Canon HF10 vs JVC HD7 vs Sony SR12? 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 20th, 2008, 11:08 PM   #1
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Canon HF10 vs JVC HD7 vs Sony SR12?

Hi all --

I am relatively new to film making and want to get a HD camcorder for documentaries. My budget is around $1.5k which I can stretch to $2k if needed. What I want is a HD camera with external mic input, as many manual controls as possible, and no recording to tapes (HD or solid state). I have narrowed it down to a few cameras, such as:

- Canon HF10:
What I like is the 24p "cinema" mode, and the fact that is has (almost) no moving parts.

- JVC HD7:
Even though this model is older, it has a more rugged and "semi-professional" feel to me, and I like the larger field of view (wide angle, starting at 3.3 mm), and the manual focus ring. I assume that the lens is superior to that of the HF10.

- Sony HDR-SR12:
Nice, large (3.2") panel, high-quality Zeiss lens. On the negative side, it has no 24p mode and I am not sure if my Mac computers will get along with Sony hardware.

Right now I am inclined to get the HD7, but obviously, this is the oldest model of the above cameras, so do you think this would be a wide choice?
Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome!

Thanks!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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Hi Stefan - sorry no one has answered you . . .these kinds of questions - which camera/software/etc is better than another - usually bring on some strong feelings and comments. Most people will say "well, it depends on what you want to do" - and that's true. That being said, I do have a little insight into the HD7. I bought both the HD7 and the HG10 (not the HF10). They both looked good, but I thought the HG10 was a touch better (tested both on auto only - people will tell you it's all in the tweaking, so take it for what it's worth). The MAJOR difference for ME was that the OIS on the HD7 just didn't work (at least for me - I have an extemely shaky hand). I taped both cameras together and did side by side filming and found the HD7's footage to be much shakier and a little too bleached in the bright areas. SO, I returned it and kept the HG10.

My gut recommendation is that if you have the cash, focus on newer technology and go for the HF10 - OR you can go with something like the much-loved HV20 for less cash, practice your filming/editing skills and wait for technology to catch up to your ultimate wishes. (one side note - I hate tapes (which the HV20 uses), others love them, but I hate them and could never deal with the tape format - I prefer the hard drive, so I'm not necessarily endorsing the HV20 - just seems a whole lot of people love that camera and it's super affordable).

Remember that there's a lot of software and gizmos and pluggins that you'll want to buy as you discover them, so budget for those. OH . . . and if you plan on using AVCHD - do your research - cause it can either be easy or a huge hassle and expensive. I've found what works for me re: AVCHD and am OK now, after a lot of trial and error and cash.

One note: Ken Rockwell, who hosts a great photography website, has a fantastic article where he talks about 'it's not the camera, but the photographer' that makes the difference. If you have talent, then that will show no matter how good your tools are or aren't.

I hope this helps in some way - at least it's nice to get a response. Cheers and good luck!

btw - check out Vimeo.com (if you haven't already) - you can do searches by camera and see what footage other people have managed.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response, Doug, that was very helpful!
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:21 PM   #4
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Well, this is turning into a monolog :-) but I decided to get the Canon HF10, which really blew me away when I tried it in a store today:

- Because it has essentially no moving parts, it switches on instantaneously!

- The Optical Image Stabilization is the best of any camera I have tried. Truely amazing.

- The autofocus is so incredible quick that I didn't believe my eyes. Way faster than any other camorder.

- The LCD display was better than that on other camcorders.

- I like the recording to solid state as there are no awkward tapes or a hard drive that will inevitably fail at some point (I am traveling to the Himalayans in a few weeks and hope that the stolid state detector will survive the high altitude and extreme weather conditions. I am more confident in solid state than in a hd, to be honest). Also, SDHD cards are getting dirt cheap, and you can a few of them in your bag and record for as long as you have spare cards. No need to download files to a computer when the hd is full; just pop in another SD card and you are ready to go within seconds. That's hard to beat.

- Unlike most cameras in that price range, it has a 24p "cinema" mode which could be useful (or so I hope).

- I also like that Canon has a cable-free (!) stereo shot-gun microphone that goes into the "advanced" accessory shoe.

Anyway, I hope that I made the right decision.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:09 AM   #5
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Hey Stefan - that's great - I'm sure you'll really enjoy the camera. I'm quite tempted to 'upgrade' myself. If you end up posting your videos of the Himalayans anywhere, please send me a note so that I can see them. Sounds like an amazing trip you'll have coming up.

Best regards,
Douglas
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #6
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I too would love to see how the HF10 works out

I have been thinking about that camera since it was announced. I know the downsides will be the lack of manual controls but their seem to be enough upsides to the camera to offset that, at least for me. I also would love the results of using a 35mm adaptor with that model. Please follow up with a post when you get back. I haven't found any first hand unbiased reports on how that camcorder works.
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