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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 May 20th, 2005, 02:33 PM   #1
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Could this be the big one?

The HC1 may be the nudge that starts the snowball rolling down the hillside and create an avalanche. I for one produce backpacking videos. I've looked at light cameras, considering the now-discontinued Panasonic AV100 as well as other solid state cameras like Samsung's miniket as well as the usual batch of miniDV stuff like the PC55. At a pound and a half with battery, the HC1 is just the ticket. Other reasons why this is a major arrival:
1--Ever held the Z1 for more than just a few minutes? Your arm and back start to cry out in agony!
2--CMOS chips are low on power consumption, meaning we don't have to haul so many extra batteries along.
3--CMOS chips have a better dynamic range than CCDs, meaning a better chance at emulating the sought-after film look.
4--And of course, the price! Knowing how volatile these days are with new models being announced every few weeks, one is reluctant to dump a lot of money into the HDV pit. But under $2000 takes a lot of the ouch out of the purchase.
5--As someone else suggested, what a great price on a "playback deck."
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Old May 20th, 2005, 03:33 PM   #2
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I think you're right; I think these are the first of the forthcoming compact HDV camcorders. Maybe the total number of makes and models of smaller pieces will eventually outnumber the higher-end pro and semi-pro models, just like right now with DV camcorders.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #3
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I think it might be a first glimpse of what's further down the road. However, $2,000 is a lot of money for a consumer "daddy cam" to film baby's first steps, considering all the cameras well under $1,000 with similar size. I think that price has to drop quite a bit to generate large sales volumes. Same thing in the TV set department. True, you can get a WalMart HDTV for $600, but you can also get a 27" SDTV for under $200 there.

It's coming - I agree with you there - but the big question is "when" :-)
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:17 PM   #4
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The street price will be something like 1500-1700 USD.

The camera takes lot of electronics from FX/Z1.

Compact HD cameras will eventually replace DV, DVD cameras. But technology is not there yet to do it inexpensively and in small enough packages.

Radek
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #5
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Les Stroud's producers really need this camera for the third season of Survivorman! Imagine, Survivorman in High Def next season (but it has to be on CTV HD)! Someone should really contact his producers about this camera!
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Old May 21st, 2005, 10:02 PM   #6
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Sony's foresight and their ties with Apple..

I agree with Lynne's sentiments.

HDV televisions are becoming big business in the USA and Japan etc (Europe i think lags behind a bit here) and it seems logical as market penetration of HD tv's increases that folks will want to upgrade their camcorders to HD too.
Until now, i think 95% of consumers would have been reluctant to get an FX1 or similar due to the SIZE and weight issue. Cost too, but not so much.
Most potential buyers probably just don't want to use a camera as big & heavy as the FX1 etc. Minituarisation is important to get volume sales.

I think Sony know that the HC1 is going to be a big camera for them (in sales terms). If they throw quite a bit of money at marketing it and bringing it to the general camcorder-buying publics attention, then it could really snowball and start to bring in volume sales. They've got the financial muscle to keep dropping the price of the HC1 i think as necessary in order to keep market-share ahead of the inevitable smallish-HD cams that inevitably will be following from Panasonic/JVC etc/

I think Sony and Applr have really got into bed together on this one as Sony President was VERY publicly chummy at a conference a few months ago with Apple's CEO, both talking up HDV bigtime. (was in Vegas or San Fran or San Diego i think - sometime in February-ish i think) and he said at the time that Sony would be pushing HDV further down their range soon...

Well he wasn't lying ! The HC1 has happened and this could be a big money-spinner not only for Sony but Apple too in terms of sales of FCP and also, importantly, G5 Macs...
And for the whole thing to work then the relatively fast introduction of HD-DVD / Blu-ray needs to happen and i think i read somewhere that Sony are prepared to compromise on the spec etc. as i think they know it needs to happen to maximise the opportunity from the Hi-Def bandwagon.

I'm fairly new to the whole DV industry really, so this is just my view of the situation. Interesting to hear other opinions too.

rgds
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 07:33 AM   #7
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HD coming to the UK! (kind of)

I agree that Europe is laggin behind the whole HD, but that doesn't mean it isn't happing, the reason i say this is that the other day i went to a nationwide consumer electronics retail outlet and was looking at the range of large TVs 42" and above, and what struck me is that although "HD" is not advertised (probably due to lack of public awareness) the TV's themself did have a tiny sticker saying it was HDTV ready!

I think (and this is just my view) is that one of the reason that these large TV's (or plasma's) or LCD are HDTV ready is that when you make screens that big SD pictures start to fall apart, i say this beacuse i was around a friends house and he had a DVD playing on their 52" TV and when i first saw this i though it was VHS, untill i found out that it was actually playing from a DVD, and this got me curious, so i asked to see the manual to find out the specs of the TV and guess what it was SD!

So for this reason (and others) it would make sense to have a HDTV on these large screens beacuse if you take a SD signal and then upscale to HDTV it should look better than having it play SD.

