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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.

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Old July 21st, 2007, 02:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
John -
Have you had hands on with an FX7? Might be worth renting for a day or something - it's not bad. I too consider the HC7 to be a real "workhorse" - but the FX7 was way more cam than I expected. Still getting used to it, but it immediately gives you a LOT more to work with.
Yes. Tried out both the FX7 and V1. I was satisfied with the PQ when there was ample light, but low light performance was horrible in my opinion. Of course, I didn't like the Canon XHA1's low light performance either. Maybe, I'm being too picky. Also, I'm probably biased when it comes to small chips. I guess I'm mainly disappointed that Sony didn't put in their 1/3rd inch CMOS chips. I think that would have improved the low light performance by a 1/2 stop or so.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 07:16 AM   #17
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I would submit you're biased about numbers (chip size). The surface area of the 1/4 chip in it's diagonal mode isn't tremendously different than that of a 1/3 chip, which is why they did it.
No HDV camcorder (including the HC7) is worth much in low light, it becomes a question of whether you need the "moment" badly enough to deal with the tradeoffs.
FWIW, I have at least one of every HDV cam made in the last two years, and have found that while the Z1 and HC5 are my primary use cams (Z1 on the ground, HC5 on my helmet) I use the V1 heavily as well (over 400 hours on 4 V1U's).
The A1 is a great cam too, but the OIS can't be completely disabled, making it an aerial deal breaker.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 11:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by John Bosco Jr. View Post
I was satisfied with the PQ when there was ample light, but low light performance was horrible in my opinion. Of course, I didn't like the Canon XHA1's low light performance either. Maybe, I'm being too picky. Also, I'm probably biased when it comes to small chips.
Sounds to me like you're too used to the VX2100 or PD170 or similar SD cams, and, maybe, as DSE suggested, a bit of an issue with anything that has smaller than 1/3in sensors. In my opinion that's a little bit too short-sighted but each to his own, as they say.

Reality is due to the nature of HDV, none of the HDV cams does anywhere near as good a job as far as pure lowlight performance (ignoring res etc) as cams like the VX and PD.

This is the way it is - the Canon XHA1 has the slightly larger 1/3in sensors and you still didnt even like that.

IMO you have to accept that there is "no such thing as a free lunch" (in life and video) & take on board the concept that there is a price to pay for HDV resolution which you have found I think.

Everybody sooner or later educates themselves on the pro's and cons of SD, HD etc and makes a choice about what is the best choice for their own current purposes, essentially.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 03:12 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle View Post
It's all about size. Three 1/4 CMOS are going to be better than one 1/4 CMOS, and one 1" CMOS is going to be better than three 1/3 CMOS, so it's all relative. Chip size plays a huge role in sensitivity, not to mention other factors to consider as well.
There is another advantage of the 3 CMOS that - I think - is unsufficiently spoken of... It seems to me that HDV camcorders are more prone to moiré than the DV generations, probably because of the higher sensor resolution that will more often match repeating patterns as on brick walls, stone, cliffs, stone churches... And I found that, with a single-CMOS like the HC3, the moiré effect shows itself with erratic colors like purple/green or blue/yellow that appear on those stone surfaces - *very* annoying when it happens. Whereas on the FX7, moiré is really the exception and when it happens, it is completely color-neutral. Barely visible in fact. That proved very important to me as I mostly shoot outdoors.
Originally Posted by Mike Burgess View Post
[...] PS. And I feel reasonably sure that Sony will continue to concentrate on producing smaller and smaller HD camcorders, and not come out with a replacement for the FX7 within the next few months, and thereby put my plans in a tailspin.
I wouldn't worry that much about that, not because I would know anything about Sony's product plan (I don't), but because this is really a camcorder to grow and learn with. Before a camcorder such as the FX7/V1 proves itself the weakest link in anyone's production workflow (and therefore requires purchase of more sophisticated / expensive technology), it means that this person has assembled sufficient videographing experience that he/she is able to pull up attractive, interesting videos, that are able to capture the audience's attention and praise -- for the content I mean, not just how technologically good the video looks like. It really takes a long learning curve, before all that's left to improve is switching from the FX7/V1 to 'the next best thing'. Outdoors, FX7 video is *very* realistic.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 07:19 PM   #20
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Well, just got back home from family reunions (in-laws) and decided to check in with you all. It is nice to find that I can participate again in a subject that I am interested in (not about the current crops that are being harvested, nor who has died, etc.).

Ray. I noticed that very thing about how the FX7 that my friend just bought was able to handle those contrasting areas of light and dark, making them seem much more natural, with no overexposures, just the way my eyes would see it. My old single chip DV cam would always be having major troubles with that.

Stephan. As for me worrying about sony coming out with something new just as I receive my new FX7 (yes Adam, I many times have that same super natural power), only if that new product were to completely blow the FX7 out of the water for the same price, would I have any regrets. I am thinking that the FX7 will give me plenty of room to grow over the next few years as my skills increase and my knowledge of the camera improves.

It is nice to see some good discussion about this camcorder. From what I have observed on some of the other forums, little or nothing is ever mentioned concerning the FX7. It leads to the impression that the camcorder is not a good seller due to it maybe being an inferior cam (which is not necessarily true) and therefore no reason to be talked about. Seeing all of you chimming in on this thread is fantastic. It reinforces my decision on getting this camcorder. Thank you all very much. Am looking forward to when I finally have one in my hands, and am heading out to do a shoot.

Here is one question: Is a UV filter something that would be good to get? Suggestions as to which kind (if it is good to get one)?

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Old July 22nd, 2007, 11:59 PM   #21
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Mike -
I know that I was curious about the FX7 - just as you note, it really didn't seem to show up much in reviews/discussion. Enough on the V1 to convince me that the technology was solid, but little on the FX7...

Finally stumbled upon one at a price I couldn't go resist, and I can only say that it was an instant favorite - as I went through the menus and fiddled with the settings, I probably had one silly grin on my face, as I was thrilled to find all the things that I liked about the Z1 in a cam that would be manageable in size and weight. I haven't had as much time to shoot with it as I'd like, but the footage I've shot really knocks me out.

Don't be afraid to pick one up - I think the "low profile" this cam has had so far makes it a bit of a "sleeper" best buy - as I mentioned I'm seeing someone selling on Ebay at 2K shipped... that's what the venerable HC1 went for new a couple years ago, and the FX7 is far more camera. I'm almost tempted to pick up a "B" cam at that price, but my HC7's work fine for that!

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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:18 AM   #22
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Thanks Dave, for the encouragement. I have never shopped E-bay and don't know if I ever will. Just not at all that comfortable with the idea of it all. Besides, I don't have a pay pal account.
As for the camcorder, yes, I agree with you. The FX7 will undoubtedly give me enough to do with what it has, to occupy me for several months or more. My shooting has improved greatly over the past 2-3 years to where I will be ready to step up to the FX7. I am not quite ready for anything more complex....my level of smartness will probably be maxed with the FX7, so I am not considering the Canon A1 (although I read good things about it), nor am I ready for the V1. Besides, they cost much more.
So, the FX7 it is, and I do love the picture it produces. Hopefully, in a year or two, the debate between HD DVD and BR will have been settled, and prices will be down enough for me to begin completing what I need to produce my own discs in HD.
Right now all my programs are in SD. Need to move up as soon as possible, and the FX7 will be my first step. But even shooting in HD and then producing a DVD in SD is, right now, better than what I produce using my DV single chip cam. And I have seen it with what I was able to download and burn from my friends footage off of the FX7. So, I am really hyped to get the FX7 in my hands as soon as I can and do my own thing.

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