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Main differences between DCR-HC39E and DCR-HC90E

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by monkeyleader, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. monkeyleader

    monkeyleader
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    Hi,

    So Ive been busy reading lots of reviews and checking lots of forusm - today Im actually going to get out and have a play with some of the cameras on my shortlist.

    Two which get good reviews on a number of websites are the DCR-HC90E and DCR-HC39E. Now Ive got a very decent digital stills camera so dont really need this imrpoved functionality that the DCR-HC90E givs you.

    Lookng on amazon the price difference is about £200 more for the DCR-HC90E. Apart from the stills functionality whats the other compelling reason to go for the HC90E over the HC39E.

    ta,

    Nige
     
  2. laser

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    Hi

    Similar situation for me, except I looked at the 42E and the HC90E.

    As you stated I also have a decent digital stills camera so didn't need the 3MB camera on the HC90E.

    Some people have posted to this newsgroup that the HC90 has better PQ and colour definition than the HC39E and the HC42E and someone even went as far to say the HC42E was rubbish compared to the HC90E.

    I auditioned both cameras and found practically no difference in PQ. I think one of the camcorder magazines stated the HC90E was good but go for the HC39 or HC42 if you didn't need the 3MB digital stills functionality.

    I've posted some HC42E footage on this newsgroup if you want to download and have a look. See later post for URL.

    There is a good review of the HC90 here:

    http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/sony/hc90-review/index.shtml
     
  3. monkeyleader

    monkeyleader
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    Cheers for the info - those links dont seem to work ?
     
  4. laser

    laser
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    See links in later postings.
     
  5. monkeyleader

    monkeyleader
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    So the plot thickens. I went down to Currys yesterday and they had the DCR-HC39 in stock - is there a difference betwen this and the DCR-HC39E ? Also when they checked their stock for the DCR-HC90E they said it had been discontinued ??? Would this be the case. Im off to Paris today - sitting in departures right now - so I might see if theres any tax free shopping to be had later.

    ta,

    Nige
     
  6. laser

    laser
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    Do you mean between the 39E and 42E? If so, the only difference is the 42E and DV-IN and analogue in whereas the 39E doesn't. Everything else is the same.
     
  7. monkeyleader

    monkeyleader
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    I was more interesed in why some places have an E at the end of the name ? Im almost sure they are the same model. So it looks like Im going to go for the DCR-HC90E - Ive seen some of the footage and I must admit Im pretty impressed, and i guess at some point Id make sure of the stills :) Hoping to order it in the next day or so - looks like the best price I can get is just over £500 ... not bad I say !
     
  8. laser

    laser
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    The 'E' is the UK model whereas those without an 'E' are destined for elsewhere.
     
  9. monkeyleader

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    Cheers for all the info guys - Ive just purchased the DCR-HC90E and hope in the next week or so to post my own review including footage.

    Nige
     
  10. Applespider

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    I'm sure you'll enjoy it! I've been really satisfied with mine and am really looking forward to using it on my holiday in a couple of weeks.
     
  11. alogo

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    Could you kindly tell me what is the low light performance on the sony hc42? is it color blotches all over the picture is it blue noise or is it looking more like sand grain and if so how obtrusive is it? Thanks
     
  12. laser

    laser
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    Hi

    I can post some low light footage if you have broadband. How low do you want the ligh level? Can you give me an indication of what you have in mind.
     
  13. owain_thomas

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    I'd be really interested in seeing some footage, could you post some from good light conditions (outdoors, daytime) and some from indoors at night with just normal internal lighting?

    thanks
    owain
     
  14. laser

    laser
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  15. laser

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  16. Freelancer

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    I am looking into buying the Sony DCR-HC90E myself, but i have a few specific questions to owners of this camcorder or the DCR-HC42E:

    1. Does the accessory hot shoe support generic equipment (mics, lens) or must it all only be official Sony equipment for this cam?
    2. Can this camcorder be attached to generic tripods, or do tripods have to have a special attachment?
    3. Does it support a webcam feature (i see no mention of this at all in the reviews or specs) but i notice it has USB streaming in relation to pictures, so i am confused as to whether it also allows e-mail video clips and real-time video chat (a feature i am looking for)? Is it USB 2?
    4. Just how user-friendly, practical and responsive is the touchscreen LCD? Can it be slow and unresponsive? Or is it pretty fast and intuitive? Do you always have to touch for the options or can you scroll through them by using the buttons (there are 3?) on the LCD frame, or a combination of both? And when using the touchscreen for manual focus, is it good?
    5. There is no external mic input jack, so how is audio dubbing achieved? Would a seperate mic attachment on the shoe help achieve this?
    6. What are the digitial effect modes with this camera? Is there an effect to simulate a "film" look? Can Are there fades/sidewipes? when watching playback footage on the cam, can you add digital effects?
    7. What is "progressive recording"?
    8. What is the max resolution you can get for video, 530 lines or 720? As i have an LCD screen, i'd obviously like to see my recording in 720.
    9. Can you snap photos while recording video?

    Phew! Sorry for all the questions, but this is definitely a camcorder i may up my current budget for. Any info would be appriciated, thanks.
     
  17. laser

    laser
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    Replies in relation to a HC42E:

    1. Does the accessory hot shoe support generic equipment (mics, lens) or must it all only be official Sony equipment for this cam? No. It is non standard size so you have to use Sony accessories.

    2. Can this camcorder be attached to generic tripods, or do tripods have to have a special attachment? Yes

    3. Does it support a webcam feature (i see no mention of this at all in the reviews or specs) but i notice it has USB streaming in relation to pictures, so i am confused as to whether it also allows e-mail video clips and real-time video chat (a feature i am looking for)? Is it USB 2? Yes. I've used it with MSN Messenger and Eyeball Chat.

    4. Just how user-friendly, practical and responsive is the touchscreen LCD? Can it be slow and unresponsive? Or is it pretty fast and intuitive? Do you always have to touch for the options or can you scroll through them by using the buttons (there are 3?) on the LCD frame, or a combination of both? And when using the touchscreen for manual focus, is it good? I now find it much quicker to navigate and switch settings on and off, especially when out filming. It took some time to get used to but I find it much easier. If you put the camcorder into "easy mode" the buttons on the LCD screen beocme bigger.

    5. There is no external mic input jack, so how is audio dubbing achieved? Would a seperate mic attachment on the shoe help achieve this? Not sure. I think it does but I dub in post production on the PC.

    6. What are the digitial effect modes with this camera? Is there an effect to simulate a "film" look? Can Are there fades/sidewipes? when watching playback footage on the cam, can you add digital effects? Yes, but it only works when you are recording. I will not add an effect to footage being played back. Not sure about the old film look but wipes and fades are supported. You could download the manual from the Sony website to check the exact digital effects supplied.

    7. What is "progressive recording"? Records each frame in one pass rather than two passes, making the picture more stable.

    8. What is the max resolution you can get for video, 530 lines or 720? As i have an LCD screen, i'd obviously like to see my recording in 720. 520/530 lines. You'd need a high def camcorder for 720 lines. It records in 720x576 pixels but these are different to lines i.e. horizontal resolution. Don't get confused between the two. The camcorder is standard defintion only.

    9. Can you snap photos while recording video? Good one. I don't know. It depends upon how you want to take photos. I presume you are asking if it will take photos to the Memory stick while recording. This I don't know as I don't have a memory stick in my camcorder as Sony don't supply one with the 42E. If you are filming without memory stick and take a photo it is recorded to tape and pauses the recording. If you are not filming it simply stores the photo on tape at a lower resolution. I believe you have to use the memory stick to take advantage of the full 1MP or 3MP resolutions with the 42E or HC90.
     
  18. Freelancer

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    Thanks Laser for all your replies. It's been most helpful! :)
    I take it by "yes" you mean the camera can use any tripod?
    Excellent! So just to confirm, even though no webcam feature is advertised on the spec list, it IS a feature? Migfht you know what the resolution of the webcam is would be? I take it you just plug in the USB once drivers are installed, and a program like messenger will detect the cam is capable of web use?
    Hmmm.. i wonder whether i should presume that even with a memory stick duo, if i take a photo with the cam, it will pause the footage on playback of the footage at the point where i took the picture? I hope it won't, as i'd just rather it just took a photo and no pause occured.

    A couple more questions:
    Q10: Is there a multi-image split-screen function?
    Q11: Can you customise your camera start-up image, if it even has one?
     