Also SkyHD is planned for the UK, PS3 and Xbox360 and DVB2 are all HD ready, not to mention most LCD TV are at least 720P (usually the ones that are PC compatible).

What does all this means for HDV cameras in the UK? it means (in my view) that these cameras will allow for people to view now (downconverted) to SD TV's for now, and when they buy their expensive large TV's they will be in for a treat.
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
Most potential buyers probably just don't want to use a camera as big & heavy as the FX1 etc. Minituarisation is important to get volume sales.
It's not just the size - I really don't see your average consumer-person-in-the street getting to grips with the array of visible controls. They must be quite daunting :-)
Which is why I think that Canon also will bring out a consumer HDV camera before upgrading the XL2 model.

Robin
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 05:04 AM   #9
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I live in pal land and have already put an advance order in for the HC1 last Wednesday with Prestons in Malvern, Sony UK have confirmed July delivery and my dealer will be confirming the price in the next few days.
I love my FX1, i've got to grips with the HD editing and can project a fantastic picture up to 8ft in awsome quality, so give me the HC1 as a weekend cam and playback deck to compliment the FX1 and my sony projector and I'm going to be very happy!
Look out for a long list of dv kit up for sell, HDV rocks!
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 11:54 AM   #10
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The Price?

HI PAUL:)
If U know the price, PLS tell us...and when we could buy???? in July???
I contact with BH in NY, if I get more info about the price and date of availability of PAL version I will tell U.
THX: Miki from Hungary
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 12:34 PM   #11
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The price is right

Even at the full price of $2000, this camcorder looks to be worth every penny. For starters, I think this cam will replace Sony Broadcasting's PDX10, their entry-level prosumer cam. It's been out for over 2 years and still sells for $1700-1800 at B&H online. Arguably the very best consumer camcorder made today, the Panasonic PV-GS400, retails for $1500 (if you can find one anywhere...they're sold out). Both of these camcorders are so popular because they are two of only 3 cams that produce high quality widescreen video. I think it's worth the $300-500 more for high definition.

Now what would really seal the deal for me is if Sony bundles some of Apple's HDV editing software, or rebates on upcoming HD-DVD hardware for early adopters. A man can dream....
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 03:06 PM   #12
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The PDX-10 is $1,800 at B&H, but there's a $200 Sony rebate taking it down to $1,600.

Who knows what the street price will actually be on the HVR-A1 (which is the PDX-10 replacement), but I don't think you'll find one for $2,000 anytime soon. The Sony press release said "under $3,500." The consumer model will be in that range however.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 07:18 PM   #13
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Hi Paul Rickford

Saw your post - i'm a UK as well but travelling at the moment. Could you post the price that your dealer says the HC1 will be available at in the UK pls ? I'm thinking it'll be GBP1300-1500. Something like that.

Also while you're about it if you could give brief resume of your post-prod software / hardware etc. FCP etc ?? and any probs / glitches or useful insights you've had capturing and editing HS footage.
Oh also...what TV you got? and projector ?

i've got an HC1000 and even before the HC1 was announced i said to myself as soon as a smaller/lighter HDV Sony cam was released i'd buy it so ...looks like i'd better get my cheque ready !

One thing i'm a little disappointed about the spec for the HC1 is that the LCD is (apparently) only 123K pixels. THe HC1000 screen is about 211K (and although it's a different aspect ratio, its about the same size as the HC1 screen. I'd have liked Sony to have a higher-res LCD screen in the HC1. I know that the viewfinder is 250K pixels but i still don't think that most buyers of this cam will be using the viewfinder most of the time. Can anyone confim my understanding that the viewfinder in the HC1 will be a much-higher resolution than the LCD screen ?

regards all
Stu
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 08:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJ Elliott
Even at the full price of $2000, this camcorder looks to be worth every penny. For starters, I think this cam will replace Sony Broadcasting's PDX10, their entry-level prosumer cam. It's been out for over 2 years and still sells for $1700-1800 at B&H online.
Apples and oranges....like Boyd said, the $2000 price is for the consumer HC1 cam whereas the pro A1 cam is $3500. So in reality, it's almost twice the price of the $1699 PDX10, and the A1 lacks so many features in comparison to the PDX10 that it's not even funny.

The only thing the A1 got going for it is the 1080i HDV, which obviously is what makes these cams so appealing. If these were SD cams with the same features (or lack thereof) no one would be touting them as "the big one", no matter how cheap they were.

I'm curious to see how the footage off these look, but I won't be buying one. I'd migrate to the FX1 instead, if I were in the market for HD.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 11:42 PM   #15
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Sorry about the confusion: I was referring to the HC1. I hadn't read much about the A1 yet, so my comments were a little offbase. Indeed, the A1 seems to be the true replacement for the PDX10. It even looks just like it. However, if you can live without the XLR mic, the HC1 looks like a great deal and priced appropriately.
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