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HVRA1U HDV Camcorder image
 
(based on 54 ratings)
Brand: Sony
Located in: Professional Video, Video Cameras & Accessories, Prosumer Camcorders
The Sony HVR-A1U is the entry level HDV camcorder that records high definition video as well as DVCAM and DV standard-definition video. The camera uses a single three million pixel CMOS chip to capture images. The use of a CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) chip allows the camera to capture amazing high quality images while consuming less battery power and making the camera smaller overall. The Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP) a Sony created technology enables the camcorder to capture and process high-definition video and high resolution still images with the highest levels of contrast and detail.
Product Reviews Summary
Avg. Customer Rating:
 
4.3 stars
(based on 54 reviews)
89% of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Customers most agreed on the following attributes:

Pros:
Comfortable to operate(27), Durable(19), Great features(29), Great picture quality(34), Great sound(22)
Cons:
Inadequate features(6), Low-quality recordings(3), Uncomfortable(5)
Best Uses:
Documentaries(12), Editing(5), Family(4), HD shooting(12), Home movies(6)
Describe Yourself:
Casual user(3), Professional(11), Pro videographer(7), Semi-professional(7), Semi-pro videographer(9)
 
Excellent!!
By Payton is awesome from los alamps ca on 3/31/2009
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Editing, HD Shooting, Home Movies, Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

excellent this camcorder is one of the best i have ever used buy this camcorder

 
Great Camera for Outdoor Use
By cjcorlisVerified Reviewer from Las Vegas, NV on 3/18/2009
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls
Best Uses:
HD Shooting, Outdoor sports, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Casual User
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use this camera for shooting my kids outdoor sports and hunting and fishing. Very light, manuverable and easy to use. I love the touch screen and the menus are pretty simple to work thru after reading the instructions. In good light, the picture quaity is excellent. Make sure you are playing back on a 1080 tv and have the cables hooked up properly or you will be disapointed. I had my hooked up wrong at first. This is not an indoor camera. I tried it for my daughters dance rehersals and never had enough light to get very good recordings.

 
The cmos sensor is unrealible
By ScottVerified Reviewer from Westchester, New York on 2/23/2009
Cons:
Inadequate Features, Low-Quality Recordings, Uncomfortable
Best Uses:
Home Movies, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

My image sensor gave out the first time after my 3rd week of owning it. After 2 months before repairs it constantly had low light issues and now 2 years later the image sensor is acting up again. At the time this cam and jvc were the only two with hdv cams. Wish I had gotten the gl2 at the time or waited for panasonic or canon. Would be happier with the xh-a1. The sony consumer line has more durability than this so called prosumer cam once marketed as a pro camcorder.

 
Noisy HD in anything but direct sunlight
By JoshVerified Reviewer from Maryland on 2/23/2009
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable
Cons:
Inadequate Features, Low-Quality Recordings, Poor Battery Life
Best Uses:
Home Movies, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Video Enthusiast
Bottom Line:
No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

A nice camera overall, but the biggest problem the camera has is it's deceptive quality in low light situations. The image looks fantastic when ample light is used and the colors are vibrant. However, when light becomes low the camera will compensate by adjusting the gain. Not worth the money in my opinion. I use this camera for work, along with a JVC-HD200 and a Canon XH-A1. The A1U is a little bit more portable, but the XH-A1 has much better optics and is easier to use in comparison to the A1U's touch screen menu. Kick the extra $400 and get the Canon, you won't regret it.

 
Sony HVR-A1U HDV Camcorder
By Micah the LibrarianVerified Purchaser from Plymouth, MI on 2/4/2009
Pros:
Great Features, Interfaces with Mac, Simple Controls, Versatile
Cons:
Inadequate Lens
Best Uses:
Classes, Documentaries, Editing, HD Shooting
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use the Sony HVR-A1U to film classes and create professional DVDs. The camcorder works great and interfaces perfectly with my iMac. The camcorder is very portable and user friendly, which makes it ideal for professors and other school staff to use without my supervision. The one drawback of the camcorder is that the lens used does not provide as sharp of an image as I anticipated.

 
Small / Good Quality Image
By Hector HuyoVerified Purchaser from Miami,Fl. on 1/20/2009
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable
Cons:
Sound could be better
Best Uses:
Church Announcements, DVD Training Series
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Our little workhorse, quick setup, small to travel and manouver. Our previous one got stolen and after shopping around ended up buying the same one.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Love it - HVRA1U
By indianfl85Verified Purchaser from Ocala, FL on 12/4/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This camera is out of the box ready. I was amazed by the ease of use. The picture is fantastic. One of my favorite features is the XLR mic port & mic that comes with it. It as an extra shoe for another external mic if needed. I would recommend this camera to anyone! We are actually planning on getting a couple more for our school.

 
Small & powerful like a midget wrestler
By Lars the Video TrollVerified Purchaser from Monroe NY on 11/29/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls
Best Uses:
Documentaries, HD Shooting, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

It often surprises me what Sony can pack into a small housing. I've been behind a viewfinder more than half my life and never worked with such a small camera that produced such a big image. The touch menu option on the pull-out LCD screen is very helpful, especially when shooting on the run in a dark environment - no fiddling with flashlights to tweak anything between shots. The tape access is a PITA if you're on a tripod, but I picked up a plate adapter to allow tape changes that doesn't seem to compromise camera stability. It's SO light!

