Sony HVR-Z7U HDV Camcorder
Expanding the HDV format World
Sony’s commitment to HDV has resulted in the remarkable evolution of cutting-edge technology equipment, such as the
HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U, which use the popular HDV1080i recording specification.
The HDV1080i specification uses one of the MPEG2 Long GOP
compression profiles. This highly efficient and robust MPEG2 Long GOP
codec - which is also used in the Sony XDCAM HD and XDCAM EX series – enables users to record stunning-quality HD video.
The HVR-Z7U provides over 60 minutes*2
of recording time using the widely available miniDV videotape. While the HVR-S270U
has the additional option of using standard-size cassettes that provide over 4.5 hours*3
of continuous recording.
*2 When Sony's recommended Professional HDV tape DigitalMaster™ model PHDVM-63DM is used,approx. 63 min. recording time.
*3 When Sony's recommended Professional HDV tape DigitalMaster™ model PHDV-276DM is used,approx. 276 min. (4 hrs. 36 min.) recording time.
Switchable Recording and Playback – HDV1080i/DVCAM/DV
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U can switch between HDV 1080i, DVCAM, and DV recording, providing full flexibility to record in either standard definition or high definition depending on your production needs.
Native editing in the HDV format is now supported by most popular NLE (Nonlinear editing) software. Additionally, the HDV signals can be recorded as a file on non-tape media. For example,when using the supplied CompactFlash (CF) Memory Recording Unit – images can be stored on a standard CF card for quick nonlinear editing.
The optional HVR-DR60 Hard Disk Recording Unit can be used in the same manner,with images being recorded on to its large-capacity 60GB hard drive,which provides 4.5 hours of recording time.
Built-in Down-converter for SD Production
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U can convert material from 1080i down to 480i, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. This allows users to edit recorded material with a compatible nonlinear editing system using current DV editing software, as well as record SD signals to an external VTR.
*Letterbox mode is not available from the i.LINK connector. i.Link is a trademark of Sony used only to designate that a product contains an IEEE 1394 connector. Not all products with an i.LINK connector will necessarily communicate with each other. For information on compatibility, operating conditions, and proper connection, please refer to the documentation supplied with any device with an i.LINK connector.
Cutting-edge imaging System for New Camcorders
1/3 inch-type 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system
The newly developed 1/3-inch type 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor™ system has 45-degree rotated pixels on each chip in order to increase the signal density, while each pixel maintains sufficient surface area. In combination with Enhanced Imaging Processor™ (EIP), the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system achieves high resolution, high sensitivity,wide dynamic range, and excellent color reproduction. The pixel shift interpolation technique has been traditionally used in small 3CCD camcorders. However, it normally requires the combination of all three color element (RGB) signals to maximize resolution. If an object lacks one or more color elements, the resolution of the object may be degraded. The 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system is different. It can always produce maximum resolution, regardless of the balance between color elements, thanks to its unique and sophisticated interpolation technology.
Enhanced Functionality via the Technology of Exmor
Both the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U offer cutting-edge features, such as the technology of Exmor
™developed by Sony,which utilizes the full potential of the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system. The technology of Exmor
,which features the column-parallel A/D conversion technique and the dual noise cancelling method are also used in other latest camera products from Sony. Multiple A/D (analog to digital) converters on each pixel row convert analog signals to digital as soon as they are generated, unlike traditional technology that only has one A/D converter on each chip. The technology of Exmor
can eliminate the influence of external noise that enters the signal chain during transfer to the A/D converter, resulting in high-quality digital signals with extremely low noise. This significantly enhances shooting in low-light environments. By adopting this groundbreaking technology, the new 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system enables the HVR-Z7U to achieve a low light sensitivity of just 1.5 lux*.
* at 1/30 shutter, auto iris and auto gain
Interchangeable Lens System Offers Unlimited Possibilities
Various video lenses can be attached to the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U, which are both equipped with a universal standard 1/3-inch bayonet mount mechanism for quick changing of lenses.
Carl Zeiss Lens for HD Video as Standard
A high-quality,multi-purpose Carl Zeiss lens for HD video comes as standard with the HVR-S270U and HVR-Z7U. Stunning resolution and contrast is achieved thanks to the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar™ T* coating,which suppresses unwanted reflections. A specially designed wide-angle lens is also available as an option, to suit a diverse range of shooting requirements.
Easy-to-use Interchangeable Lens for Fixed-lens Camcorder Users
These lenses give Sony’s two new HDV camcorders the same functionality as popular fixed-lens camcorders like the HVR-Z1U, thanks to built-in features such as auto-focus, optical stabilizer,and automatic back-focus adjustment. Current users of the above camcorders will easily become adept at using the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U, even if they have never used interchangeable lenses.
