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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 11th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #1
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A1u vs HC7

Just wondering which would you all buy if you had the choice the A1u or the HC7? I know the A1 has a better audio set-up but what else? I'd say 3 out of 4 times we'd use these cameras they will be for video only. If audio was critical we'd use something else entirely. Both seem like a great "b" camera to the V1 or Z1 but I'm just not sure what else the A1 offers vs the HC7.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

Steve
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Old July 11th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #2
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The A1 offers TC preset that the HC7 does not have. There's also cinematone gamma. But if you don't need TC preset, the HC7 also looks promising.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #3
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HC7 would be my pick offhand - haven't owned an A1, but have the HC1, its little bro... The colors are a bit better to my eye (xvcolor on) with the 7... then again it's missing the focus ring... You'll save some buying the HC7 if you don't need the audio, and the 7 has a mic input, albeit a miniplug... topload tape is nice, but the small size can be trickier to hold stable...

I'd go with saving the bucks and you have a great little all purpose cam that you can take anywhere and use for family stuff too... unless you need the ring and the XLR and the other "advanced" video features - since you indicate you're using the Z1 and V1, some of those things might be important to match b-roll? If you're a cc wizard in post, probably either cam will work out for you, or even an HV20 - you're looking at different batteries/accessories with any of those choices!
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Old July 11th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback...the bottom loader on the A1 is just plain goofy...and the HDMI port on the H7 is a nice little touch. With that said though the A1 is a bit more like it's big brothers and sisters of the V1 and Z1....and the "migration' up to those cameras makes a little more sense for someone learning many different cameras. I work at a university where we have several cams to pick from and offer the students. It's a tough call because the cams are very similar. Has anybody done a side by side compare between these two? Do they have the same CMOS chip?

Thanks for the feedback-

Steve
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Old July 11th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #5
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Z1U ahaha

I LOVE the HVR-Z1U! Just bought a couple of them.

Joseph
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Old July 12th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #6
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Welcome Joe -
Make us all jealous <wink>. Actually I liked the FX7 picture quality a bit better (and the lighter weight), but the Z1 is a sweet camera, no doubt. Just way beyond my ability to learn the bazillion tweaks, and my back to shoot handheld!

Steve - the HC1 and A1U use the same chip, and it is a bit different from the 2nd/3rd (?) generation CMOS in the HC7 - the HC7 is supposed to be higher resolution - in the stills there's a lot of difference - the HC1 at 2.8Mpixel is usable, but not that great - the HC7 has 4-6Mpixel stills, and they are much better - I think the underlying chip is superior, but it is much harder to see in video - the HC1 holds its own. IIRC the pixels are oriented horizontal/vertical in the 1 vs. diagonal on the later models (3,5,7) - seems to me the latter hides jaggies better, but I could be hallucinating...

If your teaching requires students to know more advanced features, the A1U prolly has more adjustments, but the HC7 has SOME adjustability - I'm finding I can squeeze a lot out of it as I get to know it better - really a pretty amazing cam for it's size!

I'm sort of coming to the "it's not the cam it's the shooter" - once you learn the basics - shutter, aperature, white balance, gain, etc. you just have to find the settings on whatever cam you have available and get to where they're memorized well enough to adjust on the fly... the magic is in whether you can frame and capture the moment - you can only teach so much of that, some students will have it, others have different talents!

One thing you might find is selling your accounting department on the HC7 might be interesting - it looks more like a consumer cam than the A1... I've got mine loaded up so it's not too embarrasing to show up with them, but it could be an issue...

Have you thought about the FX7 vs. the A1U? You'd get something the same form factor as the V1's, most of the features, and not a whole lot more than the A1U... If you're in a teaching environment, I think that might be the better choice - zoom and focus rings, lots of manual buttons and controls, no touch screen type stuff... and 3 CMOS... just a thought!
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Old July 12th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #7
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Hey,
I didn't mean to make you jealous. haha But I understand what you are saying.
It is a little to heavy for a handheld camera, but with a shoulder brace and all of the features that come with it, it is very nice.

To tell you the truth, I am only 16 and I have been telling my Administrative Pastor what to purchase from BHPhotovideo. We just bought the second load of merchandise(with both carts the total was about $25,000).

It is very interesting that the Elders in the church are listening to me on what to buy(for this big of a purchase!).

Not to mention, because of the work I am doing for the church, I get to use the equipment for my business I am starting.

I also have a MacBook Pro 17", FCS, Logic Pro 7, and a 1TB hard drive.

I can't believe, at this age, I have this stuff for a startup business.

Joseph
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Old July 12th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #8
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we decided to actually buy 2 v1's instead of the a1's....we are also getting one H7 for experimental purposes...i.e. so small we could mount it almost anywhere.

thanks for the feedback!
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Old July 13th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #9
 
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I've got them both, worked with them both in very difficult circumstances. As much as I love the HC7 for what I mainly use it for, the A1 is significantly easier to match to the Z1/V1 camcorders. The HC7 has a very different image, and while it's very nice, it's not easy to match up with bigger HDV cams.
By strange coincidence, this image was captured with an A1 while I'm flying an HC7 (camera on helmet).
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