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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old October 9th, 2008, 04:15 AM   #91
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Right. But it is still close enough for me. In this price range, for low-light performance, I think it will be the only game in town but there will always be those that don't need that level of low-light performance. I do.

And then there are those who routinely shoot wedding with the FX7 and are happy. I was not one of those. I used my FX7 for three hours and sold it. I was desperate for 16:9 but the picture was no good to me in most conditions, way too soft. The VX2100 really spoiled me. If I want soft I can make adjustments in post.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #92
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Z5 and PD170 side by side

Yesterday I had the chance to play about with a demo version of the new Z5, and I compared it to a PD170

All I can say is.......W O W ! ! ! !

It was a simple little conference room, not much light, the Z5 was CLEARLY BETTER in low light , no question. yes, you read right, the Z% is BETTER in low loght than the PD170 in my opnion, and I had thenm side by side, both set to DV, both on auto WB, both at 1/50,

Also, the Z5 has an extra gain stop (it goes from -6db to 21db) whereas the PD series went from 0db - 18db. I'm not sure of the practical applications of the 2 stops of negative gain though, any thoughts on that one?

Alas, i stupidly didnt shoot anything to tape, so no stills or footage to post (sorry)

I have long been in love with the VX/PD series for their low light performance, and have waited and waited for the HDV equivelant (the V1/FX7 dont come close, the Z1/FX1 are better than the V1/FX7, but not good enough)

Having the exposure control on the lens barrell as a ring behind the zoom ring (which itself is behind the focus ring) is a simple but VERY effective upgrade, its just makes sense!

I'm trying to remember what else I thought of it, they didnt have MRC1K memory card unit, so cant comment on that.

Audio wisde, didnt really notice any difference from the Z1, appart from the audio control dials seemed a bit more intuitive/sturdy.

It felt heavier than my FX7, but lighter (and a bit smaller) than the Z1

The Z5 also seemed to have none of the 'soft' issue that the Fx7 seems to have (well at least mines and Jeff's has)

The lens was MUCH wider than the PD170, I'm not sure of the math, but the Z5 zoomed all the way out could fitMCH more in than the PD170soomed all the way out.

All I can say is, I'm sold. From what I saw, the Z5 simply IS the HDV version of the PD150/170. (So I can only assume the FX1000 will be the same to the VX series)

I'm sure I've forgot loadsostuf s I play wit the Z5 (in a toaly innocent way) or a good hour or so.

Any questions just ask and I'll try to remember

CANT WAIT FOR THE Z5!!!!!!
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Old October 9th, 2008, 08:22 AM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
And the Z7 (like the EX1) has no domesticated version because of the lens interchangeability?
The way I see it, the Z5 is a fixed-lens version of the Z7 and the FX1000 is the non-XLR version of the Z5. So the pairs shape up like this:

S270 & Z7 (interchangeable lenses)
Z5 & FX1000 (1/3" CMOS) - replace Z1, FX1, PD170 and VX2100
V1 & FX7 (1/4" CMOS)
Z1 & FX1 (1/3" CCD)
A1 & HCx (small form factor) plus HD1000 (shoulder-mount) - 1/4" CMOS

Last edited by Kevin Shaw; October 9th, 2008 at 10:13 AM. Reason: added HD1000 to list
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Old October 9th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Strange View Post
Also, the Z5 has an extra gain stop (it goes from -6db to 21db) whereas the PD series went from 0db - 18db. I'm not sure of the practical applications of the 2 stops of negative gain though, any thoughts on that one?
Thanks for your enthusiastic write-up James. It's always good to have a hands-on view of things, because I've learnt that manufacturer's own specs on lux cannot be relied on even between models in their own line up.

The 21 dB is half a stop more amplification over 18 dB, and the use of the -6dB makes for quieter footage as well as adding another stop of ND effectively. Really excellent idea and often a lot better than upping the shutter speed to 1/100th sec.

No UK prices given?

Kevin - maybe the HD1000 should be added to your list alongside the A1.

tom.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Kevin - maybe the HD1000 should be added to your list alongside the A1.
Done, thanks.

P.S. One could say that the FX1 should have been named the FX1000 and the FX1000 the FX2000, while the Z1U was the ZD150 and the Z5 is the ZD170...if you get my drift. :-)
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Old October 9th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #96
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James, I can't believe you actually handled one, that is a really exciting review you posted.

