A couple of impressions of Sony V1 and the Canon G1 at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old October 13th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #1
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A couple of impressions of Sony V1 and the Canon G1

i played with one of these (V1) at a local video expo yesterday and also a G1. nice camera. very sweet. beautiful images, at least in the viewfinder. nice size. i wish they had kept the easy to handle iris wheel of the FX-1, instead of the on-camera iris dial of the V1, which is substantially smaller and not as user-friendly (in my opinion).

the image is spectacular, though. really pretty. and my one concern, about the DOF using the smaller 1/4'' chips, was completely alleviated. the DOF, using the smallest aperture, was beautiful and super-smooth bokeh.

i went to this expo specifically to check out the G1 and the V1 to compare them, and i have to say, the image of the V1 surpassed my expectations. but i preferred the G1 ergonomically, and it, too, has a fantastic image. plus that HD-SDI option. i found the V1 a bit softer--in an aesthetically pleasing way, not in a too-soft-image way. they were definitely different images. this is gonna be a tough call. i'd give the edge on image to the V1 (but this is going to be a highly subjective decision, for every individual, so don't take my word for it.) but i prefer the ergonomics and feature set of the G1. i think the HD-SDI is another bit of important future-proofing and is preferable obviously, for a broadcast camera, which is where i hope my business is heading. i don't underestimate ergonomics because that seems to ultimately decide which camera i grab as i head out the door (i generally choose the FX-1 over my XL-2 for strictly ergonomic reasons. the XL2 is not left-handed person- friendly...this gives me problems.)

my bottom line is, that if you are angst-ing over which of these cameras will be your next purchase, you absolutely have to get both of them in your hands. they are both so dang good, and they have such different ergonomics and feature sets. it's quite a horse race. we live in amazing times.

can i just complain briefly about how the people they have showcasing these cameras at these lesser local expos seem to know nothing about the cameras??? i would ask a question and then they'd get two representatives hovering over the camera to answer the question, while i figured out the answer....somebody out there oughta hire me to represent them here in Cowtown....

Last edited by Meryem Ersoz; October 13th, 2006 at 12:20 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #2
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did they show 24p footage? 60i?
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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nope. no footage for either camera. the V1 was hooked up to an external monitor. the G1 was just the camera, no monitor. to be clear, i have issues with ergonomics, so i was mostly interested in handling both of these. i have huge confidence that i will love the canon image, because it will probably closely match the H1 as well as benefit from a few fixes based on early adopter feedback on the H1. the 20x lens is a thing of beauty. super clean, super clear. given all the footage we have seen here and the footage that i saw on Canon's H1 tour and also given the footage i can squeeze out of the recently-purchased HV10, i feel pretty good about the G1 image without having seen it, specifically. it will be fantastic, no doubt, and ii feel familiar with it already, whereas the V1 was the lesser-exposed entity. i was very impressed with the image on the monitor. i found the 24p flavor a bit stuttery, but i almost never use--okay, i *never* use--24p on my XL2, because most of our projects are delivered to DVD, and i prefer the smoother playback of 30p because we shoot a lot of motion. the V1 was set to 24p and had that stuttery 24p motion when i was panning the camera, so i switched it to 30p, and it was gorgeous, smooth, clean.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #4
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Without both cameras going to a monitor, the visual comparison isn't going to be too meaningful. I'm like you, though, I am interested in useability and ergonomics of the camera, because from previous experience, all the 1/3" chip cameras are going to be of good enough quality, image-wise.

The lens is also a big issue for me. Did you compare the wide angle of the Canon with the wide angle of the Sony? It seems to me that the Sony would definitely require the wide angle adapter, while the Canon probably would be OK for most of what I normally do. I have a friend with an XL2, and its lens is just not quite wide enough for lots of things. I haven't done the math, but it appears the Sony's lens would be about the same in that department, ie., a lot closer to 40mm than 30mm. I was wondering if they did happen to have a wide angle adapter for the Sony and if so, how was it?
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #5
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those are valid concerns, but no, they didn't have a WA attachment, and it didn't occur to me to ask. these weren't side-by-side comparisons, this was: walk across the room, play with one camera, and then walk across the room and play with the other...i would not pretend that this was an ideal comparison, only offering my impressions on the things which mattered most to me....i'm just psyched that sony is finally offering some decent reach on their HDV cams.

it's hard to do a visual comparison on the WA issue in an exhibit hall because there is no shared focal point upon which you can train both cameras simultaneously....
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Old October 13th, 2006, 01:42 PM   #6
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I understand about not being able to do a serious comparison under those circumstances. At least you go to see and handle both of them in the same location, which is difficult for most people to do without going to NAB or something.

Overall the V1 seems like a very cool camera. The not-as-wide lens and the smaller chips make me like the Canon a bit better, but others may like the look of this one more. I think everybody's excited because Sony has finally got into the low-end 24p world, where everybody else has been for a long time. Lots of Sonyphiles who would think about buying Canon might be drawn back into the fold. If it had 1/3" chips, I know they would have hooked me sight unseen.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
I don't underestimate ergonomics because that seems to ultimately decide which camera i grab as i head out the door (i generally choose the FX-1 over my XL-2 for strictly ergonomic reasons. the XL2 is not left-handed person- friendly...this gives me problems.)
At seminar I gave in Atlanta both were there -- with Chris representing Canon. So, Canon was very well represented!

