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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #121
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Mario - AVCHD can be converted by the computer PMB takes roughly 10 minutes to convert a 10 minute CX7 clip to mpeg-2, 720x480 on my dual core 6000+ amd desktop. Not bad, and there are options for .wmv export, I didn't try them.

I would suspect that will take substantially longer on your laptop, but it might be an option - the program does pop up a "this could take a while" warning... HDV downconvert to an SD version is handled in real time as the camera sends the .avi out over firewire.

AFAIK the CMOS in the CX7 and the HC7/9 is the same 1/2.9", any other numbers are rounding/reviewer errors. There are however some differences in processing and of course final format (AVCHD v. HDV). I've had no artifacting issues with the CX7, and saw none in the mpeg clip - I suspect many artifacts are "user error" or incorrect software handling. For it's size, the CX7 is a lot of camera, and may be possible to get at close to the SD9 pricing right now with the "competition". I'm still using mine, even with the SR11 around, it's a bit more pocketable!

I got a lucky deal on my SR11 on the world's largest flea market, haven't seen anything close to it since. Legit dealer, crazy deal, sometimes you get lucky when new products come out and they want to move 'em. I think they are selling so fast right now, they may be tough to find or deal on.

Again, AE shift (relative adjustment) 2-4 clicks to the negative seems to work for me most times (the CX doesn't have this particular feature, though the auto has always "felt" better to me on this cam), OR pull exposure back as that is an absolute adjustment. Either can be used to great effect to improve PQ.



Dave - The SR 10 is new, and it's another in the series of "marketing releases" by Sony - a camera that hits a price point with reduced features that must be some marketer's idea of what will sell, and is not all it's cracked up to be, read my comments on the HC5 - there's a reason they can be had cheap now. Not that that may not be a great deal...

Sometimes you get lucky with cameras designed to hit a marketer's target, the HV20 certainly is a watershed, and has been great for all of us by giving breakthrough features at a lower price point. I personally prefer the Sony products, and think that their "base" cameras don't help them much, since the competitive nature of the market results in discounting of the high end stuff enough that the "base" ones don't make as much sense as I'm sure they did in that staff meeting!
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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #122
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the "base" ones don't make as much sense as I'm sure they did in that staff meeting!
Yes, I've been in meetings like that (not cameras though). Sony is doing the same thing with their new DSLRs. They introduced an a200 which was a replacement for the older a100, and then introduced the a300 and a350; all three models are only about $150 different in price from each other (on average). The a350 is a significant upgrade over the a200 in several areas (14Mp, live view), but the a300 just doesn't seem to have enough differentiation from the other two to justify itself. The DSLR market right now, like camcorders, is very competitive, and consumers can sometimes be very price sensitive, so maybe some manufacturers feel they have to attack every price point.

Anyway, I think something like the SR10 would have more value in the market if there were something else gained by the reduction in features and (potentially) performance besides just being a little cheaper, for example if it were small enough for me to carry around in my pocket. The new TG1, for example, does have a market niche, I would think.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #123
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I wanted to weigh in on the original topic now that I've had my HF100 for a few days.

First some background. I originally purchased the SR11. Hands down it was the nicest camcorder I've owned and that includes two other relatively expensive models for their time, the Canon Optura Pi $1350 and Sony HC3 $1395. I hit a snag though, the wife factor. She didn't like the large size and didn't see it being easy to take on vacation. Reluctantly I returned it but I at least got to experience what it was like to use it.

Naturally I purchased the Canon HF100 to replace it since it had quite a few people saying good things about it. Here are my thoughts.

The Sony SR11 beats Canon in build quality and engineering. It is really well thought out and as everyone else has said built like a tank. But in the end this turned out to be the reason I returned the camera. For family video / vacations the last thing I want dragging me down is a tank. The HF100 is pocketable. I shoved it in my pocket yesterday and flew a kite with my daughter without even worrying about the camcorder. As a result I got some nice video that I may have not had I had the SR11. I might have decided not to bring it since I didn't want to carry a camera bag.

The Sony SR11 has better color reproduction and white balancing. I immediately noticed that the HF100 wasn't as good when I started shooting with it. But again for your basic family type stuff I'm not sure how much it matters.

The HF100 has better audio in my opinion. The audio I'm getting of my daughter talking 15 feet away was much better than what I was getting with the Sony. I suspect it is because the microphone is front facing. While this could be corrected with my external Sony Mic it would be one more thing to lug around. The 5.1 audio on the SR11 was a gimmick for me and not something I'd ever really consider using.

The Sony has better connectivity to a computer since it doesn't require an external power source when in USB mode. The Canon does which adds yet another cord I have to deal with.