  19. laser

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    I don't think it has one. When you turn the camcorder on it goes straight into record mode. It doesn't have a play/record mode as such. It is basically ON(record mode) or OFF. If you want it in PLAY mode you toggle the switch after the camcorder is on and this then moves the camcorder mode from RECORD to PLAY. This actually works quite well if you are desperately trying to switch on the camcorder and record quickly. It can save vital seconds.
     
  20. Freelancer

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    I'm currently wondering whether to get the 90E or 42E. Stills aren't something that interest me, but saying that, i would like a good camera if i ever need it, and also, i would like the unit to be able to take snap shots withwout effecting the playback. But if the reviews and user experience say video picture is the same, i may end up getting the 42E and saving some cash to maybe buy some accessories like camera light, mic, tripod, longer battery, tapes, etc.

    Ah.. decisions.. :suicide:

    EDIT:

    Hey, a thought occured - it doesn't really matter is it's USB 1 does it? If it has DVin/out, aka firewire/i-link, it's going to be pretty fast in transferring video footage to PC right? Firewire is 30 times as fast as USB1 and firewire is only just a little slower than USB2 (which 40 times as fast as USB1). That seems a good way of transferring video to the comp. Can you transfer pictures as well through firewire?
     
  21. Freelancer

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    I have recently taken delivery of my brand new Sony DCR-HC90E and i can now answer my own questions:

    1. I do not know yet about generic, unofficial equipment, but the hot shoe is "16 pin" and Sony have a few video lights, flashes and microphones for the camcorder.
    2. Yes, the camcorder can use any tripods.
    3. YES, the camcorder DOES have a webcam function. I installed the "Sony Picture Package" USB drivers on the supplied software, and there's a handycam set-up on which you can set the webcam. It's quite basic. There's no Sony instant messenger/video chat program, but i did see that MSN can detect the camcorder connection with the USB port once "USB STREAMING" is enabled from the camcorder. A point to note it that switching to the 4:3 ratio (non-widescreen) keeps the webcam in it's proper ratio. I do not know what resolution it appears, but it seemed sharp enough for video chat. E-mail of video clips is done through first recording media to the Memory Stick Duo, and then transfering the media via USB or firewire to the computer. The camcorder is NOT USB 2.0. It's just USB 1.1 or Firewire.
    4. I'd say the touchscreen is very user friendly. It's big plus point is it's customisation. You can arrange menu options into the order you find them quick at hand. There are times when i have to tap more than once when the screen doesn't realise i'm trying to touch-input a selection. But on the whole, i'd say it's a nice, fast function. You do have to touch the screen for the options though, and the side buttons are only zoom in/out and record - they can't be used to navigate the screen. I'd say using the screen for manual focus can be a tad tricky. I find the response for this option is a little too fast in ramping the focus in or out, eg object is 1.2m away and just two quick taps for a wider view ramps it to around 2m and overexposed! The increments could be smaller, slower and more precise, but generally, it's good to start with autofocus and adjust from there slightly if you feel it's not quite right.
    5. Looks like audio dubbing is done through an external hot shoe mic, sold seperately.
    6. There are some nice effects, but nothing i would use extensively to capture raw footage because you can not remove it from the master copy. Most editing should be done with PC software in post production, but the Sony "Picture Package" isn't really up to much, targetting the casual family user, not the pro-movie maker. It does offer nice features if you want to burn to CD, or if you want a make a quick, compressed music vid from footage on the Memory Stick Duo to email someone. On the cam, Cinema Mode tries to emulate a film look but for some reason seems to be greyed out mostly on the settings i use. Progressive scan 25fps mode also does, but i'm struggling to tell the difference if i'm honest between it and normal recording. You can not add digital effects while watching playback footage, and i have not experimented with fade in/outs yet.
    7. Laser explained this - in practise, i don't really a see a noticeable difference.
    8. Don't know.
    9. I tried to snap pictures with the "photo" button while recording to miniDV tape with the Memory Stick Duo also loaded into the cam, but got an error message saying i can not write to memory stick? not sure why this, will investigate further.
    10. No multi-image function.
    11. There's no start-up picture to customise. But you can turn the menu button/touch screen "beeps" off - which i did so that recorded footage does not pick up this noise when i'm accessing menu functions.

