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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 August 19th, 2006, 09:59 PM   #16
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What about a Canon XH-A1 instead of the FX1? It has the A1's XLRs, and 3 higher resolution CCDs than the FX1. In a similar form factor as the FX1. For $4k.

When there is enough light, does the A1 have a better image than the FX1?
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Old August 19th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #17
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The A1 is good and matches the FX1 when you add a bit more color to the camera, about a +5 to +7 if you're using +1 to +3 color on the FX1.

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Old August 19th, 2006, 11:36 PM   #18
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Wow. I only use +1 color on the A1. +5 or more seems huge. I guess that means the FX1 is pretty saturated at default.

I'd like to go for the Canon, but size is a big issue for me, and nothing can touch the A1's smallness and still get so many features.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 12:24 AM   #19
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There is a lot to be said for small size. If you are a casual shooter, the small size means you will be able to have the camera with you more often. However, if you were choosing a now 2 year old FX1 sized camera, the A1 is a similar size with higher resolution and more features. The A1 also has an attractive price, however its manual settings seem harder to get at.

At $2k, the difference in price could buy some very nice mics and filters...
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Old August 20th, 2006, 09:27 AM   #20
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I'd say the FX1/Z1 have better color capture than most other cameras.

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Old August 24th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #21
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Sometimes it might be nice to have a small camera. You take off the mic pod and lens hood, and the A1 looks really small, which can be good in some situations (shooting on the grounds of our art gallery, for instance, where a professional camera gets your thrown out within about 2 minutes but if you look like a tourist you can shoot all day).

B&H's discount price on the A1 is $2500, and Sony has a $500 mail-in rebate if you buy before the end of Sept. At $2,000...well, this little beast is starting to look pretty good. I wonder how its image would compare to, say a PD170, under normal conditions?
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Old August 24th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #22
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I have two FX1s and an HC1: I use the former for any paid professional work and the latter for personal stuff and as a backup to the bigger cameras. The HC1/A1U are nice little cameras but their single-chip CMOS weaknesses show under extreme conditions. For general-purpose daytime use the little HDV cameras yield impressive HD images; beyond that I'd go with the FX1.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #23
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PD170 versus A1U

I was wondering how well the A1 compared to the PD170 too. I have no camera yet and have enrolled in documentary school, so I have to make a decision. Compared to the PD170 the A1 after rebate is $700 less, and has HDV, but I'll need low light.

So I called Sony customer service (pro division) and one of the techs shot some video on each camera and offered these comments: "The A1 DEFINITELY (my emphasis) doesn't provide as clean or clear an image at low light." He said the area was lit "like an average low light area". I'm not sure what that means, but I was VERY sorry to hear his comments.

So now what - do I spend $2700 for the PD170, realizing that the format may be nearing the end of its useful life, or is there another choice? How about a Panasonic GS-180 ($430), a 3 CCD camera that allows headphone monitoring (the GS-300 doesn't). For a very small investment I get to learn with a camera I can give to my kids when I move up, and in the meantime I still have a reasonable image (according to camcorderinfo.com).

Thoughts?
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Old August 29th, 2006, 07:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len Capristo
I was wondering how well the A1 compared to the PD170 too. I have no camera yet and have enrolled in documentary school, so I have to make a decision. Compared to the PD170 the A1 after rebate is $700 less, and has HDV, but I'll need low light.

So I called Sony customer service (pro division) and one of the techs shot some video on each camera and offered these comments: "The A1 DEFINITELY (my emphasis) doesn't provide as clean or clear an image at low light." He said the area was lit "like an average low light area". I'm not sure what that means, but I was VERY sorry to hear his comments.

So now what - do I spend $2700 for the PD170, realizing that the format may be nearing the end of its useful life, or is there another choice? How about a Panasonic GS-180 ($430), a 3 CCD camera that allows headphone monitoring (the GS-300 doesn't). For a very small investment I get to learn with a camera I can give to my kids when I move up, and in the meantime I still have a reasonable image (according to camcorderinfo.com).

Thoughts?
I have GS120, probably predecessor to GS180. Nice cheap 3 chip camera, but not near the quality picture as my VX2000, which is consumer version of PD150, predecessor of the PD170. Images didn't change a lot in those models, just a few features.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 07:44 PM   #25
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realizing that the format may be nearing the end of its useful life
Documentary school? Sounds like SD will suit you just fine and the low light performance of the PD170 or XL2 (if you're going widescreen SD) will be perfect for your projects.

I would only get one of the smaller cams A1U/GS180 if size is important. As for HDV.. Until there is a $49.99 Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player you need not worry about SD obsolescence.

Or you could invest in lights if you're pimarily dealing with talking heads.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 08:15 PM   #26
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If shooting under low light is your primary criterion, then you should stay away from any of the 1/3" chip HD cameras. The PD170 or the cheaper VX2100 would be your best bet.
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