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Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U

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Timothy Wheeler
Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 7, 2008 at 4:10:22 am

I haven't found any good comparisons of the Sony EX1 versus the HVR cameras. With so much hype over the Sony EX1 and the 1/2" sensors, is it even worth considering the HVR series? Anyone know of any good write-ups or have their own comments on this matter. Production is about to purchase a few of these cameras.



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Michael Palmer
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 7, 2008 at 5:41:04 pm

IMO the EX series cameras are far superior, and the new EX3 allows for interchangeable lens and also has the professional connections to interface with other cameras for timecode in, timecode out, and can be controlled from the remote port for shading/iris control. I have been working with the EX1 since December 07 and now I have had the pleasure of working with 3-EX3 cameras on an Animal Planet series in my second season as the DP, and I can tell you these new 1/2 cmos sensors together with the higher bit rate makes a huge difference in overall image quality. Our workflow was recording HQ 1080 30p native XD Cam 35 Mbps to the cards (for backup) and in an attempt to garner even higher quality we captured live to Pro Rez 422 (with 3-Mac Pro's using Kona cards) and with the new Convergent Design Flash XDR recording @ 100 Mbps Mpeg-2 to compact flash cards. I can tell you live capturing was great for us, it is a one step process for our post team as their workflow is now set for Pro Rez 422. The Flash XDR also worked great as I had the pleasure of testing an early unit recording from an HD-SDI live switcher as our editor attempted to construct a line cut working directly with the director for reference later in post. Even if you have the opportunity to capture live with the HVR units they will never have the same image quality. The one tradeoff is working tapeless, and I see this as a plus. If you can afford it go with the EX series units.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Michael Slowe
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 7, 2008 at 5:45:16 pm

Oddly enough I have just finished doing a screening of some of my films (on tape for best performance)and I noticed that there was little difference in the picture quality between productions shot on the Z1 and those shot on the EX1. The latter did seem to have better colours and blacks but that could be due to the Picture Profile I have utilised (as suggested by Doug Jensen on the great instructional DVD by Vortex Media). Both have a rather poor screen on which to focus and I had more faulty focus with the EX1 due to the bigger chip and less DOF. I would still choose the EX1 over the Z1 due to the greater versatility and choice of shooting modes.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:07:59 pm

[Michael Slowe] "I noticed that there was little difference in the picture quality between productions shot on the Z1 and those shot on the EX1."

You're not looking hard enough or you haven't really set up proper tests. Try shooting something that would break the codec for example.

[Michael Slowe] "Both have a rather poor screen on which to focus "
??? The EX LCD is about the best any have seen built into a camcorder. Its easy for critical focus. While certainly a good field monitor might be better the LCD on the EX series is much better than on cameras that are otherwise much more expensive.

[Michael Slowe] "I had more faulty focus with the EX1 due to the bigger chip and less DOF"

That's an "operator flaw." It requires more skill to use. The LCD on the EX is up to the task though.





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Don Greening
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 8, 2008 at 1:06:02 am

[Craig Seeman] "[Michael Slowe] "Both have a rather poor screen on which to focus "
??? The EX LCD is about the best any have seen built into a camcorder."


I think Michael was referring to the screens of the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U cameras. He already has an EX1.

- Don



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Michael Slowe
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 9, 2008 at 9:55:48 pm

Craig and Don, thanks for your interest. You are right of course that the EX1 screen is better than the Z1 (& 7?) but I still find it unsatisfactory in bright sunlight, even when hooded. The EX3 solution seems to be the answer but I don't want to trade up again. Craig, I realise that any 'soft' shots are operater failings but I was used to the proper finder on a DSR 300 for many years which 'snapped' into focus so easily. I also have to say that the cinema tests with HQ and SP modes were witnessed by experienced film makers and they remarked on the similarity of the pictures and it was a huge cinema screen.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 9, 2008 at 10:19:41 pm

[Michael Slowe] "EX3 solution seems to be the answer "
The LCD on the EX3 is the same resolution as the EX1. Maybe you're having another issue (with glare?) but that's not a resolution based issue.