I'm ordering the FX1000 tomorrow, and I had accepted that when it arrived I would find it's low light not quite as good as the PD series...your news is fantastic! Thank you!
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Old October 12th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post

No UK prices given?
Places like Creative Video are listing it at GBP 2995+ VAT. If you wanted to add in the CF recorder it brings the price up to the same GBP 3495 + VAT of the Z7....

So hopefully the GBP 2995 + VAT won't be the actual price when it hits the streets for real.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #98
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This is also why the CANON XL-2 is being resurrected....true 16:9 chips. I know there is a debate if they are true 16:9 chips but the picture is outstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
This issue with the VX and PDs has been going around for several years. Ultimately, those of us who shot in 16:9 on the camera, had three methods of doing so. One way was to engage the 16:9 function. Another was to shoot 4:3, but mask in camera using a mask from the memory card. This worked great. The third was to use a 16:9 adapter. They ran about about $1000 at one time. Essentially what occurs is the adapter squeezed a wide view into the 4:3 frame, distorting the image. In post (in Vegas, for instance) you change the properties of the clip from 4:3 to 16:9. . I just bought one on a close out from Century Optics for $99.00. It is clear they see the future.

These days you can get a better 16:9 native images with a $ 800 camera like the HV30, so this debate is dissappearing. Only thing missing in these new cameras is VX/PD low light capability...
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Old December 14th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #99
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Great reply. I give lectures on this subject all over the place. From Illinois to New York...soon Iowa. "Nobody asks for it" is just an excuse for: "I have to invest more in my business?" Next time you are in a car dealership, bet ya the salesperson is discussing extra paclages to enhance the vehicle. Same with the Video business.

"Nobody asks for it".......music to a competitors ears.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cline View Post
I've seen this statement in quite a few video forums, "I'm not going to do 16:9 or HD until one of my clients asks for it." What the heck ever happened to salesmanship? It's up to US to keep our clients informed about the trends in video production and delivery. I've been shooting HD exclusively for the last four years, whether the client asked for it or not. Since I'm not doing car commercials, which have a very short "shelf life", I've been gathering HD material which can delivered in SD now and repurposed into an HD product later for an additional fee. I've also been collecting a lot of stock footage in HD. Much sooner than later, all my SD stock footage will be outdated and unusable.

A couple of months ago, I pitched a corporate client on HD and she half-jokingly said, "it's too bad we haven't been shooting HD all along." I said, "But we have! I've just been delivering in SD." Now she wants most of her previous product in HD which is a simple matter of loading the old project, spitting it out as HD and burning it to a Blu-ray disc. She's thrilled and I have another revenue stream with virtually no additional effort. I don't do weddings, but as David Heath pointed out, weddings would be a prime example of generating additional revenue after the fact.

There is a learning curve to shooting HD, not the least of which is getting the "feel" of framing a shot in 16:9. That was the strangest part for me since all my "chops" were based on shooting 4:3 for decades.

You don't want to wait until the client asks for it and then have to learn it on the job. You're not going to be ready to shoot and post HD when the client finally asks for it. Start shooting HD and start educating and selling your clients on the idea NOW! It's going to be a 16:9 HD world sooner than you think.

John
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Old January 14th, 2009, 07:35 AM   #100
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hi guys sorry if im posting this in wrong place but last week i shot a wedding with 4 cameras all were working DVCAM cause the 3 camcorders were PD170 but 1 of them was Z7 but shooting DVCAM but the problem is he was shooting 16.9, is there a way i can convert it to 4.3 by EDGE CROPING or something. i must convert it cause the other CAMS are all 4.3
i need help please
Thank you
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Old January 16th, 2009, 09:35 PM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlen Sahakian View Post
hi guys sorry if im posting this in wrong place but last week i shot a wedding with 4 cameras all were working DVCAM cause the 3 camcorders were PD170 but 1 of them was Z7 but shooting DVCAM but the problem is he was shooting 16.9, is there a way i can convert it to 4.3 by EDGE CROPING or something. i must convert it cause the other CAMS are all 4.3
i need help please
Thank you
You are in problem because if you crop the 16:9 format you'll have to stretch it to fill the frame - at the same moment you'll loose the quality :-( The Z7 should have been shooting HD format and then just convert it to 4:3 SD in post.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #102
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You are in problem because if you crop the 16:9 format you'll have to stretch it to fill the frame - at the same moment you'll loose the quality
It shouldn't be too bad because the process is a simple matter of rescaling the centre 540 pixels to reform 720 on each line. It will lead to a slight softening horizontally, but shouldn't be too noticeable. Use a Z7 in 4:3 mode and it won't use the full chip anyway, and deriving the 4:3 output directly whilst shooting will have a bit of the softening effect anyway.

