Trading out Z5Us – camera depreciation?

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    • #48890

      I currently have 2 Z5s that are in each their own great cameras. For my multi-camera setups, as many of you know, there is slight (very slight) color mis-matching going on, which to be honest is an easy fix in post with saved addon settings. My guess is ordering them 5 months apart they are slightly different machines. That, among some other factors has made me think about changinng these out for other cameras purchased at the same time to **hopefully** give me something more suited to what I am doing.

      Each Z5U ($4000 new at BH) also has the MRC1 compact flash recording unit ($750 new at BH). I also have 5x32GB Sandisk CF Cards ($185 EACH new at BH). There has not been much tapes used in these cameras at all. The “odometer” readings on the cameras are very low on tape hours. One of them in fact has NO tape use reading on it (truthfully I used the tape deck in that one today for the first time to record a 30 second test clip, but that is it). All the use has pretty much been just CF recording – so very little mechanical use. Each camera is in excellent condition. If I sold these as single camera packages, one with 2 CF cards, the other with 3 CF cards, what would you suggest? Brand new retail either way would be over $5000 per camera. Are there some great camera selling services out there besides eBay? I would be happy selling each as a package one at a time on eBay for $4000 (yes I know one gets you an extra CF card), but would I be doing myself a huge injustice and not get my max value? I am not sure of the depreciation rates of video cameras, but what I have seen does not make me think they fall very fast.

      What I was thinking after selling these is getting 2 NX5s (or AX2000). Now what I want to know is what are the real differences between the NX5 and AX2000? The only ones I see at first glance are:

      1. AX2000 does not have 720p. Who uses that anyway? And why not downconvert your full HD to 720 if you absolutely had to?

      2. AX2000 does not have 2 cold shoe mounts. I would maybe miss this, as a lot of times I have a video light on the front and a wireless receiver on the back of my Z5s, but the AX2000 is $500 less and I could gaffer tape that receiver to the handle every time I was in that situation if need be. A little less convenient, but $500 gets you a lot of gaffers tape! Or if there was a way to add another shoe mount in a cheaper way I would do that

      3. AX2000 does not have a mount for the FMU128 flash recording unit. While it could be convenient to be able to record 11 hours of video, the $650 price tag for that is a bit steep. I have used a few microcenter class 10 SDHC cards in my Panasonic consumer recently, and they are less than $60 for 32GB – none have failed me yet. In my eyes if the FMU fails, it is WAY more of a liability to replace. I have also heard some bad reviews on it. With 2 32 GB SDHC (or pro duo which are pricy) you can record 6 hours without worrying about changing cards. That would be perfect for my weddings, I can get away with less than that per camera in a day unless my assistant goes camera happy which has happened.

      4. Now this is the only difference I am unsure of on how it would affect my shooting. Both cameras can record in Dolby Digital 2ch 16 bit 48KHz, but only the NX5U has the Linear PCM option listed (but maybe AX has it too?) Either way is this a bad thing and anything I would even notice especially considering you can re-encode audio anyway when editing?

      5. One review I read stated they didn’t have a LANC adapter on the AX2000, but the description at BH says it has one and the top down view I am pretty sure has one just above the thumb record button. Could be wrong? This could be a deal breaker as I use one quite a bit for slow zooms. But again I think it has one. Even all my old consumer cameras have had that. Don’t know why this one wouldn’t.

      Is there anything else I should know?

      Now why would I switch to these cameras? Primarily to hopefully fix the color match issue (I would order both at the same time) but I could live if I was unlucky again… maybe…. Next would be to have full 1920×1080 HD. The Z5 is still limited to HDV values, but I know there is still demand because some people are very dependant on having a reliable archive for their footage. Quite honestly though, the picture is outstanding even with HDV values, and still beats anything I see broadcast in full 1080 HD. It even beats out my Panasonic 1920×1080 so long as you know how to manually control it all. My computer laughs at AVCHD editing – so AVCHD is not an issue. I have downloaded some raw footage taken from the NX5, and it edits smoothly. Recording the extra lengths without having to worry about keeping track of a CF case is also a plus. In the end if I even sold each Z5 camera package for $4000 I really would not be losing anything and if it was the AX2000 I could potentialy end up ahead!

      Thanks once again for enduring one of my essay posts, and any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    • #200460

      “AX2000 does not have 720p. Who uses that anyway? And why not downconvert your full HD to 720 if you absolutely had to?”

      I for one of many don’t. Few if any of my clients ask for it. If they do it’s always for 1080i not p. If your work is going to the web, most sites are posting at 720p max anyway. Plus 720 at 60p is fast becoming a sports video standard. As for down converting from 1080 to 720, what for? If you have a camera that can shoot at that size, that’s just one less thing to have to do in post. I only down convert HD to SD for DVD, Web or if a client requests it. Unless you are screening on a large format TV or projecting on a theatrical scale screen 1080i or p is just something to make you pay more money for. Besides, most audiences can’t tell the diff between 720 and 1080 anyway. It’s not ’till you start hitting 2k resolution and above that your image holding up for theatrical projection becomes a pivotal factor. The image you get depends primarily on the quality of the CCD or CMOS chip in your camera.

      Far as ‘fixing the color matching issue’ goes, you can always send your rigs into Sony to have them tweaked. If you’ve still got warranty protection on them you should be able to have that done without any hassle.

    • #200461

      Video in 1280×720 is normally the only thing with 60p, in most camcorders anyway, unless you own the Panasonic HDC-TM700, or one of Sony’s RED cams, you can’t shoot in 1080p60, normally

    • #200462

      How long does sending in cameras and getting them back take? I wouldnt mind taking that route, but I cannot go very long without a camera before I need it again.

