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Sony HDR-HC1/HVR-A1 and housings


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#1 echeng

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 02:18 PM

Today, sony announced the HDR-HC1 HD camcorder, which is 1/2 the size and 1/3 the weight of the larger HDR-FX1 announced last year. It weighs 680 grams without a battery, and is scheduled to ship in July for a retail price of roughly 180,000 yen ($1,684). The HDR-HC1 uses a single CMOS sensor instead of using three, like the FX1 does.

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#2 pmooney

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 07:19 AM

Well done Sony - looking at this unit reminds me of the VX700 ( VX1000's little brother ).

Let's hope it has similar picture quality and reliabilty.

I have heard ( actually seen the pictures of models ) that sony intend to offer a consumer version DV/HDV and a DVCAM / HD version just like they offered with the first round of HDV offerings.

Having just spent 3 weeks pushing a a HDV-Z1 around in a Gates housing - It will be a welcome relief to shed all the weight that has just been thrust upon me. It reminded me so clearly why I was thrilled to get rid of my old housed BetaSP unit.



The picture quality of this unit will be at least the equal of the current batch of 3 chip offerings. Perhaps some folk who are more qualified than I can offer some technical comparision of the camera's in terms of output.

I am waiting for the call from Sony (MONDAY ) to get my hands on one of these little beauties to see if it will fit into a housing we already have.

I can't wait.

It might be a big call but I think THIS unit will be the next big thing in underwater video provided it lives up the the lineage before it.

Peter

#3 Drew

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:36 AM

Pmooney,
The gates housing a tad bit BIG? :o I'm about to test S&S's version for the sardine run since the S&S rep will be there. It's about the same size as the Gates but slightly lighter.
The pro version of the HC1 is the HVR-A1, with the usual XLR and DVCAM. Apparently it's going to go for $3500. Which is right against a FX1. The lineage would be the PD100 and PD10x. The PD100 was very nice but then the PD10 was not much of an improvement except for the near native 16:9. The A1 will be native 16:9 and if the SD from the Z1/FX1 is anything to go by, it should produce nice video in DV/SD. It's been said that a CMOS sensor has more dynamic range and the 1/3" sensor should help with low light. Then again the Z1/FX1 still can't beat the VX2k/PD170 for lowlight but once there's enough light it's much better.
There's more in the pipeline from Sony. I think there's lower priced models like HC7 etc to hit the $1200 range. The FX-1/Z1 is the snowball at the top of the mountain, HC1 just tipped it over the steep edge.... life is looking good for videographers. B)

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#4 pmooney

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 09:43 AM

Scubadru - let me qualify my statement.

I have been primarily a film / video guy for the past 15 years , I have an old housed Betacam SP unit and a Digi Betacam unit and assorted lenses to suit. also have a super 16 A Minimar from Aaton housed. I currently use my first AVID editing system as a footrest ( it takes turns with my rebreather ) , stills have been an annoying thing, until I started to shoot digital SLR'S - then they became an all consuming passion.

I have fond memories of Gates VX1000 offering ( in fact I still have 2 ). I had the first 3 housings from Gates of the new model ( they were ordered last october ).

I was that excited about this unit I ordered them before Gates had even become aware of the camera ( that's confidence for you ).

Still , once the excitement is gone and the moment has passed - this unit brings home some stark reality's.

The FX-1 / Z-1 is dimensionally a big camera , and as such requires a big housing.

I respect other peoples opinion's ( especially when they are spending their own money ) me I have spent mine and am simply putting my view forward.

In short the lack of bulk of the new units for the HC1 will push them into the preferred unit of choice , certainly at the prosumer level. ( Sony tells me this is the target - japanese comes in handy sometimes )


I will give you a update once I have had a close encounter with them next week as I expect them to be almost a direct fit in to some housings I already have.



Peter

#5 globaldiver

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:18 PM

Peter,

How is the HDV-Z1 under water in regards to light sensitivity? Is it a big difference compared to the PD-150/170?

Anders
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#6 Drew

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:36 PM

Peter
I hear you on the monster size. I was shooting with a Arri Super 16 for 2 days on a RIB and never wanted more than to leave it to sink into the deep after 5-7 dives a day.
It is a problem that the Z1/FX1 is a bigger camera than the VX/PD. But then again, its wider FOV and crisper video does make up for a lot.
Re the HC1, are you testing the pre-production samples that are available in Oz or production ones? I thought they were out in July? Anyhow there's lanc so any generic TRV housing should fit. Keep us informed.
PS my old Avid editing station( now happily serving as a learning computer in the Philippines somewhere) remnants include a 80GB SCSI III RAID that I paid WAY too much for in the 90s. I think my X RAID is still cheaper than what I paid for old system.

