HV20 vs Sony's EX1.. HV20 footage still looks better IMO at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #1
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HV20 vs Sony's EX1.. HV20 footage still looks better IMO

This may not seem like an even comparison, but I just downloaded a bunch of clips that were shot using Sony's EX1. Raw mxf files, edited wmv's and so on. From the great things I've heard about the EX1 I was expecting to be blown away upon opening the raw mxf files. But was I? No, instead they brought bad memories of the horrible quality I used to put up with from the HC1. The noisy picture, sharpening artifacts and all. Very disappointing, and these were nicely shot clips too.

For comparison I quickly opened up a few clips from the HV20 and must say, they still look so much better. Even though the Sony clips are a full 1920 wide, the HV20 clips still appear to have better resolution. Of course I realise there's no way the HV20 could match the EX1's dynamic range, manual controls and so on, but for the image quality at 1080P, I'll be sticking with the HV20.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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Glenn, I totally agree. The EX1 is exciting in so many ways but the way the picture looks just isn't one of them to me.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wes Vasher View Post
Glenn, I totally agree. The EX1 is exciting in so many ways but the way the picture looks just isn't one of them to me.
Guys! How you would compare these both HD Camcorder with JVC GZHD7?

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Old January 6th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #4
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Wes, glad you agree :)

Kaushik, from GZHD7 footage I've seen, I think it's biggest problem is the red or purple fringing. Those red or purple lines you sometimes see around the edges. I noticed this in a number GZHD7 clips I downloaded a while back. This is something you very rarely see in HV20 footage.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Glenn Thomas View Post
This may not seem like an even comparison, but I just downloaded a bunch of clips that were shot using Sony's EX1. Raw mxf files, edited wmv's and so on. From the great things I've heard about the EX1 I was expecting to be blown away upon opening the raw mxf files. But was I? No, instead they brought bad memories of the horrible quality I used to put up with from the HC1. The noisy picture, sharpening artifacts and all. Very disappointing, and these were nicely shot clips too.

For comparison I quickly opened up a few clips from the HV20 and must say, they still look so much better. Even though the Sony clips are a full 1920 wide, the HV20 clips still appear to have better resolution. Of course I realise there's no way the HV20 could match the EX1's dynamic range, manual controls and so on, but for the image quality at 1080P, I'll be sticking with the HV20.
must have sent all the poor hc-1s to aus my hc1 is nothing like what you describe and i have used a hv20
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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:49 AM   #6
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I don't know about this here ... I have the XL-H1, EX 1, and HV20 and the resolution of the EX 1 at 1080P is certainly better than the HV20. WHat kind of clips were you looking at?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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lol. it's easy to setup any of these cameras to have subjectively "bad" looking output. there's almost no comparison when setup correctly. the ex1 looks much better than the hv20 in resolution, lattitude, and noise.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:15 PM   #8
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lol. it's easy to setup any of these cameras to have subjectively "bad" looking output. there's almost no comparison when setup correctly. the ex1 looks much better than the hv20 in resolution, lattitude, and noise.
I don't think anyone here will argue that the HV20 is the superior camera, I'll speak for myself here, what I'm saying is that I just like the picture better is all, purely subjective.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 01:01 AM   #9
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I don't know about this here ... I have the XL-H1, EX 1, and HV20 and the resolution of the EX 1 at 1080P is certainly better than the HV20. WHat kind of clips were you looking at?
I downloaded quite a few from the EX1 forum here.

Essentially it's the noise I don't like. You could take a still frame from the EX1 and it would look great because the noise would be in a fixed position and would be more difficult to spot. But played back as video it's bouncing all over the place. If you look closely you'll see tiny squares and rectangles, similar to JPEG compression. That's Sony noise! Grab any footage from their HDV range of cameras and you'll notice it there too.

Where this would be a problem is in blue or green screen shots. Of course you'd be able to pull off some nice keys using the EX1, I'm not disputing that, but duplicating that noise on a background plate, especially if it's a clean CGI background, could be difficult.

With the HV20, the noise is a lot finer. More like film grain and a lot easier to match up, even using a simple animated monochromatic noise effect.

