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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 October 25th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #1
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HC1, filters, and softness

I recently bought an ND4 filter for use on my HC1 to adjust the depth of field. The other day I had the CP filter on as well as I was shooting around water and experimenting. I left both filters in place.

Yesterday I shot some video of a karate event indoors. I left both filters in place as there were some shots that looked out through large panes of glass into a sunlit parking lot and I was experimenting with reducing glare or whatever.

The footage looked okay on the LCD, but once brought into the computer I noticed a softness and color distortion (fringing). Is this typical of "off the shelf" filters? Or is it because I'm adding glass in front of the camera? Does it have to do, perhaps, with the lighting?

Some observations: with the filters, my HC1 could now distinguish purple from blue. Whites looked stunningly white, reds looked red. Also, my son's blue eyes actually show up as blue instead of "washed out".

Previously, my camera couldn't really make out blue - a blue belt and purple belt both looked purple. On the downside, the dark areas of the picture look very dark with very little detail.

I'm hoping the answer is the CP filter and that if I remove it then the clarity will be restored in future shots. On the downside, I will be doing some outdoor shots not too long from now and want to use the filter to enhance the blue sky and water shots.

Comments and/or suggestions?

Both filters are Sunpak picked up at the local electronics store.
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Old November 4th, 2007, 12:31 AM   #2
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HC1,filters, and softness

hi Paul,
I have the same problem with my HC1 & AI except my filters are LEE & FORMATT. The el cheapo HOYA does not soften the image as much. I never had that happen with the VX 1000 & the digital 8. In fact when I look at the old footage it actually looks better than the new HDV. Maybe the camereas are just simply too cheap or HDV requires different filters. Will see if the 3 cmos are better.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 10:10 PM   #3
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A1u and filters

If you do some searching, I recall there were some spirited debates on use of ND filter with this cam. Mainly 'cause it had ND filters built inside the lens barrell, as I recall one comment.

I have no idea if this is true, but I can add that I can clearly tell the difference between the Hoya and the Heliopan polarizer filter I use. The Heliopan appears to be much better quality and I can tell which one I was using in post.

I do find your comments about the ND to be intriguing and in sunlight may become tempted to spring for one if you still find the ND useful. Pls post if you do.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #4
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Okay, I've had a chance to look at some video with and without the ND and CP filters. It appears the video did a better job with the blue and purple than I had thought, though the LCD does not show any distinction at all. Anyway, I've upload some captures from two different videos shot at the same location about 5 months apart. The first video did not have the sun quite blasting in while the second one did. Anyway, check these out and tell me what you think might have gone right or wrong:

No filter attached:
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...nt=karate6.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...nt=karate2.jpg

ND4 + CP, manual focus (zoom focus used too - bad bad bad).
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...rate8_NDCP.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...rate5_NDCP.jpg

ND4 + CP, exposure reduced (is closer to actual lighting conditions)
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...ate10_NDCP.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...rate9_NDCP.jpg

What I *think* I see:

reds are more red. Generally this cam seems to lean towards magenta quite a lot of the time.

blue is very rich blue, a little darker than reality but more representative than without the filter(s).

The ND4 filter does seem to make the DoF shallower, thus background blurring is more pronounced.

Focus/crispness is toast. karate2.jog and karate6.jpg look far more defined (to me) than karate5_NDCP.jpg or karate10_NDCP.jpg. Also, karate5_NDCP.jpg shows the green color fringing on background items that I find bothersome. I see no fringing in karate2.jpg, but I also note the background blurring is quite a bit less in that same shot as well.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 01:59 AM   #5
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Hi Paul -
RADICALLY different lighting conditions... virtually impossible to gain a meaningful comparison or conclusion...

A suggestion, turn on the Zebra function (I use the 100IRE, seems like the most common setting from others i've seen posting) - so you can see what will be blown out in conditions like the middle set of pix.

Second, learn to use the little exposure button and lever on the left lower front of the cam - that will allow you MUCHO control over exposure in general preventing blown highs like the middle set or underexposure like the last set.

Third, learn to use the white balance, including how to "trick" it - that will help with how the cam interprets colors...

As for adding an ND filter, I would only suggest that IF you're delaing with very bright conditions and are trying to stop the camera down for deeper DoF...

The CP is going to help tame blown highlights and cut through haze/reflections if you orient it correctly, but it's one more "adjustment" you have to stay on top of... and it will act to reduce light to the camera and shift color perception to some degree.

Oh yeah, use the LCD as a framing guide... not as the final arbiter of what the tape will show color wise... it's "close", but far from perfect...
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Old November 8th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Hi Paul -
RADICALLY different lighting conditions... virtually impossible to gain a meaningful comparison or conclusion...

A suggestion, turn on the Zebra function (I use the 100IRE, seems like the most common setting from others i've seen posting) - so you can see what will be blown out in conditions like the middle set of pix.

Second, learn to use the little exposure button and lever on the left lower front of the cam - that will allow you MUCHO control over exposure in general preventing blown highs like the middle set or underexposure like the last set.

Third, learn to use the white balance, including how to "trick" it - that will help with how the cam interprets colors...

As for adding an ND filter, I would only suggest that IF you're delaing with very bright conditions and are trying to stop the camera down for deeper DoF...

The CP is going to help tame blown highlights and cut through haze/reflections if you orient it correctly, but it's one more "adjustment" you have to stay on top of... and it will act to reduce light to the camera and shift color perception to some degree.

Oh yeah, use the LCD as a framing guide... not as the final arbiter of what the tape will show color wise... it's "close", but far from perfect...
Thanks for the comments Dave.

The lighting really is different, far more so than I thought. And as you can see, I have a lot to learn.

For the second series of pics, the NDCP's, the camera was set to "manual exposure" and I was using the small exposure button at the front. Well, experimenting with it would be more accurate. That is why some of the shots appear dark while others are blown out. The LCD really doesn't help show what the exposure is going to be except in a gross sense (hence the need for a good field monitor?). And it also doesn't display the full image - I've since tested the camera with an external 7" LCD that does show the full image, and plan to use it in the future.

I completely forgot about the zebra pattern. Thank you for the reminder. I've not much experience with it and will have to learn.

White balance is something else I usually forget - I've used the white paper trick before, but the reds generally get shifted toward magenta under bright light. All else was set to "auto" so that maybe that has something to do with it.

I'm also wondering about shutter speed - mine is almost always set to "auto" and I think this is usually 60.

Perhaps I should write a checklist for setting up the camera in future? I'll be doing some more experimentation and post results.

Thanks again.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #7
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Hmm, I think I have part of my answer. Not scientific of course - camera was set to "auto", positioned about 20 feet from the target and zoomed fully. Take a look at the following:

http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...nt=default.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...current=UV.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...urrent=ND4.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...current=CP.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...ent=2Xtele.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...rent=CPND4.jpg
http://s120.photobucket.com/albums/o...rent=ND4CP.jpg

The 2X telephoto is a Kenko and was used on my older D8 camera. Figured I throw it into the mix for grins.

ND4+CP indicates ND4 is mounted first, then the CP. CP+ND4 obviously is the reverse.
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