HC1 w/o manual iris. Problem or not? 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 August 10th, 2005, 07:55 AM   #1
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HC1 w/o manual iris. Problem or not?

A few of my friends have been debating purchasing the HC1 vs. a Panny GS400 and a Canon GL2. The most notable concern seems to be the lack of manual iris control on the HC1, and I was wondering if owners of the camera have felt this was an issue.

My initial feeling was that because the DOF on all 3 of these cameras is extremely limited to begin with, that the whole "manual aperture for DOF control" argument is a bit of a red herring... so I just wanted to ask:

For those of you who have used the camera and have some experience with it now, is has the lack of manual iris limited the shots you've been trying to get? Or are there alterntaive controls that let you "effectively" control the iris?

-Steve
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Old August 10th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #2
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I wouldn't like the lack of manual controls personally. But FWIW when comparing, the GS-400 has 1/4.7" (closer to 1/5") CCD's, the GL-2 has 1/4" CCD's and the HC-1 has a single 1/3" CCD. In real application it probably isn't all that significant, but the HC-1 should have somewhat shallower DOF when wide open, as compared to the other 2. Not sure since I've never actually used one, but I suspect you might force a wide open iris by carrying around several different ND filters to use in bright conditions.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 09:13 AM   #3
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The precise reason I'm asking those "who have used one" is because I figure the exposure control may well provide much of the necessary control. I have an FX1, so I'm not in the market... But I'm not so much interested in speculation as real experience with the controls it's got. "Tales from the field" as it were.

-Steve
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Old August 10th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #4
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Who said there is no manual iris control? Iris/Gain are controlled in conjuction via the Exposure lever. if you increase exposure, you open the iris/increase gain and vice versa. The only problem is that you do not get a nice readout like in the GS400/GL2 while recording. What you must do is change the exposure and tweak the shutter speed to balance out. Then record a little, and see the data code information via playback. It is a pain, I know, but its a way around it.

You cannot compare the HC1/GL2/GS400. HC1's resolution will tear all the other ones apart. The only reason why people compare it is because of the price ranges. You can't compare HDV with SD. Basically it comes down to this. Do you want to have your footage in HD now, where you can watch it SD for now and watch it in HD later? Or do you want manual controls? Simple.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 11:34 AM   #5
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Hmm... it depends on how much you know about shooting... I am a total newbie so for me it's great. I don't know what I am missing... but I am learning so I will probably figure it out.

A big downside is the sound. I am looking into getting standalone mics and probably a beachtek for that.

Mounting from the bottom is a pain to.

Low light performance sucks to. If you don't use nightshots (infrared) or slow down the shutter which makes the movie "slow" - dunno the terminology.

Getting HDV into your system requires a fast system and probably a plugin/upgrade depending on your NLE-system. Currently I outputted DV instead. I think the pictures are great. Both HDV and DV.

I have plans on using it for some shortfilmprojects. I have figured out that basically any videocamera nead some kind of 35mm adapter that get the DOF that feature films uses. Those that can be bought seem to be intended for 72 mm and the HC1 is 37 mm. I might build my own kit.. just for fun. 24p can be faked in post.

I used a XL-2 once which has switchable ND-filters. The HC1 doesn't have that but might have it internally someone said. I am thinking of getting filters to put on instead. That way I see what will go on tape and can control it a little bit better.

Hmm... that's all I can think of right now. Basically, the more you know the more you want. If you can afford more then go for it. My next cam will probably be something like the HVX-200. I can't think of any reason not to buy HD-cameras today. Though I know people who disagree.

/Fredrik
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Old August 10th, 2005, 11:52 AM   #6
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You are exactly right, the more you know the more you want. What people are forgetting is that the HC1 is a consumer camcorder, and the GL2 and GS400 are prosumer camcorders. People should not be comparing them just because of their similar price.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #7
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You are exactly right, the more you know the more you want. What people are forgetting is that the HC1 is a consumer camcorder, and the GL2 and GS400 are prosumer camcorders. People should not be comparing them just because of their similar price. The only reason why the HC1 is as high as those, is because of the HDV format, that is all. And to be honest, it is a really good price for it.
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Old August 10th, 2005, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven White
The precise reason I'm asking those "who have used one" is because I figure the exposure control may well provide much of the necessary control. I have an FX1, so I'm not in the market... But I'm not so much interested in speculation as real experience with the controls it's got. "Tales from the field" as it were.

-Steve
There is a 'Program AE' mode called "Portrait" which biases the exposure towards large apertures. Generally speaking the aperture in this mode is likely to be f2.4 or larger.
So although it's not the direct control we'd all like, for people looking for max.aperture or close to it, it's a good place to start.
Similarly there's a sports mode which has strong bias towards fast shutter speeds which will have a similar big-ish aperture result.

Steve i think you have a very good point with your DOF-is-generally-pretty-big with these cameras. It's not gonna be like using a 105mm f2.8 lens on a 35mm SLR, or similar.

with these small sensors, it's doesn't lend these machines very well for shallow depth-of-field work really. (except perhaps macro work).
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