    • #200463
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      I have the AX2000 and I really like it a lot. I had the same issue when I was going to buy the camera, NX5 or AX2000? The NX5 have GPS, which is something I don’t need, it record in 720p which is another thing I didn’t mind because in most cases I record in 1080i (down-convert if necessary). In some cases I need to record in SD and the picture quality the AX2000 give is great and is easier to edit in that format (MPEG). The LANC adapter you mention could be the one located near the record button which says “REMOTE”. I don’t have anything to try that so I haven’t use it, but the manual says “The REMOTE jack is used for controlling playback, etc, on the video device and peripherals connected to it.”

      The AX2000 have an excellent picture quality, excellent in low lights situations, the manuals controls are great and it records around 180 minutes using a 32Gb SDHC card. The audio from the built in mic is not that great, but the XLR jacks come in handy recording with external mics (also phantom power +48v). There is only one FATAL ERROR the AX2000 has which is it can only record a file size of 2GB maximum (because the card is formatted in FAT32). This means that after around 12 minutes of continuous recording it creates a new file and start recording again. When this happen the clip lose around 3 frames of video and 5 frames of audio. This is very annoying in editing because you can see a very small “jump” in the video and audio when you connect both clips together. The audio is most noticeable because it suddenly gets muted for some frames and then start again. I hope Sony fix this because it really is a pain, but if you don’t record video longer than 12 minutes then you will be fine. I think the NX5 has the FMU128 flash recording unit to fix this problem. Aside of that problem the AX2000 is a great camcorder.

    • #200464


      With the CF cards, it is a FAT32 thing, but they are 4GB ish files, about 22 minutes long. If you drop them into an editor “as is” the same problems arise as you mention. A couple frames of missing video, and about half a second of missing audio.

      HOWEVER, if you use the Sony recording unit utility to import the files directly from the CF card (do NOT copy from the card to your computer or it will not work), it will stitch the files together for you into one large file, and there is ABSOLUTELY NO VIDEO OR AUDIO LOSS as apparently all the information is there stored in support files on the cards. Are you sure you cannot use this program to do the same with your files?

      I am also confused why it breaks it into 2GB rather than 4GB. Even my Panasonic camera that uses SDHC cards splits them into approximately 4GB file sizes for the same reason. The Sony program does not work for their files though, which is to be expected.

      I went for months not using the utility because I could not figure out why I could not get it to work, so I just staggered the starts of my 2 cameras by a couple minutes, and always had the opposite camera cut to to cover this up. The trick to using this utility is to import directly from the card. My CF card shows up in the utility as soon as I put it in ANY CF reader. Then I select all, hit import, and let the magic work itself.

      Try this out: I TRULY hope it works for you. I could handle the 22 minute breaks but 12 minute breaks may be a bit much.

      EDIT: I just found this thread as well. Apparently Sony’s PMB software that probably came with your camera should be able to do the same thing. I think you can download PMB (Picture Motion Browser)free from Sony as well if you do not have it.

    • #200465

      Also I use 2 different CF card types, one is 30Mb/s the other is 60Mb/s (200x and 400x speed? I do not have them directly in front of me). While the video record just fine to either card, when it comes to the splits and throwing them into an editor without using the utility program, speed makes a difference. THe 30Mb/s cards seem to miss 3-4 frames per split, the 60Mb/s cards only miss 1 frame of video. While this can be fixed with the utility, if it does not work for you, try using a faster card and see if the loss is much more minimal.

      I still am hoping there is a program that works for stitching those files together though…

    • #200466

      “How long does sending in cameras and getting them back take?”


      You’ll have to contact the Sony USA professional service center for info on that. Probably would be about a week or two depending on the time of year you send it.


      My JVC rig will shoot in 720 24p, 30p and 60p (60i with hardware accessories.) Generally, I shoot most stuff in 720 60p. It always edited in 30p anyway. Even the little canon happy snaps I’m using for crashcams shoot in 720 30p so I can match up clips pretty well. The main thing I like about 720p vs 1080p or i is it takes up less space on my active and storage drives.

    • #200467


      Alright I will call them tomorrow and figure that out. I NEED them Jan 19th for the next show. My issue is I will be out of state the entire first week in Jan, so I need to target it sometime when I am home.

      I always appreciate your concern for efficiency! Someday I will learn… My current rig does shoot 720p, and the only side I see to that IS storage saving. When I render out a project, rendering in the native 1080 or down to 720 from 1080 will pretty much be the same thing. Probabably even faster downconverting (that is a guess). When I render for DVD output, it seems to render at about triple the speed keeping it at the same resolution would have taken.

    • #200468
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      Hey Double

      Thank you for the help, but sadly I cannot use the include PMB because I have Mac. One of the links you posted had a plugin for Final Cut Pro, but I don’t have it (I edit in Premiere Pro). I have search for solutions, but I haven’t found anything yet and I would like to know how to fix it in Mac. I will try contacting Sony support to see if they happen to know a solution. If I find the answer I will post it here in the forum.

    • #200469

      Let me know if you find a solution. I use Windows, but I would like to see Mac users just as easily be able to stitch these together. Does Mac run entirely on FAT32 though? If that is the case, then I could see it being a problem. The good news is however, that the file splitting doesn’t necessairily destroy the frames/audio that appear to be missing at first glance.

      Do you have access to a Windows PC? Maybe load the files on that computer to have them stitched then bring them to the Mac? Its a bit of a pain, but I think even that route would be worth it.

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