 
Great Camera for the price!!
By Nick Bibbo from Denver, New york. on 11/26/2008
Pros:
Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Cons:
Bad in low light 8 lux
Best Uses:
Documentaries, HD Shooting, Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I recently had the Canon GL1 and thought it was time to upgrade to Hi-Def. After reading about 30 customer and 20 pro reviews it was the only camera that was offered pro features and great image quality worth way more then the price. It is all because of the CMOS sensor the camera uses. It consumes less power, less money to produce, better image quality then CCD and does not smear light. Some people say it's a consumer camera because it only has a one chip sensor instead of three like a CCD sensor but a CMOS sensor is a lot different then a CCD. A single chip CMOS sensor is three mega-pixels just like three CCD chips. It should be considered a pro camera instead of a consumer camera.
OK; now what the camera can do..... It has a touch screen which is handy but you have to keep wiping it off because it smudges easily. The personalized menu is a great idea; you can have all your most used items at a touch away. The cineframe and cinematone features are a good idea if you want your movies to have a more professional Hollywood look to them. The picture quality in good light is almost identical the image quality of the Sony Z1U which cost $4,000 and that's really amazing!! The low light performance is not that good, this is a downside of the CMOS sensor. I really like the exposure lever, one strange thing is that the camera does not give exposure increments like F1.6 ..... F2.6 it just gives you a bar. Three quarters of the bar is for exposure and the last quarter of the bar is gain which digitally brightens the picture and makes the picture real grainy. Just make sure you adjust the exposure manually in dark places and turn the gain off by not going to the last quarter of the bar. It has some other great features and that I'm not going to go in to but you can read about them on this page. One other thing is that this camera is quite compact and I am really amazed at the picture quality that it takes.
Over all it is great camera and a good choice for any one who needs a good Hi-Def camera for a low price.
Looks amazing on a 70" plazma HDTV!
If you have an extra $1200 go with the Sony Z5U coming out in December. Amazing in low light 1.5 lux.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Excellent Value
By ChristopherVerified Reviewer from San Diego, CA on 11/25/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I bought the A1U because I wanted more portability than my Z1U for carrying around, going on hiking trips, and traveling with, as well as getting pretty reliable hand-held b-roll footage.Before purchasing, I actually took the dimensions and cut out a paper prototype to determine if the size difference was going to really matter. (It does!) When I finally got the cam, I was initially shocked and disappointed. The A1U is practically the same size as a $500 consumer camcorder. It seemed like a foolish decision until I started to use it... that's when I discovered this is a GREAT camera! It's low-profile and mostly non-intimidating (the optional external mic setup scares some people)... and best of all, easy to tote around. Sure, the picture quality isn't as sharp as my Z1U and a lot of the manual functions I enjoy are not available or buried within the menu structure, but hello, this is a super-compact prosumer machine. For the value, it's perfect.For professional use, not many corporate clients are likely to take you seriously if you're just showing up with an A1U (because it looks like a $500 cam). That doesn't mean you can't educate the client about how it's still the top edge of technology and the real mastery comes in post-production.I also see the low-profile nature of this camera as a huge benefit. Thieves and opportunists do not need to be able to recognize that the A1U is a pricey item. They're thinking they can get about $200 to $300 for it if they mug me... and usually, that's not worth the fight I'll put up. So, this aspect is great for a little more peace of mind. (Try lugging around a Z1U, it gets LOTS of attention.) The buttons and menu features are different than what I'm used to, but I picked it up pretty quickly.The only real downside is a loss of sharpness in comparison to the bigger HDV cameras, but it's not the end of the world. Any pro-grade editing suite has filters and tricks to easily pop up the sharpness (I edit with Avid Media Composer). The loss of sharpness incidentally makes a lot of women prettier in HD, so every downside can be good!

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Don't let the size fool you!
By Big Sam from Oklahoma City, OK on 11/20/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Cons:
Location of Battery
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use this for shooting weddings and pageants. When I first got it, I thought that the quality wouldn't be to where I needed it to be because of its size. But when I shoot weddings and I'm shooting off hand, it fits in the palm of my hand perfectly and i have so much control and my shots are steady.

 
It is great to deal with professionals.
By BobVerified Purchaser from Whitehorse, Yukon on 11/17/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound
Best Uses:
Documentaries, HD Shooting, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I was ready to buy the same camera from Zoomania for $ 350 less, but pick up some bad vibes on the phone. Their record on the web was not all good either. I had ordered from B&H before and I am glad I did again. [...] the camera is great.

 
Cool
By cgbierVerified Reviewer from Saipan, USA on 10/26/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Picture Quality, Versatile
Cons:
Poor Battery Life
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I am doing documentation of agricultural research and education with that camera and have to travel a lot on puddle jumpers. Therefore, this compact camera is a gem.
I love the XLR connectors, picture quality (needs good light, though) and the flip up view finder, sound is not too bad.

I've used a Canon XL1s before. The Sony blows the Canon out of the water picture-wise.

Dislikes: I'd like to have a numerical readout for the Iris, too much delving into menus (understandable for a camera of that size), lens could be a bit wider. Get extra batteries!

 
Small Footprint Big Picture
By Charlie T NoseVerified Purchaser from Texas on 10/24/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Versatile
Best Uses:
HD Shooting, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

A high quality picture in a small package. Sony continues to make smaller cameras that produce outstanding picture quality

 
"I so happy with the results"
By bushwomanVerified Purchaser from ALBANY, NEW YORK on 10/23/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, User Friendly, Versatile
Best Uses:
Charitable shooting, Documentaries, Editing, HD Shooting, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I like the clarity of the movie result and the sound system is just great"

 
Great quality and easy to learn
By Art DirectorVerified Purchaser from Ocala, Florida on 10/15/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Advertising Videos, HD Shooting
Describe Yourself:
Casual User
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is a fantastic product. We are an in-house marketing group and use this camcorder for online video and videos on large lcd screens in our sales center. The quality has been fantastic. The technology is easy to use and so far we have not been disapointed with any aspect of this product.

