Newbie, Sony HVR-Z5U pre-purchase questions at
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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.

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Old November 29th, 2009, 04:55 PM   #1
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Newbie, Sony HVR-Z5U pre-purchase questions

Long time reader, first time poster. I am a newbie (11 weddings this year) wedding videographer looking for a smooth transition to HD. I wondered if anyone could answer a couple questions about the Sony HVR-Z5U:

I have struggled with audio and currently use my VX2100 cameras mic and a small audio recorder in the grooms pocket. With the z5U, can I can have a shotgun mic AND a wireless mic recording at the same time to 2 seperate tracks? If so, will it appear as 2 tracks that I can simply edit during post? I am looking for a safe and reliable solution that would not require headphones, settings and adjustments.

Also, if I also purchased the flash memory, would it be safe to record only to the flash memory pack? I guess this question is about the reliability of flash memory and would it be wise to still record to tape since this camera will do both simoultanously.

Thanks all....
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Old November 29th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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You can send either input to either channel, mostly, using either the onboard mic, the included external shotgun mic, or any other mic, or any combination of the above. It will record as one track with two separate channels (L + R) that you can split into independent tracks in editing. Some NLEs might let you import two channels as two separate tracks.

You must always wear headphones, regardless. You should adjust the tracks independently and manually, but if you really don't want to you could leave either or both on auto and get sort of okay results.

Unfortunately, it takes work to do it well.

The flash MRU is pretty reliable but most people record to tape as well as a backup. Be aware that even though you can set the MRU to keep recording while you change tapes, you will get a brief audio dropout on your flash file if you change tapes while still recording to the MRU.

This should probably be in the Z5 forum.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #3
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I have been using a VX2000 for several years, which is basically the same as your cam. The Z5 is a really nice cam and a good camera to step up from the VX. The low light is as good (maybe a tad better) in my estimation than the VX2000 (the VX2100 was slightly better in low light than the VX2000), but the low light indoors video seems to be more clear and less noisy.

Another nice thing about the Z5 is the lens is much wider at full wide. I always keep a .65 WA lens on my VX and the Z5 is even wider than the .65 on my VX! Great for indoor video .. probably would be nice for weddings as well. The audio is a lot better although I think the audio control dial on the VX was in a much handier place than where they put them on the Z5. The focus and zoom rings/iris have a much better feel.

There are so many more camera and menu options on the Z5 compared to the VX/PD's, it will keep you busy to lean them all. Oh, on your question about recording only to the MRC-1, yes you can record exclusively to it. When you do that, it shuts down the tape motor (a good thing). Here's a tip: If you are going to buy the MRC-1, knowing what I know now, I would seriously learn more about the Z7 and give it serious consideration. I watched the video on the Z7 and I didn't realize the lens could do full auto and manual (I thought it was only manual). If you have a little more money to spend and don't plan to record to tape anyway, consider the new PWM-EX1R ..or whatever the new replacement is. 5t just came out. It uses SxS memory ($$) but on the major upside, it has 1/2" chips and low light and depth of field would be better.

Note: I read a lot of reviews where people really complain about the Z5 menu dial. Yeah it's cheap feeling and the action could be better, but the reviews I read almost make you think it's a deal breaker. To me, it's not that major of a deal. It' just takes a little getting used to and a little more care when using. It just shows Sony can't please everybody.
Mark Goodsell
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:19 PM   #4
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Just one more item I should have covered in my above post: The image of the VX video looks "pretty darn good" on a moderate size HD set, but the Z5 video is REALLY nice and stunning IMO. Also, the steady-shot seems to be more effective and fluid ..if you do a lot of hand-heald stuff. It's almost the same size ..other than the lens hood is quite a bit wider. Here a link to Adam Wilt's article if you haven't read it:
ProVideo Camera Log by Adam Wilt | Founder | Pro Cameras, HDV Camera, HD Camera, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, RED, Video Camera Reviews
Mark Goodsell
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Old December 11th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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I have had success with the Compact Flash but I still back it up with tape for multiple reasons. The audio can be adjusted like any 2 channel audio file. Also, you can use a wireless and shotgun together or you can use the internal mic for nat sound or ambience.
I don't know of any audio equipment that I would ever trust without headphones. That's a disaster waiting to happen.
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