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-   Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-vixia-series-avchd-hdv-camcorders/)
-   -   Canon HV30 vs. Canon HF100 vs. (a Sony?) (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-vixia-series-avchd-hdv-camcorders/118746-canon-hv30-vs-canon-hf100-vs-sony.html)

Sean James April 6th, 2008 10:05 PM

Canon HV30 vs. Canon HF100 vs. (a Sony?)
 
I am in the market for a new camcorder - this time HD.

I have studied forum posts, read reviews, and questions remain...

1. I have heard great things about the Canon HV30 (but never saw any footage). I heard this camcorder beats everything in its price range in HDV. It is my current favorite. Is this true?

2. I have read the comparison of HV30 and HF10/100. The text says the image quality is almost the same. But the images they give you don't support this claim.

I have the impression, that the hv30 is sharper, shows more detail, has better blacks, and better edge definition. Would you say this is correct?

3. If I intend to do panning and tracking, should I still go for HDV rather than AVCHD?

4. I want to use my microphone, a Sennheiser me-66 (with an XLR adapter, of course). Is this possible with both cameras?

5. How do those camcorders record sound? Good enough quality?

6. Can you recommend any Sony camcorders, and how would they compare? A friend of mine has a few CX-7, and he loves them, but I read they are noisy in low light.

Lots of questions, I know. I hope I'm not overdoing it at post number 2.

Thanks!

Ps: I edit on Final Cut Studio 2.

Philip Williams April 7th, 2008 07:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
1. I have heard great things about the Canon HV30 (but never saw any footage). I heard this camcorder beats everything in its price range in HDV. It is my current favorite. Is this true?

Totally subjective question unfortunately. I've used the HV20 and I think it produces an incredible image. In my opinion the AVCHD encoders just aren't *quite* up to speed yet. Everytime I see a hi-rez screenshot from an AVCHD cam I can just tell its lower bitrate MPEG4. I'm actually not a fan of MPEG2 by any means, but as it stands right now the real-time MPEG2 encoders are extremely refined and well developed. The latest round of AVCHD cams have certainly closed the gap and I bet in another one or two generations AVCHD cams will overtake HDV cams in quality. So for *right now*, I'd recommend the HV30 for best image quality.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
2. I have read the comparison of HV30 and HF10/100. The text says the image quality is almost the same. But the images they give you don't support this claim.

I have the impression, that the hv30 is sharper, shows more detail, has better blacks, and better edge definition. Would you say this is correct?

See my response to #1.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
3. If I intend to do panning and tracking, should I still go for HDV rather than AVCHD?

Should be no discernable difference, I wouldn't personally factor that into the decision.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
4. I want to use my microphone, a Sennheiser me-66 (with an XLR adapter, of course). Is this possible with both cameras?

Hmm... check the accessory shoes on these cams. I think Sony moved to a proprietary shoe, and Canon's F10/100 may have done so as well. I think the HV30 has a normal shoe for easier mounting. You may have to get one of those accessory arms that screws into the tripod mount and put the mic on that. I'm not familiar with the ME-66, but obviously these cams don't have XLR inputs so you'll need to work that. If the mic can run under battery power then you can probably squeeze buy with a simple XLR->1/8th cable (I've gotten these from B&H).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
5. How do those camcorders record sound? Good enough quality?

Er... well they're adequate. What are your expectations? With an external mic it should sound pretty good, but these cams don't feature very high end electronics, so don't expect them to sound like $2,000 field recorders :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855528)
6. Can you recommend any Sony camcorders, and how would they compare? A friend of mine has a few CX-7, and he loves them, but I read they are noisy in low light.

I'm a Canon guy, so I have no clue. Sony is certainly a competent company and can produce outstanding product when they choose to. I still remember shooting with the TRV900 - groundbreaking!


Before deciding on a cam, you might want to hit some of your electronics retailers and try them out in person. See how they handle, check out where the inputs are, verify the accessory shoe sizes, use the menu systems, etc...
And bring your own SD card and DV tape and try recording some video onto those from the different cams and take the footage home to see how you like it. And don't forget about features; do you need 24P or not? 30P? How much manual control do you need? And if the cam you're looking at has the manual controls you want, are they easy to get to or buried somewhere in a menu?

