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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 January 7th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #1
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Let's talk about the HDR-HC5 and HDR-HC7!

Hey everyone,

I know most of the specs aren't in yet, but I for one am happy to hear about the mic-in and headphone-out on the HDR-HC7.

Last edited by Douglas Spotted Eagle; January 9th, 2007 at 10:23 AM. Reason: link removed
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Old January 7th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #2
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2 lux?? That's amazing.

http://news.sel.sony.com/documents/c...-HC7_Specs.pdf
http://news.sel.sony.com/documents/c...-HC5_Specs.pdf

Last edited by Craig Irving; January 8th, 2007 at 06:45 PM.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #3
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Cinematic mode which offers 24 fps film-like look to recordings. Did the HC1 or HC3 have this? Does Sony's AVCHD camcorders have this?

Also there's a 'Tele Macro' feature which should allow for shallower DOF from the sounds of the description. I wonder what this is all about and how it is any different than what current cameras are capable of.

The HC7 & UX7 also look to use a new 2280K 1/2.9" sensor. The HC5 uses a 1/3" 1430K sensor which I assume is or is similar to what has been used in the SR1 and HC3.

Last edited by Wes Vasher; January 8th, 2007 at 01:06 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #4
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Sensor: HC1 = 1/3 CMOS, HC7 = 1/2.9 Clearvid CMOS
Gross Pixels: HC1 = 2,969,000, HC7 = 3,200,000 (+18%)
16:9 Video: HC1 = 1983K, HC3 = 2280K (+15%)
4:3 Video: HC1 = 1486K, HC7 = 1710K (+15%)
IS: HC1 = Digital, HC7 = Optical
LCD: HC1 = 2.7"/123K, HC7 = 2.7"/211K
EVF: HC1 = 252K, HC7 = 123K
Shutter: HC1 = 1/4 - 1/10000, HC7 = 1/2 - 1/500
Zoom: Both 10x
Stills: HC1 = 3 Megapixel, HC7 = 4.6 Megapixel
Low Light sensitivity: HC1 = 7 lux, HC7 = 2 lux


The HC1 has a Zoom/Focus Ring while the HC7 has a dial for Focus/Exp/Shuttr/AE Shift/WB Shift.

The HC7 provides "x.v. color", Smooth Slow Record and HDMI output.

The HC7 is not compelling enough for me to part with my HC1 (I like to stick with a camcorder for more than the seemingly standard 4 months that many people seem to follow anyway) and besides, I don't have anything that will let me view xvYCC color. But if I was buying today in this price range...

Last edited by John McManimie; January 8th, 2007 at 08:04 PM.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 09:55 PM   #5
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2 lux?

Thats the best lux rating from an hd camera I have heard of. With mic input seems like it would make a great stationary camera or maybe even primary camera for weddings or live events. If it only had the focus ring. I wonder if the push to focus button will work on a lanc controller. Could a pro version be be right around the corner?
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Old January 9th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #6
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Some notables...
- manual shutter speed adjustment
- focal lengths and shutter speed rates are numerically given
- no aperture control (no surprise)
- manual adjustment of audio levels via the touch screen
- running histogram while shooting
- 'guide frame' checkerboard lines for framing
- external buttons kept to a minimum
- extremely deep battery slot

Last edited by Douglas Spotted Eagle; January 9th, 2007 at 10:25 AM. Reason: link removed
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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #7
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Is the HC7 bottom-loading? Can't tell from the Sony site.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #8
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top-loading i'm pretty certain Dave, like the HC3.

Mild con on the 2lux rating thing.

- Sony seemed to omit to mention (in some specs, others explain it..) that the 2lux rating is only achievable when the cam drops the shutter speed by 1 stop to 1/30th sec. There's a mode called "Auto Slow Shutter" mode, and in this mode the camera will drop the shutter speed from 1/60th to 1/30th in low light, and thats how it gets the 2lux rating.

Quote from one North-American sony site :
"Minimum Illumination: 2lux (Auto Slow Shutter ON, 1/30 Shutter Speed) "

So although that is a handy mode, all previous Sony lux ratings are as far as i know quoted at default shutter of 1/60th sec (NTSC-country models) or 1/50th sec (PAL-country models).

Canon did something a little similar in the specs for XH-A1 i think where they quoted min.lux as 0.4lux, but that is at 1/3rd second i think..

Even despite this slight issue, it will be interesting to see how the low-light performance measures up in real-world comparisons with existing models.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:39 PM   #9
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I'm really confused about the recording format. Is it HDV or some form of AVCHD? If AVCHD, is at the max rate? What did Sony mean by "the highest
quality high definition video possible on a MiniDV cassette"?

David
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Ziegelheim
I'm really confused about the recording format. Is it HDV or some form of AVCHD? If AVCHD, is at the max rate? What did Sony mean by "the highest
quality high definition video possible on a MiniDV cassette"?

David
I *think* there are UCX5/7 and HC5/7

the UC* ones are DVD and AVCHD
the HC* ones are MiniDV and HDV

but there also seem to be some typos in the data sheets that were posted.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McManimie
• Sensor: HC1 = 1/3 CMOS, HC7 = 1/2.9 Clearvid CMOS
• Gross Pixels: HC1 = 2,969,000, HC7 = 3,200,000 (+18%)
• 16:9 Video: HC1 = 1983K, HC7 = 2280K (+15%)
• 4:3 Video: HC1 = 1486K, HC7 = 1710K (+15%)
• IS: HC1 = Digital, HC7 = Optical
• LCD: HC1 = 2.7"/123K, HC7 = 2.7"/211K
• EVF: HC1 = 252K, HC7 = 123K
• Shutter: HC1 = 1/4 - 1/10000, HC7 = 1/2 - 1/500
• Zoom: Both 10x
• Stills: HC1 = 3 Megapixel, HC7 = 4.6 Megapixel
• Low Light sensitivity: HC1 = 7 lux, HC7 = 2 lux


The HC1 has a Zoom/Focus Ring while the HC7 has a dial for Focus/Exp/Shuttr/AE Shift/WB Shift.

