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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 November 28th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #1
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HC1/3/5 comparison

Hey All... Shooting with a Z1U... wanted to grab a handheld for tape transfer, the odd B-roll shot, family stuff, etc etc.

The used HC1's cost more than a new HC5... HC3's not far behind. Would prefer a new cam (warranty), but before I take the dive, I wanted to get your opinions and suggestions.

Thanks

Robert
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Old November 28th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #2
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I would recommend either the A1U or FX1 for matching the Z1.... preferably the FX.

I've shot with A1's and the HC3... HC3 was *hell* to match to the Z1 compared to the A1... A1 was still a task.

HC3 is 1 CCD, A1 is 1 CMOS, FX is 3 CCD, and the same setup as the Z1, so will match quite easily.

Carl
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Old November 28th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, Carl...

Looking for a handheld that'll also download my Z1 tapes. A1U's too pricey. So I feel it's in the HC1/3/5 ballpark.

FX is waay more cam than I'm interested in, although I understand the matching issue... might as well just shoot with the Z1.

rb
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Old November 28th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #4
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The 3 and 5 use the same sensor, but the 5 has even less control (loses the wheel).

I don' think the 3 and 5 are as good picture quality as the venerable HC1 or the HC7, both of which have enough controllability to at least make you feel like you're shooting a "serious" camera rather than a point and shoot. The 7 has the compact form factor (same basic shell and electronic innards as the 5, but with mic/headphone, better image quality/CMOS, and the control wheel/button).

For just dumping tape, any will do, but if you want a camera that also can double as a usable tool, you'll want to examine the differences carefully. The HC1 is of course the baby brother to the A1U, which is still being sold in the pro market, it's no slouch. I really like the HC7 because of the small size myself, there's a great plus to the smaller cams, you actualy take them along and USE them!
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Thanks Dave... this was what I was looking for...

For some reason, thought the 7 was already a hard disk unit. Now that I've added that to the mix, it looks like the best bet.

AIU would be great, but it's twice the price. We'll see how the finances look when I'm ready. Firm believer in the adage, "You get what you pay for...." Maybe the need for a good B cam will raise the stakes.

Thanks to all.

rb
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Old November 29th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #6
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Hi Robert -

Glad to be of help - there's a whole bunch o' "7's" in the Sony lineup...
FX7 - nice larger 3 CMOS cam, tape
Then there's the "consumer" cams with similar optics/sensor
HC7 - single CMOS, but with most features you need, tape
SR7 - similar cam to HC7, HDD/AVCHD based
UX7 - similar but different in some ways, but DVD recording, and a whopper of a 3.5" screen and a better control wheel - dang, where't eh tape version of THIS!!
CX7 - same sensor, but much better low light, records to MS Duo, not big enough to have much in the way of control or interfaces...

Then there's the new Z7... drool

Sometimes it's hard to find "the right cam for the job" - I'd put a bigger screen and a focus ring on the HC7 myself, but it's a pretty darn good compromise of size and capability, and should work fairly well with your Z1 as a second cam, you may need to fiddle with color correction, but the PQ is really quite good!
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Old December 14th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #7
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I shoot with an FX1 and an HC3 and have never had any issues with color matching. In my opinion, images from both are surprisingly similar though the HC3 is not quite as light-sensitive as the FX1 (or the Z1, its optical twin). The digital stabilization on the HC3 is not as smooth as the optical stabilization on the FX1.

I love the HC3 for its small go-anywhere size and it feels like it's built like a tank. I DON'T like the zoom very much; it seems to be very sensitive and the slow zoom is not very slow.

The HC5 is the immediate successor to the HC3 and from what I can tell the performance is the same. I think, however, that the HC5 will automatically downshift to 30Hz frame rate in low light, while in the HC3 one needs to manually choose that setting in the "Digital effects" menu.

I read some tests with the HC5 and HC7 and I think the conclusion was that the HC7 was not as sensitive in low light, due to the greater pixel count (pixels individually smaller).
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Old December 15th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Then there's the new Z7... drool
Mmmhmmm. :D
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Old December 15th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Iredale View Post
I read some tests with the HC5 and HC7 and I think the conclusion was that the HC7 was not as sensitive in low light, due to the greater pixel count (pixels individually smaller).
I'd take anything from camcorderinfo with a LOT of skepticism - I had an HC3 and HC7 side by side - the 3 was macroblocking in low light so badly that it was unusable - the 7 was grainy, but usable under identical bad lighting.

All three cams 3/5/7 are really well built, and hey, I thought the 3 was the better looking of the lot - liked that grey/black scheme! But the 7 is a better cam with better image quality and more features - the 5 actually lost the wheel adjust from the already limited 3.
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