Yikes! Bought PD170 - but the FX1? at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old March 30th, 2005, 09:02 AM   #1
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Yikes! Bought PD170 - but the FX1?

Guess I didn't read enough. Just bought the PD170, thinking it was a great tool for wedding use and other things. This is my first pro cam.

Then I see that the FX1 costs the same!

Did I goof up?

Who buys the PD170 now?
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Old March 30th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #2
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No goof- you got the best wedding cam in it's price range, bar none.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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Somebody tell me something bad about the Z1, would you? Everything I'm reading says that it's a smarter buy than the PD170 at this point, regardless of what you're shooting (future proof to a much greater extent and gives you the same pic as the PD170 when downrezzed).

Makes me see why Sony offers the $300 rebate right now.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #4
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It's probably not to late to return the PD170.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Georg Herbet : Somebody tell me something bad about the Z1, would you? Everything I'm reading says that it's a smarter buy than the PD170 at this point, regardless of what you're shooting (future proof to a much greater extent and gives you the same pic as the PD170 when downrezzed).

Makes me see why Sony offers the $300 rebate right now. -->>>

I'm not sayijng the Z1 is a bad camera don't get me wrong. I don't think it's the best cam for wedding videography.


a) Until there 1) Is a viable medium by which to deliver HD content and 2) Clients actually produce a demand for it...HD is just a novelty to me.

b) Why would you want to go through the extra process of downconverting? And why deal with the hard-drive evaporating size of HD source clips? Plus you need a lot more juice on the hardware end to edit HD source clips.

c) The Sony HD cams are larger and heavier than the current VX and PD's. Plus the build on the VX and PD's is more robust...more metal less plastic. Every ounce counts when glidecamming.

d) Price...the 170 is considerably cheaper than the comparable Z1 and same with the VX compared to the comparable FX1.

e) Low light- one of the very important aspects to wedding videography production. The FX and Z1 are a step BACK in that catagory.

I do, indeed, HD is the future....but that's exactly it...the "future". By the time the majority of North American housholds have HD Televisions and BlueRay/HD-DVD players the FX2 and Z2 will be out...and hopefully with improvements on things like low-light performance.

I think you made a solid decision with the 170. In fact if my 170 or VX broke down I wouldn't hesitate for a second to pick up another one.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #6
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Low Light is a very big deal.....

You stated that you wanted it for weddings, that was the only one area you specifically mentioned.....

The choice is obvious, plus there are some ergonomic aspects of the Sony HD camcorders that I don't like. In the end the choice is yours - did I mention that low light is a very big deal.....
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Old March 30th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : Why would you want to go through the extra process of downconverting? -->>>

Yor points about low light are well taken, but this one really isn't a factor. You can switch both the FX1 and Z1 into standard definition DV mode and shoot either 4:3 or 16:9 footage with no downconversion in post. The Z1 will also shoot in DVCAM mode, just like the PD-170. So you don't have to use them in high definition mode at all unless you want to, you can use the exact same software as you would with the PD-170, and the files won't take up any more room on your hard drive.

There is another advantage to this in that both the FX1 and Z1 can shoot native anamorphic 16:9 DV, whereas the PD-170 has a low resolution 16:9 mode which just crops and stretches a 720x360 portion of the image.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #8
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The ONLY thing I like about these cams are the native anamorphic 16:9 chips. If I'm going to shoot in SD why spend 5k to do so when the PD-170 does a better job of it (ie Low light).

It's kind of like buying a DVX100 just to shoot 60i, over the DVC80.

I know a lot of people are amped about the new tehcnology and the impending onset of HD but I think the transition will take longer than people think. By the time it DOES I'll pick up a Z"2"
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Old March 30th, 2005, 09:43 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : If I'm going to shoot in SD why spend 5k to do so when the PD-170 does a better job of it (ie Low light)." -->>>

OK, I'll continue to play the role of devil's advocate :-)

the Z1 is now going for $4,400 from our sponsor Zotz Digital http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=41608, or as Georg points out, the FX-1 is the same price as the PD-170.

I think there are probably some other advantages to the FX1/Z1 design, like a calibrated focus ring which I really wish my VX-2000 and PDX-10 had. And these new cameras have more physical manual controls (like knobs and switches) instead of menu choices or buttons you need to push repeatedly to cycle through options. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to trade my VX-2000 for the FX-1 just for these features. I really dislike all those buttons and menus which make manual control difficult on the PD and VX series.

