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Old October 4th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #1
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SR12 -- Good, but...

Well, the pictures from the Sony SR12 live up to what all here have said. Overall, a brilliant little package for the price.

But...

I gotta say, I thought I was making a step up from my HC7 by getting this little hard-disk number, but I'm disappointed by a couple of retrograde steps Sony has made.

Unless I'm wrong I'm not seeing any shutter control or way to switch off audio gain for microphones. (I can probably, reluctantly live with the other handicap: no using the SR12 above 3,000 metres because of the risk of hard-disk failure. It does suck though; this ain't the camera for trips to Bolivia.)

So basically on the plus side I get a bit better picture quality, a bit better low-light performance and better stills.

But on the minus side, I have no way of calibrating shutter speed to shoot computer/TV screens without flicker, or compensating for flourescent-tube flicker, or shooting at high shutter speeds for clean slo-mo; and I can't set the sound to get rid of auto-gain hiss (and while I CAN set the MICREF option to low, the handbook specifically states on p. 88 that this is not good for recording conversations).

On top of this, Sony still hasn't gone back to the handy lens ring for focus that it put on the venerable HC1 but which hasn't been seen since on its small cams. And AVCHD is still a bitch to work on with FCP 5.

My fault, I guess, for trying to do pro news work with Sony's ever-dumber consumer range. The advantages of crossing borders and shooting with a hand-sized cam, though, outweigh the advantages of grabbing a Z5 or other.

In the meantime, however, it looks like the SR12 will simply play novelty companion to my HC7.
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Old October 4th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Marc Burleigh View Post
Unless I'm wrong I'm not seeing any shutter control or way to switch off audio gain for microphones.
...
But on the minus side, I have no way of calibrating shutter speed to shoot computer/TV screens without flicker, or compensating for flourescent-tube flicker, or shooting at high shutter speeds for clean slo-mo;
Steve Mullen's guide includes a table that seems to indicates to me that setting specific exposure steps is an indirect way to control shutter speed. You might want to ask him about that, or get the guide if you are willing to pay a little for it.
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Old October 5th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #3
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Yeah Tom, thanks. I did see there was a guide helping out in that area. Unfortunately, using exposure to play with shutter speed doesn't really work for me. My shooting isn't in controlled environments, I can't easily up or down the light to get exposure just so. There's a lot of run-and-gun. I'll cope, and just put up with the limitations. It's just a shame that Sony is pushing some basic controls that were on its other consumer cams out of reach on this one.
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Old October 5th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #4
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It's just a shame that Sony is pushing some basic controls that were on its other consumer cams out of reach on this one.
I couldn't agree more. I suspect that Sony is correct that most consumers have no idea what shutter-speed is and so by not giving the consumer ANY control of exposure time the camera is free to control exposure time 100%. And, compared to making an iris move quickly and accurately, exposure time is pure electronics.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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I couldn't agree more. I suspect that Sony is correct that most consumers have no idea what shutter-speed is and so by not giving the consumer ANY control of exposure time the camera is free to control exposure time 100%. And, compared to making an iris move quickly and accurately, exposure time is pure electronics.
That makes three of us <g>.

I am on the consumer-not-sophisticated side for sure. I miss the shutter speed but only for filming soccer, and I have to admit the CX12 does a really good job on auto there. I played with shutter speed on the HC7 to try to get sharper soccer stills from the video and was willing to mess up the video to do that. But the CX12 has produced even better stills for the motion freeze, surprisingly. Probably a measure of my not having hit the optimum HC7 settings yet.

I miss sharpness control, and the histogram for stills was fun to use.

But overall, the CX12 is probably doing what it's supposed to do pretty well - taking care of many issues for me and leaving me with the primary one of getting the right light, framing, interesting subject, and (secondarily for me due to amateurism) sound.

Having visited the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2007, I now see clearly why some photographers and videographers will sit in one place for hours waiting for just the right light and content. But that's not my normal operating mode so a camcorder with good auto capabilities is very helpful. When I retire someday, I'll have the time to get serious with camera equipment. But by then, the equipment will be so smart it will be going to college and having kids.
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