Manufacturer: Sony Part number: HDRFX1
- Bottom Line:
- Though it lacks some audio flexibility and isn't recommended for 24fps
shooting, the HDR-FX1 provides advanced consumers with professional-level
video controls and entry-level pros with an affordable starting camcorder.
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as of 07/23/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $13.99
- Reviewed by: Ben Wolf
- Edited by: Aimee Baldridge
- Reviewed on: 05/02/2005
- Released on: 11/15/2004
The good: Sharp and vibrant three-chip HD images; native 16:9 capture; ability to downconvert video for use with existing editing systems and displays.
The bad: No XLR inputs or independent audio-level controls; no 24P; somewhat difficult to control and monitor focus manually; limited HDV editing and distribution options at this time.
The bottom line: Though it lacks some audio flexibility and isn't recommended for 24fps shooting, the HDR-FX1 provides advanced consumers with professional-level video controls and entry-level pros with an affordable starting camcorder.
Suggested over DVX-100A & HD10
Pros: Read the specs, those are the pros. Mingus suggests that the JVC-HD10 is better. Not so, the HD10 is a single CCD using a software algorithm for color (single CCD sees only black and white. An algorithm interprets the shades of gray as colors). 1070 e
Cons: The downside is that extra software is required to get what you want out of it for those of you interested in 24P and editing in HD. If you're willing to do the extra work, this camera is about the best thing you can get under $5,000.
19 out of 19 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great camera if used properly
Pros: Far superior to standard DV, makes an incredible transfer from HDV to Dv on a dvd in 1hour mode that is way better than making it from my Vx2000 the same way, as far as low light -no its not as good as the vx2000 but then again it looks like 100asa film c
Cons: As simple as it may be the #1 thing I disslike about this camera is the fact that they did not put a overlap in the fader menu, it only fades from black or white as is the same with there proz1 model. I use this "alot" for in-camera editing and will miss-
17 out of 17 users found this user opinion helpful.
Can't imagine a better picture
Pros: Low light performances are great. Details, details, details. What your eye sees the camera captures. Worth to pay the extra $$$ only if you have an HD television. Camera easily switches to standard DV when uploading video to computer for editing. Image is
Cons: Can only view HD images with the camera connected to your HD TV set. I own a 65'' HD TV and the results blew my mind (and my then-sceptical wife) Since consumer level dvds and editing softwares are not yet HD, we will have to wait a while before we can tu
11 out of 11 users found this user opinion helpful.
Amazing camera for the price and great results
by mitch000 on June 16, 2005
Pros: 3CCD, good in low light, great picture, 1080i for HD broadcast
Cons: larger and heavier than JVC HD10U, no 720P for home HD DVD players.
Summary: I have been working with both the sony FX1 and the JVC HD10U for a few months. I shoot with them and edit using prepiere pro 1.5 and aspectHD. ...
Summary: I have been working with both the sony FX1 and the JVC HD10U for a few months. I shoot with them and edit using prepiere pro 1.5 and aspectHD. Both cameras are EXCELLENT but there are major differences.
comparing the FX1 and HD10U..
FX1 HD10U pros and cons from a shooting/editing perspective:
The FX1 is easier to use overall and has 3 CCD and provides better color reproduction than the HD10U when shooting indoors with no extra lights. When shooting outside both have excellent color reproduction. When I use a light kit with the HD10U indoors the color reproduction is excellent. Bottom line you must use proper lighting when shooting indoors especially with HD. AND you should use a light kit with the fx1 as well but you don't have to because the fx1 is better in low light.
