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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 August 28th, 2008, 12:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
'However Z7 is not suitable for filming weddings because of the auto focus problem.'

That's quite a sweeping statement to make Anthony and I'm pretty sure Sony aimed this camera right at the run 'n' gun market - and this hits weddings fair and square.

The Z1 is superb for weddings (I know, I shoot lots of them) so I'd be mighty surprised to find the Z7 was a no-go.

tom.
yeah z1 is great. i'm not saying z7 is a bad camera.
All i'm saying is why the auto focus of z7 so weak? compare to its older cousins like z1, fx1, pd170, pd150, vx2100.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
yeah z1 is great. i'm not saying z7 is a bad camera.
All i'm saying is why the auto focus of z7 so weak? compare to its older cousins like z1, fx1, pd170, pd150, vx2100.
Make sure you don't have your macro focus on. That will cause the camera to not want to auto focus easily.

Bruce
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Old August 28th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bruce G. Cleveland View Post
Make sure you don't have your macro focus on. That will cause the camera to not want to auto focus easily.

Bruce
Thanks Bruce for the tip.
What i want to find out is, is Sony going the update the Camera to say Z7.1 or something ?
The use of CF card for recording is very appealing.

off Topic:
Express Card and SxS card are very similar. Why the huge price difference?
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Old August 28th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #19
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Anthony,

Firstly, sorry for my previous impetuous outburst. It was a result of having read so much misinformation from inexperienced users in the past, then having friends and comrades in the industry continually asking if "they have FIXED the Sony Z7 yet"... based on these ill-informed forum posts.

There is NOTHING wrong with the Sony Z7 auto-focus.
There is NOTHING wrong with the Sony 0db, 3db, -3db gain.
There is NOTHING wrong with the Sony back focus.
There is NOTHING wrong with the Sony Z7. Period.

How can I say this?

(a) I have been using the Sony Z7 for 3 months, have produced 15 weddings, 3 corporate interviews and 1 mini-documentary.

(b) 2 highly experienced cameramen - Douglas Spotted Eagle (VASST) and Doug Jensen (VORTEX) - have produced entire training workshops on these cameras. If they had issues that you had - do you think they might mention it and deem the camera a dog?

The only people that seem to have problems with this camera, are those who "hire" it briefly, spray it around in AUTO mode, don't invest in the available training materials and believe everything they read in forums.

Given the FACT that there is nothing wrong with the Z7 based on (a) and (b) above - the issue must be either (1) faulty camera, or (2) faulty operator.

Can I ask you...

(1) Have you ever used a true removable lens camera to produce videos? (not just testing)
(2) Did you perform flange adjustments to the lens as per instructions in manual?
(3) Did you experiment with both the hybrid focus modes as per Vortex training?
(4) Did you have macro focus enabled or disabled? Are you aware of the difference?
(5) Did you have centre mark enabled to assist with follow focus function?

People tend to believe everything they read in forums.

I nearly didn't buy this camera based on previous posts by various people - including ones who reported the camera wrecking footage, jumping focus, going out of sync.

I showed those comments to my local Sony agent. He laughed, told me to stop reading ill-informed loony rant, then explained what they were doing wrong - and how to operate the camera properly.

That's why I get annoyed - because people read the statements below, and believe them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
However Z7 is not suitable for filming weddings because of the auto focus problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
The auto focus for this camera is really slow and NOT good
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
is Sony going the update the Camera to say Z7.1 or something ?
I know your problem. It was the same as mine.

You've developed bad habits from years of "brain off" shooting with the (most excellent) VX and PD range of cameras. When you pickup the Z7 - it's very daunting. Initially it will annoy you because it won't produce amazing results when used like a point and shoot PD170. You have to forget everything you learnt from PD shooting, you have to buy training material, you have to test test test. In a way, it's like starting from scratch. That freaks a lot of people out because it's SO much easier to just bad mouth the camera and fall back on the PD170's because that is their "comfort zone" camera....

I probably would have done the same.... except I jumped head first into the Z7 and sold my PD170's and VX2000's to afford it... so I had no choice. Yes, there are still times I long for my "babies" back. But I picked up a friends PD170 the other day and it felt like a plastic dinky toy. He tried my Z7 and was nearly drooling. However, he is a lazy lazy shooter - full AUTO weddings etc. I told him to stick with what he knows - the Z7 would not suit him.

Hope this helps. I would recommend sticking with the PD170's if your client base are happy with 4:3 SD DVD's (most brides are) However, if you want to experience a steep learning curve, be prepared for initial frustration and setbacks, but ultimately become a better videographer.... then buy the Sony Z7.

<end rant> :)
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Old August 28th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #20
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It's this kind of attitude that will scare people away from a forum. Think that everybody is learning here and you have to realize that before you answer.
Point taken - forgive me? :)
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Old August 28th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #21
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Doug Jensen says it clearly and several times in his Vortex training video: "slide that 'manual-auto' switch to 'manual' and never touch it again. This is not a consumer camera, and to get the most out of it, it HAS to be used in manual mode". I couldn't agree more. When used in manual mode, this camera delivers amazing, very professional looking picture quality
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Old August 28th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #22
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Good post John Knight and I'll side with you on all those points except for one thing - that 'most brides' are happy with 4:3 DVDs. It may be so in ChCh NZ, but it sure ain't so in England.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #23
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Really? Up until about 4 months ago, I'd never been asked for HD, let alone widescreen? Anthony and I are at the bottom of the world though remember... woman still have to ride on top of bus, and homosexuals still have to wear blue hats. Our Sony Z7's don't even have batteries - I've got the wife peddling a bicycle outside the church to power the external generator attached to it!!! :)
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Old August 28th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #24
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John, I totally agree with you! I own 3 Z7U's, no problems and I LOVE MY CAMERAS! Best purchase I ever made!
The picture and colors are amazing. I've just begun dabbling with the Picture Profiles!

