The FX1000E still records its HDV to tape, which seems a bit retro now that AVCHD has virtually taken over in consumer camcorders. Sticking with HDV ensures complete compatibility with professional editing workflows, and there are now a number of compatible solid-state recorders you can add on to speed up production. But we would still like to see built-in solid state recording, as with the HVR-Z5E, considering how Panasonic and now JVC are embracing the move away from tape.
Three lens rings are provided, for focus, zoom and iris, although the latter of the three is only active in full manual mode. You need to press a further button to enable shutter adjustment, which operates via the menu control wheel. There are discrete buttons for pretty much every other function. A switch sets three levels of neutral density, handy for allowing wider apertures with shorter depth of field in bright conditions. There are two custom white balance presets positions, plus a further option to enable one of the built-in presets. Up to 21dB of gain can be added, via a switch with three customisable positions. There are also six assignable buttons, although three also double up to enable zebra, AE shift and recording review.
Surprisingly, there is no way of storing and recalling focus or zoom positions, a feature we particularly like in Canon’s XH and XL series camcorders. But you do get Picture Profiles, which bundle settings for gamma; black compensation; knee point; colour mode, level, phase and depth; white balance shift; and sharpness. There are two user-customisable positions, plus presets for portrait, cinema, sunset and monotone. A separate button and the menu wheel cycles through the various options.
The standard accessory shoe sits on top of the built-in microphone, but is directly in front of the flip-out LCD panel. The latter will therefore be hard to stow or open with an accessory attached to the shoe, although we like the positioning of the LCD when extended. It’s very easy to see from most angles, particularly when using the camcorder handheld. The basic kit comes with a miserly NP-F570 15.8Wh battery pack, although this is enough for a couple of hours of shooting. However, the battery cavity is deep, supporting units up to the NP-F970 with 47.4Wh, which will be good for as much as seven hours of use.