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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 January 21st, 2007, 02:12 PM   #61
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Auto controls: I've tried them and they offer no better than any other auto control on other cameras. If you are framing the talent and the background is changing in light intensity then the camera drifts to compensate. How quickly it does it depends on your settings.

These controls cannot be relied upon to provide consistent exposure. They are quick and dirty and of very limited use just like other controls on other cameras. So what if the V1 allows the user to adjust the AE setting it still doesn't prevent the AE changing with the background over time. Consider an interview in a moving car and you soon see the exposure drift all over the place when what is required is a consistent exposure of the interviewee's face.

Take the auto controls with a large pinch of salt. Other controls like Exposure 1 are worth their weight in gold.

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Old January 21st, 2007, 02:24 PM   #62
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Everyone: what is it about this camera that seems to spark so much emotional response? Please resist the urge to turn a technical discussion into something personal which reflects on the abilities of the individuals involved.

It would be a shame to have to close yet another V1 thread, but that's where this is headed...
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Old January 21st, 2007, 04:35 PM   #63
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Henry Ford had notoriety for saying "You can have it in any color you want, as long as it's black."

I'm glad they put manual and auto controls on these cams. If JVC put auto focus on the HD100, maybe I would have considered that one.

If you only shoot in manual, do you return your settings to a starting point after each shoot? If you don't, you'll have to do it before your next. Will you have time? Not if the tornado is bearing down on you!

I use manual controls, but they are not a panacea. Sure, auto focus might not be accurate, but manual focus gets out of focus too.

I don't expect that having the dial set to the little green box is going to get my tornado shots on the 10:00 o'clock news, but I would like a date with Helen Hunt.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 04:48 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Tremble
I've tried them and they offer no better than any other auto control on other cameras. If you are framing the talent and the background is changing in light intensity then the camera drifts to compensate. How quickly it does it depends on your settings.

These controls cannot be relied upon to provide consistent exposure. They are quick and dirty and of very limited use just like other controls on other cameras. So what if the V1 allows the user to adjust the AE setting it still doesn't prevent the AE changing with the background over time. Consider an interview in a moving car and you soon see the exposure drift all over the place when what is required is a consistent exposure of the interviewee's face.
Okay, so no miracle next generation of super-inteligent auto controls.

In your opinion, Tony, does it provide a challenge not having tactile controls for all the manual settings that one might want to adjust, or is it perfectly workable with E1 controling gain, MF and push auto, and White Balance (if you need to change it) on the wheel at the back?
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Old January 21st, 2007, 05:08 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Roper
If you only shoot in manual, do you return your settings to a starting point after each shoot? If you don't, you'll have to do it before your next. Will you have time? Not if the tornado is bearing down on you!
I take your point, and I would say that perhaps storm chasing and ENG are two areas where you may not have time to really properly think about your camera settings...

However! How long does it take to set the ND, spin the exposure wheel and push focus? I can see how AE could help in storm chasing, but personally I wouldn't want AE to make stupid decisions that meant I lost some of the drama in the image. And I certainly wouldn't want AF pulsing all over the shop.

The point to my questions is whether users who are used to a full array of tactile physical manual controls, feel a bit like they're driving with one hand when they start using the V1.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 01:33 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Leith
Okay, so no miracle next generation of super-inteligent auto controls.

In your opinion, Tony, does it provide a challenge not having tactile controls for all the manual settings that one might want to adjust, or is it perfectly workable with E1 controling gain, MF and push auto, and White Balance (if you need to change it) on the wheel at the back?
In my opinion Alex there is no challenge to operating the V1. I have not found its operation wanting in any respect.

If there are people out there that really feel they have to have gain and WB switches then I'm sure the Xh-A1 will be for them. I just don't subscribe to the fact that they are as necessary as some people would like others to believe.

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Old January 22nd, 2007, 08:48 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
The V1 is perectly capable of doing better than you can do because it is both faster and more accurate -- if you know how to use it. And, when not to use auto!