I will post when I have examples!

HAPPY SHOOTING everyone with the 7's!
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Old August 28th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #25
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Just comparing the auto focus between z7 , ex1 and others thats all.
Well i guess, to use z7, "don't us auto focus" . (smile).

anyway, about recording on CF cards using z7,
1/ how many formats can it record on ? avi ? ... etc
2/ any video clip issues on CF cards for all recording formats?
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Old August 28th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
Well i guess, to use z7, "don't us auto focus" . (smile).
Hi Anthony - no no no no no no no no no..... Use auto-focus in the correct situation. Use manual focus in the correct situation. It's knowing when, why, how - this can only be done with practice and real world experience. Not testing and reading alone. You will need to "simplify" the first few weddings you shoot. Forget all the fancy shooting styles you've learnt and go back to basics. Exposure, lighting, focus and composition. You'll struggle initially - I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
anyway, about recording on CF cards using z7,
1/ how many formats can it record on ? avi ? ... etc
2/ any video clip issues on CF cards for all recording formats?
1. HDV - M2T files when shooting HDV formats to tape. SD - either AVI or RAW DV are options.

2. No issues - indicators appear in viewfinder telling you when both tape and/or CF card is capturing. On slower (133x) cards, I initially had an issue with sync of card recording, but it was my shooting style of hitting the start/stop button rapidly (bridal prep, formal photos etc) that needed adjusting to allow buffer to work correctly.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #27
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"SD - either AVI or RAW DV are options."

um, do you mean CF - either AVI or RAW DV only?
1/ what is the picture quality difference between avi and raw dv?
2/ so CF card record in Standard Definition only?
3/ what is standard definition quality like on CF card?

i'm asking this because blu ray player & blu ray disc will not be popular for the general public until the price is similar to the normal dvd players and the dvd discs. That would be years away i think.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 05:47 PM   #28
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John, thank you for your posts... IMHO the Z7 is the best sub-10.000$ camera on the market, except for the EX1 (image-wise).
But it is indeed a professional tool, maybe not so well suited for run-n-gun style filming,
although that can be done too of course. (We do it all the time).
I come from using digi-beta and xd-cam(hd), It is a big thing to have the same tools
in a handheld camera.
I have been following this forum since its first days, and I was sometimes very frustrated
reading all the mis-informed, exagerrated or downright incorrect posts.
It is time to put things in perspective. The image quality, conrol and workflow that this product offers is unrivaled at its price.
Also, count the posters (not the posts!) about 'problems'.
There must be thousands of Z7's in use every day. How many users voice their problems here? 10? 20? not more I guess. It is easy to loose a sense of 'size' of the problems discussed here, especially as some people parrot what they hear so easily, often without even owning/using the camera.

All perspective buyers: buy the vortex dvd first (when planning to spend 6k, it's worth investing 100 bucks in a very well informed, unpartial, detailed description of the camera).
If you don't buy the Z7 ebay it for 50.
Then rent the Z7 for a weekend. Spend some quality-time with it. Then decide. Thén post
informed questions about any problems you might encounter.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
"SD - either AVI or RAW DV are options." um, do you mean CF - either AVI or RAW DV only?
Hi Anthony - no. You can shoot HDV to tape and CF card. Or HDV to tape and SD to CF card. Or SD to both tape and CF card. When shooting SD to CF Card, you can choose either AVI format (which NLE's like Premiere like) or RAW DV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
1/ what is the picture quality difference between avi and raw dv?
2/ so CF card record in Standard Definition only?
3/ what is standard definition quality like on CF card?
(1) None. AVI is just a PC-friendly wrapper for raw dv information. Shoot AVI.
(2) No. HDV (m2t files) or SD (avi files)
(3) Same as tape. SD is a digital format so quality is exactly the same whether you capture SD on a $2 mini-dv tape, a $20 dv-cam tape, directly hooked into a laptop via firewire, or captured onto CF-card. It's digital so quality is the same no matter what recording medium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
i'm asking this because blu ray player & blu ray disc will not be popular for the general public until the price is similar to the normal dvd players and the dvd discs. That would be years away i think.
Yes. Same in NZ at the moment. The majority of my clients have bought, or are buying widescreen TV's. HD is coming - just not as fast as initially projected. Currently I don't see myself bluray authoring for around 18 months.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 08:28 PM   #30
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But it is indeed a professional tool, maybe not so well suited for run-n-gun style filming, although that can be done too of course.
Hi John - cheers. Yes, am finding the same thing. I've bought the FX7 as a B-camera and also to use during run-gun (bridal prep, formal photos, first dance). Was hanging out for the Z7 junior (or whatever Sony has planned for next release)... but nothing has been announced. FX7 seemed like the next best thing that would blend well... I guess we'll find out tomorrow - first wedding using this combo. Will let you know. I did manage to run-gun the Z7 on one wedding but found I was not able to match my creativity I achieved with the VX2000 as I was distracted by technical details (iris, gain etc) when I should have been paying more attention to the fast paced action around me. (Yes - in this case, a camera with semi-auto features can be desirable). When the brides dad abruptly bursts in to hug the bride, you don't want to be trying to figure out the best iris setting to use!!!
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