What's the point in buying the HV30 if you hate how it handles? Or maybe you buy the Sony but hate the menus with a passion? Extracting the very last bit of best possible image quality isn't *always* the only priority :) For example, while I think the HV30 is still the best consumer HD cam out right now, I'd probably by the F100 for normal home video use. I'm sure the AVCHD footage coming from it will still look fantastic on my HDTV and I LOVE the idea of simple solid state recording.

Chris Hurd April 7th, 2008 08:00 AM

Excellent post Philip, much appreciated...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 855666)
I think Sony moved to a proprietary shoe, and Canon's F10/100 may have done so as well.

Canon have definitely done so on the HF series.

Quote:

Extracting the very last bit of best possible image quality isn't *always* the only priority :)
The post of the day goes to you, and it's not yet even 9am here... thanks again,

John Hotze April 7th, 2008 10:45 AM

The only thing I would add is that both the HV & HF series cameras have an external mic in but neither have XLR inputs. A Beachtek, Juicedlink, or other adaptor would be needed for XLR mics. As for as a proprietary shoe goes, that would only come into play if you were using a hot shoe mic, which it doesn't sound like you are, so I would say the proprietary shoe on the HF series is not a con as for as connecting your XLR mic of choice to the camera.

I just bought my second HV camera, an HV30 and feel that both of the HV cameras do very well for a consumer camcorder. I am following the HF type of cameras very closely and would love to see reviews comparing the control functions of them to the HV's. If they both had the same control ability, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase the HF10/100 to get into the AVCHD fray. Like was previously stated, I feel certain that AVCHD technology is going to replace tape in the not too distant future. I love the idea of almost instant capture to the NLE. A good laptop and a spare memory chip would be essential for doing field recording with the HF type camcorders.

Chris Hurd April 7th, 2008 10:53 AM

Controlling an HV is easier than an HF because the Function button and omni selector joystick are conveniently located on the back of the HV camera body and therefore are more easily accessible by the right thumb, whereas on the HF these controls are on the flip-out LCD panel, requiring two hands to manipulate (one to hold the camera, the other to maneuver through the controls).

Philip Williams April 7th, 2008 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Hotze (Post 855773)
As for as a proprietary shoe goes, that would only come into play if you were using a hot shoe mic, which it doesn't sound like you are, so I would say the proprietary shoe on the HF series is not a con as for as connecting your XLR mic of choice to the camera.

Actually the shoe size is different, so any standard shoe mounted mics or mic holders are incompatable.

Dave Rosky April 7th, 2008 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 855666)
And bring your own SD card and DV tape and try recording some video onto those from the different cams and take the footage home to see how you like it.

I've also been shopping for camcorders and have a question about this. I have taken footage from AVCHD cams home on an SD card and viewed them with no problem, but with HDV, I only have an older DV camcorder. So, can I use a DV camcorder to get the data off of an HDV tape? I realize that the camcorder won't be able to *play* the tape, but will it pass the raw data through to the the firewire port so I can capture it on a computer?

Philip Williams April 7th, 2008 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rosky (Post 855861)
So, can I use a DV camcorder to get the data off of an HDV tape?

Sorry, won't work :(

Dave Rosky April 7th, 2008 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 855921)
Sorry, won't work :(

I was guessing that might be so, but I thought I'd ask, just in case. Thanks for the info.

Sean James April 7th, 2008 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 855666)
Totally subjective question unfortunately. I've used the HV20 and I think it produces an incredible image. In my opinion the AVCHD encoders just aren't *quite* up to speed yet. Everytime I see a hi-rez screenshot from an AVCHD cam I can just tell its lower bitrate MPEG4. I'm actually not a fan of MPEG2 by any means, but as it stands right now the real-time MPEG2 encoders are extremely refined and well developed. The latest round of AVCHD cams have certainly closed the gap and I bet in another one or two generations AVCHD cams will overtake HDV cams in quality. So for *right now*, I'd recommend the HV30 for best image quality.


