About to buy a PD170... - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 3rd, 2006, 12:00 PM   #16
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,543
Just a few other thoughts on this. Mike makes some good points and is certainly not alone in his opinion, especially amongst people who shoot dimly lit wedding receptions.

There are a few other things which can level the playing field on the FX1 and Z1 however. The "hyper gain" on the Z1 will let you do the "surveillance thing" if you don't mind the noise. Also, you can gain another stop by shooting at 1/30 second on the Z1/FX1 with no quality loss for regular DV. Cameras like the PD-170 do field doubling at the 1/30 shutter speed, and that reduces their vertical resolution by 50% so it's usually undesirable. But the FX1/Z1 do this field doubling at high-def resolution, then downsample to 720x480 in DV mode. This means you don't lose any vertical resolution when shooting at 1/30 sec and when coupled with a gain boost, it might give you just the edge you need to get comparable footage with the PD/VX series.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 12:15 PM   #17
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: France
Posts: 578
I think in essense they are both good cameras and have their stronger and weaker points...

Both will produce first rate pictures, so as I said personnally I wouldn't get too hung up about the marginal differences...

Well lit pictures, whether it be natural or artificial light, will always look better than poorly lit pictures...

The clincher for me on the FX was the native 16:9.... I hate square format cameras... never liked 6x6 when I shot stills... and the superior manual iris control. This is used on every single shot for me not just the occasional low light one.. so is mega important...(oh and I couldn't afford the Z1...LOL)

cheers
Gareth
Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 01:09 PM   #18
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 125
This is such a tough purchase decision......I can't remember this much indecision on any purchase I've ever made. I've seen the stills, but it's just not like seeing the actual thing on a monitor, maybe I should just rent both.

Chris, thanks for your input on testing your vx2000 and fx1, would the PD170 not have better low light than the vx2000 though??

Boyd, very interesting regarding the hyper-gain (but i don't think the fx1 has this? z1 only?), and using the 1/30 shutter speed with no frame doubling might really help.

The kicker is that I'm just starting out now and as every month goes by, more and more HD Tv's get sold, even if people arent' actually watching HD, they'll definitely want widescreen. The native 16:9 of the FX1 could just be the feature that pushes the decision.
Does anybody know why the Z1 is rated 2lux and the FX1 is rated 3lux....wouldn't they have the same chips and dsp etc.?
Mike McKay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 01:43 PM   #19
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: France
Posts: 578
Hi Mike,
I think you'll find that's untrue, they are both the same...

to my mind the major differences that would interest me on the Z1 as compared to the FX (aside the XLR audio and controls) are the extra gamma (black stretch), and possibly the peaking tweeks, or 4:3 output... but these were not worth a grand extra to me..

With a beachtek and an FX1 you'll shoot 90% of what you need to shoot on a Z1.

cheers
Gareth

Last edited by Mike Rehmus; February 3rd, 2006 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Polite words only, please
Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 04:40 PM   #20
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 14
What really matters is why you are buying the camera and for what needs. What project are you involved with and what are the requirements to successfully get your stuff where it needs to be. I am producting a documentary and about six music videos that will be made into a variety show with the addition of a comedian and a "man on the street." All are SD, not 16:9 or HD. None of the networks here even mention 16:9 or HD in conversation. My PD170 was purchased with the knowledge that HD models were only a few months away, but the project I was involved with could not wait, and I needed a reliable camera and not an unknown.

I just purchased Super VHS and we will try to get that on the air to prove a point about not needing the latest and greatest to access TV. I am moving backward because the PD170 video was equal or better than much of what was showing on air at the time..... All I care about is the images that make it into my editor - how they get there is not an issue to me.

It is the project; but if your thing is more recreational shooting - then buy the Z1 and have fun exploring the new technology. It is strange to see how much good camera work and ideas mean in the end and how little technology means in getting a project finished successfully - IMHO.....
Maurice Ali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 05:56 PM   #21
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 125
Gareth, I presume you meant the vx2000 and pd170 would be the same in low light performance? I know there is a vx2100, but I haven't looked into that yet.
I have a couple of projects lined up that will incorporate some low light scenarios like outdoor patio dining under dim lamp lights, and some very early morning scenes, ie: just before the sun has started to rise as well as some sunset shots. However the bulk of my shooting will be in well lit environments.
I saw some great low light footage from a PD170 and was very impressed with the overall image quality and it would be plenty of camera to create these promo videos. However, some of the clients could be displaying on newer LCD tv's with 16:9 aspect ratios at the tradeshows they attend, along with sending DVD's of the promo material to their prospective clients.

