Picked up an HC1, finally. 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 May 20th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #1
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Picked up an HC1, finally.

Had the day off and took the wife to lunch. We did some shopping, and she asked about getting a new camera for our vacation. She was interested in one of those new miniDVD camcorders, a $500 special. Try as I must, she refused to listen to my objections (I didn't want to edit video from one those, yuck).

As we walked in there was a HDTV on display and they had one of those miniDVD camcorders hooked up. Best Buy did me a favor! The image was absolutely horrible!

Fortunately there was an HC3 connected to a HDTV in the back of the store. It took one look and she was sold. Then I spotted an HC1, the last one in the store still on display. I haggled with the manager and got a decent discount. Now I'm the proud owner an HC1.

We took it home and hooked it via component to our 42" Sony Bravia. OMG!
I can't believe the image, (I had expectations from what I've read here, but seeing it personally was still mind blowing). It's a very solid little camera, and feels pro. I have a few jobs in the works, and I'm going to put this cam into play. Most of stuff is corporate, point and shoot. I'll have to break out the light kit, but I think the image will be worth it. (Who knows, it may be convincing enough to win a larger budget and get one of the larger cams).

Anyway, at the very least, I'll have a more desirable format to capture my families moments with.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #2
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Congratulations.

Why did you choose the HC1 over the HC3?
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Old May 20th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #3
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Have fun with the camera. Be patient with this beauty and learn your way around her, and you will be surprised by her capabilities. Good luck!
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Old May 20th, 2006, 05:05 PM   #4
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Have fun with the camera. Be patient with this beauty and learn your way around her, and you will be surprised by her capabilities. Good luck!
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Old May 20th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #5
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Congrats. I know the feeling. Although the A1, my wife was the same way. She finally let me get it and the first basic footage, of her dogs at play of course, was the confirmation that she did the right thing. She said it was like she could walk through the tv and play with them :-) You will enjoy it...
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Old May 20th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Richard Zlam
Congratulations.

Why did you choose the HC1 over the HC3?
Richard,

1. focus bezel and manual controls are more intuitive. I know it's consumerish, but I used to similiar controls on the XL1s. The HC3 has a weird roller-pin for manual focus -too funky for me.
2. I didn't see a lanc input on the HC3 -if it's there, wasn't apparent.
3. The HC1 felt a little more solid and pro in the hand, a little weight helps in calming shots -though I'd use a rig or tripod for paid shoots. The HC3 speaks consumer grade.
4. The HC1 has audio input, even though it's unbalanced, the right mic can make up for it (or so I've read), and it's just one more feature for same money.

Image wise, when hooked up to an HDTV, I really couldn't see much difference between the two. (Granted, I didn't have a chart and light meter in my pocket for an on the spot, scientific test). My best guess is Sony used the same chip and board, and wrapped it with a cheaper, less featured body. My gut feeling told me that the HC1, even though it was a left over display unit, was the best of two for the same money.

I bought this with the idea of using it as the family handy-cam. Realizing that it's capable of delivering pro work.

Michael and Floris,

Yes, I'm already amazed at this camera. The line that divides consumer and pro is growing very thin with this. I could have gotten an A1, but timing is everything, and I had the wife on my side at that moment. It was that, or I'd be the proud owner of a $500 miniDVD cam... The HC1 was a no-brainer.

Take care.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
Richard,

1. focus bezel and manual controls are more intuitive. I know it's consumerish, but I used to similiar controls on the XL1s. The HC3 has a weird roller-pin for manual focus -too funky for me.
2. I didn't see a lanc input on the HC3 -if it's there, wasn't apparent.
3. The HC1 felt a little more solid and pro in the hand, a little weight helps in calming shots -though I'd use a rig or tripod for paid shoots. The HC3 speaks consumer grade.
4. The HC1 has audio input, even though it's unbalanced, the right mic can make up for it (or so I've read), and it's just one more feature for same money.

Image wise, when hooked up to an HDTV, I really couldn't see much difference between the two. (Granted, I didn't have a chart and light meter in my pocket for an on the spot, scientific test). My best guess is Sony used the same chip and board, and wrapped it with a cheaper, less featured body. My gut feeling told me that the HC1, even though it was a left over display unit, was the best of two for the same money.

