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New Sony HDR-FX1000 & HVR-Z5 HD camcorders

sony hdr-fx1000It looks like those not willing to give up on DV tape for their HD recording needs now have a pair of new options to consider from Sony, which has just introduced its HDR-FX1000 and HVR-Z5 camcorders at IBC. The HDR-FX1000 (pictured) is the slightly more consumer-minded of the two, with it boasting a not-outrageous price of £2,200, and some impressive specs all around, including a 20x optical zoom, both 24p and 30p modes, and Sony's G-series lens, which promises to deliver some top-notch images. The HVR-Z5E, on the other hand, offers some more specialized features like XLR audio inputs, PAL and NTSC compatibility, and support for the DVCAM format in addition to usual DV/HDV option. Look for it to set you back £2,995 when it lands in December, with the HDR-FX1000 set to slip out ahead of it early November.

Even if our new FX1000 keeps the same look as the previous generation FX, Sony decided improve their camera with some nice improvements like a new G Lens that provides better quality images also tuned by the Exmor image processor and the '3 Clear Bit CMOS sensor', and a 20x optical zoom, and the possibility to have a 24p and 30p mode.

It looks like these two camcorders will replace the aging Z1 and FX1 HDV models.

 sony hdr-fx1000

Sony Official Press Release Sep 10, 2008

New HDV Camcorder Offers Fixed 'G Lens' Native Progressive Recording and HYBRID Media Flexibility with a new optional Memory Recording Unit.

The HVR-Z5E offers excellent low-light performance
Sony today announced the latest generation of HDV production technology with a new compact camcorder, the HVR-Z5E and memory recording unit, the HVR-MRC1K. The camcorder features a new fixed “G Lens” system, native progressive recording capabilities, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions and an array of other features designed for general TV production, videographers, budget movie-makers and corporate video production professionals. The memory recording unit offers a CompactFlash™ recording option, not only for the new camcorder, but for all existing Sony professional HDV camcorders.

“Creating a product to rival the phenomenal success of the HVR-Z1E was always going to be tricky, but the fantastic feedback we got from our existing users has helped us do that with this new camcorder,” said Bill Drummond, European Product Marketing Manager. “Our engineers met target European customer groups, to understand where they could improve on the Z1E and today’s launch sees us deliver a product based on that feedback."

 sony hdr-fx1000

A natural upgrade for DSR-PD170P owners
The new camcorder uses Sony’s new 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enhanced by the technology of Exmor. With its 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system offers sufficient pixel surface area while it keeps high resolution. The technology of Exmor features a unique column-parallel analogue-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling, resulting in high quality digital signals with extremely low noise, similar to the imaging technology used in the PMW-EX1 camcorder. The integration of the two new technologies allows the new camcorder to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux (at 1/25 shutter, auto iris and auto gain).

Sony's all-new 'G Lens' increases shooting flexibility
The camcorder’s shooting flexibility is further increased through the addition of a brand new fixed 'G Lens'. This sophisticated lens incorporates Sony's unique optical design and quality control and has been optimised to complement the camcorder’s advanced image sensor and image-processing technology. This lens offers a wide 29.5mm angle lens and brand new 20x optical zoom, as well as three ND filters (1/4, 1/16, 1/64) and independent focus, zoom and iris rings.

The HVR-Z5E also offers 1080/25p Native progressive recording along with the usual flexibility to switch between HDV/DVCAM and DV recording (1080/50i, 576/50i). 60Hz operation will also be available via an optional service upgrade. The camcorder can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. HDMI output is also available.

 sony hdr-fx1000

The HVR-Z5E is equipped with the same new XtraFine™ LCD and XtraFine EVF as seen on the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E, which offers high-resolution and high-contrast images with remarkable colour reproduction. It can deliver more than 60 minutes of recording time on miniDV videotapes, and approximate recording times of 63 minutes (in HDV format) with Sony’s DigitalMaster cassettes (PHDVM-63DM).

The HVR-MRC1K will be available to buy in October
sony hvr-mrc1kIn addition at this year’s IBC, Sony will also launch the new HYBRID memory recorder, the HVR-MRC1K. Previously, it was supplied as an accessory with the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E, but strong customer feedback sees it launch as a product in its own right.