 
Extremely nice little camera
By Keith from Louisiana on 10/13/2008
Pros:
Great Picture Quality, Great Sound
Cons:
Inadequate Features
Best Uses:
Editing, HD Shooting, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I started a job that has the HVR, and it took a matter of minutes to go over it and find what I needed to operate it. If you've used Sony's DV camera's this one will be very familiar to you. The picture quality is great.
On the other hand the iris control (exposure) is less than desirable for a professional, and it took awhile to find the tape slot. It is on the bottom of the camera which makes changing tapes a bit difficult if your have to use a tripod with a plate on the bottom of the camera. Of course the zoom control is consumer grade, so you must deal with that when trying to do a slow zoom. The LCD monitor does not seem to be true to color. I've noticed a difference after loading the video to edit. However it does have a manuel focus, and xlr inputs for professional mics. The camera is very compact & would be a great companion for traveling. Much smaller than the DSR series.

[14 of 14 customers found this review helpful]

 
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By Dan MasucciVerified Reviewer from New York on 10/10/2008
Pros:
Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Okay, this is going to be long but bear with me if you are considering buying this camera. I bought this camera because I make short films that I screen at film festivals. The last two that I made were shot on- God love it- the Panasonic HVX200 capturing straight to hard drive and have screened all over the world. When I'm able to attend some of the fests, I have never been disappointed with the quality on screen. That camera is amazing but it's not mine. I wanted to buy a set up that would not break the bank so I bought the Sony HVR A1U and support gear that brought my total to around $4000. I read every single review here and some more online. I watched great trailers for the documentary "At War" which was shot with the A1U and thought the footage looked great.So now that I have the camera, I've been shooting and here is my assessment. If you want a cinematic look don't go with the Cine24 mode (24 frames per second simulation). It would be good for action sequences if you enjoy the look of the fights during Gladiator. I prefer the Cine30 mode which looks more like film- with the video edge gone.The Good:Shoot outdoors during the day - and even toward evening too for best results. Man, I hooked the camera up to my 42" television and the quality looked as good as Discovery HD. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little but the quality and detail was amazing. The auto settings work great but I like that you can tweak things to your own liking. The lens is great and the macro tele focus is fantastic. Another cool feature is while you are playing back your footage, if you hit the photo button it will capture a frame and transfer it to the memory stick. The pics are almost 2MB so they are great for stills for online or even 4X6. Also, I don't mind the touch screen menu for manual controls. Sony makes it very user friendly and even those not technically competent can figure this camera out. I've always found that to be the case with Sony products. Another thing I like is that you capture to tape. Working with hard drives has been sketchy and caused problems. I know the quality is better and I'd like to buy the hard drive adaptor for this camera so I could record to the drive and to tape at the same time.I'm going to skip the Bad and head for the Ugly first if you don't mind...The Ugly:Can't believe no one mentions this in their review... There is no handle like larger Sony models. That is extremely useful but the size of this camera prohibits that I suppose. The XLR audio input device and shotgun mike have to be attached. No biggie. Also, I've heard a number of people complain about the bottom loading tape system. No worries, just pick up the Cavision RPSHC Spacer for Smaller Camcorders. It's cheap and takes care of that problem.Now...The Bad:I've heard it time and again on reviews for the A1U. It performs poorly in low light. I used to have a small one chip Sony camcorder for family use back in 1999 and it wasn't the best under low light but it could be manipulated in Final Cut getting it in good shape. This camera may perform a bit worse that my old Sony I'm sad to say. I haven't brought the footage into Final Cut but I know it can be worked with. There are some serious low light shots in the At War documentary that look good. But if you are shooting indoors, you need to introduce some serious light to avoid chatter. That's really the Achilles heel of this product. They should have put at least one 1/2" cmos ship in the camera.I bought the Century Optics wide angle lens and the Cavision matte box and rod system. I'd recommend that if you're making indie films with this camera so you can use multiple filters without having to screw any on.I bought the A1U while the rebate was in effect so getting an HDV camera for under 2K (one that the folks from CNN in L.A. run with) was great. I'm happy with my purchase but I can't give it more than 3 stars just yet. Hope this helps some of you with your decision.

 
Great Camera
By MichaelVerified Purchaser from Jacksonville, Fl on 9/30/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls
Best Uses:
Home Movies, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Casual User
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is my first video camera for my first video class in collage. The camera has all the features I need. I was very surprised to find that the LCD screen was a touch screen, which makes field shooting very convenient. The shotgun mic is probably my favorite accessory mainly because it picks up extraordinary audio and few other cameras come with their own microphone.

 
Great Camera
By Dee SeeVerified Purchaser from Wichita, KS on 9/23/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Versatile
Cons:
Bad Tape Exchange Design
Best Uses:
Conference Church Event, Documentaries, HD Shooting, Home Movies, Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-pro Videographer
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is a wonderful camera, great quality recording and the XLR inputs on a model of this price are wonderful. We recorded video announcements for a recent conference and used a wireless lapel mic with outstanding results. We also used the camera to record the conference and plugged the PA system into the camera. It works great, the only negative I have found is the design of the tape door. You have to completely remove the tripod attachment to eject the tape. This is very annoying when you have to change tapes quickly, e.g. in the middle of one conference speaker. Overall it's a great camera for the price

 
Great options with this camera
By ultragirlVerified Purchaser from Dallas, TX on 9/13/2008
Pros:
Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Documentaries, Editing, HD Shooting, Home Movies, Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Video Enthusiast
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Recently purchased this camera for short video editing and am enjoying it. Good audio quality. Good flexibility to shoot in HD or SD. Can also output HD as DV. User friendly. It is heavier than other small cameras I have used, and a little more difficult to hold steady, but I hope that will improve with additional practice by me.

