Because there aren't any good accessory guides for the HVR-A1... at
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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 November 2nd, 2009, 04:39 PM   #1
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Because there aren't any good accessory guides for the HVR-A1...

I'm sick of having to search "HVR-A1" accessories to the nth page and not being able to find anything other than batteries, cases, and those two Sony VCL lenses. It may be weird, but I love having all the complete camera package for my damn camera, and hate having to go scouring through millions of click through pages and random camera sites to find something that I tried searching for specifically and could never find (like a goddamn 37mm graduated color filter... why is that not sold ANYWHERE?!)

So how I plan to fix that is by opening up my camera inventory to the general public, having shot on 3 years worth of movies with this camera, I have had to pick up piece by piece as I needed it, literally 3 years worth of random stuff, and anyone searching for stuff like this may like to have a one stop shop. I encourage other A1 owners to do the same with their own ideas in response to this in hopes that maybe I'll be able to find some more stuff, and so that others will be able to do the same.

Now, I'm not talking about things like shotgun mics and tripods, those are regular everyday things that are completely independent of the camera package as far as I'm concerned. And frankly, trying to put all the tripods and shotgun mics on here is too daunting of a task, and frankly I'm just not that nice, so I'm going to do some stuff that's specific to the camera:

Now first off, because it's easy, I'll start off with the case:

You have two really good options:
A hard transit case (which I recommend because it really does keep everything safe)
or a soft case (which is much smaller, but obviously can't provide as much solid protection, although I use it because it lets me hold all my batteries, lenses, cables, and filters in addition to the camera)
Sony Professional LCZA1BP LCZA1BP - - 1-866-93PRO-AV (937-7628)

Now, because it's pretty important I'll go for the rain cover:

The Kata CRC-13. Pretty much your best choice. If you don't have the money for it, use a plastic bag until you can afford this one, because this is the perfect freaking rain cover. It has saved me a wet camera many a day. Kata Bags CRC-13; DV/HDV Rain Cover KT-VA-801-13 FREE S&H Kata Camera Cases, Camera Bags.

I don't really have a reason for doing it next, but the next thing is the monitor hood:

Mine came with my petrol soft case, so I don't know if that's standard, but if it's not, here is a great place you can buy it: Petrol | PMH-A1U Micro Hood | PMH-A1U | B&H Photo Video (This thing has saved me a lot. It is really important with this camera to cut off the glare, and with the eyepiece being so crappily small and (unless someone lets me know otherwise) since there is no way to extend the eyepiece, you are left with the side LCD. (Although my real recommendation is to get one of those portable DVD players sony makes and use it as an external monitor, because it'll cost you about $80, and you can make a decent lens hood out of some hard black plastic and that'll fix all the problems with being able to achieve accurate focus with the small LCD)

Next, the LANC controller:

its made by sony, for sony cameras. This thing is perfect, and frankly there is no better one out there for the A1. All the other ones out there are either more expensive or have features that don't even work on the A1 anyways, so don't bother. Sony RM-1BP Remote Controller - SZ2011 - RM1BP

You're going to need a wind muffler for that little mic if you plan on using it, so next up:

This is on ebay right now, I don't know how long it will be up, but this guy has this awesome ebay store with a windscreen made specifically for the mic that comes with the a1. Pretty good deal, and looks good, too. ProStudioTools Fur Windscreen Softie Sony HVR-A1U - eBay (item 400058717009 end time Nov-25-09 15:25:50 PST)


Long lasting and good quality. There's no reason to get another battery than this one. In fact I would suggest getting about 5 and making sure they're always charging on set: SONY NP-QM91D Camcorder Battery_Sony_Camcorder Battery_Battery Charger Shop - e-Battery-Charger

Battery Charger:

This thing blows my mind with its awesomeness. It literally charges every type of battery that sony uses, and very well, and comes with a wall AND a car charger. I would suggest 2 or 3 of these so you can charge multiple batteries at once. Or, you know, be smart and charge your batteries before you get on set... Empire Camcorder & Digital Camera External Universal Battery Charger for Sony - DVUSON1 - IN STOCK

Underwater Housing:

The best one you can buy: 603901 Ikelite Underwater Video Housing for Sony HDR HC-1 (HDV 1080i) Digital Video & HDR-A1-E ( HDV 1080i) Without the top microphone block and camera lens shade Sure, for money's sake, you should get this: EWA VMX - Underwater Camcorder Housing for Canon Panasonic and Sony Waterproof Camera Housing at if you are planning on shooting above the water and just need that water protection, but if you are actually planning on shooting things underneath the water you are going to need that Ikelite. Just beautiful is what it is.

Matte Box:

Expensive proposition... Mine literally cost me $377. Not worth it when you think about it, a roll of flat black foil will do the job and you can actually use it with a wide angle lens, which you can't with most of the matte boxes available for the HVR. But for you junkies like me that want a camera that looks badass... The winner is definitely the CAVISION matte box. Camera Compatiblity Search You can't buy it off their site, you have to email them and work it out with them over that, because they build it for you custom, but these are the parts to ask for:

- MB385P - 3x3 Matte Box - $199.00
- RS816 - 8mm rods support with long t-part - $109.00
- MBF-3 French Flag - $39.00
- RPSHC - spacer - $25.00
- ARP380 - Plastic Adapter Ring - $5.00

- 37mm-58mm Step Up Ring and a 58mm-70mm Step Up Ring (they do not sell these, but it is necessary if you try to use your matte box without a lens on it.)