But if you need every last bit of low light performance then I certainly agree you can't beat the PD-170 and VX-2100. But all this really comes down to personal choice, and a careful analysis of what you need.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 09:51 PM   #10
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You can't compare the FX1 to the PD-170. The FX-1 is what the VX is to the PD-170. (ie...no DVcam, XLR, etc).

The true comparision should be between the PD-170 and Z1. If your not shooting or delivering on HD the biggest benefits would be manual controls (good point- that IS nice) and native 16:9. But is it worth $2,000 for these options? In my opinion- heck no. It's money better spent on a wireless system, glidecam, tripod w/ fluid head, wide angle lense, frezzi minni dimmer w/ softbox, and STILL have money left over for an NLE.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 10:09 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : . But is it worth $2,000 for these options? -->>>

Your numbers a still a little off. B&H is listing the the PD-170 for $3,200 (after the rebate ends tomorrow). Zotz is selling the Z1 - including shipping - for $4,400, so the difference is $1,200 and not $2,000.

Oh, and there's one other difference which could really be significant... the Z1 also shoots PAL. I am considering it just for that capability (standard definition DVCAM mode) because I have an upcoming project in South America where they want PAL. There are also a couple other nice improvements on the Z1, like the ability to completely turn off all that crap that crowds the viewfinder while you record, and a choice of underscan display which shows the entire frame.

As to whether it's worth the $1,200, well each person will have to make that decision based on their needs. I don't shoot weddings or documentaries outside at night myself. I can live just fine with the low light response of my PDX-10, and by all reports the Z1 will be 1/2 to a full f-stop faster than that. I bought my VX-2000 in 2001 because it looked like the best thing I could get (I wanted a PD-150 but they were new and nowhere to be found back then). But if I had to make the choice again I wouldn't even give the VX-2100 or PD-170 a very close look.

But that's just me, and it reflects what my priorities are....
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Old March 30th, 2005, 10:30 PM   #12
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Well I suppose my priorities are seated with wedding videography shooting. Environments which I don't have control over the lighting and are notoriously dark (reception halls).

I still believe as a wedding cam Georg made a VERY wise decision- and don't think others should taunt him making him feel like he didn't make a good investment (not you Boyd but Chris Murphy I was referring to).

I'll with right there with you Boyd, in regards to the HD thing...but in a few years when the Z1 replacement is out and boasts improvements that are condusive to my style of shooting. Really there should have been no reason for Sony to take a step backward in any aspect of the camera's performance. But hey...if they decide to release a PD-190 with native 16:9 SD chips, and .5lux I'd buy it tomorrow. But that is just where my priorities are...

Hey it's been nice chatting with you...I have to hit the hay. Gotta get an early start for tomorrow. I'm going up with the GPVA to NYC for the Weva Town Meeting. Any chance your going to make it Boyd? Speaking of which- we are in the same neck of the woods. I just interviewed at a photography studio and might get a job as a digital portrait retoucher for a high-end studio in Medford.
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Old March 31st, 2005, 05:12 AM   #13
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>>b) Why would you want to go through the extra process of downconverting? And why deal with the hard-drive evaporating size of HD source clips? Plus you need a lot more juice on the hardware end to edit HD source clips.
<<

Because the end product is what matters, the reason why we go through the considerable trouble of filming in the first place? Because we would like what we film today to be watchable 10 or 15 years from now at the best quality we can produce today?
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Old March 31st, 2005, 05:38 AM   #14
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>>b) Why would you want to go through the extra process of downconverting? And why deal with the hard-drive evaporating size of HD source clips? Plus you need a lot more juice on the hardware end to edit HD source clips.
<<

I've never downconverted, so excuse my ignorance. What's involved here? Is it a matter of simply choosing File, Save As in your editing program, or is there more involved?

Data storage: I'm already drowning in storage requirements. What kind of file sizes are we talking about with HD, anyway?

Thanks.
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Old March 31st, 2005, 05:42 AM   #15
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>>If I'm going to shoot in SD why spend 5k to do so when the PD-170 does a better job of it (ie Low light).
<<

Glad you're giving me an opportunity to learn.

With the FX1/Z1, wouldn't you be able to keep your native HD files (sort of like RAW files in still) and then convert them to any resolution you need?

If I'm correct, this would, it seems, give you tremendous flexibility to spit the videos out to a higher def format later on when the format is more widespread.

Low light: from what I've been reading, the Fx1 and Z1 can shoot clean at a higher gain, giving them essentially the same low light abilities as the PD170. Not correct?
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