See my response to #1.


Should be no discernable difference, I wouldn't personally factor that into the decision.


Hmm... check the accessory shoes on these cams. I think Sony moved to a proprietary shoe, and Canon's F10/100 may have done so as well. I think the HV30 has a normal shoe for easier mounting. You may have to get one of those accessory arms that screws into the tripod mount and put the mic on that. I'm not familiar with the ME-66, but obviously these cams don't have XLR inputs so you'll need to work that. If the mic can run under battery power then you can probably squeeze buy with a simple XLR->1/8th cable (I've gotten these from B&H).


Er... well they're adequate. What are your expectations? With an external mic it should sound pretty good, but these cams don't feature very high end electronics, so don't expect them to sound like $2,000 field recorders :)


I'm a Canon guy, so I have no clue. Sony is certainly a competent company and can produce outstanding product when they choose to. I still remember shooting with the TRV900 - groundbreaking!


Before deciding on a cam, you might want to hit some of your electronics retailers and try them out in person. See how they handle, check out where the inputs are, verify the accessory shoe sizes, use the menu systems, etc...
And bring your own SD card and DV tape and try recording some video onto those from the different cams and take the footage home to see how you like it. And don't forget about features; do you need 24P or not? 30P? How much manual control do you need? And if the cam you're looking at has the manual controls you want, are they easy to get to or buried somewhere in a menu?

What's the point in buying the HV30 if you hate how it handles? Or maybe you buy the Sony but hate the menus with a passion? Extracting the very last bit of best possible image quality isn't *always* the only priority :) For example, while I think the HV30 is still the best consumer HD cam out right now, I'd probably by the F100 for normal home video use. I'm sure the AVCHD footage coming from it will still look fantastic on my HDTV and I LOVE the idea of simple solid state recording.

Thank you for this detailed response!

Yes, the HF100 has some proprietary shoe, I found out. But as long as I can plug in my microphone with the 1/8 adapter, I'm fine with that, even though not thrilled.

Very good comment about liking the handling. I will go out and see. I'm used to Panasonic menus, and also like how they are operated.

I am also very much tempted by tapeless recording. I played around with a friend's Sony cx-7, and it is really great to operate. But I heard bad things about its low light ability.

Sean James April 7th, 2008 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 855666)
Before deciding on a cam, you might want to hit some of your electronics retailers and try them out in person. See how they handle, check out where the inputs are, verify the accessory shoe sizes, use the menu systems, etc...
And bring your own SD card and DV tape and try recording some video onto those from the different cams and take the footage home to see how you like it.

(...)

Extracting the very last bit of best possible image quality isn't *always* the only priority :)

Just wanted to extract two key points I want to take into close consideration.

Especially the comment about the maximum image quality. What's the point of "best quality" if you hate how it operates.

Thanks again!

Sean James April 7th, 2008 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 855778)
Controlling an HV is easier than an HF because the Function button and omni selector joystick are conveniently located on the back of the HV camera body and therefore are more easily accessible by the right thumb, whereas on the HF these controls are on the flip-out LCD panel, requiring two hands to manipulate (one to hold the camera, the other to maneuver through the controls).

Good point! I'll check that out.

Dave Rosky April 7th, 2008 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 855935)
Just wanted to extract two key points I want to take into close consideration.

Especially the comment about the maximum image quality. What's the point of "best quality" if you hate how it operates.

Thanks again!

As a fellow camera shopper, I would just add one thing. I've been looking at and testing a number of camcorders in the stores, and one thing I've decided is that you pretty much have to ignore almost any subjective things you may have read on popular review sites. Most of these high end consumer cameras have decent image quality. The differences, although discernible, are often fairly small. This is all personal opinion of course, but I think some of these review sites have become a disservice to consumers by making huge deals out of sometimes very small differences and making people feel uncomfortable buying a camera that they like.

As with still photography, the biggest single effect on how good your video will look will be your own creativity and skill.

As others have said, rank your features and see which camera you seem the most comfortable with. I'm relatively new to video, but I've been doing non-professional still photography for 35 years and I've almost never owned cameras that were the most popular, or that were Pop Photo's camera of the year, yet I feel I've been happier for it because the cameras I bought matched my own style.

