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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 May 15th, 2013, 07:24 AM   #1
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Where to after the Z5...

I love my Z5.
Since getting the lens calibrated a few months back, it has been quite simply remarkable. And since playing with the picture profiles it has gotten even better .
So my question is this,
Where to from here?
What would be an equivalent or superior camera at a non ridiculous price. I would love an Alexa but I need a place to sleep more than a camera.
Dual SD cards would be good.
I dont want less zoom.
I dont want less manual controls.
Has anyone gone through this exercise and come up with a winner?
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Old May 15th, 2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

interestingly enough, i just had the same thoughts....

end result, sticking with z5.

a. i love the 20x
b. though i shoot to cf with the mcr1k (whatever), i always shoot tape as backup. i sleep well at night knowing it's all there on the shelf and not on some hard drive that'll either get mislabeled and over written, or worse still, fail to spin after a couple of years - and yes, it has happened, 1 x seagate, 1 x wd.
c. i'm sure there's a lot of new cameras that'll knock the socks off of a z5, but to be honest, if my clients can't see any difference, what does it matter?
d. i dislike this obsession with limited dof, it has it's place in the scheme of hings, but by no means should be an overriding consideration in choice of camera.

all the cameras i do like, the glass alone costs more than the whole kit and caboodle...
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Old May 15th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #3
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

The NX5U is the next step. I believe it to be virtually the same camera, except recording to cards instead of tape. Looks almost identical, uses same G-series lens also. There is a less-expensive version called AX-2000, does not have HD-SDI output, few other minor differences.

Thanks
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Old May 15th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

I have breathed new life into my pair of Z5s by buying a couple of Atomos Ninjas.
I got the original Ninjas secondhand. I prefer them because they have the LANC passthrough, which means my operators only have one button to push to start/stop.
Prores takes up more space than the HDV codec but the footage is appreciably better, and you can do a lot more grading and tweaking to it before it falls apart.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

I'm thinking about getting the new atomos samurai blade and selling the mrc - that way I also have a monitor and better quality footage - what do others think??
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Old May 16th, 2013, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

So out of interest, what camera/s do you like Leslie?

Thanks Jeff, If my Z5 turned up its toes tomorrow I think I would get the AX2000. They are very similar.

Would love to see the same image captured with the MRK1 and a Ninja.
If I'm on my game and have all the cam settings right, I just can't imagine how it can look better.
I know that sounds naive, would just like to see it.

If they could get there legals sorted out and had a Ninja (or anything else) that could capture to Cineform, that would change everything for speed of workflow.
Connect the hard drive from the device, do a quick edit, open up First Light and do your Primary CC with the metadata, Smart render (no recompress) out your file.
No time consuming rendering, and your CC data goes with the file should anyone want to tweak it later.

Mark, what hard drives have you got in the Ninjas, and how long can you record for?
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Old May 16th, 2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

Gerald, we did have a mrc/ninja/ debate a while back as a possibility of retaining the Z5 while increasing the quality. I think we came to the conclusion that the ninja 2 (it was back then) was only marginally better than the mrc.
But......looking at the Samurai Blade specs and outputting Pro-res for workflow, it becomes a very tasty proposition when coupled as a monitor for my GH3 and GH2 as well as the Z5.
But at this stage it's hard to tell if its value for money.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #8
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

The Z5 is the only cam I've ever owned in more than 20 years where I haven't lusted after a newer model after six months. Now, after 3 1/2 years, I still don't have any desire to "upgrade." In my opinion there isn't a better cam in the price range. The NX isn't an upgrade in my book -- as Jeff said, it's basically the same cam but loses a few features and can't shoot to tape while shooting to card as the Z5 can. And of course there's only one button to push on the Z with the MRC and LANC so I'm not sure what Mark is referring to or how a different recorder changes that.

Going from the Z to the AX is a huge step down. From the Z to the NX is closer but they still dropped a few settings from the NX that I like and use on my Zs, plus as Leslie mentioned I like to be able to shoot to both tape and card if I want.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

well gerald, i really don't know what to write - or as i previously wrote - the cameras i like, which include the alexa, black magic and sony pmw's, all have interchangeable lenses, unfortunately, the glass i like costs very much more than the cameras themselves...

and unless you use GOOD glass, you're probably wasting the advantage such cameras can give one.

i don't do features, mostly short-form doco, and the like, geared to net / intranet / and (now rarely) dvd - with an audience that can certainly tell vhs from digital, but probably not low-end digital from high-end.

as for 'cinematic' quality, i can't see the need for it in my niche, most art work i shoot is done on a d700 nikon and therefore the quality only effected in post - and i can assure you, the artists i work with would be the first people to notice any quality drop ;-)

as for mrk vs ninja, i'd be interested to see side by side clips, though i can't see myself ever working with prores.....
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Old May 17th, 2013, 02:33 AM   #10
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

I'm with you on the pro-res Leslie, I personally don't have any need for it in post either however...a lot of editors I shoot for do use it and it would be good to just download pro-res files to give them rather than me transcode and send on a stick. If anyone has done a field test or can decipher mrc v samurai specs I'm sure a lot of Z5 users would be very interested.
Gerald.. sorry to stray from the thread but as Leslie and a few others have said, unless you upgrade significantly to shoulder mounted cams with interchangeable lenses I really don't think it's worth the money unless you are shooting for broadcast.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #11
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

I am actually really enjoying the insights thrown around here.
As I said before, when I get my settings right, I can't imagine a much better image than what I get from the Z5. Its good to hear you guys (with prob a fair bit more experience than I ) are still speaking so highly of it.

