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Old July 8th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #1
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Canon VIXIA HF S21 vs Sony HDR XR550V

Im stuck between these two, I have enough money for both but I don't know which one will be best, I edit on Vegas so I'm leaning towards the Sony for that but the Canon is much cheaper, what I'm looking for mainly is low light performance and ease of editing on Vegas
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Old July 9th, 2010, 01:10 AM   #2
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There's no problem with editing Canon material on Vegas if that is perceived as a problem. I do it all the time...
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Old July 9th, 2010, 02:29 AM   #3
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Here is a thread with samples of low light/night footage shot with the Sony CX550. It's just Flash for web, but it will give you some feel for the camera's low light performance.
Sony CX550 Low Light Footage
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Old July 9th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #4
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Take a look at Panasonic TM700,
I tried HF S21, better than HF S10/11 OIS, but except that it's the same camcorder, LCD sucks big time,
I mean LCD is great, but the iPhone like menu navigation - terrible,
TM700 is not perfect too, but 60p, 28Mb/s and time lapse feature is really nice,
Somehow after last year XR520 bad experience, this year I didn't even look at Sony,
maybe I should, well I'll put side by side MC50 and TM700, the winner will stay:)
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Old July 9th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #5
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Doesn't the TM700 have a fan noise problem?
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Old July 9th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #6
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Doesn't the TM700 have a fan noise problem?
I've shot about 40 hours of footage with the HS700 ( hard-drive version of TM700 ), and so far I've never heard the fan, not once.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #7
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I've shot about 40 hours of footage with the HS700 ( hard-drive version of TM700 ), and so far I've never heard the fan, not once.
So how do you like the quality of the footage?

Oh...and if you have shot with other camcorders in this category, how would you rate it in comparison?
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Old July 10th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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So how do you like the quality of the footage?
Excellent overall. Very natural looking color. Lots of detail. Very little image noise, even with low-light shooting.

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how would you rate it in comparison?
I haven`t shot with the XR550, but I`ve worked with a number of Canon consumer cameras, and still own a HG21 which I use when I need an additional hard-drive camera.

For me, I rate the Panasonic TM700 / HS700 as a better camera because:

- It captures more natural looking color
- Shoots very low noise images
- Works very well in low-light ( though the XR550 might be a little better, I will have to try it sometime )
- Really good optical stabilization ( I can shoot steady handheld shots at the long end of the zoom )
- Currently is the only camera that shoots 1080 60P

The only drawbacks I see with the Panasonic camera are:

- Automatic white-balance not as good as the competition ( I always use manual white-balance )
- Menus are a little wonky compared to the Canon menus ( for example: 24P mode is called Digital Cinema Mode, when it should have been simply labeled 24P mode )
- The F-Stop changes when you zoom if the GAIN is active, which makes proper exposure difficult on a full zoom shot.

I normally shoot with my HMC-150 camera, but for live events the hard-drive in the HS700 is very handy to have. 41 hours of footage at 1080 24P.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #9
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I'm hearing about a new Sony cam that could be a game changer: An AVCHD small consumer cam with a single APS sized chip and interchangable lenses. It will be built around the guts of the new Sony NEX-5 still camera. You can see a teaser video here:
ProVideo Coalition.com: TecnoTur by Allan Tépper
That's a very big chip for a tiny video cam- bigger than the XDCam EX series. Should give you shallow DOF, excellent low light performance, high dynamic range, & superb image quality with a good lens.
Found some more recent information:
http://www.dvinfo.net/news/sony-deve...camcorder.html
Looks like it is scheduled for release Fall 2010.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Eduardo Romero View Post
Im stuck between these two, I have enough money for both but I don't know which one will be best, I edit on Vegas so I'm leaning towards the Sony for that but the Canon is much cheaper, what I'm looking for mainly is low light performance and ease of editing on Vegas
I've posted a number of CX500V low light examples on YouTube since November. These should be virtually the same as what you would see out of a CX550V. Note that YouTube started accepting direct 1080i uploads around March and they seem to have re-rendered many 720p videos that were uploaded prior to that time. So in the 720p videos I had uploaded, there are de-interlacing artifacts that aren't really there in the original video. But ignoring that, some of these videos should give you a feel for the Sony low light capabilities.

At YouTube, search for ThomasAlexHD and phrases like "low light" or "Low Lux".
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:04 PM   #11
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Robert -
Sony has a number of "interesting" cams rumoured to be coming, including a couple DSLR-V's finally - mockups already shown, so they are probably close. I think the mockup of the NEX lenses on a handycam body is UGLY myself, but conceptually it's interesting. I don't see "soccer mom Sally" buying one, but for the reasons you mention, if Sony puts in sufficient manual controls, could be a winner. I've heard the NEX series are selling like hotcakes, so perhaps it bodes well for what initially strikes me as an odd looking duck!

I don't see the need for the different physical layouts, especially if the bodies have the Sony "super OIS" to take out handheld gyrations. Then again, I've been shooting "personal" video with several of the small Sony P&S cams for a while, so I'm already used to the different layouts, you just have to change the way you shoot/hold/stabilize depending on the cam body.

There's also rumour of another SLR like camera (probably with en electronic viewfinder... hmm) that's optimized for video... supposedly with the model name A33/A55. Sony did this new "E" series lens because they wanted a mount/lens optimized for video, so these new lines of camera design are an interesting development.

