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Old June 11th, 2008, 08:08 AM   #181
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Steve, ergonomics is related to how the equipment fits THAT person...not every person. For me the strap doesn't cut, the zoom does fall properly under my fingers and my finger easily reaches the trigger button. All hands are not the same size and ergonomic principles dictate that you design to a certain percentage of the population. This means that those that fall beyond this curve will not achieve the ideal results. There's nothing that can be done about this in a cam of this size or any size for that matter.

Being very experienced in the proper use of higher end video cameras, I continue to disagree about a cam like this and its typical use. Even for me, an experienced videographer, I demand a camera that responds instantly for the type of use (totally different than business use) that a 'fun cam' generally sees. For the spur of the moment shot that can't be repeated (which is far more typical in leisure use than business use where retakes can generally be made), there's no substitute for superior automatic performance. But yes, I do agree I would appreciate more manual control. But I also love the 'bias' controls the Sony offers that others don't.

Let's face it, the HF series isn't designed for professional or skilled use either. None of these consumer cams are and their imaging devices prove that. Additionally, there's a sacrifice to be made for their size, be it the lack of a viewfinder, zebras, shutter speed, aperture etc. If I wanted more of a professional acquisition unit I'd have to go to a much larger camera which I choose not to do. Again, these are fun cameras and not much more...of course they also happen to take remarkably good HD video and for that we should all be happy.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 08:24 PM   #182
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Sure that's important, but a skilled shooter isn't who the camera is made for, so it should come as no surprise if those controls aren't there (or are there only partially)
Canon is aiming at the same consumer audience. In fact, given they are hundreds of dollars cheaper and are advertising everywhere -- I think its safe to assume they have Sony squarely in their sights. So both are "consumer" camcorders. Both target the *unskilled* shooter.

The difference is that Canon, like JVC, has CHOSEN to add the controls that enable a photographer to get EXTRA quality by using these controls. (Alternately, prevent quality LOSS in certain situations.) Given that all these cameras offer an EZ mode -- how can grandma be hurt by a menu that also offers shutter-speed control?

And, being completely missed is my explanation of why Sony may not support shutter control. It may have nothing to do with marketing as everyone ASSUMES and everything to do with patents. Canon has a patent on an iris that incorporates an ND filter. See pix. This allows one to to set the shutter-speed and allow the iris/ND system to have full control of the exposure.

Also being missed -- the validity of the claim that the Sony produces better pix than the Canon. How valid is this claim? I'm not going to assume a few days of testing by one person casts Canon into a DO NOT BUY hell. Nor, should anyone else.

Or, more importantly, as I said in my last post -- even if the Sony is "better" in full AUTO -- does this override every other issue? NO. It can't. For the shooter who wants progressive -- it's irrelevant. For the shooter who wants to use SD cards -- it's irrelevant.

Here's another consideration that rules-out BOTH camcorders -- the total lack of LANC. Or, the lack of native AVCHD editing. That's a big one for those of use who use laptops!

I really see no value to this debate about "marketing." Nor, participating in someone's constant attempts to defend the camcorder they bought. If I say I don't like X I can expect an immediate -- I like X. It's a waste of my time.

I'll report what I find on both camcorders as that will be of most value to those who -- like me -- have not yet bought either. And, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I feel it's best to wait for the next generation.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #183
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Steve, putting the image quality issues aside for a minute, could the absence of a toggle knob or 4-way physical control on the Sony cams be due to someone else's patents too? I'm wondering because in field use, the menu system, even if it's one layer deep, is so impractical. Real newbies would love to just forget about accessing its functions and hit the full auto easy button.

