Canon HV30 vs. Canon HF100 vs. (a Sony?) - Page 2 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 April 7th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #16
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I'll go so far as to say one's comfort level with a camera is FAR more important than some tiny difference in picture quality that only 1 out of 100 (or 1000) could even see.

The HV20 just didn't work for me - the build quality killed an otherwise nice cam from my standpoint. I'm sure the HV30 would be the same, yet I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who wants 24/30P and understands what's involved.

Sound wise, I'd again say that was a big negative for me with the HV20 - EVERYTHING transmitted to the mics, every squeak, creak, click and brush all seemed to end up on tape, something I've never had on my Sony cams. Surround sound on the AVCHD Sonys is also pretty darn cool, thank you, but it might not matter a whit if you're going to external mics anyway!


ALL these little cams (speaking to Sony and Canon) are simply insanely great in image quality once you learn to use them. They all have their quirks, and you have to learn how to get the most out of them. Review sites have cameras for a few hours and make decisions and statements that may be right on, or miles off target. YMMV.

To address the AVCHD/HDV question... be aware that computer horsepower counts if you're editing AVCHD, speed to get files from the camera is awesome if working properly and not transcoding, but you can eat that up in render time... it's a tradeoff, but tapeless has some advantages - be sure you've got your archive strategy figured out. If you just toss a lot of "junk" footage, tapeless could be a big money saver <wink>!

I've got the CX7, and I haven't seen a HD cam in a small package do better in low light - they all have issues there, the CX holds up the best (not counting a camera that can drop to 24 shutter speed, which MAY make for slightly better low light response...). The SR11 is doing fairly well in low light, but focus gets pretty twitchy if you're zoomed in, the CX7 will lock and hold. Noise in low light... well, is it really that much worse than SD footage under similar conditions... or do you just notice it more because HD in good light is simply so stunning?

In good light, the SR11 is as clean an image for video as I've ever seen, no blocking or banding in fine gradients, very low noise if any, and generally an amazing picture quality.

Personally, I'm sold on AVCHD and am willing to deal with longer renders, as I think it's cleaner than HDV even in the CX7 when compared to HDV footage I've shot. I'll admit I could be hallucinating, but that's just what I see when the footage is side by side...

It's the best of times, and the worst of times - there are many choices you can't go terribly wrong with, but there ARE SO MANY GREAT CHOICES!!!!!!

Pick one (or two!), get cozy with it, accessorize it nicely, and shoot like crazy!! Any of these cams should be good for 2-4 years feature wise, and maybe longer. You could miss a lot of good shooting opportunities in that time agonizing over a few minor things!
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Old April 8th, 2008, 12:05 AM   #17
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The HV20 just didn't work for me - the build quality killed an otherwise nice cam from my standpoint. I'm sure the HV30 would be the same, yet I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who wants 24/30P and understands what's involved.

Sound wise, I'd again say that was a big negative for me with the HV20 - EVERYTHING transmitted to the mics, every squeak, creak, click and brush all seemed to end up on tape, something I've never had on my Sony cams.
I will definitely consider the camcorder feel.

After all, if a tool fits nicely into your hand (literally AND figuratively speaking) it's so much more fun to work with, and you can access your ideas better.

I'm very happy to having started this thread, as I, weird enough, didn't really do what I did when I bought my DSLR: get a feel for the tool, and then be very, very critical of reviews. This is why I went for Pentax, not for Canon or Nikon (the D200 - at that time - would have been nice, but was a bit too pricey). The Pentax just felt great the first moment I held it in my hands, and it supported my way of working.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #18
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To address the AVCHD/HDV question... be aware that computer horsepower counts if you're editing AVCHD, speed to get files from the camera is awesome if working properly and not transcoding, but you can eat that up in render time... it's a tradeoff, but tapeless has some advantages - be sure you've got your archive strategy figured out. If you just toss a lot of "junk" footage, tapeless could be a big money saver <wink>!
Is there actually a difference in the process?

I have so far only worked on SD. You capture, and you work, and rendering only occurs when creating the DVD.

