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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 April 6th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
If you look at the posted charts, you can hardly call the reds accurate. I don't think folks would be having these problems if the A1/HC1 reds were more accurate than a Z1.
But maybe there really is some difference between these same products (HC1 vs. another HC1). I have A1 (PAL) and I don't think my A1's reds are best I've seen, but definitely reds are not as bad as in those charts. I have only found that sometimes (indoor light) faces can look two redish, but that's a different red problem. Anyway, reds are more red in my A1 than those charts.

Last edited by Petteri Salmi; April 6th, 2006 at 06:51 AM.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #77
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HC1 versus TRV70 comparison

Here's another side-by-side comparison, this time of an HC1 and my Sony TRV70 single-chipper:

http://home.att.net/~ghickling/HC1-TRV70.jpg

The left-hand images are in a room lit only by 2 100W incandesents 10' from the colorcard, with my body shading the card from their direct light.

In the right-hand images, the card is lit by direct morning sun.

Both cameras were set to auto exposure and auto white balance. These images are slightly-cropped framegrabs from the DV footage and .mts transport stream, respectively.

Edit1: the lack of focus is of course me not the camera - I was hurrying...
Edit2: here's a link to the chart I used: http://www.wildnaturephotos.com/WNP/Html/Color.html

Last edited by Graham Hickling; April 6th, 2006 at 02:17 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #78
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I saw the pictures of Christian de Godzinsky. I understand now why he doesn't like the reds... and other colors... His camera has a problem with the sensor or other thing... That's all !

My HC1E gives me really good and brights colors... Reds are really goods... When I film a red LED it is Red ! One of my friends has the same cam with the same results... We don't understand ! Is it specific to the Never Twice Same Color model ?
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Old April 6th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #79
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I think christian has a PAL-edition. I have a PAL-edition and mine looks pretty ok to me. So I think there are a couple of faulty ones out there.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #80
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It now appears (to me) that rather than a blue bias causing the “problem”, it is just that the reds have the wrong hue and lack saturation (thus blue appears to take over). For example, I opened Christian's "Sony HDR-HC1E Automatic White Balance" image in Photoshop and was able to produce a remarkably good image by adjusting Hue/Saturation for Red alone. I simply moved the red hue to +15 and the red saturation to +50. With a few additional tweaks, I believe that it would be indistinguishable from an “accurate” image. I could just as easily create presets in Color Finesse to apply to footage as I have done in the past when matching borrowed Sony cameras to my Canons.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #81
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Camera color test in a German Magazine :

Same Picture with XL-H1, JVC GY-HD100, Sony A1, Sony FX1, Sony Z1, Sony HC1.

http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?pos=|36|129|134&nav_id=134
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Old April 6th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #82
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Thanks for that Rodolpe.

I've seen those still test shots before.
- the reds in those shots look fine and HC1/A1 look very little different to FX1/Z1. Certainly not a dramatic difference.
EDIT: Actually, looking more closely at those shots again, the HC1 red (background on the right) DOES look more pinkish than the other cams. It appears to me to be 'worse' than A1. A1 doesn't seem as bad.

So again, i conclude that this is maybe an 'early' problem with some HC1's or maybe it is still happening and some people are unlucky and get a bad unit.

Oh to know a Sony engineer in Japan who's happy to talk...
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Old April 6th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #83
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well this topic is No. 1 hot topic here :)

I fully agree with folks who claim no red problem from their real shooting footage. Since I could not find the problem myself in my practical shooting. that is why I claimed that my HC1 has no red problem in another post. However everybody knows that reality tests sometimes are so differerent from the lab tests, and here it comes.

I repeated christian's test in a very simple way, I printed his chart in my color ink jet printer, and use my HC1 to test the chart myself. I did indoor test and the results seem to be as bad as his. Interesting enough, I use the same way to repeat Graham's test and find the results are much better and similar to the result that Graham had got. So what is the point here? Frankly speaking I do not know... I am wondering whether any one can use the same color board that chrisdon has used and report their results? especially for the people who has A1?

Last edited by Cooleye Hu; April 6th, 2006 at 03:34 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #84
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After seeing very positive results on Christian's images from a simple red hue/saturation adjustment, I am certain that there are practical methods for dealing with this reds issue. I am considering trying the following to see the effect, since it would be nice to capture colors accurately rather than fixing in post (though admittedly my images do not appear as "off" as some I have seen here):

1) Manual white balance

2) Attach a color compensating filter like a CC30R Red or CC40R Red (to absorb some blue and green thus increasing the relative red value)

3) Increase the HC1 camera color setting to "re-saturate" the colors (but now with a higher relative red value)

4) Adjust the red hue a bit (if necessary) when color correcting in post (I would be color correcting in post anyway).


Yes, it would be wonderful if a firmware fix appeared... but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.


On a less practical note, if Lorin Thwaits' thoughts (from 2005) on the HDR-HC1’s dynamic range and exposure settings (http://geekswithblogs.net/lorint/arc.../23/64031.aspx
) have any validity, it would definitely seem that more light would be key in getting this camera to produce better colors, since a greater bit range would be used to represent red, green, and blue when the aperture is changed (he wasn't aware of the shutter speed/exposure exclusivity at the time, but still an interesting read). So, I guess...

