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HDV or not?? DCR-VX2100 vs HDR-FX1

Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 12:53pm

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nicmar

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In my hunt for a new 3ccd cam i've been thinking about DCR-VX2100 and HDR-FX1, from Sony.

They're both priced equally, but I'm not sure if I should go for the HDV-format.. it seems to have some downsides like:

- Huger files on the computer
- Need more memory + computer power to edit
- Takes more time to edit on an equal computer editing DV

On the VX2100, the low light filming is what really interests me, seems to be amazing...
On the other hand i'm not sure about the quality, does the HDV converted to DV really make better quality than just the VX2100?

It would be ideal to have a HDV-cam with better low light ability..

I'm greatful for any tips. It's hard to find new reviews on the VX2100 compared to FX! since it's been out for a while..

Thank you and goodbye smile
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 1:02pm

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jnjosh

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Here is an article someone posted earlier....

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/

This part scared me away from buying the FX1:

"On HDV, it’s entirely a different story. EVERY dropout causes an entire 15-frame segment to be lost. You’ll be watching your video, everything’s going along fine, and then suddenly the screen “freezes” for a full half-second! That’s a dropout on HDV."
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 1:32pm

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sk8npirate

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Yeah its a topic thats been talked about before, and it seems to be the best Idea to wait for HDV to become more reliable.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 2:23pm

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nicmar

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Ok.. but are there any other camera that is better than VX2100 for what i want to use it for? As I said, lowlight performance could be VERY useful..

A bit small screen though, don't know if it does matter practically..?
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 2:37pm

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sonnyboo

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a specific comparison of the two camera you mentioned can be found here:
http://www.supervideo.com/shtoutsvFXVX.htm
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 3:00pm

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nicmar

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Hmm.. interesting comparison of DVX/FX1/XL2.. but it seems like they're somehow for the DVX since it's a site called dvxuser, the FX1 doesn't seem to be much..

And on the other with comparison with the VX2100 it's all focused on high resolution..

The DVX seems all good, but at least in Sweden it's more than €1000 more expensive than the VX2100..

Well well.. this is a tough choice.. don't wanna make a wrong one smile

Any more personal non-objective comments would be great!
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 3:06pm

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Redhawksrymmer

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You should go to somewere in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and buy your camera. It's PAL and about 60% of the price here (no taxes and stuff like that). There are real "Sony Stores" and "Canon Stores" from the actual companys. And you do get a European Warrenty on them.

A HDR-FX1 goes for around $2800 over there.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 3:25pm

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EelcoG

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jnjosh wrote:

Here is an article someone posted earlier....

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/

Which is definitely an interesting article, however: I find it very biased. Keep in mind that it is a DVX users forum, and well, you can guess the conclusion.

Things that on other review sites are called a disadvantage of the DVX100 are suddenly an advantage in this review. (for example the percent scale for zoom, focus and iris instead of focal length, focal distance and f-stops)
The reviewer finds this increases repeatablility while the major advantage of the XL2 and FX1 reagrding these settings (preprogramming them for automatic transition) are glossed over.
Sadly, the comparison pictures aren't very helpfull either, since they used different settings for the cameras.

Still, some valid points are made, and the more you read, the more you know. (and every reviewer will have his or her preferences and biases anyway)

jnjosh wrote:


This part scared me away from buying the FX1:

"On HDV, it?s entirely a different story. EVERY dropout causes an entire 15-frame segment to be lost. You?ll be watching your video, everything?s going along fine, and then suddenly the screen ?freezes? for a full half-second! That?s a dropout on HDV."
The funny thing being that for some reason every (other) review I have read also mentioning this risk adds that they didn't suffer even a single dropout during their testing. And this while using normal DV tapes since the HDV tapes are not yet available. To me the really paranoid handling of this risk of a dropout according to the writers of that article looks more like HDV bashing then part of an objective comparison.

As for my personal opinions, I came very, very close to buying the FX1. However, I still have the feeling that there are other things more important then a really high quality image.

