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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old November 16th, 2007, 01:43 AM   #1
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I don't mean to be picky

but is anyone else out there just a little ticked off that you have to spend a minimum of $7000 to get half decent low light performance from an HDV camera? I was reading the US press release for the Z7 and it's rated at 1.5 lux (at 1/30th shutter and auto iris, auto gain... meaning the gain was cranked and iris wide open) which is much better than my FX7's 4 lux rating. WAY better. But the darn thing is close to 3x the price. I'm not saying the Z7 isn't worth that price tag, I'm sure it's a steal at $7000, but what if I don't need interchangeable lenses or the ability to record in DVCAM. (DVCAM??? on a decently speced HDV camera?? has to be targeted at news right?) Can't Sony incorporate better low light capability into an FX7 type package for those of us who need it but can't shell out 7 grand for one camera?

Look, I know this is a spoiled, selfish rant, but for the love of God, I'm tired of how BAD my HDV low light footage looks especially when compared to how gorgeous the same camera can look in decent light. Come on Sony... 1.5 lux for $3,000 that's all I want. You can even put it in my FX7's cheap plastic housing with funky button configuration and I wouldn't complain.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #2
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My comment on this :

Z7 certainly won't be "close to 3x the price" of the FX7. I think you may be comparing MSRPs with street-prices. A quick check shows you can get FX7 for $2,595 and the street-price of the Z7 will, in my opinion, end up being somewhere around the mid $5,000s (ish). So not much more than 2x the amount.

The 1.5lux rating is quoted as being at shutterspeed of 1/30th (for Z7U) and so thats 3lux at 1/60th (which is what the FX1 and Z1 are quoted as being) so its 3lux versus your FX7s 4lux at the same shutter speed. Caveat ; lux ratings are rather emphemeral anyway - it should only be taken as a guide to be honest.

HDV inherently is always 'fighting' its hi-resolution when it comes to lowlight performance. Fast lenses and, particularly, larger sensors are needed, and the Exmor 1/3in ("1/3in class" is a more accurate description) versus the previous-generation CMOS sensors used in FX7 is partially the reason for the higher cost.
You could always drop your shutter-speed on FX7 to help out. Or get a V1 (2nd hand??) to shoot progressive at 1/30th which will look good for most subjects. Gives you a whole nother f-stop.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stu Holmes View Post
My comment on this :I think you may be comparing MSRPs with street-prices.
I was, but it was a rant, so I felt semi-justified in fudging the numbers a bit. If it's good enough for Enron...

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The 1.5lux rating is quoted as being at shutterspeed of 1/30th (for Z7U) and so thats 3lux at 1/60th (which is what the FX1 and Z1 are quoted as being) so its 3lux versus your FX7s 4lux at the same shutter speed.
Ahhhh... so the plot thickens. So it should be (according to the pre-release numbers) only about a stop faster than my FX7... hmmmm... but it does have the fancy schmancy Exmor processing going on, so that should "hide" some grain. That is what the Exmor (sounds like a bad Middle Ages name. "I'm Exmor, ruler of these lands") chips do right? They basically process the image and hide the imperfections caused by gain?? Right??? Or am I just making that up in my own head?

Quote:
You could always drop your shutter-speed on FX7 to help out. Or get a V1 (2nd hand??) to shoot progressive at 1/30th which will look good for most subjects. Gives you a whole nother f-stop.
I currently do drop my shutter speed to 1/30th on the FX7 when the light is just horrid, and I don't mind the stuttery look so much, but it's a work around and I'm about tired of having to find work arounds. I just want stuff to work, and work cheaply. I mean come on, can't I have the best of both worlds; HD, good in low light, and cheap? Wait, that would be more than both worlds.. ok then I want the best of ALL worlds. I am Exmor, ruler of ALL worlds.

I need to lay off the coffee.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #4
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The Z7 is an underwhelming upgrade after three years of Z1, especially for the price increase. I'd really like to upgrade from a Z1/FX1 combo, but there isn't much going on with this model unless Sony is able to provide some fantastic prime lenses for low-light. Nikon just put out a D3 with a major jump in sensor dynamic range. It's time to put these larger, high rez sensors in a camcorder. I wish Nikon would just step up and add more video abilities to their D3.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
The Z7 is an underwhelming upgrade after three years of Z1, especially for the price increase.
I'm not sure you can fairly make that statement without the camera being in the wild yet. I think it looks promising except for the low light specs we have thus far. I'll reserve final judgement until I see some footage from the thing and read what people say after putting it through some real world situations.

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Nikon just put out a D3 with a major jump in sensor dynamic range. It's time to put these larger, high rez sensors in a camcorder. I wish Nikon would just step up and add more video abilities to their D3.
I don't know what kinda work you do, but I'd get some funny looks running around with a Nikon D3 claiming to be shooting video. You wouldn't expect a professional photographer to be shooting with the still mode of a video camera now would you?
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Old November 19th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
The Z7 is an underwhelming upgrade after three years of Z1, especially for the price increase. I'd really like to upgrade from a Z1/FX1 combo, but there isn't much going on with this model unless Sony is able to provide some fantastic prime lenses for low-light. Nikon just put out a D3 with a major jump in sensor dynamic range. It's time to put these larger, high rez sensors in a camcorder. I wish Nikon would just step up and add more video abilities to their D3.
I think its probably best to wait until quality independent tests/evaluations of the Z7 have emerged. I think a new 3 x 1/3in CMOS cam from Sony was bound to emerge sooner or later and this is that cam really.
I think the signal-to-noise ratio will be much better on these sensors compared to FX1/Z1, and lowlight too (ignoring lux numbers) so, with the interchangeable lenses, the latest Exmor sensors, the novel CF card / tape dual recording system, i think its looking like a really fine machine.

Cost wise i doubt it will cost too much more than about $1000 than the Z1 when the price has settled. Maybe $1200 more or something like that after prices have stabilised somewhat.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
I don't know what kinda work you do, but I'd get some funny looks running around with a Nikon D3 claiming to be shooting video. You wouldn't expect a professional photographer to be shooting with the still mode of a video camera now would you?
While I'm shooting my short takes with my Z1 mounted on a tripod with the Red Red Micro 35mm adapter holding a Nikon lens, I'm starting to feel the Nikon D3 isn't that far away from top notch video with its HDMI output.
All of the video-like features aren't there, but they're very close.
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