Sony HDR-SR7 Vs. HDR-HC7

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by shaygold, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. shaygold

    shaygold
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    Hi all,

    I would like to ask for your help; I'm unable to decide which of the above to purchase. MY dilemma is regarding to picture quality. I understood / heard that the hard drive version encodes and compress on the fly the captured video to MPEG2, while mini DV needs nothing to compress, so it would result better quality of picture.

    I have panasonic 42" plasma (SD), I want the videos to look smooth, even on a big screen.

    hardrive version is much easier to convert to DVD, mini DV takes time to download to PC and convert, but if quality is better - so I preffer to work harder (and even pay less...)

    Any help / idea / experience please....

    Thanks!
    Shay.
     
  2. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    Well, first off, the SR7 produces AVCHD files that are a flavour of mpeg4 not mpeg2. The HC7 produces HDV files (in m2t format when uploaded to your PC) not DV files. You're also wrong about the HDV files not being compressed - they are, but some would say to a far lesser extent than the AVCHD files.

    Fast movement can produce motion trails in AVCHD video, and HDV does produce less compressed files (about 13GB/hour, so the same size as DV files).

    I think that whether either or both will look smooth on you plasma is more down to your skill as a videograpeher rather than any difference between the two codecs.

    A lot of the choice comes down to the source you will use to play your edited files on the HDTV. HDV is easy to playback with the HC7 connected to the TV with HDMI. AVCHD, once edited (no mean feat and you'll need the latest NLE's) cannot be exported back to the SR7, so you'll need either a PS3, a network media player, an HTPC, or to burn the HD files onto a standard DVD and play it through a BD player. Not easy.

    The choice, as they say, is yours.
     
  3. senu

    senu
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    Rhubarbe does know about these things and as covered it well:cool:

    I just want to add to that if I may to correct some assumptions in your original post

    If you were comparing a Standard definition HDD camcorder with a MiniDV.. I would agree that going from camcorder to DVD would be easier with the HDD variety
    because
    1) The USB transfer is far much faster
    2) the mpeg2 usually doesn't need to be reencoded for DVD authoring

    With MiniDV the transfer is real time and the DV AVI will still need to be encoded to mpeg2 ..
    but
    you get far more control to determine quality of output ect, and
    The starting material DV AVI is ( unlike mpeg2) able to stand multiple editing renders without suffering any visible generational quality loss

    For Hi Def AVCHD (HDD) and m2t (HDV on tape) are not very dissimilar in quality but although faster to transfer to PC .. AVCHD is by no means easier to turn to DVD and in fact : harder to play , harder to edit .. and you cannot really output back to AVCHD after editing
    If your aim is to create a Standard Def DVD you are best of outputting their respective footage via the cam corder as SD
     
  4. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    When you pan an HDV cam too fast you lose focus. When you pan too fast (and that's not really very fast at all on my SD7) an AVCHD cam, the picture kind of tears. It's not easy to explain other than that.
     
  5. senu

    senu
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    What he means is that Hi def camcorders have to work much harder to capture fast moving action smoothly. This relates to focus and encoding to HDV or AVCHD.
    When (by panning )you move the camcorder from side to side too fast you are challenging that ability

    The reason is that they have to compress very large quantities of data very quickly and in trying to capture rapidly changing scenes ( either the subject or videographer) the "on the fly " ability to do it well may show shortcomings compared to the quality of Standard definition on tape.

    Some Standard def HDD camcorders are similarly "afflicted". More "upmarket Semi pro "HDV" models seem not to be

    Footage from the more budget JVC SD HDD Everios look less than impressive in lower light or fast panning/movt
     
  6. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Most of the key points have been said.

    In summary, I'd say these 2 models are fairly close in terms of quality; the HC7 slightly better, but not much difference.

    Both formats are compressed, the SR7 with AVCHD is just a bit more so.

    So really the choice should come down to how you will use it, and what other kit you have. If you'd rather not edit on a PC, and just want to do simple edits on the cam itself and copy some clips to a disc... especially if you have a PS3 to play it on... than the SR7 is a good choice.

