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HXR-NX5 and HVR-Z5

StuMillership's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 03/03/2011 - 5:29pm

Just bought a Sony Z5, even though the NX5 has just come out. For me, the need to record to tape is still important for my work. Anyway, my question is to anybody who knows, is the NX5 anything more than a slightly modified Z5?

Stuart Millership
web: www.stuartmillership.com
twitter: @StuMillership


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

NX5 and Z5 are based of the same core. NX5 records 1920x1080 though while the Z5 only records in 1440x1080 due to the miniDV restrictions. I use 2 Z5s for my business. I LOVE them. And honestly when I play my blu-rays I create from my files on my 50 inch plasma, you wouldn't even know it was lower resolution unless I told you. Also the NX5 has GPS tagging - which I have no clue how to use. I have downloaded supposed raw files from a NX5 with GPS tagging, but yet no editor I can find utilizes it. Not even Vegas which is also Sony. I suppose I could be missing it somewhere but being I don't actually own the camera, I haven't tried very hard.

Now... I do not record to tapes, I use the CF unit. Why I didn't go with the NX5s last year instead of the Z5s I guess I will never know. On the plus side my 1394B port can download my CF footage at about 70 mb/second (even off my 60MB/s cards). Using the NX5 would require a SDHC/MS reader and I do not believe I have found a firewire variety of those yet and would be limited to about 20mb/s with USB 2.0. This could change with USB 3.0 I suppose but those days aren't qute common yet.



Hitched Productions's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/10/2011 - 11:19pm

I cant comment on the Z5 but I have recently purchased a NX5 to shoot weddings. I was using (and still do) a HDR-FX7. The biggest issue with the FX7 was the lack of XLR inputs. The NX5 addresses this. I was a bit skeptical about moving from tapes to solid state but I am loving it (especially after having a few glitches with tapes). I use 2x32GB SD cards which gets me 6 hours. For me, a typical wedding is ~ 3 hours of footage as I use just over one card as opposed to 4-5 tapes (tapes are never full as I always change prior to ceremony/speeches etc). I use the 128GB FMU-128 flash drive as a backup which holds ~ 11 hours (or 3 weddings!!).

I downloaded 3 hours of clips in one hour via USB w/ the NX5 as opposed to real time with the FX7. The only problem so far is that I have had to upgrade to Vegas Pro 10 as the preview window in MS10HD was lagging. That is the problem with AVCHD. The other minor issue is that with the FX7 you could operate in what I call semi-manual mode. You could set the white balance and adjust the iris independently of the shutter speed etc when necessary. The NX5 requires you to fully manage gain, shutter, iris and WB which is fine...BUT...for a wedding is probably a bit of overkill. But hey...it's a so-called 'pro camera'.


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

On the Z5 you can set some of the settings to auto while others are manual, not sure why the NX5 would be any different. In any case I do run full manual now (with the exception of audio) and if you said I would be able to manage all that simultaneously a year ago I would have called you insane. The more you practice the easier it gets and it is all second nature to me now. That deosn't mean I have completely mastered it all yet though...


Don Hermanson's picture
Last seen: 22 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 7:41pm
Plus Member

 I have the Z7U, and I really would like to do all tapeless recording.  I have non-Sony CF cards (apparently, Sony no longer manufactures them!?), and I loaded it into the MCR1 to "format" the card.  I can't seem to get the camera to START!!  Any suggestions?


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

For one, I would stick with Sandisk. I have been using 5 of their 32GB CF cards without issues for over 2 years. When I first got my camera, I tried Kingstona dn one other brand and both failed horribly within an hour of shooting. Failed to the point they no longer were readable from the camera or PC. Had to send both back.


Don Hermanson's picture
Last seen: 22 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 7:41pm
Plus Member

 DH...Many thanks!  Sandisk "developed" the cards, so I am not surprised they should be on/near the top of list of what to use.  Besides the CF, do you use any other digital backup devices--if so, which have been successful for you.


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

I use only the CF cards. My first shoot I used tapes and CF cards, but found it too much of a hassle as the ceremony I shot was over an hour long and it interrupted the shoot, and I do not believe there is a setting that keeps the CF card shooting if you use tape. There is an option I believe that switches to CF card when the tape runs out so you can change tape, but you don't get everything on the card. I have not had to change the setting to record only to CF cards since my second shoot so I don't even remember all the options in the menu off hand, you would have to read up on it.

I could be branded for saying I only use one source but I have never had an issue with the SanDisk cards - not saying it couldn't happen, but I have my faith in them. 32GB gets you 2.5 hrs of straight recording time. And now the cards are a fraction of the price they were a year and a half ago.

The best part is the "odometer" on the camera shows as the tape drum only used for an hour on one camera, and the other camera reads 0. Great for resale when the mechanical parts show little use!


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

That option might be that it records to tape when the CF runs out now that I think of it, but I have not had an issue as 2.5 hours is plenty of time for solid shooting. I


Don Hermanson's picture
Last seen: 22 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 7:41pm
Plus Member

 I am contemplating shooting in the same manner--no tape.  Some others have suggested using a couple of devices which record on internal hard disk (again, as a back up).  The devices have "slow" drives, so I'm sure if they'd be worth it.  Using just the CF, though, sounds like a much easier way to shoot--no other devices to worry about carrying and attaching, etc.    At the same time, I think of computing and the rule to "backup, backup, backup, ...." 

Good to hear you have had no problems shooting CF-only and with no problems.

Thanks for your input!


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

I am not telling you not to use backup, I do so at my own risk and I
realize this. My cards are the 60MB/s variety, and when paired with a
1394b card you will get download speeds of the stated 60Mb/s. You MUST
purchase one for use with a PC and a 1394b reader (mine is also SanDisk)
to get the blazing speed for download as virtually all PC firewire
ports are 1394a which will still work but at about half the speed. This is great for sending the files to your PC!


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

Oh, when I send them to PC I do send them to 2 separate physical drives at least until the project is completed to make sure I have backup there.


Don Hermanson's picture
Last seen: 22 hours 47 min ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 7:41pm
Plus Member

I'm getting closer!  I have the camera, working on the cards, and now shopping for a "matching" reader--still waiting for a suitable computer and editing software.  "One of these first years" I might be able to answer rather than ask questions!!

Many thanks for your help!


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 day ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

Any CF reader will work, I was just listing what you would need to maximize the actual speed of transferring.


Shawn Lam's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 10:53pm

I've used the Sony Z7U, Z5U and NX5U and when I moved to the Sony NEX-FS100 I was blown away at the quality difference. @doublehamm pointed out that the NX5U records at 1920x1080 AVCHD and the Z5 (and Z7) at 1440x1080 HDV.

So you would think that this gives a big advantage but the truth is that the sensors don't have 1920x1080 worth of photosites on the sensor and interpolates the signal to arrive at 1920x1080. I'd probably say the AVCHD camera (NZ5U) has a slight advantage but if you want to get better quality video on a small sensor camera you will require either an external HDMI or HD-SDI video recorder (Atomos Ninja is a good one) or switch to a large sensor camera (Sony VG10/20 or Sony NEXFS100).

The reason for the external recorder is that the small sensors are very noisy and the codec can't do a good job of compressing both the noise and the detail so the whole thing is soft.

An external recorder has 100-240Mbps intraframe codecs (every frame and not an interframe codec like ABCHD or HDV) and can at least preserve the detail.

Here is a blog post I did on large sensor acquisition that talks about the NX5U and the FS100.

Vancouver Videographer compares Sony NX5U to Sony FS100