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Old November 21st, 2006, 12:02 PM   #1
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What won't I like about my Sony HDR-SR1?

I have had my HDR-SR1 for less than a week. From what I have seen so far, it's an awesome camera. Of course, I'm not a pro and probably a little easier to satisfy.

So why did I choose the SR1? I had very simple requirements.
  • Nice Video camera
  • Hard Drive for storage
That was about it. I didn't even need HD but I rarely buy bare bones. I figured that in short order I'd have a HD TV and figured, "what the heck, get it now and won't have to rebuy later". And I have a Nikon D70S for my stills, so I didn't even care about the still capability.

I decided on Sony because I have had a lot of Sony products in the past and they make high quality equipment. I chose the SR1 because it was near the top of the line, for my minimum requirements. Kind of silly reason, I know.

Anyway, I've had it for about a week and love it. Even though I didn't buy it for HD, I have been using only HD. It plays nice on my TV, in letterbox format.

But there were some surprises that make me even happier.
  • The 4M stills turned out to be quite acceptable. I have read reviews that say it's not very good. But for my needs it's every bit as good as the 4M still that I was using.
  • The macro capability (video and still) is awesome. I can film down to about 1 CM. That's awesome. I do a lot of macro and didn't intend to use this camera for macro but will have to reconsider that now.
  • Image stablization is function is great. My videos don't look as jumpy as they used to.
  • Awesome large LCD for viewing and playback
  • One touch spot focus is great. Just touch the image and it focuses where you touch. Of course, the manual is great for this also.
  • Very fast trasfer to PC, from hard drive
  • Every control is in the right place, making control of the camera very easy.
I will have more to comment on later, as I find more that I like. The HDR-SR1 is so nice it's probably going to force me to go out and buy an HD 1080i TV.

I know this doesn't even deal much with the video per se but it's what I like about this video camera. Here is a still I took at about 1/2". Videos are too large to post.

http://www.msdsite.com/temp/lincoln-penny.jpg

I guess what I wanted to ask is What won't I like about this camera, if anything?

I'm hoping that AVCHD editing software won't be long in coming. Is there anything about this particular format that is problematic?

One thing I haven't figured out yet, is if there is a way to share videos in this format. By that I mean, are there codecs or players that are available so I can send an AVCHD file to someone and allow them to view it on their PC. I know I can convert it to MPEG2 but I'd rather keep everything in AVCHD, if possible.

Last edited by Michael S. Davis; November 21st, 2006 at 12:48 PM.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 06:14 PM   #2
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The process of disposing or giving it to somebody is a bad part of all hard drive camcorders. If you plan to dispose or give the camera away, you must first record a huge file for over 7 hours to clean out all the data on the hard drive and then format it.

And yes, Cyberlink's PowerDVD 7 will play AVCHD files but you'll probably need a really fast processor to decode it.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 06:19 PM   #3
 
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Jack, are you sure you've got to empty it that way? I thought you could format from the computer via USB? Don't have one in hand to play with, I likely won't be buying one based on my experiences with it, but it is a fine camera for what it is intended to be.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 09:05 PM   #4
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It said that procedure in the Operating Manual.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 09:22 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Zhang
It said that procedure in the Operating Manual.
I understand it says that, but wonder if the reality is that you can format from the computer as I seem to recall that I could with the preproduction unit that I had for a brief time. Manuals are great for some things, but they don't always tell the full story, or rather, they usually don't tell the full story, as they're written by people with tunnel vision instead of actual users. I could also be wrong; I seem to recall I could format from the 'puter.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 11:02 AM   #6
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The way hard drives work is when you delete a file, it doesn't actually delete it. It marks it as "available space when needed", and when it needs space, it writes data over the data you deleted. With data recovery programs, you can potentially recover the data that was marked as deleted. Hence, the recommendation that you record blank video until the drive is full.

If you're filming top secret, highly-classified documents for a government agency, then yeah, you might want to record over it, and possibly go even farther than that. Anything less is a waste of time though. Nobody is going to try and recover your child's 9th birthday video. =p
So for all intents and purposes, formatting via USB should be acceptable.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 03:02 PM   #7
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I have an SR1 as a backup camera for recording live persentations and training sessions. I like it. Normally I record direct to laptop harddisk via firewire continuously for 1-4 hours. Capturing 4-7 hours of continuous HD without needing a second computer is very nice. The first camera (FX1) has worked fine, so the backup recording was barely needed.