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#7 pmooney

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:49 PM

Anders,

The camera has performed fairly well in reasonable available light. The average conditions that I used it in were at best 20 meteres and then full of matter in the water column.

Where the camera really shined was in it's image quality when HID lighting was introduced to the equation.

I think the PD150 was a little better in low light ....... then it really hard to compare the two images as they are so different.


best

Peter

#8 pmooney

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:57 PM

Here is a image of the Pro version of the HC1 , it is called HVR-A1U.

The microphone has the same mounting system as the PD100/PDX10 units it replaces.

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#9 globaldiver

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 07:29 AM

The HVR-A1U looks like a really nice camera for diving. Especially with the 3mp photographic capability that is included with the unit. I am uppgrading to HD for land based projects and I wonder how well this one stands up to the Z1/FX1?

If it fairs really well this might be a better, and a lighter option to use both on land and under the water.

I looked at the Amphibico Phenom housing for the HVR-Z1U at the scuba show in Long Beach, and I must say that it is a beautiful and intelligently made housing. They are also planning sell a prism that you can mount over the window on top of the housing to eliminate the need for an external monitor. Low profile and very nice...
If I am deciding on a HVR-Z1U, this would be the housing to get. I am a strong Gates user and fan, but on this one Amphibico is on top IMHO.

Anders
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#10 globaldiver

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 07:47 AM

Another question about the HVR-A1U: will it, as its bigger brother HVR-Z1U, be able to record both in PAL and NTSC?

Anders
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#11 Drew

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:36 AM

No, that's the one thing that remains with the Z1. At $3500, the A1 is in competition with the FX1 as well. Will be interesting to see the quality compared to the FX1.

Another question about the HVR-A1U: will it, as its bigger brother HVR-Z1U, be able to record both in PAL and NTSC?

Anders

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#12 motionsync

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 10:18 AM

The most important question is teh MANUAL WHITE BALANCE button

I think that any UW camcorder must have it especially if you are filming with available Light and or & filters.

Now from what I know the white balance is on the HC1 like on the PC1000
only via touchscreen available .
Will be there a housing where we can do Manual white Balance with the Klick off on Button? Maybe via Lanc?
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#13 triswebb

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 07:58 AM

This thread is pretty old - but if anyone is still reading it...

Just got confirmation from Amphibico that they WILL be able to access manual white balance through LANC and hence there housing for this camera will offer it! Great news!

Cheers,

tristan

#14 Detonate

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 07:59 AM

WOW! I'd much prefer a grip mounted white balance control to the monkey business I need to go through to Manual White balance mine.

#15 wagsy

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:22 AM

From what I have been reading, from people doing side by side tests, the camera will not be as good as the FX1 in low light. Couple f stops up. However it's smaller size will be good for pushing it around underwater.

It will also be a good to have as an editing camera / batch capture to the computer instead of wearing out the FX1.

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#16 triswebb

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 02:41 AM

Quite right, I have read similar tests and it is clear the FX1 will be superior in many ways, BUT for those on a limited budget and looking to break into HD then I think this will be an ideal start. I’m now eagerly awaiting the price of any new housing that can offer white balance access. By scrimping and saving I can just about afford the camera - it’s going to be the housing price that’s the deciding factor!!

Does anyone have any news of potential prices from anyone?

Cheers,

Tris

#17 motionsync

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 04:10 AM

Prices in Sweden will be


FX1 ca 3500 euro
A1 ca 2800 euro
HC1 ca 1800 euro
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#18 triswebb

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 08:46 AM

Sorry - was talking about the price of housings :-)

cheers

#19 Drew

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 06:24 PM

Will be picking up an A1 next month. Will let you all know how it works compared to the Z1.
Btw here's a review of the HC1 by Doug Spotted Eagle.
http://www.sundancem...v_camcorder.htm

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#20 Reefkeep

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 08:24 AM

Picked up an HC1 this morning, first fish tank clip.



High definition Video 178 megs for 14

I spliced it with Adobe Premiere still figuring out how it works.