Off, next set at 9, then set to 6 and the results blew me away. Naturally the image was a bit darker, so I grabbed my on-camera light that I always use for low light shooting and was thrilled with a well lit shot with little to no grain! Looking forward to Sundays wedding!

When you mention the manual, do you mean the owners manual that came with the cam? What I need is a "FX1000 For Dummies" book :). I know how to make the setting changes, but have no clue what half of them actually do.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

Yes, the one that came with the cam on both paper and CD.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 02:20 PM   #10
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Re: FX1000 grainy low light?

Had to reply today after wedding last night, WOW, what an incredible difference that AGC setting made, virtually grain free!
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