GL2 versus HV20 at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:12 PM   #1
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GL2 versus HV20

I'm interested in the differences between the GL2 and the HV20 camcorders in terms of quality of picture using the standard settings.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 08:33 AM   #2
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Very different camcorders intended for different users.

You have to define your needs before anyone can suggest which is better for you. What are you shooting? what format do you need to deliver? what is the venue and lighting? what are the audio needs? wha is yor skill level? special requirements as to footprint? and so on.

To simplify a bit:

The HV20 is mainly intended as High Def capture device, with SD capability. It is a tiny box intended for point-and-shoot use by folks who do not want to fiddle with camcorder settings, and those who want HDV on a budget. It also is popular as as a low cost playback option for XH-A1/G1 users.

The GL2 is a 3-CCD prosumer SD format camcorder for folks who want much (but not all) of the flexibility/capability of the XL1s/2, at a lower cost, in a smaller package (but still many times larger than the HV20). It costs about double the price of the HV20.

If you intend to deliver SD video, then the GL2 overall likely to give you the better image when in the hands of a reasonably skilled operator. But if you need to deliver HD, the GL2 is out of the running..
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:12 AM   #3
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I think the HV20 can deliver as good an image as the GL2 in DV, either recording in DV, or recording in HDV and then, down converting in post. I am basing this on my experience with the HV20 and my Sony VX2000 which was the main competitor with the GL2 in it hay day....

It has a fantastic image, and in shooting in its Cine mode, if you are willing to fiddle with the controls to do so, will have a wider latitude image to work with, to do a nice job on color correction. This means editing in HDV, but I would recommend that any way to take advantage of the 24p features of the camera.

While this camera was designed for the point and shoot crowd, the camera actually has a significant amount of control to lend itself to the budding filmmaker to take direct control of the camera, either directly, or through work arounds that have been well published in this forum.

Utlimately, I think if you are into a camera that looks good on the tripod, the GL2 is still there, but if you want to work in the future, the HV20 gives you an entree at about half the price with a comparable DV experience and with the added advantage of working in a higher resolution environment in the future.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
I think the HV20 can deliver as good an image as the GL2 in DV, either recording in DV, or recording in HDV and then, down converting in post. I am basing this on my experience with the HV20 and my Sony VX2000 which was the main competitor with the GL2 in it hay day....

It has a fantastic image, and in shooting in its Cine mode, if you are willing to fiddle with the controls to do so, will have a wider latitude image to work with, to do a nice job on color correction. This means editing in HDV, but I would recommend that any way to take advantage of the 24p features of the camera.

While this camera was designed for the point and shoot crowd, the camera actually has a significant amount of control to lend itself to the budding filmmaker to take direct control of the camera, either directly, or through work arounds that have been well published in this forum.

Utlimately, I think if you are into a camera that looks good on the tripod, the GL2 is still there, but if you want to work in the future, the HV20 gives you an entree at about half the price with a comparable DV experience and with the added advantage of working in a higher resolution environment in the future.
I have an HV20 - I'll agree, I got a pretty severe case of Camera Envy filming the Maker Faire with the HV20 compared to the big rigs that many of the people around me had - but then my friend, Chris, pointed out: "Look at them. Those cameras are around three times the weight you've got and you're gonna get a better picture."

I'll also add that the HV20's small size is deceptively advantageous, so much so that I'd be willing to bet that even the "pros" who have multi-thousand dollar cameras pick up an HV20 just to have "in case." It's small enough that I could throw it in my backpack with the rest of my equipment - which means I feel good about taking it with me to my shoot in New Zealand next month.

Yesterday, for the short subject doco I did on Maker Faire, I was running around, one-man-armying it. I got ALOT of good footage and interviews that I know I wouldn't be able to get if I was running around with a heavy camera.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:15 PM   #5
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I got ALOT of good footage and interviews that I know I wouldn't be able to get if I was running around with a heavy camera.
Just curious Brian, but what are you using to get interview audio? I'm looking at at doing some sports interviews single handed, using the HV20, and am trying to figure out how I can get decent audio from both me and the subject of the interview. Two lavalier mic's through a small mixer into the camera? Two Lavaliers going one into each of the stereo channels? Separate sound?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 03:35 PM   #6
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Brian, cool story.. I'm glad you had the guts to trust the HV20. I'm sure the image will look great.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 03:39 PM   #7
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I'm also considering the Sony HDR-FX7. Does anyone know how it compares to the Canon GL-2 (other than HD) in terms of video and audio quality, tweaking options, ease of downloading onto a pc, etc.?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 04:04 PM   #8
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Stephen:

One reason you may not be getting a lot of responses is you are comparing two different era's of technology. Its not really a fair comparison. The GL2 was great, but is getting close to what, 10 years old ?? FX-7 is at least two to three steps up the prosumer evolutionary ladder. Its into the new CMOS techology, with its plusses and minuses.

Here are some things to consider based on reputations:


1. FX7 can shoot DV, or HDV, and its beautiful footage in HDV and DV.


2. DV from the GL2 will be close, but it will be 4:3, and if you want to go 16:9, you will lose on resolution.

3. With FX7, if you shoot HDV, you have an HD image preserved for future or present, and you can capture to computer in DV to edit at that level if you want to stay there.

