Just did a 2cam shoot with my A1 and a Sony Z1 and I have to say the Z1 footage looks much better. The blacks are blacker and the picture clearer - the shoot was in fairly low light conditions. It's got me wondering if I'm missing a trick with my settings on the A1 as the general consensus on the web seems to be that it's picture quality is superior to the Z1's.
I'm shooting on HDV 1080i50 and I haven't touched the sky/skin detail settings. Last night I was shooting off the preset indoor white balance...
The A1's picture right out of the box is flat and I suspect Canon does that for some kind of purpose. If you want to get the best performance out of the A1, custom presets are what you should check into. There's another forum site that has lots of info regarding this but I can't mention it here unfortunately because I'll get sent to my room without dinner :-