Natural-touch Lens Operation
The newly designed focus ring offers two types of manual focus, plus an auto focus mode that can be easily switched by sliding the focus ring forward or backward.
When the focus ring is in the front position, the lens works in the same way as the HVR-Z1U, HVR-V1U, and DSR-PD170. In this case, either manual or auto focus mode can be selected by the assignable button on the lens. On the other hand,when the focus ring is set to the rear position, the focus ring has a physical stop at infinity and works in the same way as a professional interchangeable lens,with fixed-focus-position and distance indicators.
Fast, intuitive manual-zoom response is provided by an internal gearwheel mechanism that provides accurate zoom positioning. A high-quality servo-motor provides the smooth zooming performance that industry professionals have come to rely on.
The iris ring encircles the lens barrel. Manual iris adjustment is possible with an ENG-type ring system that allows fine exposure control for challenging lighting situations.
Wide Range of Lenses
The flexible bayonet lens attachment system allows you to use a wide range of lenses. Standard 1/3-inch HD video lenses, from manufacturers such as Fujinon and Canon, can be attached directly to the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U. If you’d like to attach a 2/3-inch or 1/2-inch HD video lens on the HVR-Z7U or HVR-S270U, it is possible to do so by adding a standard lens adaptor from the lens manufacturer. The HVR-S270U and HVR-Z7U camcorders have 12-pin lens connectors allowing compatibility with professional ENG lenses. This feature is very useful not only for those who already have these professional HD video lenses, but also for those who prefer to use HD digital cinema lenses for their unique contrast, color, and atmosphere.
α (alpha) Lens Compatibility
With a special adaptor from Sony, it is also possible to use the α (alpha) lens series designed for Sony Digital SLR still
cameras. By using α (alpha) lenses in various configurations, creative effects can be achieved. This approach is ideal for filmmakers on a budget or those who already own lenses.
- The focal length is doubled with a 2/3-inch lens adaptor
- The focal length is increased 1.3 times with a 1/2-inch lens adaptor
- The focal length is increased 7 times with an α (alpha) lens adaptor
- Some lenses may not be compatible and not all lens functions may be available
Manual Camera settings
Three ND filters (1/4, 1/16, 1/64)
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U have three built-in ND (Neutral Density) filters,which help users to reduce light intensity under bright shooting conditions.
Negative gain settings of -6 and -3 dB have also been added to help reduce sensitivity under bright lighting conditions. When the iris needs to be opened to create a short depth of field, a suitable brightness can be achieved with this function.
The Smooth Gain function is a smooth transition gain system that avoids sudden brightness changes caused by manual gain-level adjustment. With this function, the brightness changes gradually when the gain-level position is switched and avoids any sudden, unwanted iris adjustment.
Smooth WB (White Balance)
The Smooth WB feature is a smooth transition white balance system that avoids unnatural sudden color temperature changes between preset white balance settings. For example, this function is useful when you move from an artificial, low-light environment inside a building, to bright natural sunlight outside.
Shooting Support Functions
The Histogram Indicator for brightness can be displayed on the LCD monitor and viewfinder, allowing operators to easily evaluate the brightness of captured images. A target window appears in the center of the screen and the brightness level is indicated by a vertical red line in the histogram. The zebra indicator level appears as a yellow vertical line in the histogram as reference for proper exposure.
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U both have a built-in threedimensional gravity (3G) sensor,which detects the horizontal level of the camcorder and displays it via an indicator in the LCD/EVF. This digital leveler function makes it possible to obtain a horizontal level reading even when shooting without a tripod.
When the focus position needs to be manually moved to pre-decided positions, you can put up to two markers (A and B) on a focus position indicator in the LCD/EVF as reference points. When the focus position becomes aligned with one of these markers, it will begin to flash. This allows you to keep your eye on the subject of your shot, without having to check the focus indicator on the lens.
Six types of AE (Auto Exposure) can be selected to automatically adjust the exposure to the most suitable level.
Up to six different picture-quality settings, including gamma and color settings, can be registered in the memory as picture profiles. This labor-saving function allows operators to easily recall customized picturequality settings for various shooting conditions. It is also useful for matching footage shot at different times or for multi-camera setups. The picture-profile functions of the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U include enhanced versions from the HVR-Z1U or HVR-V1U, plus a selection of new functions.
Generally, the brightness of a video image increases as the color level becomes more vivid. In these new camcorders, the brightness and color level are processed independently so that more flexible tone – for instance, a dark image with a vivid color – is realized by 3D-LUT color processing.