This might look like a strange comparison, but for me the choice is between the FX1 and the Panasonic GS400. Why? The GS400 is a lot smaller and lighter, giving me far more otions for steadycam shots and transportation. And there is this price difference of about 2000 euro. Those 2K euro probably improve my movies more when spent somehwere else then on the increase in video quality, especially since my distribution medium (DVD) will be SD for the time being.

Regards, Eelco
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 5:29pm

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nicmar

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I find it pretty funny and also think it's biased when you click the link to the forum and LOTS of people say that it's a good comparison and very unbiased.. so i agree with EelcoG..

Somehow i still don't think you should buy the first HDV cam that's released.. but i'm not sure.. right now i'm into VX2100, let's see someone bash that down and point out what sucks about it wink
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 6:14pm

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Mellifluous

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Whatever its bias, it's still informative enough about the features of all 3 for you to make up your own mind, surely?
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 7:28pm

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nicmar

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Yep, but the DVX100 which seems to be the best still is way too expensive for me.. i think XL2 and DVX100 is in another price range.. the review says XL2 is more expensive.. dunno why, could be another pricelevel in europe..

But I think now i'll skip the HDV format.. don't seem to be right just yet..

So, VX2100 or another cam which is similar? Any other cams withs as good low light performance??
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 7:44pm

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Mellifluous

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VX2100 is a good camera, I've used its predecessor, the VX2000, many times, & it was always darn good. The FX1 has the best low light capabilities I've seen in a digital camera, but that does seem to be the only thing going for it. Other cameras have pretty poor low light pickup - but don't get hung up on low light because you shouldn't really shoot in low light without good lighting anyway. Go for the VX2100, you wouldn't regret it. Though your unclear why you wouldn't buy the XL1/2? That's a very nice cam too.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 8:03pm

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VisualFXGuy

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Out of curiosity, what's the compression ratio of the HDR-FX1? DV is 4:1:1, and Betacam is 4:2:2, Film is essentially 4:4:4, what's the HDR? I couldn't find it in any of the material Sony has that i've seen.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 8:12pm

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Aculag

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I'm assuming it's 4:1:1, since the FX1 shoots on DV.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 8:21pm

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Mellifluous

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I keep on reading the figure 4:2:0, so I guess it's that.

Edit: Now I've seen a link saying DVCPro HD is 4:2:2 . I'm confused.
Posted: Mon, 14th Feb 2005, 8:26pm

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nicmar

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I find the XL2 a bit too expensive, and I figured the XL1 was too old... don't know if it's much older than the VX2100 though..

Will search for more reviews on this..

So you mean low light filming is a problem without correct lighting? I think of outdoor scenes, like city by night, a fireplace etc.. I find it hard to light these places, or how would you do it?
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 4:33am

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VisualFXGuy

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4:2:2? So DVCPro HD is as good as Betacam??? Hmm.. Now that DOES have my interest...

If a DVCPro HD has firewire hookups and you can send your footage to your computer, then it would certianly have an advantage over Betacam where you need to send it into a Beta deck first.
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 9:29am

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Bryce007

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Ive got a vx2100 and its an incredible camera. even though i use it alot, i still get surprised everytime i see the resulting footage. the hdr is really, really high quality, but unless you know what your doing, i'd just let the engineers work out the bugs.
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 9:50am

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nicmar

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Thanks for those comments.. I actually think it's a great result from my compact 1ccd Panasonic NV-GS5 camera too, but i have never seen any 3ccd footage which i have filmed myself.. so I guess it can only get better..

No I'm wondering if I should buy the cam in Sweden or order it from the UK or so.. looks to be a lot difference in price..
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 9:53am

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Joshua Davies

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Firstly, I wouldn't get any current Sony camera myself due to the lack of progressive (its usless at 12.5-15fps on the VX2100, and terrible quality fake progressive on the HDV cameras).