4. I seem to remember GL2 always had tape transport issues that seemed to pop up and that GL2 owners even today worry about.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jim Browning View Post
Just curious Brian, but what are you using to get interview audio? I'm looking at at doing some sports interviews single handed, using the HV20, and am trying to figure out how I can get decent audio from both me and the subject of the interview. Two lavalier mic's through a small mixer into the camera? Two Lavaliers going one into each of the stereo channels? Separate sound?
Well, the Maker Faire Documentary is the "I want to make every mistake I can -here- instead of during the big one. I haven't even seen the raw footage on much of this yet, and I'm not even using the Rode Videomic that's I'm going to be getting in the mail soon... I'm still on the ATR-55, which picks up handling noise and isn't that good, comparatively.

But the audio that I did get was surprisingly good.

There were three different areas, each with their own problems. First was outside - lots of wind. Second was inside - lots of crowd noise. Third was on-stage - couldn't get close to the subjects.

If the wind wasn't too bad, we used the shotgun on "normal." But when it got windy, we ended up putting wired lavs on the host and on the interviewee, and using a Y-cable to put the audio from one lav into the left channel and the audio from the other lav in the right channel.

Inside, I used the ATR55's "Tele" setting, which was very directional, got close to the subject. There was no host for these interviews, I just asked the question from behind the camera. I'm sure it got picked up but I'm going to edit as much of my voice out there as possible. It did a very decent job of minimizing the crowd noise.

For the stage, I basically used the ATR55 on the "Tele" setting as well.

Biggest trick is to simply readjust your audio gain for every shot. Don't think the same settings will produce the same results.

As soon as the Mac comes in and I get FCS on it, I'll be putting up clips on Vimeo.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Stephen:

One reason you may not be getting a lot of responses is you are comparing two different era's of technology. Its not really a fair comparison. The GL2 was great, but is getting close to what, 10 years old ?? FX-7 is at least two to three steps up the prosumer evolutionary ladder. Its into the new CMOS techology, with its plusses and minuses.

Here are some things to consider based on reputations:


1. FX7 can shoot DV, or HDV, and its beautiful footage in HDV and DV.


2. DV from the GL2 will be close, but it will be 4:3, and if you want to go 16:9, you will lose on resolution.

3. With FX7, if you shoot HDV, you have an HD image preserved for future or present, and you can capture to computer in DV to edit at that level if you want to stay there.

4. I seem to remember GL2 always had tape transport issues that seemed to pop up and that GL2 owners even today worry about.
Indeed, the HV20 is a good camera, but the pro cameras out there still outshine it - so long as they can also record HD.

Honestly, I think the HV20 doesn't deserve to be called a "consumer" camera - but not a "pro-sumer" either. I think it probably should be called a "Semi-Pro" camera.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:51 PM   #11
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The FX7 is considered more 'pro' than the HV20. It'll have more advanced features than the GL2, for sure. (I've shot a lot of footage in the past with the GL2). My HV20 has a similar 'Canon Camera' look, whatever that means, so it's more similar in image than the Sony HD camera's I've used.

I'm assuming you're familiar with the GL2.

The HV20 beats the GL2 in resolution and image. It'll require more of a learning curve than the GL2 (if you already have one). If I had a choice between a GL2 and an HV20, it'd be the HV20, hands down. Why? In the end, people will be looking at the footage you shot, not the camera - the HV20's image is excellent in most situations (low light is the one area I'd look elsewhere). Also, I always shoot HD even if I plan to export to an SD source. Why? HD has more resolution and looks great when scaled down to SD. HD is the future, so it's a safer investment to buy a HV20 or FX7 in my opinion.

The FX7 is even higher end over the HV20, and has a form factor more similar to a GL2. It also has more controls, so it's easier to understand how to use.

What do you plan to shoot? What are your needs?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 06:01 PM   #12
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I shoot as a hobby, not a vocation. Having said that, I shoot a variety of things - school concerts, family events, and different events on vacation (from Disney stage shows, to Yosemite, Hawaii, etc.,).
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 06:16 PM   #13
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I'm still thinking HV20, with that description.

And here's something to think about. You walk into a Disney stage show with a prolevel looking camera, are they going to object. That is one thing interesting about the HV20, it is non-descript, and looks like a simple consumer camera, and you can get by going places with it like a tourist. You can set up a camera with a tripod that looks touristy without issue. Although the GL2 is smaller than the VX line, the bigger camera may draw attention to you as a pro, and sometimes at parks, I heard discussions about people be hassled for permits, etc. I have never faced that, but just something I like about the HV20.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 06:23 PM   #14
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I've taken the GL-2 into Disney as well as the national parks and never been hassled. Of course, my oh so patient family is with me - and it's obvious we're not a production crew of any type.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 06:29 PM   #15
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Yeah, I did that a lot with the VX2000, then the FX1.... I have both of the those camera still, but I absolutely take the HV20 on outings like that, no question. And the Cine mode with its apparent wider latitude helps avoid the common situations where you blow out the bright areas or lose people in shadow. It is really surprisingly good that way. Some people don't like that because things are a bit muted, in that setting, but the point is you can up things in post if you want it.
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