Panasonic NV-GS320 or HDD alternative?

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smileykate

Guest
Hello :)

Firstly thanks to everyone for all your posts, I have spent many hours reading them and you're all very informative. :thumbsup:

I'm going to buy a camcorder for my other half's birthday - he is quite technically-minded but this is the one piece of kit he doesn't have yet. (And yes, he does want one, there have been hints dropped!). After reading all the reviews, the Panasonic NV-GS320 sounds like a really good buy - my only question is whether the 'tape' aspect will make it too long-winded to use? I would like him to be able to edit if he wants to, but would a HDD camera be a more newbie-friendly option? If so, is there an alternative camera anyone could recommend?

Thanks in advance!
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Editing with a DV camcorder on a PC is as easy, or easier, than with a HDD cam, the only downside is that the capture (the copy to the PC) is real time. So it will take 1 hour to copy 1 our tape to the PC. But once it is there, DV is the easiest format to edit.

Sticking with standard def, for HDD I'd suggest the Panasonic H250.
(or wait a few months, as there are loads of new models coming out, all announced yesterday and today), from Panasonic, Sony, and Canon.
 
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smileykate

Guest
Thanks for your reply Mark :)

Unfortunately his birthday is at the end of the month, so I can't really wait for the new releases - and I'm not sure that more choice is going to make my decision any easier!

I have read lots of good things about the GS320. The H250 you suggest is another £100-ish, which is more than I wanted to spend to start with really.

Is there a lot of difference in quality between DV and HDD recordings? And what editing CAN you do with a HDD format?

Thanks again!
Kate
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
The GS320 is noticably better than HDD cams in it's price range. Between the GS320 and the H250 they are close. Basically it costs more for the same quality for a HDD cam compared to DV.

You can do the same editing with either DV or HDD really, unless you are doing complex editing with multiple generations of rendering, then DV is better.
 
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smileykate

Guest
Thanks...I figured as much, looks like I'll be going for the GS320 then! Unless I win the lottery in the next couple of weeks- a girl can dream!
 

DrMekon

Established Member
Dont really understand how dv is better than hdd... they are just a format for storing digital informaiton..???

Surely dragging/dropping from hdd and converting/editing is easier than realtime capturing..??
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Dont really understand how dv is better than hdd... they are just a format for storing digital informaiton..???

Surely dragging/dropping from hdd and converting/editing is easier than realtime capturing..??

I thought "felix2" answered this question very well previously
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681710

Yes, in terms of catpure, that is easier with HDD. But once captured DV (or HDV) are less compressed formats than SD MPEG2 or AVCHD, and thus easier to edit.

But more than that, it comes down to cost, and what you get for your money. The GS320 is a 3 CCD camcorder with an excellent lens. Comparably priced HDD cams have a small single CCD and inferior lens.

The Panasonic H250 is comparable to the GS320 (though the GS320 still has a better lens)... but it costs more.

Nothing wrong with HDD cams; you just have to pay a bit more to match (or get close to) the quality of tape based models.
 

Dunkwho

Established Member
I've just been through this dilema myself (320 DV, or 250 HDD panasonic camcorder) ... and eventually took a deep breath and stumped up the extra for the HDD machine - a very good decision if I say so myself :)

From my research\forum scouring HDD machines don't use the same encode process as DV machines so there is a very small difference in quality but none to really worry about (and I'm a geeker for these things) - HDD is more expensive that DV therefore at the same price you'll get better optics on the DV machine, or for the same picture quality you'll need to spend more for the HDD equivalent.

OK - on to my views. The beauty of the HDD machine is in its handling of recordings. I run a slightly unusual setup of a windows media centre PC handling all of my TV, DVD, music in my lounge and connected directly to my TV. To watch a recording I can simply plug in the camcorder, put the camcorder in mass storage USB mode and copy the file over - voila it appears in media centre and I can play it. Granted most people won't work that way, but its so fast and easy to copy to a PC as to make it a major difference over DV. I tend to view my recordings un-edited, if the MCE machine wasn't in place then I'd simply be burning them directly to a DVD (probably a RW) and watching them quickly, indeed the 250 has a built in DVD copy function (which I've never used) to do a 1 click copy to disk without the need for any drag, drop, burn on your PC. The other big plus for a HDD machine is the filing of you recordings. DV machines work like a VCR, if you have >1 recording on the tape then you have to rwd\fwd to find the recording you want. With the 250 all of the recordings appear as thumbnails, I can therefore watch any recording by simply putting the machine in play mode, using the nav to select the recording and I'm off - it'll even do playlists (forget what panasonic call them) to stitch individual recordings together.

Compared to other family members with DV camcorders I've found the ease of use of our HDD machine to be worth its weight in gold.

Duncan
 
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smileykate

Guest
Oooooh, Duncan, now you are tempting me! Thanks for your views - interesting to hear from someone who has been making the same decision. I am still pretty torn, because obviously I want good quality images, but the HDD just sounds easier...I know it's not difficult to download DV via firewire (and I know we have the necessary PC connections etc) but HDD with its 'thumbnail' views and playlists sounds good.

Now I am really torn...need to bump that budget up I think! :eek:

Out of interest, does anyone know how I can compare the SDR H250 with the SDR H20? Is there a website somewhere that lists features?

Kate
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Thanks Duncan... well said (and glad you are enjoying the H250).

The other big plus for a HDD machine is the filing of you recordings. DV machines work like a VCR, if you have >1 recording on the tape then you have to rwd\fwd to find the recording you want. With the 250 all of the recordings appear as thumbnails

I wanted to comment on this, as it is an important point (and one I like to harp on about). This is an advantage of HDD cams, though the impact depends on your workflow. When I edit, I will generally capture all of a tape to the PC, using scene detection. This means that once on the PC I will have a separate clip (and thumbnail in my editor) for each clip. I virtually never rewind/forward to find an specific clip. And if you are doing a major editing project you need to watch your footage through at least once, so you can watch it as you capture. I.e. if your workflow is PC editing based, the advantage of quick "capture " from HDD cams isn't really significant.

But if you aren't doing major editing projects, and want to locate a specific clip to watch it, HDD cams bring a huge advantage.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Out of interest, does anyone know how I can compare the SDR H250 with the SDR H20? Is there a website somewhere that lists features?

You should be able to do this on the Panasonic site
http://www.panasonic.co.uk/hdd e-cam/index.htm

But they don't list the H20... there are various sites which show specs, but often they are not accurate. The main difference is the H250 has 3 CCDs, which helps with the video quality. Both have a 30 GB HDD and a SD card slot.
 
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smileykate

Guest
Thanks Mark. The H20 is currently in the Currys sale for £199....just wondered why!
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member

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