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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old December 15th, 2008, 10:34 PM   #1
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Replacing a JVC GZ-HD7 Camera

Hi all,

my buddy decided not to trade his GZ-HD7 with me and so now I have to give it back to him. However the good news is that I am liquidating a sampler and will have money to buy a new camera. Can someone tell me what camera would be an upgrade to this one without the $1300 price tag. My budget will be about $500, and I would like to have a Mic input and headphone out to monitor. I can use SDHC class 6 cards as that is what I have now, and I would like to be tapeless if at all possible.

JVC is ok, and I like the focus ring, but I suppose it's not necessary to have that as long as I can control focus some other way easily...

thanks for the help...
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:27 AM   #2
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HF100 may come closest to your requirements and budget. B&H has it in stock for $529 and you can read 132 reviews from their listing on it.

I have 2 of them and you can see what I do with them on vimeo.

The Devil's Due on Vimeo

All you will need to do is charge the battery, and format the SDHC card you have in the camera and you should be able to start trying it out.

The film linked above was done with an external stereo mic on a stand and boom left over from my portrait studio days, sound was monitored with small stereo headphones plugged into the camera.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #3
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Bruce,

do you just transfer your files from the HF100 to your computer and start editing or do you have to convert. It's not a big deal, but wanted to see if it is easy for you. Also how is low light recording for you?

Mark
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #4
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I edit on a quad core PC. All I have to do is copy the MTS files from the card to a temp working folder on the PC.

There I use a player to review, rename, and if a scene is a dud delete it. The rename saves me a lot of confusion in the edit process since all of these cams assign a numeric filename to the individual clips, so I rename each with a descriptive name that has something to do with its content. Then I copy all the renamed clips to project folders on the internal drive and on 2 external USB drives so I have all content I need safely backed up.

It's really easier than it sounds and while a bit time consuming initially it makes things so much better in the edit phase.

Be sure and do a test edit to see if your editor and computer can handle the full 1920x1080. Mine didn't at first so the old fort project shot at full res had to be set aside until I upgraded my graphics card. For awhile I set the cam for 1440x1080 because I could edit that OK.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #5
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Bruce,

the video is cool. My wife thought that the picture was way better than what the HD7 does. I am hoping to make a purchase next week if all goes well with the sale of my sampler.

Low-Light looks good too. I am also looking at the HG20 since it is $20 more.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 02:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
I edit on a quad core PC.

Be sure and do a test edit to see if your editor and computer can handle the full 1920x1080. Mine didn't at first so the old fort project shot at full res had to be set aside until I upgraded my graphics card. For awhile I set the cam for 1440x1080 because I could edit that OK.
You raise THE most important point. For anyone who has been using an HDV camcorder or an HD7 -- they will be shocked how much computer power they need to simply play AVCHD smoothly. A 2.66GHz QUAD core is the minimum needed for playback. Editing may require a faster computer.

Although the HF100 is a nice camcorder, it lacks a view finder so if you are shooting on a sunny day you can't see the menus or what you are shooting.

So IF you have a computer with enough power so you can use AVCHD -- the Canon HG21 is a better choice because it has a viewfinder. Although it's a more expensive, you don't have to buy SD cards because it has a 120GB harddisk.

It is also a better choice because it shoots with 24Mbps rather than only 17Mbps (HF100). However, you may need an even more powerful computer to play and edit it.

The other issue is brought-up on the Sony SR12 threads where they claim they chose the Sony because of color problems with the HF100. This may or may not be a problem with the HG21.

Unfortunately, the HG21 has no physical manual controls. Everything is done via menus under control of a joystick. (I can't image trying to focus with a joystick!) Although I didn't initially like the SR12 touchscreen menu system, the touch focus and exposure system is actually very useful. I expect the Sony is even more expensive, but again no SD cards to buy and no color worries.

PS: All is not bleak, however. I've been testing a DSLR type camera -- the Casio EX-F1 -- and am finding it is very powerful alternative to camcorders. It's expensive because there are no discounts. You can read about DSLRs here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photo-hd-video-d-slr-others/

Specifically:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photo-hd-...mpressive.html
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; December 17th, 2008 at 02:07 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
You raise THE most important point. For anyone who has been using an HDV camcorder or an HD7 -- they will be shocked how much computer power they need to simply play AVCHD smoothly. A 2.66GHz QUAD core is the minimum needed for playback. Editing may require a faster computer.
Well, I wouldn't advise AVCHD editing on anything less than a 2.66Ghz quad core, Pinnacle for instance advises that as the bare minimum for editing 1920x1080, but I playback AVCHD MTS files on location on a dual core T7250 in a laptop. I edit 1920x1080 in Pinnacle Studio on a quad core 2.4Ghz (It's what I got...) and as long as I don't try to stack too much in the way of post effects it's slow but works. Some other software may be less demanding of computer resources, the same machine above edits 1920x1080 quite smoothly using CyberLink Power Director 7 Ultra.

So some of these "absolutes" floating around may not be quite so rigid. However the advice of "get the very fastest quad core you make yourself afford" is more than valid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Although the HF100 is a nice camcorder, it lacks a view finder so if you are shooting on a sunny day you can't see the menus or what you are shooting.
This is an absolute PAIN in the ... Well, you get the idea. This is my biggest complaint on this camera. Yet, there is a workaround; a hood for the LCD. I use two right now, the Cinetactics Screen Hoodie30 (a folding sturdy ballistic nylon like product) and with a little shading help from the hand it can work very well, and the Hoodman 300 with 2x magnifier (not as substantial and sturdy as the other but the large 2x magnifier helps it to retain shape) and this is great workaround as long as you get close enough to block sky reflections from the top surface of the magnifier.

I'm also working on a lightweight hood with eyepiece magnifier that will turn the LCD into a rotating viewfinder that excludes all external light.

And there are some commercial products in this vein. beginning to appear on the market.
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