Need help deciding which HD camcorder to buy

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Would really appreciate any help on this one as I have no experience of HD camcorders.I have just sold my old trusty Sony VX2100e and have decided to swap it for a smaller HD camcorder.I have (sort of) decided to go for a model which records to flash memory as I am concerned how robust HDD models may be over time.I need a model which has a shoe fitting and 3.5 mm mic and headphone sockets as I use an external Rode shotgun mic.I was looking to spend up to £900 and had been seriously looking at the following models:

Panasonic HDC SD900/TM900
Canon Legria HF S20
Sony HDR PJ 30V/CX550

Anyone had any experience (good or bad) with any of these models or is there perhaps another model I have not considered and should have?
 

n8384

Active Member
I also narrowed it down to those models. But i have decided on the panasonic SD900, going to my local store today to try to negotiate on price...free battery offer as well..
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
I also narrowed it down to those models. But i have decided on the panasonic SD900, going to my local store today to try to negotiate on price...free battery offer as well..

Yeah I saw that deal which looks pretty good.If you do get an SD900 over the next week or so I would be really interested to hear your views on it.I really like the look of the Canon but can't seem to find much info on it.It seems to be slipping under a lot of peoples radar for some reason (are the Sony and Panasonic's better?).
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Just bought it and on my way home.....got it for 750 with case and 8gb gold sd card

Have to admit £750 for a 3 chip full HD camcorder with a case and an 8GB card does sound like a pretty good buy to me.Once you have had chance to have a play with it I'd be very interested to hear your views.

I have been messing about with some footage I downloaded from http://hdcam.web-pda.info/ .I transcoded then burnt a few files to AVCHD DVD but for some reason the footage shot on the Sony seemed a lot smoother than that shot on the Panasonic? :confused:

Anyone know where I could get some raw footage from any of these newer cams?
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Right,really confused now.I found some 1080/50P footage taken off a PAL Panasonic SD 707 camcorder and again it looks slightly jerky when displayed on my Panasonic plasma.I have tried converting it to AVCHD DVD and it still looks the same.However I noticed the footage off the previously mentioned Sony model (which looked superb and extremely smooth) was infact 1080/60hz (presume this was taken off an NTSC camcorder?).Whether this footage is played raw off an SD card or converted to AVCHD DVD it's absolutely fine.I'm presuming footage shot in 1080i would not have this problem?.I don't know for sure as I cannot find a raw 1080i clip to try.Other than that,would I be better off buying an NTSC camcorder?


I would be grateful of any help whatsoever :lease:
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Spoke to Panasonic (as I'm 80% decided on an SD/TM900) and they informed me that in order to transfer to Blu Ray footage really needs to be captured as close as possible to the parameters of that format.The guy mentioned that Panasonic PAL camcorders can capture at 1080/25P 50hz while an NTSC camcorder can capture at 1080/24P 60hz (is that not actual Blu Ray spec?).As I intend to transfer my recordings to Blu Ray would I be better sourcing an NTSC camcorder or is that not really necessary? Whatever I have tried with the 1080/50P footage (played raw,transferred to AVCHD/Blu Ray) it still looks slightly jerky when displayed on my Panasonic plasma.Failing that does anyone know of somewhere where I could download a 1080/25P or perhaps even a 1080i clip from so I could try that?

I would be grateful of any help whatsoever :lease:
 

PhilipL

Well-known Member
Hi

Right,really confused now.I found some 1080/50P footage taken off a PAL Panasonic SD 707 camcorder and again it looks slightly jerky when displayed on my Panasonic plasma.I have tried converting it to AVCHD DVD and it still looks the same.However I noticed the footage off the previously mentioned Sony model (which looked superb and extremely smooth) was infact 1080/60hz (presume this was taken off an NTSC camcorder?).Whether this footage is played raw off an SD card or converted to AVCHD DVD it's absolutely fine.I'm presuming footage shot in 1080i would not have this problem?.I don't know for sure as I cannot find a raw 1080i clip to try.Other than that,would I be better off buying an NTSC camcorder?


I would be grateful of any help whatsoever :lease:

If you are converting to 25 or 24p it will look jerky, this is because the frame rate is too low. For it not to look jerky you need to film with 25p in mind, that means no fast camera pans and a lower shutter speed.

You need to convert to 50i to keep the smooth movement, but you will of course lose some resolution when something moves, although we are used to this as that is how we watch normal TV.

What software are you using?

