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Old December 20th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #1
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A list of SONY V1 and Canon A1 feature differences

I started this list to help me decide between these two cameras. It is now a multi-person effort and has been updated with the comments of others who added to this thread (thanks folks). version:8pm cst 12/20/06

A COMPARISON OF THE SONY V1 AND CANON A1 CAMERAS FEATURES

Overall relative image quality of the two cameras is NOT KNOWN at this date (12/20/06). This list is a focus on significant DIFFERENCES, & is not a list of all features of each camera. ?? = means general DVi forum poster's opinion but no scientific evidence yet

===CANON A1===============================

---PRO------------
fast auto-focus
very good low light performance
zoom -able to switch to a set speed and an additional quick zoom speed
1/15000 shutter (10k Sony)
iris ring control
hot shoe
wider angle lense (32.5 vs 37.4)
better lense quality??
24f
two different response speeds on the manual focus ring (Sony 1)
stronger ND filters 2.5 and 5 stops (sony 2 and 4)
a lot more dedicated switches for things like WB, Gain, bars, etc
much, much, MUCH deeper menus and custom functions
more options in the zebra levels
4 still resolutions, 3/4MB tops, higher rez stills
1560pixels chips vs 1037 in sony (BUT may not determine final pic quality!)
Depth of Field – shallower ability
image stabilization better??
clear scan mode – if shooting with a TV in picture, prevents rolling image
better eyepiece viewfinder screen – larger & more pixels
inputs/outputs: s-video, 2XLR, BNC,3.5mm stereo jack
aspect ratio guides for 1.66:1, 1:85:1 and 2.35:1 and level mark
1 year labor warranty
price: $500 cheaper, (as of 12/20/06)

---CON-----------
LCD smaller, less resolution
eye cup uncomfortable (you can buy a sony eyecup)
Heavier by 1.1 pound
less dynamic range??
vertical lites smearing in some situations with brite points of lite


===SONY V1===========================

---PRO-----------------------
more dynamic range latitude??
an extra stop of range
less smear from brite points of light ??
longer lense (748mm vs 650mm)
DVCAM 480/60i mode
underscan (Allscan)
bigger LCD viewfinder with more res
histogram functions in lcd allow picture analysis
can display peaking and zebras at the same time
rubber eye cup more comfortable
three levels of peaking and three different colors (Canon 1 level no color)
aspect ratio guide for 15:9
minimum focus distance 1 cm at wide (2cm Canon), 80 cm at tele (canon?)
a few more assignable buttons and options for them
XLR - can set just one channel as auto or manual instead of both.
XLR - two attenuation levels -18dB and -8dB (canon one -20db)
shot transition can be tweaked more and has a wider range of speeds
24p and 30p (quality differences between 24p and canon 24f still debatable)
Sony-made harddisk storage(3rd party hddisks available for canon)
HDMI 4:2:2 uncompressed out to PC using $259 PC card, to a monitor free
wider aperture 2.8mm (Canon 3.5)
handle more ergonomic to hold ??
can set limits on the auto gain and auto iris
smaller and narrower
lcd sunshade
12s slow-mo recording, but very bad resolution quality
30x digital zoom (20x mechanical) only works in 50i/60i
lighter (3.4 lb vs 4.5 canon)
longer battery life
inputs/outputs: composite, USB

---CON------------------
62mm lense size unusual for filters (but supply will catchup?)
37.4 mm widest on default lense
default mic is mono, not stereo
only 90 day labor warranty
price: $500 more

===================================================
ISSUE NOTE (see following notes): Canon 24F vs Sony 24P methods: "One more important advantage of Canon: progressive compression in F mode vs split-field method used by Sony."

AGAIN:Overall relative image quality of the two cameras is NOT KNOWN at this date (12/20/06)

comments? corrections? curses? ;-)

p.s. Every so often I will update this list to incorporate comments/corrections.

Last edited by Rick Hensley; December 20th, 2006 at 07:55 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #2
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Just a couple things off the top of my head...

The V1 does have a 36dB boost - it's called "hypergain"

The V1 has "allscan" mode which is Sony-speak for underscan. In other words, it shows the full image on the LCD and viewfinder all the way to the edge of the frame. Does the A1 have that?
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Old December 20th, 2006, 03:59 PM   #3
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One more important advantage of Canon: progressive compression in F mode vs split-field method used by Sony.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #4
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Nice list, but a couple of things:

Corrections and clarifications:

- Both cameras have continuously variable zoom speed but the Canon has more options like being able to switch to a set speed and an additional quick zoom speed.

- The "wider aperture" on the Canon A1 is not correct. The Sony has a slightly larger aperture of f/1.6-2.8 while the Canon is f/1.6-3.5.

- The Canon has Clearscan while the Sony does not. But the Sony has underscan (Allscan) while the Canon does not.

- The Sony does not have 1 XLR jack. It has two, like the Canon. But the Canon also has a 3.5mm stereo jack.

- The Sony's 30X digital extender only works in 50i/60i. It does not work in Smooth Slow Rec or Progressive Scan.

Some additional things:

- The Canon has aspect ratio guides for 4:3, 13:9, 14:9, 1.66:1, 1:85:1 and 2.35:1. The Sony only as guides for 4:3, 13:9, 14:9 and 15:9. They both have center marks, safety zones and grids but the Canon also has a level mark.

- The Canon only has one level of peaking and it has no color. The Sony has three levels of peaking and three different colors.

