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Sony NXCAM / AVCHD Camcorders
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:39 AM   #1
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HXR-NX5U or the HVR-Z7U

I"m thinking about getting a new camera next year and I"m debating about the HXR-NX5U or the HVR-Z7U.

I like that the NX5U records a larger variety of framerates (including 720) so I have more options to choose from. I don't like that the camera only records to the Sony memory sticks and a SD or CF writer or hard drive is extra. The Z7 records to tape and CF.

I like that the Z7U offers tape ( I'm still finding it hard to go 100% away from a tape back up) and has a interchangeable lens. I really don't see me changing lens, I"m just worried that if I can't change the lens out and if something happens to it (a scratch, crack, etc) the camera is done.

I guess what it comes down to is AVCHD vs HDV.

Any thoughts or feedback?
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:59 AM   #2
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I chose the HVR-270 which is the shoulder mounted version of the Z-7. I already lost a few files somehow on the CF card, probably by deleting same and user error. I also had reformatted the CF card so luckily, I had the tape as a back up as the files no longer existed on my computer or flash card.

A few members of my association, during one of my lectures, advised our group of corrupted files that resulted in the complete loss of a one time special event. This reinforced that my decision was correct for me. Best of both worlds, tape and flash media and a "safety net" since tape is my backup. Tape will be around as an archival method for a long. long, time.

I know of two individuals who lost files-one a European vacation due to a buffering problem with his card. The other person, shot a documentary overseas and lost a good portion of his clips on flash media. No tape backup, just tears and anxiety

So, I feel comfortable always having a backup to my CF cards utilizing tape simultaneously..

BTW: I do own two AVCHD cameras. Truthfully, I do not see a big difference in quality between AVCHD and HDV, though, I do 'bump-up' the colors somewhat and adjust the gamma in the HDV format to get those two formats to match. Since the SONY has a professional lens, this is probably the reason why the HDV quality appears crisp. I also find HDV easier to use in regards to computer importation and rendering.

SO......The Z-7 is good in lowlight. As stated, you have the best of both worlds-tape and flash media.

Go for the Z-7 or even a Z-5 (20X vs. 12X and wider lens), though you will have to purchase the Flash Drive unit separately with the Z-5.

The above is my opinion and thoughts.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 08:54 AM   #3
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Great feedback

Thanks for the feedback. You pretty much confirmed my gut feelings. Since you are primarily using the tape as a back up, did you buy a Sony HDV deck or do you use the camera for playback?

I'm used to shoulder mount ENG style cameras, but the Z270 is $1000 and weighs 8lbs more.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 10:33 AM   #4
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Hi there, Marty:

With regard to the "backup" function that tape provides, one thought is the NX5's Flash Memory Unit (FMU), an accessory that mounts to the side of the camera and allows simultaneous recording to Memory Stick / SDHC and the FMU's SSD. A great option if you're worried.

My previous camera was a Z5. At around the same time, I'd purchased a HDR-CX12 as a B cam. The file-based workflow spoiled me, and in good light, the CX12's image is really very good. Gradually, the tape aspect of the Z5 annoyed me more and more. I considered the MRC1K add-on, but the net cost was similar to selling the Z5 and purchasing an NX5, so that's what I did. The MRC1K talks to the Z5 (or Z7) and will automatically start recording to CF when you press the record button, but it's not the same as having the memory recording built into the camera. For one, you'll regularly read of people with the MRC1K who stopped/started recording "too quickly" (whatever that means) or did some other thing and ended up with footage on the tape but not on the CF. I've never had anything like this happen to me with the NX5 or the CX12, and IMO this "add-on factor" of the MRC1K makes it a substantially less idiot-proof tapeless option than getting a tapeless camcorder. Just a thought. I also found the fact that the MRC1K had to be removed constantly to get at the camcorder's battery to be seriously annoying.

I should also mention that I've had dropouts on both DV and HDV, but never on AVCHD, so everybody has their own impression of tape vs memory cards when it comes to reliability. My own happens to be that a good-quality memory card wins hands-down, but that's just me. Part of that may be that I've only used Sony Memory Stick media (the CX12 only accepts Memory Stick, and so it's easier for me to just use it in the NX5 also), so I've never been tempted to buy any cheapo cards.

Lastly: My experience with AVCHD quality over HDV has been quite different from Lou's. I've done a fair amount of high-detail, high-motion outdoor shooting with both the Z5 and the NX5, and find that, when those two factors combine, AVCHD absolutely crushes HDV. The Z5 would rapidly lose effective resolution and blocky artifacts would pop up all over the place. Not so with the NX5. If I had both cameras on tripods recording a relatively static scene, it would be hard to tell them apart, though, so it does really depend on what you're doing. HDV, IMO, is a very fragile thing, even in its most modern implementations.

