Incredible Sony Z7 information!

enregistreur.gifYou may just want to learn French to really understand (correctly) all the information on this site. I’ve included a little bit of it here, and did my best to straighten out the rough automated translation– but all of this is just one section, of FOUR.

So without further hesitation, here’s the Sony HVR-Z7 as you’ve not yet seen it (in English):

Below is just part one of the Google French to English translation that can be found here.
I will comb through this and make it more like English as opposed to Engrish.

Note, these are not my words, these are the words of the original author, in French, translated by Google (full body linked above) and then “tuned up” by myself so it actually reads and is not filled with mental potholes. However, some difficult passages remain.


Post 1: Overview of camcorder

The successor to the Z1 HVR arrived, and what replacement… The first pro camcorder Sony HDV in 2005 was pioneer of HDV among professionals and amateurs. It deserved a successor which upholds to the reputation of the Z1E.

Well – here it is – even if it’s not yet readily available on the market- the Z1 HDV. Changing technology has allowed Sony to put on the market a very powerful camcorder packed with innovations.

The comparison of the HVR Z1 with the new HVR Z7:

This camcorder is characterized mainly by:

1) its sensor

— TRI CMOS 1/3p HD (6mm diag of approx.)

Technology Exmor (as on the EX1) cell rotated at 45 °

It can work 1080p at 24 or 25 frames / second. (US / EU respectively)
This transducer has 1,037,000 pixels active, approximately. 1,120,000 pixels (total)

2) its interchangeable lenses

Faced with this sensor, Sony was wise to put a bayonet standard 1/3 inch (previously on the models JVC HDV), which can now use a variety of existing and future optical lenses. Also Sony still camera lenses- ALPHA can also be used, and (with an adapter) 16mm 35mm with or without type mini 35… etc.

3) A tapeless recorder

As if the former was not enough, they have completely integrated a tapeless recorder that uses compact flash cards to accelerate the acquisition and transfer of video (news footage for example). This recorder, CF card, can also be used at the same time as the HDV tape recording the same format for both, or downconverting to DV 16 / 9, for instance, while recording in HDV on the cassette. Files are m2ts standard AVI or DV on the CF card.

And, in a small revolution in the world of HDV camcorders, a REAL 1080p mode. Sony has managed this tour de force encoding, 1080p on the tape HDV, without profoundly changing the features. This translates, of course, a new format that will not always recognized by current software (until an update).

The use is simple:
It switches to the progressive 24/25 from the menu and films on tape and compact flash. Editing will be directly 1080p. You can also use the HDV 1080i 25 progressive scan (identical to the model V1E HVR), or, actually, it was 2 1 / 2 frames frozen at 1/25s (1 / 50 1080i classic), the editing can then s’ perform in 1080P or 1080i (with a look progressive)

So these are the main changes compared to the HVR Z1.

Overview of camcorder Sony HVR-Z7


Supplied with the basic version of the Z7 it a nice 12x optical, VCL 412 BWH signed Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T * of optically stabilized 12X whose range extends from focal length f 4.4 mm to 52.8 mm (32mm to 384mm equivalent photo 16:9, 39.5 to 474mm in DV SD 4:3)

Its iris is large F1.6 – F2.0 (variable depending on the focal length used). You can use threaded filters with a diameter of 72mm.

Also worth noting is the significant decline in the number of buttons traditionally associated with optical Sony lenses.

Equipped with a sun visor effective integrated components mounted on a bayonet ¼ turn, the optical lens is much heavier than that of the Z1, it resembles the models made for the Canon XLH1, although a little more compact.

The ring for manual focus

This revolution is key. The focus ring, by simple manual sliding, enables you to switch from automatic to full manual mode. The lens is equipped with clear distance markings, but it is not a fully manual lens, but rather a servo lens, which causes a slight time lag between rotation of the ring and seeing the results. But be careful not to push Auto available to assist in MAP in that position or you’ll be assisted by the 1.5 x digital zoom, also known as “Focus Assist.”

The zoom

The Zoom is graduated in classical focal values. Below the lens, a switch lets you change between manual or servo if one wants to use the manual zoom in a manual manner. Or use it electrically (Servo). It is still possible to edit the focal without disengaging the servo motors, but it must be done slowly so as not to force the mechanics.

The iris opening (aperture) is not numbered or labeled on the lens. But the values appear in the viewfinder. The order is progressive and fluid mechanics smoothly adjust the iris.