Does AVCHD produce a transcodec on import? Does HDV? I mean, how do you edit a long GOP format?
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Old April 8th, 2008, 12:11 AM   #19
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I've got the CX7, and I haven't seen a HD cam in a small package do better in low light - they all have issues there, the CX holds up the best (not counting a camera that can drop to 24 shutter speed, which MAY make for slightly better low light response...). The SR11 is doing fairly well in low light, but focus gets pretty twitchy if you're zoomed in, the CX7 will lock and hold. Noise in low light... well, is it really that much worse than SD footage under similar conditions... or do you just notice it more because HD in good light is simply so stunning?
I actually shot with the CX-7 of a friend, and really liked the shooting with it a lot. I haven't so far seen the footage.

The low light comment I read [ elsewhere on the net ]. So I was just repeating what I read there. Looks like they overstated things a bit...

The CX-9 is to appear, and NAB is around the corner, so I can see what lies ahead.

I'll go into a shop, get a feel for the cams, and two weeks from now I'll be on my way.

Thanks for the dedicated and detailed post!
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Old April 8th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #20
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I don't transcode, but early on with HDV a lot of people found by transcoding the footage was easier to work with (and much larger file sizes) - my undertanding is that effectively the process builds the intermediate frames (of the long GOP) so the computer doesn't have to generate them on the fly. This eases the editing load on the CPU, and I suppose in theory might improve render time if final format were similar.

I tried it once, the files were huge, but it was a bit faster. Later versions of Vegas improved HDV handling enough that it wasn't worth the bother - I expect AVCHD will be somewhat similar, and handling will improve, already has quite a bit. Editing is fast enough for me, rendering is a bit slower than I'd like, but adequate.

If the CX9 is the same sensor and guts as the the SR11, it should be a winner, but it won't be out in two weeks, so check the SR11 and the CX7. I still prefer the CX7 for low light, where I think it holds up a bit better, in the "real world", but the image quality of the SR11 is simply amazing in most shooting conditions so far, and even the reviews are pretty gushing. It is worth a look, especially if you consider the cost of MS Duo media - a 60G HDD does make some sense, even if it does make you a bit paranoid about jarring/dropping/etc.

I know the HV20 was a camera I WANTED to like, and just couldn't live with, the CX7 was a camera I couldn't figure out, just didn't make sense to me but I though it would be cute for the "family cam" and at least it was HD... ended up really liking the little bugger a lot, and shooting a lot more because of it. I'd expect the HF series to be similar for Canon - they look pretty slick, and I'd give them a look too, if you can get hands on. I doubt you could go wrong with any of them, really! Have a great time shopping!!
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Old April 8th, 2008, 03:01 AM   #21
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The low light comment I read [ elsewhere on the net ]. So I was just repeating what I read there. Looks like they overstated things a bit...
Once again, I'd be wary of subjective comments there. Also, I wouldn't put much weight on the 15 lux numbers. As part of this camera search process, I calibrated my SLR to be a poor-man's lux meter, and found that a 15 lux room would be darker than I would normally tend to shoot in. It's roughly equivalent to lighting a 10-12' room with a single 50-60 watt bulb, and in most settings I can get more light on the subject than that. At 60 lux, which is more reasonable for a typically lit room, most of the cameras should give a usable image, though probably a bit noisy or soft, depending on how the camera processes the image.

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The CX-9 is to appear, and NAB is around the corner, so I can see what lies ahead.
Have you heard anything definitive about this? So far, the CX9 only seems to exist in forums like dvinfo.net ;-)
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Old April 8th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #22
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...comment I read [ elsewhere on the net ]. So I was just repeating what I read there.
Ack. *Please* don't do that. Thanks in advance,
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Old April 8th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #23
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Ack. *Please* don't do that. Thanks in advance,
Of course. Sorry it happened.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #24
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Have you heard anything definitive about this? So far, the CX9 only seems to exist in forums like dvinfo.net ;-)
Only a very short comment, and that it would be based on a SR camcorder, and that it would very likely be announced soon.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #25
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I don't transcode, but early on with HDV a lot of people found by transcoding the footage was easier to work with (and much larger file sizes) - my undertanding is that effectively the process builds the intermediate frames (of the long GOP) so the computer doesn't have to generate them on the fly. This eases the editing load on the CPU, and I suppose in theory might improve render time if final format were similar.