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Old June 11th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #184
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The difference is that Canon, like JVC, has CHOSEN to add the controls that enable a photographer to get EXTRA quality by using these controls. (Alternately, prevent quality LOSS in certain situations.) Given that all these cameras offer an EZ mode -- how can grandma be hurt by a menu that also offers shutter-speed control?
I would agree that Canon has certain manual controls to add 'extra' quality RELATIVE TO that camera's fully automatic quality. However, what I found, was that even with this 'extra' quality, it still didn't equal the 'fully auto' quality of the Sony. There was no way for me to avoid the odd colors that often popped up on the Canon. Whether I used one of the presets or MWB, the odd colors just changed their 'oddness' rather than becoming normal. Thus I didn't find the manual WB controls to add much. Additionally, in trying to overcome the Canon's tendency to overblow highlights, the lack of zebras made it nearly impossible to accurately couteract this tendency even with manual control of shutter & aperture. You're shooting blind. In fact, for a camera of this type, I find Sony's implementation of exposure 'bias' as well as their very clever implentation of several manual controls on the front-mounted dial, to be more useful than the manual control of aperture and shutter speed in the Canon...but that's just MO.

I've almost found it amusing reading the number of 'work-arounds' I've seen from some users to get correct colors or exposure from these units. That's a real 'no no' IMO for a consumer camera.

I also can't overemphasize the importance of getting 'auto mode' right in a camera of this type. I explained several times before that 'spur of the moment' shooting is more common for a consumer camera's application with many people. In this regard Sony does the better job IMO.

As to the insinuation of 'constantly defending the camcorder one bought', that's pretty silly when I for one tested both units under identical conditions, at the same time and shooting the same scenes side by side. I had the opportunity to keep either...in fact it would have been cheaper for me to keep the Canon. I showed the results to another friend who happens to shoot professionally and he came to the same conclusion as I. As an aside, he currently owns two Canon HDV units and as a result of what he saw now owns an SR12. One has no need to 'defend' a purchase when a camera is intelligently tested under those conditions. Some people mistake 'defending' for 'explaining' why a person found one camera to be superior to another. Obviously if you 'need' or 'want' 24p or 30p capability, there is only one choice. If you don't, there are several.

I have always encouraged people to try both in rigid A/B comparisons. Shooting the same scene at the same time with both cameras is the only true test. I am not the only one that came to this conclusion after doing so. :)
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Old June 11th, 2008, 10:14 PM   #185
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Steve the SR11/12 do have LANC accessed via the A/V terminal. The new Sony tripods with the AV designation have these controls as do all the housings for underwater use. These new controllers have a nice feature that opens up the guide bars for leveling etc, can set the zoom to a fixed slow position as well as variable 8 speed and photo button. I have the AV60 model for my SR11 and it works great and also works on any of the more recent Sony cams that have the new A/V terminal like the DV HC96 that I also have. The lack of LANC for me was one reason I ruled out the Canon's as most of what I do is on a tripod and I like the control of LANC ( it would be nice if iris was also controllable like the Panasonic !!!!) The auto features are very important if one is shooting kids running around. In this regard the SR11 is great as the face recognition locks very quickly to faces and does a good job of optimizing the picture for the people( why most people buy a camcorder) This feature biases the whole picture to exposing correctly for the faces it sees even assigning more data to encode these faces to get the best picture of the faces for future memories. With all the auto features turned off it becomes a competent consumer camera with limited manual features that are no worse than most but which produces a beautiful picture as long as the light is reasonable and there isn't superfast movement. I can live with that from a $1300Can camera. IF Sony produce a $5000 camera with as good a picture but all the manual controls, higher data rate to solve the fast movement issue, better low light etc I for one will line up.

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Old June 11th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #186
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Ron, I didn't realize about the LANC control. Good info. And yes, the kids are just another example of what I was referring to by 'spur of the moment' shots. :)
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Old June 12th, 2008, 01:45 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Wacharapong Chiowanich View Post
Steve, putting the image quality issues aside for a minute, could the absence of a toggle knob or 4-way physical control on the Sony cams be due to someone else's patents too? Wacharapong
Sony has used a Button and Roller system to control menus in the past. And, there is lots of room for these tiny controls on the SR. (I suspect that Sony thinks someone in a store will think the touchscreen is REALLY cool.) The advantages to the old Sony system are obvious:

In bright light when one can't see the contents of the LCD -- one could still use the VF. With the touchscreen one is screwed.

