Canon A1 vs Sony V1 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 15th, 2006, 08:45 PM   #1
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Canon A1 vs Sony V1

Hey guys, Nice to see so many of you enjoying your new A1's. The footage
is looking very nice....

I was wondering, what made you make the choice of the Canon A1 over the
not released yet Sony V1...

I'm on the fence at this moment, I shoot Canon still camera's and shoot
Sony Pd170 Vids'..

I could go either way but I haven't seen much of the V1 footage to compare...

So just what pushed you to the Canon side?? The A1 does look like a nice
cam and the spec's are pretty nice to boot....

I'm looking for answers besides just brand loyalty...

thanx

Last edited by Ray Bell; November 15th, 2006 at 09:44 PM.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #2
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I've owned Sony professional 2/3" chip cameras since 1989, and I like them fine. I've been researching getting a small handycam type 1/3" chip HD camera for personal documentary stuff I'm doing on the side, not for money. I get tired of schlepping all the heavy stuff around. Using the DSR500, for instance requires a second Portabrace bag of equal size full of $2500 worth of batteries and charger, and a heavier tripod. So I decided to go with a small camera. Also, I've seen some footage, and shot some myself, with the Sony Z1 that looks as good, in some cases even bettter, than the DSR500. Heresy, I know, but there it is.

So I was all ready to get a Z1 (I really like the HVX200 and tried for a long time to figure out how to make the P2 thing work for me, but it won't, so that camera is out). Before I could buy the Z1, Canon announced the XH A1. It looked very similar to the Z1 but with the 24F option. Then, before I could buy the A1, Sony announced the V1.

While I haven't seen the V1 in person, I have seen some web footage. I've also seen web footage of the A1, and just today saw the camera in person for the first time. While the CMOS chip idea sounds good, I'm going with the A1. The images of all the 1/3" chip cameras are, in my opinion, pretty much equal. Each one may have some strength over the other and also some weakness, but overall they are so close to being equal that the quality of the image is a given. So the other factors are what sell me.

I don't think the V1 is in the same league. Even though the 1/4" chips are supposed to provide as good an image as larger CCD chips, it's still a 1/4" chip camera with the two big negatives of 1/4" chip cameras: less low light performance and less depth of field control. Depth of field control with a 1/3" chip camera is not great, but you can shoot closeup head and shoulder interviews and blur the background enough to pop the foreground if you're careful. That's close to impossible with a 1/4" chip camera.

Also, and this is the big one for me, the lens on the Canon is significantly better for my purposes. The Sony V1 would require a wide angle adapter, for another 500 bucks and the resulting nose-heaviness. I like the Canon's 20X zoom, but even more I like the wider angle. The only other lens on the small cameras I think compares with the A1's lens is the one on the HVX200, and I think I actually like the A1's lens better.

Others will disagree here and that's cool. I'm just giving you my rationale and opinion, since you asked. I think the V1 will be a fine camera, but my personal preference is the Canon, because of the bigger chips and better lens (better for my needs).
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #3
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Canon service is considered the best in the industry......Sony, umm, rather not say.

Canon does both 24F and 30F.

Sony has smaller 1/4" sensor, Canon uses larger 1/3" sensor.

Canon= digicam capabilities, Sony has none.

Canon= aperture ring...not sure Sony has this??

Canon has -3db gain as well as 32 with push- Sony starts at 0 and goes to 18db

Canon has mini-plug input for mics as well as XLR's, Sony only XLR's.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #4
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Steve:

Quote:
Canon service is considered the best in the industry......Sony, umm, rather not say.
Please provide source for that. What is basis of this claim ??

Quote:
Canon does both 24F and 30F..
Sony has 24P and 30P, right ? What is difference between two ??

Quote:
Sony has smaller 1/4" sensor, Canon uses larger 1/3" sensor.
Quote:
Canon has -3db gain as well as 32 with push- Sony starts at 0 and goes to 18db.
There is no standardized "gain", as I understand. Sony's 0 gain could equal Canon's -3, and the + 18 could match Canons top gain, right. Or are they based on standarized gain figures written in the books somewhere ?
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #5
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The lens and the sensor. The Z1 was a great cam, but I don't see the V1 as enough of a reason to upgrade within the Sony family.

The XH-A1 has most of the benefits of the XL-H1 in the package size and price of the Sony, higher resolution sensor and a more practical zoom range, same great low light.

I'm sure you won't go wrong with either one.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:53 PM   #6
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Ray -

Just a week ago I was in a similar position - I thought about waiting for the V1, to see how it does. The Z1 was in the mix, too - and I rented that for a weekend. I do really like the Z1. But, after doing more research on the A1,
it was pretty clear for me, and went with the A1. Main reasons are primarily everything that Steve, and Bill mentioned. Great lens. So many customization possibilities. Really nice design... just made the most sense for what I'll be doing. It's one I'll be 'growing' into for a while.

