Video Cameras forum

Question

Why can't I find any info on the Sony HVR-A1J?

by lttlmiss / November 14, 2011 7:41 AM PST

I recently got this camera (used), and I'm wondering why I can't find any information on it. It's obvious this is a pro camcorder, but the closest I have been able to find are the Sony HVR-A1P and HVR-A1U. Is it not for use in the US? Is this a camera that an average intelligence novice (myself) would be able to learn how to use with some time and determination, or should I just give it up? Can anyone direct me to a page that gives product details and description, manual download, or product support? Thanks.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Why can't I find any info on the Sony HVR-A1J?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Why can't I find any info on the Sony HVR-A1J?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Answer
The Sony HVR series
by boya84 / November 14, 2011 1:56 PM PST

is their "professional" line. The A1 was their smallest and is the sibling to the consumer HDR-HC1 which was discontinued years ago. P=PAL; U=U and J=Japan "localization". It is likely the J version docs will be available from the Sony Japan localized website. The A1 series has about 20 or so more features than the HC1 so there are some differences (mostly in menu item selections). If you use it for basic HDV (1080i) capture, it can be treated like any other miniDV tape based camcorder. Using the manual controls is straightforward. Stray from the basics and you will need the P-specific manual. The P/U manuals should allow *enough* guidance.

Collapse -
Sony HVR Series
by Blondell65 / April 22, 2012 10:19 PM PDT
In reply to: The Sony HVR series

Can the Sony XLR Mic Adaptor work on all three models P=Pal, U=US and J=Japan. I have a J model and i saw a Sony XLR Mic Adaptor on ebay that works on a Sony PDX10 camera do you know if it will work on the Japan model?

Collapse -
If the Sony XLR adapter
by boya84 / April 23, 2012 2:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Sony HVR Series

plugged into the PDX10's 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo audio input, it *should* work. I downloaded the PDX10's manual from retrevo.com and the PDX10's XLR adapter instructions are on page 29. The instructions say the XLR adapter's cable attaches to the PDX10's accessory shoe. There is nothing in the instruction manual referring to that accessory shoe being the Sony Advanced Interface Shoe ("AIS") So... I am going to say that it will not work with any of the current HVR series camcorders.

You might find the XLR adapters from juicedLink or BeachTek more useful as they will work with the HVR series camcorders and any camcorder from any manufacturer with a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo audio input jack. Use care when deciding which model XLR adapter you get - your mics may need phantom power and not all XLR adapters provide it.

Collapse -
I erred... the term used in the manual
by boya84 / April 23, 2012 2:22 AM PDT

is the "intelligent accessory shoe" - this is where the XLR adapter plugs into the PDX10. This is not the current AIS (it is a different shape and size compared to the "intelligent accessory shoe", and uses different connectors) so I stand by my original post: I do not believe the PDX10's XLR adapter will work with any of the HVR series camcorders.

Collapse -
sony hvr-a1j
by Blondell65 / April 23, 2012 4:19 AM PDT

Can you tell me where can i get the original xlr adopter for the sony hvr-a1j.......

Collapse -
Off the map now.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 23, 2012 4:31 AM PDT
In reply to: sony hvr-a1j
Collapse -
I would check with Sony.
by boya84 / April 24, 2012 7:38 AM PDT
In reply to: sony hvr-a1j

The HVR series is part of Sony's "professional" line. You won't see HVR parts in the consumer area. It does not matter if it is "J"apan-localized. That is pretty much related to the frame rate options and language displayed in the menu. The HVR-A1 is still available from Sony - the XLR adapter was sold with the camcorder and not as a separate "add-on". That's why - at the Sony pro website (US) - the XLR adapter has no separate part number
http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-broadcastcameras/cat-hdv/product-HVRA1U/
and click on the "accessories" tab.

I *think* Sony lists it in the pro area as "XLR BLOCK ASSY" under part A1133621A (or A-1133-621-A). I was looking to add it to my HDR-HC1, but decided against it (because it requires removal of the built-in flash the HC1 has that the A1 does not have).

The HVR series camcorders are not sold through regular retail outlets, but "authorized dealers". So you can either find an authorized dealer willing to sell this XLR adapter to you or just use an XLR adapter from juicedLink or BeachTek. I use both with my Sony HDRHC1 (the "consumer" sibling to the HVR-A1) all the time. And actually, I like them better - they lower the camcorder's center of gravity which allows for better control. The stock XLR adapter from Sony makes the HVR-A1 too top-heavy.

The HVR-A1 is not discontinued.

Collapse -
Answer
One item I neglected to answer...
by boya84 / April 25, 2012 2:00 AM PDT

and some info may be repeated from earlier posts.

The Sony HVR-A1 is a miniDV tape based camcorder. The "DV" in miniDV = Digital Video. The video stored on the tape is as digital as digitized video store on flash memory, hard disc drive or optical disc - but the DV (and HDV) formats written to the tape are a lot less compressed than the other formats used by consumer camcorders that use the other storage media.

