Initial thoughts from a HDR-HC1 Switcher 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 November 4th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #1
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Initial thoughts from a HDR-HC1 Switcher

First let me start by saying that I am in no way shape or form a videographer...just a wanna be. No with that stated. I purchased a Sony Hdr-HC1 about 6 months ago and have been extremely impressed with the quality of the HD image I have been able to receive from this equipment. However, I felt like I was limited with the amount of creative control I had over the image with this camera as it was a glorified consumer/ almost prosumer camera. Therefore, I decided for my BDay in a few weeks I would upgrade to a nicer camera. So after reading every possible review online and and comparing the specs between the Sony HDR-FX7 and the Canon HX-A1 I decided to go with the HX-A1.

I have owned four or five consumer versions of the Sony camera's and have been extremely impressed with the ease of use and image quality. However, just as I did with still photograpghy many years ago when I decided for Canon over Nikon....I also decided for Canon over Sony when I made the step into a serious video tool. The main reason for this decision is the lense on the Canon XH series camera. I shoot L glass on my still camera so I am very familiar with it's tac sharpness and extremely fast capabilities. My secondary reason for going with the Canon over Sony Fx-7 was the inclusion of XLR inputs on the A1 that is not on the FX-7.

Now...the reason for you reading this post.
After charging the battery and purusing the manual (I was very overwhelmed at the number of buttons and switches on this camera compared to my previous equipment) I took this baby out for a spin at my Son's 9 yr B-day party at the bowling alley. The first thing I had to do was to set the white balance. Peace of cake....put this baby in manual WB mode and held up a white bday card and hit the button. Every color was in prestine form. Now the second thing I did was set the exposure lock....since my lighting would not be changing indoors. Again this was extremely easy.

After the party I connected the camera to my 71 inch Samsung DLP and was completely wowed by how much better the image was over the HC1. The first time I connected the HC1 I was blown out of my seat but this image looked almost 3D. It look as if you could touch the people on the screen. So for all of those considering this camera......don't walk, RUN to your nearest store and pick this baby up. There are a lot of options I have no clue about and I am sure I will be growing into this camera for many years.


I hope this helps someone who is as unsure as I was about this camera.

Last edited by Monte Raynor; November 5th, 2006 at 11:50 AM.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 08:48 PM   #2
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Split out from another thread; needed to stand as its own topic. Thanks for the report Monte,
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Old November 4th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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Hey, another Atlanta area member, welcome! And of course, thanks for your review.

Hmm... 71" DLP television... I think I know where we need to set up that long overdue Atlanta DVInfo meeting :)

www.philipwilliams.com
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Old November 14th, 2006, 03:30 PM   #4
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Being a newly registered member on this forum, I post a somewhat late reply on this.

I find the comparison between the A1 and the HC1 very interesting since it is a trade-off between image quality and portability rather than a financial issue. I am a sucker for perfect images, but I tend to do my shooting in situations where the camera needs to "disappear" between shots.

Monte, your report has encouraged me to dig deeper into the magic box for a description of the "disappearing camera (A1) trick" rather than walking the comfortable path of HC1. Can you (or anyone) describe in more detail the differences in image quality between these cameras?

Thanks
/Thomas
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Old November 14th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #5
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I've used the Sony HVR-A1 / HC1. I love the size, and the images are generally excellent - but there were two problems we noticed:

1. Low light performance is rubbish, and the image quality rapidly degrades and colour balance dramatically shifts when things get a bit dull.

2. Out of focus objects display a sort of moire patterning. Apparently this is something to do with the lens resolving more than sensor can cope with?
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Old November 14th, 2006, 09:11 PM   #6
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Hi,

Sorry for my stupid question, I am begineer of Video.

I bought My SONY HC1, HC3 for my baby video..
Almost shooing in indoor (Hong Kong), however, I found there has
a lot of NOISE problem on the video..
I read a lot of A1 samples, they are excellent and even in M2T unprocessed format when low light..

My question is, is it related to the machine problem or my misuse of HC1/HC3?
If I get a A1, can process same clear video for my baby in door?
Because A1 noise processing is far better from SONY HDR-HC1/HC3?

Of course I know they are different grade of products..
But I still wonder if I misuse of HC1/HC3 or I should upgrade to A1 :)


Thank you!
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Old November 15th, 2006, 02:02 AM   #7
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Thanks

Thanks for posting your experience with the camera, I should be getting mine in the next day or so along with an HV 10. I can't wait.