The HC7 provides "x.v. color", Smooth Slow Record and HDMI output.

The HC7 is not compelling enough for me to part with my HC1 (I like to stick with a camcorder for more than the seemingly standard 4 months that many people seem to follow anyway) and besides, I don't have anything that will let me view xvYCC color. But if I was buying today in this price range...
100% agree with you, espacially with this 'unfair' 2 lux marketing strategy: this main advantage of the HC7 disapeared now.

Another noticeable difference: the HC1 uses a traditional Bayer color filter for which there're 2 green pixels for 1 red and 1 blue pixels --so in HDV 16:9, there're 495k effective red pixels and 495k effective blue pixels-- against a Clearvid sensor on the HC7 for which there're 6 green pixels for 1 red and 1 blue, giving only 285K effective red pixels and 285K effective blue pixels (-41% on the red/blue color areas).

If you film boats in a port or your familly swimming in the see (picture mainly blue) or a concert lighted with orange/red spots (often the case because orange/red is a less tiring light for the performers on the scene), I'm not sure that the Clearvid CMOS of the HC7 will beat the classic CMOS of the old HC1, despite the greater total number of effective pixels announced for this new HC7...

The higher number of green pixels on the Clearvid CMOS sensor permits only to achieve better low lux levels; maybe not 2 lux --that's possible only at a slow shutter speed of 1/30--, but maybe 4 or 5 lux at a normal shutter speed (to be compared with the 7 lux of the HC1).

In conclusion, in one hand the new HC5 is only a new version of the HC3 --we can only hope that the new main feature will be a lower price!--, and in the other hand the new HC7 is really a step forward compared to the HC3, BUT, with the actual information, it is too close in feature to the 2 years old HC1 to consider to sale a HC1 for a HC7.

With a higher number of effective Clearvid pixels (BTW: with a OIS why so few effective pixels compared to a EIS camcorder like the HC5 that uses extra pixels for the stabilization system?), with a 3.5" LCD screen and with a 252Kp EVF, yes, I will sale my HC1...
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Last edited by Bruno Donnet; January 11th, 2007 at 04:27 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Donnet
With a higher number of effective Clearvid pixels (BTW: with a OIS why so few effective pixels compared to a EIS camcorder like the HC5 that uses extra pixels for the stabilization system?)
Because the sensor is 4:3 and it's cropped to 16:9 resulting in the dropoff in effective pixels. The same with hc3 and hc1.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
Because the sensor is 4:3 and it's cropped to 16:9 resulting in the dropoff in effective pixels. The same with hc3 and hc1.
Yes, I know that, but my remark was not there.
A EIS system (like on the HC3 and the HC1) uses 'extra' pixels to permit to the target 16:9 picture to move on the sensor to compensate the movements.
A OIS system (like on the HC7) uses the optics to compensate the movements and no 'extra' pixels are lost.

So on the HC7, I was hoping more effective pixels in 16:9. Because 3200K is a big number for a mono-Cmos...

But I made my maths exercises, and the figures given by Sony are coherent (and so my question gets its answer):

On a HC5, pixels gross: 2100K (4:3 Cmos)
Video actual: 1430K (16:9)
Still actual: 1490K (16:9), so 1490-1430=60K pixels are used by the EIS to have margins to compensate the potential movements.

On a HC7, pixels gross: 3200K (4:3 Cmos)
Video actual: 2280K (16:9)
Still actual: 2280K (16:9), no difference because the OIS doesn't required 'extra' pixels.

Now 2100/1490=1.41 and 3200/2280=1.40. So the ratios between gross and effective (considering the full effective area in 16:9) are quite the same in both cases: I was hoping more effective pixels from 3200K gross, but no... 2280K is coherent.
Sorry, if I was a little boring for some ones with all of these calculations...
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:31 AM   #14
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OK, I know that's a little impolite to quote an own post, but i would like to add a positive remark to that:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Donnet
Another noticeable difference: the HC1 uses a traditional Bayer color filter for which there're 2 green pixels for 1 red and 1 blue pixels --so in HDV 16:9, there're 495k effective red pixels and 495k effective blue pixels-- against a Clearvid sensor on the HC7 for which there're 6 green pixels for 1 red and 1 blue, giving only 285K effective red pixels and 285K effective blue pixels (-41% on the red/blue color areas).
Compared to the HC5 (and ton the HC3 too), 285K pixels for the red and blue colors, that's 60% more.
So, because the sensor has quite the same size and the optics is quite the same on the HC5 and on the HC7, we can already guess that the performances in low light will be quite the same between the HC5 and the HC7 (the same quantity of light is delivered and analysed), but we can guess too that the colors will be better on the HC7.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #15
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One thing we need are some standard tests. For digitial still cameras, sites such as dpreview.com, dcresource.com, and imaging-resource.com use the same set with the same lighting for cameras, even when the tests aren't on the same day. The last site also has a convenient side-by-side image display between cameras.

That would be great here. As I'm sure others can say better, the picture is an interplay of the lens, sensor, demosaicing and interpolation algorithms, and gain and noise reduction processing that the specs alone don't show a clear direction. Note, I disagree with some in that I believe the specs do show some direction in the results for some of the more expensive HD cameras.
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