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HVX200 in a very harsh environment


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#1 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 02:02 PM

Hi ! I'm about to leave for Columbia for an in-depth report in the jungle. Full size camera is not an option, and I'm still hesitating between the HVX200 and the Z1. Picture quality not that much an issue here, just looking for the camera that will not let me down because of a very unfriendly environment. I know the DVX100 has done wonders in Irak, but Mini-DV is not an option here, where 720p is a requirement.
We have the possibility of having an almost unlimited supply of 16gb cards so this is not a problem.
Looking forward to hear from those of you who have been in harsh environment with the Z1 and their feedback. Pixel-peepers and couch reporters not allowed ! wink.gif
I'm posting the same message on the HVX section.
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#2 Bill Totolo

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 04:25 PM

If you go with the HVX make sure to get a body glove for it, they're not dust proof.

When I had my camera serviced I was able to see a camera torn apart and being serviced after being on the beach,
not a pretty sight.
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#3 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 06:00 PM

How the hell do you have an almost unlimited supply of 16gb cards??????
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#4 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 03:45 AM

Depends on what you mean when you say harsh environments. Will it be Hard on the camera or hard on you?

If the environment will be hard on you, I say, go with the Z1. In my experience its much easier to handle, much lighter and better balanced, excellent for hand-held camera work. I just finished shooting a Hand-Held documentary with the HVX200 and it was hard and limiting compared to what I'm used to with the Z1 in terms of camera movement and control.

Furthermore, the P2 cards are very efficient and safe to use (maybe more then cassettes). The only problem is that unless you bring hundreds of them with you to shooting you'll have to buy a laptop and a few Hard Drives to download the material each time you fill up the cards. working with a laptop and Hard Drives in harsh environments might be dangerous for the material.

I strongly recommend you NOT to use the FS100 (fire store) with the HVX200, especially in harsh environments. they overheat easily ( I was using them a little bit in the desert and we had to blow on them so they stop overheating ) and the cable connection to the camera is very sensitive and gets disconnected .

I don't have enough of viewing experience of the HVX200. not as much as I have with the Z1 ( also shooting experience) but from tests , field monitor and some computer screens that i viewed the picture really looks great. very good color rendition (also thanks to the HD of course), and very good latitude , especially when you choose correctly the gamma-setting for the scene.

Also i think that the gain noise on the HVX200 is really ugly compared to the Z1. this is a very important parameter for me when I'm shooting documentaries. its true that the Z1 is not as sensitive as the HVX200, but the difference between them is small and you can easily compensate using gain. but in night scenes, when you'll have to push the HVX200 more, you'll get so much noise, and ugly grain. the Z1 noise looks so much better. I once shot a scene in a dark bar using 18db gain on the Z1. the noise was like 9db gain on the HVX200 and also looked much better ( low saturated, and soft noise).

hope this helps. :)

Edited by Nadav Hekselman, 03 September 2007 - 03:47 AM.

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#5 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 07:24 AM

Hey Nadav, thanks for your input. Shooting in the Columbian jungle is harsh both on the man and the machine. I normally shoot full size camcorders, but it would be way to much of a hassle to bring a Sony 790 in there. I will sure miss the lens but not the size !
It seems like the Z1 is a sturdy camera and I think I might go for it for this report. Will keep you guys updated on that if you're interested...
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#6 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 10:33 PM

Hi Matt, i was in the Ecuadorian jungle a few times years ago in the mystical zone calling "The cave of the oil birds" , it is a great experience but the environment could be terrible for people who live in dry weather... well when you shoot at south american jungle you have to be careful about several things:

1.-CONDENSATION (always happens, when you arrive to your hotel at night to rest, you have to avoid air conditioner. That's a big mistake, then the next day when you take it out your camera you have troubles...)

2.- RAIN COVER if you are shooting at a primary jungle you have to keep in mind the weather conditions, you walk 5 minutes in the jungle with sun then you walk 30 minutes at the rain, the best way to keep your camera available is protecting-it ...

3.- LENS CLEANER, on primary jungle always rain that's a problem because you have a lot of drops on your lens, survival kit is your key.

4.-FOOD, chocolate, candy, water a couples bars (Nature Valley), that's a survival kit, you're in jungle that's could be very demanding as a cameraman or DP you have to shoot at heat and humidity(perhaps 100%), walk between weeds, mud, rain and probably if you're in a primary jungle you have to climb a little plateaus. That type of lands produces fatigue generally and they exhaust to you. Sometimes they produce faint for that reason it is better always to have to sugar close.


Depends how deep you are and what's the grade of the jungle (primary, secondary) you have to use a more sensitive camera because with a lot of plants and trees less light you have . I'm agree with Nadav avoid the Firestore option :( , maybe P2 could be an option, or shoot with sony personally i don't like it, but it could be more efficient in this kind of environments... And one more thing always have a medicine kit, use boots and the most important thing be careful with the GUERRILLA they tend to live in the jungle, be a lot of careful with that. Enjoy your trip, take pictures... the jungle it's one of the best experience...

Hope Helps


Xavier Plaza
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#7 Logan Schneider

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:30 AM

I would definitely recommend the p2, especially if you are using 16gb cards. Having 80min of recording time and full 720p is pretty nice. Just make sure you have a good download workflow for the evening. I've had the HVX-200 in a lot of snowy, winter conditions, and it got wet plenty of times. I never had a problem. One of the nice things about not using tape is that you don't have to keep opening the camera up.

No matter what you take, take 2 of them. It is the jungle after all. Unless it's an Arri S. (I had a friend drop one 50ft and go right on shooting).
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#8 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 09:36 AM

Xavier,

Thanks for your input, great advice there. We have chosen to take the Sony route, and I don't really like it either because I had prepared myself for using the HVX 200. I'm sorry I cannot be more specific about the shooting but we'll be spending about 7 days away from power, so tapes it will be and besides I cannot afford to bring a laptop and an external HD as we have to be extremely mobile.
I've had a chance to test both cams, and was a little put off by the HVX ergonomics and bulk for that use. It produces a great picture, handles nicely contrasts but it seems the Z1 will be more adapted to this particular shoot. I will however purchase an HVX when I get back. Thanks a lot once again ! :)

Edited by Matt Mouraud, 05 September 2007 - 09:40 AM.

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#9 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 02:28 PM

I would definitely recommend the p2, especially if you are using 16gb cards. Having 80min of recording time and full 720p is pretty nice. Just make sure you have a good download workflow for the evening. I've had the HVX-200 in a lot of snowy, winter conditions, and it got wet plenty of times. I never had a problem. One of the nice things about not using tape is that you don't have to keep opening the camera up.

No matter what you take, take 2 of them. It is the jungle after all. Unless it's an Arri S. (I had a friend drop one 50ft and go right on shooting).



Logan i agree with you, it´s better shoot with P2 but you have to keep in mind the environmment. The Colombian jungle have around 70 to 100% humidity. P2 cards specify you can use it maximun at 90% humidity (enviroment) and you have to be acreful with condensation. I think in the jungle this kind of enviroment could be bring problems...



And Matt you have to be careful when change your tapes, try do it far from the jungle, avoiding drops and dust

Good Luck

Xavier Plaza
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#10 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 03:26 AM

I would really love to shoot P2 but this time around it will not be. I have an extensive experience of "dry" harsh environments such as Afghanistan, where dust is a nightmare, but I have always used full-sized camcorders such as Digi-Beta, BetaSX or PDW's that are more reliable in those environments. This will be my first time in the jungle.
But this time no full size, and it's maybe time to move on to something smaller.
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