HC3 still performs! I'm resurrecting it as my "not so serious" camera. 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 November 15th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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HC3 still performs! I'm resurrecting it as my "not so serious" camera.

I bought an XH-A1 about a year ago and my HC3 hasn't gotten much serious use since then. I just got back from Vermont and didn't have the heart (or space) to carry the XH-A1, so I dusted off the HC3. Sure, the small single chip had a little difficulty swallowing all the extreme colors, and the increased features of the XH-A1 would have been nice on several occasions - but - the diminutive size of the HC3 meant I actually had a camera with me! 9/10ths of photography is having a camera. Here's the result:

Fall in Vermont on Vimeo


Since using it, I'm still impressed by how good an image this thing can shoot and really love the "spot focus" feature. I just invested in an underwater housing (spk-hcd and it does fit) and a video light. Along with the bluetooth mic I already have for it, everything fits in a small Sony bag and it will get more use now.

Great piece of gear Sony.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #2
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HC5 still performs! I'm resurrecting it as my "not so serious" camera.

Me its the Hc-5,
I cannot say it is resurrected yet because it has not broke since I bought it(june 2008)
But I am very surprised of that camera(compared to Sony A1u) its much more lightweight
and the exposure is always perfect.
I just bought a second hc-5, soon I will buy a Hc9 and probably sell the A1u
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Old November 15th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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I purchased a HC7 for work and it has better zoom control and a built in mini-jack for audio. I think the HC3 is slightly more light sensitive. I've purchased the hot shoe-to-mini jack adapter so that's not a big deal. I also don't zoom much (trying to achieve the cine look) so the zoom control isn't a big deal either.

One of the best accessories I've purchased is the Sony bluetooth mic. It really works well for quick audio. I may try and adapt it to a mini-jack so I can use a lavalier mic and hide it a bit better.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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Roger -
Let me know if you figure out a jack that will squeeze into the bluetooth transmitter! I've been considering the same hack, and had the xmitter apart a few times - it's bloody tight in there! I'm almost at the point of adding a small pigtail with the jack... but then you've got to disable the internal mic too...

Definitely agree with the handy nature of the bluetooth mic - even better with the SR11 when it becomes "center channel" in a 5.1 record mode! I've got a similar setup, with the HCB shell, only I've updated the camera a bit - these small cameras really do a great overall job even when compared to the "big boys", and when accessorized, they are almost MORE versatile even with the lack of manual controls... All the controls won't do you a bit of good if the cam isn't practical to have along with you when the shooting op happens!
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Old November 15th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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Dave,

Do you have/could you get a high res picture of the inside of the bluetooth mic around where the built in mic is located. I haven't taken mine apart yet.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #6
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Didn't take pix, but it's pretty simple - there's a small mic element soldered to the board, behind the holes in the shell, that's about the extent of it. Seems to me that replacing the mic with a pigtail would be easy, but then you've sort of tampered with the thing enough that it's lost some of it's original value... I used these last wedding as area mics strapped on the arbor, and they worked famously (although the batteries died on one - DOH).

I'm torn as I use iRivers with Lavs and they work well, yet it would be cool if these Bluetooth wireless could take an external mic input... and I want to try sticking one in an old stick type mic shell for interviews...
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Old November 19th, 2008, 05:46 AM   #7
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Thanks Dave. I'll take a look, assuming it's easy to open. I was hoping there would be a way to add a new jack or pigtail and a switch to select the existing mic or and external. Very likely impedance and other issues may come into play and it could fall through.

I just think it would be very handy to use the device with a lavaliere, given its size, clarity, and range.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 07:38 PM   #8
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I've thought the same thing, so it's not entirely crazy... it's just the xmitter is so compact, they left little room for modification. I'd expect the impedance of the internal mic wouldn't be too far off from an external, although that's sheer speculation.

As for dis-assembly, there's just a couple mini crews, then it's one of those "squeeze tab" assemblies if you know what I mean - it's not easy to get apart, but if you're careful you can get the little tabs to slip off over the internal molded bumps... if you're used to taking modern electronics apart, it's pretty easy getting the plastic case open, but if you've never done it before, it's a bit of an experience!
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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Just bought a second HC3

I had an HC3 and an FX-1 (which I just sold since I wasn't using it much)....I happened across a local deal for another HC3 for $300 bucks where it was owned by a family who only ran 1 or 2 tapes through it and had won a newer model with a HDD.....so for that amount, I might as well have a newer spare....came with a bag and an extra high-output battery too!....Great little camera....
now to find another 3 chip that's not so bulky as the FX1.....
Len
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Old February 5th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #10
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Hard to go wrong for $300!
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Old February 5th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #11
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Your Vimeo video

Hi Roger...I really liked your Fall in Vermont video on vimeo.....very professional....and darn, if the HC3 doesn't stand up even to those 3 chippers with good light and someone who knows how to frame/focus on a shot like yourself.....
Len
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Old February 6th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #12
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Thanks Len. If you work within its capabilities, the H3 can produce good results. I especially like its size and Spot focus feature. I also find that I'm willing to risk this camera to "get the shot" where I'd not risk the A1.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 01:44 AM   #13
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I have an HC1, the HC series is particularly impressive. I love my HC1 for it's focus ring. But these cameras are really very very good.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #14
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I still use an HC3 as one of the secondary static cameras for wedding ceremonies.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #15
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I use mine fairly frequently. It doesn't match my XHA1, but it does a good job when I don't want size or weight. I'm going to Yellowstone next month and I'm not sure I'm going to lug the XHA1 and 20 pound Bogen tripod around (although I'm tempted).

If I'm capturing the moment, the HC3 does a good job. If I'm trying to capture for serious topics, I reach for the big camera.
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