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SD vs HD



I'd like to ask for some possibly silly advice but please forgive my ignorance.

I have been using a Canon MV3i MC for a number of years and am now successfully able to make family movies and edit and render onto dvd via Adobe 6.5.

Its now time for a change and I have provisionally ordered a Canon HV20 but am having second thoughts. My thoughts are:

I do not have a HD TV or player at the moment but hope to in the future so am intrigued to know whether the SD quality of the HV20 would be better than a standalone SD camcorder. I am considering a Canon XM2 which although a few years old has had excellent reviews.

I am now very comfortable with my editing regime within Adobe 6.5. I also have Premiere Pro 2.0 but dont find it as user friendly but know I'll need it for HD video. My concern is that if I get the HV20 and a HD TV and record in HD I'll struggle to adjust to the editing requirements.

So my two main questions are:

1. HV20 vs XM2 (or something similar)?

2. Is the SD footage acceptable on the HV20?

Any assistance would be appreciated.



Distinguished Member
1. HV20 vs XM2 (or something similar)?

2. Is the SD footage acceptable on the HV20?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

I dont have any experience with the HV20 but do with Sony equivalents ( The Sony HC 1 vs FX1 and VX2100) and have used the XM2 quite a few times ( though not the MV3i)

IMO the VX 2100 is marginally better than Canons XM2 but either are very capable "Prosumer" Semi- Pro camcorders. The performance from Canons fluorite lens and Sony Carl Zeiss combined with 3CCD chips are justifiably popular.

I'm loosely comparing the HC1 to the Vx2100 in this instance and extrapolating that to the HV20 vs XM2

Comparisons with the single CMOS but higher resolution chips on the HV 20 are hard to make with the older SD 3CCD camcorders
(incidentally Sonys FX1 (HDV) uses a 3ccd system with a much better lens compared to the HC1 but there is no Canon equivalent as such)
There is possibly a very little sacrifice in absolute SD colour detail ( with low light) compared to the XM2 but the benefits of initial higher res capture, and HDV ability more than make up for that (IMO)

If the Sony's performance is anything to go by, the SD quality on the current crop of HDV camcorders is very good to excellent for the money either used as SD or HDV capture with in-camera downconversion to SD for capture and editing

You don't need to start editing HDV footage as such to start with but I think capturing as HDV is a good thing if you them got more confident later with Premiere Pro 2.0 :eek:
Also You would find it hard to buy a "non HDTV" now so one may be coming your way sooner rather than later

Coming from the MV3i youll probably find the HV20 familiar to use. The XM2 is in a differnt league when it comes to manual adjustments and controls. It really is more "Semi pro" ( apart from non XLR audio and fixed lens).

Notwithstanding its excellent reputation, I would be wary of buying an XM2 now unless it is dead cheap. it is almost 4-5 years old .
However, If you wanted to put off buying HDV and dont expect it to last you another 3-4 years it is very good ( better than the MV3i in all respects)


Thanks for your advice Senu, much appreciated:)

I think my mind is made up now and will stick with the HV20 as I had a few concerns re the XM2 which were, its age as you pointed out, the fact its non HD and the size in comparison to what I'm used to (the mV3i is tiny)

I basically just point & shoot a lot of the time but as I've been creating my DVD's over the last few years its given me the enthusiasm to try and improve my skills and move towards using a more advanced camcorder as well as better quality. It seems that technology has done this for me!:thumbsup:


Novice Member
I agree with Senu. An XM2 or VX2100 will have some advantages over a good HDV cam like the HV20 comparing SD for SD (e.g. colour accuracy in low light), but you have to offset that with:

- The XM2 or VX2100 is about twice the price
- They are also much larger, less portable
- They don't have the option to shoot HD

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