Positive Sony Z7 Review at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 18th, 2008, 09:55 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Positive Sony Z7 Review

I just wanted to post some positive comments about the Sony Z7 I purchased a couple of months back. I have been sitting here with it and not really having a good chance to check it out in a real situation like a wedding. Some people have had bad experiences with the camera. I feel some of the complaints are not justified and just plain picky, but I really did not have a chance to try out the camera at a wedding until yesterday. We don't have any weddings until mid June this year. My good friend Bob from MVP video had a wedding yesterday and graciously offered to let me come and try out my camera at his wedding, after clearing it with the bride and groom. So here are some of my observations.

1. This is a manual camera. I feel the manual/auto button should be on manual. Once in manual mode, gain, shutter and iris need to be in manual as well. There is an option to just select certain settings in manual and leave the camera adjust the others. If you are manual controlling iris and leave the gain in auto, the camera will adjust gain to compensate for where you have the iris setting. Same is true for shutter speed. So gain, shutter and iris need to be controlled manually. Also, white balance has never been easier to set. I set A for inside the church and B for the entrance. Very slick to set and then go back and forth between A and B. There is also a 3rd setting that is a pre-set you can go into menu and set this one for, say outdoor setting, and also set it with a specific temperature.

2. Focus has probably been one of the most talked about problem areas with this camera. I am not completely convinced that everyone is reading the manual and really learning how to use this camera. The big issue with focus problems people have been having I think has to do with having the A/B setting on the focus ring. I am still not sure what the purpose of this setting is for. All I do know is that if the ring is in the A setting, focus is going to be a problem in auto as well as manual focus. This setting needs to be in B mode, in my opinion or your footage is going to be a nightmare. The other issue I think is keeping the camera in the macro focus mode. This is a great setting to use to get very nice closeups, but do not leave it on. With it off though, you will not be able to get very close to subject. I do feel thought that leaving macro focus on will give the problem overall focus problems in general. One thing I really noticed is that when this camera is zoomed all the way in on manual focus, the depth of field is extremely short. I found it somewhat hard to focus exactly on the bride. Also this lens must be a wider angle than am used to, because it did not seem to zoom in as close as I am used to with the 170.

3. A small thing, but I think could be overlooked is the ND knob. Make sure this knob is clicked in position. It can be a tad off and cause vignetting on the video.

4. A couple people have recently had a theory that the gain on this camera, when set on 0, is actually +6 and that to get the 0 setting we are used to we have to set it on -6. I did some shooting at -6, and it seemed pretty dark. I do feel that 0 may not be 0 and think that in the future I will shoot at -3, as suggested by Douglas Spotted Eagle on his training video.



Summary:

The church had lots of light with lots of windows. Our company has shot weddings here before and the windows always caused us big problems. Not with the Z7.

After looking at the footage I shot yesterday, I could not be happier. I was able to take all the shots I wanted to, since my footage was not needed. This allowed me to really try to replicate some of the issues some people have been having. Focus seemed to be a real issue. I have heard that the camera had problems focusing and would hunt. I saw none of this. This camera had none of the focus issues I have heard about and I really experimented shooting into shots with lots of people. All the shots with panning were also in focus. Auto focus was on most of the time. As I mentioned, when zoomed in all the way, the DOF was very narrow and fairly hard to focus, as difference between focus and out of focus was a very small turn of the zoom ring.

Got home and looked at the footage and was blown away at the color and clarity. I feel this camera has gotten a bad wrap from the start. After having it for 2 months or more, I finally feel good about my purchase. it is a great camera to operate and very easy to shoot in manual. I know some people have been on the fence about whether to get this camera or not. From my experience yesterday, I can finally say I would recommend this camera. If I was in the position, I would get 2 more. I am of the opinion that most of the problems people have had with this camera are due to user errors from some of the things I mentioned in this post. I know I am probably angering some users with this comment, but that is what I feel.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 621
Thanks for posting, Bruce. I'm contemplating buying this camera, and your experience gives me a lot of comfort. Any chance you could post some clips from your church shoot?
__________________
http://www.prolefeedstudios.com/blog/
Documentary for the masses!
Brian Standing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 10:10 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Standing View Post
Thanks for posting, Bruce. I'm contemplating buying this camera, and your experience gives me a lot of comfort. Any chance you could post some clips from your church shoot?
I want to get something put up hopefully this week.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
I also have had a good experience with the camera this week, on Tuesday I shot a corporate video for a guy in London and it performed superbly, he pictures are way better than the V1 I had and it is a much more pro feel camera.

Last night we had my wifes birthday party in our pub and I shot some footage in the bar. The shot shown is lit by three 25 watt bulbs in a hanging light above the bar and the lights in the background are two 40 watt bulbs.
The low light performance is superb and shot all night in full auto mode, I am very impressed with the Z7 so far.