Regards

Phil
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Hi Phil,

Thanks very much for the reply,really appreciated.I converted the files using Nero 10 Multimedia Studio and Arcsoft Total Media Extreme but I intend to buy Sony Vegas when I get my HD camcorder.I take it that if I get a PAL camcorder and capture in 1080i/50hz I should not get this problem? I was just a little mystified that the 1080P/60hz footage that I converted from an NTSC camcorder plays back flawlessly?:confused:
 

UX50

Standard Member
Spoke to Panasonic (as I'm 80% decided on an SD/TM900) and they informed me that in order to transfer to Blu Ray footage really needs to be captured as close as possible to the parameters of that format.The guy mentioned that Panasonic PAL camcorders can capture at 1080/25P 50hz while an NTSC camcorder can capture at 1080/24P 60hz (is that not actual Blu Ray spec?).As I intend to transfer my recordings to Blu Ray would I be better sourcing an NTSC camcorder or is that not really necessary? Whatever I have tried with the 1080/50P footage (played raw,transferred to AVCHD/Blu Ray) it still looks slightly jerky when displayed on my Panasonic plasma.Failing that does anyone know of somewhere where I could download a 1080/25P or perhaps even a 1080i clip from so I could try that?

I would be grateful of any help whatsoever :lease:

I don't think the Blu-Ray spec itself is concerned with 50hz/60hz systems - that's determined by the authoring software choosing PAL or NTSC for the video burnt to disc. In other words, the same recordable media can work with both formats - it's just a blank data storage device, could be used to store anything...

I just bought an SD900 at the weekend, and have a lot to learn. I don't even have any HD equipment at home (yet) not even anything with an HDMI socket ! I'm still outputting to normal DVDs !
 

PhilipL

Well-known Member
Hi

Hi Phil,

Thanks very much for the reply,really appreciated.I converted the files using Nero 10 Multimedia Studio and Arcsoft Total Media Extreme but I intend to buy Sony Vegas when I get my HD camcorder.I take it that if I get a PAL camcorder and capture in 1080i/50hz I should not get this problem? I was just a little mystified that the 1080P/60hz footage that I converted from an NTSC camcorder plays back flawlessly?:confused:

It really depends what Nero is doing with the files. For example 50P might have been converted to 25P, whereas 60P would be converted to 30P. Also juddering at slower frames is very much dependent on the type of footage.

With everything working correctly 1080/50P can be converted to 1080/50i for Blu-ray absolutely fine and will look great, or you could just capture in 50i to start with. There is nothing wrong with the Panasonic camcorders capturing 50P or i, they produce some great footage and the problems you are seeing are just down to the software. There is a bit of learning curve with all this but producing some stunning footage is at the end of it.

Regards

Phil
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Morning Phil,
Thanks again for your kind help,it's very useful.I have tried another program (trial version of Corel Videostudio Pro X4 as Sony Vegas does not seem to want to install on my PC for some reason?) with these clips but the results were the same (in fact worse as NTSC footage was also jerky using that).I'm presuming that there is probably no real reason to buy an imported NTSC camcorder as my best option would probably be to capture in 1080i 50hz (obviously using camera's highest bitrate setting) as in theory that should not give me this problem?
 

laseru

Standard Member
I have the SD750k which is a 700 series panasonic and I can tell you the quality is fantastic.

Don't know about the other models.
 

PhilipL

Well-known Member
Hi

Morning Phil,
Thanks again for your kind help,it's very useful.I have tried another program (trial version of Corel Videostudio Pro X4 as Sony Vegas does not seem to want to install on my PC for some reason?) with these clips but the results were the same (in fact worse as NTSC footage was also jerky using that).I'm presuming that there is probably no real reason to buy an imported NTSC camcorder as my best option would probably be to capture in 1080i 50hz (obviously using camera's highest bitrate setting) as in theory that should not give me this problem?

It really depends what "jerky" is I think for you in your circumstances.

Jerky playback may simply be because your computer isn't powerful enough to play back 1080p/50 footage, this doesn't mean when you do a final edit and export it in a Blu-ray format (or DVD) for playback it will be like that. Perhaps it is just the preview when you are editing or moving around the timeline.

You can of course use 1080i/50 which is much easier for the computer to work with, so your previews on the computer should look a lot better.

Certainly no reason at all to get an NTSC model, stick with a UK spec. The footage from the Panasonic is absolutely fine.

Regards

Phil
 

laseru

Standard Member
Today I was editing my videos and I found that no matter what software and encoding I use the quality is lower. I will also try the panasonic software.
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Thanks for the replies guys,will try and find some 1080i clips and have a play with those.I played some raw 1080/50P footage off an SD card and still looks jerky.Could it be the 50hz problem on my 2010 Panasonic plasma that is causing this problem?,although PAL DVD's and Freeview HD (which I believe is 1080i/50hz) look fine on it.

Thanks again for your kind help.

Pete.
 

Metalhead Pete

Active Member
Sorted! :)

1080/50P files encoded to 720/50P play perfectly when converted to AVCHD/Blu Ray & I've tested 1080/50i footage and it works fine as it is.Think I had 2 separate issues which had me confused.The SD card I tried the raw footage off was quite old and I assume could not handle the bitrate? and the other was as Phil commented was a software encoding issue.Going to buy a PAL SD-900,final answer!

Thanks to everyone who commented.
 

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