A minor to moderate annoyance is that the SR1 has only two sound-in levels: Normal & Low, and no meters to monitor with, but you can listen with headphones. Normal seems to be for the integreated mics, and low for external mics. Having two mics come in through a Beachtek worked fine.

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Old November 24th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #8
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Two questions:

1) How do you record directly to a laptop hard drive?

2) How do you use firewire, if the SR1 doesn't have a firewire interface?
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Old November 26th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #9
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1) My normal process for recording presentations is with a standard HDV or DV camera using firewire. For HDV I capture realtime using HDVSplit. For DV I use Microsoft Movie-Maker to AVI. During capture I avoid software like CinForm and Adobe that might create an intermediary because it can cause the file to be lost if there is an interruption. Split and Movie-Maker will save the file whenever an interruption occurs.

2) No firewire with the SR1. 4-7 hours of recording stays put on the camera until I download it all that evening. It does transfer by USB quite fast compared to the 1 for 1 time required to transfer down from tape.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #10
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1) My normal process for recording presentations is with a standard HDV or DV camera using firewire. For HDV I capture realtime using HDVSplit. For DV I use Microsoft Movie-Maker to AVI. During capture I avoid software like CinForm and Adobe that might create an intermediary because it can cause the file to be lost if there is an interruption. Split and Movie-Maker will save the file whenever an interruption occurs.

2) No firewire with the SR1. 4-7 hours of recording stays put on the camera until I download it all that evening. It does transfer by USB quite fast compared to the 1 for 1 time required to transfer down from tape.
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Old December 10th, 2006, 04:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael S. Davis
I have had my HDR-SR1 for less than a week. From what I have seen so far, it's an awesome camera. Of course, I'm not a pro and probably a little easier to satisfy.

So why did I choose the SR1? I had very simple requirements.
  • Nice Video camera
  • Hard Drive for storage
That was about it. I didn't even need HD but I rarely buy bare bones. I figured that in short order I'd have a HD TV and figured, "what the heck, get it now and won't have to rebuy later". And I have a Nikon D70S for my stills, so I didn't even care about the still capability.

I decided on Sony because I have had a lot of Sony products in the past and they make high quality equipment. I chose the SR1 because it was near the top of the line, for my minimum requirements. Kind of silly reason, I know.

Anyway, I've had it for about a week and love it. Even though I didn't buy it for HD, I have been using only HD. It plays nice on my TV, in letterbox format.

But there were some surprises that make me even happier.
  • The 4M stills turned out to be quite acceptable. I have read reviews that say it's not very good. But for my needs it's every bit as good as the 4M still that I was using.
  • The macro capability (video and still) is awesome. I can film down to about 1 CM. That's awesome. I do a lot of macro and didn't intend to use this camera for macro but will have to reconsider that now.
  • Image stablization is function is great. My videos don't look as jumpy as they used to.
  • Awesome large LCD for viewing and playback
  • One touch spot focus is great. Just touch the image and it focuses where you touch. Of course, the manual is great for this also.
  • Very fast trasfer to PC, from hard drive
  • Every control is in the right place, making control of the camera very easy.
I will have more to comment on later, as I find more that I like. The HDR-SR1 is so nice it's probably going to force me to go out and buy an HD 1080i TV.

I know this doesn't even deal much with the video per se but it's what I like about this video camera. Here is a still I took at about 1/2". Videos are too large to post.

http://www.msdsite.com/temp/lincoln-penny.jpg

I guess what I wanted to ask is What won't I like about this camera, if anything?

I'm hoping that AVCHD editing software won't be long in coming. Is there anything about this particular format that is problematic?

One thing I haven't figured out yet, is if there is a way to share videos in this format. By that I mean, are there codecs or players that are available so I can send an AVCHD file to someone and allow them to view it on their PC. I know I can convert it to MPEG2 but I'd rather keep everything in AVCHD, if possible.
Congrats on the new camera!

I would recommend getting an extended warrenty for any Sony consumer camcorder.

Regards
JohnG
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