Chris Hurd April 7th, 2008 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rosky (Post 855947)
...I think some of these review sites have become a disservice to consumers by making huge deals out of sometimes very small differences and making people feel uncomfortable buying a camera that they like.

Yes, yes, yes -- *thank you* for articulating a major point that I've been trying to make around here for years! Much appreciated,

Sean James April 7th, 2008 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rosky (Post 855947)
As a fellow camera shopper, I would just add one thing. I've been looking at and testing a number of camcorders in the stores, and one thing I've decided is that you pretty much have to ignore almost any subjective things you may have read on popular review sites. Most of these high end consumer cameras have decent image quality. The differences, although discernible, are often fairly small. This is all personal opinion of course, but I think some of these review sites have become a disservice to consumers by making huge deals out of sometimes very small differences and making people feel uncomfortable buying a camera that they like.

As with still photography, the biggest single effect on how good your video will look will be your own creativity and skill.

As others have said, rank your features and see which camera you seem the most comfortable with. I'm relatively new to video, but I've been doing non-professional still photography for 35 years and I've almost never owned cameras that were the most popular, or that were Pop Photo's camera of the year, yet I feel I've been happier for it because the cameras I bought matched my own style.

Wonderful comments.

I also wonder sometimes how those judgements come together, and why every test site seems to have their favorite brands. And I wonder how reliable those frame grabs are that sometimes accompany those reviews.

This discussion takes very interesting turns.


So I will go out in the next week and get my hand on real life camcorders and let you all know what I encountered.

PS: So far I have only owned Panasonic camcorders (which I liked). But I'm open to any brand.

Dave Blackhurst April 7th, 2008 07:16 PM

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!

Sean James April 7th, 2008 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst (Post 856078)
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.

Sean James April 7th, 2008 11:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst (Post 856078)
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?

Sean James April 7th, 2008 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst (Post 856078)
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!

Dave Blackhurst April 8th, 2008 01:49 AM

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!!

Dave Rosky April 8th, 2008 02:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 856202)
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.

Quote:

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 ;-)

Chris Hurd April 8th, 2008 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 856202)
...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,

Sean James April 8th, 2008 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 856337)
Ack. *Please* don't do that. Thanks in advance,

Of course. Sorry it happened.

Sean James April 8th, 2008 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rosky (Post 856254)
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.

Sean James April 8th, 2008 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst (Post 856249)
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.

Sean James April 9th, 2008 01:15 AM

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.

Philip Williams April 9th, 2008 03:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 856854)
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.

Sean James April 9th, 2008 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 856888)
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".

James Blunt May 7th, 2008 07:57 AM

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.

Philip Williams May 7th, 2008 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Blunt (Post 873428)
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 :)

John Hotze May 7th, 2008 10:01 AM

"The real-time AVCHD encoders just aren't quite there yet."

Is the real-time AVCHD encoder built into the camera in concrete to where it can't get updated or is this encoder you refer to part of the NLE process. Unless it's hard encoded into the camcorder, I would think with competition and a little time, the NLE's will be able to produce higher quality outputs as they improve the codecs.

Philip Williams May 7th, 2008 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Hotze (Post 873483)
"The real-time AVCHD encoders just aren't quite there yet."

Is the real-time AVCHD encoder built into the camera in concrete to where it can't get updated or is this encoder you refer to part of the NLE process. Unless it's hard encoded into the camcorder, I would think with competition and a little time, the NLE's will be able to produce higher quality outputs as they improve the codecs.

I'm referring to the hardware real-time encoder inside the camcorder. In the case of AVC we've got a newer codec that's extremely processor intensive, so they're still essentially developing and refining the hardware encoders. In the case of MPEG2 we've got a very mature codec that's been refined and developed for many years, so the real-time encoding hardware is extremely capable.