720p vs 1080i
As far as resolution even though the fx1 has a higher resolution image (and larger file when brought into the editing system)than the hd10u I cannot see the difference on high end hd monitors. Both are excellent. What is noticeble is the difference between progressive and interlaced. The fx1 looks smoother as in high end video and the hd10u looks more like film. When the output is for HD DVD (HD DVD players comming soon...) The jvc hd10u is a better format because all HD DVD players play 720P not 1080i so for the fx1 you will have to convert 1080i to 720p (very long rendering time)if you want to play it in the new hd home dvd players. (The conversion results are not good with software, better with hardware conversion)
For those of us (like me) who want to broadcast HD you must use 1080i so the fx1 is perfect with no conversion. You have to convert the hd10u from 720p to 1080i which looks good when I use a hardware converter. Enough for now.. hope this helps..
7 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Needs decent lighting
Pros: HDV-1080 is very nice and noticably better than DV quality. Widescreen is beautiful. The lens is great as is the autofocus most of the time.
Cons: The new CCD's developed for this camera need considerably more light than the VX2000 or VX2100. This camera added 12db more gain using autoexposure than my VX2000 for the same shot.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
Amazing Bang for the Buck
by Greg47 on August 12, 2005
Pros: HDV format better then DV. Perhaps as good or better then 16mm, but with ease of Digital Video.
Cons: Unintuitive controls, Hard to get a properly exposed image. Audio not as good as many $500 camcorders and unacceptable for a camera in this league.
Summary: I started with old Sony ½” open reel Sony stuff (Portapak I think it was what the portable unit was called) and have used most of Sony’s evolutionary line up ...
Summary: I started with old Sony ½” open reel Sony stuff (Portapak I think it was what the portable unit was called) and have used most of Sony’s evolutionary line up of video equipment from U-Matic, to Hi-8, ED-Beta, Betacam, DVCam and now the HDV FX1. I have shot about 20 hrs with the FX1 and edited about 4 hours on Using Vegas 6.0, and I must say that when properly exposed under good lighting the FX1 can produce some stunning images, Bout also that is has it’s drawbacks, shortfalls and may not fit the requirements as many expect.
HDV’s Versatility and Quality:
I like the HDV format and normally shoot in the HDV 16:9 mode even if I am planning to go to a normal 4:3 DV as a final rip. By framing shots a little wide on the edges I can re-frame it to a 4:3 box when editing. Also since HDV has four times the resolution one can crop or section of a 16:9 HDV image by up to 400% and still have it look acceptable when rendered to standard 16:9 or 4:3 DV output. If later you need to produce HD or HDV output you can re-render in HD or HDV.
Some claim the native MPEG-2 format is substandard to HD and I would tend to agree, but HDV is so vastly superior to DV and even many HD TV broadcasts that it seems not much of an issue for most of the work most amateurs and semi-pros do. Image is generally good and pleasing to watch and I have not noticed little or no objectionable motion artifacts.
Picture quality and control:
As good as the FX1 is, I find for optimal and often good results exposure needs to be manually adjusted for every scene. Automatic mode for Iris and gain seems to produce mostly overexposed and blown out looking highlights. You can set-up custom profiles to reduce exposure a couple of stops but as soon as I move from brightly lit conditions to shadows or indoors things go too dark and I have to switch profiles or go to manual exposure, something I don’t have to do with a VX-200, PD-150 or even my old single chip sony DCR-PC100. Yes, the FX1 has a two setting ND filter and you need to use it a lot as it seems to me the FX1’s exposure and gain system can’t deal with large changes in lighting as well as other cheaper camcorders. My gut impression is that this could be improved to match Sony’s older pro-sumer camcorders and top of the line DV camcorders from the competition.
While HDV is a big improvement over DV in sharpness and color depth you can’t just point and shoot FX1 and expect it to make ‘so-so” shots look good or even great in the way a DVX or Betacam can.
In my opinion the FX1’s controls are inconveniently placed and illogical when compared to the Panasonic’s DVX DV camcorders and professional stuff like the old Betacams. Focus is a pain and switching from auto to manual focus or vise versa requires you to take the camera away from you eye and fumble for the Focus mode switch next to the nearly identical ND filter switch. Both switches as do most of the switches on the FX1 make a loud and plastic sounding “CLICK!” loud enough for not only the mic to pick up but everyone in a room to hear.
