Tips and Tricks for the Sony VX 1000

Using The VX 1000 For The First Time?

If you’re a freelance camera person using this camera for the first time, you will find as I did, this is not like the broadcast cameras you’ve used. Be prepared for the following:

  • 1. The color viewfinder makes it difficult to check focus especially in low light situations. Even a small monitor is quite helpful for checking focus.
  • 2. The focus barrel has no distance markings or even detent stops for near or far focus. So it’s harder for an assistant to “follow focus” like on a professional camera. The autofocus was not perfect, but passable.
  • 3. While the iris is a mechanical diaphragm, it is controlled electronically using an electronic “exposure” button and menu.
  • 4. The control menus visible in the viewfinder take some time to use and learn. No, I didn’t want a digitized still, automatic white balance or a hundred other options.
  • 5. The only audio input is a 1/8″ mini-stereo input near the on-camera mike so you’ll have to adapt professional mikes and mixers from XLR to mini. See the XLR Pro adaptor
  • 6. Color Bars are available, but not obvious. Sony doesn’t even mention this in their manual, but here’s how to generate color bars. Turn the power switch to camera mode, set the start/stop switch to the lock position. Then press and hold the black photo button and at the same time the small red record button that is on the top of the camcorder near the edit search. Then switch the start/stop switch to standby mode, color bars appear and you can record them. To turn the bars off, switch to lock mode, then to standby mode.
  • 7. Sony’s wide angle converter vignettes slightly at the extreme wide angle and this is not apparent in the viewfinder. Check your monitor and zoom in a bit. (There’s also a telephoto converter.)
  • 8. To eliminate or minimize the zoom motor noise, use a bracket to lift the shotgun mike away from the zoom. The bracket model no. 59111 is available from NRG, – Call (541) 479-7433.
  • 9. And finally, as with any camera that is more consumer than “broadcast,” careful lighting can make all the difference. Don’t expect quite the same contrast range you’d get from Betacam SP.

Despite my complaints, the camera is still a miracle. This little three-chip camera fits in the palm of your hand, records digitally and costs less than $5000. To the trained eye the footage doesn’t look quite as good as Betacam SP due to the camera’s consumer lens and 1/3 inch chips.

The bottom line: CBS, NBC and Video News International (owned by the NY Times) are now buying into the DV formats. Or as my client asked when he saw the DV footage compared to Beta, “What’s the big deal about Betacam, anyway?” Indeed!

If you’re a freelance camera person and you’re about to shoot with this camera for the first time, get hold of the camera and manual the day before the shoot. It’s worth renting it out of your own pocket if you must.

More VX-1000 Information Resources

Check for Loose Screws and avoid surprises

You might be shocked to find a lot of missing or loose screws on this camera!

John Ferrick’s VX 1000 Tips

In the DV Central web site

VX-1000 and the Steadicam JR

John Brune explores the use of the Steadicam JR with the VX1000 Sony Repair Service

The Massachusetts Sony Factory Service Center is closed. It has moved to Bristol, PA.

1-800-222-SONY or 1-800-282-2848

For a while they would work on this camera for a flat fee of $250.00, but call to see if they’re still doing that. To take advantage of that service, you had to ship the camera, along with an itemized list of your concerns and complaints (don’t forget the screws on the tripod mounting plate) with a check or money order for $250.00 to the address above. Call them first.

Accessories for the VX 1000

XLR Adapters

DUAL XLR ADAPTOR This allows you to use professional audio gear with this camcorder. Several companies sell these. UNDERWATER HOUSINGS FROM SONY



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8 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for the Sony VX 1000

  1. Marcus Salette

    This camera was donated to our non profit, we paid to have it fixed. Can you help us understand where to get a light and remote for this model ?

  2. Claus Rasmussen


    My Son resently got a Sony VX1000, however he cannot transfer pictures FROM camera to PC via Firewire cable.

    Does he need to adjust anything on the camera, or ? Any good advices ?

    Best regards

    Claus Rasmussen

    1. admin

      Try transferring it as video. Check the camera manual. You can probably find one on the Internet if you don’t have it.



  3. jake

    my vx is working great except now it wont the ejecter wont eject. it comes up then wont pop out it jus spins and goes back down … what do i do???

  4. lee

    i have recently purchased a sony vx1000 and my computer doesnt have a firewire port on it, could someone point me in the correct direction to what i could use to upload my footage?

  5. Ethan

    Lee, you would have to get a firewire card and put it in your computer, i would suggest getting one from bestbuy

  6. Luke connell

    The Sony vx I just bought works perfectly apart from when I play the tape back, every bit of footage I shoot is green and fuzzy. Is this something I can change on the camera or a fault ?


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