SONY V1 compared - A1 INSPIRATION REQUIRED at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old August 8th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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SONY V1 compared - A1 INSPIRATION REQUIRED

Hi Guys,

First of all - thanks for a fantastic forum.
I have learned a lot here, and hope to be able to contribute
to this thriving A1 community.

From the start I want you to know that I am new to HD and manual camera controls... (so there it is out in the open)
But, I am learning quickly and have had my CANON A1 for just over a month now.
Essentially I am an editor, so have not specialised in shooting.
I still work in SD, so for the purposes of this thread, let it be known that
I use my canon in SD mode (poor me - right? - right !)
for the time being (till I upgrade my edit suite).

Before choosing to buy the CANON A1, I spent a huge amount of time and energy researching, reading and speaking to people.
Of course there are so many views and opinions out there.
I read all the reviews, threaded the threads, compared the specs etc etc etc... even roughly translated some good German sites to readable english.

Nevertheless. I chose the A1 (over the SONY V1 that is)
It simple seemed ' better'

So... last week. I spent a whole day with a new friends SONY V1,
and I have to say I was surprisingly impressed.
(It wasn't the first time I tried it out, but was the first time I had time to explore it practically)

I don't want to dig up the topic of A1 vs V1 (or any other HD cam for that matter), however I am seeking some kind of positive re-inforcement on my choice.

My day with the V1 experience:
------------------------------

- The larger LCD was much better for assisting with focus.
- The smaller lighter V1 was easier to handle
(the A1 gets heavy with shotgun mic. and on-cam light)
- Unbelievable low noise @ +18dB gain
(after all I had heard about the inferior CMOS chips - I was surprised)
- Auto focus was good and AGC very usable.
- Overall well lit, good colour rendering and sharp under various conditions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting the A1 down.
After all I own one, it cost be a lot of well earned money and I plan to keep
it and use it for a long time.

BUT.... the smaller, lighter, less lense, 1/3" CMOS sensor and 50% less pixels SONY V1 seemed AS good (at least) as my A1.

Now, I know that each cam has it's pro's and con's,
and..... each user has their specific requirements for a cam.
and it isn't simple to just make a comparison like this,
with some guys using it for weddings and others for doc's etc.
BUT... just for example...

The SONY V1 has a very usable AGC....
after so many newbies asking about AGC and realising that it simply MUST
be shut OFF on the A1 (because of the unusable noise at +36dB - which the A1 seems to turn on at a whim indoors)
the SONY V1 can set the ceiling of the ACG and then WHY would you really need to set it manually - if the cam can do an intelligent job of it.

Same with the colour..... when I got my A1, I felt proud of all the control over
the 'colour profiles'..... I loaded them up, learned to tweak the knee and tune the coring... etc etc. BUT after looking at what the SONY does naturally,
it looks pretty darn good on screen without any tweaking!

I understand that many people come from a professional manual control background, and that no camera's 'intelligence' can compete with an experienced operator, but it does seem that technology is allowing for better
and more practical use in certain areas.
I hear more people saying 'why manual, when auto can do it right'
and I'm not talking auto everything, but it does seem that a lot of people out there could have done with a 'useful' AGC - specially if you are a one man team or run n gun or simply wish to use your skills doing other things at the same time.

Once again my testing was all done in SD......
So then, would I assume correctly that the A1 has bigger advantages over the V1 in it's HD mode ??

So many people chose the CANON A1 over SONY V1 .....
was the price perhaps a big factor ?

Sony has a pretty good long standing reputation for video cams - would they really be easily beaten - and at a cheaper price also.

Whew.... exhaling deeply - I hope I have not upset anyone out there.....
I needed to get this off my chest.

Hope you guys understand my good intentions.
(Trying to feel better about my A1 choice)

Any response appreciated.

Your friend
Shawn
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #2
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Thanks for that update!

I really appreciated your posting. Right now I am trying to decide between the XH-A1 and V1U. I guess I can't go wrong with either, I just have to decide which features are most important to me. I'm curious to see all of the specifications on the new Sony Cinealta EX camcorder that should be out in the fall - the $8K price tag will most likely put it out of the running.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #3
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Getting hands-on with a camera is the only way to decide which camera is better for you. It really doesn't matter why other people bought their camcorders. Ask yourself, what it is you want to do, find out which cameras can do it, and then pick the camera you think you will most likely use day to day.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #4
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Shawn, a couple of months ago I went through an almost identical decision making process, and finally chose the V1 for basically the same reasons you're pointing out as its advantages:-)

But don't get upset - the A1 is also a great machine; certainly very high value for money.

