Unfortunately, the entry price is over $6000 MSRP. But if you’re a video pro or a very serious indie journalist/documentarian you might consider saving your pennies and golden dollars for the just announced Sony HVR-Z7U. The specs on this thing really sound like Sony has been paying attention to what serious video makers want in a “prosumer” camera.
The most exciting spec is that it records DV and HDV video to plain old compact flash cards, just like you use in a digital still camera and other devices. CF cards have recently hit 16 GB, which will store 72 minutes of video. Those cards average about $200 or so, which is a bargain compared to one of Panasonic’s proprietary P2 cards, which cost more like $900 for 16 GB. While it’s surprising for Sony to adopt such a common standard rather than going proprietary (16 GB Memory Stick anyone?), I think it’s a good move that sets an example for where camcorder technology has to go.
And, unlike AVCHD and other MPEG-2 based codecs used on other (admittedly lower priced) hard drive and flash memory camcorders, DV and HDV is ready to import an edit in any major NLE without any transcoding.
The second cool spec of the cam is that it takes interchangeable lenses, like its competitors the JVC GY-HD110 and the more expensive Canon XL-H1. With an adapter it even uses lenses from its Sony Alpha line of digital SLRs (previously known as the Minolta A mount).
Of course, $6k is a lot to drop on a camera and I haven’t seen the thing yet. My hope is that these ideas trickle down into lower priced cams, especially CF card support. I don’t see any reason why CF card writing can’t be added to one of Sony’$1000 HDV cameras, especially since CF wouldn’t require any moving parts. I’d be one of the first in line with my debit card if that appeared in my local electronic shop.
You can throw all the whiz-bang psuedo-features at me you want and I won’t jump. But give me simple, relatively inexpensive recording to a memory card (or hard drive) in a standard codec made for editing, and I’m there.