The HVR-MRC1K demonstrates Sony’s commitment to offering 'HYBRID’ recording options. The choice of media (Tape or CompactFlash), format recorded (HD&HD, HD&SD, SD&SD) and workflow (direct archive with tape or high speed NLE ingest with CompactFlash) can now be realised by all existing professional HDV users.

This unit captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and allows users to record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash solid-state memory card, while users are simultaneously recording to tape. The recording times on an 8 and 16 GB CompactFlash card in HDV, DVCAM and DV format are approximately 36 and 72 minutes, respectively.

The HVR-MRC1K docked at the rear of the HVR-Z5E
The new HVR-Z5E has been designed specially for the HVR-MRC1K memory recording unit offering direct attachment to the rear of the camcorder, eliminating the need for cables. The unit automatically synchronises with the recording action of the camcorder and a special shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DVCAM/DV stream and supplies power to the unit. For all other existing professional HDV and DVCAM users, the HVR-MRC1K comes supplied with a mounting bracket to mount the unit on the cold shoe of the camcorder. Connecting through the i.LINK connector couldn’t be easier with power being supplied via the readily available infoLITHIUM L series battery slot.

“The ongoing development of the HYBRID concept really excites me," added Drummond. "The ability to use any Sony professional HDV or DVCAM camcorder automatically gives customers the choice to move to tapeless on their terms. Backwards compatibility has always been a design goal for Sony, plus protecting customer’s investment in products. This product is a great demonstration that we are listening.”

The new HVR-MRC1K is planned to be available in October whilst the HVR-Z5E is planned for December. Further information on the HDV range and new accessories can be found at www.sonybiz.net/hdv

End of Press Release

More on the HDR-FX1000, HVR-Z5 & HVR-MRC1K
With the HDR-FX1000 camcorder, more adept consumer videographers gain access to cinematic features, including 24P scanning and advanced color settings for around £2,200. With the HVR-Z5E camcorder, professionals will appreciate its native 24P recording and other professional features—all for less than £2,995 as well as tapeless recording capability through an optional CompactFlash adapter.

“The HDR-FX1000 is appealing to the amateur videographer shooting weddings or the aspiring cinematographer,” said Kelly Davis, director of camcorder marketing at Sony Electronics. “The combination of film-like movie quality and advanced color settings makes it possible for prosumers to achieve the deep cinematic look they crave at a reasonable price.”

The HVR-Z5U camcorder offers a “step-up” solution for professionals who desire a more advanced set of features.

 sony hdr-fx1000

“Professionals need features like balanced audio, XLR inputs, timecode and more,” said Bob Ott, vice president of professional audio and video products at Sony Electronics. “They also need access to technical resources to help them with issues like integrating with non-linear editing systems. This is where a professional solution like the HVR-Z5U is an appropriate choice.”

Enhanced Image Capture
Both models use three of Sony’s ClearVid 1/3-inch CMOS sensor chips, which are designed to provide high sensitivity, deep resolution, high-speed reading, low noise and a wider dynamic range. The CMOS sensors capture full HD 1920x1080 resolution, resulting in better picture quality when recorded onto miniDV tape in the HDV format (1440 pixelsx1080 lines). Each of the three sensors is dedicated to one color—red, blue and green—for natural, more accurate color reproduction.

With a 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the ClearVid CMOS sensor system offers outstanding pixel surface area while maintaining high resolution. The Exmor technology features a unique column-parallel analog-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise canceling, resulting in digital signals with extremely low noise. The technologies combine to allow the new camcorders to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux.

Both cameras use Sony’s XtraFine LCD (3.2-inch, 921,000 dots) and XtraFine electronic viewfinder (0.45-inch, 1,227,000 dots) for high-resolution and high-contrast images with remarkable color reproduction.

 sony hdr-fx1000

Ideal For Aspiring Cinematographers
The HDR-FX1000 is Sony’s first Handycam camcorder to feature progressive scan at 1080/24p and 30p, giving video productions a film-like look. Using a two to three pull down, the 24P scanned image is converted to 60i for easy editing with user’s existing software applications. CinemaTone Gamma and CinemaTone Color settings complement the 24P capabilities to create a rich dreamlike picture processing while three built-in neural density filters provide exceptional light control even in extremely bright environments.

