HVR-A1U HDR-FX1 Comparison 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 February 3rd, 2006, 09:34 PM   #1
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HVR-A1U HDR-FX1 Comparison

The footage on the attached link was shot on auto mode with both cams.
The low light footage (bat cave) on the HVR-A1U was change at the end of the clip from full auto to manual to reduce gain.

My opinion the quality of the Hvr-A1U is almost equal to the HDR_FX1 In a well lit environment.

In low light the Fx-1 is the winner.
The A1U (auto mode) in the bat cave gain went to max. Producing grain in the image, I then set the gain to manual producing a better shot.

I WAS SURPRISED HOW GOOD THE A1U PREFORMED IN LOW LIGHT.

I shot a wedding last weekend with the A1U Everything turn out great even the low light reception footage. If had to pick one of the cameras it would be the A1U Because of its lighter weight and size.

Rain Forest HD VIDEO Clips DOUBLE CLICK ON PICTURES
http://www.dvdaction.net/

Last edited by Brian Rhodes; February 3rd, 2006 at 10:33 PM.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 12:17 AM   #2
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Just curious, is the black stretch feature on in the bat cave?
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Old February 4th, 2006, 07:05 AM   #3
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Black stretch was turned on. I did not have time to test a lot of the manual setting because the rain forest was a very humid environment (not to good for the cams) So I go in and out as quick as possible.

Also the clips were rendered to a wma HD file with Sony Vegas the mt2 file
Looks a lot sharper thatís the one on right A1U footage red and blue parrots.

I could not post all files MT2 format because of the file size.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #4
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when I click on the pictures all I get is numbers and symbols. Doesn't work dor me.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #5
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BOB
Try right clicking on the image with your mouse then select (OPEN LINK)
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Old February 5th, 2006, 08:45 AM   #6
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thanks for that comparsion, brian!

were the parrots in the a1-clip really pink?
they seem to be in the clip.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #7
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I'm using a mac and it doesn't like WMV. I'll try later on a PC.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 06:19 PM   #8
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Hey, Brian, my world is falling apart right now. A1 was my camera of choice once I raised the money, and although low light capabilities were not on top of my need-list, these videos are making me think differently now. The video shot in the batcave with the A1, to me, really lost a lot of definition. With the gain up the noise was terrible, but it didn't get that much better when you put the camera on manual. The image was really blurry compared to the FX1 clip.
This is a real dissapointment. I had thought that with all the footage, screengrabs and tests I had seen around I had enough. This has made me think twice, even if I have to spend more money.
The higher dynamic range was a major thing for me, but now it has gone to the bottom of the list.

Also, I saw the following in the m2t clip. I understand this is a rather uncompressed format, or at least it's good enough to use as long as you don't render to it, am I right? So, it really creeped me out that I found this:

http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/1...scap0176xv.jpg

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/5...scap0183zg.jpg

Check the, um, red bird on the first image (can't get the name right now). It's MADE of artifacts. The second pic shows heavy artifacts on both birds too, once they're a bit more static.

If these are the so called motion artifacts I'll drop dead. I've been doing som action shorts on VHS-C, Digital8 and I never saw anything like this (which I think has something to do with the way the MPEG2 compression works), although the interlacing was kinda bothersome sometimes. I didn't even see it in other clips I saw before from any camera. So I'm hoping this is a problem of my player (BSPlayer), some codec I have, or the compression of that paricular clip. Could someone please clear this out for me?
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Old February 5th, 2006, 09:44 PM   #9
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Interesting post. It made me go and check some still frames myself from this clip.

Yeah I agree that the image of the A1 kind of falls apart in low light. On the A1 there seems to be some kind of noise reduction in use that makes low light shots really blurry. As an A1 owner let me put a little more context on this though. The image quality is good down to about the bottom of the middle of the range of average indoor lighting. Beyond that it falls off sharply. The good news is that it looks good down to this point. The bad news is that it falls off sharply after this and is really unusable in light lower than that.

