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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 March 23rd, 2008, 04:28 PM   #1
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Love the Z7U, but...

I finally got my Z7U a little over a week ago and shot a wedding with it. Without going into the fancy terminology I keep reading here, I can give you my non-technical, general impressions.

The biggest issue for me (having used the FX7/V1U) was low-light performance, and I found its performance to be the best of any camera I've ever had, including my current DSR-250. Its white balance in such conditions isn't as far off as the 250 either, so it's easier to tweak in post.

It does occasionally have a mind of its own when it comes to auto focusing, but I'm used to overriding focus manually anyway, and this is much easier to override than the 250 or V1U, where I'd have to search for the button.

The CF card capability is AWESOME. I use two 32GB Transcend cards, and so far, no glitches or problems. Everything transfers to the PC much faster than live capturing (obviously), 23 minutes for 2.5 hours of footage per card. Sony Vegas works perfectly with the files.

Minor plus, but I like that the shoe adapter is further forward than the other cameras, so the shotgun mic doesn't cast a shadow from my Ultralight. I also like seeing in the viewfinder the recording status of both the CF and the tape.

The only negatives are what would be inherent with handhelds anyway. I never liked having to support the V1U up front, even with shoulder support, and this is a little heavier. I don't like having to power and operate my light separately from the camera, which the 250's powertap helps me avoid. I never got used to popping in a new tape every 45 minutes or so, even as a backup to the CF. I'll take the 250's 4.5 hours of recording anyday. And at the start and end of the day, it's just too many pieces to assemble, and it's hard to put down. All in all, too much to think about, and I never felt like I could just relax and focus on the shots.

So I've decided to list it on eBay (the B&H folks wouldn't let me return it because of the four hours of footage I shot) and upgrade to the S270, which has everything I love about this camera AND my 250, aside from a few extra pounds. Sits on the shoulder, powers everything with one battery, light comes on and off with the start/stop button, records backup video to the same 4.5 hour tapes I've been using, etc. When the 64GB CF cards come out, I'll have even less to keep track of!

Here's a sample clip from that wedding. ("Joanna & Louis.") Keep in mind it's SD, compressed for the web, with glow and vignetting effects added. So it's not exactly scientific, but hopefully it'll give you an idea:

http://www.indyvisual.com/blog.htm
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #2
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Ordered the S270!

I finally ordered the S270 last night. $8499 at B&H. I'll be sure to share my thoughts after my shoot this weekend. If it's anything like the Z7U, minus the handheld inconveniences, I think I'll be very happy!
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Old March 26th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your impressions of the Z7. I just bought two V1U's that will be delivered Friday. I had Z7 taste and V1 budget!

I am going to be doing Wedding Videography with the two V1U's. Sounds like you were using one for the same. Any tips? What advice do you wish someone had told you when you were going to shoot with your V1U?

Sounds like the MRU on the Z7 is as cool as I thought it would be. I am anxious to see at what price point Sony is going to place it when they start selling it by itself for us owners of other Sony Cams.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 12:15 AM   #4
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Have you ebayed it yet? I might know someone who would probably buy it off you.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.J. Ammons View Post
Thanks for sharing your impressions of the Z7. I just bought two V1U's that will be delivered Friday. I had Z7 taste and V1 budget!

I am going to be doing Wedding Videography with the two V1U's. Sounds like you were using one for the same. Any tips? What advice do you wish someone had told you when you were going to shoot with your V1U?

Sounds like the MRU on the Z7 is as cool as I thought it would be. I am anxious to see at what price point Sony is going to place it when they start selling it by itself for us owners of other Sony Cams.

Not many user like V1 can look into this:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=140

1) Rolling Shutter
2) Low Night
3) 1/4 Chip
4) Audio Soft (Supply Mic)
5) Lens a bit smaller than Z1
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Old March 27th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.J. Ammons View Post
Thanks for sharing your impressions of the Z7. I just bought two V1U's that will be delivered Friday. I had Z7 taste and V1 budget!

I am going to be doing Wedding Videography with the two V1U's. Sounds like you were using one for the same. Any tips? What advice do you wish someone had told you when you were going to shoot with your V1U?

Sounds like the MRU on the Z7 is as cool as I thought it would be. I am anxious to see at what price point Sony is going to place it when they start selling it by itself for us owners of other Sony Cams.