Sorry for low res pics from YouTube but at least it shows the low light exposure lattitude the full HD shots are a bit brighter and the CF unit seemed to have less noise than the tape shot shown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_4RLIWtQvE

P.S. although I am mainly an audio guy amd should know better I am satisfied with the auto gain settings and the new small shotgun mic is very good, the audio on the you tube shot is from the camera mic and there is a disco in the next room pumping out music from a 2x300 watt yamaha amp.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Very nice Gary. The low light event I did a month back I left everything in auto mode and it was pretty noisy. Yours doesn't look like that. thanks for sharing.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 03:29 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 304
Nice review, and when having a camera that works properly, and when the user uses it properly, the resulting footage is fantastic.

That being stated, I used my replacement camera for two events, Friday and Saturday, and it's a massive difference between the original and new. So, yes, it can yield beautiful imagery, provided that the user knows what they're doing, but also the camera working the way it should.
Marshall Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall Levy View Post
Nice review, and when having a camera that works properly, and when the user uses it properly, the resulting footage is fantastic.

That being stated, I used my replacement camera for two events, Friday and Saturday, and it's a massive difference between the original and new. So, yes, it can yield beautiful imagery, provided that the user knows what they're doing, but also the camera working the way it should.
Marshall that is so great to hear. I sure hope the other z7's you have work good as well. You sure have been through a nightmare.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2008, 05:01 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
A further update and why I love this camera:

There was a full moon last night and our pub is in the middle of the countryside with very little light bleed from streetlamps.

One other reason I bought the Z7 was the lens interchangability so I fitted my mike tapa converter and a nikkor 70-300mm f4.5 zoom lens, placed the locked off camera on the manfrotto on the balcony at the back of the pub and took this shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3gi-3k65Kg

Once again quality is poor due to youtube but the final image is just simply stunning, the camera was set to auto and the lens to f8 with manual focus.

On the final HDV image you can cleary see the craters on the edge of the moon and the movement is its natural orbit around the earth.
Slightly better quality here:http://www.vimeo.com/1034579
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2008, 06:48 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
A further update and why I love this camera:

There was a full moon last night and our pub is in the middle of the countryside with very little light bleed from streetlamps.

One other reason I bought the Z7 was the lens interchangability so I fitted my mike tapa converter and a nikkor 70-300mm f4.5 zoom lens, placed the locked off camera on the manfrotto on the balcony at the back of the pub and took this shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3gi-3k65Kg

Once again quality is poor due to youtube but the final image is just simply stunning, the camera was set to auto and the lens to f8 with manual focus.

On the final HDV image you can cleary see the craters on the edge of the moon and the movement is its natural orbit around the earth.
Slightly better quality here:http://www.vimeo.com/1034579
Gary that is great footage. I need to get one of those converters and experiment. Thanks so much for sharing.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2008, 08:55 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 69
I just picked up a new Z7P today and am pleased to hear that others are getting great results from this camera.

I'm flat out editing at the moment, but as soon as I have some footage will post it up. I'm looking forward to experimenting and also shooting a doco in Africa in June on it.
__________________
www.matthewduke.com.au
Matt Duke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
On the final HDV image you can cleary see the craters on the edge of the moon and the movement is its natural orbit around the earth.Slightly better quality here:http://www.vimeo.com/1034579
Gary - awesome! Looks like I'm buying an adapter now!

Would love to see this in better quality... you can upload to Vimeo in HD... have a look at these encoding settings down the bottom of this page....

http://www.vimeo.com/help/hd
John Knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2008, 01:36 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 28
Z7 should be awesome

In terms of the specs of this camera and playing with one at a Sony Roadshow, this is the cam I will be buying in the next couple of weeks. I use a Sony PD170 and I shoot manually (focus, iris, shutter speed, gain) for about 80% of what I do. When it comes to stage productions where lighting changes rapidly, I usually fix the gain, fix the shutter speed and leave the iris in auto. The focus again I leave manually. I know this will cause some hunting as focus changes when the iris changes, but it is the only way to shoot and get a perfect image without blowing out the highlights or being too dark. I think in terms of this camera, it would have to be better than the 170 and I can shoot with that bang on every time, no focus hassles or anything.
Jamie Kehoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 304
Since the Z7U was replaced, and the camera I now have is a properly functioning unit, the imagery is absolutely spectacular. I have since filmed a jewelry store segment for commercial purposes, a few social events, some time lapse footage, and more, and it's operates very well.

It makes me wonder if anything on the original unit worked properly, but this one is so incredibly different.

I'm happy. :)
Marshall Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall Levy View Post
Since the Z7U was replaced, and the camera I now have is a properly functioning unit, the imagery is absolutely spectacular. I have since filmed a jewelry store segment for commercial purposes, a few social events, some time lapse footage, and more, and it's operates very well.

It makes me wonder if anything on the original unit worked properly, but this one is so incredibly different.

I'm happy. :)
Hey Marshall great to hear. I agree, the image I am getting is fantastic. Are your other Z7s ok then? I thought you told us they were all screwed up.

Bruce
Bruce G. Cleveland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 358
Bruce

One thing that bugs me is the rolling shutter problem you never mentioned that

Did you notice the problem with photographers flashes or better still slow down footage where there are lots of flashes going off say at church or reception entry slow it down to about 60. you get a very pixelated picture when flashs are going off

rob.
Robert Bec is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:42 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network