    If on the other hand you expect to edit on a PC, then I think the HDV model, (HC7), which is easier on the PC to edit, and you can output your edited project back to tape (which is a good archive) is a better choice. If you are editing, the time it tapes to capture the video is generally small compared to the editing time.
     
  7. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    If considering HDV you should at least have a look at the Canon HV20.
     
  8. shaygold

    shaygold
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    Hi all,

    many many thnaks for so many detailed responses.
    Now I'm ever more confused than yesterday :rolleyes:

    I thought that that using 1/2.9" sensor, shooting SD mode, will produce good, sharp and smooth quality video due to the sensor size and technology, so especially - if I shoot in HD mode, video would like much better, sharp, smooth, am I wrong here?

    second, I thought it would be much more easy to use HDD version so I can easily copy my files and burn them to DVD (SD or HD dvd, although I dont have a player yet), as opposed to mini DV (both SD or HD mode), becasue it takes time to copy them to the PC and them compress them to MPEG2/4 for recording.


    What triggered this new camera replacement is very easy; my father has the simplest sony mini DV (around 200USD), with sensor size 1/6", I bought sony dvd109E, for 500USD
    .
    I held them both in my hands and starting to take video, after 5 minutes I have played it on my Panasonic 42" (SD) and the 200USD version (mini dv) was exceptionally much better than the DVD version; the 200USD version showed good colors, no delays, not pixelized pictures, as opposed to the DVD version, which looked like downloading youtube video and play it on 60" monitor..... When I played them both on CRT TV, 21" - both looks great, so I assume its also related to my 42"SD panasonic.

    Anyway, If I consider paying around 1500USD for the SR7 or 1400USD for HC7, I expect it to be more convenient to play, hiher quality (1/6" Vs. 1/2.9" sensor), burn and archive than the 200USD version...

    I'm not editing, its not me, but perhaps I will start one day...

    Could some one please help me understand what am I missing here? (an obviously I am...)
     
  9. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    I thought that that using 1/2.9" sensor, shooting SD mode, will produce good, sharp and smooth quality video due to the sensor size and technology, so especially - if I shoot in HD mode, video would like much better, sharp, smooth, am I wrong here?

    All considered, yes the video from either of these cams will be better - certainly sharper. What has been pointed out that focus can be slower, and you need to be careful when panning.. but don't be put off. You will get very good results (though may need a bit of practice).

    second, I thought it would be much more easy to use HDD version so I can easily copy my files and burn them to DVD (SD or HD dvd, although I dont have a player yet), as opposed to mini DV (both SD or HD mode), becasue it takes time to copy them to the PC and them compress them to MPEG2/4 for recording.

    Yes and no. As I said there is an advantage if not PC-editing with a HDD cam, as you can copy files and burn them directly to a DVD disc. They will be quicker to copy to the PC. If you need to recompress (e.g. convert to SD for DVD), it will take longer with the HDD cam as it uses a more highly compressed MPEG4; the HDV cam uses less compressed MPEG2.

    Anyway, If I consider paying around 1500USD for the SR7 or 1400USD for HC7, I expect it to be more convenient to play, hiher quality (1/6" Vs. 1/2.9" sensor), burn and archive than the 200USD version...

    Certainly higher quality. Not really more convienent to play; as SD has been around a long time, you can use a standard DVD player etc. You can play HD and it's worth it, but you need something which can play it; it needs a faster PC if playing from the PC, etc.
     
  10. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    The problem is that DV is an excellent quality codec/format/. HDV is compressed, albeit not much and therefore makes for a good HD replacement for DV.

    DVD camcorders use mpeg2 compression and unless you get the very highest price DVD camcorder it isn't going to compare with the quality output form your $200 MiniDV cam.

    At $1400 both the S7 and the HC7 will be much better than any DVD cam, but the HC7 is likely to be better because HDV is less compressed than the AVCHD mpeg4 part 10 (h.264) codec used by the SR7.

    If you want ease of use go for the SR7 and if you want ultimate quality go for the HC7. It's a compromise, but everything in life is.

    You should also consider the Canon HV20 (HDV) and the new HG10 (uses HDD and has the best implementation of AVCHD yet according to the completely unbiased Camcorderinfo.com.
     