Note: 3D-LUT = three-dimensional look-up table
The Color Correction function of the HVR-Z1U has been improved in the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U camcorders. Color Correction provides two functions for creative shooting. The Color Extraction function can retain up to two desired colors of monitored pictures in the screen, while making all other colors black and white. The advanced function allows users to select the color simply by pressing a button to memorize the center color of the captured image.
The Color Revision function can change the hue of only the color designated by the Color Extraction function. This function is good not only for creating impressive images, but also for blue- or green-screen shooting in order to normalize uneven color. The color data is stored in each Picture Profile so that users can select the most suitable color setting for each shooting situation.
The WB (White Balance) Shift function allows users to create an impressive color or to adjust the color
temperature of the camcorder.
There are two WB Shift options to choose from:
• LB-CC type: adjusting the LB axis (color temperature) and CC filter effect
• R-B level type: adjusting the red and blue levels
This function allows users to change the sharpness of an object with a specific color, and is particularly good for making skin tones look more natural. The target color can be specified by controlling the Phase/Range/Saturation/Y Level/Y Range parameters or by pressing a button to specify the color of an object with a color picker. If the sharpness of the background object is decreased, the blur looks more natural.
Improved Microphone Sound Quality
Monaural Microphone ECM-XM1
The supplied ECM-XM1 microphone's S/N ratio is 78 dB, a sensitivity increase of 14 dB over its predecessor, the ECM-NV1*6
*6 The ECM-NV1 is a supplied microphone with DSR-PD170, DSR-250, HVR-A1U and HVR-V1U.
Selectable Progressive Modes
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U have two types of progressive shooting modes.
24p/30p HDV Native Progressive Recording Modes
The HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U camcorders newly feature 24p/30p HDV native progressive recording modes. The 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system and EIP create true 1080p images,which can then be recorded as progressive signals by the HVR-Z7U and HVR-S270U camcorders in HDV format. The progressive HDV stream can be output from an i.LINK connector and used for progressive editing with compatible NLE software. Native progressive recording modes are suitable for output to film, CG composition, viewing on a progressive monitor, or as an Internet movie.
Note: interlaced video is output from connectors other than i.LINK
24p/30p Progressive Scan Modes
In these modes, the 1080p image captured by the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system is also recorded as an interlaced signal by dividing each frame into two fields. This enables compatibility with current editing and monitoring equipment that only accept interlace signals, while maintaining the quality of the 1080p image. When using the “24p scan” setting, captured images are recorded as 60i through means of 2-3 pull-down. Progressive scan modes are suitable for feature films, documentaries, and music videos,which have to be recorded as interlaced video for viewing on interlaced monitors, but want to offer a “progressive look” to their motion.
It is also possible to edit footage recorded in the 24p
scan mode as progressive material. NLE software that is compatible with the 24p scan
mode can remove the 2-3 pull-down, then edit the footage as 24p material.*5
For 30p, most NLE software can output the edited timeline in progressive format by merging odd and even fields.
*5 When 24p editing is needed with the 24p scan mode, be sure to select the 24A setting in the Scan Type menu instead of the 24 setting. This setting records the 2-3 pull-down identification data in the HDV stream, so that compatible NLE software knows when to remove the 2-3 pull-down cadences. In the 24A setting, interruptions in time code and video may appear between recordings when viewed on an HDV device. There is no 24A setting in DVCAM and DV modes.
Memory Recording Unit
HDV in IT Workflow by CompactFlash Memory Recording Unit
The Memory Recording Unit is supplied with each camcorder to support HDV tape recording. It captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and records it as movie file while you are simultaneously recording to tape. You can use a standard CompactFlash (CF) card*,which offers secure recording, high-speed access, large data capacity, removable media convenience, and high durability against external vibration.
The CF card is used for HDV camcorders because the media is easily obtainable for file recording in the same way as miniDV tape is easily obtainable for HDV recording. This general versatility is very important for those who frequently need to obtain media quickly, such as someone shooting a documentary or news reports while moving from city to city.
HDV/DVCAM/DV File Recording on Easily Obtained CompactFlash Card
The recording time on a 16-GB CF card*9
in HDV, DVCAM and DV format*10
is approximately 72 minutes.
Integration Without Cabling
The Memory Recording Unit can be integrated to the HVR-Z7U or HVR-S270U without the need for cabling, simply by attaching it onto the special shoe connector*11.
This smart combination never interferes with shooting operations. The Memory Recording Unit automatically synchronizes with the recording action of the camcorder – i.e., when the camcorder starts or stops recording, so does the unit.
*11 The intelligent shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DV stream and supplies power to the Memory Recording Unit. The i.LINK connector is not available when the unit is attached on the camcorder.