A single button on the side of the body – the Digital Extender, which is a 1.5 x digital zoom (but you lose a little definition) or “L1” which makes it programmable with the function of your choice (see below)

Unlike previous camcorders, the grip and zoom controls resume their ergonomic placement mounted on the lens, which helps restore adjustment of the lens rings in front without really having to pull your eye from the viewfinder. It is also nice to see the functions of manual or automatic iris, as well as the small push Push Auto momentary button, which automatically adjusts the opening upon request (very common on professional camcorders)

The zoom rocker is progressive and allows great variety of zoom speeds.

This handle is attached to the lens and may be different based on brand and type of lens that we will mount on the HVR Z7.

1.4 Other commands

Located rear of the handle, a small programmable button can activate the “Expand Focus” aid in the focusing quickly or RET, which lets you see what’s on tape (position classical Professional camcorders)

And of course the main record button, which is of good size and very accessible.
Above, a little hidden by the camera, is a lock ring that controls the removal of the lens.

Virtually all other controls are located on the left side of the camcorder body with ergonomics similar to other models in the range.

The switch-up POWER is on the top – and it has 3 positions:
Camera (filming)
VCR (for Reader / Writer)
On the front of the box:


At the top is the knob change of filters 4 positions.
It allows you to use filters (mechanically) to shield the CMOS sensors

The position:
1 – no filter,
2 – ¼ Grey neutral,
3 – Grey neutral 1/16,
4 – Grey neutral 1/64

Than camera will indicate in the viewfinder a flashing display if it wants you to use a higher or lower filter setting, depending on the amount of light the chips see. As usual, we anticipate that it is easy to change filters. Do not forget to use good filter practices- because a significant loss of sharpness in the image and overexposure of high lights can occur of you have the wrong setting. Vice versa in the darkness.

Assignable buttons:

Lined up at the top and on the front row are six programmable buttons that can be assigned a function from among the 28 available. (Details in the description of the menus) 1, 2, 3 have no predefined assignments. The other 3 have a default, labeled function:
4 display the Zebra,
5 offset the automatic exposure (to be chosen in advance)
6 review the last seconds of recording tape or CF card

Setting Sound recording:

At the center, under a small hatch (fragile), are the main commands affecting the audio levels of the two recording channels CH1 and CH2.

The rotary 2 settings adjust the manual volume and there are switches to select between automatic adjustment and manual mode.

Auto or manual mode:

On one line below, is the main “Auto / Manual” switch to switch. It has easy access, and it makes capturing images easily when we do not have time to make adjustments manually- like white balance, iris, gain, etc…

Adjusting Gain:

3 push buttons allow adjustment Auto or Manual Manual GAIN (when the main switch is on Manuel)

The gain is associated with manual 3 positions of the switch located just below the Gain button. The default settings are: 0dB L, M db +9, H +18 db, each can be adjusted between-6db and +21 db in 3db steps. Hyper-gain +21 db images will be very noisy. I would advise a value of up to +12 db so that we are not be too bothered by the noise in the image.

Ordering the white balance:

Auto White Balance or manual. When in manual, you an set Interior, Exterior (adjustable levels 7), Memory A or B, and Manual adjustable directly between 2300 and 15000 degrees Kelvin in steps of 100 ° K (very useful if you use a manual color temperature meter). With the 3-position switch, A, B, and preset can be quickly switched between.

Measuring white manual, and saving it as A or B, is very simple.
After setting the switch to A or B, you press the little button, while seeking a white surface illuminated by reference light to measure. The measured temperature is displayed on the viewfinder in degrees Kelvin and then, one can begin to shoot.

Key Shutter Speed:

This lets you adjust the shutter speed of the camera according. The higher the speed, the clearer the picture will be, but on the other hand motion might appear choppy. Push the shutter button and then adjusting the menu to select a shutter speed from 1/3 sec. To 1/10,000 sec. It is also possible to enable ECS to remove the scanning sweep when filming CRT monitors. You can do this by adjusting the frequency of the camera shutter from 50Hz to 200Hz (a typical monitor can be 75Hz for example) in very small increments. This way, users accustomed to handling a professional camera or camcorder can easily find their bearings.

The command menus:

MENU commands, as well as special PICTURE PROFILES keys can be browsed with a click wheel. There are 6 Pictures Profiles with more settings for the camcorder image that we detail below. A Status Check button lets you view, by using the wheel, the various states of adjustment on the camcorder.