Also, as far as I know, HDV isn't 4:2:2 like the DVCPro 50/100 HD standards - I think its 4:2:0 like PAL but i'll have to check it out.
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 10:16am

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nicmar

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Why do i need progressive? I read a bit about it but I'm not sure.. the only reasonably priced cams ar DVX100A and XL2 with progressive..

Do i get sharper and better images with P? Cause as I work now, i deinterlace my PAL material with a smooth filter, and things moving sideways gets blurry.. Is that bad? smile

Are there any demo video clips showing the main differences with and without progressive? Is it worth the extra $1500 to go progressive?

Are there any problems, do I need plugins, special ways to work, when editing progressive on the computer? i use mainly Premiere Pro 1.5 and AE6.5..

Sorry for being a noob on this, but it's a lot of money, so I wanna place it right smile
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 10:42am

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Joshua Davies

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Do i get sharper and better images with P? Cause as I work now, i deinterlace my PAL material with a smooth filter, and things moving sideways gets blurry.. Is that bad?
Hmm, that doesn't sound like the best idea biggrin. If you regularly deinterlace your footage for effect/compositing shots or because you print your movie to film or only view it on a computer monitor you want a progressive camera. If you are not doing any of the things listed above then there should be no need to deinterlace your footage (especially if your main presentation medium is TV).

When you deinterlace you are basically dumping half the vertical resolution of your movie (some methods try and blend your fields but you are always reducing the amount of data). A progressive camera captures your footage at 24/25/30 FULL frames per second rather than 50/60 half frames (interlaced fields) per second. Therefore you don't need to deinterlace and retain more quality.

Progressive footage works with every modern NLE I know of so it should be fine. The XL2 is where I would spend my money at the moment, but if you can wait 6 months (which I would) then more HDV cameras should appear from other companies and maybe some of those will have real progressive (Panasonic and Canon have a good record with progressive features on their cameras).
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 10:59am

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EelcoG

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schwar wrote:

Firstly, I wouldn't get any current Sony camera myself due to the lack of progressive (its usless at 12.5-15fps on the VX2100, and terrible quality fake progressive on the HDV cameras).
I have to disagree with you on that. Not on the quality of progressive, but more on the "not getting a camera because it doesn't support progressive" bit.

I read a very good article on this, which I sadly don't have at hand, but in short it came down to this: Do you actually need progressive?

Progressive has one really huge advantage: It is relatively easy to transfer to film and in that case does not suffer from resolution loss. But how many people are actually doing that transfer?

I am glad if my finished project ends up on a DVD. Those will typically be played on a tv, which is an interlaced medium, as are most projection systems. The result is that instead of having a deinterlacing step blurring my image (from interlaced to film) I now have a blurring step from from progressive to interlaced. Ask yourself which of the two scenarios is most likely, are you going to put lots of your stuff on film, or is most of it going to end up on tv or projection.

This whole story doesn't even take all the extra messing with images in the tv in account. Modern (PAL) widescreen tv's are 100 Hz, and some are now 75. Those tv's are having their own fun with both fields as well (and no progressive input).

Of course, the DVX100 and XL2 can do both interlaced and progressive, but do you really need to spend all that extra money on a feature you will probably not use for the time being.

schwar wrote:

Also, as far as I know, HDV isn't 4:2:2 like the DVCPro 50/100 HD standards - I think its 4:2:0 like PAL but i'll have to check it out.
Does it actually use pull down at all? Since it uses an entirely different compression scheme, something like pull down might not even be used. Or in practice the compression scheme might end up in something resembling a variable pull down.

Regards, Eelco
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 11:09am

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Joshua Davies

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As I said, I wouldn't buy a camera which didn't do progressive and I stand by that. What anyone else needs from a camera might be different to me and the FXhome crew but we use progressive all the time and I'm insulted by the rubbish half measures Sony sticks in its cameras when it comes to progressive. You may say that progressive isn't useful to some people but 12.5/15fps (like on Sony MiniDV camera) has never been useful to anyone... ever biggrin

I did state in my last post when progressive can be useful and that for TV interlaced is the only way to go. Saying that you don't need a progressive input on your TV to display progressive footage, it can do it as standard (it just shows it split over 2 fields), but its not that nice to watch for long periods of time.