Low light footage pretty much sucks regardless of the camera. On this camera it just sucks a little worse. To be fair, film cameras don't work in this kind of low light either. If you're doing an indoor interview: light it. If you're in a low light situation, put a light on the camera. Use a tripod for night shots of city lights, etc.

Here's a comparison of the current HDV cameras in low light:

http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?pos=|36|124&nav_id=124

You'll notice that the A1 is a little worse than the Z1 but that the new Canon H1 is by far the best HDV camera in low light. You'll also notice that none of them, not even the Canon, actually give that pleasing an image in low light. Indoors, you use lights. Outdoors you stop shooting when it gets dark.

Look at it this way:

You shoot all day. During the bulk of this time, any HDV camera is going to look wonderful, but the A1 is a fraction of the weight and size. As dusk approaches, the picture from the A1/HC1 is the first to give out. About five or ten minutes later, the Z1/FX1 gives out. Another 20 minutes later, the guy with the Canon H1 has to put away his camera... not that bad a compromise in the overall scheme of things ;)

As far as the motion artifacts, be careful: often you're seeing the weaknesses of your player much more than you are of the M2T file. The player is usually scaling the video and deinterlacing it as it is showing. The particular part of the video you highlighted does seem to have pretty bad mpeg artifact problems that go beyond player software error however. This is an issue with all HDV cameras. Flashes as in flash photography and fireworks shows also cause these kinds of errors. Unsteady hand-held camera work does also. All I can say is this is the tradeoff you have to make to get this level of resolution (at least for now). Fortunately I find I don't run into these issues very often. Before my A1, I never bothered with anything like the Spiderbrace. Getting rid of Mpeg artifacts was one reason I got it.

About half of these problems can be fixed by improving your HDV playack. You can do this a couple of different ways. The best of these IMO is to buy the NVidia Purevideo decoder. Once installed it works transparently from within WMP and improves the look and drops the CPU use when viewing HD video. It doesn't need an NVidia card by the way. I use it with a vintage ATI card. There's a free 15 day trial. After that it's only $20. I highly recommend it.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo.html

Last edited by Laurence Kingston; February 5th, 2006 at 11:38 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #10
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HVR-A1U HDR-FX1 Comparison

Laurence your right the A1 noise reduction was on. Thanks for the input. I did not know the noise reduction made low light shots blurry.

Ernesto the A1 is a great cam I shot weddings and I usually film the limos arriving and use slow motion effects on some of the footage and I have not had a problem with motion artifacts. In low light I usually shoot with an on camera light w/battery pack A1/FX1 or PD170. I recently read an article (when shooting at night shot it is best to shoot right before the sun goes down or shoot in the day time using a dark filter so that it looks like night).
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Rhodes
The footage on the attached link was shot on auto mode with both cams.
The low light footage (bat cave) on the HVR-A1U was change at the end of the clip from full auto to manual to reduce gain.

My opinion the quality of the Hvr-A1U is almost equal to the HDR_FX1 In a well lit environment.

In low light the Fx-1 is the winner.
The A1U (auto mode) in the bat cave gain went to max. Producing grain in the image, I then set the gain to manual producing a better shot.

I WAS SURPRISED HOW GOOD THE A1U PREFORMED IN LOW LIGHT.

I shot a wedding last weekend with the A1U Everything turn out great even the low light reception footage. If had to pick one of the cameras it would be the A1U Because of its lighter weight and size.

Rain Forest HD VIDEO Clips DOUBLE CLICK ON PICTURES
http://www.dvdaction.net/
I AM WORKING ON MY WEB SITE I WILL PROVIDE A NEW LINK WED. WITH NEW CLIPS.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #12
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Cancelled post. Sorry, made a mistake.

Last edited by Alex Thames; February 27th, 2006 at 03:34 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #13
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Has the new link been put up yet? I'd be interested in seeing these comparison shots.

Dale
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