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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 June 7th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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HC1 vs V1 vs Z7

Heya's

I guess this is a subjective topic, and can only be answered by those who have had experience with all 3 cams, but I currently have HC1 and do corporates, events and short docos and am looking to upgrade.

I am trying to decide between the V1 and Z7.

Is the V1 a significant enough jump from the HC1 or is it worth paying almost double for the Z7?
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Old June 7th, 2008, 09:54 AM   #2
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Hi, Lee . . .

We have two Z7U's and three HC1's. We are very happy with what both cameras offer - for different reasons. We used to have two V1U's, but didn't like this camera model much. In terms of low-light challenges, the V1U is somewhere between the Z7U and the HC1. Although the V1U offeres much greater manual control over the HC1, progessive shooting (if needed) and somewhat better low-light capability. In good lighting the HC1 is still a great little camera.

Personally, if I could wait until I could afford the Z7U I would. The image quality is a step up, for sure, from the V1U. It's much easier to get shallower depth of field from the Z7U than from the V1U. Compact flash recording is something that means a lot to me (see other threads about CF recording) and the CF unit is included with the Z7U - making the Z7U a better choice for me with this alone.

Control layout is way more intuitive with the Z7U vs. the V1U. One thing I LOVE about the Z7U is that the iris control is an iris ring on the lens. This is a first on a Sony HDV camera -- and it's right where it belongs.

The audio as provided by the included mic with the V1U is BAD. We found that the levels it provided are weak -- when we bought Rode mics to replace the poor Sony mics we were able to get past this isse. We still use the Rodes on our new Z7U's, but the new model mic provided with the Z7U works nicely with the camera. They have improved audio all around, compared to the V1U.

In good light, you should be able to nicely match the footage from the HC1 to either the V1U or the Z7U. On shoots where we need multiple cameras, we use the Z7U's with the HC1's. When the light is a challenge it's harder to get a good match with the two camera models as the HC1 drops resolution big time in low light -- where the Z7U keeps up with much higher resolution and lower gain and better color. But I wouldn't trade my HC1 for anything, since it's still a great performer.

I know a lot of folks are very happy with the HVR-V1U -- but we just didn't find it as good as it should have been for various reasons. The Z7U is really a well thought out camera that performs beautifully.

This is just my opinion from having owned and used all three models. I hope you find it helpful.

Ian
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Old June 7th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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Thanks Ian. This is great information for someone like me as well (I also have a HC1, often use and edit footage from a mates V1 and I'm about to buy a Z7.)

In my opinion the V1 is a notable step up from the HC1 and can capture really excellent images (in good light especially) but has a few weaknesses as you mentioned/has been covered many times on this forum.

That being said, the V1 is nearly half the price of the Z7.... so it depends on ones budget and specific needs. The tapeless workflow option and future potential of interchangeable lense is probably worth something (the former much more than the latter) to me right now so that's why I'm not going to be satisfied with a V1 and will get a Z7.

Once I get a Z7 I'll still be hanging onto the HC1 as it can capture pretty decent images in good light and is often handy for those shots in tight corners.

One other thing I would mention is the excellent 20X zoom on the V1 as often my mate can get shots I can't because of it. However, with the V1, the Sony 0.8x wideangle adapter is a necessity as it's stock lense really doesn't go wide enough for some applications. It's only a few hundred quid but don't forget to factor that (and a decent microphone) to the base price of the V1 and then you can see that the Z7 starts to look a bit more attractive/a worthwhile step up.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #4
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Thanks tons for your comments so far. I don't think I'm any closer to deciding, but you've given me some points to consider.

I guess budget wise, I can definatley afford the V1, while the Z7 will be pushing it because I am to purchase it outright rather than finance..

Andy mentioned about the need for a wide angle adapter for the V1, are you saying the Z7 goes wide enough, but the V1 doesn't?

And yes I'll definately be keeping my HC1. For the money I'd be able to sell it for, it's just too good a camera to get rid of, and will be handy no matter which new camera I go for, to use in scenarios when I need a small camera that still does HDV. Also good as a backup camera
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Old June 15th, 2008, 02:10 AM   #5
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Hi Lee.

About 7 years ago, my old Hi8 V5000 Sony video camera died and I had to make a decision to purchase a NZ$6000 VX2000 or a much cheaper 1-chip camera. Back then, $6000 was a LOT of money for me, and almost out of the question.....