The top of the camcorder:

The handle is well located and keeps the camera in good balance for the shooting of counter-diving or otherwise. On the handle, it has a lockable record button and a small zoom rocker enabling fixed or variable speed.

This handle also has multiple mounting points for accessories such as lighting, supplementary LCDs, etc. One was quick with a standard label is located on the front of the handle, it fits on a base with a thread. This one can be removed to facilitate matte boxes that attach to the front of the lens.

And the other one is further back. You have a choice of a threaded mount or attaching a slide-in shoe with four screws, included.

Under the handle, buttons Shoot Transition System, here you can manage the automation of Zoom and MAP. This feature has already been present in other models. Some use it, others ignore.

At the front of the handle, is, like the Z1, the LCD panel folding and, underneath it, the buttons to control the VCR and other aspects of the programming, including the use of Timecode and display information about battery capacity.

The LCD:

Provided a nice surprise. It is currently the best that I have seen on HD camcorders. It is virtually impossible to distinguish pixels on the display. Contrast and colorimetry are very realistic even in full light (attention it is still possible to get trapped).

The indications are programmable in the menus. They are not too invasive and clear enough to easily be interpreted during the shooting.

— 8 cm (3.2 inches) Hybrid 921,600 pixels 16/9 1920 x 480

So far, only the Canon LCD XHA1/G1 – which was clearly smaller – was the best of the lot, but with the Z7E, the bar is now a notch higher.

— Ease of framing,
— Control of counter-day,
— White Balance
It becomes almost easy with this new screen

Compared with the screen on the Z1 is day and night.
The Z7 has inherited display capabilities of the EX1.

On the older HVR Z1E, pixels are clearly visible.

on the new HVR Z7E pixels are nearly invisible, even when magnified.

The back of the camcorder:

The viewfinder:

Is not lagging behind with 1.14 cm (0.45 inches), with 1,226,880 in 852×480 pixel RGB 16/9, I judge it to be better than the EX1 XDCAM (prototype seen at IBC). It is Black and white and it is very pleasant to use. Its diopter setting can be adjusted to view this little screen. In the kit is a broad rubber eyepiece cover which mounts easily. It is possible to open it for cleaning out dust and lentils, which make a good soup. Mmmmm.

Equipped with an adjustable diopter slider it can be made for everyone to see.

It is very difficult to take a photo of the camcorder viewfinder but even here we can realize its quality

The memory cards:

A location for Memory Stick Duo Pro is available on the right side of the camera at the rear of the hand grip. The Memory Stick Pro can save not only capture still images (photos), it can also be used to save camera settings. You can save 99 camera profiles for use on another camcorder, or to keep the settings after a shooting with a rental camcorder, for example, for use later on another machine.

The cassette:

The access door to the compartment cassette is on the right side of the camera: it has no window to know if a tape is in the compartment, or to monitor the tape that scrolls well when we recorded (but the design may compensate for this lack). The opening is classic and always quick. e careful to always take the same precautions when closing it in order to avoid breaking the mechanism.

Compact flash player / recorder HVR MRC1:

Another new size, the drive recorder CF HVR MRC1 is removable. To connect it, place it on the back of the camcorder, on a special connector. This allows recording on Compact Flash Card (CF) – recording the same signal used to record HDV or DV and other functions meantime, record, etc.… There is also the provision to record downconverted DV in parallel to a cassette recording HDV.

This small revolution is big in the world. This small HDV device comes with all accessories. You can use it as a stand-alone unit on battery, or connect it onto its mounting as if it was an external hard drive. Easy to control with its own switch, it can be set to be completely controlled by the camcorder. A 4 GB CF card can record about 18 minutes of HDV / DV. With 8 GB, therefore, it is possible to record 36 minutes of digital video (72 minute with 16 GB).

The CF card slot.

The battery / chargers:

The location of the battery is at the rear of the camcorder, in a deep housing. This is designed to hold the larger batteries, and allow the assembly of the compact flash recorder. At no time does the battery impede use of the rear viewfinder, no matter how it is adjusted. The battery supplied is an NP F570, which gives about 75 to 130 minutes of shooting in HDV.

Here, the larger 970 fits perfectly in the slot and allows you to mount the MRC1 the back of the camcorder

With great fortune we alsoo find a double charger- 110V 220V 50/60 Hz, which also serves as an AC power supply for the HVR Z7. There is also a 12V IN which allows allows an appropriate cord (not provided) to enable the recharging of batteries in a car.

To conclude this overview we will see what camcorder connections are available.