This is going to be a tough choice for many. And ergonomics is going to play a big role -- at least for some of us. I wear varifocal glasses. The Canon's neat swing-down LCD is too small and too close for me to focus on. While the V1's larger LCD offers me a bigger pix -- I wind-up holding the camera away from my body. This increases strain and so although the camera seems not heavy -- it becomes heavy held that way. (The bigger pix, however, really is nice for low- and high-shots -- plus in-field playback.)

I also VERY much prefer the lens exposure control of the Canon and gave that as my main feedback issue to Sony. A lens ring feels right and is more accurate. It also solves a real problem.

Ever since LCDs were put on the side -- it's hard to reach UNDER them to get to the controls that are placed "behind" it. This is where the V1 iris dial is placed. The Exposure button is on top of the dial and so is even harder to reach.

I'm glad you liked 30p because so do I. And, its a good sign that folks are seeing the CMOS image as pleasing and not merely as soft. Many of us who used the first JVC HDV camcorders were far happier with HOW it rendered color than we were with how Sony CCD cameras did. We called it more "filmic."

PS1: I realize 90% will reject this concept: but after 3.5 hours of shooting, I:

1) Set ATW at Intelligent
2) Set AE response to Slow
3) Set the desired shutter-speed
4) Chose the Profile I wanted (CineTone)

and shot using ALC, ATW, AE, and AF.

When I needed to control focus, the AF on/off button is "under" the LCD and the ONE TOUCH FOCUS button is below the Exposure dial so it was fairly EZ to reach. The Extended Focus function can be assigned to the PHOTO button above the trigger.

The histgram, peaking functions, and audio meters let me monitor exposure, focus, and audio.

The key is to shoot as though one was using a very fine grain, low contrast, NEGATIVE film. And, let the V1's computer do its job.

PS2: HDMI will do everything HD-SDI will do and it's likely someone will develop an ExpressCard version. Blackmagic already has a $250 card.

And, yes -- the V1 sends digital audio when shooting and when playing back. HDMI is really neat. One plug into any HDTV!
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Old October 13th, 2006, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I haven't done the math, but it appears the Sony's lens would be about the same in that department, ie., a lot closer to 40mm than 30mm. I was wondering if they did happen to have a wide angle adapter for the Sony and if so, how was it?
The Canon XH cameras do start off wider than the V1. The 35mm equivalents are:
  • XH-A1/G1: 32.5-650mm (16:9 mode), f/1.6-3.5
  • V1U: 37.4-748mm (16:9 mode), f/1.6-2.8
I definitely prefer the A1's wider lens range. This is one of the main things that bug me about the V1U. Although if you do more telephoto work, it's pretty amazing that you essentially have a 748mm f/2.8 lens at max optical telephoto.

Sony does have a wide angle converter for the V1. It only takes it down to about 30mm though.

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...-V1U/acce.html
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Old October 13th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #9
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that is a lovely length optical. the z1s is too short
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Old October 13th, 2006, 04:06 PM   #10
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I always need a wider angle than I do a telephoto. That's one of the things about smaller chips--the smaller the chips, the more difficult it is to get a wider angle. Can you imagine a 3.5mm lens on a 2/3" chip camera--wow.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 06:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
... was completely alleviated. the DOF, using the smallest aperture, was beautiful and super-smooth bokeh
Surely you meant "using the biggest aperture" ?

Good feedback from Steve - appreciate that. Like everyone's saying, they're both gonna be great and each will have its strengths and weaknesses for sure. I'm sure that whichever people purchase they'll be very very happy !

The WA lens thing : for the V1 the WA lens is the 0.8x VCL-HG0862K.
It is specifically for the V1, and is bayonet mount for fast attaching etc.
With it attached, the max.wideangle of V1 becomes 29.9mm (35mm equiv.).


ps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
At seminar I gave in Atlanta both were there -- with Chris representing Canon.
aha...

Last edited by Stu Holmes; October 14th, 2006 at 12:26 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:32 PM   #12
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That's right, Canon USA's video division is rather lean when it comes to staffing, so they frequently have to rely upon "outside help" for events such as the Atlanta presentation that Steve mentioned. I was more than happy to help out, as it gave me an opportunity to actually get my hands on the XH cams for the first time since IBC where I had only briefly held it. Also, by working this event I was able to get some valuable face time with Steve, as well as Craig Yanagi from JVC and Leigh Herman from Sony. The V1 that was there had gone from Douglas Spotted Eagle's hands back to Leigh, who loaned it to Steve for the evening, and then I got to play with it a little before Leigh had to leave. So you could say that this one particular V1 has already made the rounds among the DV Info Net crowd. That's where the various size comparison pics in the XH forum came from, including these XH next to V1 shots.

Some old-timers around here will remember how I used to help out in the Canon booth at NAB and DV Expo. I don't do that anymore, as it's more important for me to be able to attend those shows on my own, but when Canon asks for help at something like this little Atlanta deal we did, that's hard to resist. Because not only is it a good way for me to get my hands on this gear, but more importantly, it's an excellent opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.
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