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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 August 1st, 2005, 07:33 PM   #1
 
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Sony HVR-A1U--My view.

http://www.sundancemediagroup.com/ar...1U/HVR-A1U.htm

I had the opportunity to prepare some footage prior to the WEVA show in Vegas next week, and so have spent the past 5 days with this camcorder.
For the buck, it's incredibly impressive. Low light, contrast, tele/macro, all impressive when the cost is taken into consideration.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 09:41 PM   #2
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Nice review.
I want one.
Maybe next year.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 10:06 PM   #3
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Douglas:

Nice review, but you don't talk about the gain. Is there NO manual gain??? This is simply unnacceptable for a professional product.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 10:52 PM   #4
 
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You're right. In my haste to look at various aspects of the camera during my writing, I failed to mention the gain options in the menu. I'll go back and add that, since the review is still in a slight state of flux.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 03:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
You're right. In my haste to look at various aspects of the camera during my writing, I failed to mention the gain options in the menu. I'll go back and add that, since the review is still in a slight state of flux.
So there is manual gain...Ooof, what a relief... I was planning to get this camera as a 2nd unit cam to the upcoming HVX, and the lack of this was making me seriously reconsider other options... But now I'm relieved. Any release date for it, Douglas?
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 07:03 PM   #6
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hypercardioid mic

Douglas

In your review you say that you replaced the Sony mic with a different hypercardioid mic. Can you let me know which one it was ? Was it an AT mic?

Also could you expand a little on the technicalities of the 'Black Stretch' feature please and is that the primary reason that you were impressed with the low-light performance?

Also is there direct control over the aperture?

many thanks in advance.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 07:57 PM   #7
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The camera is out now

The camera is out now. I just picked one up from Circuit City this weekend. You might want to go check out the display model and see if it has what you're looking for.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 09:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hink
The camera is out now. I just picked one up from Circuit City this weekend. You might want to go check out the display model and see if it has what you're looking for.
The a1? Not the Hc1? Hmmm... Need to go to Hong-Kong then...
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 01:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hink
The camera is out now. I just picked one up from Circuit City this weekend. You might want to go check out the display and see if it has what you're looking for.
surely you mean the HC1 is out now.
- My question to Douglas relates to the A1 which won't be on sale until approx. September.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 01:17 AM   #10
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I'm certain that Chris Hink was referring to the HC1.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 08:17 AM   #11
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I have had my fill of bottom loading. I'd need a Firestore to even consider it. Might as well get an FX1, then...
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 08:35 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
Douglas

In your review you say that you replaced the Sony mic with a different hypercardioid mic. Can you let me know which one it was ? Was it an AT mic?

Also could you expand a little on the technicalities of the 'Black Stretch' feature please and is that the primary reason that you were impressed with the low-light performance?

Also is there direct control over the aperture?

many thanks in advance.
Stu,
There is direct control over the aperture via the exposure paddle lever, but the downside is you don't get feedback as to where the aperture is physically. In other words, no 1.8, 2.4, etc. You only get a shutterspeed indicator.
As far as the mic, you can put whatever you want on there. I happen to like the AT 4051 and 4053 mics. It's a fairly standard sized mount.
As far as black stretch, it's a great feature, but not the *main* reason I was impressed with low light. The lowlight capability is better than the FX1/Z1 simply because of the CMOS. Black stretch only enhances that. There's a lot of commentary about Black Stretch here on the HDVInfo.net site, search around, you'll find lots of words about it.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 12:28 PM   #13
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I'm I reading this right - the low light on the A1 is better than the FX/Z1? . I thought we had the FX/Z1 at 3 lux and the HC1/A1 at 7 lux .
I have both the FX1 and HC1 and i'm getting a far better picture in low light with the FX1 with the HC going half way there before the grain gets way bad.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 12:35 PM   #14
 
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The lux rating of the A1 is definitely worse, but the picture quality is better. If you looked at my comparisons of the HC1 vs the Z1, the HC1 had better light but less saturation. The CMOS allows for some significant processing, as does the Advanced Image Processor. (Now I sound like a Sony engineer) I don't know what they do exactly, and without a manual or engineer that can tell me more, I can only go on what the cam shoots and my eye sees.

I'm taking the A1 and Z1 out tonight for a shoot with the A1 mounted to the Z1 like I did with the HC1, I'll set both to auto, and we'll see what we get.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 04:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Stu,
There is direct control over the aperture via the exposure paddle lever, but the downside is you don't get feedback as to where the aperture is physically. In other words, no 1.8, 2.4, etc. You only get a shutterspeed indicator.
As far as the mic, you can put whatever you want on there. I happen to like the AT 4051 and 4053 mics. It's a fairly standard sized mount.
As far as black stretch, it's a great feature, but not the *main* reason I was impressed with low light. The lowlight capability is better than the FX1/Z1 simply because of the CMOS. Black stretch only enhances that. There's a lot of commentary about Black Stretch here on the HDVInfo.net site, search around, you'll find lots of words about it.
Many thanks for that Douglas.
One thing just to clarify on the exposure lever : when you say you have direct control over the aperture, do you mean that on the A1 you can adjust the aperture ONLY, i.e. isolate it from the gain? On the HC1 (and on my HC1000) adjusting the exposure manually like this adjusts the exposure up or down in stops, but the camera then decides what aperture and gain settings to set, by using a 'lookup table' depending on current metered light levels e etc.
- Is the 'bar' that you refer to a 'bar' indicating exposure level, or indicating the aperture setting (i understand it doesn't give the f-stop value).

in other words on HC1 you can fix the shutter speed but the camera won't let you fix the shutter AND the aperture. I'm just trying to nail this one down if i can as one of the principle things that was a tad disappointing on HC1 was inability to perform an 'aperture priority' mode (to draw a stills analogy).
thanks again.
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