    Overall, i'd say the cam is good.
    If honest, i was dissapointed by the grainy picture quality, and the colour of the reds. I also wished the camera was sharper for it's detail when in focus, but perhaps i was expecting too much from a miniDV cam, perhaps my hopes were too high, expecting crystal clear, broadcast quality High Definition pictures when this is not an HD camcorder. However, all of my filming has been done indoors (with room/bulb lights on), with a few picture Auto Exposure settings used - perhaps things fair better in the bright sunshine outdoors? Don't get me wrong, picture is good, but the detail and clairity is only fair. I do notice a kind of oil effect, like the camera is trying to position detail when there's a jerk or camea shake, but i assume this is a normal correction feature. If anyone with the handycam has any advice on getting rid of the grain in the picture, please advise.

    I'm using the standard cabling that came with the Sony Handycam, it's 3 phono leads that don't look like the highest engineering quality, so perhaps better quality cable might give higher quality pictures on my 32" LCD screen when playing back the DV footage?

    Pros for this camera is the "Spot Focus" function. I really liked that, it helps shift the focus to whereever in the widescreen frame. I also like the customisation of the menus, and i like the light weight of the cam (430g) and it's small size. A requirement for me was that the camcorder shot in true 16:9 widescreen, and i'm happy with this rather than settling for a cam with a "squeeze mode". I like that it has a guideframe feature. I like the "Easy" function if only to get on with shooting stuff happening on the fly with it's auto-adjustment features it works well. For better quality you'd have to manually adjust and that requires time to set-up your shots. I like the battery info metre- it's helpful because the battery supplied (NP-FA50) is quite poor for battery life. Evenso, I like the fact that the battery is internal. It makes the camcorder look sleek. I also love the "Night Vision" mode. Sure, it gives the picture a green tinge, but if you really want to see whats going on outdoors as say, a guest leaves your house or you have poor light indoors say, in a corridor, it's a good feature to have for convenience sakes - one flip of an external switch and you can see.

    Cons for the camcorder: Video picture quality is fair, but not what i'd call spectacular (as already discribed above) - but as this is my first camcorder and i'm using it indoors mostly for now i wouldn't know how it compares to 3CCD camcorders like the Panasonics, or even other miniDV camcorders in terms of picture. If i'm being hyper critical, i'd say it isn't sharp enough, even with focus. The playback feature modes are a bit confusing, there doesn't seem to be a chapter search for searching (but i will experiment further). The remote control is basic. A major bug-bear for me is that the camcorder does not utilise "Memory Chipped" miniDV tapes - i wasted money on a packet of them, had i known i would have bought the standard tapes instead and saved my cash - don't make the same mistake i did. There's no manual shutter speed, aperature. Manual focus tweaking is too sensitive on the touchscreen. The viewfinder is non-extendable and can not be changed to black and white. The plastic covering of the input/output connections seem quite fragile and does not yield enough length when trying to peel it back to reveal the socket for using the connection with a cable - i hope it doesn't break off, I shall have to be delicate aound that area! Placement of the handstrap also gets in the way of the connection sockets too (like the AV out and the power cord). There's no external headphones output (but a workaround could be to adapt the AV out cable for this).

    I may plan to get a wider lens, filters, a tripod, case and longer NP-FA70 battery. It appears that i'll have to go official Sony periferal for the mic and video flash though.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  22. Bearded_Malc

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    Resolution will be standard 720x576 PAL.

    You can pick up mics like the EMC-HGZ1 gun mic on ebay but it's not worth it. The last one went for 51 quid inc postage and you can buy a NEW one for that price! Too many bidders, not enough sense.

    Note that you really want to be in memory stick mode to take pictures as that gives you 2/3 MP. If you are in tape mode you'll get a 720x576 screen capture. Likewise don't press record in memory stick mode as that will just do low res mpeg to stick.
     
  23. Applespider

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    I suspect your grain/focus issues are due to lack of lighting - what do you mean by normal room 'bulbs' - unless you've got several 100Ws on, then it's not going to bright enough for most DV cameras.

    I have a HC90 and haven't noticed a problem with grain but most of my shots have been outside in good light.
     

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