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Sony Z1 or Panasonic HVX-200 ?


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#1 tony powell

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 10:55 AM

I'm thinking of investing in a good all round HD camcorder at the Prosumer level and was wondering if anyone can tell me why the larger majority of jobs advertised seem to want Sony Z1 owner operators rather than say, the Panasonic HVX-200 which I understand shoots real HD. I'd be very grateful if anyone could shed some light on which are the better cameras at this level.
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#2 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 01:36 PM

... [I] was wondering if anyone can tell me why the larger majority of jobs advertised seem to want Sony Z1 owner operators rather than say, the Panasonic HVX-200 which I understand shoots real HD. I'd be very grateful if anyone could shed some light on which are the better cameras at this level.


First off, what kinds of job postings are requesting the Z1 over the HVX? Are they narrative work, wedding videos, commercial, music video, skating videos, etc? Also, where in the US are these requests coming in from? That might help us answer your question. My guess is that they're asking for the equipment that they know, i.e. out of ignorance to what else is available.

On a side note, let me vent for a moment. I have to say that I object to advertisements asking for a DP with a camera or worse yet, for a specific camera. Are producers and directors hiring the technology or the talent behind the technology? I'm grateful that I don't rely on these kinds of jobs anymore, but I still look around from time to time at the classified and it's surprising, if not down right upsetting, how often these requests come up. Perhaps it's just ignorance or inexperience on the part of the person making the request, but I find it demeaning that someone would be hired on the basis of equipment and not the talent a person holds. No one would ever not hire Matthew Libatique for not having a Z1 or HVX200 (or maybe they would). I realize that there are times when a production needs a certain camera for whatever reason, but really, enough already. Sorry, I feel better now.
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#3 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 03:17 PM

On a side note, let me vent for a moment. I have to say that I object to advertisements asking for a DP with a camera or worse yet, for a specific camera. Are producers and directors hiring the technology or the talent behind the technology? I'm grateful that I don't rely on these kinds of jobs anymore, but I still look around from time to time at the classified and it's surprising, if not down right upsetting, how often these requests come up. Perhaps it's just ignorance or inexperience on the part of the person making the request, but I find it demeaning that someone would be hired on the basis of equipment and not the talent a person holds. No one would ever not hire Matthew Libatique for not having a Z1 or HVX200 (or maybe they would). I realize that there are times when a production needs a certain camera for whatever reason, but really, enough already. Sorry, I feel better now.


I Totally agree with you.

My luck is that in my country, Israel, its very uncommon to ask a DP to bring his own camera or EQ. Very rarely I'm asked if i have a camera and even than, when i say i don't, they usually rent it, as expected .

Just from reading the "wanted" ads in American papers i understand its not true in other countries, hence my luck :)

About the Z1 VS. the HVX200, I love them both . Each one has its own uniqueness, so i cant really advise which is better. Its a question of taste and of the right tool for the right job.

It seems that the HVX200 is a better investment for the future because of its HD features and the P2 ability. it also has a better latitude according to some tests i watched and did by myself. Also, for my taste, i prefer the Z1 noise better than the HVX200 in low light conditions, more specifically when i use the electronic gain enhancement.

Anyway i don't think you wont get hired just because you have an HVX200 and not a Z1, (unless they looking for HDV specifically for some reason). just do some more research, and take time to think about it. buy something you think is right for your taste, dont worry about the job so much and don't let it dictate which camera you buy, you will get hired if you are good at what you do and know how to sell yourself.

I think that if you have the cash, go for the HVX200. think about the accessories you need to buy extra, like the P2 cards (its expensive).

hope this helps :)
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 04:21 PM

I totally agree that hiring should be based on talent not equipment, but if you are set on owning a camera, I would definitely suggest the HVX. I've shot both, and while they both can look amazing, I think the HVX might win out if only for the fact that it shoots a "true" hd format without tape. While you will have to learn a new workflow, like I did when I first picked it up; once you get it down pat, it can be a very versatile camera. Though I also found the HVX falls apart in low light.
Owning a camera can feel very rewarding, and it also can be a money-pit. I've sunk a lot of cash into my SR3. Granted it's a film camera, but the HVX has it's own hidden costs as well. You have to square yourself up against whether or not you're 1) able and 2) willing to make a large investment without any guarantees. The HVX could be outdated tomorrow by a newer HD camera. My Arri may eventually find a place on the shelf. Or, worse yet, they could break/be broken/stolen on a shoot. I can't even tell you how much of my grip hardware has wandered away!
Don't let any of this frighten you, though. Just make sure you don't, as my dad used to say, run with your choke out. Weigh the pros and cons and do your research and you'll be fine .

my 2 cents.
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#5 Thomas James

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 09:14 AM

Three years ago I bought a JVC JY-HD10 high definition video camera and as soon as the Sony HVR-Z1 was introduced no one would hire me because they thought my camera was obsolete. Of course I tried to explain to everyone that my camera was not so obsolete but no one would believe me.

This year Sony will be introducing the XDCAM EX and it will have half inch chips, have mutiformat 720p 1080i and 1080p capability and will record at higher bit rates than HDV . This camera will effectively render the Z-1 obsolete. By 2009 a pocket Red camera will be introduced which will make the XDCam obsolete.

So my only conclusion is that if you have to buy your own equipment you will have to buy new equipment every 2 years just to stay competitive. Unfortunately it is equipment that impresses bosses rather than talent. Also the whole idea of what is obsolete needs to be rethinked. A lot of people think that just because a technology is newer that it must be better. This is often not the case because a good invention can be timeless.
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#6 tony powell

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:39 PM

Thanks to all that replied to my question regarding which camera to go for. I live in the UK and subscribe to a site called Shooting People where it seems that the larger majority of jobs at a certain level seem to be for the Sony Z1 hence my query.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:48 PM

Hi,

Since I very much doubt that SP will ever provide you with enough paid work to actually cover the cost of the camera, I'd stop worrying about it.

I like the JVC stuff, but nobody's ever heard of that.

Phil
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#8 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 07:42 AM

Thanks to all that replied to my question regarding which camera to go for. I live in the UK and subscribe to a site called Shooting People where it seems that the larger majority of jobs at a certain level seem to be for the Sony Z1 hence my query.


The only reasons they would request a Z1 that I can think are

They are already shooting Sony or HDV and want to keep it consistent (Sony always seems to be the most popular in PAL territories).

They know that the Z1 is far better to use as a operator, in my opinion, than the HVX or DVX. Especially if you shoot off the shoulder. Although if the view finder was usable on the JVCs it would put up a fair fight.

Its an indication of the level of camera they want to hire rather than a specific model. They might be trying to avoid someone turning up with their PD150 to eek one last job out on it before the record heads rust.

Maybe they really like Zeiss lenses.

The Z1 will probably work out cheaper for you if you really want to purchase. You could get a HVX but if you're only doing mini dv work or weddings its not as ergonomic and once you start buying P2 cards the price will really sky rocket. Pound for pound as an SD camera I would go with the Sony, Im a sucker for that top mounted lcd screen. I dont think they would turn you down without a specific reason if you had an HVX

My two cents...
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