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Re: Low light and VX2100 vs. DSR-PD170 vs. HDR-FX1

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Peter DeCrescenzoRe: Low light and VX2100 vs. DSR-PD170 vs. HDR-FX1
by on Nov 17, 2005 at 4:33:40 pm

Sony's VX2100 and PD-170 miniDV camcorders share essentially the same 1/3" 3-CCD camera electronics and as a result have the same performance: They are both somewhat more light sensitive than any other 1/3" 3-CCD cams.

HDV cams have much higher resolution CCDs compared to standard definition cams like the VX2100 & PD-170. The pixels in the HDV cams' CCDs are much smaller, and as a result the HDV cams are much less light sensitive than these SD cams.

The electronic gain feature in Sony's Z1 HDV model is relatively low-noise and can be quite helpful when shooting in low light. I don't know if the FX1 shares the same gain circuit as the Z1; if not, it may not produce as clean an image as the Z1 in low light.

If you have a way to regularly view HDV footage on a real HD TV monitor then an HDV cam can be a good investment. Note that an industry-standard and inexpensive way to distribute HD footage doesn't exist yet, so for example you won't be able to send a "HD DVD" disc to your clients for some time.

However, an argument can be made for shooting in HDV now and downconverting to standard definition for current use. The resulting quality won't inherently be any better than if you'd originated on a SD cam; that depends on which two cams you're comparing. All of the HDV cams can downconvert to SD, as can many HDV editing systems. In a year or two when some kind of "HD DVD" is cheap you could use the original HDV tapes to view/distribute the original footage. Whether this capability is valuable or cost effective to you now is something I'll leave up to you.

In addition to info you get here in the Sony DV forum, you'll find much more info concerning HDV cams in the HDV forum here on the COW.

All the best,

- Peter


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