Hands-on with the 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 March 2nd, 2008, 02:22 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Eugene, Oregon
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Hands-on with the HV20

I've been checking out many reviews and messages about the various small HDV camcorders. I keep hearing how fragile and cheap the plastic body of the HV20 is, compared to the metal one of the Sony models. But, when I tried out the HV20 at a dealer, I couldn't detect any practical difference in the build of the two brands. They both sat equally well in my hands. The viewfinder of the HV20 seemed very adequate and something I could use fairly well. Although its zoom control is small, after a few minutes practice, I had it working nicely. The slow zoom crawl that I could get, seemed steady and dependable. The HV30 zoom is said to have a larger and more solid control. I liked the position and function of the VF diopter and the MF control on the HV20. My steady use of small still cameras in recent years has apparently prepared me for a camcorder that is about 1/16th the size of the one I used in my first several years of videomaking.

So now, when I make a decision between the HV30 and Sony HC9, I won't have to give so much consideration to the comparitive build and handling.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 12:29 PM   #2
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Location: Apple Valley CA
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Do some taping with the two camcorders - note the amount of body and mechanical related noise that is transferred to your recording under normal handling conditions and when making adjustments. The HV's aren't "fragile" per se, but the construction leaves a lot of potential for mechanical noise transmission to your recordings, notice how many posts are related to adding an external mic solution... and price it into your choice.

The zoom control is fine on either camera, Sony or Canon, just takes getting used to. If you can deal with the VF, that's up to you - I found that more annoying - it's too small, and with no extension, virtually worthless IMO - the VF on the Sony is far more usable by comparison - yes the diopter adjustment is oddly placed on the Sony (have to pull the VF out), but much easier to adjust. If VF is important to you, take a long hard look at the differences.

In the end, both cameras seem to be at about the same "street" price, both handle similarly, Sony has some features Canon doesn't, and Canon has the 24 and 30P and a few things that the Sony doesn't... to-may-to, to-mah-to - pick either, and enjoy!! Every cam has some compromises, but both the HV and the HC series offer a lot for the $!
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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I have a cute little Sony ECM-MS907 stereo miniplug mike, that looks like it was made just for this type of camera. It cost $100. about 8 years ago and performs surprisingly well. There's an ECM-MS908C version that comes with a short cord, that would be better for this use, if they are still being sold. I cut and shortened the cord on mine and rewired it into a shielded, metal plug. It has a switchable pickup sector in front of either 90 or 120 degrees. It's clean-sounding and about 50% more sensitive to distant sounds than the built-in mike on my Sony VX2100. I've made a mounting foot for it that holds it 4 inches above the camera and has wood and rubber buffers in it.

Here's some talk on an earlier thread about this mike. http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?p=273209

A picture and description of it is shown here by Sony:

The ECM-MS908C version, that comes with a short cord (suitable for on-camera use), mike holder and mounting foot, seems to be available in limited quantities from several online dealers.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; March 2nd, 2008 at 04:25 PM.
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Old March 9th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #4
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Location: Visalia, CA
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I've had no sound issue whatsoever. I also compared the SONY line as well as the JVC line before making my purchase. I just didn't see any "fragile" thought among the SONY vs. Canon. They are all plastic by nature. The only problem I took issue with the Canon is the cheap viewfinder, worst of the bunch among HD cams.
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