I tried it once, the files were huge, but it was a bit faster. Later versions of Vegas improved HDV handling enough that it wasn't worth the bother - I expect AVCHD will be somewhat similar, and handling will improve, already has quite a bit. Editing is fast enough for me, rendering is a bit slower than I'd like, but adequate.

If the CX9 is the same sensor and guts as the the SR11, it should be a winner, but it won't be out in two weeks, so check the SR11 and the CX7. I still prefer the CX7 for low light, where I think it holds up a bit better, in the "real world", but the image quality of the SR11 is simply amazing in most shooting conditions so far, and even the reviews are pretty gushing. It is worth a look, especially if you consider the cost of MS Duo media - a 60G HDD does make some sense, even if it does make you a bit paranoid about jarring/dropping/etc.

I know the HV20 was a camera I WANTED to like, and just couldn't live with, the CX7 was a camera I couldn't figure out, just didn't make sense to me but I though it would be cute for the "family cam" and at least it was HD... ended up really liking the little bugger a lot, and shooting a lot more because of it. I'd expect the HF series to be similar for Canon - they look pretty slick, and I'd give them a look too, if you can get hands on. I doubt you could go wrong with any of them, really! Have a great time shopping!!
So you don't have to transcode. That's good to know. I think with a Core 2 Duo 24" iMac and 3Gb RAM I should have a decent editing experience.

And also, I won't get myself into the waiting craze just to get the latest and newest.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:15 AM   #26
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Today I went to Circuit City and Best Buy.

What a sorry line-up they had. No Canon hv20/30 on display, but I could see the CX-7 again.

Next to all those plasticky camcorders like the SR series or the Panasonic, the more sturdy build of the CX-7 feels great.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:55 AM   #27
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Today I went to Circuit City and Best Buy.

What a sorry line-up they had.
I don't know how close you are to one, but if there's a Fry's within a reasonable distance I'd recommend going there. They've always had a huge selection of camcorders on display, from base models up to the $3000-4000 pro models.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:20 PM   #28
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I don't know how close you are to one, but if there's a Fry's within a reasonable distance I'd recommend going there. They've always had a huge selection of camcorders on display, from base models up to the $3000-4000 pro models.
Yes, I thought of that one too late. I will definitely go there and have a "hands-on look".
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #29
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I was looking at the HF100 as well (currently have a HV20) because I would rather just pull my stuff off of a SD card, but the video quality just doesn't seem to be there yet. The quality of the video can be easily judged simply by looking at the bitrates (given that the Canon optical systems are almost the same).

HV20 - HDV 25Mbit
HF100 - AVCHD 17Mbit

Read more about AVCHD here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVCHD

It's a bit dissappointing since you can already get 16GB SDHC Class 6 cards which are capable of 48 Mbit/s for $80. The quality at 48 Mbit/s would be near pro, which is probably why the don't allow it. Compressing to a higher bitrate actually takes less CPU and all of the HD and SD cameras are fully capabable of it right now, its simply a marketing decision. As the wikipedia article alludes to they probably did it due to the requirement for Class 6 cards, and when it was in the design phase perhaps they weren't readily available.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #30
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The quality of the video can be easily judged simply by looking at the bitrates (given that the Canon optical systems are almost the same).

HV20 - HDV 25Mbit
HF100 - AVCHD 17Mbit
I wouldn't hold the bitrates against the AVCHD cam, as AVC is in and of itself far superior to MPEG2. As an example, an AVC encoded Blu-Ray movie at 17mbps would absolutely look better than a 25mbps MPEG2 version.

Now having said that, yes the MPEG2 based HDV cam still looks better. The real-time AVCHD encoders just aren't quite there yet. But they are getting better, and I have to admit; for home video use I would choose the HF100 over the HV20/30 at this point. I think the video quality - while not as great - is still very good. And although I typically strive for the best quality possible, I have to be realistic too. I simply don't have time to log tapes, set up my camera and capture footage of kids, pets and family outings. Honestly with an HV20 I'd probably end up with a lot of incredibly nice footage - on tapes stored in a box :(

With videos on SD cards I can just plug the cards into my editing station, copy some files, burn them to Blu-Ray and/or copy to my HTPC and I've got instant access to the vids on my TVs and PCs. I can't argue with that :)
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