Sony HVR-Z1U or HDR-FX1

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    • #42215

      Has anyone bought or tested either of these new HDV cameras from Sony? Can anyone attest to their quality? What kind of tapes do they use and how much do they cost? Is the camera 14 3/8 inches with or without the lens hood? Is there auto focus and zoom as well as manual? Would you say the difference between the two is worth the price for the HVR-Z1? I’ll be using XLR audio and want image control…

      Thank you for your help…

    • #177618

      If you need XLR audio, then the difference is significant enough to purchase the Z1. On the image control side, the FX1 has just about everything you would want, basically a few minor differences from the Z1. They both do have manual focus and zoom. One caution though with using manual focus on these cameras is that with the high picture resolution, it is very difficult to tell focus using the viewfinder or lcd. You might be surprised when you get back to the studio and realize that what you thought was in focus really wasn’t as good as it could have been. The auto focus works great however. These cameras use standard MiniDV tapes. You can purchase sony’s HDV tapes when shooting in HD, but the only difference is that the HDV tapes are sony’s best quality tapes available. The actual tape format is the exact same. I use sony premium tapes and have had no problems. The camera is about 14 1/4 with the lens hood on. Also if you plan on using anything on the accessory shoe (say a light) it is about a 1/2 inch longer, you’ll see why when you see it. Good cameras, very fun to use. If you plan on editing or even watching your footage on your computer you better have a very fast machine! Let me know if you want more info.

    • #177619

      I’ve been using the Z1U for about 6 months now and I love it. The image quality is great and the features make it very easy to use and customize for your own needs. I had been using a PD-150 for a long time before and found the Z1U a nice step up. It’s comfortable to use and they added a lot of extra features to the outside that make it more convenient. some of these are: Zebra/peaking switch, easier audio auto/manual selectors, external audio phantom on/off power switches, the hi/low selector switch for the handle zoom and a bunch of others.

      some complaints i have seen are the touchiness of the focus. manual focus can be a little bit of a hassle so it’s best to leave on auto if you have to move around much. also the zoom ring is cool, but i never use it because it doesn’t feel as smooth as i thought it would. if you want to do a creep zoom, just set the low speed on the handle zoom for the speed you want and that’ll do just great. also, the placement of the DV connection is a little hard at times because i worry that the sharp angle of the cable coming down onto my desk when i capture might bend something in the port, but so far it’s been fine.

      overall, i love the camera. the picture profiles are great ways to make your footage look a ton better than normal DV by making saturation and other adjustments easily accessable and you can set a bunch of presets to make sure you get just the right look!

      i don’t have the equipment yet to edit in HDV so i’ve been shooting in HDV but editing in DV and the camera works great. there haven’t been any problems in capturing the footage (the camera automatically downsamples to DV in either letterbox or widescreen DV). everything looks superb.

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