From HC1 to HC7 any big deifference? at DVinfo.net

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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 July 7th, 2007, 04:55 AM   #1
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From HC1 to HC7 any big deifference?

Hi
I have almost 2 years the sony HC1 and i would like to upgrade. The low light videos of HC1 are not too good. I dont want to buy the Canon HV20 because i have the sony's 37mm wide and tele lens, so if i buy the HC7 should i see much improvement on video quality?
thanks
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #2
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The HC7 is a bit better in low light, but not a stunning difference - we've discussed it before on these boards... in good light, I think the HC7 is a bit better overall, and if you just have to have a new toy, it's a great excuse! The HC1 has some advantages too, and isn't a bad camera, it's really a matter of what features you want or need.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yiannis Kall View Post
Hi
I have almost 2 years the sony HC1 and i would like to upgrade. The low light videos of HC1 are not too good. I dont want to buy the Canon HV20 because i have the sony's 37mm wide and tele lens, so if i buy the HC7 should i see much improvement on video quality?
thanks

i bet you'd need to get a camera that is much more expensive to significantly improve on the low light capabilities of the sony hc1
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Old July 12th, 2007, 05:49 PM   #4
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I haven't used the HC7, but I'd be reluctant to give up the focus/zoom ring on the HC1, even for slightly improved lowlight ability.

I have an HC1 and a Canon HV10 and although the HV10 appears to have a slightly better picture, in most instances I still prefer to use the HC1 due to its superior manual controls. I don't think there's another consumer-grade HDV model that can compare to its manual controls, is there?
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Old July 18th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yiannis Kall View Post
Hi
I dont want to buy the Canon HV20 because i have the sony's 37mm wide and tele lens
Step up rings; I've used the Sony A1U wide & tele lenses on an hv20 by using step up rings.
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Old July 18th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave Lammey View Post
In most instances I still prefer to use the HC1 due to its superior manual controls. I don't think there's another consumer-grade HDV model that can compare to its manual controls, is there?
My thoughts exactly, altho I am still considering the HV20 over my trusty HC1, the hv20 is built like a cheap kids toy (IMHO) and the poor manual controls is what is holding me back. Also the HC1 with the big battery + fisheye/wideangle/telephoto lens yields excellent weight balance overall for Steadicam use.
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Old July 18th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #7
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Hi Michael -
Having owned both, I'd say if you're happy with the HC1, stick with it - I got the HV20 for low light... it's not that much better, and I have lights. Thought the 24P would be cool... too much bother to extract...

In the end, I couldn't get past the build quality difference (so the HV20 costs half the original HC1 price... it still is built cheap, and comparatively the HC7 is built "right" for a few $$ more). I've got the HC7, and love it, but the HC1 makes a great backup camera, and if I need a small easy to control "manual" cam, it fits the bill nicely! Still scratch my head at the bottom load, but other than that, the HC1 still ranks with the best in my book.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #8
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Got rid of two HC1s in passing, over the years.

Just got another one off eBay for just over half what I paid for my first (new) one.

Guess it's like a bad penny.

But this time around I've never even seen it, nor will I be likely to in the near future: if my producer/partner's not got it out on a shoot, my wife or my son have it out on their own grab-and-go projects.

So, in the end, it's not much like a bad penny after all.

More like good pennies, well spent.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lammey View Post
I have an HC1 and a Canon HV10 and although the HV10 appears to have a slightly better picture, in most instances I still prefer to use the HC1 due to its superior manual controls. I don't think there's another consumer-grade HDV model that can compare to its manual controls, is there?
HC1 and its semi-pro cousin A1U do not allow adjusting aperture explicitly. Canon camcorders don't allow this either, both companies use silly Exposure control. But Canon provides a way to read current aperture/shutter speed values (real f-stops) right BEFORE the shoot, in pause mode, by half-pressing Photo button, while Sony does not. On the other hand, one can read datacode on Sony postfactum, while Canon does not provide this feature, but there are third-party applications that do. You will be importing footage onto computer anyway. Clearly, Canon wins. Oh, and mind you, not only HV10/HV20 report aperture in f-stops, other Canon models like mid-priced DC 50 and cheap DC 210/220/230 and last-year's Elura 100 report f-stops too.

Both Sony and Canon camcorders do not allow adjusting gain explicitly, but with Canon it is easy to verify whether gain is elevated or not (change exposure and check current value), so in fact one can adjust gain, but indirectly.

HC1 has a focus/zoom ring, HV20 has the thumbwheel. The ring is better, but marginally, because it is not repeatable, and its reaction heavily depends on rotation speed. What I do like though is shot transition, rack focus for poor. But it takes whopping 4 seconds to move focus, which may work for nature shots but does not work for movies. Sony should have made the transition time programmable. So, brilliant idea, mediocre implementation.