Alright, now to brass tacks, what you've all been waiting for, the lenses and filters (am I right?!)

First, lenses:

Century Optics 37mm .3x Ultra Fisheye Adapter CENTURY .3X ULTRA FISHEYE ADAPTR F/37MM - 0DSFEWA37 - Beautiful fisheye lens.
Sony VCL-HG2037Y 37mm 2.0x High-grade Telephoto Conversion Lens Sony VCL-HG2037Y 37mm 2.0x High-grade Telephoto Conversion Lens This thing is made for this camera for a reason. This thing rocks your socks off.
Sony VCL-HG0737C 37mm 0.7X Wide Angle Conversion Lens I spent three years looking for the VCL-HG0737Y and literally gave up about a week ago and bought the C. I don't know if it'll be any good, but it's got to be better than my Digital Vision 37mm 0.45x Super Wide Lens With Macro which blurs the edges of every shot.
Now I feel really bad recommending this next product, because it is practically useless unless you are filming something 8mm away from your camera, but if you are dear god this thing is amazing. If nothing else click the link and laugh at the Engrish. (I would absolutely recommend you buying the ”For CN-PL2 optionnal 11mm lens” if you are getting this, as it lets you get a little bit farther view.) So what does it do? Let me give you an example: YouTube - Giant Spider Sketch (Short Version) the times of the shots I used this lens for are 3:00, 3:04, and 3:07 I built a miniature road and put the spider on the road. That should show you how awesome this lens is. Due to the tiny lens, it will make any miniature look life size. Great for miniature filming as in the example you just witnessed, although for any of the other applications they claim "very suitable for recording the human face and arround hands at situations of surveillance" (whatever that means) it sucks. But it is a beautiful lens for a very specific situation, as I said, filming anything thats within 8mm of your lens.)


Your best bet is to get any of the "37mm filter sets" that carry a UV, Polarizer & FLD Filters, but those things are as common as people handing out dim sum flyers in chinatown, so I know that's not what you're wondering.
ND filters: New 37 ND Neutral Density ND2 ND4 ND8 Filter Set 37mm - eBay (item 370256758724 end time Nov-05-09 21:18:16 PST) there's an ebay place for it, but I would literally search "ND2 ND4 ND8 37mm" on google shopping and you'll probably find a nice kit.
The real gold find of the day, though is 37mm Special Effect Filter Set X6 - Photogearfinder this badboy. It comes with 4 pt. star, 8 pt. star, sand spot, soft spot, 3 image & 5 image filters, and man do they all look friggin beautiful. the 3 image and 5 image filters spin independently of the threading, which is handy. I don't know how, but the soft spot is more than amazing. You'll understand if you get it.
A day for night filter. I haven't bought this yet, but I've been told it works well. Formatt | 37mm Day for Night Monochrome 1 Glass | BF 37-1-MONOC
Last, but not least, is the +1 +2 +4 +10 Close-Up Macro lenses. I know they're lenses, but they come in a little filter pouch and are practically filters so I put them on here. They are great for filming things like bees and leaves up close. Don't confuse that with miniature filming as with the cony lens. They will focus very close, but they will not make the object appear bigger. That illusion is created by the small diameter of the lens of the pinhole lens. Digital Concepts +1 +2 +4 +10 Close-Up Macro Filter Set w/Pouch (37mm)

I think that's it. I mean, I know that's not it, but I think that's it for my patience in writing. So hopefully more people will contribute, or at least this will help someone looking for one of these things. :)
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Old November 12th, 2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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Post of the week... awesome job here, Sheldon!

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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:20 PM   #3
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yeah..nice job..Thanks
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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:07 AM   #4
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Really useful info as I've just bought an A1 with nothing but a tiny battery and an OEM charger. Even if you ask Sony if a VMC-15FS A/V cable is compatible they don't know! By a process of elimination I've come to the conclusion that it is, so have bought one off ebay.
My A1 came without the XLR block assembly (pn#A1133621A), and have been trying to source one with great difficulty so if anyone out there has one I'd be really grateful and give a good price for it. I don't want a box like a Beachtek that goes underneath the camera because I've built a matte box with rod mounts that goes on a VCT-U14 tripod QR plate. I will post pics of this when finished.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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Nice job on a good gear guide for all A1 users out there. We often use an HVR-A1 here at Schneider and this was useful.

As a side note, Schneider offer 3x3 filters at discount prices because of an over-stock situation. They are not widely advertised but if anyone is looking for 3x3 filters at a fair price for their matte box, send me an email and I will gladly forward a list available for purchase at any sponsor dealer.

Ryan Avery
Schneider Optics
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Old February 26th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #6
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Sony HVLIRM Infra red night shot light

I bought the HVR-A1 primarily for its infra-red capabilities, however the built-in lamp is not much use unless your subject is really close. However, Sony do produce a shoe-mounted infra-red light - Sony HVLIRM Infra red night shot light - which extends the range considerably. And being mounted above the lens, gives a better light direction. Of course, if you are serious about infra-red filming, there are other more powerful lamps that will do a better job over a greater distance.
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