Standard XLR3, positioned on the front, right under the VTR control panel / LCD. Input 1 (CH1) and Input 2 (CH2) is available and there are switches to quickly configure their individual assignment or copy signal Input 1 onto CH2.

Under the support a small clip keeps the audio cables.

The 2 switches also enable phantom power for each channel.

The shotgun microphone is quickly accessed with a plastic clip. Isolation from handling noise is provided by a layer of silicone fitted with pimples and a rubber ring around the microphone.

The microphone provided is the ECM-XM1, a Cardioid bonnette protected by a foam windscreen.

The input / output:

Hidden under small covers that hinge outward for access are found:

FireWire / iLink / 1394 DV / HDV – IN / OUT, which is 6-pin format for strength and reliability. Don’t forget the proper cord for data transfers

Components & Composite AV OUT – no IN – it is impossible to use it as recorder.

Under the flexible plastic caps:

The 2.5 mm mini jack – wired remote control – Lanc
The headphone jack – 3.5 mm stereo

On the other side, at the top:

Is the HDMI output, a connector increasingly used now

And hidden by the lens grip:

LENS connector used on the professional interchangeable lenses when they are not provided with bayonette connectors.

Power Supply:

There is no power connector on the camcorder, so you use the battery-shaped end of the cable to connect the charger provided. The camcorder also can not act as a battery charger.

Accessories included with the camera:

A composite cable
A composite cable / AV
A Sight for setting the essential Back Focus when changing lenses
The claws door accessories 2
The micro ECM XM1 and battery adaptor
Large rubber eyepiece
A memory card of 306x CF 8 GB
The AC VQ 1050
1 battery MFN 570
Dual battery charger / AC supply
IR remote control
1 cassette HDV Master 63 minutes

For more: visit the Google translation (its not as good as me.)

Or the original French.



30 thoughts on “Incredible Sony Z7 information!

Add yours

  1. At that time, Eric did a very good job. And he is going to do more with the PMW-EX3 Sony model. I told on Monique web site that his job was unique, because Eric is not involved in any brand and is allowed to tell what he think, without any barrier.
    I am very happy that american people knew what he is doing. Be happy with live internet !

  2. Regarding the Sony HVR-Z7U / S270, rolling shutter issue (cmos chips)has anyone had any experience shooting in wedding reception settings, where still flashes are continually firing in what is usually a low-light setting? Seems like an ideal situation to catch the half-black of a partially captured rolling shutter frame at 1/60 sec.

  3. That is a very comprehensive review and very useful too.
    I have just purchased a Z7 with the help of this article I am tres content aussi.
    Ron the manual “switch” for the lens is on the focus ring push forward or back to eneable auto focus

  4. I’ve got a HVR-S270P Just jet. Actually the sam as Sony Z7 Also with rcording unit on memorystick. How can I record, using only this Memorystick unit.? Or does this only works together with tape.? I tried wihtout tape but the camera says “Insert a Cassette” en wil not record.
    Thanks in anticipation.


  5. it is good to know from you about z7 i want a suggestion i want to buy a camera for documentary films, short films ad’films marriage function so this camera is suitable for me or you suggest another .

  6. I am satsified with the Z7 no end, but recently I am having problems with the focus. I focus with full zoom and its correct but as I move out (to wide) it seems to get soft. What could be the reason? This is urgent.


      1. I had the same problem. The Sony tech asked me to send it in for repair. I got it back after a month and now it works. Lucky I have extended warranty on this thing.

  7. what is the rate of sony z7 & v1 camera
    also what accessories you give with these cameras
    we want to know what are the differences in these 2 cameras

    pl rpl urgently


  8. Jeff :
    I had the same problem. The Sony tech asked me to send it in for repair. I got it back after a month and now it works. Lucky I have extended warranty on this thing.

    I am facing the same problem..what was the camera is now out of gurantee…


  10. hi, i recently shot on tapes using a Z7…. 1080i.. and am having problems digitizing the tapes.. the tapes cant playback on a HDV digitizing machine… all six tapes… pliz advice

    1. Use the camera that shot the tapes to play them back.
      Typically an incompatibility can be had if the azimuth of the heads is different, as such, only the deice that recorded them can play them back. If that doesn’t work, hunt for a JVC deck, or a HDV broadcast deck, which can handle a wider tolerance of tape issues.

  11. Hi,

    I am trying to find out the serial number and model of a sony hvr Z7. The sticker at the bottom is not legible, is there any way I can find it using the camera menu, settings, etc ?


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