Then come proprietary shoe, proprietary memory card, proprietary hood that cannot be used with regular filters... I am watching HC1 on eBay right now and I am very tempted, but boy... The build quality may be great, but compatibility is not there. Ok, one can use Sony mic, Sony memory stick. What do you use for filters? I've read about tabectomy, did not quite get it (I don't have camera on hands) nor liked it. This is not a half-screwed Russian car, this is a Japanese camcorder after all.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 03:24 AM   #10
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you can mount normal filters, just take the hood off... and you should get a memory stick with any you buy (when this cam came out they included a whopping 16M), you can use a sony mic, OR there's a standard miniplug mic input, so use whatever mic you want.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Michael Jouravlev View Post
Both Sony and Canon camcorders do not allow adjusting gain explicitly, but with Canon it is easy to verify whether gain is elevated or not (change exposure and check current value), so in fact one can adjust gain, but indirectly.
HC1 has way better exposure controls. Six stops from the right equals to zero gain. You can never really know with the hv20. HC1 has discrete steps that are always the same, gain is adjusted in +3db steps and you can easily download and print a small sheet to stick onto the side of the hc1 lcd and always see what the exact aperture is. HC1 clearly wins in the exposure controls. You cannot adjust iris and gain separately, but gain isn't increased unless the aperture is fully open so I consider it a moot point.

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The ring is better, but marginally, because it is not repeatable, and its reaction heavily depends on rotation speed.
The ring could definitely be better but its still way way better than other solutions seen at this price range.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen View Post
HC1 has way better exposure controls. Six stops from the right equals to zero gain. You can never really know with the hv20. HC1 has discrete steps that are always the same, gain is adjusted in +3db steps and you can easily download and print a small sheet to stick onto the side of the hc1 lcd and always see what the exact aperture is.
If the exposure scale on the sony is always the same, it surely helps. Canon recalculates exposure scale depending on current lightning conditions. On the other hand, with Sony you need a table to convert exposure steps into real f-stops, and the exposure scale does not have numbers, so you need to count the clicks. With Canon you can simply read out current f-stop and, say, add ND filters accordingly.
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen View Post
You cannot adjust iris and gain separately, but gain isn't increased unless the aperture is fully open so I consider it a moot point.
Canon works exactly the same way, and you can check whether the iris is fully open or not by increasing exposure one notch and comparing f-stops. If f-stops are the same, then gain has been elevated.

Anyway... almost bought one yesterday. the price was at unbelievable $630 level up until 40 seconds of the auction end. Then it went up to $745. I did not want paying more than $700. Seems that the average price for a used HC1 is around $750.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 11:58 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Michael Y Wong View Post
My thoughts exactly, altho I am still considering the HV20 over my trusty HC1, the hv20 is built like a cheap kids toy (IMHO) and the poor manual controls is what is holding me back. Also the HC1 with the big battery + fisheye/wideangle/telephoto lens yields excellent weight balance overall for Steadicam use.
Michael -

Looking at the specs, I very nearly went there too, and didn't.

Had an HV20 for a shoot and didn't want to use it after that (I just borrowed it anyway).
I nearly always go by what feels good and solid in the hand, because my experience tells me that this combination usually yields better shots, and in this respect the HV20 was distinctly underwhelming.
But, of course, YMMV.
Did love the 24p though, but MPEG Streamclip gets around that issue for me.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Michael Jouravlev View Post
On the other hand, with Sony you need a table to convert exposure steps into real f-stops, and the exposure scale does not have numbers, so you need to count the clicks.
Yeah, but the only thing I basically have to know is "is there any gain?" I don't really care about the actual f-stop. And that is very easy to see, just by looking at the exposure level as the 0 gain value is 6 stops from the right.

Adjusting gain is actually pretty easy.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 07:57 PM   #15
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Yeah, but the only thing I basically have to know is "is there any gain?" I don't really care about the actual f-stop. And that is very easy to see, just by looking at the exposure level as the 0 gain value is 6 stops from the right.
What about shooting in bright sun while trying to achieve shallow DOF? You need to know what ND filter to screw on, so you need to know what current aperture, measured by the light meter, is. If you don't care about DOF then I agree that f-stop information is not needed.

I see that you feel at home with HC1 exposure control. Could you take a look at this thread: [url=http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=99449]Recommended low light settings for A1U[/quote]. I am a bit lost.

[I am looking for a new cam, I studied info about these (all used ones, of course): DVX (not HD, no real 16:9, too expensive), PDX10 (not HD, I don't need DVCAM, only 1/5" chip), GL2 (not HD, no real 16:9, too plasticky) and recently HC1 as a cheaper alternative to A1U.]

The table is for A1U, but as I understand two cameras have the same lens. According to the table, the relationship between exposure marks and f-stops is fixed. What about values on the long end, where max aperture is 2.1 instead of 1.8? What about smaller aperture? If HC1 cannot close more than f/8 then it should have built-in ND filters. Does it? In another thread I think I saw that it can go to f/9.6. What's about this table then, it goes to f/8 only.

Also, as I've found PDX10 had two hoods: small and large. The large one allowed using filters. Does A1U have a large hood? Can it be used with HC1?
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