At the end of the day, like Wes said, it's purely subjective.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 08:29 AM   #10
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hv20 is a horrible camera compared to ex1.
especially the noise in low light situation. I am talking about picture quality. If we talk about all other functions...you know where we end.

I must admit that there is not a single hv20 clip (out of 100s that I ve already watched) that I liked and I liked EVERY EX1 video Ive watched...
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Old January 8th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #11
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hv20 is a horrible camera compared to ex1.
especially the noise in low light situation. I am talking about picture quality. If we talk about all other functions...you know where we end.

I must admit that there is not a single hv20 clip (out of 100s that I ve already watched) that I liked and I liked EVERY EX1 video Ive watched...
I dont think its fair to say its a horrible camera compared to the ex1, because i dont think the camera should be compared to the ex1. These are two very different tools. But for a consumer camera, the low-light performance, and overall picture quality, is very hard to beat. You must not have seen the things people are doing with this thing, in conjunction with a Brevis...

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Old January 8th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #12
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With the HV20, the noise is a lot finer. More like film grain and a lot easier to match up, even using a simple animated monochromatic noise effect.
Probably because in cinemode the hv20 uses a gamma curve that is very forgiving of noise. But personally...I like my HC1 more than the hv20. So much more that if I had to choose between them I would definitely pick the hc1. Here's my reasons:

Image quality is very good on the hc1 (sharpness at -2). Colors seem to be very accurate for a consumer camera. Yes, the hv20 is better in many ways but it seems to have slightly more rolling shutter and the optical image stabilization isn't very good. And that's basically the only good aspect of the hv20. Image quality.

Now the hc1 has much much better manual controls and it's internal mics are also significantly better than the muted hv20 sound. The hc1 is equal to the hv20 in low light if both of them use the same shutter speed. Hv20 makes horrible grain artifacts at 18db and so does the hc1 but the hc1 seems to be a bit brighter.

A slight image quality difference for better controls? Yeah, I'd go for that.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 09:14 AM   #13
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hv20 is a horrible camera compared to ex1.
especially the noise in low light situation.
You're missing the point.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #14
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Glenn,

You are effectively saying the HV20 is better than the EX1. You disregard the recording settings, and a whole lot of other relevant things that influence quality. Just assuming you are right, you are effectively also saying the HV20 is FAR, FAR better than the XL-H1, XL-A1 and XL-G1 because these cameras were blown away in image quality by the EX1.

So your ranking of cameras is:

1. HV20
2. EX1
3. ...
4. ...
5. XL-H1/A1/G1

I find that hard to believe.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 11:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen View Post
Image quality is very good on the hc1
With 'I am now legend' now out in the cinemas, I decided to put together this clip a couple of weeks back that I shot from the Empire State building in 2006 using the HC1 I had then while they were filming a car stunt from the movie down below. As far as I can recall, no adjustments were made to the sharpness on the HC1. It was always set to 0.

Just for you Mikko :), I've uploaded the 1080P (deinterlaced) version that can be downloaded here - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=E49KIGFW (60mb) Sorry, it may be be 4:3 1440x1080 too, so adjust your aspect ratio.

The Sony noise and artifacts are very easy to spot here. First off there's the blue sky above the Empire state peak. Look closely and you'll see lots of tiny horizontal streaks. Not just in that shot, but throughout. At the end of the clip where the car skids out was cropped slightly, but in that scene the noise is way out of control. Just look at the trees.

Not only that, there's a lot of severe purple fringing (something you're rarely ever see with the HV20), dark edges from Sony's over sharpening, more artifacts, lack of detail and so on. Plus it was only 1080i. The electronic image stabilization made a mess of things too. My camera in particular died within the first week I bought it. They eventually replaced it 3 weeks later. By the time I sold it almost a year later, the zoom control no longer worked properly and would lock up. A problem other users I know of had too.

I'll admit, the HC1 appeared to be a good camera when it first came out. It had no competition at that time. When the HV10 came out though, I was blown away by some of the clips I'd downloaded from it. The artifacts I'd learnt to live with on the HC1, that at the time I'd assumed were due to the HDV compression, were not visible in the HV10 footage. It was a clean image with so much more detail. 1080i too. The HV20 at 1080p is even better.
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Last edited by Glenn Thomas; January 8th, 2008 at 12:55 PM.
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