If you really want the 24p and will use it, then consider the V1.
But the Canon is sweet...
good luck.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #7
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You can't go wrong with either one. The right one for you is the one which feeld best in your hands, whose image on a proper HDTV is most pleasing to your eye. If you're undecided, then by all means, try before you buy. Even if it involves spending money on a road trip to get to them. It's the best research money you'll spend.

There are hero stories and horror stories for the service centers of both manufacturers.

For all practical purposes, 24F (and 30F) is 24P (and 30P).

There is no real standardization for gain control among manufacturers... only rough similarities.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
If you're undecided, then by all means, try before you buy.
Yeah, doesn't Abel Cine Tech offer rentals on just about any camera they carry? I seem to recall their prices are reasonable, too.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #9
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Chris, in general it's a pretty solid fact that Canon's Service Center's offer the fastest turn-around times and people (including myself) have been very pleased with their service. I had a problem with a JVC HD10u and JVC gave me nothing but hassels (and the cam was only 2 days old) and I know 3 people personally who have had very poor service from Sony. It's not to say Canon has pleased everyone- I'm sure some out there were not pleased with their Canon service- but generally speaking Canon seems to get praise for their repair services.
This is of course subjective, but the poster (Ray) asked why we (personally) chose the Canon over the Sony- so I've made my statements.

As for the the differences between 24F and 30F, basically you shoot 24F for the "filmic" look and possible future transfer to film. 30F is slightly smoother (motion) and transfers well to progressive DVD's and is a great mode for eventual web use.

I've owned several Sony FX-1's at different times and prefer the XH-A1 hands down for my uses. The FX-1 is a great camera no question about it, but I feel the A1 overshadows it a bit.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Nunez
Chris, in general it's a pretty solid fact that Canon's Service Center's offer the fastest turn-around times and people (including myself) have been very pleased with their service.
Okay, I was just wondering if there was some report about that like they do for other manufacturers. I ve never had the need to send any of my Sony's in, but of course I do not use my cameras daily as many others do here...

Yeah, when the A1 was announced, I indicated early on that Sony would have to go some to beat the A1. The V1 looks promising to a primarily Sony user, and the fact that chargers and batteries appear to be interchangeable, keeps me thinking that way. And the new CMOS with apparently a wider exposure latitude looks promising too. Will be interesting to see how they go.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #11
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I would have liked to see the Canon with a 3CMOS sensor setup as CMOS seems to produce really clean images...in the meantime the 3CCD setup seems to work really well.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #12
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I was all ready to pre-order a V1u, but after sleeping on it and clearing my head I've decided to go for the A1 instead:

1. The A1 is available now, and I have work to do.

2. Regardless of whats in the box, the image looks good enough to get paid.

3. I have a bunch of canon batteries, and gear that will accomodate.

4. The V1U, although it does 24p for a filmic image as everyone is bragging about, it still loses in the DOF which is just as important to achieve that look.

5. Nobody listens to me anyway and I'm still going to get what I want... wah.

Er, uhm, yeah.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #13
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Sony V1U has a fairly signifigant disadvantage that few have discussed:

It's 24p mode relies on pulldown and records in a 1080i compatible (30 interlaced) HDV stream, which while on one hand is nice because it is compatible with Sony HDV decks, it is not so nice on the other because it wastes 20% of the already skimpy 25 mbs bandwidth on redundant pulldown frames. Also, if you want a true 24p file from this footage you have to perform a reverse telecine, which is a PITA and could also force another generation of compression just to get *true* 24p from it.

Canon 24F is a progressive encoding of only 24 fps, and nothing else. It may actually be more artifact resistant due to this difference.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #14
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Just to add to Barlow's post,

The V1 is also less sensitive then the Z1 which means the A1 will be a lot more sensitive then the V1.

CMOS may be nice but if you will ever shoot in a dark environment you will wish you had the A1. The V1 will not be bad in the dark but the A1 will have an edge.

The V1 is using a lot of new technology that may need to get the kinks worked out yet. We do not yet know what sort of things we will get with this odd layout of cmos pixels in a clearvid layout. If you are thinking of the V1 I would wait a few months at least to see how it turns out.

The A1 on the other hand is using tried and true CCD's and DSP that have been proven to work very well in the H1. Not only can we all see that it looks good but the image block has some history behind it on how it looks good.

The V1 may end up a nice camera but I would really wait awhile to see how it works out.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 09:55 AM   #15
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i've fondled them both and haven't bought either yet (waiting on the G1...and i placed a RED reservation...), and they are both great cameras, but i agree with tom roper. the A1 is a substantial upgrade, combining some of the best features of canon's previous cameras and adding a few exciting new things. the V1 seemed to have a nice clean image, i liked the apparent DOF, but it seems more like a lateral move than an upgrade from the Z1. different, not better. sony seems to be holding back on features they could have offered. i own both brands of cameras, and V1 versus A1 is one of the tougher calls, but i think the edge goes to canon. a slight edge, but an edge nonetheless.
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