Varizoom w/ HDR-HC1 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 September 21st, 2005, 03:39 PM   #1
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Varizoom w/ HDR-HC1

Just figured I'd let everybody know the Varizoom StealthZoom works great w/ the HDR-HC1. I can crawl zooms quite a bit slower than with the Sony remote, and WAY slower than the on-camera rocker. I especially like the fact that as soon as I start to focus with the Varizoom, the cam shows the focal length in the bottom left corner.

Funny how Sony set this tiny camera up so intelligently for professional use (for instance: racking focus w/ the touchscreen is surprisingly a joy) and then goes and marries the exposure to the gain without without even letting the operator know what F stop or gain boost level the cam is calling for. PLEASE Sony, give us a firmware update or something. All we need is a little F # in the bottom left corner and a gain override. I just can't understand it. To give all the control we need for focus with nothing for exposure. It's like the lens focus people were hard at work while the exposure engineers & designers were out at recess.
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Old September 21st, 2005, 03:52 PM   #2
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I don't think it's gonna happen.... Sony has a history of intentionally "dumbing down" their less expensive models to differentiate between the pro and consumer versions. For example:

Z1 shoots PAL and NTSC, FX1 doesn't

Z1 LCD has underscan mode, FX1 doesn't

PD-150 has separate gain control; VX-2000 doesn't

PD-150 lets you change shutter speed independently; VX-2000 resets the iris opening when you change shutter speed

PDX-10 uses full CCD width to capture high quality 16:9; TRV-950 doesn't

....and the list goes on and on.

I think all these are firmware issues which wouldn't really require hardware changes. But then you wouldn't have much reason to buy a Z1, PD-170, PDX-10 or A1....

I wonder, does the A1 behave any differently with regard to the things you've mentioned?
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Old September 21st, 2005, 04:05 PM   #3
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From posts here on this forum, I'm under the impression that the A1 does not give the operator any more control over exposure than the HC1. I really see the only advantage of the A1 being a slower zoom and the black level correction thingie for low light. Both of these are problems easily remedied. I've solved the first from my bag of goodies and I'm in the market for a good on-camera light. Oh yeah, I have a MD player too. It sure would be nice if Sony said, "whoops we screwed up, here's that F stop icon that got misplaced". Oooh, life would be good.
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Old September 21st, 2005, 04:30 PM   #4
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But they are no longer showing f-stops on their other smaller cameras as well, beginning with the TRV-950, then the PDX-10 and HC-1000. It was clearly a conscious choice on their part and not an oversight. In the case of the above, they don't want to tell you the f-stop since it's relatively meaningless. There are internal ND filters which drop into place as you close the iris past about f4.8. Sony has never admitted the existence of these, but their purpose is to force you to stay within the sweet spot of the lens. The ND filters cannot be manually controlled or over-ridden.

I gather the HC1 and A1 may not have these, but they may do something with gain to accomplish the same thing. So obviously Sony doesn't really want you to know what's going on with the iris. If you turn on data code during playback then it gives bogus values for f-stop on the cameras mentioned above.
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Old September 21st, 2005, 05:00 PM   #5
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hmm, That's interesting about bogus values...

It's nice to at least know that there may be a method to their madness. It's a new machine that doesn't play by the old rules?

So as the operator, what's the answer? Just shrug and say I'm not supposed to think about the iris so I won't think about the actual light level I'm at? I guess the zebra settings are good enough to ensure I don't over-expose shots. And then there is the spot meter which, although strange, is just as user friendly as the spot focus. I'm gonna' have to play with the menus and see if I can set it up to either do both at the same time or jump from the s meter to the s focus quick.

I don't mind adapting my way of doing things if it works. It's just I'm so used to my XL1S and it's industry standard way of capturing video...
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Old September 21st, 2005, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin Aho
So as the operator, what's the answer?
Well, I think if you asked Sony that question they would say "buy a Z1 instead"....
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