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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 24th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #1
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Sony v. Canon LCD - INTERESTING....

Hi all -
Another post got me poking around the menus in my HC7 and HV20...

I noticed a while back that tapes from the HC7 looked 100%+ better played on the HV20 LCD... and the 20 tapes looked bad on the 7 LCD... This is on the LCD mind you. Both look great to me on my monitors after capture to Vegas, with the colors looking more true on the 7, and the 20 being a little hot in the reds (typical Canon look from what I've seen - going to fiddle with settings when I get some time, but the neutral one looks like it might cool the "hot" reds some...)

ANYHOW, the Canon LCD doesn't seem to have any menu adjustments I could find... so it is what it is... looks great, so no complaining!

BUT the SONY LCD has SEVERAL adjustments... change the backlight to "bright", pump up the LCD color all the way... the brightness setting was already set about 4-5 notches over the center... AND....

Now the Sony LCD looks surprisingly like the Canon... bright, crisp color, camera "looks" way better - same cam, different LCD settings.

I have to wonder how many people actually have these two cameras side by side when they deride the HC7...?? it looks to me like a conservative setting on the LCD was chosen, probably to help conserve battery power drain from the LCD - haven't tested, but I presume my "mods" will increase battery drain/reduce life at least somewhat... perhaps substantially?

SO, if you're shopping these two cameras (or have a 7) and want to get realistic evaluation of PQ on the LCD, you've got to pump up the settings on the Sony significantly to match the way the (non adjustable) Canon LCD looks... otherwise the Sony looks horrid, way worse than the video you'll get from the camera when you go to edit...

Just thought this might calm some of those fears that somehow the Canon was way superior to the Sony... don't trust the LCD!

DB>)
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Old May 25th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #2
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The canon's lcd is too bright and clear, you'll just probably end up with underexposed footage :)
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:08 PM   #3
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Hi Mikko -

Yep, it occurs to me that the LCD should probably be calibrated - will put that on the to do list...

I just thought it was interesting how much better the HC7 footage (I wanted to see how the HV20 would handle xvcolor - didn't seem to affect anything) looked on the Canon LCD - I know lots of people form an opinion of a camera at some big box store display based on what they see in on the screen... and that is NOT a good indicator of what actually comes out of the camera in the case of the HC7! The HV20 "looks" way better "out of the box"...

Offhand I'd say the Canon LCD is more "accurate", but it probably is a bit on the "hot" side - will have to do some fiddling there, but didn't see ANY adjustments in the Canon menu for the LCD... maybe I missed 'em... I know the reds sure show up hot just like in the captured footage...

Either cam seems to shoot great video. I like the Sony better overall, but the Canon has it's features too.

DB>)
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Old May 25th, 2007, 10:08 PM   #4
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Dave,

I have a Sony Z1, A1 and I have just bought a Canon HV20. I have to say that so far I have been grossly dissapointed with the HV20 considering all of the hype that I have read everywhere about it. Maybe I just got a bad one, but the picture constantly flickers in any contrasty situation - so bad that I can't watch it. It does it no matter whether I control the shutter speed to 50 (or 25), or even if I underexpose by several stops. Is your HV20 so afflicted? I am taking mine back - very disappointed. I might pay the difference and get the HC7.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 01:43 AM   #5
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Hi Graeme -

Can you give me a more specific "contrasty" situation to test against? I know that the reds pulse (and I've seen other examples of it, so it's not just mine, and to my eye it's always been a Canon "feature" - I remember seeing "hot" reds on GL1's...), but if I either choose the neutral setting or use the custom setting and back off the color it seems to look better.

I can't say as I've seen flickering, I will say that the OIS is not as good as the Sony when zoomed - more jumpy.

I do think the image is cleaner w/more color and less noise in low light, which was why I bought it in the first place.

Considering all the "hype", the HV20 sure didn't seem to me to live up to it... nice cam, but "it ain't all that"... I think the price point and the perceived value have given it a larger more fervent audience than it otherwise might have had. To be sure it's a great value for the money, and it'll help HD become more popular for the masses. If it holds up well, it'll be a decent cam for the pro to toy around with, but I wonder how well the cam will "age"... I think my HC7's (and for that matter my HC1) will outlast it.

I'm still scratching my head about how to extract the 24P in edit... I still think the thing feels like a toy and has some design flaws... but I'm giving it a chance - I did find a setting to turn down the LCD brightness (over in the "play" menu... odd place) so I've got a better match now.

Let me know what you're seeing - it's possible you got a bad one - I'm seeing issues with these cameras and my first one had some strangeness with the still function - not sure now if it was the camera or the card... as the second had similar issues, and different SD cards "fixed" the problem.

I'll try to replicate conditions and what you're seeing and let you know - I know that there were reports of bad OIS that I haven't been able to reproduce.

DB>)
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Old May 26th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #6
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Dave,

THanks for the reply. My HV20 seems to flicker whenever there is stronger light (like normal suinlight) and dark objects also in the picture. An example is shooting trees against a bright blue sky - especially when you are looking through the foliage. I took one shot that had a brick wall with sun on it and a tree beside it withs some blue sky, and the flicker was extremely bad.

Agree that in low light the camera outperforms my A1 - nicer picture and yes less noise, but I shoot mostly outdoors.

THanks for your help it is much appreciated.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:23 PM   #7
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Hi Graeme -

I tried a little shooting - will try to find a tree tomorrow (I live in the desert...). Shot some things with bright sunset sky and shaded wall in the foreground - couldn't replicate the pulsing, although in auto mode it would automatically try to balance the brightness, so if you moved up or down, you'd get pretty drastic jumps in brightness, but it was smooth.

Looked to me like the cine setting locked the brightness, so only the exposure would affect the overall brightness.

My suspicion is that the sunlight through the tree branches possibly confuses the auto settings, causing them to "hunt" for the right exposure? The camera seems to react pretty fast (I remember early complaints about the IAF pulsing), and this sounds similar.

On a scarier note I got the "remove tape" warning when I started to shoot with this - new tape, with a few minutes on it, removing and reinserting worked, but makes me a bit nervous - seems like I've heard a few things about this problem with Canon tape mechs, going to have to research that - don't need a new camera with bad mechanisms, no matter how good the picture is...

I want to like this camera, but more and more the HC7 looks like a better camera - VERY pleased with the low light I'm seeing now I've brightened up the LCD - Canon focuses better in low light, but it's looking like the HC7 can match it otherwise. I've got a LANC with focus controls now, so I can access that function on the HC7 - it's fairly effective.

Tonight I took the time to shoot 24p, so will be trying to figure out how to process that in post. Depending on how that goes, I may trade up to another HC7... I've had decent luck with just outputting 24p in post from Vegas - seems to give a more film like quality.

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Old May 29th, 2007, 05:02 AM   #8
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Thanks Dave,

I have swapped the HV20 for another, but it still seems to have the same problem. Will try to work out how to fix it, but I am not optimistic.

All the best,
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Old July 4th, 2007, 05:42 AM   #9
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Try turning off the auto-focus - I get a flickering effect with my HC3 under some extreme high contrast lighting conditions.
It goes away when the autofocus is switched off.
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