Generally, the A1 (and the consumer-sibling HDR-HC1) are "point and shoot" pretty much like any camcorder - useful for good lighting environments. The A1 does have some controls through the menu and externally, so it helps to get to know the camcorder when video capture situations are less than ideal or you want to try other stuff.

The single ring on the lens barrel can be assigned a function - so it is a "shared" ring. Most commonly, it can be either manual zoom or manual focus. I usually assign manual focus because there is a zoom rocker switch that is easy to use and access near the eyepiece... or by using a couple of buttons on the left side of the LCD panel That's another thing - it has both an eyepiece and a relatively large LCD panel to monitor your shots.

Manual exposure control is accessed using a button on the left front of the camcorder - when the camcorder is recording. During video play/back/review, that control becomes the playback audio volume control.

The photos that the A1/HC1 can capture - when the camcorder is not capturing video - are regular 4:3 aspect ratio, low resolution by today's standards - pictures. I find it much better to capture stills while capturing video - they are in widescreen, just like the HDV format video (even though the resolution is not very good). The A1 dropped the built-in flash that the HC1 has. It is apparently where the stock XLR adapter mounts.

I *think* the U version of the A1 will be closest to your P version since Japan uses NTSC video standards. The Operating Guide for the HVR-A1U is available for download from Sony's professional site at http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-broadcastcameras/cat-hdv/product-HVRA1U/
and click on the "Resources" tab.

There's lots more, but you need only read through the manual of the P or U localized versions to learn about how much more the camcorder can do. I learned to use this camcorder. So yes, "average intelligence" novice users can easily master it - especially in "point-and-shoot" mode.

As a miniDV tape camcorder, assuming you want to edit the video you capture, you need to connect the camcorder's DV port (not USB) to the computer's firewire port (not USB) with a firewire cable (not USB). USB-to-firewire cable/converter/adapter things do not work.

Firewire, DV, IEEE1394 and i.Link are all the same thing. They are not USB and should never be confused with being "compatible" with USB.USB is bursty; firewire streams.

And your video editor (in the computer) needs to be able to deal with HDV format video - most can, but we would need to explore your editing plans

Other useful items:
At the back of the camcorder, near the eyepiece, there is a LANC port. This is used for a wired remote that can control power on/off, record video on/off, zoom, focus - and depending on the controller, capture photos. Sony, Varizoom, Libec, and several others make useful LANC devices. The actual control mounts to a tripod handle and helps make video capture a lot easier. I use one when the camcorder is too far away to control (like on a camera crane).

On the left side of the camcorder, the USB port allows connection to transfer still from the (ProDuo) memory card (slot is on the right side of the camcorder near the lens barrel).

The right side of the camcorder - near the lens barrel - there's a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo audio input. This is where the XLR adapter plugs in so XLR mics can be used. Below this is a headphone jack for monitoring the audio being captured. The manual audio gain control is buried in the menu, yet another reason to use a XLR adapter (with control knobs you can easily reach).

The *only* thing I do not like about this camcorder is that the miniDV tape feed into the tape mechanism is from the bottom of the camcorder. If the tape is full and needs replacement and the camcorder is mounted to a tripod or something else, then you need to removed the camcorder from the tripod to be able to replace the tape. A 60 minute miniDV tape will hold up to 63 minutes of HDV format video. I got a "spacer" from bhphotovideo.com that mounts between the camcorder and tripod to lift the camcorder from the tripod mount so changing tapes no longer requires dismounting the camcorder from the tripod.

If does have a small (37mm) lens filter diameter and small single imaging chip, both of which are more like consumer cams so low-light behavior can be grainy, but for a 10-year old camcorder, the HDV format is still awesome and (IMO) better than the high compression AVCHD format consumer cams use.

Collapse -
Two "fun" features I totally neglected...
by boya84 / April 25, 2012 2:25 AM PDT

1) "Interval" still capture. This is a built-in timer that you can set to capture stills at the interval you select. Handy if this method of time-lapse is of interest. Again, the stills aren't very good, so this may not be the best way to do time lapse with this camcorder. I prefer taking lots of video, then using a video editor to speed up the video a LOT.

2) "NightShot". The A1 and HC1 have a built-in infrared emitter to allow monochrome video capture in zero visible light. The "NightShot" switch is on the right side of the lens barrel. If the 8-10 foot throw of the built-in IR emitter is not enough, you can increase this with an add-on (Sony HVL-HIRL) that increases the throw to about 20 feet. It mounts to the Advanced Interface Shoe and uses camcorder battery power.

While I am back - I suggest getting one or more high capacity rechargeable batteries (and external charger). Perhaps a couple of Sony NP-QM71D - when one is in use, the other is charging. The battery included with the camcorder does not last very long.

bhphotovideo.com is a great resource.

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

FALL TV PREMIERES

Your favorite shows are back!

Don’t miss your dramas, sitcoms and reality shows. Find out when and where they’re airing!