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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old November 15th, 2007, 05:46 AM   #1
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Canon or Sony?

Hi all,

I'm after a second camera to accompany my XL1.

I'd also like the possibility of shooting HD. I was originally looking at a second hand XL1, or a new XM2. However, I've noticed the Sony HVR-A1E. Can anyone tell me how it might compare with the other two cameras. I understand that matching the footage to the XL1, will be trickier than it would be if I was using another Canon unit, but for the price and the HD capabilities, I'd be willing to put in a little extra effort.

Does the HVR-A1e actually shoot in true 16:9?

Is it true HD?

Any thoughts?


Thanks in advance
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Old November 15th, 2007, 06:22 AM   #2
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If True 16:9 means a native widescreen sensor, then no, you're going to have to use a wide converter to get a better field of view.

But it is near true HD at 1980k effective pixels. Just think of it as HDV is the DV of what HD is to SD.

If you're making a Standard Definition production, the difference is unnoticeable except for a richer color output on the A1.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #3
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Does the HVR-A1e actually shoot in true 16:9? Is it true HD?
Beware the word "true." In this industry it is a flagrantly misused marketing term more associated with overboard hype than with truth. Yes the HVR-A1e shoots in 16:9. Yes it is HD, as are all HDV camcorders.

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If True 16:9 means a native widescreen sensor, then no, you're going to have to use a wide converter to get a better field of view.
Incorrect. All HDV camcorders are native widescreen 16:9.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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So the crux of the matter is this. What would be more useful an XM2 for around 1400 or the HVR-A1E for around the same price?

I'm imagining it's the HVR-A1E but just want some experienced advice.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #5
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If you want to somewhat match the look and feel of the video from your XL1 and have no current need for HD, then the XM2 is a fine choice (same batteries, too). If you want to shoot HD now or in the near future, then the HVR-A1E makes more sense.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:15 AM   #6
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Thanks, for your advice, I think financially the HVR-A1E is a more sensible option for me at the moment.

Thanks again.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #7
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Does the HVR-A1e actually shoot in true 16:9? Yes it does. It also provides guides for a variety of different formats such as 1.85.1, or 1.235.

Is it true HD? How do you define "true" Does it offer HD which looks nice on a spanky new panel? Yes. You're looking at twice the res of DV (1440x1080i/p). If you want true (in that actual sense) then you could easily create a 1920x1080 project, import your 1440 footage and change the aspect ratio to suit. 1440x1080 at 1.33 aspect equate to 1920x1080 square pixel. Any HD panel should not have a problem displaying this.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dave Robinson View Post
Thanks, for your advice, I think financially the HVR-A1E is a more sensible option for me at the moment.

Thanks again.
How about the canon xha1? You get three sensors instead of 1; it's a canon, so it's better on matching with the xl1, and it's not that much more money. Unless you're prepared to do a lot of color correction in post, it's going to be difficult to match the Sony A1 with your xl1. Since you already have Canon, you might seriously consider the xha1.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 06:40 AM   #9
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How about the canon xha1? You get three sensors instead of 1; it's a canon, so it's better on matching with the xl1, and it's not that much more money. Unless you're prepared to do a lot of color correction in post, it's going to be difficult to match the Sony A1 with your xl1. Since you already have Canon, you might seriously consider the xha1.
In the UK I can pick up the Sony for about 1400 where as the XHA1 is 2200 which is way out of my price range at the moment. I know it would be easier to match the footage etc, but it's simply too expensive.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #10
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I tried an HVR-A1e for a weekend before getting my XH-A1 and I feel that it's only fair to warn you that the Sony camera does not perform at all well in lower light.

I'd say that if you're used to an XL1 you're going to be really shocked at how much more light the HVR-A1 needs. I think this is true for many HDV cameras, but the small sony especially.

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Old November 16th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #11
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I understand that matching the footage to the XL1, will be trickier than it would be if I was using another Canon unit, but for the price and the HD capabilities, I'd be willing to put in a little extra effort.
Have you actually tried that? It is more work than it's worth - every time the lighting conditions change, the two cameras will give you different colors. In my opinion not worth the trouble; go with two cameras from the same manufacturer. The only exception would be if you can keep one of the cameras ALWAYS shooting general plans and the other one close ups.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #12
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You might be better off getting a second XL1, which should match the best. You'll get projects finished faster instead of trying to make two different cameras match + rendering all that.
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