Exposure and gain controls are limited…
Especially when compared to other comparable priced DV cameras like the DVX-100. The FX1 does allow you quite a bit of programming control in the “profile modes” so you can set custom gain and exposure profiles but other then the straight ‘Cine-look” gamma mode you can only control the Iris, shutter speed and Gain. As the auto mode seems to overexpose most scenes I typically Shoot in the manual Iris mode and fumble for the little control knob with the peaking zebra lines set to 100% and try to adjust before I start recording and then stop when I need change lighting or move.
Sharp Focus in HD is critical for a truly HD look and The FX1’s auto focus while at times a little slow seems to be able to quickly find and hold razor sharp image. Manual focus ring is smooth but a little too sensitive, only about a 25 degree turn from infinity to .7M. If Sony would have made it selectable to say 45 and 180 degrees would have helped, if they would have provided an automatic auto focus override when you turn the focus ring and placed a one-shot or auto focus mode button near the focus ring would be wonderful.
The Expanded Focus mode is a great feature that works well by enlarging the center of the screen by about 200%, this makes manual focus faster and easier and would be great for quick manual focused shots, but it only works in pause mode - not record, therefore making not really a fully useful feature.
I can describe the built-in stereo mic in one word, “Crap!”. As others complained it picks up every paw print and touch of the camera body. Worse then even cheap $300 plastic camcorders. Even the first Sony Video8 camcorder has a decent built in mic with a rubber isolation mount that delivered clean sensitive audio. It even had a zoom mic that zoomed when the lens zoomed. Too bad Sony can’t take a clue from one of their 20 year old designs.
Built-in audio is also low and muffled. And while the stereo microphone does an excellent job of picking up the camera’s own sounds it seems to have a hard time collecting intelligible speech from someone only 5ft in front of the lens. Something else odd I noticed is that sounds 90 degrees to the left and right of the microphone are much louder and clearer then sounds immediately in front of the camera.
I recommend Sony’s little ECM-MS908C Stereo Microphone. It is the mic that should have been built-in to this thing and it features wide and zoom patterns delivers reasonably clean audio. It’s less then $100 and comes with a nifty little isolation mount that cuts down on camera and touching noise, and you can use the mount with other microphones.
A lot has been said about the FX1’s low light ability and I would say that when outputted to DV format it is on a par with the VX-2000 and maybe even the PD150 or DVX, but only if you boost the FX1’s Gain. Yes the image gets a little washed-out and grainy but by the time to render to DV a lot becomes less noticeable. Yes you see more noise in HDV mode but there is four times the resolution to look at. Yes, other cameras do better in low light but they don’t shoot in HDV.
Rendering and output.
The FX1 comes with no editing or capture software and apparently only a few higher end packages will capture and edit HDV.
Sony’s Vegas 6.0 will however capture and edit HDV just as easily as it does and you can set any frame rate from HDV’s 60 frames a second to 1 if you like. You can use all sorts of custom frame rates including 24fps and 23.976 for film and insert common pull-downs and specify how you want your frames ‘blended” or removed but the motion quality and blending seems to vary greatly depending on the file format and codec you select.
A robust NLE program like Vegas 6.0 and a fast P.C. is in my opinion vital for the serious FX1 user. And for HD pros on a budget Vegas 6.0 will up-convert to Sony’s version of 1080i HDV footage (which is 1440x1080 interlaced) to full HD (1920x1080) in progressive and interlaced modes in MPEG, AVI formats (using Sony’s professional YUV codec), as well as WMV and MOV file formats for web video.
Rendering from HDV to HD can however take agonizingly long times, even with a mega fast PC. This can mean several hours longer then rendering from HDV to DV, and turn into days for long projects going to full HD that include additional special effects and processing. Rendering Back to HDV or intermediate HD formats like 720P is noticeably slower then to DV but still much faster then going to “Full-on” HD.
