Opinions of image quality of the HC7 at DVinfo.net

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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 December 12th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #1
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Opinions of image quality of the HC7

I'm looking to move finally (albeit late) to HDV format and am settling on the HC7 due to the nature of the work I shoot (Solo Video Journalist and Underwater Video Journalist) - so I need something compact, yet has manual exposure, manual white balance and both mic and headphone jacks.

I currently work with a pair of TRV950's - one of them in a Light & Motion Bluefin housing when shooting underwater.

I'm needing some solid real world input on the quality of the footage shot with the HC7 in both controlled lighting and ambient lighting conditions.

Anyone have some footage to share and have any input on any caveats of the camera???

Thanks,
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Old December 12th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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Automatic mode sometimes overexposes in high lighting environments, but using manual exposure resolves that issue.

Controlled lighting situations is good in automatic only when the subject is not moving (in an interview setting). If there is movement, you must lock in the exposure by going manual.

A recent video I did shows how the camera does in manual exposure:

http://www.stage6.com/user/jackvancouver/video/1920656/
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Old December 13th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #3
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On a good day with plenty of light its difficult to tell the difference between footage shot on the HC7 and footage shot on my FX1, which has 3 CCD chips.

You can assign the Auto Exposure overide to the manual control wheel so that you can tweak the exposure when the camera gets it wrong.

The CMOS chip gets very noisy in poor light, the touch-sensitive screen is dim in daylight and there is a bit of spherical abberation at the extremes of the image, but for the size and price its a stunning piece of kit.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 11:35 PM   #4
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I think the lens is good, the colors are nicely saturated, and the resolution is great. It's small which is good for travel but sometimes a pain when you want to make an adjustment and hold the camera steady. In good lighting you can capture footage that is as professional looking as that from the larger pro hdv cameras. I have shot some underwater footage with it that has been accepted for sale by a stock footage company. It seems much better to me than the HC-1 and in many ways on par with the HV-20.

Pat
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Old December 14th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #5
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there are a few things i don't like.

all the settings by touch screen
my tripod plate covers more then the bottom of the camera, i can't change batteries without taking the camera of the tripod and unscrew the plate.
accessery shoe is not universal, needs adapter.
i am a big guy, big finger, it's not easy....lol

but, i bought it because of the size, weight and quality. actually just for the basketball season, and it delivers excellent picture quality.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 05:15 AM   #6
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Touch screen = love it or hate it, I like it since there's no room for buttons anywhere else, and spot focus and exposure are handy. Take time to set up p-menu, and you have fast access to exactly the functions you need, literally at your fingertips - pretty cool to be able to customize your interface IMO.

You can stick something between the cam and the plate to release the battery clip. Typical of this style cam, should come with a tongue depressor or something <wink>

AIS has some interesting accessories available - add a flash bracket for a cold shoe or two and more stability. Adapters are cheap too, but the bracket serves a double function.

For the size and weight, the HC7 packs a lot of punch, a great picture in most light and a pretty good picture in low light. Most HD cams benefit from an additional light rather nicely if the ambient light is too weak. Daylight looks great, indoors seems fine, and I've shot in twilight with good results with sometimes a bit of help from a 10/20W sony light with diffusion. No big downsides except for strobe lights/flashes, and those are just a problem with CMOS, not a problem in most situations.

Maybe something "better" will be out in 2008, but... the HC7 is nice and reasonably affordable, and available!
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Old December 16th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #7
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Well, I sold all my gear on Friday and will be looking at purchasing a couple HC7's this next week. Will be getting the housing as well since I do shoot a fair amount underwater (Light & Motion Bluefin HC7 housing - one sweet setup)

Having said that - I'm looking at accessories. I still have my Rode VideoMic - not sure if it will fit into the accessory shoe on the HC7 or if I need an adapter to be able to mount it. Any ideas?

Also, anyone know of a widescreen lens hood like the one for the A1U that will fit the HC7?

Batteries - OMG they are expensive for these new cameras!!! I'm looking to get a couple of NP-FH70's for longer shooting sessions - is the burn time improved on these batteries or am I having to look at getting the NP-FH100's at $100 a pop :-(

I've read that shooters are able to use standard miniDV tapes and cannot see any difference in image quality compared to the HDV tapes that cost quite a bit more - any input?

Fortunately the camera uses 37mm filters and I can use my Century optics .55x w/a adapter and my Cavision mattebox setup that I was originally using my my TRV950's.

Any other caveats about the camera?