But worse, the touchscreen approach gave Sony engineers the "freedom"to implement TWO menu systems, each with multiple tabs. Each tab leading to multiple Major menus, which leads to multiple Minor menus, that lead to -- you get the picture. Even computers don't have menus 4-deep menu systems! As you said, "I'm wondering because in field use, the menu system, even if it's one layer deep, is so impractical. Real newbies would love to just forget about accessing its functions and hit the full auto easy button."

And, should you decide to shoot with a clean screen without data displays -- guess what, the button for the most critical menu disappears from view. It's gone!

And all joking aside, the old system didn't require one to touch the screen and smear it up. :)

PS: Ron, the LANC is VERY good news! I've got a Sony pistol grip I bought in Japan years ago. With the grip the SR becomes much like a Super 8 film camera.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Sure that's important, but a skilled shooter isn't who the camera is made for ... I don't think a skilled shooter should realistically expect to find much in terms of available controls on something like this.
This is actually a big problem with the camcorder market. The choice is between consumer grade camcorders with either few or some controls (and the controls they do have are accessed though a joystick or tiny knob), and the pro models which are much heavier and larger, and cost thousands more. The manufacturers have not seen a market for a middle ground. The JVC HD7 could be considered an exception in terms of controls, but its image quality is similar to the consumer models.

On the other hand, with digital sill cameras, there is a very healthy middle ground. You can buy a digital SLR with all the controls you could ever need, a large sensor, and excellent image quality for just a few hundred dollars more than the cost of a high end point-and-shoot or "bridge" camera. The DSLR will be bigger and heavier, but only by a little bit.

Maybe such a middle ground will emerge in the camcorder market (I can hope), but things seem to actually be going the other way.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 06:37 PM   #189
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I agree that the middle ground seems to have disappeared. At one time Sony had the TR900 which had controls that were useful but since then nothing. I had a V801 that had lots of controls, in fact the same sort of lineup as on the current prosumer cams working in the same way for gain, iris, shutter, white balance and that was a single CCD cam which was replaced in the digital era with the TRV50 ( which I have) that cost almost 3 times as much had a nice big 3.5" display but little control!!!! Having used the SR11 for a few months now I would be happy to pay more and get these same manual controls for gain, iris, shutter and white balance with buttons just like on my FX1 and a bigger lens. The rest of the spec could stay as it is now. Maybe later in the year!!!!

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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:28 PM   #190
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I agree that the middle ground seems to have disappeared. At one time Sony had the TR900 which had controls that were useful but since then nothing. I had a V801 that had lots of controls, in fact the same sort of lineup as on the current prosumer cams working in the same way for gain, iris, shutter, white balance and that was a single CCD cam which was replaced in the digital era with the TRV50 ( which I have) that cost almost 3 times as much had a nice big 3.5" display but little control!!!! Having used the SR11 for a few months now I would be happy to pay more and get these same manual controls for gain, iris, shutter and white balance with buttons just like on my FX1 and a bigger lens. The rest of the spec could stay as it is now. Maybe later in the year!!!!

Ron Evans
You guys nailed my frustration. All of us have used generations of HANDYCAMS that had full AUTO and Full manual options. I keep wondering why now that we shoot HD -- are there simply no options. That's why I bought an HD7. However, IMHO the future is solid-state. I really want to archeive generic SD cards as the price drops to $20/hour.

Like you -- given inflation -- I would gladly pay $1800 for a camcorder as that about 1/3 the cost of the Z7. Why is that segment gone?

Ron -- how are you connecting your AV tripod to the SR? <<<< ANSWERED. The Sony tripods have an AV plug, not a LANC plug. So, unless Sony sells a LANC-MINPLUG to AV PLUG it's not fair to say the SR supports LANC. Not only because we have no idea what signals are sent from the new tripods, but because all exiting LANC equipment can't be used!