I guess should I not need a camera then, I'd have waited and bought neither of the two, but the XDCAM EX which looks so promising...
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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After I showed a friend of mine what the A1 can do under low light, he sold all 3 of his V1 and bought 3 A1s, under good light they are very much equal, but A1 spanks V1 butt in low light, V1 looks awful with all the grains even at only 9db, and since you only works in DV, you have no appreciation for A1 in HD. Yeah I did not like that you can't put a limit on auto gain with A1 because sometime I do need to use auto, but hey, that is minor.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:56 PM   #6
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The V1 only has 1/4" chips, which naturally are not going to be as good in low light as the larger chip XH A1.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Petersen View Post
I guess I can't go wrong with either, I just have to decide which features are most important to me.
That really is the key concept to understand. It's a mistake to consider it in linear terms of one being "better" than the other... it's more a case of which is best for you, as Michael points out above. You really cannot go wrong either way. Whichever one feels best in your hands, is the right one for you. The real question is not which one, but rather, what are you going to do with it. What can you accomplish with it. That's the test.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #8
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So far... thanks for your responses ....

I agree It really is about what YOU are gonna use the cam for which will guide a choice between the two....

** So..... What are you guys using your A1 for then ???

Events (weddings) - Docs - filmaking - ????
Can we get FEEDBACK here in this thread then !
And which areas would it be wiser to choose A1 over V1 (or visa versa)


I'll begin:

--MY A1 - Documentary, corporate shoots. company profiles, interviews.


About the noise on V1.... @ +9 dB it looked very clean to me (in SD)
Compared to my A1 (indoors little ambient natural light) they looked similar
in exposure at about: A1: +6 dB V1: +18dB
Even with the above example the V1 looked cleaner (less visible noise) (SD)
is this not a true indication ??

P.S. Am I just silly - but I cannot figure out how to copy 'quotes' from other posts into mine.

Thanks
Shawn
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Old August 9th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #9
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About the noise on V1.... @ +9 dB it looked very clean to me (in SD)
Compared to my A1 (indoors little ambient natural light) they looked similar
in exposure at about: A1: +6 dB V1: +18dB
Even with the above example the V1 looked cleaner (less visible noise) (SD)
is this not a true indication ??


did you use the noise reduction filters and adjust the coring on the A1 ?
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Old August 10th, 2007, 05:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Watkins View Post
About the noise on V1.... @ +9 dB it looked very clean to me (in SD)
Compared to my A1 (indoors little ambient natural light) they looked similar
in exposure at about: A1: +6 dB V1: +18dB
Even with the above example the V1 looked cleaner (less visible noise) (SD)
is this not a true indication ??


did you use the noise reduction filters and adjust the coring on the A1 ?

Hi Paul.....

No...... no tweaking to A1 at all for comparison to V1.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Levin View Post
P.S. Am I just silly - but I cannot figure out how to copy 'quotes' from other posts into mine.

Thanks
Shawn
Click on Quote in the right buttom corner of the post. (you dont have to have the whole post in your quote so you can delete what you need to)
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Welsh View Post
Click on Quote in the right buttom corner of the post. (you dont have to have the whole post in your quote so you can delete what you need to)
(Yip... silly me, don't know how I didn't see that one..... must be all the editing and staring at monitors this last week.... freeks my brain out a bit.)

FOLLOWING THE IDEA THAT CHOOSING A CAMERA MEANS UNDERSTANDING WHAT ITS PURPOSE WILL BE....
ANYONE WANNA SHARE WHAT THEY ARE MAINLY USING THEIR A1's FOR:
What type of work ?

Shawn
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Levin View Post
ANYONE WANNA SHARE WHAT THEY ARE MAINLY USING THEIR A1's FOR:
What type of work ?

Shawn
Weddings. I currently use 1 A1 with 2 Sony HC1's. Will be getting a 2nd A1 as soon as I can.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Levin View Post
ANYONE WANNA SHARE WHAT THEY ARE MAINLY USING THEIR A1's FOR:
Shawn
Mainly, I use it for SD programming with topics that include travel, cuisine, home design, interviews, and product shots.

But since we are “sharing,” I also snuggle it on cold nights. Further, during the “Waxing Gibbous” Moon cycle.. I’ll place it on an alter fashioned from cured meats, owl pellets, and U-matic tape and worship it like a God. I find this ritual to improve low-light performance.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Eric Weiss View Post
Mainly, I use it for SD programming with topics that include travel, cuisine, home design, interviews, and product shots.

But since we are “sharing,” I also snuggle it on cold nights. Further, during the “Waxing Gibbous” Moon cycle.. I’ll place it on an alter fashioned from cured meats, owl pellets, and U-matic tape and worship it like a God. I find this ritual to improve low-light performance.
Thanks Eric....... all this serious stuff here (which isn't too bad - right - us boys with out toys)
...... but a good laugh was certainly in order.
for me anyways !

Just eying mine out right now in its bright yellow cosy Pelican case.
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