Equipped with a refined level of optical performance, the HDR-FX1000 and the HVR-Z5E models are the first camcorders to have a Sony G lens with a 29.5mm wide-end viewing angle, extra-low dispersion glass and 20x optical zoom. The fixed lens is optimized to perfectly complement the cameras’ advanced image sensor and image-processing technology.

The HDR-FX1000 model enables prosumers to define their own manual settings for iris, gain, white balance, shutter speed and focus for increased creativity and control. Use of any of the three manual rings for adjustments to zoom, focus and iris provides even more flexibility.

 sony hdr-fx1000

Professional Video Production
The HVR-Z5E camcorder offers the addition of several features specifically designed for professional video production, such as progressive scan shooting at 1080/24P and 30P, DVCAM recording, timecode support and two XLR balanced audio inputs.

Professionals can record the native 24P/30P signal on to the videotape used in the camcorder or to CompactFlash cards – simultaneously or separately – with the optional HVR-MRC1K recording unit. This unit attaches directly to the back of the camcorder, eliminates the need for cables and automatically synchronizes with the recording action of the camcorder.

The recording unit can be directly attached to the new HVR-Z5E camera, as well as to Sony’s HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E models. It will also work with other HDV camcorders using a supplied iLINK (IEEE-1394) cable and shoe adapter.

The camcorder, and the HVR-MRC1K adapter will be compatible with Sony’s Professional 306x CompactFlash card. The recording times on an 8 and 16 GB CompactFlash card in HDV, DVCAM and DV format are approximately 36 and 72 minutes, respectively.

sony hvr-mrc1kSony will also launch the new HYBRID memory recorder, the HVR-MRC1K for a suggested retail price of £600. Previously, it was supplied as an accessory with the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E, but strong customer feedback sees it launch as a product in its own right.

This unit captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and allows users to record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash solid-state memory card, while users are simultaneously recording to tape. The recording times on an 8 and 16 GB CompactFlash card in HDV, DVCAM and DV format are approximately 36 and 72 minutes, respectively.

The HVR-MRC1K docked at the rear of the HVR-Z5E. The new HVR-Z5E has been designed specially for the HVR-MRC1K memory recording unit offering direct attachment to the rear of the camcorder, eliminating the need for cables. The unit automatically synchronises with the recording action of the camcorder and a special shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DVCAM/DV stream and supplies power to the unit. For all other existing professional HDV and DVCAM users, the HVR-MRC1K comes supplied with a mounting bracket to mount the unit on the cold shoe of the camcorder.

The new HVR-MRC1K is planned to be available in October.

Availability
The HDR-FX1000 camcorder will be available in early November at authorized dealers nationwide, Sony Style® retail stores and online through www.sonystyle.com.

The HVR-Z5E professional camera is expected to be available in December for a suggested list price of £2,995. The HVR-MRC1K recording unit should be out in October for a suggested list price of £600.

In addition to switchable NSTC and PAL modes, the HVR Z5E can also be used with Sony’s CF card recorder unit, similar to how the Z7E works. It’s worth noting that the Z7E’s CF recorder can be used with just about ANY firewire-equipped camcorder, though I imagine the Z5E will be sporting a mount point for it’s solid-state unit to simplify things. The Z5 can also be configured to output multiple formats, like HDV to tape while also outputting DV to CF media.

 sony hdr-fx1000

UPDATE: A few differences between these models and the FX1/Z1E include a vastly upgraded LCD with 921K pixels vs 250K pixels, and the addition of a 3rd ND filter built into the lens. Options now include ND 1/4, 1/16, and 1/64 much like the Z7U offers. The lens is not a fixed aperture throughout, with a range from f/1.6 at full wide to f/3.4 at the telephoto end. That is just over two full stops of light transmission difference from wide to tele, and it shows some of the compromises made to get 20x range out of the glass.

HDR-FX1000 (preliminary) features:
3-CMOS image sensors (Exmor processing)
24p/30p/60i
Sony G-series lens
20X optical zoom
NTSC DV/HDV (1440×1080)

HVR-Z5E (preliminary) features:
3-CMOS image sensors (Exmor processing)
24p/25p/30p/50i/60i
Sony G-series lens
20X optical zoom
NTSC/PAL DV/HDV/DVCAM (1440×1080)
XLR Audio

Date: 09-09-2008

 
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