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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old January 15th, 2011, 05:51 PM   #1
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First HD Camcorder

HI All

I have a couple of Sony PD-170's for SD work, however I am getting a few requests for youtube videos, and HD content, which the PD-170's obviously do not excel in. As my video work is only slightly more than a hobby, I do not have a real budget for equipment, so the most economical for the quality within reason. I would love to have an AX2000 or NX5U, but these start at around $4000 CAN which is a bit too much since I don't get paid for a lot of the work I do.

I have been looking at the HXR-CX and XR consumer camcorders and wonder if anyone has any good or bad to say about them. I do not really enjoy consumer grade cameras due to the lack of manual control, however I have not used one in awhile.

I have also looked at the consumer/entry level prosumer (maybe), HXR-MC2000. I like how it is shoulder mount and can take the L series batteries so i would have plenty of batteries, however I have not heard much else about it. Does anyone have any thoughts of this one as well? This is probably the highest id go with, price wise.

Also just a quick note to say, I edit with an Imac Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz

Any suggestions or other info would be great.


Last edited by Mark Chafe; January 15th, 2011 at 07:09 PM.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:43 PM   #2
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These PD170 vids look good to me.

YouTube - Sony DSR-PD170 test

YouTube - SONY DSR-PD170 Night streets
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Old January 16th, 2011, 05:55 AM   #3
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Are these your clips? Very impressive. Thanks to those clips, i managed to find some other footage from PD-170's on youtube that I didn't see before. Obviously my settings or software must be causing the problem. My footage looks crystal clear on a CRT, and not too bad on my HDTV as it is primarily adjusted for SD, but once it's ingested into my computer, it looks very noisy and just blah. Any tips anyone has for making video a bit more "online friendly" would be great. I have a mac and use FCP, Premiere Pro CS3 and Imovie.

However, would still like to find out what people think of the CX and XR range of camcorders, alsothe HXR-MC2000 if anyone seen any in action.


Last edited by Mark Chafe; January 16th, 2011 at 07:02 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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You'll find plenty of "reviews" of the current CX550 here if you search - lots of people using them and quite happy, myself included. You won't impress a client with the size, but the image quailty is excellent and a good bang for the buck. Manual control is limited, but the auto intelligence functions do quite well, and once you know how to tweak the camera are adequate for most shooting situations.

Keep in mind if you go AVCHD/tapeless, you'll probably be looking at a complete computer upgrade to process the resulting files. I'm suspicious that perhaps your current computer setup may be part of the reason you're not getting as good results as you'd like with the cam you've got - specs and software being used?
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Old January 16th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #5
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I agree that the CX550 is an amazing camera.
But, before you buy, check out the latest CX model being released in March.
HDR-CX700V | Full HD 96GB Flash Memory Camcorder | Sony | Sony Style USA
The CX 700 has all of the CX550 features plus 60p and 24p, focus assist, peaking, zebras, and some cine gamma profiles.
Even though it looks like a tourist cam, you can shoot amazing footage with the CX.
It has terrific low light performance, and enough manual controls to get by quite nicely.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #6
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Here's another possible option that will be coming out soon from Panasonic:

HDC-HS900/HDC-TM900/HDC-SD900/HDC-SD800 | HD Camcorder | Panasonic Global

...or maybe this one from Canon:

Canon U.S.A. : Consumer & Home Office : VIXIA HF G10
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Old January 21st, 2011, 06:44 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info guys, but I think I will approach this a bit differently now. After giving it some consideration, I have decided to slowly sell off my PD 150, and PD-170 and upgrade to a used prosumer camera (about $2500 max). I have tried looking at a few palmcorders and although the picture was good enough for what I was doing, I became quickly frustrated with not having the manual controls i was used to, plus the audio inputs (unless i bought a beachtek or something).

I have posted a similar question for advice on upgrading my cameras to HD in another section, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am not looking for top of the line or brand new, just a good overall camera for HD (either HDV or AVCHD, but probably more HDV as i only have a Core 2 Duo), like the PD-150/170 were good overall cameras for SD 4:3. I have looked at the Canon XH-A1, and a few from Sony (FX1, FX7, FX1000). I would rather stick with Sony as i have a lot of accessories and batteries. I like the look of the NX5U, AX2000 and Z7, etc, but they're over $1000 more than i have to spend .These cameras are all overkill or what I do, but I don't think i'd be comfortable with anything less now.

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Old January 25th, 2011, 01:00 PM   #8
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Hi, Mark . . .

As you know the PD170 was a fantastic offering from Sony. So, getting an "average" HD Sony camcorder will be a disappointment compared to how good the feature set, build quality and low-light sensitivity was with the 170.

I've shot with a bunch of Sony HD camcorders. Currently I shoot with the Sony XDCAM EX1 and the HDV Z7U. Based on your moving on from the 170, you might want to keep your eye open for a deal on a good used Z7U. To me, it's pretty much based on the 170 in terms of the quality and overall "feel" of the unit - plus the low-light shooting is awesome - better than my EX1 by at least one stop. The nice thing about moving from the 170 to the Z7U is that you have the benefit of working with tape (when you want), plus move into tapeless workflow with CF recording, courtesy of the included Memory Recording Unit.

And, most of your accessories (especially batteries) will be fully useful with the Z7U.

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Old February 9th, 2011, 10:40 AM   #9
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Ian, can you explain why the HDV Z7U with 1/3" sensors would be better in low light than the EX1 with 1/2" sensors?
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Old February 9th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #10
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Ian, I too find it had to believe that you've concluded that the Z7U has better low light capabilities than the EX1/3. I own an EX3 and have used a Z7U and EX3 on multicam shoots and found the Z7U to have no where near the low light capabilities of the EX3. What are the settings you are using?

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