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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 March 1st, 2006, 10:32 AM   #1
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The handheld issue...who has input?

This seems to be the one thing that is holding me back from my decision on getting the A1U. There is alot of posts from users who complain of bluriness while doing handheld shots. Not sure if it because of the CMOS>EIS processing, slow shutter, or mpeg artifacting but if I can't do handheld shots then I need to come up with plan B and pick another cam.
At the same time there are a ton of happy A1U/HC1 users out there...some who have even done handheld shots.
I'm a bit confused by this and would love to hear from owners describing their practical experiences with this issue.
Thanks.

Here's something to maybe compare against:
...I had a chance to shoot and review footage with a Z1U yesterday. Awesome camera and a completely different beast, I know. The cam was mounted on a tripod with the head loose so I could swing the cam all around. I was zooming in and chasing birds on the coast during a rather windy day. The cam performed very well in full auto. No image issues.
I get the impression I will not be able to do this with the A1U without the image suffering.
Again, thanks!
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Old March 1st, 2006, 03:15 PM   #2
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the only time i notice focus issues with my A1 is when it's slightly poor light.
i do know what your talking about.. it does take a little bit to auto focus sometimes.. but in general i hav'nt had a problem.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 04:40 PM   #3
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Sorry, the second part of my message makes it a little confusing. I'm actually not concerned about auto focus. I am concerned about the reports I have read of people getting a bad image when shooting handheld, specifically artifacting. I'm not clear what would cause this but people have suggested that it might be the mpeg compressions or the cmos chip.
Please just read the first part of the note in regards to this. When you are shooting handheld have you noticed any poor quality in the image due to the extra shakiness?
Hope that helps....
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Old March 1st, 2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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I've got to think it's shutter speed. If it was a compression problem from movement, you'd see blockiness, not blur.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 05:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
I've got to think it's shutter speed. If it was a compression problem from movement, you'd see blockiness, not blur.
So, do you figure that the raising of the shutter speed to about 1/250th or perhaps 1/500th, when shooting fast-moving objects or panning, might solve any blurring problem, or is it more complicated than that?
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Old March 1st, 2006, 07:15 PM   #6
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I got the impression that somebody on here who was mentioning bluriness with handheld shooting was probably getting 1/30 second shutter speeds shooting indoors. That can sure make for a little blurring.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 07:19 PM   #7
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If I understand correctly, controlling shutter and iris on the A1U is a little different than most cameras. Something to do with how the CMOS chips work, from what I've gathered. I don't know the A1U, but I guess maybe it would take a little bit more learning at first to get the hang of it to get it to do what you want it to do.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 07:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comment Robert. It is very true about getting the hang of it and learning about any new cam. That is what is making the decision hard. I am trying to understand if that is the case here or if there is truth in what I've read about in regards to artifacting when just using the camera handheld. Here is a pull from a thread from sonyhdinfo.com:

In regards to the A1U:
"I'll tell you this much about the mpeg compression of HDV. If I use my Spiderbrace, a tripod or even a monopod, I can barely see it. If I hand hold the camera I can see it like crazy."

Here is the thread: http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=4072


I may just buy the cam and find out for myself....and of course post what I find out!
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Old March 1st, 2006, 08:17 PM   #9
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I've had an HD10U for awhile now. There isn't anything like a lot of artifacting when shooting handheld. Heck, a couple weeks ago I was doing some test shooting trying to work on how to overcome the lack of iris and shutter control (you can only set one with the HD10, the other will be auto). Anyways, I was shooting handheld and I was shivering (it gets cold here in MN to put it mildly), so it was pretty shaky footage. Artifacting wasn't a problem. I did have some problems with excessive judder on playback of the captured files (but I doubt it has much, if anything, to do with the footage - was using a new computer I just built, and something is goofy). HDV MPEG-2 is not overly compressed video, as some might think. HDV is actually MPEG-2 that is slightly less compressed than broadcast HDTV (I think). 20mbps (or thereabouts) is quite reasonable for HD.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 11:31 AM   #10
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One word: SpiderBrace.

That was the solution to all my problems. It is $60 and it is light and small. It keeps your footage as smooth as possible while still providing the ability to move it around with ease. It was a huge success at the PMAs this year.

www.spiderbrace.com

Most essential accessory for any camcorder in my opinion!
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 10:40 AM   #11
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Thanks Alexander.
I actually found some footage that has answered alot of my questions. The material is just a bunch of handheld shots. Some close and some at distance.
Here is the link. It is a 300+ meg download:
http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=4113

I have to say that I am impressed. Funny, the one thing I found weird is the tele macro setting. There are a bunch of shots of this. In some cases, to me, it looks very unnatural. There is a shot of a lizard sitting on a concrete curb. The area that is in focus looks like a very unnatural band. Almost like someone masked it off in post and blurred it.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #12
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Jon

alex's Spiderbrace does seem like a good solution.
Personally, i use a monopod with my camcorder 99% of the time.

You don't even always need to use the monopod fully extended with the base on the ground. You can have it extended about 2feet, and hold the base with your left-hand against your body, and right hand on the camera controls as normal.

Footage will be MUCH steadier as a result. ALmost any cheap-ish monopod will do. Don't even need a pan-ant-tilt head or anything like that either. I have a 25dollar Cullman monopod and it's only 300gms and collapses down to 15inches. Why not spend 20-25dollars and get one and try it - very little outlay and big benefit IMHO.

rgds
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Old March 4th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #13
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Thanks Stu. Really good input.
Funny you should mention, I just picked up a monopod for use on my other camera. It would be great for the HC1/A1U for sure. I just need to make the final wrestle in my head if I want to move on the cam. I have to say that from the footage I have seen, I think this is a worthy cam for what I would like to shoot.
It is always funny trying to filter through threads to try and get a good perception if a camera is going to work for you. I can't say enough that people who even post the "just shot this in my backyard" footage....well they are saying more than a thousand words with it.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #14
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What would be a good pan and tilt head for a monopod? I've been meaning to ask that for awhile.
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