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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old August 8th, 2007, 10:08 PM   #1
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Best AVCHD Camera to date ?

Hello All,

I am planning to head to SE Asia soon, and begin a new career and a "backpack photojournalist". I have extensive background in video, but have since transitioned into still photography as my interest and passion has been peaked by straightforward documentary photography. I have sunk my money into a great D200 package and now it has been suggested to me to carry along a small video camera, for moving images as well as gathering sound bites for use with still slide shows.

I have been struggling with which camera to buy, right now I jsut bought a Canon HV20 and really like it, however a drawback is having to carry alot of tapes around, which is a big drawback considering I need to keep my pack as light as possible. So since I the news about the HG10, I am now tempted to take back my HV20 and get one of these AVCHD cameras and just carry a 500GB or 1TB hard drive around with me.

So my question is what do you guys think I should do, keep my HV20 , or get into one of these AVCHD cameras, and if so which do you think is the best for my situation. I love the idea of an LANC port, since I has Varizoom PL left over from my video days, and would be nice to get some crawling zooms etc. But I think Im looking for overall camera quality as opposed to jsut having a LANC port. I like canon and have owned many canon vidoe cameras, including XL2, XL1, GL2, and now the HV20. So I like canon, however these Panasonic AVCHD cams are looking pretty good, especially the 3 Chip cams.

Just looking for some input from all you guys out there.

Cheers,
James
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Old August 9th, 2007, 01:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Rhodes View Post
I love the idea of an LANC port...
Hi James, your best bet will be Sony, since neither Panasonic nor Canon AVCHD camcorders have LANC. Panasonic never used LANC; Canon used to but dropped it from their consumer camcorders several years ago (it's now found only on the larger Canon three-chip XL and XH camcorders).
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Old August 9th, 2007, 01:18 AM   #3
 
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Unfortunately, Sony have dropped LANC from their AVCHD camcorders as well. This is the *greatest* shortcoming I've seen in the Sony CX7 thus far. I've asked Sony Electronics (which is different than the broadcast group) to respond to my inquiries about why, and if they'll offer it in the future.
Unfortunately, the PR group at Sony Electronics doesn't seem to be nearly as responsive nor capable as the PR group at Sony Broadcast.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 01:29 AM   #4
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Shows how out of touch I am -- I wasn't aware of that.

Panasonic used to have an AUX jack, wonder if any of their AVCHD cams have it?
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #5
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There is no AUX jack on any of the Panasonic consumer cams.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #6
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I think its only the CX7 that has dropped the LANC as well as a viewfinder. My SR7 has LANC as well as external mic and headphone jacks. I quite like the camera. IF you get the SR8 you can record at high quality for I think 14 hours. Stills can be recorded to HDD or Memory Card. If you get a FH100 battery it might last you for days!!!!

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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #7
 
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Ron,
TMK the SR8 has also dropped the LANC. I don't have the cam in hand, but have the spec and training guide for it, and there is no reference to LANC. Are you certain it's on there?
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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #8
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Sony SR7/8 & LANC

Actually there is only a 3.5mm "remote" connection, near the start/stop switch. No LANC at all.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #9
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For what it's worth, you could use a small laptop to capture footage from an HDV camera so you don't have to carry a lot of tapes. That might not be as convenient as using AVCHD, but then it would be easier to edit the resulting footage. (Editing support for AVCHD is limited and performance could be a problem.) If you do go with AVCHD, it might make sense to check out the 3-chip Panasonic camera, but I don't know enough about that to say whether it's worth getting. Let us know what you decide to do...
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #10
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...

So LANC isn't the biggest concern, more so overall picture quality. 3 Chip vs. CMOS ? Also is there a AVCHD cam out there yet that records full 1920x1080 , or are they all 1440x1080 at this point ?

I am jsut looking for the best bang for my buck, I'm going to limit myself to $2000 I think I can get pretty much any of the consumer end cams for that price.

I really love the image the HV20 produces, I am wondering how much of a degradation will be in the HG10, what differences will I see between 1920x1080 and 1440x1080 ?

What would be the recommended shooting mode to get the best quality image, 1080i or using 24p ? I am pretty sure you can take 1080i images and convert them to 24p in post. But what is the better route ?


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Old August 9th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #11
 
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they're all 1440 x 1080 at this point, but that's of little consequence.
Same with "3 chip vs CMOS" (you can have a 3 CMOS imager system just like you can with CCD).

Compression is the bigger deal. If you have lots of motion, AVCHD and small camera spells "challenging."
Carrying a small HDD system such as the DR60 might be a better option for you, used with your existing HDV cam.

So far, we've owned/own 4 different AVCHD cams from Panasonic and Sony, and while the CX7 is pretty decent for what it is, it's the first that has impressed me at any level. But it's still not HDV or better, contrary to early reports that AVCHD at lower bitrates would be significantly better than HDV.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 10:39 AM   #12
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The remote connection above the DC in ( page 107 of manual) is the LANC connection. Works with my Sony and Manfrotto LANC controllers( REC , REC pause, standby On and OFF). Applies to SR7 and SR8 according to the manual.

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Old August 10th, 2007, 01:03 AM   #13
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The remote connection of SR7 and SR8 is based upon LANC protocol, but is not a full bi-directional LANC(TM) connector. See http://www.boehmel.de/lanc.htm for more details.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #14
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Yes you are correct that it appears to be just a unidirectional remote. Doesn't pass timecode for instance to my DHR1000 but responds to start, stop, pause but not jog/shuttle control. But for my use of tripod control, start stop zoom etc, it works just fine. Which raises the issue of whether there is timecode embedded in AVCHD? Maybe converting to HDV to backup on tape has other advantages!!!

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Old August 20th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #15
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I've done some backpack journalism with a small video camera as well.

I'd be more inclined to keep the HV20 and go with tapes. The reason being... for the weight of a portable drive and power supply, you could carry plenty of tapes instead. If the drive fails, you've lost everything. If you end up shooting more that you thought you would, blank miniDV tapes will be easy to find while traveling.

Here's an old travelblog I did with writing, photos, and video.. only I just used a digicams video clips for the video portion. I shoot HDV now. View from bottom up.

http://www.poppinfreshmedia.com/skipmexmc.html

Another one with no video:

http://www.poppinfreshmedia.com/skip...uthafrica.html


The next one I'll use the HV10 for the video portion. Was looking at the HG10 too, but I think I'd rather go for the HV20 for the general stability of tape and the fact ALL my footage won't be on one drive. If I wasn't carrying gear in a backpack, possibly exposing it to extreme humidity, heat, rain, bumps and bashes... I wouldn't be so concerned. If backpacking.. sometimes your gear will be stacked on top of a bus... or lower deck of a rickety boat... or the back of a truck with chickens and pigs.. not always the best environ for a hard drive. But I've never had a tape completely fail. Rarely even get a dropout, but it has happened.
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