 
Amazing features in a small package
By PaulVerified Purchaser from Falls Church, VA on 9/4/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Simple Controls
Best Uses:
Special Events, Sports, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

We use the camera for shooting aircraft. The light weight is a great help in being able to track fast moving objects. Simplicity of the controls are helpful in working in an environment of fast changing conditions. We understand the reason that many of the controls have to be accessed on the touch screen, but that takes some getting used to. The most negative feature is the bottom loading tape which requires a spacer (not available from Sony) if the camera is mounted in a normal manner.

[11 of 11 customers found this review helpful]

 
A Truly AMAZING camcorder!
By Knapper Charles from Albuquerque, NM on 7/26/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

You already know that this is a great unit. Here are ways to make it even better! First, let's quit griping about "bottom loading"! That's the way it is--perhaps it was necessary to jam all those goodies into it. But that is not the way it has to be!! I made my own spacer, but you can buy an excellent one from B&H# CARPSHC. I keep my tripod quick-release on the spacer permanently. Tapes pop out easily.
Next, to improve stability, I bought two Smith Vector mounting brackets (B&H SMTR56) and an 8" straight bracket. With one on each side, I can adjust the balance perfectly & have my hands about 18" apart for rock-solid stability. The brackets also hold my full complement of microphones and lights (I never put any accessory on the camera shoe with the exception of the XLR adaptor).
Finally, that lovely lens cover has to come off forever. I simply would not dream of shooting with an unprotected primary lens. I screw a simple UF filter into the lens and then attach a step-up ring to use filters that I have from XLl-1 days. I also use a standard sunshade and lens cover.
I have worked in professional sound since the 1970's and in video not long after. I shoot all the video for Opera Southwest and have completely converted to HDV which I edit on Final Cut Pro. I have use many, many camcorder over the years, and this one tops them all.

 
Everything we expected
By ClaraVerified Purchaser from Paris on 7/15/2008
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

It was everything we expected. The most compact prosumer HD camcorder. There are some design problems, given the extreme compactness, but we were aware of that in advance

[1 of 6 customers found this review helpful]

 
Poor choice
By RGVerified Purchaser from Houston, TX on 7/12/2008
Pros:
Great Picture Quality
Cons:
Complicated To Operate, Inadequate Features, Low-Quality Recordings, Uncomfortable
Best Uses:
Family
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Used for one wedding, menu driven, not easy to adjust quickly. Doesn't work well in low light. Good picture if the light is right and not too much movement. I returned mine. Kept shutting off while videoing. Buy something else.

 
Good camera, slight and with many possib
By javogarciVerified Purchaser from mexico on 7/3/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Versatile
Cons:
Flimsy Construction
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use for documentary cinema, it is possible to load all the time to the shoulder and in a comfortable way

[2 of 2 customers found this review helpful]

 
Great camera except for few major issues
By KiltyVerified Purchaser from Cleveland, Ohio on 6/28/2008
Pros:
Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Versatile
Cons:
Complicated To Operate, Inadequate Features
Best Uses:
Family, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

The picture quality is great. The audio ability is superior for the size of the camera. However, who designed the tape eject door and button to be underneath the camera? If you put the camera on a tripod...which I assume most professionals would do...it is a major hassle to switch tapes. I have to remove the plate to get the tape out. It's fine if you have time but can lead to hunching over in the brush trying to use a coin to turn the screw, to remove the plate, to get the tape out, to put the plate back on.

Finding the manual exposure button quickly and use it without a jerky exposure bounce, is nearly impossible.

All else seems great. The wide angle creates some very nice compositions.

[0 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Nice Camcorder
By DannyVerified Purchaser from Garland, TX on 6/25/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Picture Quality, Versatile
Cons:
Poor Sound
Best Uses:
Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I am using this camcorder for some wedding videography and it works great. The only concern is the bottom load for the tapes. If you are on a tripod you have to remove the camcorder from the tripod to change tapes. And the boom mic is not that great.

 
A Great Camera at a Great Price
By SharpieVerified Purchaser from Dunedin, FL on 6/24/2008
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Sexy, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Sports, Travel, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

The Sony HVRA1U is a great little camera. It's powerful lense is crystal clear, and the ease of use is perfect for a beginner or experienced a/v geek. Everything arrived as promised and in one piece, thanks to B&H.

 
Big bang for the buck
By DANNVerified Purchaser from NY on 6/16/2008
Pros:
Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound
Cons:
Uncomfortable
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Sports, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

As an Indie film maker this camera is a perfect starter pro camera. Its compact size packs a lot of features including HDV. The quality is unbeatable for the price. Only downfall is it is bit difficult to hold comfortably.

 
Excelent product and very good price
By zaidasVerified Purchaser from Ontaro, CA on 6/11/2008
How long have you owned it:
A month or less
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Family, Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Sports, Travel, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Very nice & small product but power full features.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Great Camera
By DaJa Vu FilmsVerified Purchaser from Florida on 6/10/2008
How long have you owned it:
More than six months
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Versatile
Cons:
Difficult Tape Removal, Small Display
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Sports, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I like most everything about this camera. I have been using it for about two years. I have used it for videography projects as well as film work. It works so well that I recently purchased a second one.