I have even taken some DV stuff from a VX-2000 and DVX and up-converted to 1080 in Vegas and clipped it in with HDV footage from the FX1 and surprisingly good quality DV footage re-sampled to HDV looks good enough that I have to wonder if a lot of what is claimed to be broadcast as HD is really just DV that has been up-sampled to HD.
You can’t yet burn and play an HDV DVD you might ask what is the advantage of the FX1 over a DVX or VX-2100. Well, the ability to shoot HDV and render it as DV or go to HD later is one. Being able to record and watch HDV home movies for not much more money then a pro DV camcorder is another.
Some think that DV viewed on a high-res computer monitor or HD tv set looks grainy and dull, and you have to admit that once you see HDV on a good quality HD set or Computer monitor you won’t want to go back to DV. However, most 1 to 3ghz computers don’t have enough horsepower to play full 1080HDV without dropping frames, but rendering HDV down to 720 progressive at 30fps gives more of a film like look and is playable on many computers and laptops, and burning HDV Videos in WMV or MPEG format in 720P makes for stunning clips that can be put on computer DVDs and CdRoms, or even compressed and embedded into webpages.
Taking those 720P videos and loading them onto a fast laptop or PC and connected to a hi-res projector is also a cheap way to produce a big screen experience for low dollar.
Otherwise, if you have no real need for HDV and only burn DVDs or do occasional broadcast video I would tend to opt for a DV only prosumer Camcorder with more professional features and performance like the DVX-100 or Sony PD line of camcorders.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great High Definition MiniDV Consumer Camcorder
Pros: Excellent, excellent, excellent picture quality. Crystal clear 16:9 1080i output on my 73" Mitsubishi Diamond Vision. Flawless firewire connectivity to my new Apple G5, with seamless HD capturing/editing compatibility with Final Cut Pro HD. High quality L
Cons: Mic picks up slight zoom noise...manual ring works very well in place of motorized zoom. Lower motorized zoon buttons are variable; however, the upper motorized zoom buttons (on handle) are fixed speed (both should be variable). Lighter than you would exp
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great camera, HD is fantastic
by ozarkshome on March 16, 2005
Pros: Easy to use
Cons: lots to learn yet
Summary: Got one, made a couple of movies with iMovie doing most of the work. Well pleased with the results, would recommend both. Not sure which deserves the most credit, the ...
Summary: Got one, made a couple of movies with iMovie doing most of the work. Well pleased with the results, would recommend both. Not sure which deserves the most credit, the camera or iMovie.
5 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Pros: I am not a pro. I shoot video for fun. This one blows me away. Great color, great clarity in HD format. I have a 34XBR960 TV. I saw fantastic pictures.