  11. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Do I detect a hint of sarcasm here?:)
     
  12. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    Sarcasm? Moi? :D
     
  13. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    I thought that too, but don't most editing applications have to convert to an interim codec to edit? So although its qucker to transfer to the PC, it can actually be longer before you can edit, as it needs converting.

    So although 'only' realtime, HDV might actually be simpler as once transferred its immediately editable?
     
  14. shaygold

    shaygold
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    Hi guys,

    thanks all for quick response.

    if its ok - I will summarize what I undersood - so then I can make a decision.

    1. SR7 is much easier to copy to my pc and burn to SD DVD for playing, though, I will loose the HD format since its DVD burning will drop quality from HD to SD.

    2. SR7 - If I choose to download to pc and edit - its more complicated to render it to mpeg2/divx format for SD DVD burning and playing

    3. HC7 produce better video quality than SR7 due to different compressions types

    4. HC7 takes much more time to copy to PC and burn to DVD for future viewing - and with SR7 its trivial operation, though - i will loose quality since dvd is SD and not HD format

    5. it is easier to edit HC7 format, but still later takes time to compress / render to mpeg2 / divx so I can view it on my SD DVD player.

    6. HC7 - is the fastest way to keep my videos - simply buy more mini DV cassettes. SR7 - I need to copy to my pc and backup the files.

    7. I should consider the canon HV20 if I want the best video quality, according to camcorder info reviews.

    Thanks!!!!
    Shay.
     
  15. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Not really the case any longer. There are intermediate codecs, and applications which capture and convert to an intermediate codec (e.g. Cineform), and yes if you want to use such an intermediate codec there is this conversion step which will take more time than the file transfer usually (depends on the speed of your PC). But these days you can edit either HDV or AVCHD directly, no need for an intermediate codec. Note an intermediate codec can still be useful (especially if you are doing complex edits, colour correction, and/or have a slower PC), but for most people native editing is all you need.
     
  16. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    @ shaygold: more or less, yes.

    The HV20 is a heap cheaper than the HC7, too. :thumbsup:
     
  17. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Nearly.


    1. SR7 is much easier to copy to my pc and burn to SD DVD for playing, though, I will loose the HD format since its DVD burning will drop quality from HD to SD.

    Easier to copy, yes. As for burning to SD DVD, no, as you will need to do a conversion in software either way... and actually the conversion from AVCHD will take longer than from DVD.


    4. HC7 takes much more time to copy to PC and burn to DVD for future viewing - and with SR7 its trivial operation, though - i will loose quality since dvd is SD and not HD format

    Again yes it takes more time to copy; no it doesn't take more time to burn to DVD.
     
  18. senu

    senu
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    For SD in comparing DV AVI and mpeg2

    If there is no editing the mpeg2 from HDD will be copied faster and DVD made quicker

    If editing, you may cut down on transfer time but if you edit you will probably end up needing to rerender the mpeg2 before a DVD is made. This time is no less than it takes to encode an mpeg2 from DV AVI
    Also the time spent editing may be such that downloading time is very short compared

    As such the much mentioned "more time to download" while true is insignificant once the material is on the PC
     
  19. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    In the final analysis, using an HDV camcorder adds one hour per tape to the processing and editing time, but you'll always retain the archive and the resultant m2t file is going to be better quality than the MTS produced by the AVCHD camcorder.

    If you're the kind of person who likes to review footage on the cam then that is easier with an HDD model.

    My cam is an SDHC card cam. Not for quality reasons but because it fits perfectly in my bumbag and I have it with me all the time.

    Oh, and did I mention that it makes no noise at all? :clap:
     
  20. senu

    senu
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    :rotfl::rotfl:
    You really dont like noise do you?
    My camcorders are dead silent too......when they are off:smashin:
     
  21. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe
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    Ho ho, I read a forum post somewhere by a guy who has an HV20. He said he ran a tape back and forward end to end a few times and now he has no noise from his motor at all.

    Made me feel a bit stupid for not having at least tried it. :rolleyes:
     

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