Has anyone gone from the Z5 to the Z7? Or used both? at DVinfo.net

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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 February 10th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #1
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Has anyone gone from the Z5 to the Z7? Or used both?

One question I have is if there is much difference between the Z5 and Z7?
I like using tapes, the 20X zoom, but if the auto focus is better that would be nice.
Thanks in advance for your input!
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Old February 11th, 2010, 03:00 AM   #2
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I've had both and there's a world of difference between the two. Except for the picture quality, which is exactly the same, the Z7 is superior in almost all areas: better materials, preciser focusing, more professional layout and controls,... I sold the Z5 and kept the Z7.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 03:05 AM   #3
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How much better is the focusing? Comparable to the Z1U or a CCD Camera?
The Z7 uses minim DV tapes as well, right?
Also, have you tried the Z7 on the Glidecam 4000?
How heavy is it compared to the Z5 and how does it feel?

How is the zoom? I know it has a 14X compared to the Z5's 20x, is there a ton of difference, and how about where the zoom starts, on the Z5 its very wide.

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 11th, 2010, 04:26 AM   #4
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The focusing ring is more precise, but focusing on any of those camera's is a pain. The LCD is not big enough and the VF has not enough resolution to do accurate focusing in HD. I bought a Hoodloupe to put on the LCD-screen and that helps a little, be it that the loupe is of very low quality. I think the Zacuto loupe is much better, but I haven't tried that.

If I remember well, the zoom on the Z5 is one of those electronic controls, not mechanical, and I hated that. If I zoom, I want to know that one end of he ring is max. tele and the other end is max. wide. The Z7 does that.

The wide position on the Z7 is by far not wide enough, but the Z5 has the same problem. I fitted a wide-angle adapter from Sony and that works perfectly.

The Z7 heavy is heavier than the Z5, sturdier also (less plastic). I haven't tried any of the two on a steadycam.

The Z7 records on mini DV-tape an CF-cards, the CF-card reader is included. If you get the Z5, you have to by MRC-1 separately. I advise to do that, because once you have used the workflow with CF-cards, you'll never want to go back to tape.
Hope this helps.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #5
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I owned a Z7 and have had a good look at a friends Z5 and as Luc says they are totally different and the Z7 is more pro like.

I dont think the Z5 is anywhere near as robust and some of the switches are very poor, the 20x lens seems very plasticy too and the other advantage with the Z7 is that you can fit a std fujinon ENG lens or nikkor lenses via an adaptor.

As Luc also says the CF workflow is great and I used to just record most of my material just to compact flash, if I really wanted back-ups the tape is always useful but I am now on P2 so its tapeless all the way for me.

The LCD and viewfinders are not good either as Luc also says but as I am on a panasonic 301 I dont have any of them problems now either, it is also interesting that I found the S270 and my current shoulder mount camera a lot easier to use than the hand held Z7.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 05:16 AM   #6
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Quite so, Gary.
So Silas, unless you have a very good reason for specifically wanting a handheld camera like the Z5 or the Z7, I would strongly advise you to buy a shouldermounted camera like the HVR-S270 or the Panasonic Gary has. Especially the S270 can be found second hand for the same price as a new Z7. And forget filming with either the Z5 or the Z7 for longer than 10 minutes if it's not on a tripod. The guy who invented handheld camera's must have been an masochist. I started out 20 years ago with a decent shouldermounted Panasonic camera, and when I switched to HD, it took me 4 handhelds (Canon, Sony) to find out the hard way that there is only one form factor that has proven user friendly, and that's the model that rests on your shoulder. Focusing with such a camera is a pleasure, compared to handhelds.

I know some guys love the effect of the wobbly run&gun type shooting, but even they will have to admit that it's a pain to their arm. Of course, it all depends on what kind of shooting you're going to do.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #7
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It depends what your going to be doing with your camera to say whether the Z7 is better or not.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 06:38 AM   #8
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I use mine only for weddings. Low light & a wide angle zoom are most important to me. It seems the Z5 should be my choice, but with only $300 difference between the two cameras (planning on buying the MRC1K) I'm not sure. Any thoughts?
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Old February 13th, 2010, 07:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Bartnick View Post
I use mine only for weddings. Low light & a wide angle zoom are most important to me. It seems the Z5 should be my choice, but with only $300 difference between the two cameras (planning on buying the MRC1K) I'm not sure. Any thoughts?
Allen also keep in mind that although the Z5 has a 20X zoom which is nice for reach in weddings the lens aperture ramps down considerably. From 1.8-3.5 I believe. The Z7 lens a 12X goes from 1.8 to 2.0 which in my opinion is a huge difference on the long end. Instead of ending at 2.8 it ends at 2.0 which helps with a consistent aperture from the long end of the lens to the short end.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:31 AM   #10
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One nice thing about the Z7 is how much better it is in low light. I know it has less zoom range than the Z5 but the lens is f/1.6 to f/2, so is a whole stop faster at the equivalent tele focal length. That means it can film in half the light the Z5 needs (assuming you want to use some of your zoom's range).

The Z7 has no internal, in-built mics, and I miss those. And I much prefer the very visible Z5's ND filter switch.

The iris lock on the Z7 is on the right hand side and I don't find this as convenient as the Z5's button on the LH side of the camera - especially when I'm holding the camera by the top handle. My left hand has to constantly go 'over the camera' to lock down the iris.

The Z7's -6dB setting is beautifully quiet for a 1"/3 chipped camera.

Both suffer from the CMOS nasties, but there you go.

What's interesting is to have the two cameras side by side. 20x zoom sounds a lot more impressive than a 12x zoom yes? But tele both lenses and have a look at their side-screens -the difference is (visually) surprisingly small.

The Z7 is tougher, more professional. The 8x wide-angle zoom ramps a lot more, is hardly wide, it takes lots of time to swap lenses and it's big, heavy and expensive. As such I'd say the lens interchangeability of the Z7 is not a sales pull unless you wanted to fit Sony Alpha lens, and go on safari with a concrete tripod.

tom.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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Thanks for the great advice. I didn't notice that the Z7 didn't have a microphone, any suggestions? The only time I would use the camera mic is on the dance floor, I use wireless mics for everything else.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #12
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The Z7 does come with a very decent shotgun mic. Which always confused me when reviews and people complained about the lack of a built in mic. Yes it's not built in, but it's superior to that IMO.

1. I'd much rather have a good shotgun over a built in, most pro cams don't have built in mics anyway.

2. I always leave it attached anyway so it might as well be built in. I'm never without an audio option on my Z7.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #13
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One big advantage of the Z5 over the Z7 is that the Z5 has coloured (green, yellow, white...) peaking, just like the EX1 and EX3. It helps focusing. And yes, the stock shotgun mic on the Z7 is very good.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 05:46 AM   #14
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Thanks again for the great advice. It sounds like the Z7 is for me.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #15
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Every time someone brings up the 20x zoom on the Z5 they only bring up the negative ramping aspect of the lens. Filling my lens with someones face vs their head and shoulders...well, I guess it depends what you're looking for in your compositions. The 20x over the 12x makes the difference. When you have light, hands down the Z5 wins that battle, ramping or not.

Last edited by Rob Morse; February 15th, 2010 at 03:05 PM.
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