Downsizing - XL1 to A1, should I do it? at

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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, 05:48 PM   #1
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Downsizing - XL1 to A1, should I do it?

My trusty Canon XL1 is showing it's age and I wish to get a new camera. I no longer do a lot of commercial work, so don't really need an impressive looking camera. I now do travel documentaries, and after lugging the XL1 across Spain 760km by foot recently, I would like something smaller.

Is the Sony HVR- A1 too small?

How will the A1's HD images match up to the XL1's SD images?

The A1 seems to have all the manual overrides needed to take nice shots, and XLR audio, does anyone use one in a broadcast environment?
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Old April 7th, 2006, 06:47 AM   #2
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I shoot with XL1's and would agree that you need something smaller for your shoots. The only issue is a palm-size camcorder, unless your using a tripod, steady stick, or something to give it weight, gives the look and feel of being shot from a palm-sized camcorder, and can risk looking consumerish.

I was looking at both the A1U and HC1, and I've decided to wait until NAB. If nothing surfaces, I will reconsider those two cams -I may have to take the A1U as the HC1's are going fast. If your shooting DV, you should get balanced 16bit audio. I'm not too keen on the layer II mpeg audio in HDV mode, on any cam. It may be sufficient for interview and voice, you'll have to demo that, (the HC1 is out of the question, as it has unbalanced and too noisy).

The othe issue is the low light performance, inherit with the smaller optics. If you shoot outdoors and bright sunny days, your OK. If shoot available light in dark or dim lit rooms, you'll have issues.

The more basic question. Do you need HDV, or would a decent wide-screen/16:9 cam that is smaller/lighter than the XL1 do the trick?
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Old April 7th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #3
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As far as size goes, I don't think anyone here has been complaining much. The EIS on the camcorder is more than sufficient for standing handheld shots, when walking/panning, then you will need something.

I highly recommend the SpiderBrace 2. It's cheap, it's light, and boy, is it effective! I don't even bother using my A1 without it anymore. It's only $59 and can be found at

I have recently purchased Sony's 20/10W light set and I have been very pleased with it. You will find the A1's low-light performance drastically inferior coming from an XL1, but nothing that can't be remedied with a light.

Finally, the bottom loading situation is a bit of a drag, but as with any flaw of the A1, it is easily fixed with Jeff DeMaagd's tripod adapter.

I definetely recommend the transition. I am confident that you'll be amazed by the difference in resolution; I know I was.
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