Just demoed the 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 March 29th, 2006, 01:55 PM   #1
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Just demoed the HC1

I was at Best Buy today and played with the HC1, took a DV tape with some sample recordings. Specifically NTSC, to see how the camera handles good old DV and internal scaling. I was very pleased with the result. Aside from any scientific experiments, the image quality seems equal to what I capture with my Canon XL1s. Not bad for a point and shoot at 1/3 the cost.

Anyway, Best Buy is out of stock, they were selling the floor model for $1499. The rep informed me that a new model was expected. However I could get the used one with warranty. No thanks. But I'm serioulsy considering the A1, as I see an advantage for serious pro work. A far cry from features and control I have with my other cams. Yet, most of my stuff is within controlled lighting anyway. (I may rent something better for situations beyond this cam), If it doesn't make the cut, then I'll have dandy little home video cam.

Question is, what is Sony going to replace this with? I may have to bite soon or miss out.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:04 PM   #2
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HC3 is already announced, and may be available. Definitely more consumerish according to HC1 users.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris, I'll see what I can find on the HC3.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #4
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B & H said they'll have the HC3 in a couple weeks.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
I was at Best Buy today and played with the HC1, took a DV tape with some sample recordings. Specifically NTSC, to see how the camera handles good old DV and internal scaling. I was very pleased with the result. Aside from any scientific experiments, the image quality seems equal to what I capture with my Canon XL1s. Not bad for a point and shoot at 1/3 the cost.

Anyway, Best Buy is out of stock, they were selling the floor model for $1499. The rep informed me that a new model was expected. However I could get the used one with warranty. No thanks. But I'm serioulsy considering the A1, as I see an advantage for serious pro work. A far cry from features and control I have with my other cams. Yet, most of my stuff is within controlled lighting anyway. (I may rent something better for situations beyond this cam), If it doesn't make the cut, then I'll have dandy little home video cam.

Question is, what is Sony going to replace this with? I may have to bite soon or miss out.

I'm an XL2 shooter and picked up the HC1 about 3 weeks ago, really cool cam, don't regret it one bit. If you're really interested in getting one, I think that you need to act really fast, check BH, Norman Camera and a few of the other outlets that are well known and trusted. I got mine from Norman for 1325, BH was about the same price last I checked. The one thing that I saw with the HC3 was a few less features, more automatic and a smaller form factor, since the HC1 is the A1 which is a more "prosumer" cam, I feel that you'd (like me) be happier with the HC1.

Miguel
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Old March 30th, 2006, 09:02 AM   #6
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Miguel, I've read the A1U supports balanced audio, otherwise, the optics are the same. I've checked the menu settings on the HC1, even though the touch screens a little funky (takes some getting used to), I do see plenty of setup, particularly a one-shot white balance for custom scenes.

I also see that you can hookup external, unbalanced mics. However, in HDV, I'd be recording mpeg layer II audio anyway. Not sure if that's a benefit even with balanced. I may just get an external recording source and sync in post. The difference in price between the A1U and HC1 would go towards that external device.

Most of my stuff is corporate meetings, power-points, voice, etc. So I still have to determine how well it works when the lights go dim for those power-points. I don't always have the liberty of lighting the podium. Even so, the presenters wander off about the stage, etc. Not sure if either cam will do for the occassional wedding either.

At the very least, I'm going for the HC1 vs. HC3, just contemplating that A1U... (playing with my credit card... decisions, decisions...)
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
I also see that you can hookup external, unbalanced mics. However, in HDV, I'd be recording mpeg layer II audio anyway. Not sure if that's a benefit even with balanced. I may just get an external recording source and sync in post. The difference in price between the A1U and HC1 would go towards that external device.
While I am interested in hearing if others have compared the two connections, I would think that the cleaner audio with the A1's XLR head would encode better than using an unbalanced input. My shop is a bit electrically noisy, so I do what I can to keep the audio as clean as possible. My understanding of lossy codecs is that you want to keep the noise out as much as possible as the encoder could be throwing out the good and encoding the noise or get confused in other ways. The less junk it has to sort through, the more of the good signal will make it to the recording.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:15 AM   #8
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I work at Best Buy, we're suppossed to get the HC3 on the 19th of April...i assume we will get them about a week before, and hopefully Sony will finally anticipate the amount of people who will buy these. We were sold out of the HC1 like 2.5 hours after we got our first shipment (we got 4) and we rarely had more than 1 in stock for more than a week at a time.

If you live in the Northen VA area and want to know when we get these in, just email me at NoahPHayes@aol.com
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Old March 30th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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I just bought an HC1 from B&H for $1350 plus some accessories. My wife likes it because it's so much smaller and lighter than all my other video cameras, so we're hoping to use it for run-around shots (and third "B" cam) at weddings. I do see noticeable image quality drawbacks in HDV mode compared to an FX1, but for the price this seems like a nice camera -- and it can shoot 3 MP still images while the video is recording.

By the way, note that the bigger batteries available for this camera stick out past the back of the viewfinder. I bought the medium size battery on the theory this would give me a good compromise between run time and size, and that seems to have worked out about right. The battery bumps the side of my nose but I can still use the viewfinder, and it says I'll get almost four hours of recording time instead of something like 90 minutes with the stock battery. The largest battery would probably make the viewfinder inaccessible.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 01:49 PM   #10
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Thanks kevin. I know what I'm getting for the money. I just read several reviews and the two things most folks agree on is lack of balanced audio, and poor handling in dark places. However, I looked at some of the top dog 3chip mini's and I still see the same issues of poor handling in darks places with them as well -small lens/chips. Though the color production on some is better.

Alas, I'll be capturing memories that will outlive NTSC 480i. I don't want a repeat of stuff I shot in the 90's using a cheap JVC VHS-C, (actually it wasn't cheap). I decided to salvage the video and make a DVD. The quality of that stuff was aweful when compared to what I'm getting with the XL1s. I don't think HD will replaced in the next ten years, it may take that long for it's adoption.

My minds made up. For the cost of another XL1/2 kit, I can have 3x the rez, and enough data that will scale down to an SD image that rivals my canon. The remainer of the money will go into an external audio device, PCM at 48KHz to add in post. I can mount that on shoulder harness and still be lighter than the canon. For family stuff, the onboard mic will fare, and I have an old Azden shotgun if so need.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
However, I looked at some of the top dog 3chip mini's and I still see the same issues of poor handling in darks places with them as well -small lens/chips. Though the color production on some is better.
Playing back directly to my HDTV, I'm seeing color artifacting and other issues with an HC1 that I don't get under similar conditions with an FX1. But for the price the HC1 is fine for what it does, and just be sure to use additional lighting when needed.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 03:00 PM   #12
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Would you say it's just as good or better than current cable broadcast quality? I have a new Sony Bravia 40" LCD, (BTW the reds on that thing are best I've seen).
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