SONY V1U -vs- CANON XH-A1 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 January 13th, 2007, 07:39 AM   #1
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SONY V1U -vs- CANON XH-A1

When are we going to see some real side-by-side tests of these two cameras?
I am going to be buying two new cameras in the next month and am still trying to decide on if I should stay with SONY (I currently have a couple FX1's) or go with the CANON. I would prefer to stay with SONY, but of the footage I have seen posted so far, the A1 blows the V1 out of the water. Someone please show me some great V1U footage!
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Old January 13th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #2
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Try these links:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=83387

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=82027

These are some low light clips I took:

http://www.esnips.com/web/V1Efootage
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Old January 15th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #3
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Yes...I have seen just about every piece of V1 footage posted so far.
I just haven't seen anything yet that makes me want to spend the extra $600 to stay with SONY. From what I have seen so far, the CANON looks much better and costs $600 less. Can anyone give me a reason to get the V1U over the XH-A1?
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Old January 15th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Kendal
Yes...I have seen just about every piece of V1 footage posted so far.
I just haven't seen anything yet that makes me want to spend the extra $600 to stay with SONY. From what I have seen so far, the CANON looks much better and costs $600 less. Can anyone give me a reason to get the V1U over the XH-A1?
If you think a Canon XH-A1 is better than go buy yourself a Canon XH-A1, especially since you'll save money too. Both of these cams are very nice and no matter what you choose, you'll still have yourself a very nice cam.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 05:30 AM   #5
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I am trying to make the same decision:

They are both top rate cameras, so it's boiled down to this...

What I don't like about the Canon: Slightly washed out picture as compared to the Sony. Although I know some people like this. Canon camera's since the XL1 have had this look, although as I said some people love it, it's that 80's super 16mm look that used to be common on TV. It seems to be connected to this reddish or brown wash found on all prosumer Canon cameras. Also the pic is more noisy and there's a touch more CA.

What I don't like about the V1: 1/4 chip = less DOF and less light. Wide angle not as wide as could be. Really amateurish controls, no gain or white balance on the camera body, you have to get into menus. I am a run and gun shooter, I like to flick these controls as I am shooting while moving in and out of a building for example.

Last edited by John Poore; January 17th, 2007 at 03:19 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore

What I don't like about the Z1: 1/4 chip = less DOF and less light. Wide angle not as wide as could be. Really amateurish controls, no gain or white balance on the camera. I am a run and gun shooter, I like to flick these controls as I am shooting while moving in and out of a building for example.
I must contest those points. The V1 is ergonomically very sound and with the WB setting selected one can alternate between two preset WBs, natural and artificial light settings by simply rotating the push wheel at the rear of the camera.

By using the Exposure 1 setting when the iris is fully open and you've run out of light the iris dial then increases the gain by 3dB steps in a seamless fashion. It's bloody marvellous not amateurish.

Hope that helps

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Old January 16th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
What I don't like about the Canon: Slightly washed out picture as compared to the Sony.
Don't judge the A1 on it's factory set image (which, you're right, looks totally wishy-washy).

There are so many image adjustment settings to control the colour gain, the channel gain, the matrix channel settings, setup, pedestal, etc. that you can get some very strong looking images (or muted, if that's what you like).

There are already a bunch of "recipes" (on this forum) to match the A1 to other cameras or film stocks.

Both the A1 and the V1 produce great images. Personally I chose the A1 mostly because the lens was a more useful range (wider) for the work I do. But I'm hankering after a V1 too (as soon as they fix the issues on the V1E model).
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Old January 16th, 2007, 08:45 AM   #8
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Agree with Alex. With its many gamma and color controls, you can re-tune the default Canon picture. Not trying to influence your decision.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
What I don't like about the Z1: 1/4 chip = less DOF and less light. Wide angle not as wide as could be. Really amateurish controls, no gain or white balance on the camera body, you have to get into menus. I am a run and gun shooter, I like to flick these controls as I am shooting while moving in and out of a building for example.
Point of clarification, the Z1 has 1/3 CCDs, not 1/4 chip. I'd have to disagree that the Z1 (or V1) have "amateurish controls" but that's a subjective comment on either side.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
I am trying to make the same decision:

They are both top rate cameras, so it's boiled down to this...

What I don't like about the Canon: Slightly washed out picture as compared to the Sony. Although I know some people like this. Canon camera's since the XL1 have had this look, although as I said some people love it, it's that 80's super 16mm look that used to be common on TV. It seems to be connected to this reddish or brown wash found on all prosumer Canon cameras. Also the pic is more noisy and there's a touch more CA.

What I don't like about the Z1: 1/4 chip = less DOF and less light. Wide angle not as wide as could be. Really amateurish controls, no gain or white balance on the camera body, you have to get into menus. I am a run and gun shooter, I like to flick these controls as I am shooting while moving in and out of a building for example.