Cons: didn't come with a HD capture s/w.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Like a $40k camera for $3500
Pros: Owned for a week - This camcorder will change the way the world shoots video. I predict every news network will be looking seriously at HDV now. "Lots of disk space to edit"?... I don't think so - it's 25mbps, and therefore takes the same amount of storag
Cons: No apple support yet, but they say the next release of FCP will have HDV codec. Yes, 24p would be nice, but it's 1080i HD looks great.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Sony
- Part number: HDRFX1
- Description: The GC1 is an easy-to-use solution for anyone who wants to record and quickly share their daily experiences with friends, family, or the entire world. One-touch recording and a compact size make the GC1 the ideal choice for capturing videos on the go. Its 5 megapixel CMOS sensor captures clear, sharp video and still images. Browse, playback, upload to the Web, or e-mail videos with ease from most PCs. The built-in software lets you go from shooting video to sharing it on the Web in just three simple steps: just connect the Net Sharing CAM to a PC with a USB cable, select which video to upload, and select which service to upload it to.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Camcorder - 1080i
- Camcorder Sensor Resolution 1.12 megapixels
- Effective Video Resolution 1.07 megapixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 921600 pixels
- Total Pixels 1555200 pixels
- Progressive scan Yes
- Camcorder Media Type Mini DV (HDV)
- Optical Sensor Size 1/3"
- Optical Sensor Type Super HAD 3CCD
- Min Illumination 3 lux
- Digital Video Format MPEG-2
- Special Effects Black & White,
- Image Stabilizer Optical (Super Steady Shot)
- PCM digital sound 16bit (48KHz / 2 channels),
12bit (32KHz / 2 channels)
- Digital Scene Transition White fader,
- Min Shutter Speed 1/4 sec
- Max Shutter Speed 1/10000 sec
- Shooting modes Normal movie mode,
Digital photo mode
- Shooting Programs Spotlight
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Outdoor,
- Exposure Modes Automatic,
- Camera Flash No
- Image Recording Format JPEG
- AV Interfaces S-Video,
- Type Carl Zeiss 12 x x Zoom lens - 4.5 mm - 54 mm - F/1.6-2.8
- Lens Construction 11 groups / 16 elements
- Lens aperture F/1.6-2.8
- Features Aspherical lens,
Built-in 1/32 neutral density filter,
Built-in 1/6 neutral density filter
- Optical Zoom 12 x
- Lens system type Zoom lens
- Interchangeable lens Yes
- Min focal length 4.5 mm
- Max focal length 54 mm
- Auto Focus TTL contrast detection
- Filter Size 72 mm
- Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 32.5 - 390 mm
- Focus Adjustment Manual,
- Zoom Adjustment Motorized drive,
- Low Lux / Night Mode Yes
- DV input Yes
- Additional Features Analog to digital conversion with pass through,
Display brightness control,
Accessories hot shoe ,
RGB primary color filter,
- Analog to digital conversion Yes
- Remote control Remote control - Infrared
- Software Drivers & Utilities
- Included Accessories Lens cap,
IR remote control,
A/V cable kit
- Viewfinder Type Electronic
- Viewfinder Diagonal Size 0.5 in
- Viewfinder Resolution 252,000 pixels
- Type 3.5 in LCD display
- Connector Type 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire/i.LINK),
1 x Composite video/audio (input/output),
1 x S-Video input / output,
1 x Component video output,
1 x Headphones,
1 x Control-L (LANC),
1 x Microphone,
1 x DC power input
- Microphone Features Wind noise reduction
Memory / Storage
- Media type Mini DV (HDV)
- Video Recording Modes LP,
- Supported Battery 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( Included )
- Audio input type Microphone
- Microphone type Built-in
- Microphone Operation Mode Stereo
- Microphone technology Electret condenser
- Battery type - Lithium ion
- Mfr estimated battery life 125 min
Viewfinder / Display
- Display Features Rotating
- Viewfinder Color Support Color
Expansion / Connectivity
- Wireless connectivity Yes (IrDA)
- Width 5.9 in
- Depth 14.4 in
- Height 7.1 in
- Weight 4.4 lbs
- Body Material Magnesium alloy
- Ikelite Underwater Systems marine case for camcorder (34929737)599.95
- Tiffen Steadicam Pilot-AA Camera Stabilization System (Sled, Vest, Arm, Back Pack Transport, 5.8 #8221; LCD, AA Battery Mount) (33612570)3795.00
- Canon FU-1000 Monochrome Viewfinder (7032382)1599.99
- Canon HC 3200 - case for camcorder (31118507)600.00
- Nikon WT-3A Wireless Transmitter for Nikon D200 Digital SLR Camera (33614749)599.95 - 838.00
- Portabrace PKB-275PV - hard case for camcorder (35112263)578.95 - 589.00
- Thermodyne SHAN-B900 - hard case for camcorder (31055438)584.95
- Thermodyne SHAN-HPX300 - hard case for camcorder (34223625)569.95
- Vocas MFC-1 manual focus controller (34149239)1639.95