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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 January 23rd, 2006, 05:12 PM   #1
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What is the A1 being used for?

Events, etc. Would it be good for a TV documentry? Very low budget straight to DVD film? I have $2,000 which would buy one of these. I was looking at a DVX, but want 16:9. Everything else is just to pricey right now.
If this can do weddings and speciall events then maybe make enough to buy something else down the road.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 05:46 PM   #2
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what camera would you compare the A1U too? What would want the A1 to replace?
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 05:51 PM   #3
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I'm using it for a couple of shorts. A friend is renting it from me to do some documentary work.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Zimmerman
what camera would you compare the A1U too? What would want the A1 to replace?
The A1 has been positioned as the replacement for the PDX-10. In fact the PDX-10P was discontinued and Sony's site lists the A1E as its replacement.

So in the SD world we have the PD-170 and PDX-10 as "pro" cameras and the VX-2100 and HC-1000 as their consumer counterparts. In the HD world, Sony offers the HVR-Z1 and HVR-A1 for pro's and the HDR-FX1 and HDR-HC1 for consumers.

They haven't come out and actually said it, but have dropped some hints that the SD cameras will eventually be phased out and their HD counterparts will continue.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:20 PM   #5
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Boyd would you say the A1U is as good as the PD170?
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:28 PM   #6
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I've never used one - I have a VX-2000, a PDX-10 and an HVR-Z1. But I don't think you can really compare the A1 and the 170, they're really different kinds of cameras. Read through the wedding forum, for example. The PD-170 is a big favorite because of its low light performance which many people feel is more important than the ability to shoot 16:9 or HDV.

If you asked Sony, they would probably say the Z1 is "as good as" the PD-170, simply because it is positioned at the top of their prosumer HD lineup the same way that the PD-170 is at the top of their prosumer SD lineup.

Like I said, they've positioned the A1 similarly to the PDX-10. It has many of the pro features offered in the top of the line model, and it represents a good value, but it's missing some key features (like manual control) that the top of the line camera offers.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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I have an HVR-A1 and feel it is the perfect documentary camera. My regular setup is the A1 on a spiderbrace with a lanc controller, Sony wide angle lens, Century Optics sunshade, Sony light, Stofen diffuser, Sennheiser wireless mics and a Rode shotgun for outdoor audio or Sennheiser cardiod for indoors and . I have an offset between the camera and Spiderbrace so that I can change tapes without taking it apart and I put an extra shoe mount on the
Spiderbrace so that I can use the light and a wireless receiver at the same time. The Century Optics sunshade lets you screw on a UV filter so I can forgo a lens cap.

The setup looks pro, takes wonderful looking footage, is really light and manageable, can be set down easily between shots, and best of all, all the extra stuff comes off for shooting "stealth mode".

The low light ability looks good down to a certain point quite close to average indoor lighting, then falls off sharply beyond this. When things get too dark, the resolution falls off and it starts to look almost as blurry as a regular SD camera. At this point you can either give up or use the nightshot mode with the black and white effect to give decent black and white footage down to total darkness.

I just love this camera. The main thing I do indoors is interviews and I light them anyway. With the on camera light and diffuser I get that "10 O'clock evening news" look with a bright subject and dark background. Not bad for a documentary! Sit down interviews I light with some decent work lights courtesy of Home Depot.

One cool thing when you're doing an interview is the spot focus. Imagine your camera set up on a tripod to your right, with you in a chair next to it asking your interview questions. You reach over to the viewfinder, hit spot focus and touch your finger to the peron on the screen and they're in focus. Maybe not the best way to pull focus in other situations, but for interviews it actually is pretty cool. The zoom and record buttons on the screen are also quite convenient for sit down interviews.

Oh yeah, and one of my favorite features of all, having a decent still camera built in. For any documentary you need stills. The A1 gives you a nice three megapixel image. The cool thing is when you need it it's already in your hands. Another cool thing is that you can preview the footage and hit the photo button to capture stills. This is really cool when you are downconverting on capture and aren't going to have an HD timeline to grab stills from. Things like street signs can be grabbed as stills and movement can be animated in during editing. Quality stills are pretty useful for artwork for covers and posters as well. Like I said, I just love this camera!
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 11:19 PM   #8
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Sounds good.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 05:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
I have an HVR-A1 and feel it is the perfect documentary camera.
Laurence, it's possible to view some images of your setup, i'm very interesting to view the A1 in "pro" mode. Thanks in advance.


Maurizio Amelotti
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:43 AM   #10
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If somebody could host the pictures, I'd be glad to send them.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:58 AM   #11
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You can send me a few, I'd like to see it also.

Last edited by Bob Zimmerman; January 24th, 2006 at 11:54 AM.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #12
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Nice post Laurence.

Can i ask - which light do you have? if you could supply model number please. And if you don't us ethe Stofen diffuser, do you tend to get a hotspot ?

Also which Senn cardioid for indoor?

thanks in advance and yep am keen to see some pics too.

rgds.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Zimmerman
You can send me a few, I'd like to see it also.

xxxxx@xxxx.com
I sent you some pics. You may want to remove your email before you start getting even more spam... that is unless you are interested in things like penis enlargement and investment opportunities.... ;)
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:37 AM   #14
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This light:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=367190&is=REG

with this diffuser:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=89908&is=REG

Without the diffuser the light isn't that great. There's a big hot spot in the middle, lots of stark shadows and it makes people squint like crazy. With the diffuser, it's orders of magnitude better. The diffuser is designed for a Canon flash I believe, but it works perfectly for the Sony lights. There are two models of Sony light. They are identical except for which battery they use. The one I linked to uses the same batteries as the A1.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #15
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I removed it. Thanks. I get enough of that stuff in hotmail.

I still haven't got anything yet but I'll be looking for it.
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