Moreover, this debate was settled years ago in the SLR debates on AF. It's silly that video prosumers need to feel they are pros by not using ALL the tools availble to them. Obviously they care more about FEELING they have control than they do about actually bringing home perfect video.
I have to disagree with this point. I have found that the auto-focus on the V1 does not work well. Rather than focusing on the closest object, it seems to focus on the most distant object, or the object with the most contrasty detail in it (which tends not to be human faces). I tried to focus on my 7-month old with her face filling up 3/4 of the screen and the camera insisted on focusing on the carpet behind her. The focus systems on SLR cameras are much more refined and capable. Someday autofocus might work well on video cameras, but not today.

As far as exposure is concerned. I find that exposing properly is always a judgement call. While the V1 might have decent latitude, it's not great latitude. So you always have to decide, how much of the image do I want to blow out at the top end to get definition in the dark parts. It is always dependent on lighting conditions. I'd rather make that call than have the camera do it for me.

While I'd prefer better manual controls on the V1. I have not found it impossible to work with. In fact, over time I'm sure I'll be as quick with it as I have been with other cameras, it's just a matter of getting used to it. The bottom line is that the V1 can get the job done with a kick ass picture.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:56 AM   #68
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Hey Steve,
I'm with you on this. I got my first video cameras (2 PD170s) in early 2004 and tried the full manual thing off and on for a while. I found that when shooting events in changing environments, in many cases, The PD70 made corrections to exposure, and white balance faster and better than I could. I did find the auto focus a little weak in certain situations. I use auto if possible but in many cases I have to go manual to aviod hunting, especially with the wide angle adapter and/or in low light. WB in auto always seems to work good. I learned to set combinations of manual and auto settings for exposure so that gain would dial in automatically when needed but I had control over the iris. The only real problem using this method is when shooting events on stage, especially with dark backgrounds, it always seems to overexpose. I have this problem with my Nikon D200 in matrix mode as well and guess they just over compensates for all the dark area.

Regardless, it sounds as if the V1U is better than the PD170 in the auto department which suits me because I stay busy enough trying to compose and frame the action. I'll use auto over manual if they work well but give me the ability to take control quickly when needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
The noise is related to gain level. How you adjust gain has nothing to with the amount of noise. So your comment is a bit silly isn't it? Isn't it better to see the gradual increase?

I'm beginning to wonder if the V1 is flying over the heads of many of posters. Folks are so locked into the way they do things, they can't seem to see a new way as offering a better way.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:11 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Tremble
Auto controls: I've tried them and they offer no better than any other auto control on other cameras. If you are framing the talent and the background is changing in light intensity then the camera drifts to compensate. How quickly it does it depends on your settings.

Consider an interview in a moving car and you soon see the exposure drift all over the place when what is required is a consistent exposure of the interviewee's face.

TT
I think you have missed several points:

1) Of course, if the lighting changes the exposure shifts slowly chnges -- it doesn't drift -- to the new correct exposure. That's exactly what it should do. It's exactly what YOU would do. Otherwise the exposure will be wrong. Why do you think pro lenses have a nice iris control? So you can making run-and-gun exposure changes. You are way too far into the "film look" fad to understand that most V1's will be sold for ENG and documentary work. We are judged on getting the shot -- not on maintaining a stable but wrong exposure.

2) You'll note that I have ALWAYS said you must know when you should not use AE. In this case you simply switch to E1.

The point is that the interview in a moving car is a rare ENG shot. Most of the time one is shooting nothing so unusual.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:37 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Sherman
I have to disagree with this point. I have found that the auto-focus on the V1 does not work well. Rather than focusing on the closest object, it seems to focus on the most distant object, or the object with the most contrasty detail in it (which tends not to be human faces). I tried to focus on my 7-month old with her face filling up 3/4 of the screen and the camera insisted on focusing on the carpet behind her. The focus systems on SLR cameras are much more refined and capable. Someday autofocus might work well on video cameras, but not today.

As far as exposure is concerned. I find that exposing properly is always a judgement call. While the V1 might have decent latitude, it's not great latitude. So you always have to decide, how much of the image do I want to blow out at the top end to get definition in the dark parts. It is always dependent on lighting conditions. I'd rather make that call than have the camera do it for me.
1) I'm not sure how you got this idea from what I posted. In E1 you do make the adjustment. In AES, the camera gets you within a stop of the correct exposure -- then YOU adjust it from there.

