Sony HX1 HD Video Low-Light Performance Surprise at

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Photo for HD Video (D-SLR and others)
HD from Nikon D90, other still photo cams (except EOS 5D Mk. II, LUMIX GH1).

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Old May 19th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 903
Sony HX1 HD Video Low-Light Performance Surprise

I shot some HD video with my Sony HX1 digital photo camera last night, just a few minutes before sunset, in a deeply-shaded area. I got footage of a Beaver and a Raccoon, in the same area. It turned out with better low-light reponse, than my HDV camcorder could do.

Here's a link you can follow to the Beaver Flick: Beaver Flick on Vimeo

There's still photos from the HX1 on my Flickr album, at the link in my signature line.
J. Stephen McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,814
Hi Steve -
Been playing with one of these for about a week on and off - interesting camera for the price... I think I'd be farily happy with the video if I weren't putting it head to head with an XR500V, as it is it's a tough debate. Seems to be using a sensor either one or two generations behind the new "R" sensor judging from sensitivity/noise, which isn't to say it's "bad", but it's not quite as good either...

Noticing a distinct springback when using the wide zoom - not a big deal, but annoying... does yours do the same?

I've shot some video and stills of a hummingbird nest that was on our porch, got to put the series together, but shot with both the XR and the HX in the later parts, just to try both cams side by side. Hoping to get a few minutes to put it together sometime soon (baby birds have left the nest as of Saturday, and are now out on their own!), but this week is insane.

The twilight and motion removal modes are interesting, as is the panorama, still have to play with burst mode... I'm feeling that while it's not up to the XR, it has it's own bag of tricks that make it usable for a secondary camera. Don't like that it shuts down at the 2G file size limit, but am thinking I can work around that, and it's a nice small light package.

I'm just really debating whether the stills from the XR are better - it's a close call so far, but obviously the XR has little manual control even compared to the HX...

Pretty decent package for the money though!
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2009, 02:36 AM   #3
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Location: Eugene, Oregon
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Interesting remarks on the comparisons of the two cameras. I've had access to some raw footage from an XR520V and have experimented with it a lot in editing. There's no question that the HD video from it is sharper than what I've gotten from the HX1, but at a certain point, content and camera technique decide which video is best.

At first, I wasn't very pleased by the HX1 photo quality, but after a few days of learning its quirks, I'm getting a lot better results. I've found that the 5-MP Smart Zoom mode uses 5 bits-per-pixel for encoding, compared to 4 bits for the 9-MP photos and may deliver better picture quality. The 16:9 mode with the higher pixel-size of 6.7-MP, is what I use most, as it also uses 5 bits and I like the widescreen pictures. The 3-MP Smart Zoom pictures can also look pretty good, but oddly, they encode at only 4 bits. The 2-MP Smart Zoom, in the 16:9 aspect, is a total washout, as the images are weak and noisy. The quality drop-off between 2-MP and 3-MP is striking.

I'm not sure if the setting changes you can make only in the photo mode, such as Sharpness, Contrast, Color-Saturation and NR, will take affect in the video mode as well. But, it seemed to me, that when I shifted the Sharpness to the high position, then the HD video from it looked sharper. Might have been my imagination, but I'd like to know if those controls do also apply to video.

I notice that there's a slight physical bounce-back in the extending part of the lens, when you zoom to full wide. It hasn't affected me at all, as I'd never do a fast zoom-out while shooting, anyway. The wind noise is very bad, as the mikes are placed in the perfect spot to pick it up. I will mount some kind of mini-deadcat windscreen over them to curb this. There is a commercial product that sells for about $15. (U.S.), made just for these small types of internal mikes. I'll look it up and add it to this message later. They also pick up my breathing when I shoot from my steady-mount, sounding as though I'm in my final stages. I actually hold my breath for short scenes. Here's the windscreen link:

I'll look forward to seeing your hummingbird video and trying to tell which camera shot each scene, will be interesting.
J. Stephen McDonald is offline   Reply

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