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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old November 25th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lismore, New South Wales
Posts: 31
Dust & the Z1

Thanks for the responses to my last query about how tough the Z1 is. I now have an update from the service centre. Basically the camera was full of dust.

Bob Hart suggested a dust proof bag for transport, which we're in the process of acquiring.

One of the solutions that has been suggested to my by a colleague was to use a burn treatment called "Second Skin". The idea being to cover the buttons and joins on the casing.

As I work in one of the dustiest places on the planet this is going to be an ongong problem and I don't want to have to send the camera off every 3 months for a service. If anyone has a solution or idea I'd be glad to hear it.

Thanks in advance

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Old November 25th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #2
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Cross your two index fingers of each hand in the form of a crucifix, hold them in front of you and tell temptation to be gone.

The chances of a contaminant leaching out from the burn dressing and wicking down the sides of the buttons and gluing them are too great in the environment you operate in.

I know what he is getting at, like the coffee covers for computer keyboards and it is a good thought some of the camera or after-market accessory people should look at.

I can't in all conscience claim credit for suggesting the bag although I do use one, plastic bin bag as good as any. Turn it inside-out to drop any dust off it and grip the camera handle through the bag and pull it right in like rolling a sock or a butcher putting mince in a bag.

I also wrap the camera up in an old towel which is not shedding lint. The towel helps manage temperature changes like car airconditioning and picks up dust and stuff which drops off the plastic bag, like fine bits of spinifex, powdered locust wings and legs as you open it to take the camera out. If you can find an old worn white state government towel or one from the hospital, these are best as the cotton is harder.

The problem with the Z1 will be the cassette enclosure and door. Anything lobbing onto the tapered upper surface will slide down and go straight into the slot around the door. When operating, the drum spins fast enough as a centrifugal blower to set up quite violent little air currents inside with the tape itself acting as a diffuser. I would not be surprised if entry and exit airflows occur through the gaps around the door when the camera is running.

Sony obviously considered dust and debris as there is a debris guard on the door inside which doubles as a push bar for shoving the cassette tray into place which I don't do. Trouble is, where do the bits of dust and grass debris go when you attempt to wipe them off this guard.

The PD150, for all its other ergonomic faults had the advantage of a more upright arrangement. There were good chances of something falling right through or being ejected when the door opened in its usually violent fashion before the tape cassette followed it out.

I am persuaded in this direction by a bit of something flying up into my right eye when I opened the door one day with the camera on a tripod. I was peering closely at that sliding button type thing to find out why it was not working when it finally did.

The sliding thumb from over the top seems to be as good a method as any for moving it.

The PD150 door is also under the shelter of the right hand for much of the time even if that sweaty palm brings its own problems.

In a hostile environment, I tape the Z1 door over but this also brings a cleanup job later as the sticky goo off the tape moves onto the plastic in the heat.

When cleaning down a dusted camera, my personal preference is to use a small paintbrush and the nozzle of an operating vacuum cleaner nearby. This helps to keep stuff from dropping off the brush into cracks and grooves. The little Makita cordless vacuums are powerful enough.

You don't want too much vacuum as this sets up powerful air currents around and through the camera which may move dust into the camera before you get around to cleaning it off. Just use the vacuum nozzle like a dustpan to collect the dust you pluck off and clean the brush every now and then.

If I can't use this method, I prefer to leave the camera grubby until I can and take care not to sweep stuff into the cassette door area in the meantime.

Don't use canned air for blasting the camera clean. It is probably best not to disturb any invisible debris which is already in the cassette enclosure except by shoving a piece of plastic tube up the vacuum nozzle and using the free end to try to pick up anything which might be lying in the bottom of the cassette space. Don't shove it anyplace you can't see. Stay away from any of the tape transport path and drum. That's for the Steve the expert at Optel to mess with.

There it is, a little pedantic and wordy and probably not much real help.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 25th, 2007 at 10:57 PM. Reason: error
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Old November 25th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lismore, New South Wales
Posts: 31
Thanks Bob,

I've been doing a bit of phoning around as well and basically what you have described is the concensus. If you're working in a dusty environment protect as much as possible but there is no cure.

Someone suggested clear contact to cover the joins on the camera body, but of course you run into the sticky goo factor when it gets hot and slips off or attracts more dust.

I can see my camera kit getting a linen overhaul in the next day or two. Thanks again for your help.

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