I can't resist giving out my opinion... ;-) but opinions aren't facts.

The Canon A1 is better in low light and has a smaller DOF. It is also cheaper, especially once you add the price of a wide angle converter for the V1. Those are about the only things which are not too subjective between the two cameras.

Now for the very subjective:

The washed-out picture of the A1 is easier to tweak in post, and the A1 can be tweaked beforehand (using "custom profiles") to have about any picture you want. I think this is a good illustration of the philosophy between the two cameras:
-the A1 is designed to be set up beforehand and then you film. Like in a movie: you set up the lights, focus, everything, then set up the camera because you know what will happen.
-the V1 is more designed to give a more pleasant picture out of the box and have all controls quick to access at any moment. I think the ergonomics of the Z1 are more consistent (subjective, I said...). Like in a documentary: you don't know what will happen and you must be able to react on the spot. OTOH: people who don't like menus won't like the V1's ergonomics...

Unique example: the gain setting. On the V1/FX7, it is a simple and very good point and click setting (menu). On the A1, you have a dedicated switch, but it can only choose 3 out of 5 settings, so you have to define what settings you will use beforehand, i.e. know whether you will need -3, 0 and +3 or +3, +12, +18...

I chose the A1 BTW (mainly for its better low light image, I needed that). From the Sony, I regret the more straightforward ergonomics (opinion... I said I liked menus, didn't I?), the histogram and the better autofocus.

YMMW, of course... ;-)
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:11 AM   #11
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Don't get me wrong. They both superb camera's and I'll be buying one, I'd buy both if I could.

Douglas: I should have meant the V1. Not the Z1 in regard to the lack of controls on the body. My mistake. I do think the V1 is lacking here, with my Z1 I can change white balance and gain without even looking while I am filming if neccesary. I can't do that with a V1 right?

Onto the Canon..
I do agree that Canon can be adjusted. Does it have the same kind of colour saturation as the Sony. I mean I really love the Sony broadcast colours? Just opinion my of course.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
Don't get me wrong. They both superb camera's and I'll be buying one, I'd buy both if I could.

Douglas: I should have meant the V1. Not the Z1 in regard to the lack of controls on the body. My mistake. I do think the V1 is lacking here, with my Z1 I can change white balance and gain without even looking while I am filming if neccesary. I can't do that with a V1 right?
Oh, yes you can.

If the WB function is selected/highlighted turning the push wheel can select 2 user presets, natural and artifical WB setting. You don't need to take your eyes off the VF or LCD.

In Exposure 1 mode after the iris can open no further just keep turning the iris wheel and gain will be added in 3dB steps up to 18dBs. Again you don't have to take your eyes off the VF or LCD.

It is painless. The camera is not lacking at all and don't be put off that it is not bristling with buttons Sony have employed an elegant solution to that.

TT
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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tony Tremble
In Exposure 1 mode after the iris can open no further just keep turning the iris wheel and gain will be added in 3dB steps up to 18dBs. Again you don't have to take your eyes off the VF or LCD.
I'm a current user of a VX2100, which has the same deal for adjusting the gain with the iris dial after the iris is opened up all the way. The problem with the setup on the VX2100 is that if you are zoomed out and adjust the exposure, it will pick the widest iris possible at that zoom and add gain to it. Then, when you zoom in, your iris may be wider than allowed and you'll see vignetting at the corners. Consequently, to adjust my gain, I've gotten in the habit of zooming in to max to force it to f2.4, adjusting my gain, and then zooming out.

So the question is, is the V1/FX7 on Exposure 1 set up the same way? Its a simple test: go to wide angle, adjust to some positive gain value, and zoom in. What happens to the aperture and gain values?

-Terence
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Old January 17th, 2007, 06:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tony Tremble
Oh, yes you can.

If the WB function is selected/highlighted turning the push wheel can select 2 user presets, natural and artifical WB setting. You don't need to take your eyes off the VF or LCD.

In Exposure 1 mode after the iris can open no further just keep turning the iris wheel and gain will be added in 3dB steps up to 18dBs. Again you don't have to take your eyes off the VF or LCD.

It is painless. The camera is not lacking at all and don't be put off that it is not bristling with buttons Sony have employed an elegant solution to that.

TT
Not so sure. I always have shutter selected on the wheel when I am filming so I can control it manually - I could not imagine having it any other way. So I'd have to go back and select gain or wb in the menu, then go back to manual shutter again.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Poore
Not so sure. I always have shutter selected on the wheel when I am filming so I can control it manually - I could not imagine having it any other way. So I'd have to go back and select gain or wb in the menu, then go back to manual shutter again.
Simple solution. Buy the XH-A1 then John.

Why anyone would want to change shutter speed during shooting is beyond me. YMMV.

TT
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