The V1U was a perfect camera with only one unforgiveable flaw for me - awful low-light performance. I really wanted to love it, and I had some great gigs with it (including a destination wedding in St. Kitts). But when trying to show off my HD highlight clips at a bridal show, I couldn't stand to look at my own footage, even after correction. That's not good! One thing I loved about the Z7U that I forgot to mention is how little correction I had to do to all the clips. Saves a lot of editing and rendering time when it looks good to begin with.

Are you going to use the two cameras equally? Or will one be a lesser-used backup for ceremonies and the like? If the latter, you could get a Z7U and a Canon XH-A1 for $9000 total. That's a lot of superior low-light performance (plus CF recording on the Z7U) for only $400 more than two V1Us. That would be my advice. If you have to have the two V1Us, the best advice would be to get one heck of a light for the receptions. Don't get me wrong - other than that one issue, I really did think the V1U was perfect.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Evan C. King View Post
Have you ebayed it yet? I might know someone who would probably buy it off you.
Thanks - I did sell the Z7U. I was surprised by how many calls and e-mails I got about it, FAR more than any other camera I've eBayed. Got my S270 today - very excited, knock on wood! Will report after the weekend...
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 10:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ridge View Post
The V1U was a perfect camera with only one unforgiveable flaw for me - awful low-light performance. I really wanted to love it, and I had some great gigs with it (including a destination wedding in St. Kitts). But when trying to show off my HD highlight clips at a bridal show, I couldn't stand to look at my own footage, even after correction. That's not good! One thing I loved about the Z7U that I forgot to mention is how little correction I had to do to all the clips. Saves a lot of editing and rendering time when it looks good to begin with.

Are you going to use the two cameras equally? Or will one be a lesser-used backup for ceremonies and the like? If the latter, you could get a Z7U and a Canon XH-A1 for $9000 total. That's a lot of superior low-light performance (plus CF recording on the Z7U) for only $400 more than two V1Us. That would be my advice. If you have to have the two V1Us, the best advice would be to get one heck of a light for the receptions. Don't get me wrong - other than that one issue, I really did think the V1U was perfect.
Bob,

After the $300 Sony rebate on each camera I only have $6100 total in both new V1U's so $9000 would have been $3000 more and blown my budget.

I liked the idea of matching cameras so the look would be the same when intercutting between them and also I like the idea that you can run a firewire cable between them and match the free running timecode. Something I think would be beneficial when editing with the multicam function in Vegas 8 Pro.

If my part time biz is successful perhaps in a year or two I can upgrade to the Z7 or whatever will be out then with better low light capability. If the Z7 tracks like the V1 then in a couple of years the street price should drop a lot.

Congratulations on the S270!! I hope you post your experience with it.
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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #9
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and the s270 verdict is..........?
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Old April 21st, 2008, 09:11 PM   #10
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Verdict on the S270U

Sorry to disappear for awhile. I received the S270U, shot a wedding, went on vacation, shot another wedding, then had it STOLEN from a break-in at our office. (Though what they're going to do without the battery packs is beyond me.) So I've been a little busy to post, and this will be brief. Fortunately, insurance will cover it and the other three cameras they took, and luckily they took nothing else!

Anyway, I LOVE the camera! It has everything I liked about the Z7U, plus all the conveniences of a full-sized camera. The autofocus quirks have become second-nature to deal with, since I spent so many years using a DSR-300. Not having to change tapes or manually flip the light off and on have been a huge relief. The only thing that trips me up on occasion is when the CF recorder doesn't engage, typically when I have to boot and shoot in a hurry.

Here are a couple more highlight clips, this time shot with the S270U. No different than the Z7U, of course, other than it was much less stressful to shoot. Again, it has glow and vignetting added:

http://www.indyvisual.com/2008/03/st...ony-32908.html

http://www.indyvisual.com/2008/04/je...ick-41208.html
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 03:44 AM   #11
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Sorry to hear about the break-in. I wonder if it's worth posting the serial numbers of the stolen cameras on here just so anyone who views this and is in the market for one can look out for them on your behalf.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ridge View Post
The autofocus quirks have become second-nature to deal with ...
Can you describe in detail?
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