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Old July 25th, 2008, 12:41 AM   #1
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Confused re: Canon A1 vs. Sony A1

Not sure if this the right spot to put this question, but I am getting a Canon XH-A1 soon, but there is some disagreement about that Camera and Sony's HVR-A1U that I have gotten in to. I am not very knowledgeable about this stuff yet. I'm still learning what's what. Are they any where near the same or is one better in features than the other? I'm confused, Help
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Old July 25th, 2008, 01:54 AM   #2
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Dear Steven,

You have come to the right spot.

May I suggest that you read the threads devoted to each camera on this website.

The Canon XH A1 is recommended quite often. It is an outstanding camera.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Thread title changed from "Confused?" to "Confused re: Canon A1 vs. Sony A1." Please avoid using ambiguous thread titles on this site. The Canon XH A1 is a couple of years newer than the Sony HVR-A1U. Generally speaking, a newer camcorder trumps an older camcorder of the same or roughly relative class. Generally, but not always. As Dan points out above, you can roll up your sleeves and dig in. We have dedicated discussion boards for both camcorders here at DV Info Net.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 09:42 AM   #4
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I have both cameras, and they are really quite different.

I bought the Sony A1 primarily for its near infra-red capability that allows me to film in black-and-white with very little light - bats and badgers and such things. It also has a good telemacro facility. It is small and lightweight enough to put in a bag and carry around on the offchance of filming something, with only a lightweight tripod, so it's good for hiking and the like. The disadvantages are the bottom loading tape deck and the 10x zoom - not enough for most wildlife.

The Canon A1 gives you all sorts of user options, but it is big and heavy by comparison. This is the one I use for daylight work - when I have time - and I love it.

They are completely different beasts, and you have to decide which features you want/need.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #5
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The Canon is a three chipper (with a whale of a lot of manual control over image acquisition). The Sony is a one chip camera (with less manual control over image acquisition). They aren't really in the same class.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #6
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I too, have both.

Both shoot HDV format -- which is 1440x1080 "high def" video.

But the Canon is much larger and heavier, has much better manual controls, and has a longer lens. It is a more "pro" camera -- which isn't to say it IS pro, just better than the Sony.

The Sony is smaller, lighter and would definitely be the camera of choice on vacation. It has a better closeup feature and has a nightshot infrared setting the Canon lacks. The controls are all through touch screen menus and are a pain.

They are very different cameras and serve different purposes.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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Let me put it this way. Optically, the HV30 and the Sony A1U are in the same class.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
Let me put it this way. Optically, the HV30 and the Sony A1U are in the same class.
HV30 and Sony HC1 are in the same class. Sony A1U has professional features like the XLR audio which HV30 doesn't have.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #9
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I work with JVC HD110 shooting exclusively 24p (720p) How is the 24p (24f via 1080i 60i) and is there 1/48th a second on the Sony? I borrowed a Canona A1 for a couple of days and it was a fine camera, but I'm looking for something smaller and more sacrificial (underwater housing, hanging off the front of a car on the freeway etc) and the Sony would be a better choice for that. My thought would be to have no more than 20% of my footage shot with the Sony/Canon i(24f) then merge the 1080 24f footage in with my 720p 24fps JVC footage.

Any thoughts from anyone on the merriits of 24f from either Sony or Canon?
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Old July 29th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #10
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I shoot exclusively in 25p (I'm in PAL land) on my Canon A1, so the lack of it on the Sony is an inconvenience. I bought the Sony when my other camera was a Canon XM2/GL2, and at that time, I didn't even know that 25p existed. Otherwise it would have put the Sony right out of the running.

You can choose shutter speeds between 1/10000 and 1/3 second, though I haven't tried this. It's one of those things I have to look at when I next have time to use the camera - I've already more or less missed the baby bat season this year.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #11
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As noted the Sony A1U is a single chip (CMOS) chip camera and is logically compared to the Canon HV30, also a single chipper. Both will give you comparable images. The Sony includes a pod on top with XLR audio inputs, but it's still a consumer camera. Most controls are in the touch screen menu, and you have to dig through a number of layers to do something like adjust audio gain. It's also a bottom-feeder, ie., to change a tape you have to pull it off the tripod and turn it upside down. To me, it's a very user-unfriendly camera; however you can get a very nice image out of it. Personally I would go for the HV30 with an XLR adapter box if I wanted a consumer camera because it's less than half the price of the Sony. If you just want a point-and-shoot camera, either of these two would be good. The Canon XH A1 is a totally different type of camera, and its Sony equivalent would be the Z1U.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alex Humphrey View Post
I work with JVC HD110 shooting exclusively 24p (720p) How is the 24p (24f via 1080i 60i) and is there 1/48th a second on the Sony? I borrowed a Canona A1 for a couple of days and it was a fine camera, but I'm looking for something smaller and more sacrificial (underwater housing, hanging off the front of a car on the freeway etc) and the Sony would be a better choice for that. My thought would be to have no more than 20% of my footage shot with the Sony/Canon i(24f) then merge the 1080 24f footage in with my 720p 24fps JVC footage.

Any thoughts from anyone on the merriits of 24f from either Sony or Canon?
I believe the Sony A1 uses the same funky Cineframe mode as a Z1 or FX1 for 24 frame progressive shooting. You'd likely be much happier with the results from a Canon HV20 or HV30.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 02:54 AM   #13
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I've got both too.
They are nowhere near the same camera.
The Canon is newer and better and in the same class as the Sony Z1.
But the Sony is still a great camera. Much smaller. Will fit in an underwater housing. Produces good results in good light. And, as Annie says, has macro and infrared.
The touch screen menu is a masterpiece of good design.
The programmable lens zooms and focuses are more sophisticated than the Canon (which are, frankly, pathetic and just about unusable).
Although the Sony is a one chip camera it is a CMOS chip so it's not quite such a straightforward comparison.
I made this film of the frogs in my pond with using both cameras. The underwater shots and the macros were taken with the Sony.

http://www.vimeo.com/745654

Hey - they are both good cameras. From different generations with different capabilities.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:29 PM   #14
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Richard:

That was a fun piece. And just the other day I was saying TV didn't have enough hot frog sex on it...;}

What did you use for the underwater housing?
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