Zack Birlew May 7th, 2008 10:43 AM

I played with an HF10 at Best Buy yesterday. Some of you may rememeber that I was really impressed with the HF10 and HF100 at CES. Well, the one big issue that got me was the manual focus. Argh! It is indeed done with the joystick! I tried to get the focus just right with some random people around the store, couldn't do it without adding an extra flick left or right. With a 35mm adapter, these cameras would be fine, perhaps better than an HV20/HV30, but for straight shooting, it's AF or nothing. Image quality was decent, but there seemed to be some sort of fogginess to it at the long end, could have been just that unit. It never did seem as sharp as my HV20 or the store's HV30 sitting next to it.

All I can say is, I'm looking into getting a 35mm adapter and I'd like a tapeless workflow.... so, maybe.

Philip Williams May 7th, 2008 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Felis (Post 873522)
Well, the one big issue that got me was the manual focus. Argh! It is indeed done with the joystick!

I really wish Canon had kept the focus ring they introduced with the Optura 30/40 cams. Even the little focus wheel on the HV20/30 has got to be better than a joystick implementation. I guess if we want focus rings, Canon wants us to spend more money ;)

James Blunt May 8th, 2008 09:08 AM

Yeah, this is a consumer camera, 99% of people are going to leave it on autofocus, the fact that the little wheel was on the HV20 was only because HD was such a new technology, they knew it wasn't going to be mainstream quite yet, so early adopters would actually use it. From here out focus on all consumer cams will probably be similiar to the HF100.

Sean James May 15th, 2008 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip Williams (Post 873453)

Now having said that, yes the MPEG2 based HDV cam still looks better. The real-time AVCHD encoders just aren't quite there yet.

(...)

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 :)

But don't you have any rendering time? You can't just pull it across and start editing, can you?

By the way: since the HF10/HF100 came out, the hv30 dropped in price (B&H at 780$), which makes it a steal.

Philip Williams May 16th, 2008 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 878445)
But don't you have any rendering time? You can't just pull it across and start editing, can you?

Aha :) I was just talking about grabbing the files and playing them back easily. I personally like Panasonic's approach, which allows playback of AVCHD footage directly off an SD card on their newer BD players. I believe you can burn the native files directly to BD-R and play them back on the PS3 and at least some stand alone Blu-Ray players (I still have figure out the whole home burning thing for Blu-Ray, so take most of that with a big grain of salt). For me these solutions would work great for home videos, which I generally don't have time to capture, much less edit :(

Now when it comes to editing, yeah, that's a bit of an issue right now. I personally use Adobe Premiere which doesn't even support AVCHD yet. As such, if I was buying a backup cam for my XH-A1 I'd go with the HV20/30 for the maximum image quality and integration into my existing workflow (and it would make a nice deck to compliment the A1). But if I was buying solely for home video use, I wouldn't hesitate to get an HF10/100 and just enjoy the ease of tapeless file transfers/playback.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 878445)
By the way: since the HF10/HF100 came out, the hv30 dropped in price (B&H at 780$), which makes it a steal.

I've also noticed that the HF100 has been hovering in the low $700s at reputable dealers. Good prices for extremely capable camcorders, it really is amazing how much camcorder you get for the dollar these days. If I had the money I'd love to own both!

Sean James May 16th, 2008 11:36 AM

What I like most about tapeless is the absolute lack of noise and the instant start/stop.

But, as I am editing on Final Cut Pro (rendering time on import exceeds capture time from tape, so I found out on this forum) and for quality reasons I decided for the hv30.

But, definitely, once Panasonic, Canon, Sony, & Co will maximize their use of the pretty new coded AVCHD, it'll be a very interesting format.

Can you remember the first hdv camcorder? Wasn't that a JVC, in 2003? Compare that to the hv30, the A1, etc... what a development in only 5 years.

Sean James May 20th, 2008 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean James (Post 878445)

By the way: since the HF10/HF100 came out, the hv30 dropped in price (B&H at 780$), which makes it a steal.

I said that a few days ago. Obviously I jinxed it, because B&H raised their price on the hv30 again.

Nathan Allard March 1st, 2010 02:08 PM

I use a XHA1 and HV30. Im thinking of trying a HF100, I would like to save time on transferring footage. But im still a little reluctant.....

Does anyone using the same equipment have any pros/cons ?


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