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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 8th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #1
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Sony Vx2100 vs. HVRA1U

i'm thinking of getting either a VX2100 or the HVR.
i can't decide, because the VX has 3 CCDs but the HVR only has one CMO.
BUT the HVR records HD, which the VX does not.

any suggestions?
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Old May 8th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #2
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Sony Vx2100 vs. HVRA1U

I faced the same question last November. The A1U produces a great HD video when the lighting is good, but in low light the camera is so so. The VX2100 is excellent in low light. Since it was my first business camcorder, I when with the A1U because I wanted the HDV and 16:9 format and I could not afford an FX1.

But now, the FX7 is only about $500 more than the A1U. If you want HD and don't need the XLR audio options, IMHO go with the FX7 if you have the cash.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 12:27 AM   #3
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That's basically it -- the VX2100 is very light sensitive and at night it produces a very clean and bright image similar to what your eye sees. During the day, I find that it is often *too* light sensitive, even with the exposure manually turned down it is very contrasty and sometimes oversaturated.

The A1 obviously has a lot more resolution and even when scaling down to the same DV resolution, this quality improvement is visible. In well-lit scenes, the A1 will show minute background details (branches of trees, etc) that the VX2100 turns into mush. However, at night (or low light in general) the A1 is riddled with image noise. A noise reduction tool such as NeatVideo can remove this noise with pretty impressive results, at the expense of a long rendering time.

I faced this difference often recently since my friend/colleague has a VX2100 and I have an A1, and we were tasked with color correction when merging our footage into a project.

Here's a few quick comparison frames I had from a previous test. Both cameras were setup next to each other facing my cat and recording. I took a frame from the same point in time from both videos. (He was yawning) Additionally I took the frame from my A1 and used neatvideo to remove the grain. In this instance the neatvideo removed some of the good detail as well... blame that on me rather than it as I didn't take a good noise sample. Although there'll always be a little loss of detail, it actually performs a little better than seen here when you do it right.

Hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Sony Vx2100 vs. HVRA1U-frame_vx2100.bmp   Sony Vx2100 vs. HVRA1U-frame_a1.bmp  

Sony Vx2100 vs. HVRA1U-frame_a1_filtered.bmp  

Last edited by Sean Schult; May 9th, 2007 at 12:32 AM. Reason: Oops! Removing link to non-sponsor website
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #4
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A1U & Neatvideo

Sean,
Thanks for frame grabs. How much gain was used for the A1U shot? 6db ? I'm waiting for Neatvideo to come out with a FCP plug in. A1U is great when you've got the light. I filmed some well lit interviews that looked fantastic, but the lighting levels were noticably higher and the subjects felt a little toasty : )

chris/bethesda MD
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #5
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i decided that i'll go with the VX, unless i get the dough for the FX7, since HD is the new hot thing. ahahah
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #6
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Chris,

Glad I could help. I took those before I really knew much about the camera so it was most likely in automatic exposure. I just took my camera back there and held it in the same position with the same lighting, and the picture looks about the same at 9db.

I recently did some interviews on a black background with hard side lighting to shadow the face (confessional/anonymous type style). We used both the A1 and the VX2100. I had my A1 set wide open (f/1.8 I think?) with no gain, meanwhile to get the same effect, the 2100 was set to f/4 no gain.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #7
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I have both cameras -

Vx2100 - Better in low light
A1U - Better in good light

I love them both but find I need both to get all the shots I want. The vx2100 does a decent job of stretch to 16:9 in post. I regret buying the A1U due to HD production still being so new and expensive and not having an HD burner or HD player to test anything. Nobody I know owns and HD-DVD player yet, what's the point. That HD camera will probably be $1100 by year's end.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #8
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I have the A1u it is the first cam I have ever owned and I love it. It has alot of setting to help control the image that you want. also I just down convert everything when I bring it into editing and it all looks really good to me.

I will say that the low light sucks but the more I use it the better I am getting with adj the shutter speed and controlling the apture to get the amount of lite I need to get a good image.

I was able to get mine used from BHphoto for 1600 this last summer so I dont know how much they are now new or used.

here is a link to something shot with A1U might help with choices
https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/dacole/p...ov?uniq=if1xlm

Last edited by Darren Cole; May 15th, 2007 at 11:02 AM. Reason: add something
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Cole View Post
I was able to get mine used from BHphoto for 1600 this last summer so I dont know how much they are now new or used.
and you know BH paid less than that from the selling owner, wow...
this is the first camera I have owned that has lost so much value in less than a year. I bought mine from BH too! My VX and XL1s have higher resale values. But they are both higher end cameras for their category. This is to be expected from bleeding edge, getting cut.

I do appreciate the A1U in good lighting conditions, very very nice. Great clip. I'll have to post some HD shots with the A1 from my camping spot.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #10
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Here we go. Screengrab from the A1U, beautiful in full HD, I shrunk it 50% in this grab.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #11
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Thats some nice color off of the water that you were able to get. Yet put up a link to some video I would love to see what kinda of quality others are getting from the A1u
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Old May 15th, 2007, 03:07 PM   #12
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Sure, I just need to dig through some stuff. It's my wife's bday too, so I'm trying to be good and stay away from the computer.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 10:37 PM   #13
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More stills from Old Tucson last weekend.

Here are some grabs from the A1U in cinemode 30.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 06:35 AM   #14
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A1U Video

If your interested, I have video & photo (frame) galleries all take with my A1U.

http://www.wilcoxvideoproductions.com

Nice to see the results others are getting.
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