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Old November 15th, 2006, 02:08 AM   #8
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Point and Shoot vs SLR

For me the reason for stepping up was less to do with picture quality and more to do with advanced capabilities. The HC-1 produces a great image outdoors and indoors with lots of light. It is very bad at low light performance. To make the low light performance even worse is that you can't control gain or iris on this camera. I am a hobbiest for now hoping to get my video chops to move into the pro ranks over the next few years and the HC-1 was not going to grow with me. However, I really liked the size of the HC-1 but I primarily used it with the WA adapter which makes the camera fairly large. It's still much smaller than the A1 but it will not fit in your pocket with the WA lens attached. Pure point and shooter then the HC-1 is for you. If you want to have complete control over the image then the A1 is the right choice. There is some really amatuerish footage with both the A1 and HC-1 from the GA Aquarium on my blog.
Check them out for comparison.
http://web.mac.com/cmraynor/iWeb/POV/Blog/Blog.html
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Old November 15th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #9
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Hi Monte,

I am not professional, I am only an amateur, taking video for my baby (14 months old now), however, we almost taking video at home, and I have to work at day time, so, taking video almost at night time.

I cannot make lots lighting for video at home and I found lots noise from SONY HC1 and also HC3...

So, I should get one A1? It can slove my basic problem?

Thank you!

Brando
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Old November 15th, 2006, 06:25 AM   #10
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The Sony is a fine camera -- it just needs more light. Buy one of the sony lights that goes with that camera and you'll be fine. If you can't get good pictures from the Sony, you won't get good pictures from the Canon, either.

The Canon is much larger and heavier and if all you want to do is baby pictures, you will be leaving it at home most of the time.

If you want to spend a lot of time learning how to use the camera, shooting every day, with the goal of producing high quality images, then buy the Canon.

chuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brando Ng
Hi Monte,

I am not professional, I am only an amateur, taking video for my baby (14 months old now), however, we almost taking video at home, and I have to work at day time, so, taking video almost at night time.

I cannot make lots lighting for video at home and I found lots noise from SONY HC1 and also HC3...

So, I should get one A1? It can slove my basic problem?

Thank you!

Brando
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Old November 15th, 2006, 07:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brando Ng
Hi Monte,

I am not professional, I am only an amateur, taking video for my baby (14 months old now), however, we almost taking video at home, and I have to work at day time, so, taking video almost at night time.

I cannot make lots lighting for video at home and I found lots noise from SONY HC1 and also HC3...

So, I should get one A1? It can slove my basic problem?

Thank you!

Brando
Brando: the noise was due to the fact that the HC1 is poor in lowlight, if you are shooting in anything but a bright room or on a sunny day, you will get noise ... the A1 is better in lowlight but it is also a lot bigger and as previous poster said, may be too big for home videos ... you could also look into the HC3, which is supposedly better in lowlight than the HC1 and a little smaller, too. Also the Sony FX7 would be worth a look, since it is better in lowlight than the HC1.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 08:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Fadely
The Sony is a fine camera -- it just needs more light. Buy one of the sony lights that goes with that camera and you'll be fine.
Yes, I got the light too, however, I cannot point to the baby, no good for his eyes. However, if point to the ceiling, the light is not enough again @_@
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Old November 15th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lammey
... you could also look into the HC3, which is supposedly better in lowlight than the HC1 and a little smaller, too.
Yes, I got HC3 too, it is much better than HC1, however, still lots of noise..
@_@
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lammey
Also the Sony FX7 would be worth a look, since it is better in lowlight than the HC1.
I'd second that, since it is a little smaller than the XH-A1. I'd add that, since it uses CMOS chips, it should give better lattitude (more details shown in darkest and lightest parts of the pictures) than the Canon's CCDs, which could be very useful in low-light situations. This is one area where I really want to see some side-by-side test results...
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry
...since it uses CMOS chips, it should give better lattitude (more details shown in darkest and lightest parts of the pictures) than the Canon's CCDs, which could be very useful in low-light situations...
Although CMOS chips have a wider latitude, they are generally noiser than CCDs down the low-light end of the scale. Certainly the Canon does an excellent job in low light, and footage from the V1 seems to do a great job of not blowing out the highlights!

Personally I'd like both low light performance and wide dynamic range... but that generally doesn't seem to be an option at this price range.
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