Note that it is FAR better than than the other way round - deriving 16:9 from 4:3 by cropping - that's nowhere near as simple a process because of the interlaced line structure. You need to de-interlace, scale, then reform the interlace structure, so there will be a far greater quality loss than cropping 16:9 to 4:3.

If there's any doubt as to which to shoot in SD, or you may need both eventually, ALWAYS shoot 16:9 and derive the 4:3 from it, never the other way round.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Lou Bruno View Post
Great reply. I give lectures on this subject all over the place. From Illinois to New York...soon Iowa. "Nobody asks for it" is just an excuse for: "I have to invest more in my business?" Next time you are in a car dealership, bet ya the salesperson is discussing extra paclages to enhance the vehicle. Same with the Video business.

"Nobody asks for it".......music to a competitors ears.
Well there are two schools of thought here. And as a business person myself, I can only say that you have to be VERY, VERY careful. Careful of what you ask? Of falling into the 'trap' of 'I always have to have the newest gadgets'. You see, sometimes 'nobody asks for it' is NOT an excuse but a reality that no one wants to pay for it. See it all depends on your market. And in my market not only is no one ASKING for HD, but when I offer it (depending on the fact that I can always rent HD cameras if needed since I don't own one), clients don't want it because.....it costs extra and they see no perceived benefit to it. I don't know a single one of my clients that has a blu ray player.....in fact I only know one person that has one.....and what my clients want is a DVD of a corporate video or a TV spot to run on the local channels. I have talked to all the local channels as well as the local cable company and NONE of them will accept HD masters for TV spots and NONE of them have any plans to any time in the future.

Now I really REALLY REALLY want to buy an EX-1. I have come thisclosetobuyingone
because I WANT it. Do I NEED it for my business? Nope. And I am doing this to make
money to pay for things like groceries and my house payment, not to buy myself
the newest and nicest toys. I have to constantly remind myself of this because I am
a gadget freak. But if it's not going to make me money.....it doesn't matter how much
I want it.....it just doesn't make business sense. So, I will plod along in SD until such time
that I need to purchase an HD camera, because I have been able to convince enough clients
that HD is something they need and will pay for, at which point I am betting that the same
amount of money will buy me a much better HD camera than I could get today.

Just saying, this is the other side to that coin. And lest you think that this is 'music to my
competitors ears'......sorry, I no longer have any competitors. All my competitors have went out of business......because they were too busy buying the 'newest toys' and offering
HD packages to people who had no interest in HD......and one size does not fit all. Not trying to
be a jerk or anything and what you say is probably spot on in in a large majority of the markets.
But it's not a cure all or something everyone can just follow and take to the bank. As a business person
you have to evaluate your own market what it will bear, and make your business investment decisions
based on those things....especially in the current economic climate.

And by the way.......those car dealerships that have salesmen discussing extra addons to enhance the
value of the car.....how are they doing these days anyways?? :-)
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Old January 26th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #104
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I agree with John Cline's statement that one shouldn't wait to learn HD until clients ask for it.

On the other hand the reality of the market here in Cincinnati is such that the two largest videographers in the Cincinnati area do not offer HD. One of these companies shoots 200 weddings a year and dozens of corporate shoots. The other does about 150 wedding, maybe more. These owners know the market extremely well, obviously. And while they love HD (as we all do) they are not even thinking about shooting in HD. They are looking at cameras, but that is it.

Despite the economy, as of now, their bookings are stronger this year than last.

I have mentioned to several prospective brides and grooms that I have HD equipment now and they pretty much yawn.

Will this change? Is it the wave of the future? Of course. Anyone can see that.

Is there a demand for it? Very little.

4:3 is still very strong. And while it's demise is certainly coming, I believe it will be viable for at least one to two years for most videographers.

I am shooting in HD, and hopefully as has been mentioned I can use it at some point as an additonal revenue stream, but I'm not holding my breath. I think it really does depend on who your clients are. Mine are average folks.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; January 27th, 2009 at 03:34 AM.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:32 AM   #105
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Good point, good post, Gabe.
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