Need advice: Sony PMW-EX1 XDCAM vs SONY HVR-Z7U

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    • #70582

      I am shopping for a videocamera for interview and documentary style videos, mostly for the web for now. I have experience with still cameras but not so much video. Will be using FC pro X for editing. I am also on a budget, so trying to find disent used cameras. 


      Currently considering Sony PMW-EX1 XDCAM or SONY HVR-Z7U.


      Can someone please advise on pros and cons of the these two cameras? Which one would be prefered? What should I consider?


      Thank you in advance.



    • #208676

      Hi thcv – both of these are older cameras lacking a lot of modern features, but the Z7u is an antique.  First, it records to DV cassette tapes, not solid state cards or drives.  It shoots at a maximum progressive resolution of 1440×1080 when the modern standard is 1920×1080.  Its maximum frame rate (at the highest progressive resolution) is 30fps instead of the modern standard 60fps.  For about $3000 used, this is not a very good value for your money.


      The EX1 is a much better camera.  It records to SxS cards (solid state, but expensive), has a 35mbps maximum bit rate, a higher resolution sensor and HD-SDI out.  This camera is about $2800 used on Amazon.


      All of that said, I recommend a newer, more modern camera with a large sensor and interchangeable lenses, such as a new Sony NEX-EA50, on sale for $2999 at Adorama right now.  This camera records to inexpensive SDHC/SDXC cards, has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 and a 60fps progressive frame rate.  In addition, it has a built-in shoulder mount, which would be useful if you ever need to do handheld work.


      It is also a pretty good 16.1MP still camera:


      Here is some interview test footage shot with this camera.


      Sony NEX-EA50 footage sample: interview (please watch at 1080p):




      "Pepephon" – Sony NEX-EA50 Preproduction Test Footage




      Note the out-of-focus backgrounds.  This camera's large sensor make it much easier to control depth of field – something you are accustomed to from still photography – but much more difficult to achieve with traditional small sensor camcorders such as the Z7U and EX1.


      Hope this is helpful,




      Hybrid Camera Revolution


    • #208677

      Hi Bill,


      Thanks for your reply. Very helpful information. I was looking at NEX EZ50UH but I could not find information about the sensor size, strangely enough. 


      If you were to chose a camera comparable but somewhat better (one step up) than ez50, what would it be?


      As I understand, this camera comes with interchangable lense. Is it possible to use canon lenses with it at all?


      Do you have any other tips, or advice or options I should consider? 


      Thank you

    • #208682

      " Currently considering Sony PMW-EX1 XDCAM or SONY HVR-Z7U. "         why limit yourself to Sony?

    • #208681

      Glad I could help.  The next step up large sensor camcorder from the £3000 APS-C sensor EA50 would be the £4743 Super 35 sensor Sony FS100 – but this camera requires more effort to make it work as a documentary or "run and gun" camcorder. It has no power zoom and no shoulder mount.  It also lacks the EA50's still photo capability.


      Here is what it can do in an interview setting:



      In a documentary setting:



      Both cameras produce great images, but, because of its superior ergonomics, the EA50 is a much more useful interview and documentary camera, in my view.


      And yes, with a £382 Metabones EF to NEX smart adapter, you will have full control of aperture, autofocus and image stabilization with your Canon lenses and either the EA50 or the FS100.


      To answer your sensor size question, the EA50's APS-C sensor is 23.4mm x 15.6mm and the FS100's Super 35 sensor is about the same size at 23.6mm x 13.3mm (please see this side-by-side spec chart from Slashcam).


      Again, hope this is helpful and good luck with your decision!



      Hybrid Camera Revolution


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