- The Canon can not display peaking and zebras at the same time. The Sony can. But the Canon has more options in the zebra levels.

- The Auto/Man switch on the Canon's XLRs control both channels. On the Sony you can independently select whether a channel is auto or manual.

- The Sony XLR inputs have two attenuation levels (-18dB and -8dB). The Canon has one level (-20dB).

- The Canon has stronger ND filters (2.5 and 5 stops). The Sony is 2 and 4 stops.

- The Sony is possibly more ergonomic to hold since the handgrip is positioned forward at the center of gravity and it is tilted 10 degrees. Canon's handgrip is not tilted at all.

- Technically from the specs, battery life should be comparable. The Canon's power consumption in HD with LCD is 6.9W. The Sony is 6.8W.

- The Sony is smaller and narrower than the Canon.

- The Canon has a lot more dedicated switches for things like WB, Gain, bars, etc. But the Sony has a few more assignable buttons and these buttons control more options. For example, you can assign Steadyshot on/off.

- The Sony's shot transition can be tweaked more and has a wider range of speeds.

- The Canon has much, much, MUCH deeper menus and custom functions. But both cameras are pretty straightforward to operate.

- Canon's 24F mode is more efficient since it only encodes and lays to tape 24 distinct frames but this limits compatibility. 24F can only be played back in Canon HD cameras. Sony's 24P in 60i uses some bandwidth to add pulldown but it can be played back in other 60i equipment such Canon's cameras, Sony's cameras or Sony's dedicated VTRs.

- The Canon has two different response speeds on the manual focus ring. The Sony only has one.

- The Sony minimum focusing distance is 1 cm at wide and 80 cm at tele. The Canon minimum focusing distance is 2 cm at wide; don't know about tele. On the Sony you can also turn off the macro focus. I don't think you can do that with the Canon, but I'm not sure.

- The Sony can set limits on the auto gain and auto iris.

- Both cameras' lenses uses ultra-low dispersion glass.

That's all that I can remember for now. I don't own either camera so this is based on the manuals. If someone finds an error, feel free to correct me.

Last edited by Tim Le; December 20th, 2006 at 06:52 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #5
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Much appreciated, Tim -- this helps me prepare my chart!
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Old December 20th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #6
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wow Tim, thanks for all the input
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Old December 21st, 2006, 08:43 PM   #7
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Wow Tim!

Time to add my pathetic tidbit of input in comparison:

XH-A1 more flexible audio options, built in mic, 3.5mm line in, XLR, the V1U requires an XLR mic for audio.

Although personal preference, out of the box it appears that the Canon has more film like colour saturation vs the Sony, where IMO the colour levels more closely resemble what is expected from video.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:04 AM   #8
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The V1 has Black Compensation (Black Stretch, Black Compress), and interval recording - I don't think the A1 has these functions.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:31 AM   #9
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The XH A1 has Black Stretch & Compress available in Custom Presets. It does not have an intervalometer.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #10
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Yes indeed, the Sony's lens is a good half stop faster at the telephoto end and of course constant ramping means its faster for the entire zoom range except at full wide. That half stop (all other things being equal) means you have to dial in an extra 3 dB of gain in the Canon at full tele.

But there's been scant mention here (forgive me if I've missed it) of the plain fact that the Sony has chips (CMOS chips admittedly) that are only 56% of the area of the Canon's. That's a big loss for a variety of reasons, and goes to show why the Sony can have a faster lens that uses a smaller filter thread diameter. But having a 20x zoom with such a feeble wide-angle is unforgivable in my view.

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Old January 19th, 2007, 08:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
But having a 20x zoom with such a feeble wide-angle is unforgivable in my view.
It's not as if this is without precedent... consider for example the stock 20x lenses included with the Canon XL2 and XL H1. Fortunately, a wide-angle adapter is (or will be) available for the V1 / FX7.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #12
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I'm sure there's an 0762 in the wings somewhere (read: 0.7x 62 mm fit) as we already have a 0872 and an 0758. But I still say Canon's zoom range is far more useful, and if you're leaving home with a 20x, lets have it wide to tele rather than normal to tele. It's *hassle* carrying and fitting converter lenses.

Trouble is Sony have never bothered to remove the barrel distortion at the wide end of their zooms, so the V1 might not be so badly afflicted as it doesn't go very wide.

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Old January 23rd, 2007, 04:29 PM   #13
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HDMI out of Sony - Con?

Elsewhere on this site, Harm Millaard has said that the HDMI out of the Sony has been verified by Sony as being 4:2:0 at 25Mbps.

“on the other because the HDMI output is only the compressed MPEG2 4:2:0 signal @ 25 Mbps, as confirmed by Sony.”
http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=83092

Now, I personally have NOT been able to clarify this, but I certainly think it's very important and worth identifying. There is a vast difference between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2, it's not something to be overlooked.

I can absolutely believe Sony would hobble the HDMI output (as would other manufacturers of HDV cameras). HDMI is a serious contender to HD-SDI, which is a Professional spec that automatically raises the price of any device - which is why we don't see it on any consumer or prosumer gear (the Decklink HD Extreme and Canon XH-G1 are new exceptions - and still rather serious devices).

Can anyone verify this with a link to a Sony white paper?
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 04:08 PM   #14
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did anyone make a comparison video of the two cams? i'd really like to see some side by side footage, especially some low light shots to see just how big of a difference there is and hey, some 24 fps shots wouldn't hurt! haha
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