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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #1
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VX2100 to HVR-A1 - Advice

I currently own a VX2100. I am thinking of upgrading to HDV camera. When I brought my 2100 2 years ago I had recently consolidated finances and decided to treat myself by buying it off a friend who had only had it about 6 months. I don't really have the money to save now to buy a HDV camera as good as Canon's XHa1 or Sony's FX7 (those are the brands I'd sooner stay with) but this friend who sold me the 2100 sent me a link to a Sony HVR-A1, he had recently sold the HC1 and this looks like the HC1 with the pro audio features - he highly recommends I make the jump to HDV but I can't really bare to part with my 2100, although I do want to deep down.

I don't really use my 2100 for anything pro, it's a days out camera that I also use for film-making which I'm really in to. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and when Jon came to sell it I had to have it. Now though, I can't afford to upgrade it properly so I've got to sell it on and get a HDV cam which costs about the same as what I could sell my 2100 for.

This thread I know is pretty long, but I've got a very hard decision to make. I've built up quite a good kit with my 2100 with all my batteries, lenses, and mic's but it's a bulk to carry round on days out, I know the A1 would suit that side of things better, but I can't seem to shift my thinking that I'm "downgrading" in some way - from a pro vx2100 to a consumer A1.

Will I be making a good decision? If someone could shift my thinking because it's tearing me up inside - I know that sounds silly but it's important to me.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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I've been shooting with my A1U since November '07. If I were making a purchase now, I'd spend the extra $400 for the FX7.

In good light the A1U is great, but in low light, its not so hot.

The FX7 is better in low light, has better exposure latitude, and many more manual control options. If I didn't need the XLR audio for weddings, Id make the change now. I just keep dreaming of a V1U.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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My finances won't let me spend another $400 and then would I just be getting a larger camera for days out. So is there much noticeable difference between my 2100 and the A1?
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Old August 30th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #4
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Note that the FX7 is virtually identical -- or at least very similar -- to the 2100 in form and function, with the obvious difference of HDV. So you're not really getting a bigger or heavier cam. It's the FX1/Z1 that's bigger and heavier.

So if you like your 2100 you should instantly feel comfortable with the FX7. The A1 may take some getting used to, as it's much smaller and balanced differently.

Do you have a store nearby where you can handle both? I'd advise that if possible.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #5
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That's what I'm worried about. I don't have a store nearby that would order me in the A1 to try it out, not without a %50 deposit because they have to order it in. I can't travel further afield because I don't have a car. The FX7 is out of my budget, its either the A1 or keep what i've got. So far the advice I'm getting reads to me like keep what I've got. I'm not too bothered about having to get used to a new camera, I'd just like to upgrade to HDV, but is the A1 a good cam considering my budget and requirements, or should I stick with my VX?
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Old August 30th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #6
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Sounds like too many "what ifs" and i get the feeling that you are settling. I'd hold out for something else unless you really have to have the HDV. If all you want it for is to view for your own pleasure then its not worth the cost yet. You shouldn't have much more trouble on the editing side but to watch the final result you have to export it to tape and hook the camera up to an HDTV. You can't burn a dvd and watch it in high def...and if your just going to burn a dvd then stick with what you got. If you are planning on buying a bluray/hd dvd burner and player and can't afford another $400 then you need to research the total cost of a setup like that before you buy a HD camera. It's all the small things that start to add up when switching formats.

I say hold out for another year or so, and by then something should be available or you will have time to save more money.

I have both the FX1 and HC1...love both the cameras. choose not to go with the A1U becuase the only difference is in the audio, and in my opinion not worth another 8-9 hundred dollars. i found an HC1 on ebay for $700 and works great. you could add a beachtek xlr adapter and have the same basic setup as an A1U
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Old August 30th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #7
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Thanks Zach, that's another thing that's keeping me from upgrading, I make short films mainly but these are usually shown on the web. Days out with family are recorded onto DVD, the chap that told me about the A1 says I should future proof myself and record everything to HDV now but I think playing back on tape is so 80's!!

The other problem I have is if I do wait another year which was what my plans were going to be, would my 2100 be worth as much as it is now when I come to sell it?
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Old September 6th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #8
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Russ, I went through a similar analysis about a year ago or so. I had a VX2000 for several years. I wanted to move up to HDV recognizing that there would be a lot of new cameras coming in the next year or so.

I bought the A1 because it gave me a chance to learn how to shoot and edit in the HDV format and because I wanted a smaller form factor than the VX2000. I bought the A1 over the HC1 because I really wanted some of the features (black stretch, timecode flexibility) but especially the XLR mic inputs. Sony's $500 rebate for the A1 at the time made it morre palatable as well. Also if you really want to streamline you can remove the XLR mic adapter, the front lens hood and it really is a small camera.

I keep using my VX2000 for a lot of work, because as many have said, the A1 does not have very good low light performance, where as the VX2000/VX2100 are very good in low light.

But with good lighting the video from the A1 on my 60" Sony HDTV looks fantastic. I have been very happy with the A1 acquisition but I'll keep my VX2000 for awhile.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #9
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If you are a budding film maker, you also need to consider the Canon HV20. It is a small package consumerish camera, can be used to set up a pretty nice cinema film package using a 35mm adapter. This comes from a primarily Sony user (FX1, VX2000) who crossed to a Canon to get to 24p.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #10
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I have also been looking at the HV20 but I wasn't sure I'd get used to it physically after owning the longer bodied cameras for so long, this one would feel a bit small for my sausage fingers!!

I am considering it though.
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