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Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A

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alichekSony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 10, 2007 at 6:55:36 pm

Hi,

In a few weeks I will be shooting a wedding for the first time ever. I have a choice of shooting it with either of the two cameras mentioned in the subject heading. I have plenty of experience with the DVX but the cost of getting the Z1U would be minimal. The drawbacks are that i don't have much experience with it and I don't own an HDV deck so I would have to spend the night digitising off the rental camera.

I would go with the DVX but I'm concerned with shooting in low light. I hear the SONYs are good for that.

Would anyone have advice on this?
Thanks.


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Rick WiseRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 11, 2007 at 9:01:22 pm

I think you'll find the DVX100a has better low-light performance than the HDV Sony you mention, or any other HDV prosumer camera. If you had a choice of the Sony PD-150 or pd-170 or the consumer version of those cameras, dcr-vx2100, these would probably give you even better low-light performance. All of these, of course, are SD, not HDV cameras. For the moment, low-light takes a hit in HDV. However, to compensate somewhat, if you boost the gain +3 or even +6, the HDV cameras remain surprisingly low-noise.

But if you are distributing your video via DVD, you are forced back to SD (for the moment) and so there is no advantage in shooting HDV, or so it seems to me.

In your place, I'd shoot with the DVX100a, which is a terrific camera. Further, you are apparently quite familiar with the DVX100a, which will free you up to concentrate on covering your wedding. A far more difficult issue will be, I suspect, getting good audio. If you cannot use radio lavs or planted mics, get a good short shotgun to help your efforts. From reliable reports I hear that the Rode NTG-1 is terrific for the price, under $250. After that you are at $500 and up. (http://tinyurl.com/yrh8y3)

Rick

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Don GreeningRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 11, 2007 at 11:18:19 pm

Both cameras you're considering have the same size imaging chips, which are 1/3". The Panny is standard definition, so it has fewer pixels on its chips but they are larger and will be better in low light than the Sony Z1U. The Sony is high def. and has a lot more pixels in its chip set but they're smaller and need more light to get the same exposure as the DVX.

If you're not worried about the high def. - standard def. thing or don't need to shoot native widescreen then I recommend you go with the DVX.

The current leader in low light shooting in the 1/3" chip class, regardless of SD or HD is still the Sony PD170, but it doesn't shoot in native widescreen and doesn't do 30p or 24p like the DVX. Perhaps you were thinking of the PD170 when you were told about the Sony's low light performance.

Hope this helps.

- Don


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alichekRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:14:45 am

Rick, Don,

thanks for the advice. i'm pretty happy about not having to go to the Z1U, i shot with it once and was less than happy about working with the HDV codec.

I'm pretty well covered with sound, I'll be using wireless lav, mounted sennheiser m66, and an interview mike. I'll also have a camera-mounted light, not a great one so i'll use it sparingly.

I'll be shooting with DVX100A in 30i (prefer 24p but again, light issues). Is there any advantage to shooting anamorphic considering the low light?


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Don GreeningRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 12, 2007 at 9:33:07 am

[alichek] "Is there any advantage to shooting anamorphic considering the low light?"

You may see a very slight difference in low light aquisition (worse) when you shoot widescreen IF you're using the Panny's in-camera 16:9 stretch, because you won't be using all the pixels on the imagers. If, on the other hand, you have an anamorphic adapter then there shouldn't be much low light difference at all.

If you're doing a one camera shoot and your wedding client doesn't care about the widescreen/full screen thing then shoot 4:3 because then you'll be recording a full rez image and you won't have to worry about using anamorphic adapters or whether or not the in-camera stretch will look good in post.

- Don





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Rick WiseRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:22:45 pm

I can't remember if the DVX has a letterbox option -- blacks out the top and bottom of the frame. I'm pretty sure it does. If not, you can add that in post if you want the widescreen look and frame your shots accordingly.

Rick


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tomRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 12, 2007 at 12:42:12 pm

i hope they dont't stick you way in the back of the church or where ever it is , not a very long lens on the Dvx 100

Good luck
Tom


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romaneagleRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:18:50 pm

Hey, I recently purchased the Sony HVR-Z1U. It's AWESOME! It's the CCD sensors on this one that make it so flexible--for any shooting situation. That's really what sold me. When there's no light, there's no picture... From all the research I did leading up to this purchase, I found that the HVR-Z1U has the lowest lumens requirements out of any comparable camcorder. What can I say, I have zero regrets with this camcorder.
Best of luck!



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Rick WiseRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 15, 2007 at 7:08:10 pm

I have found the relative ASA of the Z1U is around 200, at least a stop slower than the SD cameras mentioned elsewhere. But a +3 gain or even a +6 gain will get you pretty good pictures.

Rick

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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ChiahawkRe: Sony HVR-Z1U vs DVX100A
by on Nov 21, 2007 at 2:14:09 pm

I (we) have both of these cameras and have used them in many different situations. The Panasonic WILL give you better low light performance but...if you gain up the Sony just a bit it will still look great. I always shoot HDV even if I post in DV. Down converting the footage during the capture process makes for a pretty darn good looking DVD. I think that your services will be more valuable in the future if you are ABLE to shoot a project in HDV. For the record....both cameras ROCK! CH


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