When I saw that FX1's are basically the same price as a 170's, that is when I started thinking, ok native 16:9, better manual controls, future proof..ish, add an XLR adapter and the audio should be solved.....(HD a potentially big bonus by the end of this year)..that really only leaves low light. And that seems to be the most argued point with some saying it's a not that big an issue and others saying it's huge issue.
I guess that leaves a guy like me in a real quandry, I'm leaning FX1 and sell true 16:9 to the clients as a bonus and hope I can work with the low light I'll be faced with.
It's a tough choice to be sure. Thanks to everybody's input on this topic.
Mike McKay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 06:25 PM   #22
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Mike,

Depending on your needs, you might consider renting or buying a DSR-570 WS camera (or any of the big pro cameras that meet your needs). The image this camera develops is incredible and its DSP is superior to any of the smaller cameras. The options available for manipulating the image are better than with the smaller cameras as well. And the sound quality and lens are both very noticably better. Beyond that, if you put female talent in front of the camera, the controllable skin-color only soft focus is a big hit.

There is a lot to be said about renting specific solutions rather than owning them and tying all your money up in equipment that will become obsolete faster than you can write if off your taxes.

While my PD-150 is the best camera I own for extreme low light, my DSR-300, which is very close to the DSR-570 in 4:3 image quality, has a better image, is easier and faster to control, has richer colors and holds detail better in high-contrast scenes than the 150. But it does need another stop or two of light to exhibit the same noise level. A DSR-370 or 390 (still 4:3 cameras) have about the same low light level capablity as the 150/170 family but lack the 16:9 chip.

I've had the 170 and a 390 side by side at NAB and evaluated the images. The 390 (or the 570) have 'better' pictures.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 06:33 PM   #23
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Rehmus
Beyond that, if you put female talent in front of the camera, the controllable skin-color only soft focus is a big hit.
The Z1 has skin tone/detail adjustments too, although I haven't used them yet. Not sure about the FX1. The color correction functions, while confusing, also give you a lot of image control (you can pick either one or two specific colors and modify them).
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2006, 07:17 PM   #24
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Estonia
Posts: 214
Quote:
When I saw that FX1's are basically the same price as a 170's, that is when I started thinking, ok native 16:9, better manual controls, future proof..ish, add an XLR adapter and the audio should be solved.....(HD a potentially big bonus by the end of this year)..that really only leaves low light. And that seems to be the most argued point with some saying it's a not that big an issue and others saying it's huge issue.
I guess that leaves a guy like me in a real quandry, I'm leaning FX1 and sell true 16:9 to the clients as a bonus and hope I can work with the low light I'll be faced with.
It's a tough choice to be sure. Thanks to everybody's input on this topic.
If your only output is DVD and true 16:9 is important to you and your clients, then I cannot see a reason why you shouldn't get the FX1. HD is still rather far away from the broadcast world, but you could have lots of fun exploring the new technology in form of the FX1, as Maurice Ali said above. Cameras like the PD and VX series are proven workhorses today and they will probably serve the industry for quite some time. While you can think that 16:9 output is very important for your customers, then your products are still bought for their content and no normal person would skip the video just because it isn't widescreen.
Georg Liigand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 12:14 AM   #25
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838
Link to VX2K and FX! comparison

I believe the VX2000,2100 and the PD all have the same basic chip set, lenses, and low light capabilities. The PD may have more adjustable features, including more gain settings.

Here is link to the two shots I did of the same dimly lit room, with camera on auto. The overhead light in family area has 4 60 watt bulbs. There are no lights on in table area or kitchen which is to left of table.

