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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 9th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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Sharpness on the HC7

A month ago I bought the HC7. One of the reasons I bought a HDV camera is the sharpness. I took a lot off test shots but I noticed that a lot of shots had problems with the sharpness. Only the macro and nearby (zoomed in)shots are very sharp. Normal overview (zoomed out) shots are not. I already changed the camera for a new one but no improvement. Do I expect too much?
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Old July 9th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #2
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My HC7 delivers very sharp HD images, almost as good as my FX1.

Closeup and macro shots always tend to look sharper, even in SD because the subject covers a larger area of the frame and the eye scans that larger area rather than concentrate on the smaller details.

Are you sure that the cam is not stuck in manual focus mode ?

Are you sure you are recording in HDV and not SD, and that your monitor is capable of displaying HD ?

What are you comparing your HC7 images with - an HD broadcast, for example ?

Tell us more ...
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Old July 10th, 2007, 02:31 AM   #3
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Tony, thank you for your fast reaction. Good to hear that the HC7 can shoot sharp images.

"Are you sure that the cam is not stuck in manual focus mode ?"
How can I test this?
I changed between the shootings with "easy" on and off. I also tried some shootings with manual focus. For example my subject is a square terrace in the garden. In the middle there is a table and around it there are plants and bushes. What I can clearly see is that the plants in the corners are very unsharp and the middle of the table is a little bit sharper.

“Are you sure you are recording in HDV and not SD, and that your monitor is capable of displaying HD ?”
Yes I am sure I’m shooting in HDV. HDV1080i is in the upper left corner and also when I have transported to the PC I can see it is HDV. I use a 17” widescreen laptop with 1440 x 900 resolution to look back.

“What are you comparing your HC7 images with - an HD broadcast, for example ?”
A.
I compared the results with digital broadcast movies on my non_HD CRT widescreen television. I assumed that my own shootings do have at least the same sharpness when I compare these broadcast movies with my own shootings on the laptop!?

B.
When I made the test shootings I made exactly the same shooting with my Panasonic DX100 DV camera. This is an excellent camera with a pretty good colors and sharpness.
I played both shootings back on the laptop. The HDV and DV shootings are almost the same!?

It looks that in the shooting sample I mentioned the depth sharpness is very limited. Can there be any other settings I have to change?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 07:17 AM   #4
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Wim ...

"I changed between the shootings with "easy" on and off. I also tried some shootings with manual focus"

'Easy' mode uses autofocus by default, so focus is not the problem, unless in your test shots the camera is trying to focus on the background and not the subject - the HC7s autofocus is not the fastest and most accurate I've seen.

"For example my subject is a square terrace in the garden. In the middle there is a table and around it there are plants and bushes. What I can clearly see is that the plants in the corners are very unsharp and the middle of the table is a little bit sharper "

This is due to spherical aberration in the lens - I've noticed this with my HC7, but only at wide apertures (low light). All camera lenses have this problem to some degree - you see it a lot on HD channels especially when wide angle lenses are used.

"When I made the test shootings I made exactly the same shooting with my Panasonic DX100 DV camera. This is an excellent camera with a pretty good colors and sharpness.
I played both shootings back on the laptop. The HDV and DV shootings are almost the same!?"


HDV images should be much more detailed than any SD image from broadcast or camera. Are you sure that your HC7 is playing back in HD and not downscaling to standard def when you capture ?

What are you using to capture footage ?

If posible can you post some stills captured from your HC7 ?

Tony
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Old July 11th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #5
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Hello Tony,

"HDV images should be much more detailed than any SD image from broadcast or camera. Are you sure that your HC7 is playing back in HD and not downscaling to standard def when you capture ? "

I will try to do some new tests with both camera's on Friday. I will specially check the HDV settings of the HC7.

"What are you using to capture footage ? "
I use Sony Vegas 7 to do this. Friday I will do a test with Vista Movie Maker.

"If posible can you post some stills captured from your HC7 ?"
Do you mean still like a photo made with the HC7 or an image of a shooting?
How can I get it to you?
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #6
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Here's a couple stills pulled off of a wedding I shot a couple weeks ago - first is unaltered, second, a few frames later was a "lucky" shot when a flash sync'd nicely with the video frame... deinterlaced in paint shop pro, cropped in to a 4x6, and a bit of other magic applied - but it's still a couple pretty decent shots, right off the timeline in Vegas... sharpness and detail equal to what you're getting?
Attached Thumbnails
Sharpness on the HC7-kiss3.jpg   Sharpness on the HC7-kiss2f.jpg  

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Old July 13th, 2007, 02:34 AM   #7
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These are some samples of stills:

A-No tripod, focused on the table
B-Tripod, focused on the table
C-No tripod, focused on the lamp
D-Tripod, focused on the lamp
E-Tripod, zoomed in, focused on the lamp
F-Just another picture,automatic

I'm sorry but I can't add images: My posting rules are:You may not post attachments!
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Old July 14th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #8
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Tony,

"If posible can you post some stills captured from your HC7 ?"

I still don't have rights to place the stills. Can I send them to U bu e-mail?
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Old July 14th, 2007, 10:08 AM   #9
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Try uploading the attatchments via photobucket.com or imageshack.com and then copy and paste the URL.
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Old July 14th, 2007, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wim van Eck View Post
These are some samples of stills:

A-No tripod, focused on the table
B-Tripod, focused on the table
C-No tripod, focused on the lamp
D-Tripod, focused on the lamp
E-Tripod, zoomed in, focused on the lamp
F-Just another picture,automatic

I'm sorry but I can't add images: My posting rules are:You may not post attachments!
Thanks to a good tip I put my photo's on: http://j-jansen2.magix.net/ and then goto "Mijn vakantie"
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Old July 15th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #11
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Hi Wim -
Pulled up your stills on a 24" monitor, full screen... look pretty good in the center, maybe a little blurry out towards the edges, but not seeing anything "bad" - as mentioned already, there may be a bit of loss towards the edges of a lens - seen some really bad WA aberrations on the HV20 forum... it's part of the lens design I suspect...

I'm not sure about your comparisons with a DX100... can't imagine that an SD cam will produce stills "almost the same"... but I suppose a far more expensive "pro" SD cam might be able to beat a consumer HDV camera... maybe... dollar for dollar the HC7 is a pretty nice cam, I'd be interested in the stills from your DX100 for comparison - I know I have a SD Panasonic that shoots progressive, and it's pretty hard to beat, but I won't hold it up next to the HDV without cringing...

DB>)
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:58 AM   #12
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Hi Wim ...

Sorry about not replying earlier - been busy editing !

I agree with Dave - your HC7 stills look great apart from slight spherical abberation I mentioned before. I've done a lot of stills from both SD and HDV cams and there is no way you could get images that good with an SD camera.
You'll need to spend a lot more money to get resolution thats noticeably better.

Tony
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Old July 17th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #13
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Hello Dave and Tony,

Thank you for your time and testing.

It is very good to hear that the quality of my HC7 is the same as yours. I was very worried about this. I think my test were not quit OK.

On Sunday I will leave on a holiday to France and I will do a lot of shooting and testing.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old July 17th, 2007, 06:34 AM   #14
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It does look a bit overexposed? Where's the contrast?
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Old July 17th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #15
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One thing I do with My HC7 (and pretty much all my cameras) is to drop the exposure back a bit from the "auto" setting - you can either set the AE to negative -2 to -4, or with the 7 I've found I set the control wheel to allow me to pull the exposure back as needed.

Not sure why it is, but it always seems to me that the auto settings overexpose a bit - I'm guessing it's to pull more detail out of the shadows, but things look better if you pull that exposure back a bit!
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