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Sony HVR-Z1U Reviewed

Great Picture, Great Price By Stephen Schleicher

Sony has recently released the HVR-Z1U HDV camera.  The big brother of the HDR-FX1, this camera has all the features the FX1 was missing.  From the XLR connectors, to precision optics this camera is the one youve been waiting for.  Digital Media Nets Stephen Schleicher, take a look at this camera and claims it is the real deal.

The Sony HVR-Z1U HDV camera has only been on the market since February 2005, but in that time it has received a lot of attention as an entry level high definition camera for the prosumer and professional market.  For the last two weeks Ive been shooting non-stop with this camera, and I am impressed with the level of detail, portability, and the ability to capture high-definition video on Mini-DV tape.

The Z1U uses a Carl Zeiss lens with an impressive 12:1 zoom from 4.5mm 54mm.  This results in very nice wide angle shots, and I cant think of a time when you might need a wide angle adapter with this camera.  In tests, I was able to get a few inches away from a small statue and still see the entire piece.  When shooting landscapes, I was surprised just how wide the image could be.

z1u full wide.
An impressive wide shot from the Z1U. Some may notice a slight distortion. Click for full size image.  Note:  JPG image compression is not representative of camera quality.

Likewise, zooming all the way in will give you an impressive shot at a distance, but youre not going to fill the screen with a close up of the moon.  For that youll need a telephoto adapter.

z1u fully zoom
Same position as previous shot, fully zoomed. Click for full size image.  Note:  JPG image compression is not representative of camera quality.

I didnt notice any distortion when fully zoomed, but it appears there is some barrel distortion when at full wide.

The Z1U allows you to change the Zoom display from the typical Wide to Telephoto bar graph representation to a percentage amount.  The percentage amount is a little weird to get used to at first, but if you are trying to hit a mark without looking at the zoom ring, this might be the best alternative.


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