Just Got my A1U - First Impressions compared to PDX10 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 30th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #1
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Just Got my A1U - First Impressions compared to PDX10

Yesterday, I got a call from the doorman of an apartment building down the street from where i live (apparently BH Photo/UPS requires a real person to guard expensive packages--good for them).

My package was there. I drove home like a maniac, and tore into my new "toy" like a 8 year old on christmas morning.

First, of all, i'd like to thank everyone on this board for answering my questions while doing the shopping/comparison/ordering process.

That said, lets get down to business:

===================================

I bought it with the intention of replacing my ageing PDX10, and here are my impressions from a night of shooting stand-up comedy:

1. great battery life. great size. great ergonomics. easier to handle than the PDX10 in true handheld situations

2. the buttons are SMALL. my hands (small) had trouble. I can't imagine a big guy with this camera

3. the color issue (red shift) is real. absent anal-retentive white balancing for every new shot, you are due for some serious post-production color correction in most situations--especially low light--for pro quality output.

4. the comedian's lips were a garish pink instead of red with auto white balance. this was never an issue with the PDX10, but I guess i'll have to get used to the limitations of a non-3CCD camera.

5. contrast issues were better than expected--its certainly no more contrasty than the PDX10.

6. after downcoversion, resolution--as expected--was excellent. I can't wait to shoot in broad daylight.
6b. can't wait to edit native HDV and burn to DVD to maintain the 4:2:0 imaging system.

7. I don't have an HDTV, so I can't wait to test it on an HDTV.

8. Super night shot works great. I was able to take dark "backstage" footage and make it usable with this feature. unreal.

9. I really hope this camera has a pro quality build, b/c I'd like to be able to keep it for 3 years or so and put up to 500 hours on the heads.

Final thoughts: Most of the pro (i.e. paid) work I produce is for the internet, so I have some qualms about giving up the tried and true PDX10, but I'm shooting a hi-def doc this summer, so I need to get used to this brave new world. thanks again to all who answered my questions.

===================
final, shameless promo:

A doc I produced is being featured on Current.tv's homepage for today only. It's about hacky comics.
Check it here:
http://current.tv/studio/

If its no longer Mar. 30, check the doc here:
http://current.tv/studio/media/2059886
Dave Halliday is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #2
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It seems that some people have been able to get models that don't have the red problem. Maybe you can exchange it or get it fixed somehow? I hope mine doesn't have the red problem when it comes.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 03:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
It seems that some people have been able to get models that don't have the red problem. Maybe you can exchange it or get it fixed somehow? I hope mine doesn't have the red problem when it comes.

no, its not a "problem." I white balanced properly at home and my red couch looked fine. However, auto-white had real trouble at the comedy venue. I'm 99.9% sure it's just a 1 chip limitation.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #4
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I confirmed that with the demo unit at Best Buy, having the one button push white balance feature will resolve that issue. Still for being a consumer camera, point and shoot, it could be viewed as a problem. Such as walking off a tour bus, or heading indoors and you have to pause to fumble for the setting.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 11:09 AM   #5
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This is interesting.
So guys,what you are saying here is that essentially this is a AWB "problem" yes? If a custom white balance fixes the red issue, or at least makes it much better, then it would seem to imply that Sonys AWB on this class of HDV cams doesnt work that well or some technical issue with it.

Annoynig that a custom WB is required all the time, but at least itīs a solution.
Stu Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 31st, 2006, 07:33 PM   #6
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Stu, I think you've expressed my thoughts well on the AWB issues.

I took the camera outside today and it had very minor AWB problems, but that's okay for the quality of images that it took--very filmic, hi-rez, beautiful.
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