.... until someone said something very wise.

He said, "Are you serious about your video work? If you are, don't focus on the initial outlay so much - and tell me what camera you KNOW you SHOULD buy... and honestly, how many paying jobs would pay off the difference in price".

I bought the VX2000 and as soon as I unpacked it and held it, knew I had made a very wise decision - I never regretted it, but would have regretted buying the 1-chipper - always thinking about the quality difference IF I had have bought the VX2000.

At last count, the VX2000 has earn't me over NZ$475,000 of work in 7 years!!

I've been watching the HDV cameras with patience over the last few years, remember being horrified at the terrible low light performance of the Z1, then not impressed too much by the following FX1, A1, V1 etc.... until the Z7 came along which impressed me with features and low light performance.

I grabbed it. And as I unboxed it, got that same great feeling...
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Old July 7th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Knight View Post
About 7 years ago, my old Hi8 V5000 Sony video camera died
Other than the horrible chroma bleed -- I think the V5000 is the best $2,500 camcorder ever made. Why they can't put modern electronics in this kind of package is beyond me.

It had a 2/3" CCD.

Imagine an XMOR 2/3" CMOS chip or a CCD from a CineAlta!
Attached Thumbnails
HC1 vs V1 vs Z7-126983130_o.jpg   HC1 vs V1 vs Z7-126983164_o.jpg  

HC1 vs V1 vs Z7-126983236_o.jpg   HC1 vs V1 vs Z7-127212713_o.jpg  

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Last edited by Steve Mullen; July 7th, 2008 at 06:15 PM.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
-- I think the V1 is the best $2,500 camcorder ever made.
Did you mean V5000 above rather than V1? If so, I agree with you. I had six of them and cried like a baby when I donated them so I could move to DV and, later, HDV....
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Old July 7th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Did you mean V5000 above rather than V1? If so, I agree with you. I had six of them and cried like a baby when I donated them so I could move to DV and, later, HDV....
Sorry -- I sure did mean the V5000. At one point I thought of gutting a V5000 and installing a DV camcorder's guts. Sanity prevailed and I didn't. But I sure can't see why I would spend $10,000 for an EX3 that doesn't even sit one one's shoulder.

The slide-out shoulder pad, the real VU meters, and a real lens! It was a mini Beta SP recorder at only 5#.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 02:18 AM   #9
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well the store that I would be purchasing my new camera from let me borrow the Z7 for 2 days which was really cool of them.

It's no doubt a great value camera. It was cool to discover that the memory card unit could be hooked upto my HC1 (or any camera with firewire).

My only concern with the camera is weight. Everything else seems great, but being someone that's been shooting with the baby HC1 for the past couple of years, it's quite a step up in weight and size. I will be keeping my HC1 so there will always be that fallback option, but seeing I am basically a one man crew majority of the time, I'm just wondering if this size camera is as suitable as the V1.

If the V1 and Z7 were the same size and weight, but the Z7 was just more expensive, I'd no doubt go with the Z7. But I'm wondering if having something that is a bit smaller and 2/3rds the weight, despite being less spec'd (and not as good value for money in my opinion), it might be more suitable for what I do. Though I must say, despite the extra weight and size, by shooting differently to how I normally would I did start getting used to the Z7.

I'm hoping to try out a V1 in a weeks time from a hire place (the shop didn't have a V1 demo) so hopefully that should make my mind up which way to go.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:43 PM   #10
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Well I tried out a V1. Didn't feel as well built as the Z7 was the first thing I noticed. Felt more plasticy, and the rings on the lens felt bad (maybe because it was worn out seeing it was a hire camera). And while I didn't have a Z7 there to compare with, it didn't feel too much lighter really, and felt more unstable when holding it by the handle. Can't go onto the shoulder if needed either with it, unlike the Z7 which you can just get away with that.

Obviously the zoom is longer on the V1 which was a positive. Somoeone has mentioned about needing a Wide angle convertor for the V1, but I found it was actually as wide as my HC1. The Z7 is a bit wider I believe? I would hope so seeing the wideangle lens for the Z7 is $3000AUD while the WA convertor for the V1 is about $800... I'd definatley not be buying one for the Z7.

Having said that, I think I'm definately leaning towards the Z7 (unless a successor to the V1 is announced very soon).
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