HC3 vs. HC1, which is better? 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 June 13th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #1
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HC3 vs. HC1, which is better?

I want to buy a dv recently and I am hesitate between HC3 and HC1, so any advice is helpful! TIA.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tianfeng Howe
I want to buy a dv recently and I am hesitate between HC3 and HC1, so any advice is helpful! TIA.
Lets assume for the moment that price is not the issue as I hve read that the two cameras are of similiar market price or very close.

The 'gaps' as I understand are:

HC3: no ext. mic input, more 'consumer' orientated (less manual buttons, no zoom ring) BUT has a rather cool 3 second high speed capture which might be useful.
HC1: external mic input, zoom ring, more 'fiddly' manual inputs.

Overal for amatuer usage I would say the HC3 but if you are doing anything slightly more demanding the HC1. That's a 50,000foot view. I have the HC1 and it s a beautiful camera -for the time being...


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Old June 14th, 2006, 04:59 PM   #3
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Hc1

I just sent an HC1 to Guatemala in the hands of researcher who had never picked up a camera before. She shot five hours; I am just starting to digitize, but the stuff looks very good.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #4
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It depends. You haven't given us enough information on your needs.

However, after demoing both units, my answer: HC1.

It's the same chip and board as HC3, yet it has higher quality gear around it. You can tell the difference in fit, form and feel. The HC3 is wayyyy to light and hand motion will be more evident. The HC1 just feels more solid and confident.

I like the focus/zoom ring. It's not pro, but it's feel is familiar as with pro cams, and much better than the HC3's fumbling little thumb-wheel.

There is an iris rocker/switch. Although you won't know the F-stop, you can get by with using zebra in combination. You can get decent audio from a good quality mike for input. Even if it's unbalanced, a good external mike delivers much better quality than the built in unit.

I actually purchased a somewhat used demo unit over a new HC3. It's that good.

If you don't have a need for the above features, and just want to point and shoot family events. Then the HC3 will do.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 12:33 AM   #5
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To summarize...

Get the HC1 if you want more manual controls.

Get the HC3 if low-light performance is more important than controls.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 01:00 AM   #6
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Get the HC3 if low-light performance is more important than controls....AND if you'll never want to use an external mic. Which is a BIG if, in my book.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 01:19 AM   #7
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HC1 in Guatemala 2

Looked at more of the Guatemala rushes. The video is very good, considering everything was shot on automatic. In addition the audio was pretty good, even when the interviewees were 6-feet or so from the camera. Not perfect studio quality audio, mind you, but if you are shooting Mayan ruins in the jungle, the sound is more than usable.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #8
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Jack, I've found the audio on the HC1 to be acceptable, I use wireless samsung UHF with audiovox lapel mikes. The set delivers a very clean signal. Any noise from the cam end of things can be gently filtered out in post. There are a few times where the audio warbles. (I'm not certain if it's an mpeg layer II issue).

The ambience in your jungle shoot may actually help with the mood and tone of the piece. I do allow a little background to remain, cutting out the entire floor, even if it doesn't cut into the voice, just doesn't sound natural.

The more I use this cam, the more I'm willing to forgive it's shortcomings and finding it to be a very capable cam.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 08:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Graham Hickling
AND if you'll never want to use an external mic. Which is a BIG if, in my book.
While there is no 1/8" mic input on the HC3, there is an accessory shoe which carries power and accepts audio in. Sony currently sells 2 enhanced camera mics that plug into it.

It's not hard to imagine a Sony or 3rd party 1/8" adapter for the shoe (kit project anybody?), or a shoe wireless mic system (maybe even Bluetooth based)
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Old June 15th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #10
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Go for the HC1, the external mic input is critical in most applications that go beyond home movies, on the other hand, yes, Sony has that accessory shoe for the HC3. Another consideration: if you care about A1 features that the HC1 does not have like: XLR audio inputs, Switchable manual/auto audio level limiter, assignable functions, peaking, quick-record from standby, timecode, and Black Stretch, then consider the HVR-A1. I've heard the HC1 is going away because it offers too much competition to the A1U, is this true?
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Old June 15th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #11
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I believe the HC1 was supposed to be a consumer model, point and shoot only. If you wanted Pro, you'd get the A1U.

Folks buying the HC1 for purely consumer use might have found it not so easy to use and a little bulky. I think the HC3 may have been a direct answer to consumer feedback. The bottom loading tape may have also been an issue, and requiring a complete redesign. Hence, the HC3.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #12
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Well, audio controls falls under manual controls.

I don't know if I'd call the HC1 consumer. I believe it falls well within the prosumer category. It does give users a lot of manual controls (shutter speed, exposure, manual focus ring, white balance, etc.) that consumer models usually don't. In addition, the HC1's audio controls are quite advanced as well.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 11:51 AM   #13
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Great Package

Hi Peter,

I totally agree with you. The camera is elegant in its simplicity. A pro or a novice can get good pictures. Very interesting about the sound. Are you running through a beachtek?

JH
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Old June 15th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #14
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The HC1 features manual audio levels and zebra stripes. Definitely designed for the more advanced videographer.

I HATE the proprietary shoe thing on the HC3. Otherwise its great for mom and pop to take to soccer games and get very nice HD footage.

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Old June 15th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D. Hubbard
Hi Peter,

I totally agree with you. The camera is elegant in its simplicity. A pro or a novice can get good pictures. Very interesting about the sound. Are you running through a beachtek?

JH
I've heard but not tested the beachtech.

I'm using a samsung wireless UHF series ONE. The wireless receiver fits snuggly in the HC1's strap. See image link below (don't mind the 1/4 adaptor in the image, I couldn't find a short 1/8 straight cable):

http://www.dvinfo.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=463&c=32

With that system I'm able to get enough seperation between noise(floor) and the speaker that I can run a filter in post. It's good enough.

I also have an old Azden SGM-X shotgun which I'm currently testing. I've read that it sucks, but I'll test that and judge for myself.
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