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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 March 19th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #1
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Retire the Sony HC-3???

I've got the Sony HC-3 that I use, among other things, to produce backpacking videos in HD. I chose it several years ago for its light weight and small size. Since then several other models have come to the forefront. Here's my question--has the HC-7 (or 9) improved upon the image quality enough to justify my selling the 3? Or should I just let well-enough alone?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 10:50 PM   #2
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I've owned them all, and IMO the HC7/9 is a better image... BUT if you're happy with your HC3, there's no great compelling reason to step up.

On the other hand, all the new small sony cams have much to like about them, and some very good image quality, better low light, and so on - really depends on whether you feel it's time for an upgrade <wink>!
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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #3
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Even if you move up to the 7/9, I'd keep the 3 as your capture deck. You won't get much for it anyhow.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:33 AM   #4
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Still-Photos Are Improved in HC7 and HC9

Duplicate message.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; March 20th, 2008 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Duplicate message
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:49 AM   #5
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Still-Photos Are Improved in HC7 and HC9

The still-picture quality of the HC7 and HC9 is probably even more improved over the images of the HC3, than the video performance is. I've been very pleased with the quality of the photos I snap in 16:9 aspect with my HC9, while I'm recording video, which is completely uninterrupted. It encodes them at 4.5 megapixels and they look a bit sharper than those taken in Photo mode at 4:3 and 3.1 megapixels. Of course, you can take stills at 16:9 and 4.5 MP in Photo mode and also extrapolated 6.1 MP pictures. I have yet to decide if those 6.1 MP photos are better than those taken in 3.1 MP, the latter coming from entirely real CMOS pixels.

This flower shot was taken while I was recording video.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 09:01 AM   #6
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I appreciate the opinions. To be honest, even though I bought the memory stick I've never used the still photo option. But I thougth it might be useful for some Ken Burns-type pan and zoom options someday.
As for rez improvements, according to another site, the horiz. rez of the hc-3 was pegged at 605 and in the hc-7 it had only been bumped up to about 650. (vert. went from 566 to 580).
Given that the hc-3 is the one that Survivorman supposedly uses, I guess I'm in good company.
You're right about not getting much money for it, even if I did sell. I've got the whole enchilada--the WA lens, the wireless mic. Probably would be lucky if I could get $500 for everything, you know?
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Old March 21st, 2008, 12:38 PM   #7
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Hi Lynne -
You might get a bit more, but not much, however some accessories should be compatible (if the wireless is the HW1, that will work - it's also very cool on the AVCHD cameras and the SR11/12 series is the same form factor at the HC3/5/7 - worth a look?). Lenses won't match, nor sadly the batteries (tho' FH series is backward compatible).

Unfortunately the step from the HC3 to any of the later ones is not simple or cheap... but it is quite a healthy step up.

I really liked the HC3 build wise, it sold me on the small camera form factor, and it is still a great "entry" to HD, but as with all technology, time moves on, and the later cameras are far superior.

The HC3 came at a time when Sony still OWNED the consumer HD market, and was an attempt to make it more affordable and accessable - ultimately the HV20 broke the $$ barrier, but the form factor stuck, which says a lot about the camera!


As for stills, if you have a good DSLR or decent digital camera, the "dual purpose" part isn't so important, but it looks to me like the SR11/12 are getting at least close to being adequate dual purpose cams, still hunting for an insane deal on one of those so I can see firsthand! 4G MS Duos are only around $35 if you watch (Sandisk ones anyway), and I've always stuck a memory stick in the cams first thing when I get them... comes in handy!
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