PS: Note the SR has no SPORTS mode. Which supports my view that the EXMOR chips use Integration Time (from 1/60th second, upward) to control exposure. Not marketing to newbies, but technology. When you engage SLWSHUTTER I suspect the EXMOR chips switch to Accumulated Frame mode where it accumulates 2 frames for 1/30th second. This is the system used by the EX1 EXMOR chips.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 06:45 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
You guys nailed my frustration. All of us have used generations of HANDYCAMS that had full AUTO and Full manual options. I keep wondering why now that we shoot HD -- are there simply no options. That's why I bought an HD7. However, IMHO the future is solid-state. I really want to archeive generic SD cards as the price drops to $20/hour.

Like you -- given inflation -- I would gladly pay $1800 for a camcorder as that about 1/3 the cost of the Z7. Why is that segment gone?
How right you are Steve. I would imagine that there are a lot of us that feel the same way. Until a few months ago, I was holding out (and saving my money) for the FX7. After they stopped producing them, the price shot way up out of my reach, killing that dream (didn't want to consider a refurbished unit). I even considered the Canon A1, but it was about $750 more than I wanted to spend. So I began to wait and see if Sony was coming out with a replacement. I could only wait so long as summer was approaching, numerous opportunities were calling (I shoot railroads and western scenery), and I had already delayed two summers of not shooting HD; I was getting very impatient. When nothing appeared on the horizon from Sony, I resigned myself to getting the SR11.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the SR11. But I would rather have something more in line of a prosumer cam, with more controls. Especially since my friend is shooting with an FX7, and can control what the cam records to a greater degree than I can with the SR11. While most of the time the SR11 performs as well as the FX7, there have been a couple of instances when he was able to adjust to a shooting situation, whereas I could not.

Is there an FX11 on the horizon? Doesn't seem like it. So I will have to do the best I can with what I've got. While it is true that the shooter makes a large difference in the quality of the shot, it can be improved greatly when he has the correct tools at the outset.

Respectfully,
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Old June 13th, 2008, 08:12 AM   #192
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While it is true that the shooter makes a large difference in the quality of the shot, it can be improved greatly when he has the correct tools at the outset.
I must confess I don't understand Sony pricing. $6000 for a Z7 prosumer HDV camcorder? $10,000 for the Z270 that replaces the DSR-250 that was about $6000.

Then a super pro EX1 at only $8000.

The Z7 should be $4500 and the S270 $6500.

There a HUGE gap from the $1000 SR and the FX7 at $3500. I don't want an EXMOR FX7 for $4000. Too big! I want an SR with manual controls for $1800-$2000. But, I don't think we'll get it as Sony has been removing more manual controls every year.

My only Sony hope -- an EXMOR based A1 with a 3-inch LCD. Would love a SD card only unit.

All Canon has to do is offer an "HF20" that has a viewfinder, zebra, and LANC. And, return to Canon's past image quality. (Although without XMOR, low-light performance may never match Sony again.) They could double the price of the HF10 and it would be perfectly priced.

Are we really in the minority? Every time a review is posted everyone screams about the lack of controls. The JVC HD7 has a huge following primarily because of non-menu shooting controls. Perhaps we aren't such a tiny group!
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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:37 AM   #193
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Steve as far as I am aware LANC is a protocol not a plug. Sony in fact say LANC accessed via the A/V plug. In fact early on LANC was on a DIN plug on my Sony Super VHS deck I had an adapter for Din to 1/8" or 1/4" plug too. There are several posts around extracting LANC from the A/V terminal. It seems to have been changed to the 1/8" plug around the time of Hi8 deck introduction. The Fast Video Machine editor I had came with cables for DIN Sony and DIN Panasonic and I had adapters to go to 1/8"

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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #194
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There a HUGE gap from the $1000 SR and the FX7 at $3500.
Same with Canon, they jump from the $1000 HV30 to the $3600 XH A1.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #195
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