The HF100 beats the SR11 on Focus. I can't believe how quickly it locks in and stays locked. I had trouble with my HC3 and I noticed many of the same traits with the SR11. It's like you can see it wanting to start focusing and then it changes it's mind only to start again. And then as it locks in it takes longer than I'd like. The Canon, so far at least, has been much faster.

The optical viewfinder on the Sony is nice and I find myself picking up the Canon as if I'm going to look through one (and of course it isn't there..). I believe over time I'll break myself of the habit.

The Pixela software is a little cleaner than the Sony PMB software. I like the fact the import feature is separate from the picture browsing software (zoom browser). I chose not to install zoom browser since I don't need it. I do however like the importing option and the AVCHD player actually works really well.

Not to be overlooked, the price difference. With the money I saved on the HF100 I went out and purchased a Q9300 processor. I can't say enough for the improvement this made in Vegas Pro 8 compared to my old e4300 processor.

Finally, I like SD Cards. There is something cool about having an hour of video on a chip the size of postage stamp. I know the Sony offered memory stick support but I can buy close to 3 8GB SD cards for the price of one Sony. I can even share them between the HF100 and my digital camera.

So thats it. Both cameras are nice but for me the HF100 is a better fit.

Thanks for reading

Paul
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Old April 16th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #124
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Thanks for reading
Thanks for the informative post, Paul.

I like your post in particular because it highlights the fact that everyone has a different set of features and characteristics which are important to them and there isn't just one product that is right for everyone.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 07:57 PM   #125
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Paul -

Great post, you've described why I'm still keeping the CX7 around - pocket size is cool, though the SR11 isn't much bigger, it's noticeable. Besides, all the accessories swap, so the economics work for me, might not for someone else.

Very good points about the audio, focusing, and the cost of memory (ugh, can someone PLEASE tell Sony to make it up on volume with the MS Duos??? At least Sandisk has hit the market with 8G now, and I've switched in protest!). You'll learn to get along without the VF, but that 3.2" screen... hmmm, I'm finding the 2.7" a bit tiny!

It goes to show that there are great choices out there, and with each there may be some compromises, but still, what a great time to be working with video. I suspect this is much like when word processing first took hold and changed the whole nature of the printing business. Interesting times!

Congrats on the Quad core, that HAS to be a cool upgrade!
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Old April 16th, 2008, 10:17 PM   #126
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Thanks for the nice feedback Dave and Dave.

I drooled over the CX7 when it first came out but from I recall it was MSRP of something like $1300 or something like that? Does anything depreciate faster than a consumer camcorder? Even the HF100 which has been out less than a month is dropping like a rock. It is already over $50 less than what I originally paid at Amazon. Luckily they have 30 day price protection which simply means you have to write them a nice email to refund you the difference. I'm glad the depreciation is already starting rather than 6 months from now.

And yes the quad core has met my expectations that is for sure. It doesn't make the day to day basic computing tasks any faster but earlier I was encoding some 1920x1080 footage while using other applications without missing a beat.

Paul
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Old April 16th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #127
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I guess I have a different take on the audio. I love the ambience created by the 5.1 sound. I agree with Paul that your up-front subject's dialog will come out louder on the Canon, but in doing A/Bs between the two of them, it was kind of 'shocking' to hear the sound field collapse when the Canon audio popped on.

So I guess even there, each has its attributes and one may fit you better than the other.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #128
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Great review Paul. I too noticed the focus problem on the SR12. Though the HF100 had problems of it own, the sr11 scored a little slower in focusing in my book.

Dave, thanks for the informative information. I was told that the color problem I had was a defect and they gave me another HF100 for another 5 days. We will see (only one final to go!)

I don't know why, but I think this search will have me end up with a HV20 or 30.

Regards,
Mario
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Old April 17th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #129
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Anyone with any issues with the SR series focusing should try the spot 'touch focus' on the LCD screen. I've found it works very nicely. :)
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Old April 18th, 2008, 07:07 PM   #130
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Yes Ken, I noticed the focusing problems. I tried another canon and the same thing with the reds and pretty much color overall. Very disappointing. It ridiculous they put out a procuct that performs so poorly. I am really turned off.

Now I am between the HV30, SR10, 11 and CX7. The SR11 is great but unavailable where I have credit. The SR10 has no real manual controls, is bulky and has that 1/5" sensor. The cx7 seems like it also does not have good manual controls. I don't know how the performance of the cx-7 compares to the sr-11 or HV20. If anyone can weigh in on that I would appreciate it! I can get it (CX-7) for $849 at circuit city but the dreaded 15% restocking fee is applied there. I think these restocking fees are ridiculous, they should at least give you 3 days with no restocking. But I digress.

The HV30 is $899 and tape based but for me the picture is the most important thing. Does it have the same weird reds as the HF100? Is it smoother than the SR11? I would love to here what you guys think.