5) Lots of light! (Especially since the CC filter would probably cut a stop or more. And I guess this would really be #1)

:-)

Last edited by John McManimie; April 6th, 2006 at 03:34 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 04:06 PM   #85
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A very popular thread...

Hi all,

I am pleased to see that my small contribution has resulted in a very constructive and at least to me (and the originator) important discussion. I am likely pleased to know that I am not alone. But mostly pleased I am because there seems to be some of you out there (Rodolphe to mention one) that have well behaving HC1's. This IS reassuring, especially when I am going to send this cam for a checkup. I beg in my "evening prayers" that there IS a solution :)

Yes - my HC1 is a PAL version.

John, your procedure how to counterfeit this shortcoming sounds interesting and probably workable. I don't have in my posession the reguired filters. They are probably expensive and I am not willing to buy them just to experiment. I have spent already countless hours trying to figure out the problem.

However, this is nothing that you should be forced to do to get decent color reproduction of an expensive high end HDV prosumer camcorder, when you can get much better color reproduction with a 5 times cheaper consumer camcorder!!! Something is really wrong here!

And you are right - this is not something that you should be FORCED to do in the postprocessing. First of all - all material does not get post processed. Secondly, such an additional required color correction filtering would cause already the less than real-time rendering jump to ridiculous time rendering... Especially in the HD format.

I think that we can at least make that conclusion that there is a more than a sporadic (systematic?) problem with some HC1's color reproduction. Sony has been a synonyme for quality, not always necessary good customer service.

They MUST react in severe situations like this, otherwise customers will disappear for good. Bad news spreads quickly!! OK - its my blame when I blindly bought this cam without checking it first. I just read some test reports that prised this cam to be very high quality.... I think that no-one of you would have thought that a HD-cam can have such bad color rendering. High definition should also mean high quality - overall. What s the use of the extra pixels if the colors are worse than in DV?

I am going to shoot some additional pics also using the old Sony consumer CDR-PC5E cam that I still have. It was a great cam when released. I would say that it has very warm colors to be a Sony cam - comparable to my Canon MVX2i.

If I have time I will shoot the same color card with various camera settings and lighting color temperatures. I have to do it now during the weekend, I will send the HC1 next week alone on a trip to France...

By the way - I finally found a way to compare these cams worldwide. Some of you have suggested to use Coke bottles for a standard red. I have bad news - there is a huge variation in "coke-red" in different countries.

My solution = color pencils of the make "STAEDTLER" (those hexagonal shaped cross section color wooden pencils) are sold at least all over Europe in book-stores. You can find them in all different and bright colors. I just borrowed my sons set and I am going to shoot them as well. This would provide a simple and cheap way to compare our HC1's. Please check next time you go to a book shop if they are available :)

Because the problem shows up also in stills I would suggest to capture still images, would be anyway easier - or? It would be nice to see also some A1 shots !!!

And here again is the link to the color card pics for possible new browser's convenience ;)

http://www.dextrel.net/photogallery/real.htm

Regards,

Christian
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Old April 6th, 2006, 05:20 PM   #86
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True, we shouldn't be forced to do anything. But I guess I look at it as a practical issue. As I said before, it is what it is. Outside of firmware or replacements, we can only figure out ways to work with it as it is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian de Godzinsky
My solution = color pencils of the make "STAEDTLER" ...
Christian
This beats the Tickle-Me-Elmo and blood methods. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian de Godzinsky
Because the problem shows up also in stills I would suggest to capture still images, would be anyway easier - or? It would be nice to see also some A1 shots !!!
Remember that with the Data Code function setting in the menu, you can see the camera settings information during playback. This will be useful when comparing different cameras. It will provide settings used for exposure, white balance, gain, shutter speed, and aperture.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 06:08 PM   #87
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I used my A1 to take still photos of several red objects, and there is a noticeable red inaccuracy. I will try to post comparison footages taken with the A1 (still mode) and a plain 2.8megapixel digital camera, which had much better red accuracy (but it had a flash).
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:10 AM   #88
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http://www.xanga.com/GhostThoughts

Comparison of still images of reds.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 02:14 AM   #89
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Hi Alex,

Thanks for the images. However, it might be unfair to compare the two cameras whe the other is using flash. The flash color temperature is very much different from normal ambient lighting. I'll do a comparison during the weekend and likewise try to avoid using the flash.

Anyhow, looking at the optical mouse led tells already that there is something wrong with the reds in the HC cam.

Christian
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Last edited by Christian de Godzinsky; April 7th, 2006 at 08:44 AM.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 07:29 AM   #90
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We need to be careful to not get off-track here. Poor representation of reds is a different issue from poor overall color balance. It is well-known that Sony cameras tend towards a 'cool' color balance.

For example, the first two images on the GhostThoughts site clearly differ in overall color balance (compare the tones in the neutral-colored wall at the edge of the poster). When I downloaded those two images into Photoshop and applied 'autocolor' they became almost identical.... in other words, the necessary chroma info is there, but the overall balance is somewhat out of whack. These kinds of color balance issues can tackled either in-camera (e.g. a previous post suggested whitebalancing on a pale green or blue card) and/or in post.

The more concerning issue, that motivated this thread, was that some HC1s/A1s seem to have a selective problem with red representation that's NOT fixable through overall color balance adjustment. (Some of the later images at GhostThoughts do perhaps demonstrate that problem....).
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