Sony's HDV camcorder for the indie crowd
Flash-based recording may be all the rage, but tape's not quite dead yet for the entry-level and wannabe pro shooters.
First, some basic specs compared:
|Sony HDR-FX1||Sony HDR-FX1000||Canon XH A1|
|Sensors||3 1/3-inch 1,080x960 Super HAD CCDs||3 1/3-inch 1,080x960 ClearVid CMOS||3 1/3-inch 1,440x1,080 CCDs|
|Recording modes||1080i (1440x1080), 1080/30p, 1080/24p (via 2:3 pull-down), 480i||1080i (1440x1080), 1080/24p (via 2:3 pull-down), 480i||1080 60i/50i (1,440x1,080), 24F (24fps 1080 via 2:3 pull-down)|
|Min ilummination||3 lux||1.5 lux||0.4 lux|
|Lens||12x f1.6 4.5-54mm (32.5-390mm equivalent)||20x f1.6 4.1-82mm (29.5-590mm equivalent)||20x f1.6 4.5-90mm (32.5-650mm equivalent)|
|LCD||3.5 inches/250,000 dot||3.2 inches/920,000 dot||2.8 inches/207,000 dot|
The most notable differences between the FX1 and the FX1000--and they're certainly nontrivial--are the new lens and the switch to the ClearVid CMOS from CCDs. Though the new 20x lens matches the XH A1 respect to its zoom range, it starts at a wider angle, a nice feature that's pretty rare in camcorders. It's also, presumably, a better-quality lens, based on the G series optics from Sony's dSLR lenses. The lens also now includes a dedicated iris ring. And while the sensors remain the same resolution as before, we've generally seen the ClearVids outperform their CCD predecessors, and the Exmor on-chip noise reduction is partly responsible for the FX1000's lowered minimum recommended illumination of 1.5 lux.
One of the FX1000's disappointments is the 24fps implementation, which, like the FX1 and XH A1, captures 60i video and uses 3:2 pull-down to create a 24fps stream before recording to tape. Sony has added some gamma and color-correction presets to help better simulate the film experience over the FX1's implementation. For true 24p, you have to bump up to the pro version of the FX1000, the HVR-Z5U.
The HDR-FX1000 is scheduled to ship in November for about $3,200; the HVR-Z5U should arrive in December for $4,950.