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March 30, 2005

Sony HDR-FX1: Indie Filmmaker's Delight?

Sony HDR-FX1I'm seriously considering selling my trusty Sony VX2000 and upgrading to the Sony HDRFX1 HDV High Definition Camcorder. At $3300, it's a whole lotta camera for the price. My chief concern is how well it fakes 24P, and if I can handle editing HD on my current dual-G4 system. If anyone has any experience with this camera, please leave a comment.

HD-CHANNEL, a German web site, has posted high-def video clips from the FX-1.

Presenting the world's first consumer 1080i high-definition camcorder: the Sony Handycam HDR-FX1. A revolution in form and function, the HDR-FX1 allows you to play and record interlaced high-definition video at resolutions up to 1440×1080 for professional-quality video with vivid colors and striking detail. It even offers the ability to switch to standard DV recording and playback as the situation warrants. The HDR-FX1 features the Real-Time HD Codec Engine, which offers professional-level MPEG-2 video compression, and a 14-bit HD DXP (digital extended processor) for increased processing speed. Images are captured on a three-chip advanced HAD CCD system that provides increased detail and improved video performance without the color bleeding found in other systems. Optical capabilities include a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12× optical zoom and Super SteadyShot image stabilization. Features:
  • Play and record interlaced high-definition video at resolutions up to 1440×1080 for professional-quality video.
  • Three 1/3-inch wide-aspect-ratio advanced HAD CCD imagers for enhanced color quality.
  • Professional-level MPEG2 video compression with the real-time HD Codec Engine.
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12× optical zoom.
  • Record at either 30 frames per second or, for a film-like feel, at 24 frames per second.


How the Sony HDV cameras fake 24, 25, and 30 frames-per-second (FPS). The Cineframe shooting modes in the Sony HDV HDR-FX1 let you simulate the look-and-feel of progressive-scanned images, but the camera section itself is still running at its normal, interlaced field rate.

New York Times review of the Sony HDRFX1: “All right, go ahead, ask it: In whose twisted opinion does a US$3,300 price tag make this a consumer camcorder? Let's put it this way: the next-least-expensive three-chip, high-definition camcorder costs about US$40,000. The significance of the FX1 is that it blows open the world of high-quality, professional-looking wide-screen video to anyone with talent and a valid credit card. For independent moviemakers, wedding videographers, corporate filmmakers and video freaks of any ilk, this is a big, big deal.”

08:58 PM in High Definition Cameras | Permalink


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hey there- It's Patrick from LA - I was just checking out your DTVB and thought I'd give you a little feedback on the Sony HD cameras - I just used one for a couple of days on a concert DVD that will also have a brief theatrical release as well as a pay-per-view screening on indemandHD. The cameras were a little bit heavier and slightly more unwieldy than the VX that you're using, and after two full days of shooting basically all day my arms needed a break. The setups were easy and the menus intuitive. Picture quality looked great and I liked having the screen up on the handle instead of the side. One thing I liked is that for a left-hand-cradling position, you have access to pretty much all of the controls you need with just a couple of fingers. Iris, White Balance, Zoom, Focus, Auto/Manual switch, etc - without having to look at the camera to see where you are. It made it easy to be pretty adaptable going inside/outside, into cars, etc - just shooting on the fly. It definitely lends itself to a documentary approach. I'm sure it would be great for a more traditional filmic type of setting as well.

The only thing that was a drag was that on the camera that I was using, if the battery died while you where shooting, you needed to reset your settings - it didn't automatically recall everything if you had it skewed a certain way. Kind of like running out of gas - change the brick before it goes out. Although there was a quick jump on the power indicator from 30 minutes to nothing - but that's pretty common I suppose. The company that I was shooting for said they will never use another camera - they absolutely love the footage from the Sony.

Posted by: Chuck | Apr 13, 2005 5:18:59 AM

I noticed the following comment from a recent NYTimes article:

"having recorded a high-def movie with the FX1 and then edited it with iMovie, how can you show your masterpiece in high definition? Unless you get the thing distributed commercially, you have only one option: export it back to the camera and then attach the camera to your HDTV set. (You can burn it to a DVD, but it won't be high definition anymore.)"

is this true? I currently use an SVGA projector in our home theatre. I have come to accept that we will not be able to view the entire HD video from the HDR-FX1 (once we buy one) on the SVGA resolution screen, but surely it is still possible to write our home movies to DVD without compromise of definition?


Posted by: Fraser | Apr 17, 2005 8:36:31 PM

My understanding is that - unless you can burn to one of the new high-definition DVD formats, which is unlikely - you'll be watching your video in standard definition from a DVD. Of course it will still look pretty good. The better your source footage, the better compressed video quality will be.

Posted by: Chuck | Apr 18, 2005 1:01:56 AM

Then there's this Apple announcement:

Apple also updated DVD Studio Pro 4, the company's professional DVD authoring program, which it says is "the first" commercially available DVD authoring software that lets users burn their HD projects to high definition DVDs based on the latest HD DVD specification. DVD Studio Pro 4 will be demonstrated at NAB with a prototype consumer HD DVD player from Toshiba set to debut later this year.

Posted by: Chuck | Apr 18, 2005 1:33:39 AM

Just burn it as a WMA file on a Double Layered DVD, and It will not loose its quality. But it takes about 3 minutes for 1 sec of footage to export to WMA. with a G4, 2 Dual Processor, 1 Gig.

