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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old April 25th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #1
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prosumer DV to consumer AVCHD (web)

Hi.

I currently have a Sony PD150 and a dying Canon GL-1 for shooting webcasts of live sports, and sometimes youtube clips. I sometimes give out DVD copies of the recordings too. I would like to upgrade to a Z7U or AX2000 but they are not really in my budget at the moment. Wondering if something like a CX350 or XR500 that shoots in AVCHD would be a step up for me or step back as it isnt a prosumer camcorder like my existing DV cameras.

Also, when shooting sports live with multiple cameras, I have a an analog switcher (WJ-MX12) so I would not be benefiting from HD all the time.

Any other cameras that anyone could suggest? $1000 is ok, but $3000+ is a bit too pricey for me at this time, or should I keep with DV for now and upgrade to AVCHD or HDV when I can afford a better camera?

The only real requirements im looking for are video out, microphone input, and tripod control.

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Mark
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Old April 25th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #2
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Well, here's a quick rundown...
#1 keep in mind (and budget) that you'll need some serious computer horsepower to effectively edit AVCHD, so that needs to be in your calculation - but decent quad core computer configurations are rapidly becoming mainstream, meaning if a computer upgrade is in your future anyway...

#2, the image quality you'll find from these AVCHD cameras is a pretty significant step up from SD for the most part. the single chip CMOS cams do a pretty good job overall, approaching the quality you can get from much more expensive cameras. You lose the majority of manual control (about the only cameras Sony has with more control are the latest CX and XR550V, but those are both still CLOSE to your budget, presuming you didn't include accesories). Both have video (and HDMI) outs, mic inputs (the CX500 you mentioned doesn't have mic input unless you happen to have the out of production shoe adapter for the sony proprietary shoe, and I believe the same applies to all the lower end Sonys). The LANC control is "hidden" in the A/V jack, but there's an adapter available, or if you're handy you can hack your 2.5mm LANC - you can still take a composite (yellow RCA) video feed off the jack while the LANC is active, if the adapter is wired for it.

FWIW, at NAB Sony "introduced" a "pro" version of the CX550V, there's a thread here in the "news" section, not much is really known about the camera, it's currently sort of a mystery, but it's an indication that Sony is regarding their current top of the line consumer cam as "good 'nuf".
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Old April 25th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #3
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Is lowlight an issue for you? The FX7 is a great camera and will feel very familiar to you coming from the PD150. The HDV footage will be much easier to edit than AVCHD, however It's downfall is lowlight so it might not be great if you are shooting any games at night or indoors without sufficient lighting.

The image coming out of the cheaper handycams on full auto these days really is impressive. But they are often scarce on extra features (mic jack, LANC etc) so you'll need to check each individual models specs to see it they have these.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #4
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I was going to mention the FX7 as well, as it's around $2k list, so might be had at least a little closer to the budget, but because it is already showing its age, and the low light performance, I passed - still a great cam, and it's easier to edit HDV, as noted. If Sony would stuff one or more EXMOR R chips in it, and downsize it for SS recording instead of tape, I'd say it would be a winner. The FX7 is a very "comfortable" camera in my book, it's too bad Sony hasn't seen fit to update the design.

Sony will have a LANC on every cam via the A/V jack AFAIK, and Canon has added the LANC capability back on the top end of of their consumer line. Mic and headphone will be available on the top end of the lines, but disappear as the camera become more "affordable" and consumer oriented.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 10:40 PM   #5
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I shoot sport instructional videos with a combination of Canon HF-S100, HF-S11, CX520v, XR520v and the HDR-AX2000 cameras. Those earlier Sony cams don't have the mic input you are looking for and seem to get *way* more blurry with fast motion than the Canon's do-even when using the default settings with the Canon, where you can actually adjust shutter speed. The stabilization and lowlight functions of the Sony are far superior.

In well-lit, tripod-based settings I have had zero complaints with the Canon's picture in a sports setting. I haven't been as happy with the sound, but I just hooked up some JuicedLinks to them and they were fine. You can get a new HF-S100 for around $600 now.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #6
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Fx-7

I have considered the FX-7 as well. Looks like the closest thing to my PD150 without the XLR inputs which would be nice to have, but I do not need them. Actually it probably is the replacement of the VX2000/2100 series which wouldnt be too bad either. It being able to record to solid state as well as tape would be nice though. I could pick up a firestore or the sony CF card recorder but that would bring a little higher than what i would be willing to pay probably. Don't know if i would have a problem with the low light situation as i am mostly recording hockey games and well lit sports for now. Last year we used 2, pv-gs180 palmcorders which were nice, but this year i managed to pick up a used PD150 and a dying Canon Gl1 that works ok but far superior picture. I may try to get another PD150 to replace the Canon Gl1 or look at an FX7 or smiliar.

One thing i would like to know, that the sony palmcorders have the a/v out and the remote connects via the same connector. Just wondering if there is a way to have both a video out as well as a remote attached to the same camera at the same time or is it one or the other, or do the remotes have another a/v connector to for this purpose.

The big concern is that i could either pick up a palmcorder or a used PD150 or VX2000 for about the same price, and for the web apart from recording on tape vs solid state, really dont know which would be more benefitial

Thanks
Mark
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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #7
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Mark -
There's a Chinese made adapter cable you can find on eBay that connects at the A/V jack, and has a jack for any 2.5mm LANC remote, and the Y/R/W RCA outs for composite and audio (I think it also has S-video). The stock Sony A/V cable will just give you R/G/B component outs, plus Y composite, and R/W audio L/R.

When I hacked the jack a couple generations of camera back, it was no problem getting the LANC and A/V working simultaneously, and I'd expect that to remain the situation. Come to think of it, they have changed that connection slightly, as it now serves up the R/G/B... but still should work the same - I might have to dig up my old experimental cable and see, but I'd say it's probably a safe presumption.

The FX7 is really a nice camera, BUT it's now 3-5 years old, and in the current state of things, the sensors are now showing their age, design wise. Doesn't mean you wouldn't probably find the camera to be a joy to use, but it's not going to be as good in tough light by a long shot compared to current generation cams.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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Prosumer DV to consumer AVCHD

Well looks like my needs have changed. We are now looking at a Tricaster Pro for recording our live webcasts then taking the record files from that and cleaning them up, transferring them to dvd for archive, I still find the dv quality ok for webcasts, and since the tricaster can't take full hd video input anyway, then i guess i really wouldn't benefit from hdv or avchd as quickly. I think i will upgrade my computer first before i get an HDV or AVCHD camera. Will probably get another PD150 or PD170 to replace my dying GL1...

My computer right now is a Core 2 Duo Imac. Either thinking of going the PC route again, or going with a mac pro.

unless anyone suggests differently?

I think if i were to upgrade to HD now, i would either go with an FX1000 (since i dont need the XLR, and only rarely would i connect an external microphone) or AX2000 (which i could benefit from avchd solid state)


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