I have seen the raw footage, (and then the graded versions) when my sons old band did film clips on Red and Alexa. Its amazing, not even in the same league, but so is the price of that equipment.

I guess I might start keeping an eye out for another one :)
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Old May 18th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #12
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
And of course there's only one button to push on the Z with the MRC and LANC so I'm not sure what Mark is referring to or how a different recorder changes that.
The Original Ninja has LANC pass-through connection so if you have a LANC controller the cable goes from the LANC controller to the Ninja, and the Ninja to the Z5. So by pressing one button you start recording on the Ninja and the tape (and the MRC1K as well!) at the same time.

The new Samurai Blade should be able to do this too, as it, too has a LANC connection. However the Samurai Blade has a HD-SDI connector so anyone wanting to use this with an HDMI-outputting camera would need one of Atomos' HDMI to HD-SDI converters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Webb View Post
Would love to see the same image captured with the MRK1 and a Ninja.
I'll do that for you on Monday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Webb View Post
Mark, what hard drives have you got in the Ninjas, and how long can you record for?
I have a very random collection of 7200RPM HDDs and 120GB SSDs. They all seem to work OK.
There is a list of approved drives on the Atomos Website. Also info on record times should be there somewhere.

For me, where the Ninja footage REALLY wins over the MRC1K's HDV codec it that you can push it a lot further in terms of image correction / grading before it starts to show artefacts. The HDV codec really isn't very good, and when you start to, say, lift the exposure in dark scenes it starts to break up very quickly.
You can do a lot more with the Ninja's Prores without it affecting the picture negatively.

I'm not at an editing computer today, so I can't post images today, but even without any processing I can see the difference between MRC1K and Ninja in terms of detail captured, sharpness, and dynamic range.
Will try and produce some evidence when I have a moment next week.
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Old May 18th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #13
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Morreau View Post
The Original Ninja has LANC pass-through connection so if you have a LANC controller the cable goes from the LANC controller to the Ninja, and the Ninja to the Z5. So by pressing one button you start recording on the Ninja and the tape (and the MRC1K as well!) at the same time.
Ah, got it, so you mean if you are using both the Ninja and an MRC as well as tape, all three at once? Because obviously it's just as you say when you are using the MRC with the Z5 and tape and LANC -- just push the REC button on the LANC remote and both tape and MRC start at once. That's what SYNCHRO mode is all about. So there is no benefit to using Ninjas instead of the MRC in this regard, although it appears there is one if you are using them in addition to one.

Unless, as has been known to happen, I am completely misunderstanding what you are saying, in that you are preferring the Ninja to something other than the MRC, and there is another benefit you are referring to.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; May 19th, 2013 at 01:29 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2013, 03:35 AM   #14
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Morreau View Post
I have breathed new life into my pair of Z5s by buying a couple of Atomos Ninjas.
Mark, are you using the Samurai Blade or the early ninjas
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Old May 19th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #15
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Re: Where to after the Z5...

Chris, I'm using the original Ninja.

If the Samurai Blade had been available when I bought the Ninjas I would certainly have considered it, though of course one has to add on the cost of the an HDMI to HD-SDI converter like the Connect H2S Connect Converters | Atomos

Andrew, I am now using the Ninja instead of the MRC1K.
I did indeed record to all three methods - tape, MRC1K, Ninja - for a few shoots while I was auditioning the Ninja but it worked (and still works) fine and never needed the MRC1K's files, so now I just record to tape and the Ninja. I must get around to putting the MRC1Ks on eBay.

The reason why I use the Ninja instead of the MRC1K is because it records a much better picture directly from the sensor. The Ninja records in true 1920x1080 to a vastly superior codec (Prores) rather than the 1440x1080 which the MRC1K records in using HDV's relatively ancient and comparatively dreadful long-GOP MPEG-2.

Of course one plays a price for that: the Ninja is not so easy to attach to the Z5 as the MRC1K. You have to get and keep a good HDMI connection from camera to Ninja. And the footage recorded in Prores takes up a lot more HDD space in your archive than the MRC1K's: approximately four times as much. You can't calibrate the screen on the Ninjas, and it doesn't give you any camera information, so although its screen is larger than the Z5's built in screen you still have to use the built-in screen or viewfinder for checking exposure and focus.

So the Samuari Blade, whose screen you are supposed to be able to calibrate, and which has focus peaking a waveform monitor, and zebras as well as LANC Control is a very tempting upgrade for the Z5. When they're actually available for purchase I'll certainly check them out. However, for roughly the same price, the Convergent Design Odyssey 7 is something else I might consider, although it's not going to be available until November, and you can't just use off-the-shelf SSDs.
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