[Michael Slowe] " I was used to the proper finder on a DSR 300 for many years which 'snapped' into focus so easily"

You can't even begin to compare. That's a standard def camera. That's like (720x480) 345,600 pixels compared to HD on EX of (1920x1080) 2,073,600 pixels.

[Michael Slowe] "I also have to say that the cinema tests with HQ and SP modes were witnessed by experienced film makers and they remarked on the similarity of the pictures and it was a huge cinema screen."

That doesn't mean all that much if you're not using the camera in a way that differentiates the two codecs (HDV CBR 25mbps and XDCAM VBR 35mbps). Many people can see them as miles apart and it's why shooters chose the latter when they can afford it and the circumstances call for it (which is most of the time). All you have to do is point a camera at rippling water or grass blowing in the wind and it'll be obvious.





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Michael Slowe
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:53:19 pm

Yes Craig, I know they are the same screen but the EX3 has that natty magnifier and nice eye finder mounted over the screen which makes all the difference.

I take your point about the DSR being less pixels but I bet the HDCAM finders are as good.

Yes, obviously shooting at 35 Mbps must be more effective than 25 in the final analysis but all I was saying was that it was not immediately obvious on the big screen. Can I take it that the higher res. means that it is harder to 'break the code'? It is still using the Long GOP though isn't it?

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 10, 2008 at 2:56:00 pm

[Michael Slowe] "EX3 has that natty magnifier and nice eye finder mounted over the screen which makes all the difference. "

That's certainly true and it's an added benefit of the EX3. That doesn't change the LCD resolution though. I've had no problem with the EX1 LCD though indoors or out. The LCD itself is great. I have no problem with focus in any situation given the expanded mode and peaking.

[Michael Slowe] "I take your point about the DSR being less pixels but I bet the HDCAM finders are as good. "

Well if you spend $8000 on a viewfinder for the F950, or maybe more if you're using an F23. Again I have NO PROBLEM at all nailing focus with EX1 LCD. Given how others have reviewed and praised it I suspect many people also find it easy to nail focus with.

[Michael Slowe] "Yes, obviously shooting at 35 Mbps must be more effective than 25 in the final analysis but all I was saying was that it was not immediately obvious on the big screen."
??? It's even obvious to me on my 46" 1080p HDTV. It's WHAT you shoot (and HOW you shoot). If you shoot talking heads or stationary objects you might not see the difference (and some will even see it there too).

[Michael Slowe] "Can I take it that the higher res. means that it is harder to 'break the code'? It is still using the Long GOP though isn't it?"
It's not resolution (pixels and line resolution) it's the data rate and CBR vs VBR. XDCAM can handle motion that HDV can't. We're not even talking race cars here. Rippling water or grass blowing in the wind can break HDV. It does NOT take a "big screen" to see that either. In fact higher resolution can make it tougher, NOT easier on the codec. You're throwing more detail at the encoder with higher rez hence the difference between HDV and XDCAM can be even more obvious in some cases.





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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:02:11 pm

Honestly, if one understands the technology I don't know how you can compare the EX to the HVR series.
The EX is entirely in a different and higher class.

HDV can easily be broken compared to XDCAM.
1/2" (1920x1080 progressive scanned) chips offer greater depth of field control than 1/3" chips.

The only reason to compare is if one has budgetary or compatibility constraints. There are plenty of reviews of both series though but you need to know your own needs to decide which way to go. There's no reason for in depth technical comparisons because the cameras are for two different markets IMHO.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Oct 8, 2008 at 5:37:03 pm

Yeah the EX1 doesn't compare at all to the HVR/HDV series cameras from Sony. They are in a different league. Even Sony itself acknowledges this by placing the CineAlta badge on EXs. You don't see this on any of the HVR cameras and you probably never will.

Noah

My FCP Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color and Win a Free Letus Extreme.
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http://www.callboxlive.com


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Paul Folger
Re: Sony EX1 versus HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:07:37 am

Ok, so would it be possible to use an EX3 shot in 1080_30p as the A camera and the Z7U shot at 720-30p as the B camera.

Would it be difficult for an operator trained on the Z7u to pick up a EX1?

Thanks,

Paul


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