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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 April 22nd, 2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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The Stress That The Z7U Issues Has Caused...

Not sure why I'm posting this, but why not...

I have 4 Z7U's...
...all of which I've purchased from two separate resellers,
...all of which have the focusing issues,
...all of which cannot be confidently used for filming/producing anything.

While I got decent pricing on these cameras...
...I sold half of my current cameras,
...I need WA lenses which aren't available until June,
...Three cameras are in a permanent time-lapse setup right now and I can only hope and pray that the footage will come out properly.
...One camera was sent to Sony this week for testing/repair

What this has caused me and what it has cost me...
...I had to reschedule two shoots, one of which caused me to rent someone elses cameras as I don't have enough to cover anything right now.
...I had to postpone a music video shoot, for tv, that resulted in cancelling hired help, transportation, a boat, and a helicopter, and I won't even begin to tell you how much that cost.
...I had to refer three interview sessions to another company as I can't do it since I don't have reliable (or any) equipment.

I sincerely hope that Sony rectifies these lens issues as those who are affected really can't use their cameras in any sensible means. I've taken it upon myself to do all of the posts, emails, calls, etc., and while I don't mind any of it, I just want these issues resolved, and hopefully I'll have an answer in the coming days.

Ah, interestingly, I feel better having written that! Now, what do I do about the shoot I have this weekend, since I have no cameras...hmm, good question.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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WOW!........... More bad press.

I myself am a fan of the Z7, but admitedly, i haven't used them as much as most on this site and i didn't have a problem with the focus.

At the moment, the Z7 is my primary choice of camera but if the ex1 comes down in price in Australia and the cards (or new 60gb hard drive) become more cost effective then hands down the EX1 would be the camera for me.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 08:13 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'm not trying to negate or talk bad, and so far, they've been fantastic with these issues. It's just really bad given that I've had to turn down and lose a lot of business because of these issues, when they shouldn't be happening in the first place. And, again, the camera is great....but that lens has some serious faults.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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Sorry about your problems Marshall,

I thought I saw the Z7 at the Sony booth at NAB with a DigiPrime lens on it (it looked fantastic!). I can't remember if the lenses I saw on the Z7 at NAB had adapters or not, I think some of them did.

Is there a rental house nearby that has 1/3" lens that would fit on the Z7? You probably already thought about this...
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:39 PM   #5
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Has anyone watched the VASST training video on the Z7U? I bought it at NAB and just finished it. The last chapter talks about low-light. Spot (who rocks) shoots an eagle statue with a candle on each side. He talks about how great the shot is with 0db gain and how well this camera works in low-light. No argument there from me, but while the camera is aimed at the statue, it really does hunt and go in/out of focus. Is that just due to the really low-light? I don't remember my VX2100 doing that in lower light situations.

Marshall, I also feel your pain. We are a small operation that just dropped 12k on two cameras. I'm having to make the best of it and figure out ways around the Z7's issues at this point. Again, with the low-light quality, I am willing to make some exceptions. If I have to many out of focus issues, I might end up Craigslisting (I tried to make it a verb) them.

Later,

Chad
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:04 PM   #6
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Great points you make Marshall about the problems that a crippled Sony offering makes for someone NEEDING working product and how it kills upcoming shoots and income. Since you just sent one of your Z7U's to Sony, it will certainly be interesting to see what the folks visiting from Japan to review the problems have to say. Or better yet, what they can offer in terms of a fix.

Chad, I just ordered the HVR-Z7U training DVD from VASST. You mention that in the low light shot with the eagle statute that the lens is hunting for focus. I'd be curious to know if Spot used the Z7U to shoot all or just some of the training video with (other than some quick examples). If there is a fair bit of shooting by the Z7U, did you see any of the flaws documented here on the forum?

I can't wait to see the VASST DVD, as I find these training tools a great deal more fun than pouring over the owners manual included with the cameras! :)

Thanks guys . . . let's hope that there is some sort of statement from Sony soon about the issues at hand.

Ian
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 12:32 AM   #7
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It's worth noting (and I had to explain this to a lady evaluating the EX1 at NAB), that autofocus is nearly useless in low light and/or low frame rates. The only exception are those cameras that use a hybrid autofocus with an IR beam providing the AF capability in low light.

