The Great HD shootout

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by redsox_mark, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Interesting cross model review here of HD cams from the big 4...

    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/conten...Sony-HDR-HC7-Panasonic-HDC-SD1-JVC-GZ-HD7.htm

    HV20 comes out the winner... though it seems closer than in previous individual reviews.

    What I found most interesting is the low light performance. In earlier reviews they were pretty hard on the HC7. In this one they say it is very good, and is about the same as the HV20 in interlaced mode. But in progressive mode the HV20 still is better...
     
  2. felix2

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    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I like their conclusion: "We'd love to see a camcorder that really brings it all together: the handling of the HD7, the functionality of the HC7, the OIS and compactness of the SD1, and the performance of the HV20. Until that happens, smart buyers would be advised to consider the strengths and weaknesses of all of these camcorders, and choose the one that is the best overall match for their shooting style and goals."

    Well I won't be waiting for the HC9 or the HV30, so I guess along with plenty of others, I'm weighing up the "better versus not so good" features alongside the "potential dealbreakers" - image quality versus zoom handling, OIS and smooth-slowmo, onboard mic quality versus no Focus Assist.

    I know we've chatted about manual focus before, but what do you or other HD owners reckon about Focus Assist / Enhanced Focus - i.e. would the lack of it be a dealbreaker? Sounds like the autofocus (& Sony's Spot focus) are up to the job and anything more critical you'd just cart an HD monitor with you ;)
     
  3. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Personally, I don't tend to use the expanded focus (which is a feature on the HC1). The only time I might would be in a fixed situation like an interview - where I can take the time to set it up. Otherwise I'm on auto focus, or manual (without expanded focus).

    One thing to note which is general to all camcorders - they tend to have a large depth of field, so precise focus isn't so important (you have a large range in focus). The exception is if you are zoomed in far, or in low light.
     
  4. senu

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    Interesting stuff. I have wondered ( just out of curiosity) why it is more difficult to create the Shallow DOF with camcorders except with long Zoom that we do with DSLRs

    On the whole though, I for one am pleased that HDV is living alongside, and not being silenced by AVCHD .. yet

    I was at Comet this evening ...( not the best place I know) and of the 20 odd camcorders there, only 2 were MiniDV and then the HC5.. everything else was HDD or DVD
    The HC5 seemed stark .. no headphone jack, no mic, ..essentially a lovely "no frills" HDV camcorder
    Saying that, there were no AVCHD models there either
     
  5. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    The difficulty in creating shallow DOF with a camcorder has to do with the smaller sensors (certainly smaller than film, or a good digital SLR).
     
  6. JohnKen

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    Well - I actually bought my Canon HV20 today (before I read this review) - and am really excited by the quality of the images from what I've shot so far. Its every bit as detailed as the HDTV output from Sky HD / BBC HD - fed from HDMI input on my Sony Bravia. Colour accuracy is spot on.

    The Auto Focus works like a dream - spot on sharp all the time. I talked about that at the dealers and he said it was his main reason for seeing the Canon as the winner for 2007!

    There are, as they note, a few rincles. I haven't got the hang of the zoom settings - but too much zooming is something an amateur [like me] needs to resist - its used rarely in professional TV work. The feel is I think OK. Yes, the Sony I also tried out this morning - at my helpful local Wilkinson Cameras - was shinier and had a more quality feel, but the viewfinder and on board display were better on teh HV20, and the controls were intuitive. A quick read of the manual and I was able to find and adjust settings readily.

    I tried editing my trial footage - easy for DV - but you need to force it in the menu to get the Camcorder recognised. Then its easy to edit and write back (in DV only) to the tape. The Canon does NOT come with HD editing on the PC Disk - it advises, in the manual, to buy an (unnamed) HD capable editing package! I think the Sony includes it.

    Which brings me to my query - what can any of you recommend to edit HD footage from the Canon?

    I'm looking forward to much more fun with the Camera (a retirement present) and am sure my choice of the Canon was the right one.

    John:thumbsup:
     
  7. felix2

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    Thanks for your comments John. Glad to hear you're so pleased with the HV20, and reassuring to hear about the auto focus. I've heard complaints that Instant AutoFocus can occasionally hunt around incessantly when zooming or in low light (solution: turn off Instant AF for those shots?!) and I've been very disappointed seeing higher end Canon AF problems, so it's good to hear someone else say the autofocus is so good. Being able to do smooth zooms "on the hoof" is very important to me though. A lot of what I do is interviews & vox pops (either handheld or tripod), sometimes with groups of people where I need to focus in on one person then go back to the whole group... And they often call for cutaways which will often be a slow zoom or pan on something. Also presentation / conference / theatre type stuff where again (regular but not frequent) slow zoom-&-panning is needed. I am also concerned how good the built-in mic is and how much motor noise it picks up - I do about half and half onboard mic and external mics.

    As I understand it, DOF is affected by aperture, imager size, distance to subject, and length from lens to imager, which is by definition limited in a small design compact camcorder. I think compact digital stills cameras have the same problem (or perhaps advantage if it gives a wider tolerance for me to focus - thanks for the pointer Mark!).

    Having read about Sony's XDCAM HD professional disc (& soon memory card) systems, I'm sure that in many circles tape will be heading towards its way out over the coming years, and as I've said before I can really see the benefits of completely file-based filming, capture, editing, mastering & distribution. But just at the moment, I can't see AVCHD in its current implementation & bitrates in consumer camcorders being quite as good as HDV. Apart from which my PC's going to struggle a bit with HDV let alone anything more resource-hungry! Shame really, the Panasonic's screengrabs are probably my favourites (by a close margin) on the CCI shootout!
     
  8. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    One advantage of the HC7 is it has a LANC input… so for your tripod based shooting at least you could use a LANC controller, a good one will give you better control of the zoom.

    I agree that eventually tape will be phased out, even for professional work. But that doesn’t put me off buying a HDV cam now if it gives the best package for the money. I don’t mind looking old fashioned….
     
  9. senu

    senu
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    Although I said the HC 5 was sparse in jacks, one thing it does have is a LANC..;)

    Tape will go.. eventually . No worries there but until the disc based systems get to levels where the PQ / editing/ and Prosumer model: Semi pro models with usable manual controls become more common place.. Ill stay "old fashioned" as well

    Mark... what is an "old fashioned "look:confused::rotfl:!
     
  10. felix2

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    Thanks. I'd always thought LANC "wasn't for me", but I haven't tried it and can see it could be a big plus for one or two situations.

    Yup, give me "old fashioned" if it's the best solution for me at the moment. People won't laugh at me still changing tapes in 3 years' time any more than they'll laugh at my flares and corduroy jacket... :rolleyes:
     
  11. metel

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    Unfortunately the built-in mic on the HV20 does pick up some motor noise. I have previously owned a HC1 (had it pinched) and a HC3, both of which did an excellent job of eliminating motor noise. Having said that, the picture quality and the performance of the optical stabiliser on the HV20 is outstanding which, for me, more than makes up for the built-in mic.
     

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