I read that Sony was not entering the DSLR fray because they felt there were too many issues, these cams/lenses are apparently the response, and while I'm really hoping for something that will use the old "A" mount glass, I see there are already adapters for the "E" mount for all sorts of lenses, so it's beginning to become a "ala carte" scenario - pick your sensor/body, pick your lens, pick your add on accessories, etc... interesting times.


Eduardo/Tom -
After playing with the CX500 and the CX550 side by side, they both seem to perform about the same in low light, always have to remember to turn "low lux" mode on for optimal low light (for some reason it turns off after a while, so you have to re-invoke it if the camera is off overnight - my guess is settings hold for 12 -24 hours, but I'm not sure). Honestly, I don't think there are many cameras that can beat these little monsters for low light/low noise - other cams may be able to get passable images, but I have yet to see samples from any of the other cams that don't exhibit noise that I find less than acceptable, and/or the blacks get murky (the first samples of the XR500 blew me away when I saw night scenes were actually the way they should look, but were very clean with crisp blacks). It's the low noise that really impresses me, under all shooting conditions I've used the "R" CMOS cameras for.

The one "issue" I've noticed with the 550 is that there seems to be more noticeable "lens ramping" - it stops down quite a bit as you zoom in, so you lose a stop or two of low light performance if you have to zoom in very much... perhaps the only downside to the new wide lens range I've hit so far (also the reason the review sites panned the camera - when zoomed to match framing of a camera with a narrower field lens, the 550 was at a major disadvantage).

The 550 lens range is optimal if you're shooting "close in", where that wide lens lets you shoot in tight quarters, but I ended up keeping my CX500's for the different lens range and ultra small size/weight. Neither is "better" per se, but they ARE different when the lens range comes into play! Menus are basically the same, image quality seems nearly identical (not sure about wheter the 24Mbps rate will show any difference, doubt it for most of what I shoot), and sometimes it's handy to have the super small cam. I do think the OIS and focus algorithms on the 550 are a bit better than the 500, but the difference is pretty minor.

Other than the reports of people having problems processing the 1080 60P from the 700 series Pannys, I don't think you'd have a problem editing footage from any of these cams with Vegas... and the pricing I've seen on the Panasonics if you shop around is pretty tempting, if I didn't already have the Sony.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 02:17 AM   #12
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I read that Sony was not entering the DSLR fray because they felt there were too many issues, these cams/lenses are apparently the response, and while I'm really hoping for something that will use the old "A" mount glass, I see there are already adapters for the "E" mount for all sorts of lenses, so it's beginning to become a "ala carte" scenario - pick your sensor/body, pick your lens, pick your add on accessories, etc... interesting times.
Dave- interesting indeed.
I have been waiting for this shoe to drop for a while. IMO the wild popularity of DSLR for video is totally about chip size (and price- a 35mm video cam for under $100,000- how nice is that!!). Ever since Sony came out with the "small" EX1 with 1/2" chips I've thought that the next logical step would be to migrate downstream with a single 1/2" chip in a CX550 type body. Looks like they are hitting both markets with the NEX series- a high quality very small still cam that does full raster HD video and can compete with the Canon G series in the still market, and additionally a true video config cam with the same gigantic (for us) APS chip. The devil will, of course, be in the details.
The mock up is a bit ugly, and any lenses for that chip size will be bulky relative to the current consumer cams we're used to, but still...
If it catches on, there's always the potential for 3rd party adaptors for regular Nikon, Canon, etc. 35mm lenses, or companies like Tamron to knock out an E mount 18-200mm lens. If the final body design is a bit shorter than the 520/550 cams, you could end up with an amazing camera that is still quite small.
We'll see...
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Old July 14th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #13
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Whoa- here it is- the Sony NEX VG-10
NEX-VG10 | Interchangeable Lens Handycam Camcorder | Sony | Sony Style USA
A little bigger than I imagined, but lots of features, manual controls, etc.
To be released in Sept.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 07:37 PM   #14
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There's an extensive thread in the "news" section of DVi (second topic from the top!). It's a strange duck, or my better take would be "platypus"... I think I'm liking my CX550V for now, and wait and see what the A55 and whatever AVCHD-SLR's pop out of the Sony ovens, should be any day now!

I like the looks of the new toy, but unless low light performance is better than indicated, it's a non starter for me, the 500 and 550 series handy cams look to beat it by a huge amount, and for how long I waited for a "good in low light" HD camera, I'm not going backwards just to get DoF... Other than that, still looks like an interesting camera, and might replace my aging Alpha DSLR... maybe.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #15
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Yeah, it's really hard to know what it is until someone gets it in their hands & reports on it.
I woundered about the low light too- it's rated @ 11 lux, but my 550 is rated at 11 lux as well. The quality of the 550 low light footage had me thinking it would be rated lower than that, but it's not. Maybe the NEX VG will also perform better than it's "numbers" would suggest.
Could I love a platypus?? I dunno...maybe...
Heck of an interesting concept though. Several things about it make me feel like Sony is moving in the right direction with this.
On the other side though- the 550 footage is really excellent, and the camera is truely tiny. Pretty hard to beat.
We'll see...
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