are these good values for a used Z1? at
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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 April 17th, 2010, 05:08 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: London
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are these good values for a used Z1?

trying to buy a used Z1 from a single owner for a decent price (around 1900)

opearation 50 x 10 h
drum run 30 x 10h
tape run 22 x 10h
treading 84 x 10h

are these good values?
what should I physically check in the camcorder when I go and test it to make sure it's not a scam or something seriously wrong?

Federico Perale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2010, 06:47 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
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The expensive thing on a camera that wears out is the video heads, and some of the numbers you listed are hours that the video heads have been used.

Tape run (i.e. "play" or "record) is ~220 hours. Drum run (i.e. "pause" or "play" or "record" is 300 hours.

I would probably clean my heads around 250 hours, then every 250 hours thereafter. This is the thing a shop would charge their minimum charge for. Around here, $50 - $80. If you had isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip, you could do it yourself (if you knew how). I find an extra $20 can make the college-age tech much more likely to allow you to watch the first time, thereby allowing you to do this service yourself in the future.

You are probably due for a head cleaning soon. If you are serious (and particularly anal) a donation of $50-$80 to this guy's camera could see it opened up in a shop, and you can ask the tech "what do you think?".

I would examine the pinch roller (if I were doing this myself) each time I cleaned the heads, but if I were paying for this service, I would have it done every 500. The pinch roller is cheap, and usually minimum charge to install. Assume doing this every 1000 head hours. You are probably halfway there.

This is a total shot in the dark, but I would expect the heads on a pro-sumer cam to last 4000 - 5000 hours. I suspect this number is a median, where some cameras would die very, very early (when dropped off a ladder), and some would last to 10000 hours.

IMHO, the camera you posted about is low in hours, and a good purchase (depending on price).

When I buy a used camera, it's like when I buy a used car. I know if I ask "so, did you drive like a maniac and hit every pothole?", the guy will deny it regardless of the truth, so I examine other factors and assume for it. The guy who drives like a maniac also leaves french fries under the seat and doesn't worry about door dings. The guy who is very careful about cleanliness and door dings probably changes the oil every 3k religiously.

On your camera, look for scratches. "What kind of tape do you use?" If it's "whatever is cheapest at the convenience store", you know who you've got on your hands. What kind of bag do you carry it in? (Does it just roll around in the passenger seat?) Is there a clear filter on the lens? Does the guy handle it like a newborn baby or like a football?
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16th, 2010, 04:12 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester UK
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Frederico, there's one other consideration - if you're going to record to an MRC 1K the head wear is a non sequitur. In that situation I'd concern myself more with the overall appearance and decide how the camera's been treated. I always look at the tripod screw hole. If that's surrounded with scratches there's a good chance the camera's been roughly handled.
Philip Howells is offline   Reply

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