In reviewing the tape, I note I actually shot the FX1 footage in the DV mode. I did not downconvert from an original HDV shot. This was shot in actual DV on the FX1. The VX2000 footage was shot in the 16x9 mode on that camera.

The render to the QT file hides some things. Of course there is a lot of compression from a 250 mg avi file to a .mov file. I think the FX1 footage actualy looks much sharper in DV. The colors also seem deeper. The VX2000 footage looks a bit grainier than the FX1, and less sharp.

Here is link if you want to look.

http://www.makeyourfilm.net/download...0cams%20DV.mov
__________________
Chris J. Barcellos
Chris Barcellos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 04:43 AM   #26
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Estonia
Posts: 214
Thanks for this great comparision!

Actually your VX2000 was better than I expected in that situation. Considering that it was also the built-in 16:9 mode, then it was rather good. VX2000's colours seemed to be less saturated, but that's probably because of the less advanced gain technology on that camera. I believe VX2100 and PD170 would have given similar colours to your FX1 - they keep good colours even with max. gain and don't turn greyish.
Georg Liigand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #27
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,778
For me. It all comes down to is it worth the extra money for the differences. Chroma is close enough that I can push that in post production. The FX1 would be higher resolution than the VX2000 due to native 16:9 chips but I don't know if that's obvious in the web compressed video. I can't speak to the grain I'm seeing but the FX1 is definitely more grainy in low light at least compared to the VX2100/PD-170.

BTW I wouldn't use Sorenson 3 for this kind of comparison. For web compression, I'd recommend H.264 which will play in Quicktime 7. The quality would be much closer to the original video.

For many potential purchasers, it's not just which is "better," it's Return on Investment. Is the demand there. Will the quality difference in DV bring you more business (native 16:9) or will increased grain (worse low light performance in the FX1) hurt . . . or will neither make much of a difference to your potential customers. Will clients pay more for the added work flow issues/gear if you go HD now? Based on the above it might make sense to have a good quality 16:9 SD work flow vs the decreased low light performance (which can simply be fixed by adding an on camera light for a few hundred dollars and a battery tethered to you, in those situations). As a 170 user, XLRs are important for me so it would be the Z1 for me. For me, it's not just the image quality, but the time/money cost of the work flow I have to consider. As a Professional I simply can not consider delivering without proper color correction if I'm editing in HD. Shooting 16:9 DV doesn't add much cost to the work flow at all though. I'm just not sure if the difference between a 170 and a Z1 with 16:9 will increase my business enough to offset the cost. Sure I like 16:9 but I think my ROI will be much faster if I wait a year. It's easy enough to switch sooner if I see the demand escalate though.

My own suggestion. If you're buying a first camera or updating a very old camera the FX1/Z1 is a great way to go now. If you have a very productive camera and the change wont give your business a boost then there's no reason to rush. I also think in a year from now the HVX200/DVCProHD/Tapeles work flow will be much more price competitive to HDV.
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #28
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,778
Low light on the FX1?

I know the Z1 has a "hypergain" mode. While it's much nosier than the vx2100/pd170, it allows one to shoot in extreme low light and still get an image . . . although it's pretty ugly.

Does the FX1 have "hypergain" mode?
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 12:32 PM   #29
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,543
Any questions related to the difference between the FX1 and Z1 are easily answered in this table right here at HDVinfo.net: http://www.hdvinfo.net/articles/sonyhdrfx1/compare.php
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #30
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838
Compression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Georg Liigand
Thanks for this great comparision!

Actually your VX2000 was better than I expected in that situation. Considering that it was also the built-in 16:9 mode, then it was rather good. VX2000's colours seemed to be less saturated, but that's probably because of the less advanced gain technology on that camera. I believe VX2100 and PD170 would have given similar colours to your FX1 - they keep good colours even with max. gain and don't turn greyish.
Georg:

The compression for download was responsible for evening out some of the look. I will checking out Craigs suggestions below your post for use of h.264 render. The DV footages shows a low bigger difference between FX1 and VX2000. I think what I called grain was actually the resolution issue.

Craig:

I will check out h.264, but is codec available to render in Vegas or Premiere Pro 2.0 ?
__________________
Chris J. Barcellos
Chris Barcellos is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:22 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network