The only problem that I really have with this camera is that the tapes load from under the tripod mount, so every time you change tapes you have to undo the mount.
Also, the LCD display does not show all that is actually recorded, because it is too small, but this can be fixed by buying a portable LCD monitor.

 
It's so easy to use.
By EugeneVerified Reviewer from Ohio on 6/7/2008
How long have you owned it:
More than six months
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use my HVRA1U to shoot business videos, local cable commercials from time to time and, for an online show I produce on youtube. I really like the camera. It's easy to learn to use and isnt big and bulky. Sometimes the small size makes some people think of it as a less professional camera but, just add the wide angle lens with a cavision lens hood, put it on a spiderbrace with the big battery and it looks about as menacing as any prosumer camera. The bonus is I can take all of that off and I'm still shooting in the same HD quality. Low light performance can be an issue but, if its that dark you'd better be looking for some lighting no matter what camera youre using. Of course if it gets pitch black then the supernightshot mode can have you filming from 50 feet away at midnight. Its built like a little tank, just as sturdy as can be. I wish Sony would have come out with a new version of the A1U instead of going the bigger route with the 1000U.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Brilliance in a tiny package!
By JVerified Reviewer from Corvallis, OR on 6/3/2008
How long have you owned it:
Three-to-six months
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Picture Quality, Simple Controls, Versatile
Cons:
Inadequate Features
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Travel, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I run a small videography company and use an A1U as a backup camera to a Sony FX-1. The A1U can match the significantly-superior FX-1 in good lighting conditions; the footage (SD and HD) is nearly indistinguishable. The A1U does suffer in low-light in comparison to its bigger brother model, but for size-versus-output, this camera is unbeatable. And let me tell you, using the FX-1 for awhile and then switching to the A1U is crazy -- a good ten pounds' difference with attachments; the A1U feels like nothing at all. It's great on the arms, wonderful for video quality, and, bang for your buck, a solid investment.

*I do recommend replacing the default Sony shotgun that comes with the A1U. I switched mine out for a 7" ATR875R mic ($200 @ B&H) and haven't gone back. Audio is noticeably improved, although still more than reasonable with the bundled mic.

*Also note that this is not a manual user's dream. The manual controls on this piece are severely limited when compared to more expensive models. Some controls are, of course, present, but I find I generally achieve better results leaving it mostly on auto.

[3 of 3 customers found this review helpful]

 
What A Great Bargain!
By Retired cameramanVerified Purchaser from Chapel Hill, NC on 5/13/2008
How long have you owned it:
One-to-three months
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Simple Controls, Versatile
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I bought this camera with the intention of using it for some planned documentaries. I now find myself using it to shoot footage for a cable TV program my wife co-hosts. The footage, when down rezed, even cuts great with their Sony studio cameras. I was a motion picture cameraman for years and I sure wished I had something like this instead of the 100lb BNC's. Picture quality is superb when burned to Blu-Ray disc. Even though the camera is incredibly small, it is very professional looking with the XLR attachment installed. Yet, you can remove the lens shade and audio adaptor and it looks like you are shooting home video and you don't attract any attention. I never thought I'd see video like this from a single chip camera - but no one would ever know it wasn't a 3 chip.

I never liked menu driven cameras before, but the touch screen makes this one very easy to use. The personal menu function is icing on the cake and the assign button tops it all off.

A small, inexpensive adaptor that is available even compensates for Sony's biggest goof ever - the bottom load tape. If you want to get into HD without the expense of an EX1, this camera is the way to go. You will NOT be ashamed of the footage

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Amzing Camera Worth the Money
By Gray Door StudioVerified Purchaser from Union City, NJ on 5/8/2008
How long have you owned it:
One-to-three months
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Durable, Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Simple Controls
Cons:
Small Size
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Music Videos, Special Events, Sports, Weddings
Describe Yourself:
Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

My partners and I have a small studio in NJ and we bought this camera to be our back up camera. After using it for a few projects it has become our main camera. It performs well gives a sharp image and performs well in low light. the accessories for it are affordable on a tight budget. The menus are easy to read and figure out and the lcd screen is bright and easy on the eyes. it responds well to final cut and imovie and is well worth every penny.

My only complaint about the camera is it's size. it is very small and looks like it as a consumer camera. i have had to buy many accessories to make bigger.

if you are an indi film maker or if you are part of a small production company i highly recommend this camera

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Simple, Easy to Use Camera
By That one GuyVerified Purchaser from Bloomington, IN on 5/1/2008
How long have you owned it:
A month or less
Pros:
Comfortable to Operate, Great Picture Quality, Simple Controls, Versatile
Cons:
Small Frame
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Sports, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

For the professional who is looking to keep the camera out of site, to the person on a tight budget, this camera is an excellent choice. The bottom-mount tape loading mechanism is a pain, but an inconvenience at most. The camera does suffer a little bit in low-light venues, but still looks good on a 52" DLP. I've only shot in the HDV mode, and it produces the same results as the HVR-Z1U. The P-Menu on the touch screen takes a little getting used to, but once customized, the camera is a breeze to setup and start using. However, the touch screen will get dirty quickly, the use of a screen guard or a stylus is highly recommended.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Great LITTLE camera
By rickeiVerified Purchaser from Myrtle Beach, SC on 4/15/2008
How long have you owned it:
A month or less
Pros:
Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Versatile
Cons:
Uncomfortable
Best Uses:
Family, Movies/Short Films
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is a very nice camera. It is my first HDV camera, and I am very impressed with the quality. The only reason I would not rate it as perfect, is it's small size... almost too small for my purposes... plus I have large hands which makes it a little clumsy for me to operate, but it's small size could be a real advantage for some people.
The XLR inputs are a big plus and work beautifully