Just some more thoughts!
Best,
Aaron
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 08:06 AM   #5
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I already had a SONY deck. One can use any HDV camera at a lesser price for archiving. I feel comfortable with using tape as an archive. I simply place the archived tape on my shelf, which allows me to clear out a HDD or flash media and it is a safe feeling knowing I have a backup on the shelf.

I must agree with Aaron on one issue. I own numerous cameras. The AVCHD cameras have less of a problem with very fast motion. However, I have never received any complaints.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Jenoff View Post
Thanks for the feedback. You pretty much confirmed my gut feelings. Since you are primarily using the tape as a back up, did you buy a Sony HDV deck or do you use the camera for playback?

I'm used to shoulder mount ENG style cameras, but the Z270 is $1000 and weighs 8lbs more.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #6
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backing up

I agree that i like keeping a tape on the shelf.

But for those that don't do tape, what do you use for back up and storage of the footage for not only the duration of the project, but long term?
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Old December 24th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #7
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I have now switched completely from tape and like the freedom. I got a Quantum HH LTo3 data backup tape unit. Was about $1000 Can, 400G tapes are about $25 US and of course will hold about 40 hours of AVCHD in a much more reliable way than video tape. That is a lot cheaper than HDV tape and a lot less storage space as the LTo3 tapes are about the same volume as 3 or 4 DV tapes.

I transfer from the camera to a directory for each project, backup and when finished editing also back up all the project files and final masters . Then I can remove files from the PC. I also keep finished DVD/ Bluray images on a hard drive for quick access. I use Retrospect software which is easy to use for backup and restore. The LTo3 will backup or restore as fast as my hard drives will go, about 65MBps on my system. It will backup and compare an hour of AVCHD in less than 10 mins. Less time than it takes to transfer from camera to PC.

For family stuff that is more important to me I keep two backup tapes. They will take a long time to fill up !!

I moved from my FX1 because the picture from my AVCHD XR500 was a lot better. Now have an NX5U with FMU128. I could record for 14 hours continuous so now do not worry about tape changes in middle of program etc. The AVCHD certainly has a better picture than HDV from my comparisons with the FX1 and both the XR500 and now the NX5U. I certainly would not go back to tape.

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Old December 28th, 2010, 06:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Jenoff View Post
I"m thinking about getting a new camera next year and I"m debating about the HXR-NX5U or the HVR-Z7U.I guess what it comes down to is AVCHD vs HDV.
I'd say it comes down to a lot more than that Marty. You can bet all your dollars that the Z7 will be the last HDV (and therefore MiniDV tape) to grace Sony's brochure. Panasonic, JVC and Canon abandoned tape some time ago and although you may like tape's workflow, prospective buyers of your kit 3 years down the line may blanch horribly.

Of course if you want interchangeable lenses the Z7 it is, as there's little or no competition. The Z7's other trump card is the 12x stock lens' speed, making it very good in low light.You might also like CF, but even DSLR manufacturers are turning to SDHC cards now and it looks like CF is losing popularity.

Other than that though, the NX5 shows its youth by having touch-screen control, excellent slo-mo, GPS, a 20x zoom with more wide-angle and more telephoto and of course the far more modern AVCHD 'full HD' file-based workflow. Archiving isn't so easy and cheap as tape-on-the-shelf, but have you seen how cheap 1tb HDDs are now?

Both the Z7 and NX5 have top screens that are pretty useless in sunlight but at least the NX5 has the sliding switch for ND filters. Using the Z7 I was constantly confused as to which ND was actually in place.

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Old December 28th, 2010, 09:14 AM   #9
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I'm convinced

You guys did a great job of convincing me. When the time comes I think I'll get the NX5.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick;
Of course if you want interchangeable lenses the Z7 it is, as there's little or no competition. The Z7's other trump card is the 12x stock lens' speed, making it very good in low light.You might also like CF, but even DSLR manufacturers are turning to SDHC cards now and it looks like CF is losing popularity.
tom.
The statement about CF cards losing popularity is not quit true. All DSLR above the $1,000.00 range or pro-consumer to pro DSLR use CF cards.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 11:59 AM   #11
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I said it only 'looks like' CF is losing popularity Steve. I see manufacturers changing their cameras from CF to SDHC (Sony Z7 > NX5, Canon 50D > 60D etc) but see none going the other way. But as you say, the top end kit is all CF.
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