Posted by: Peter | Apr 29, 2005 1:14:44 AM

sory..no english..

Posted by: ESAT | May 13, 2005 10:37:10 AM

So if the msrp for this camera is $3,300, any cautions about places like Digital Liquidators (http://www.digitalliquidators.com/detail.asp?id=snhdrfx1) that have them for $1619? i'm ready to buy one, but don't quite understand how they would come cheaper than the VX. something I should know? How much does this camera generally go for?

Posted by: ann | May 30, 2005 3:17:32 AM

The trick with Digital Liquidators is the super cheap camera is gray goods (made overseas for sale overseas at third world prices) and as a result the camera has no US warranty, no english manual and the camera probably doesn' t even display in English.

This is a bit of a bait and switch on these guy's part. If you type 'sony fx1' in the search box, you get the gray good item. If you type 'sony fx1 usa' you get the US camera, at a considerably higher price.

Selling gray goods in not illegal in NY, so they want to you order the gray good camera, then they'll ask you to call to confirm your credit card info, and they'll try to sell you a bunch of overpriced accessories and a high-priced extended warranty. If you bite, you'll get the camera but at no discount.

If you say no and insist on the cheap camera, they'll ask why you didn't order the US model, and get you that way.

If you stay with the gray goods camera, it will be out of stock most of the time.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 6, 2005 6:48:52 PM

21/23 old nichol str
shoreditch,E2 7HR
Dear Sales,
I would like to order of SONY HDV CAMERA FX 1,from your store,so calculate the total price and the shipping cost to the above address.Then i will forward you my credit card details to
complete the transaction.

I await your swift response.


Posted by: Dayo Jason | Nov 30, 2005 2:06:32 PM

I've been shooting on the FX1 since April. I do not like their 24p selection. it honestly looks and feels like your shooting at a lower frame rate. Fast motion on screen becomes jumpy. So if your filming a one room setting with no action scene it's cool. It's a naturally dark camera as well. Also, shortly after you order your camera from liquidaters, they'll say that the camera is not set in english. This is a lie the camera is manufactured in many different languages.

Posted by: FairHopeFilms | Feb 9, 2006 6:26:52 PM

B&H has the camera now for 2999.99 www.bhphotovideo.com

I just ordered mine yesterday with some HDV tapes and stuff.

Posted by: Chris | Mar 2, 2006 11:19:32 PM

Just had my HDR-FX1 delivered, and all I have to say is WOW!!!!!!!!

Posted by: MICHAEL | May 28, 2006 5:24:19 PM

Agree with Chris, if you want to know how much the camera should cost, check with B&H who sells US cameras, not the Chinese knock-offs. Some other vendors also sell "camera only" deals which DO NOT include battery, cable, charger, etc., designed by vendors as replacement items.

Posted by: Stephen Smith | Jun 28, 2006 7:54:18 PM

Would this camera be a good Idea to use for taking weddings and other hired videos? I am thinking of going into business for myself using this camera because I want to be seperated from the amateurs. I want o record in surround sound and HD and Id like top notch equipment but want to beable to burn a 1 hour HD video on DVD. Would this unit be the ideal candidate for me? Thanks...

Posted by: Nick | Jul 21, 2006 5:54:19 AM

I bought the FX1 the first month it came out back in 2004. I have been shooting on it ever since. I even backpacked across southeast asia for four months and it still works. I have shot weddings, baja races, documentaries, and most of all I use it to shoot stock footage. There is a market for great looking footage...esspecially because with big production companies they can use hdv for movies beucase they have all the fancy editing equipment and it's great for the DV industry too. today you can watch burn hdv in dvd studio pro 4...and play this on one of the consumer hdv dvd players or the Apple's G5 dvd player can read hdv but not the G4. You can use this camera for almost anything...whitewater rafting, underwater, corporate videos, promotional videos, stock, documentaries, it is definatley worth the investment! And I can finally say the rest of the world is finally coming up to date with Sony's hdv release.

Posted by: jess | Jul 25, 2006 8:25:47 PM

Sony HDR-FX1 On this camera !! I am new to film making but I want to purchase this camera ...I can get the battery, cable, charger, etc.! separately! so why would i have to pay 3000.00 for it!~???? is there a cheaper way? thanks alot

Posted by: Alex Devereux | Jan 24, 2007 11:00:51 AM

hi i love the cameras so bad

Posted by: ignatius chibueze | Jul 27, 2007 2:30:12 PM

Hi people!!! I want introduce my new yearnew year foto.

Posted by: WeameHesfus | Jan 11, 2008 9:45:06 AM

Hi, I used a Sony FX1 to shoot a feature film 'Fiddler's Walk'. I thought it was a great camera. However, since I first bought the camera it occasionally would suddenly switch itself off in Record mode. This was irregular. But now everytime I use the camera it switches itself off after about ten minutes every ten minutes or so. On the last occasion the camera switched off, with no functions with any button to try and turn it back on but the camera had gone into fast forward. The only way to stop it was to pull out the mains and take off the battery.

Has anyone experienced similar problems? If so do anyone have any solutions? When I sent it to be repaired I was told they could not find a fault but the problem persists.

All the best


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Posted by: plausE | Feb 16, 2008 4:16:19 AM

I need to buy Sony HDR FX 1 CAM. not able to find a shop of NEWYORK USA.


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