 
Great Camcorder!
By Squirrel Productions from merrick ny on 2/1/2008
How long have you owned it:
One-to-three months
Pros:
Great Features, Great Picture Quality, Great Sound, Versatile
Cons:
Uncomfortable
Best Uses:
Movies/Short Films, Special Events, Travel
Describe Yourself:
Semi-Professional
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

good quality,great sound but the tripod mount a little to far back making the camera a little top heavy on a tripod. I would Recommend putting the tripod shoe a little farther back.

[3 of 3 customers found this review helpful]

 
Best prosumer small HDV cam on the market.
By Simba from New York, NY on 11/16/2007

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I purchased two of these in early 2007 when upgrading to HD for my video productions. It came down to a choice between two A1's or one Z1, and I'm glad I went with the A1's. The quality is virtually identical to the Z1 (and in situations where it isn't, it's easily fixed in Final Cut), only in a much smaller camera with excellent battery life. I primarily shoot exotic car rallies and events, and the tiny size of the A1 makes it the only camera of its kind which I can easily use in small Lamborghini and Ferrari cockpits, while maintaining good audio and control features. It's not a perfect camera, but it's pretty darn close, and by far the best to be had at this price point. If you need a small HDV camera for use in high vibration (vehicle, etc) environments, I've found nothing better on the market.

Expertise: Professional

Problems Encountered: Lens hood needs to be redesigned to support filters. This camera needs a UV filter in very bright summer environments. XLR audio input module is great, but the camera-side connector for Sony's oddball hot shoe plug is too short, so it's not easily repositioned when vertical camera height is an issue. I had to fabricate a 90 degree hot shoe bracket to mount the module sideways on the camera for use in very tight spaces with a remote mic. Could really use another assign button and a split focus/zoom ring, though very tough to do on a camera this small.Included mic isn't the greatest, but one can't really expect Sony to include a $500 shotgun with a $2,500 camera.

Previous Equivalent Item Owned: Canon XL1

Items I Recommend: Better quality shotgun mic, good wind sock, biggest battery you can find, Sony digital master tapes.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
It's all been said here before - just my two cents
By Siuco from Burnaby, Canada on 7/19/2007

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I'm a freelance Betacam SP operator and have shot on true 2/3 HD cameras. This little wonder is amazing in well lite situations, and marginal in low light indoor applications. But for the price, it's expected.If you are new to HDV, on a limited budget, or just need a light, portable HDV camera this is hard to beat. Especially now since they are a couple years old, one could be had fairly cheap used (they do have an hour meter built in, so you can check it's usage before buying).It would make a great second or third camera locked down during a wedding shoot or live music video. Or mounted on a long boom or jib.Bottom load is a bummer, but if you use the firewire it's not a big deal. Battery life is good with the big battery. With today standards, it was a camera ahead of it's time. Bottom line, you can't go wrong for the price. You'll be happy with the beautiful image it produces, and it's easy to carry with you anywhere, and not have security tell you to Shut it down!

Expertise: Professional camera op

Problems Encountered: Bottom load tapelow light image is quite noisy and poor auto focusoperator needs to have a steady hand for satisfactory resultsproprietory lens hood or nothing.

Previous Equivalent Item Owned: Sony DXC-D35, Canon XL1, Xl1s, XL2, GL2, TRV-25, BVP-7

Items I Recommend: wide lens adapter, Steadicam Merlin, Chrosziel matte box with filters

[2 of 2 customers found this review helpful]

 
Best bang for the buck
By D K Jones from Indianapolis, IN on 6/13/2007

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I'm a middle-aged woman, this cam a dream to use & a major upgrade from my previous hardware. i got my camera over a year ago & it has performed like a champ, like a much more expensive cam. i shoot shorts, event video & don't have a huge budget. though i'd like another assign button, this cam has all the features i require. it is small enough that it works w/ my existing tripods, Sony LANC zoom controller & connects directly to my DP G5 & Final Cut w/ no problems. as is the case w/ many small cams w/ small image sensors, this cam needs sufficient light to produce good images.while it's no $120,00.00 CineAlta cam package, the video is spectacular for the price. i'd recommend this cam to anyone looking to upgrade their shooting hardware, get into Hi-Def production on a modest budget or add a 2nd Hi-Def cam to their arsenal. Sony has given those w/ lo-$$ a winner!!

Problems Encountered: Bottom tape load is a downer & needs at least 1 more assign button. would be nice if hood attachment wasn't on lens so one could have filters w/ hood attached. would like a 12x optical zoom.