Regards,
Mario
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Old April 19th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #131
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Hi Mario -

I only notice the focus issues in really bad light (I'd have a light mounted under those conditions anyway) and high zooms - IMO the SR11 gets a tad twitchy when you kick in the digital zoom in general, but I can live with it.

Can't comment on the SR10 from hands on experience, but I think I'd go for the SR11 on specs...

CX7 -
The manual control of the CX7 is limited, and touchscreen is it... BUT I find I'm consistently happy with the auto capabilities, and you really can't beat the small size for a "take everywhere" cam. I'd personally take it over the Canon, on build quality alone - the HV20 just felt fragile to me, the CX7 feels like it's unbreakable. Remember you're going to need to add some memory sticks to the price, which might well put you back at "SR11" price point.

I shot some side by side tests in good light, the SR11 is better than the CX7, but you have to really analyze the video carefully - I switched back and forth randomly, and always picked the SR11 as "better", but it was subtle. I'm not getting rid of the CX7, it's close enough to the SR11 to use the two together multicam, and did I mention it's SMALL for taking everywhere?


HV20/30
If you go towards the HV30, check the build quality, the motor/chassis noise, and the IS. The HC7 was better in those areas than the HV20, and I'd expect the same goes for the HC9 over the HV30. I saw strange reds under certain conditions when I had an HV20, but I think I've noticed it in Canons I've looked at over the years, I think it's a "Canon look", you either like it or you don't. A lot of people like it a lot, so it's hard to argue with that.

Not sure if that helps you any... picking one is tough! Decide which workflow you prefer, which features are REALLY important, and go for it. None are "perfect", but all are very good...
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Old April 19th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #132
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I've downloaded a few clips from the SR10, and they too are very impressive. Colors seem very nice and similar to the SR11/12. Even sharpness and detail seem excellent in those clips. I can't speak to the lowlight since I didn't see any clips under those conditions.

By the way, like Dave, I haven't noticed any real focusing issues with the SR12. When they occur they're invariably under lowlight conditions. The only real anomoly I had was in a shopping mall with a bright sign in the background and to the left of the subject. The SR12 only wanted to focus on that, but at the time I still had the HF10, and it did exactly the same thing. I should have tried the spot focus on the Sony at that time, but I didn't.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 12:09 AM   #133
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Ken, how would you right the "smoothness" of the video of the SR10? How do you think it compares to the CX-7? Did you download uncompressed clips?

Let me know.

Regards,
Mario
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Old April 20th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #134
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Yes Mario, I did download a few clips from the SR10 taken in sunny & snowy conditions. I was particularly impressed with the exposure and color, just as I am with the SR11/12. One of the clips showed a child in the shade with a bright snow-filled landscape in the backgroud amidst a row of houses. All objects, including the child, were properly exposed. Not too easy a task for a small chip like resides in the SR10.

Displayed on my 60" plasma, I honestly don't think I would have known if it came from an SR10/11 or 12. It was very smooth.

I just went back to look at the guy's original posting and I believe this is the clip if you'd like to look at it yourself:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=IYP4VMCJ
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 04:04 AM   #135
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Hello Ken,

i'm very happy to have found this site, very prolific about avchd discussion.
In Italy we are too much sceptic for now...

i believe in this format (i've had a pana sd1). I only believe the big brand have to do the correct choices to improve their camera to completely overtake hdv. Since it's well known h264-avc compression is very better than mpeg2 in each conditions...
I believe that if they bring bitrate to 20mbit (at least) it would be very important. At the same time i can't understand their policy about sensors...why did they higher cmos size...why??? (for example 1/3.2 HF10 from 1/2.7 hv20/30 and pana from 1/4 for each CCD of SD1 to 1/6 of SD5/9...)

That said, i've read your impressions and pls correct me if i've not understand right:
in your opinion HF10 is really close to HV20 but a little bit inferior and has some kind of problem about perfect AWB.
While you are globally satisfied from SR11e that seems to be equal or better than hv20. (in "contrast" for example from what i can conclude reading reviews). Am i correct?

It's very important for me knowing your opinion since you are "normal" man with no interest so you can really be objective.

Could you pls give me much informations from your test in the same conditions, about their behaviour in high light / medium light / low light contest and in complex shooting: i mean panning shooting and shooting with many movement (this is critical case that many reviews does not go thorougly...).

The best thing would be if you may upload some "raw" clips of both hv20/sr11e in the "same" conditions. I would really appreciate.

PS how is the SR11e viewfinder? usable? what about its manual functions...shuttter, exposure? ...and...usable manual focus or worser than the hv20/30 small wheel ?
PPS in sr11e, is it possible to put off hard disk and shoot (always at full-hd 16mbit) on SDHC card? this would be very important in critical weather conditions or if there are some big shakes...)

Thanks in advance.
ciao!
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