-gb-
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:03 AM   #8
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Marshall, wow man. reading your post, it sounds like with some of the work you are doing, you may want to consider going the XDCAM F-series route
vs prosumer cameras with small chips. dump those suckers and get yourself
a real setup. Good luck man.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Dyle View Post
Has anyone watched the VASST training video on the Z7U? I bought it at NAB and just finished it. The last chapter talks about low-light. Spot (who rocks) shoots an eagle statue with a candle on each side. He talks about how great the shot is with 0db gain and how well this camera works in low-light. No argument there from me, but while the camera is aimed at the statue, it really does hunt and go in/out of focus. Is that just due to the really low-light? I don't remember my VX2100 doing that in lower light situations.

Marshall, I also feel your pain. We are a small operation that just dropped 12k on two cameras. I'm having to make the best of it and figure out ways around the Z7's issues at this point. Again, with the low-light quality, I am willing to make some exceptions. If I have to many out of focus issues, I might end up Craigslisting (I tried to make it a verb) them.

Later,

Chad
I have a copy of it. I was hoping it would give me a couple more secrets that I did not already know. Although it is very good and thorough, all he really does is read the manual for you and show you all the settings. Low light auto focus on this camera is not really any worse than my PD170s, which I have always felt was bad. If you need to focus on something in low light, I would always recommend manual focus. Of course this is much harder if the subjects are moving.

Bruce Cleveland
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:36 AM   #10
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I didn't see any of the issues discussed in here on the VASST video. They first go over the outside of the camera and discuss each button. They then go through the menu system and break down each one. He does discuss black balance and back focus a bit as well as point out a few features new to prosumer cameras. There were a few pieces of information that I picked up from him that I probably wouldn't have known about, although for what we do, I don't think I would have used them. I would like to be one of those people that take full advantage of their camera, but in the wedding business down here, its pretty much run and gun.
Good luck to Marshall, we are all hoping for the best for you.

-Chad
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 08:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Hayes View Post
Marshall, wow man. reading your post, it sounds like with some of the work you are doing, you may want to consider going the XDCAM F-series route
vs prosumer cameras with small chips. dump those suckers and get yourself
a real setup. Good luck man.
Yeah, I've thought about it but I do mostly social type events. With some broadcast work I've rented cameras, but it all depends. I'll be getting an EX soon, too, for some client-based broadcast work as well. We'll see what happens.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 03:20 PM   #12
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Marshall ... has Sony said how long it would be before you hear back from them?
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 03:47 PM   #13
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Called Sony this afternoon, around 1pm - person I spoke with, who obviously wasn't aware of the existing issues, told me that it'll be 1-2 weeks until I get an answer (typical turnaround, as I figured this issue would be handled differently)...

I then asked if Dominic was available, but left a message for him to call back. As of 4:45pm EST, no phone call.

I spoke with Chris, who talked to Mel and Dominic this morning, and I should get a call/response either today or tomorrow.

So far, things are right on track, so we'll see what happens and I'll post anything I know as soon as I find out.

Here's hoping! :)
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 03:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
I then asked if Dominic was available, but left a message for him to call back. As of 4:45pm EST, no phone call.

I spoke with Chris, who talked to Mel and Dominic this morning, and I should get a call/response either today or tomorrow.

So far, things are right on track, so we'll see what happens and I'll post anything I know as soon as I find out.

Here's hoping! :)
Some of us are waiting with great anticipation as to the news you have to report. Let's hope that it's good!

I sent an email to the national service mgr. (Sony of Canada) about bringing in my two Z7U's to be looked at by one of their chief pro camera techs. I am still waiting to hear from him. I wish to have them reviewed so that either they can fix the issues, or at least see the problems first hand and have them documented.

I'll post should I get any aswers soon too. I do hope that you hear something by tomorrow.

Good luck to you and your Z7Us!

Ian
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 04:10 PM   #15
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So Far So Good!!!!

Just spoke with Dominic (nice guy) and he told me that Sony has confirmed and been able to reproduce the problem with regards to the focusing/zoom issues parallel to the "soup clip" that I posted last week.

So, as it stands, here's what I was told in terms of time frames:

>Tomorrow - will get a call regarding when I'll get my equipment back and follow up with what is going to happen.
>Friday - Should have an answer as far as resolution to these issues.

Slowly but surely, but I'm partially happy thus far!
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