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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 January 11th, 2010, 10:40 AM   #1
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Looking for a family camcorder..HG HF or HV?

I am shopping for an hd camcorder. I need it for the family. I may do some video editing (cutting, adding transitions, titles). I have some difficulty deciding between canon camcorders.

HG is fairly priced, but the battery life is not that nice, and the image quality is less than the hv series. The Hf has a very good battery life, but it is very expensive (both the camcorder and the sd memory cards). HV seems to be the best way to go. Is it the best choice for family? Or there is a better option? Can I do without optical viewfinder when filming in sunny weather?
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums, Habib!

In my opinion, all three would provide quality pictures for home video use. I think the best thing to do is to use the three side-by-side and decide which one works best and easiest for you.

The flip-out LCD screens are much better today than they were in the past. Most current LCD screens will provide a usable image in sunlight, but in my book, nothing beats a good old viewfinder for bright environments.

Don't be pushed one way or another by measures of battery life or storage capacity of the media. Variables like battery life and storage are easily fixed by buying a higher capacity battery or storage card. With tape, you're stuck at whatever the HDV tape will allow. I personally still prefer tape, though.

What you need to look at (after deciding format) is the things you can't change after buying the camera. Things like how the camera feels in your hand and ease of access to frequently used features cannot be changed, so make sure you pick out a camera that works in your hand.

You may already know this, but editing of AVCHD will require some investment in hardware and software if you do not want to be completely frustrated during the editing process. Check out the forums on editing software on this site to discover what you'll need.

Good luck, and happy shooting!
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Old January 12th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for your input, Ken.

May I know why you prefer tape-bases camcorders? Is it the quality or is it because editing is easier and better?
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Old January 12th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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Mainly because it's the workflow I currently use and have used for years.

What would I do with the digital files once I pull them off the camera? I don't put any trust in hard drives for archiving purposes. Flash memory is too expensive to use one time. DVD-R media does not have the capacity needed for archiving HDV. BR recordable media is about the cost of miniDV tape, but read errors in the future concern me.

Sometimes, certain players do not work well with certain brands of writable optical disc. I have MiniDV tapes 10 years old that are still readable, but some DVD-Rs made a few years back that can't be read on a stand-alone DVD player.

I do plan on getting some type of solid-state recorder for my current camera, but that will be used in addition to the current tape mechanism. The tape will basically be the backup media.

In my opinion, tape is a better archiving method at this time. The life of a tape for me goes something like this:
1. Record event.
2. Rewind.
3. Capture event to PC.
4. Rewind.
5. Store tape.

After that, the tape rarely sees the light of day. Adding the CF recorder to this will greatly reduce the time required for step 3, and eliminate step 4, putting less stress on the tape. The tape will just head straight to archive.

Some day, a better permanent storage method will come along. Until then, I'll stick with tape. Unless I buy a new cam that doesn't support it...
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Old January 12th, 2010, 11:27 PM   #5
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For a "consumer" cam, tape is "mostly dead" - tapeless is it now... and SD is still hangin on, barely, for no apparent reason IMO...

Yes, you've got to figure out archiving, but having a stack of tapes around has its own issues. Big hard drives are cheap, and as long as you observe proper backups, it's not a problem. You WILL need pretty current computer hardware to edit AVCHD material - don't underestimate this - a quad core is comfortable, maybe some of the fastest dual core processors, but don't count on it.

Most times you can pick up "last years model" a bit cheaper, and prices are coming down on cameras using "last years" best guts, while the new top of the line cams get the latest and greatest (at the highest prices). The differences probably won't be noticed by most people.

Set a budget, see what's available for that price, then get hands on and see how each camera "fits" - will you like using it enough that it gets used?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Have tape-based camcorder manufacturers solved the issue of motor noise in low-ambient noise conditions? The motor on the DV camcorder I will be replacing with a flash-based unit this year can be heard quite clearly in videos taken inside my house, not so much outdoors.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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Tapeless has no motor or mech noise... so yes, mfrs "solved" the problem!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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I was aware of the lack of mechanical noise on flash-based camcorders and I guess hard drives would be quiet enough for the mic not to pick up noise. That's a big reason I'm opting for flash-based in my next camcorder instead of tape. I will just assume by your answer that the mechanical noise issues persist on tape-based machines.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #9
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As a practical matter, tape based small cameras have very little room between their mechanical parts and the mics - my brief experience with the HV20 was it was worse than the comparable Sony (more general chassis noise too).

It's pretty much about to be a non-issue, as Sony has discontinued the last of the tape based line (HC9), and I think the HV40 is probably close to the end of it's run...
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:59 AM   #10
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End-of-life for Tape

Well, this year's CES was the first in five years that Canon failed to announce a new tape-based HD model (HV-50, presumably). This is a clear indication that the last year's HV-40 is the last of the dying breed.

Meanwhile, in their professional camp, they still only have HDV, and no AVCHD. Go figure...
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Old January 16th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #11
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Neither did they announces any Harddisk-based model. They only announced Flash-memory models. Does this mean that the futures is for the flash models? Or it's not the right time for new harddisk models?
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #12
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Flash memory is now available in such high capacities, is getting so cheap, takes so much less power, takes so much less space, and weighs so much less than a hard drive that Canon may not see hard drive camcorders as an ongoing market. The addition of the second SD card slot would tend to back up that supposition.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
This is a clear indication that the last year's HV-40 is the last of the dying breed.
That's correct. Canon is finished with tape.

Quote:
Meanwhile, in their professional camp, they still only have HDV, and no AVCHD.
That's coming up next -- see Canon Reveals Their Next Pro Video Cam at DVInfo.net

Quote:
Originally Posted by Habib Faraj View Post
Neither did they announces any Harddisk-based model.
As far as Canon is concerned, hard drive camcorders are done as well. It's all Flash memory now.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #14
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HV30 motor noise

I don't know if the HV40 has got rid of the motor noise but on my HV30 it picks up a tiny amount of motor whine. This is ok if you are at disney and the audio levels are high, you wont hear it on playback, but if you video your children at home say putting together a lego set quietly, you can hear it. It is very annoying, and though I can remove the noise using my hum remover in soundtrack pro, its still annoying.

That is one reason i would move to flashcards. No motor whine.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 03:36 PM   #15
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Tape is OVER in the consumer space, and flash is more logical than HDD now that you can get it cheap enough to put decent capacity in, for all the reasonas mentioned above.
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