Hybrid Operation Realizes Archiving, IT Workflow, and HD/SD Parallel Recording
The Memory Recording Unit provides a hybrid operation,where images are recorded to tape and a CF card simultaneously, in a similar fashion to the HVR-DR60 Hard Disk Recording Unit*12.
*12 HVR-DR60 does not accept a native progressive HDV stream.
This means you can immediately access a movie file for streamlined NLE work,while keeping the master source tape in a safe place. The file format is M2T for HDV mode and AVI or RawDV for DVCAM/DV modes. In the same fashion as HVR-DR60 operation, these files can be edited using popular NLE software.*13
*13 The Memory Recording Unit and HVR-DR60 adopt the FAT32 file system. Continuous recording is divided into 4-GB files (approximately 20 minutes of recording time). A utility software, available from the Sony website, can merge these divided files for seamless editing on NLEs. Some NLEs include this function. For details of NLE operation, please consult your nearest NLE software dealer.
In addition,when the built-in down-converter of the connected HDV camcorder is active, SD images can be recorded on a CF card while HD images are recorded to tape. HD master tape is recorded and SD movie files are created at the same time. HDV or DVCAM tape-based users can gradually move to IT workflow with this hybrid-operation. Tape-less recording is also available if desired.
Independent Use With the Supplied Cradle
The Memory Recording Unit can be used as an external recording unit, just like the HVR-DR60, by attaching the supplied cradle that has an i.LINK connector, battery attachment, and DC power input. When the Memory Recording Unit is connected to a PC via i.LINK, it is recognized as an external drive and can be used to access files. When connected to a video device (such as a VTR or NLE system) via i.LINK, it can be used to input/output a HDV/DVCAM/DV stream.
- HDV, DVCAM and DV Recording on a miniDV Cassette tape
The HVR-Z7U accepts miniDV cassette tapes,which provide over 60 minutes recording time for HDV and DV formats, over 40 minutes for DVCAM format.
- An Ideal Handheld Camcorder Design
Sony has responded to professional user feedback to create the ideal handheld camcorder with ergonomically designed body-weight balance and a well-planned layout of buttons and connectors to reduce camera operator fatigue.
- XtraFine LCD and EVF Offer High-resolution, High-contrast Images XtraFine™ LCD
A 3.2-inch type XtraFine LCD is located on the HVR-Z7U in the same position as on the HVR-Z1U. The high pixel number of approximately 921,000 dots is around four times greater than the LCD of the HVR-Z1U, and this higher resolution allows for easier focus adjustments.
- XtraFine EVF
The 0.45 inch type XtraFine EVF (Electronic View Finder) has approximately 1,227,000 dots (852x3[RGB]x480). This device has three independent LEDs for R,G, and B colors. This technology allows users to check objects with remarkable color reproduction and resolution*. The EVF has a selectable display mode between color or black and white.
*When the camcorder is panned quickly or when an object in the screen moves quickly, the primary colors of R/G/B may be seen on the object in the EVF momentarily.
Common Features of the XtraFine LCD and EVF
• 100% full-scan display – helps you to check the entire recorded area.
• 6500k color temperature – the standard for professional monitors.
- infoLITHIUM L Series Battery Compatible
The HVR-Z7U uses the same batteries as the HVR-Z1U, HVR-V1U, and DSR-PD170, so you can fully utilize your existing battery and charger assets.
- HDMI output connector
Uncompressed digital HD video and audio signals are output from the HDMI connector. You can see stunning HD images on the HDMI-compatible monitor display. During shooting, the pre-compressed 1920x1080i/4:2:2 signal is output from the HDMI connector.
- Smooth Slow Rec
The Smooth Slow Rec function of the HVR-Z7U camcorder enables slow-motion playback by capturing images four times faster than the normal field rate (240 fields/s). In this mode, quad-speed images are captured for three seconds, stored in the built-in buffer memory, and then recorded to tape (in either HDV, DVCAM, or DV format) as slow-motion pictures lasting 12 seconds*15. This allows recorded images to be checked immediately in the field. Although the resolution of the picture quality is decreased, this function is effective for some applications that don’t need full HD quality, such as Internet movies or the analysis of moving objects like a golf swing, for example.
- Two Accessory Shoes
The HVR-Z7U features two accessory shoes. There is a cold shoe on the front that can be removed to make room for a mattebox. While at the rear, there is a screw-hole type shoe located on the handle, which can be changed to a cold shoe, if required, using supplied parts.
- Two Screw Holes for Secure Connection
To provide a more secure connection between the camcorder and tripod plate or other accessories, two screw holes have been incorporated.
- One-touch Clip-type Microphone Holder
A one-touch clip-type microphone holder makes it easy to remove the microphone for quick storage.