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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 18th, 2006, 03:15 PM   #1
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Torn between the A1U and FX1

I am torn between the two.
At BH photo, it is 2500.00 + a 500 rebate from Sony which brings it to a grand total of $2000.00 for the A1U - but the FX1 is only about $3199.00 at BH photo, but it doesn't have a rebate or a discount (which would be great if it did!). I like the FX1, but in the end it is alot of money to be spending.
I wonder if you can buy the audio control box that the A1U comes with and hook it up to a HC1?
Anyones thoughts?
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Old August 18th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Delaney
I wonder if you can buy the audio control box that the A1U comes with and hook it up to a HC1?
Anyones thoughts?
No i'm afraid that won't work.
- First off the XLR module isn't available in stores, even places like B&H, - its only available as a 'spare part' from Sony themselves and i believe is around US$280. (ish)

But it won't work on an HC1 because the HC1 doesn't have the same firmware and menu items that the A1 has and so the HC1 won't be able to recognise it or use it. (plus you haven't got a cold-shoe on HC1 to mount it, but that's certainly a more minor 'issue'. If Sony made it as easy as that, then most of the world would just buy an HC1 + get hold of the XLR module and so they probably wouldn't sell many A1's ! And the A1's profit margin is undoubtedly much bigger than the HC1 so Sony are very happy in my opinion to, ah, force/encourage people to buy the A1.

FX1 is now priced at US$3179 at B&H which is a slight reduction recently and (most) of the 'out of stock' issues of recent months seem to have gone away. Not quite sure whats happening to FX1 (if anything).
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Old August 18th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Delaney
I am torn between the two.
At BH photo, it is 2500.00 + a 500 rebate from Sony which brings it to a grand total of $2000.00 for the A1U - but the FX1 is only about $3199.00 at BH photo, but it doesn't have a rebate or a discount (which would be great if it did!). I like the FX1, but in the end it is alot of money to be spending.
I wonder if you can buy the audio control box that the A1U comes with and hook it up to a HC1?
Anyones thoughts?
FX1 is better all around, than A-1, and if money is no object, the extra $1,200 is worth it for a number of features, including menu access, low light capability, and three chip design.

Where you might want the A-1 is for the smaller and lighter form factor--and Pro level service (FX1 is serviced on consumer side. I haven't needed service yet, but some who have, indicate they would get better service from the pro side. ) FX-1 is definitely more camera featurewise, but that is not what you may want-- the weight and size that comes with it.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #4
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One thing to consider is that extra $1200 could get you a nice tripod, warranty, maybe even an inexpensive Lowell light kit, three lights, too (around $700, I bet). Think about that. Or even a computer to edit with.

Both are fantastic cameras, but if you need those items I mentioned, going for the A1 might be the better deal.

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Old August 19th, 2006, 01:41 PM   #5
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The only thing I really like about the FX1 over the A1 is the FX1's low light ability compared to the pathetic A1's low light ability. Sure, the FX1 has other things and features that are better than the A1, but the FX1 is also missing things the A1 has, such as XLR inputs. The problems or lack of functions with the A1 is minimal compared to the FX1. Put it another way, if the A1 had equal low light ability as the FX1, the A1 would be a pretty easy pick for me.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #6
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Admittedly, I haven't shot with the A1U. But the exposure level control seems a bit contrived to me, and there appears to be a lack of exposure information provided. I also don't like the fact you access menu only by touchscreen. That means you have to have LCD open and touching the screen all the time to change a good portion of the settings. I love the Iris control/exposure knob control on the FX1, and the display relaying FStop information.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #7
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True, but people have already done the research about the f-stops, you can find that info here on DV Info. Someone even made a little f-stop chart you can paste on the A1.

The LCD doesn't bother me that much, I guess I got used to it. Obviously, I would prefer FX1 controls, but it's not big enough a factor for me to be a selling point.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:33 PM   #8
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I've had good luck with low light situations and the A1/HC1. The FX1/Z1 seem to excel, but I've never though the A1/HC1 performed poorly in low light.

One more thing to add to help with your decision: The A1 comes with Pro tech support, while the FX1 comes with Consumer tech support.

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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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How did you get good low light, and what is your definition of low light? For me, when I try shooting past sunset, I can't get any acceptable footage without noticeable grain, huge loss of resolution, no details in shadows.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #10
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Alex,

Shooting at night with anything but an F900 seems to be difficult. I used to try shooting the night sky with an XL1, HD10, Z1, XL H1, A1, HD100 and HC1. No luck with any of those cameras, even with the gain all the way up.

For me, shooting at sunrise or sunset is great, and using black stretch helps out quite a bit, along with not crushing the blacks at all. Sony's algorithms for their Gain settings keep it clean, so some gain is fine.

Shooting when it's completely dark outside is pointless, as I always end up with unusuable video. But with shots, inside or out, where it's a bit dark weren't too bad with the A1. I felt it handled better than others.

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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #11
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Hey Guys, don't get me wrong, I actually want A1U as my second HDV--- depending on what Sony does with new upcoming models, if any... but I'm just saying for a the first HDV, I would lean to the FX1. When I bought mine, though, there was no A1U, so I didn't have to weigh the issues...
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:33 PM   #12
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Well, I'm not trying to shoot complete darkness. Some night time shots indoors with some room lighting (not bright, but not dark for human eyes), there is noticeable loss of resolution and noise in the image. When shooting outside at night, such as a bit past sunset on a mountain top, there is noticeable noise and loss of resolution too. That's why I don't like the low light capability of the A1.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #13
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I hear a lot of complaints about the A1U's low light performance but its the cleanest performer I've ever owned* in the compact handheld category.

For comparison sake, I preferred my VX2000 over my FX1 in less than acceptable lighting. Granted the VX2000 is SD but they're both 1/3" 3CCD.

It came down to a size issue for me so I sold the FX1 and got the A1U. So far its a decision I haven't regretted.


*
DSR-PDX10
NV-GS100
PV-DV953
Optura Xi
Optura Pi
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #14
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But if you're comparing at the compact level, sure, the A1 low light is acceptable, but compared to the FX1 or VX2000, the A1 just completely pales.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 04:52 PM   #15
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Keep in mind, too, that HDV needs more light than DV. In the sense that if I'm shooting something with similar HDV and DV models, the HDV's iris may be open as far as possible, but the DV is at F 2.0 or so. I would add more light and then iris down to F 2.0 or so with the HDV.

That's my personal, unscientific observations.

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