Thanks for all the responses.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #8
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It doesn't look like the Rode Videomic fits. I attach it to a Bescor bracket ($12 to $15 US ?), and there are probably adaptors for the Sony hot shoe as well. I use Sony premium mini-dv tapes, even for those once-in-a-lifetime trips. With 4 hdv cameras and two years of shooting I have only had a very few drop-outs. Oddly enough this only occurred on December 22, 2005, and December 22, 2006. I guess I should consider buying one high-definition grade Sony tape for next weekend. ;)

Pat
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Old December 16th, 2007, 02:13 PM   #9
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there are a couple adapters out there for the ais shoe to a regular cold shoe - around $20 - one of the regulars around here makes one, and B&H has several models. The other option is a standard camera flash bracket, that's my personal choice, as it adds stability when shooting, as well as the shoe (some brackets have two shoe mounts!) Again, around $20.

The HC1/A1U hoods should fit, just remove the alignment tabs - Sony direct has 'em, not exactly cheap, but... 37mm thread!

The FH100 sticks out quite a bit from the back of the camera - may want to confirm that it fits the housing. It lasts a long time, the 70's are pretty good too, and yes, Sony makes you buy all new batteries with the consumer level cams... the FP series don't work, even though they "fit". Get a trp charger or the dual one so you can charge one battery off cam anytime.

Sony Premium or Excellence here too, haven't seen any dropouts, but I don't reuse tapes.

The still function is not too bad either, so get a MS Duo.

Get a small camera bag to take your "minimum configuration" with you all the time - cam, a couple tapes, a couple batteries, maybe a WA, maybe one of those sony 3W lights (HVL HL1), you get the idea... you'll find yourself grabbing for the camera all the time, you want it to be there! Enjoy!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 02:41 PM   #10
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I bought myself a HC7 at the beginning of December and overall I'm pleased with results. I looked at both Gates and Amphibico, but I went for the Seatool housing (it's tiny so is very easy for traveling).

Here is a short test I did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeDTgKJxAQ

The camera came with a FH60 battery, which lasted about an hour when using the LCD, so I bought a generic Chinese FH100 for a fraction of the price of Sony's. It lasts about 3-4 hours so far, so for the price it was definitely worth it.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 03:55 PM   #11
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I also bought a genuine Sony FH100 and have been using it since June and so far it's only lost a few minutes. But not enough to hinder any of my shoots.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 05:37 PM   #12
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Batts and tapes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post

Batteries - OMG they are expensive for these new cameras!!!

I've read that shooters are able to use standard miniDV tapes and cannot see any difference in image quality compared to the HDV tapes that cost quite a bit more - any input?

Thanks for all the responses.
I'll weign in on these:
May try www.duracelldirect.com for batts. I don't trust off brand batts, but this is run by Duracell, so I would expect them to be ok. i don't have any, discovered the site after I bought OEM batts.

I've run over 40 tapes thru my A1u. Four dropouts, all recovered by rewinding and recapturing that segment. It could be computer glitch or other reason, but so far nothing to implicate the tape since it captured second time ok.
Using Sony dvm60prl, buy @ BJ's wholesale for $2.50 each in 8 or 10 packs. Also using TDK brand I buy @ costco for same price.
Like many I keep a few premium tapes laying around.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #13
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Best Telextender for HC7/HC9

Does anyone have any recommendations for a telextender lens? Sony has an HD-rated 37mm one, but are there any other good options? I'm thinking about trying to use a step-ring to mount my Sony DH1758 telex, that is made for .4-inch CCD still cameras.

Also, are there any posted still pictures from the HC7? How long does the furnished NP-FH60 battery last and how many MaH does it have? Do any of the battery specialists, like Batteries Plus, sell the genuine Sony NP-FH series at any discount?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
Does anyone have any recommendations for a telextender lens? Sony has an HD-rated 37mm one, but are there any other good options? I'm thinking about trying to use a step-ring to mount my Sony DH1758 telex, that is made for .4-inch CCD still cameras.

Also, are there any posted still pictures from the HC7? How long does the furnished NP-FH60 battery last and how many MaH does it have? Do any of the battery specialists, like Batteries Plus, sell the genuine Sony NP-FH series at any discount?
I haven't gotten my hands on an HC-7 yet to test but you should give our High Res 2.0x tele-converter a look. We didn't design it specifically for the HC-7 but it might work well. We have people using it, with limited zoom range due to the larger thread size, on the Canon HV-20. You will get about 1/2 zoom range on the telephoto end.

http://www.schneideroptics.com/ecomm...=1069&IID=1756

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