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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 March 12th, 2020, 08:18 PM   #1
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Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

Greetings fellas. I have been using the Z5 for a while now. I only record to the compact flash card due to ease of use. Is there a magic picture setting to this camera that I am not aware of? I have a couple picture profiles set, but no matter what I use, the image just seems underwhelming for a camera of this caliber. Now I'm not expecting a 4k super image, but it just seems that once all is said and done, a cell phone camera can capture a clearer image than this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I heard that the camera is capable of putting out more than it was intended with the proper settings.
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Old March 12th, 2020, 09:59 PM   #2
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

What make and model camera is a Z5? The only Z5 I know of is the Sony Xperia Z5.

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Old March 13th, 2020, 02:40 AM   #3
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

Sorry, It's the HVR-Z5U
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Old March 13th, 2020, 05:28 AM   #4
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

My well-used Z5 is gathering dust, but I was never disappointed with the HD image quality it produced. I always used the custom picture profile from Doug Jensen's DVD on Mastering the Z7U.
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Old March 13th, 2020, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

Something just seems off with it. I feel like it's not sharp enough, and it seems to get a lot of noise at moderate lighting conditions without using any gain. My fx7 seemed to have better picture quality, and that was with 1/4 inch sensors. I always record to compact flash and not tape. Not sure if that has any bearing on it whatsoever. But if there is a magical picture profile setting that magically transforms this camera, I would love to see it.
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Old March 14th, 2020, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

I think what you are seeing is pretty normal for an HVR-Z5U. Having shot with and owned a number of Sony's 1/3" cameras over the years my observation is that 1) they aren't really decent performers in low light and 2) if you shot much over f5.6 heading towards f11.0 the cameras became quite soft because they ran into lens diffraction. Small sensors and tiny pixels is a hard ask for low light if you want low noise.

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Old March 14th, 2020, 08:27 AM   #7
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

Chris, you touch on a very good point that is often overlooked by a lot of people. It is not simply a matter of plugging in some picture profile settings and suddenly having a camera that performs better. Getting the right exposure, choosing the right f-stop, and even how the white balance is set all play a role in the final image quality. There isn't a week goes by that someone doesn't contact me asking about my recommended profile settings for one camera or another. But generally I choose not to provide those settings because it just furthers the myth that punching in some menu settings is going to be the cure. Mastering all aspects of the camera is the cure.

Jerry, my comments are not directed at you so please don't take offense. I have no idea how you are shooting with your Z5 and there is nothing wrong with asking for settings advice. I'm just adding to Chris's comments that there is more to obtaining pleasing images than some people understand. Number one rule: Shoot at maximum aperture all the time to avoid diffraction. If someone isn't already doing that, then no picture profile is going to cure the problem.
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Old March 14th, 2020, 03:40 PM   #8
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

No offense taken. I welcome any input from you guys on this. Keeping the aperture open is something I will give a try. I guess I will keep it at it's base picture profile. Seems to be the safest course of action. Any other insights on the z5? I would love to upgrade to an nx5r, but umm $$$$$$. So the Z5 will have to do. That being said, any tips to post production in sony vegas to maintain the integrity of the image?
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Old March 15th, 2020, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: Z5 image quality.....what am I missing

In Vegas I suggest you edit in it's default setting which is 8-bit as your footage is 8-bit plus it's delivers smoother performance if on lower powered hardware systems. But when it comes to render time even though your footage is 8-bit you will find benefits to switching to full 32-bit render video levels. What does benefit from pushing your renders out in 32-bit floating point (i.e. 10-bit) as opposed to 8-bit is that it will do a better job of large areas of color like skies etc. Helps smooths out banding issues. This setting can be changed under the Pixel Format which which you will find under the File/Properties/Video tab. If at any time you work with 10-bit footage you should always be working under 32-bit floating point settings in Vegas for optimum 10-bit results.

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