I bought this with the idea of using it as the family handy-cam. Realizing that it's capable of delivering pro work.

Michael and Floris,

Yes, I'm already amazed at this camera. The line that divides consumer and pro is growing very thin with this. I could have gotten an A1, but timing is everything, and I had the wife on my side at that moment. It was that, or I'd be the proud owner of a $500 miniDVD cam... The HC1 was a no-brainer.

Take care.
Absolutely the right choice for you. It all comes down to how you use it...you have all the tools you need...now just have fun and shoot.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:38 PM   #8
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Congrats on the new camera. I too like the focus/zoom ring on the Hc1, but the one thing I keep finding myself doing when focusing, is adjusting it with my pointer finger ontop, and my thumb at the bottom (they way I adjust an SLR lens), which I need to stop doing, because the way the built-in mics are positioned, i find myself blocking out audio (or mutting it) on the left channel. Just something I need to work on (positioning my fingers differently).

jg
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Gerber
Congrats on the new camera. I too like the focus/zoom ring on the Hc1, but the one thing I keep finding myself doing when focusing, is adjusting it with my pointer finger ontop, and my thumb at the bottom (they way I adjust an SLR lens), which I need to stop doing, because the way the built-in mics are positioned, i find myself blocking out audio (or mutting it) on the left channel. Just something I need to work on (positioning my fingers differently).

jg
Time for that external mic James?? you know you want to...
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Gerber
Congrats on the new camera. I too like the focus/zoom ring on the Hc1, but the one thing I keep finding myself doing when focusing, is adjusting it with my pointer finger ontop, and my thumb at the bottom (they way I adjust an SLR lens), which I need to stop doing, because the way the built-in mics are positioned, i find myself blocking out audio (or mutting it) on the left channel. Just something I need to work on (positioning my fingers differently).

jg
Without an external mic, it just does not work properly. No way around that.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:44 AM   #11
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Double post.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:08 PM   #12
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Yes.. an external mic definately would help.

Although, I find it helps alot if I position my hand differently. ie: flip the wrist so that my thumb is on the left and my pointer is on the bottom/right of the ring.. it pretty much keeps my fingers out of the mics way.

jg
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 07:07 PM   #13
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just handle the HC3 today in store... its way to small and light! ;P no way I will buy that one... its just too unprofessional looking! you did well I think picking up the HC1.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 08:16 PM   #14
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I just tested the HC1 in my studio. I used the ambient settings from my soft-boxes (which I use for still photography). I have video lights, but wanted to see how well the cam would perform under soft lighting. It manages well. I was able to keep the iris closed enough to avoid noise, while turning up the lights bright enough without making them uncomfortable.

I definetly recommend an outside shoot if given the option. This camera would perform well on a patio interview vs. the studio. I don't think this camera is quick enough to go from room to room, or indoors to outdoors, etc. I think it would fail in run-and-gun or wedding stuff. Without an internal ND and no-way of knowing the exposure stops, it best if you have time for setups.

I only toyed with the camera, and have yet to get some charts and dig into the color settings. I did test the camera with a samson UHF wireless, plugged into the unbalanced input. I was able to get good seperation on the vocals to filter out the floor and ambient without sounding like a canned fix. So the audio, even unbalanced, is sufficient for interviews and docs.

I have an old Azden shotgun, SGM-x, but doubt it would be any better than the built in mike. That is, with a decent mike, you can expect eye opening results.

My local vendor received his Pany HVX's and I'm waiting to rent one. It would be a nice test to see how both compare. Maybe them I'll see the consumer side of the of the HC1. I have to set aside more time to really tweak this camera.

Overall I'm pleased with this "consumer" camera.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 08:23 PM   #15
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I forgot to add that it works well with an old Varizoom lanc controller that I use for my cannons. So I don't have to buy the special remote control tripod.

I'm ok with screwing on single filters, and think a small matte-box might help it warranted. It might be a pain having to manually exchange the UV for an ND every time I head outside. If it's a dedicated shoot, so be it. I'm spoiled by the having built in ND that is switchable.
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