As for pulldown, not sure where you're going with that. 4:2:0 has nothing to do with pulldown. 4:2:0 (or 4:2:2) is the colour sampling made by the CCD not the conversion of frames and fields from one frame rate to another. Maybe you are getting confused with 3:2/2:3 pulldown or something?
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 11:23am

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nicmar

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I will use my camera to make material for DVD and for download like DivX etc..

I deinterlace my footage cause I do a lot of editing in After Effects, and it's hard to do some effects and stuff if the material is interlaced, with the lines all over the place on horizontally moving stuff..

Maybe this is the wrong way to do it:

1. Capture with scenalyzer
2. Deinterlace with Virtualdub (Deinterlace smooth)
3. Edit in Premiere and After effects

I remember that I got problems in Premiere when I had material that wasn't deinterlaced. When I watched it on a DVD it flickered and looked weird on dissolves..

I guess it would be great to get rid of all the deinterlace problems, it takes a bit of more time and diskspace to do it..

So you think XL-2 is a better choice than DVX100A? I dislike that it's twice the size/weight, and that it don't have a external LCD-screen.. For unprogressive i like the VX2100 for the low light performance, but it has a little smaller screen than the DVX.. any comments on this? Which other cameras have good low light performance, and is it useful in practice?
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 11:28am

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EelcoG

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schwar wrote:

As I said, I wouldn't buy a camera which didn't do progressive and I stand by that. What anyone else needs from a camera might be different to me and the FXhome crew but we use progressive all the time
That is why I made my remark. If you need it, or want it. Buy it. The only thing I am saying is: do you really need or want it.

schwar wrote:

and I'm insulted by the rubbish half measures Sony sticks in its cameras when it comes to progressive. You may say that progressive isn't useful to some people but 12.5/15fps (like on Sony MiniDV camera) has never been useful to anyone... ever biggrin
As i wrote, i am not going to disagree with you on that biggrin

schwar wrote:

As for pulldown, not sure where you're going with that. 4:2:0 has nothing to do with pulldown. 4:2:0 (or 4:2:2) is the colour sampling made by the CCD not the conversion of frames and fields from one frame rate to another. Maybe you are getting confused with 3:2/2:3 pulldown or something?
Oops, yes. Remove the word pulldown from that. I meant the colour sampling. As far as I understand it, the 4:2:0 means 4 times luminance for every 4 pixels and 2 times colour difference information for every 4 pixels (with full resolution being 1 luminance and 2 colour difference for every pixel).

But that is just a compression scheme. It is very well possible (I haven't been able to find anyhing on it) that MPEG2 works better without that reduction in data. Of course, MPEG2 has its own nasty habits, so that won't mean colour bleeding is gone, but it might be a lot less defined then with the default DV, DVCPro, etc schemes.

Regards, Eelco
Posted: Tue, 15th Feb 2005, 11:29am

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Joshua Davies

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I like the Canon over the Panasonic myself but loads of people like the Panasonic more. I would try them both if possible and make up your own mind.

Loads of people have trouble with interlaced footage - even with professional applications like AfterEffects. Put simply, the moment you deinterlace your footage you are dropping quality and moving even further away from broadcast quality.

All our new applications make it easy to edit your footage and add effect while retaining your interlacing. Once the programs are out we'll add some tutorials about this and the importance of retaining your interlacing when trying to get the best quality possible from your footage on a TV screen.

As far as I'm aware MPEG2 either uses 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 and for HDV they have picked 4:2:0 - http://www.abe.it/PDF_News/MPEG_2_Coding.pdf
Therefore in Chromanator we'll have to deal with HDV footage the same way we do with PAL at the moment, will be doing some tests with footage of Sollthar's Sony HDV before the next update.