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Old March 4th, 2010, 07:04 AM   #1
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Fix FX-1 or buy NX5U?

I need the firewire connector repaired on my FX-1, but I am thinking maybe it's time to buy a new cam. (Anybody in the NY/NJ fix the FX-1 besides Sony?? They charge too much!)

Is the picture quality better? HDV on the FX-1 always looks soft when it gets down to DVD....I was hoping AVCHD would be sharper. And I like the idea of no tape and the 128GB backup memory unit.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #2
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Close Call

Elliot,

It's a close call in certain areas. The FX1 is a classic. It's image quality is good out of the box/camera without any customization. Of course, it has its share of quirks and weaknesses. If you've had this since 2004-2005, you can opt to have it replaced already. Here are my thoughts.

See how much it will require you to get fixed. If it will set you back U$300-400, maybe you can just buy a small HDV camera that can read your FX1 tapes and use that for transfer. They should be cheaper. I assume that only the firewire port is busted.

OTOH, if you choose to replace it with a tapeless camera like the hmc-150, it also has its benefits and downside. The benefits are many (better lowlight, tends to be sharper, faster ingress to PC by a big margin, etc., etc). But the downside is a new workflow, you having a fast computer and/or upgrading your software to edit avhcd or h.264 files. Or getting 3rd party converters like Neocene to transcode the files to something your NLE can chew easily.

Personally, I am more in favor of tapeless. But that is just me. As I said, it has it's own issues. You may or may not like them. To me, they are worth the hassle and it's not any different when we transitioned from SD to HDV. In time, you'll get the hang of a tapeless workflow.

But there is another angle that only you can answer. IF you have used your FX1 for years (4-5 years) and used it extensively, I'd say don't repair it, and get a new camera and make it tapeless. In time, the FX1's heads will wear out and that would be another big sum for you to shell out to have it fixed. I am assuming here that you are using the FX1 as a playback machine too to transfer the footage to your computer.

Again, maybe you can just get another used or small consumer grade HDV camera like the HC3 or HC5 of early days and use that as your player. That will extend the use of your FX1 in liew of a busted firewire port. Or make a clean break now and enjoy the benefits of a tapeless solution.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 08:05 AM   #3
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both. buy the new one, get it going, send in the other to have it repaired.
get the old one back, and relise you wouldnt use it ever again in your life, keep it as a backup, eventually its value will drop to about $50. During that time you will require it one time, which will save your backside, and the $1400 fee you were charging for the important job. it will pay for itself once and be worthless.
Gaze into the crystal ball. its always like that :-)

i thought the FX-1 doesnt have the newer better low light capability, then the NX5 has the flash banding. best of both worlds to have both.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mel Enriquez View Post
Elliot,

See how much it will require you to get fixed. If it will set you back U$300-400, maybe you can just buy a small HDV camera that can read your FX1 tapes and use that for transfer. They should be cheaper. I assume that only the firewire port is busted.
Yeah, I think its the Firewire port...my Firestore FS4 unit acted wacky when hooked up to the cam and it's not the cable, plus tape transfers have been mysteriously stopping and my computer drops the firewire connection several times during a transfer for no reason.

Quote:
But the downside is a new workflow, you having a fast computer and/or upgrading your software to edit avhcd or h.264 files.
Already have an i7 PC and do some AVCHD editing from a still camera that has HD video too, so it's no problem.

Quote:
But there is another angle that only you can answer. IF you have used your FX1 for years (4-5 years) and used it extensively, I'd say don't repair it, and get a new camera and make it tapeless. In time, the FX1's heads will wear out and that would be another big sum for you to shell out to have it fixed. I am assuming here that you are using the FX1 as a playback machine too to transfer the footage to your computer.
Yes, I am....I'd probably sell it online, but first need to fix the firewire issue, no one will buy it like this.

Quote:
i thought the FX-1 doesn't have the newer better low light capability, then the NX5 has the flash banding. best of both worlds to have both.
The CMOS banding problem has always worried me, but I would still overlook that for more sharpness. Thanks guys for your opinions!!
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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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I think you need to find out what it will cost to fix it, and what you could reasonably expect to get for selling it before you can really make any decision.

If it was about $300 to fix, personally I'd get it fixed. Or, as suggested, I'd get another another cheap camera to use as playback...but then I like to have more than one camera for multi-camera shooting, so I'd get the NX5 and make the FX1 the B camera.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Eliot Goshman View Post
I need the firewire connector repaired on my FX-1, but I am thinking maybe it's time to buy a new cam. (Anybody in the NY/NJ fix the FX-1 besides Sony?? They charge too much!)

Is the picture quality better? HDV on the FX-1 always looks soft when it gets down to DVD....I was hoping AVCHD would be sharper. And I like the idea of no tape and the 128GB backup memory unit.
The NX5U will certainly shoot and record a much sharper image, but that probably won't result in sharper DVDs for you. Way more likely than not, the problem is with downscaling the images in post. The FX1 is certainly capable of recording images well beyond SD resolution. NLEs tend to be pretty awful at downscaling images. If you want crisp downscaled images, try using Lanczos resizing with VirtualDub (freeware that works great).

I don't know what it will cost to have the firewire connector repaired, but keep in mind that you can get used FX1s in very nice condition for under $2k nowadays.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #7
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If you want crisp downscaled images, try using Lanczos resizing with VirtualDub (freeware that works great).
I'll look into that...yeah, I have always suspected the NLE of softening the output, so I am sure the software you mentioned would be better, thanks.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Eliot Goshman View Post
... first need to fix the firewire issue, no one will buy it like this.....
Oh yes they will! I am continually amazed at the high price semi-busted stuff sells for on EBay. All I can think is that there are under-employed electronic technicians out there who buy these items, repair them, then on-sell them.

Anyway, my point is that if the repair will be expensive (and it always seems to be) then your profit on the 'semi-busted' sale may well be higher than on the 'no-longer-busted-but-had-to-deduct-the-freakin'-high-cost-of-repair' sale.

Last edited by Graham Hickling; March 4th, 2010 at 02:51 PM.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #9
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Graham is correct, you'd be surprised how much "broken/as-is" stuff sells for. SOMETIMES more than good working stuff, which boggles my mind... Your cam probably would sell just fine since it sounds like it's "intermittent"... lots of cams with "dead firewire" on eBay... and they sell.

I even sometimes take a flyer on stuff like that myself if the price is low enough, it looks like an "easy" fix, and it's something I'm looking to get anyway.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #10
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Yes, it is possible to sell your camcorder even if it's less than perfect.
I recently sold an FX1 that was in really good condition but needed a bit of tape to hold the lens hood secure. And, because I wanted to keep the charger I just reduced the price to something that was fair for both the buyer and me.
Fortunately, I knew of an ex Sony tech who is now independent and I brought the buyer to his place and he picked up a very high-end charger for waaay less than a commercial store would charge. All in all, I think it turned out to be a pretty good deal for both of us.
Also, like many I never used the FX1 firewwire port as I had my HVs for that.

If you check around you may find some independent techs out there that can fix the port for less than Sony. Sometimes it just takes a bit of effort and time with calls and Google.
If you do find one then try to check if they have a credible reputation. Probably a good idea is to make sure they are authorized to work on certain manufacturer's products.
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