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: Sony trv-33 consumer MiniDV(x3)

Items I Recommend: tripod, ND filter, high-capacity battery

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Don't let the size fool you!
By Altair Castro from Caracas, Venezuela on 5/24/2007

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I love this camera! I work in different tv programs inVenezuela, one of them is about tourism and off road, andthis is the camera that can be in any risk situation withoutany concern about image quality. The shoots are amazing andgives chance for any crazy idea for any angle. We'vetraveled the whole country and now we're about to star aroad trip from Caracas to 70% of Colombia on a motorcycle.And yes, my A1 is gonna be there! Perfect companion for the Z1

Problems Encountered: Not enough manual controls

Items I Recommend: Sony NP-QM91D, Sony ACV-Q50 AC Power Adapter / Charger, Sony HVL-LBP LED Light System

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Better than expected
By Driving sports from Kirkland, WA on 2/27/2007

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Camera is one of several cameras we use to shoot a motoringprogram for iTunes and local cable TV. Especially whencovering performance rally events -- which involves hikingseveral miles into forest to find good locations -- thislittle camera has worked wonderfully in very harshconditions. Originally we had planned to add a Z1U next, butmay add two more A1Us for roughly the same price. (Whenshooting live events you can never have too many cameras.)

Problems Encountered: External audio control is a no-brainer--all serious camerasshould have it: Menu-driven control isn't sufficient duringrun-and-gun activities. Bottom tape loading was a poor designchoice.

Items I Recommend: NP-QM71D Info-Lithium Batterys (X2), Pelican Case, Sennheiser G2 Wireless Mic Sysem

[0 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
The Best Camera I've ever had
By Anonymous from So Cal on 11/29/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is a nothing short of perfect for everything, from Home Movies. to Broadcast Ready Projects...Thanks Sony;

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Nice Little Camera
By Joe from USA on 11/15/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I purchased this camera some months ago, but used it verylittle until just recently. I use a mono-pole with a beltholder for stabilization (and to reduce fatigue). I've usedit to shoot a well lit art show, which produced beautifulimages. I've also used it to shoot a not so well lit partyin the City. In fact, the lighting was more like a rockshow, so it wasn't really that it was bad lighting, justcompletely uncontrollable. Even there the A1 performed verywell. I did find myself riding the exposure and dragging theshutter a bit, but the images really didn't suffer thatmuch. Yes, there was more grain in the lower light, but itcertainly wasn't unusable.There was trouble in the auto-focus in the lower light, butI really try to focus manually as much as possible. I dolike the response of the focus ring, it's fairly tight,unlike some other cameras at this level.I have also become a fan of the programmable touch-screenmenus, which makes field configuration much easier.It would be nice to have the audio levels right up front,but again, if you set up the menus, it can be one/two clicksaway.I found the audio acceptable from the on-cam xlr, but manuallevel control, stationary wireless mic or better on-cam micwould help tremendously.Auto WB is very good, really surprisingly good, even in acolor changing environment (lighting).I have yet to use black stretch or the cinema modes, but Iplan to do some tests very soon.Overall I love this camera, and with a dimmer light/batterykit, you'd never have to worry about low-light grain again.As far as HDV capture, an hour of HDV is approx. 13 Gig,which is the same as an hour of standard DV. I find noperformance hit on my system (G5 Dual 2.7). Rendering is adifferent story. It takes nearly twice as long to render asequence now. But, that's the price you pay for high-rez.However, rendering a reference clip (dependant) takes justminutes (if you stay native), and that clip can be importedinto AfterEffects (or whatever) and be used just as afully-rendered, self-contained clip.Anyway, it's great technology and it's only going to get better.Highly recommended.

Problems Encountered: Bottom tape feed, especially when on mono or tri-pod.Lens hood should be separate from lens cap. There should bean alternate option for lens cap.Can't use UV filter with the lens hood attached.Sound quality (MPEG) needs work.Viewfinder is not adjustable (big batteries make it unusable)HDV should be capable of going back to tape after capture/edit

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: Canon XL-1, GL-2

Items I Recommend: Light/Battery kit

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Horrible in low light, HDV format is dodgy
By Josh from Boston on 11/14/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

This is a nice camera if you're shooting in plenty of light and have a very fast computer for editing with A LOT of hard drive space.

Problems Encountered: The picture is very grainy in low light, and the autofocus pretty much ceases to function in even the slightest bit of darkness (as a matter of fact, even when there's enough light, the AF is pretty slow). The camera has no manual gain and the HDV format gave me a lot of problems with FCP on a Macbook Pro, plus it takes up an unreasonably high amount of hard drive space. After two months I sold this camera and bought a Panasonic DVX100b, and haven't looked back. If you're dead set on getting a Sony HDV camera, get one with 3 CCD. The CMOS chip is absolute not good.

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: Sony PD-150

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Great Value in a Small Package
By Wesley from Ann Arbor, Michigan on 9/26/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Camcorder gives excellent results for the price. Compares favorably with the imaging of the HVR-Z1U except in low-light. Its small size is a dream-come-true. The manual iris adjust is conveniently placed with its companion enabling button. The menu intense design keeps the button count low.

Problems Encountered: Battery changing is a hassle when using a tripod.Need to get a matt box if you really want to use a filter together with the lens hood. Otherwise you have no lens cap other than the filter.Auto-focus is slow responding in low-light.Low-light capabilities not as good as the HVR-Z1UNeed a battery charger unless you are content to charge the batteries from the camcorder itself.View-finder has limited motion such that its use is cumbersome when a large battery is being used.

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: GL-2, HVR-Z1U

Items I Recommend: Battery charger and spare batteries

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Best buy to date
By Sean from Ohio, USA on 9/3/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I purchased my HVRA1U about a year ago. It fulfilled all my expectations. The high definition, and still shots have amazing quality. It seems to get decent battery life. The touch screen seems a little annoying at first, but once you set up your camera, you don't really have to mess with it again. I have heard that the attached mic is where costs were cut with this camera but I have found it to have good quality pickup. The color is great. I was amazed at how well the auto white balance works. There is an option to manually balance it, but it's easier to avoid the touch-screen. I did not realize this until after I purchased the camera, high-definition video (1080i)seems to take about four times as long to render as standard definition. -- That is just from personal experience, I do not know if it's completely true.