2) You simply didn't use AF correctly so no wonder it didn't work for you. With an SLR one frames the subject in the center and presses the shutter-button half-way to lock exposure and focus -- then you reframe. But, I see many people who have no idea that an SLR must be used this way!

You have to understand two things about the V1's AF system.

a) It has "hystresis." This means it will hold focus on what it has in focus. This is why you can walk in front of the V1 and the AF will ignore you and stay locked on the subject.

So all you need to do is briefly frame the subject before you start shooting and let the AF get focus. Exactly what you would do with a manual lens. Once locked on the subject, it will keep the subject in focus until the subject leaves the frame.

I can do snap pans between a close and far objects and back. When the pan come to a stop -- the new object is already in perfect focus. That's because when the old subject leaves the frame it starts focsing on the new subject.

b) Let's assume for some reason the subject isn't in focus -- your situation -- or goes out of focus for some reason. Did you know if you have set the correct menu mode enabled, even in AF -- you can touch-up the focus manually. So you have the best of both worlds.

By the way -- the reason the AF system can work so well -- is that DOF is so huge that until you zoom about 50%-75% into Tele, EVERYTHING is inherently in focus. :)

And that's my point. Fly-by-Wire. The computer does 90% of the work very, very fast. Your job is not CONTROL, but MONITOR and TOUCH-UP. You can monitor focus by eye AND by Peaking. You can monitor exposure by eye AND by Histogram/Zebra.

But you have got to use the camera correctly -- like any tool. Remember, you use ABS totally differently than non-ABS brakes. When used correctly, the computer almost always does better than the human.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:11 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I think you have missed several points:

You are way too far into the "film look" fad to understand that most V1's will be sold for ENG and documentary work. We are judged on getting the shot -- not on maintaining a stable but wrong exposure.
Agree about the 'film look' nonsense.

But I have to say a good news shooter should not just get the shot, he or she should also get the shot right. And the camera should be there to help him get that. That's difference between a citizen shooter with a modern quality dv camera and a real pro.

Nowadays so many money shots come from citizen shooters armed with good cameras who are in the right place at the right time. Maybe then V1 is perfect for them?

But as a pro give me the full controls so I can get the shot just right.

It's an interesting argument for interesting times Steve.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #72
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I'm debating whether to get the XH-A1 or V1 and am leaning towards the XH-A1 simply because it is wider angle, very handy I think.

As far as I can work out, from the baffling confusion of previous posts, any other differences between the two cameras are debatable. Except for the fact that they look different and the XH-A1 is a bit bigger and a bit heavier.

As to comparing footage from the two cameras it's nigh on impossible as different people have used all sorts of different camera settings and made all kinds of post processing changes. Some people have recorded in 25p, some in 50i, some in 24p, some in 60i, some have converted from interlaced to progressive using software etc etc...

Last edited by Stuart Graham; August 26th, 2008 at 11:41 AM. Reason: missed something out
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Old August 26th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #73
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Stuart,

I was in the same boat as you: my choice was Sony A1E, Sony V1E or Canon A1.

In the end, I made a spreadsheet, listed everything that was important to me, gave each feature a weighting to show its relative importance to me, and the formula told me to get the V1. I hope I didn't forget to carry a 1 somewhere!

It was very close between the V1 and the Canon A1, with lots of things the Sony was very marginally better at, and lots of things the Canon was very marginally better at (from my point of view). Low light doesn't matter to me, for example. In the end, it came down to compatibility with my existing high capacity batteries and a Silver Service warranty, along with a slightly tighter zoom (at the loss of some wide angle). And the lens cap with integrated doors!

In my opinion (and for my purposes), the V1 isn't better than the A1... it's just different to the A1.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #74
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Oh Mike! You've confused me now, I quite fancy the special lens cap! Hee hee!

I think you're right that any differences are minor and it will all come out in the wash anyway.

I've decided I'll get the XH-A1, if I can scrape the dough together, purely for the wider angle lens as my no budget films are often made in tight confines.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 10:09 AM   #75
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I bit the bullet and bought the Canon XH A1. It's a beautifully made camera and very well thought out. It's a huge improvement over my old Panasonic DVX100. A suprisingly quiet zoom motor for one thing. And the focus and zoom presets are going to come in very useful. Thanks for the advice Mike, I'm very happy with my purchase!
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