Problems Encountered: The bottom feed system is a hassle. The mic volume level is difficult to adjust. The camera is very front heavy - results in a terrible strain on the wrist if not using a tripod. Does not have ANY convenient programing functions other than the toggle between auto and manual focus. It also has a fixed lens. This is to be expected with a smaller camera, but seems like it would have been an easy fix in the design of this one.

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: I have worked with canon gl1s and gl2s

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Great Camcorder for the price!
By Anonymous from Undisclosed on 8/15/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

The image quality of this camera is fantastic. It is significantly better than the PD-170 which I also own. The sharpness of the image, the detail, color, is far better than I ever would've imagined for the price. It is not great in low light, but it is very easy to tell even on the LCD at which point the image quality falls off. Highly recommended! Bottom loading is not the best but it is worth it for its portable size.

Problems Encountered: Low light quality drop off.

 
Memorable trip to the Grand Canyon
By Joey from Capistrano Beach, CA on 7/28/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

My wife and I recently celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary by hiking the grand canyon from the south rim to the Colorado river at the bottom. Beside food and water I took my new HVR-A1U HDV video camera purchased from B&H. During our hike down and back out I took about 45 minutes of video and 80 still photos. With such a great subject how could I go wrong. The footage looked great while shooting and as reviewed on the camera monitor, but it was not until I connected the camera to our HDTV that the quality of this cameras capabilities shined through. As friends watched they simply could not believe that this little camera captured what they were watching; incredible just does not describe the clarity this camera is capable of capturing, but you need an HDTV to truly experience the HD footage on the Sony HD tape. The camera is very small and light which is great if you are hiking it 10 miles up a mountain or canyon-side, but small and light takes a little getting used to and it takes a steady hand to have smooth movement. When tri-pod mounted with a fluid-head system panning and tilts combined with zooming is smooth as silk, the use of a varizoom remote control on the pan arm is recommended. I find that the varizoom's speed control is smoother that the camera and with less camera-buck (unwanted movement).Since purchasing my camera from B&H I have a renewed appreciation for filming. I am hooked and have purchased a number of accessories to accent my Sony HVR-A1U. This unit may be lacking a few features that professional videographers desire, but it did not cost $10,000 and you do not need to be a pro to get great footage.Joey

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: Sony analog Hi-8 video camera

Items I Recommend: Good fuild-head tripod (Bogen), Renote control (Vari-Zoom), wireless mic (Azden) remote powered video light (Bescor) & HD quality video tape (Sony)

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Photojournalist in Afghanistan
By Scott from Afghanistan (currently) on 7/24/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I use this camera as my sole source of images, both stilland video, for my work here in Afghanistan. I am embeddedwith an Army National Guard unit, and will be here untilJuly 2007. The camera has performed beautifully. I justreturned from Operation Mountain Thrust in the HelmundProvince in southern Afghanistan. Over the course of 10 dayswe were in contact with Taliban and drug-lord militias 8times. The images I was able to capture are some of theclosest-to-contact images we have seen from Afghanistan; thelast fire fight I was in, the soldiers and I were less than20 feet from enemy positions. The cameras light weight andcompact size are ideal for active, documentary work. Theimages are strong enough that we will be able to use thefootage in the documentary film that will follow at the endof 2007. Highly recommended.

Problems Encountered: The switch from record/pause to standby is automatic andresults in a 6-7 second delay we going back to record.

Items I Recommend: IR booster, NP-QM91D batteries, charger

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Film Student Use
By Tony from Virginia on 7/13/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

I just purchased this camera to use while in Film School. Iam very impressed with the images that the CMOS chipcaptures. It is really crisp and the colors are amazing. Iprimarily purchased it because of it's low cost and it's XLRconnections which would allow me to make movie shorts forclass. Because of it's small size it isn't a burden tocarry and allows me to have it with me 75% of the time Ileave the house. The main problem that some people willhave is that many features are only accessible through thetouch screen LCD menus and can be hard to find at first. Once you know how to program it for your shoot, it's notreally too hard to get to what you need. I am very happywith this camera and because of it's size and weight I useit more often than I would have it had been larger. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

[0 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

 
Suspected Terrorists/ B-Roll
By shazzer from New Smyrna Beach , Florida on 6/30/2006

Comments about Sony HVRA1U HDV Camcorder:

Just used this camera to shoot through two holes in the door in Miami at the place where the 7 dudes suspected of collabarating with Al Qaeda. Incredible ENG potential, lightweight and the single CMOS chip did wonders. Totally usable footage with an HMI, we got great images of the interior of the training facility. Cable shows played the HELL out of it! XLR inputs a PLUS!I am sold on this camera not as a primary ENG interview camera but as a B-Roll and B/U camera. I do NOT own one and have only used one for this tape, I AM SOLD on this lightweight HD camera and love it's versitality. I will be buying this camera for Hurricane Season and plan to use it for still photography as well. Sony is taking it to the next level. Get in the game son---the old days are over!Rating this camera is tough but because it is so small and light weight one cannot expect too many features to match up to larger cameras. On a scale of one to ten I give it a 9. Images are amazing/outstanding in good light but challenging in lower light.Sean Hughes

Problems Encountered: see above. some controls too small.

Previous Equivalent Items Owned: Z1

Items I Recommend: fig rig and smaller jibs.

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