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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 October 12th, 2010, 07:39 PM   #1
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HV-40 vs HFS-21, 20, 200

I apologize for posting this in two places, but I am looking for feedback from people both in the HV-40 arena as well as the HFS arena.

I currently have an XH-A1, which I will contintue to use as my primary camcorder. I am looking for a smaller camcorder to use for traveling/hiking/etc., and have narrowed my choice down to either the HV-40 ( if I choose to stay with tape ) or one of the HFS-21, HFS-20, HFS-200 ( if I choose to start down the tapeless path ).

I am interested in hearing from people who have owned and/or used both the HV-40 and one of the above HFS models. I would like to know how they compare in terms of video quality (color, sharpness, etc.) in various conditions (outdoor sunlight, outdoor lowlight, indoor bright light, indoor lowlight, nighttime ), audio ( I know the on-board audio isn't all that good, so I am also interested in suggestions for an external mic ), manual controls ( I know they don't come anywhere near the A1 ), ease of handling, and whatever other differences there may be.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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Exept in very low light the HVs PQ quality can hold its own with the A1 or any consumer cam,look at the quality of this guys films with his HV30

there are many films on that link
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Old October 18th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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Image Quality

It is very difficult to assess picture quality from a Vimeo (or YouTube) clip. The bitrate on either of the two is way too low to preserve any of the original source quality. The best you could tell from Vimeo is the artistry of the people behind the camera to work around the many limitations of consumer camcorders.

When comparing apples to apples, Canon camcorders of same generation tend to have same or similar CMOS sensors and DiGiC image processors. Therefore, the primary differentiator is medium (tape vs. solid-state memory), and encoding. All things being equal, AVCHD takes up half the bitrate for the same image quality. So, with that in mind, we have the following:

HDV: 25Mbps (MPEG-2), 1440x1080, 24p, 30p, 60i
AVCHD: 24Mbps, 1920x1080, 24p, 30p, 60i.

So, bitrate on AVCHD is 4% lower; raster size is about 30% larger, encoder is about 100% more efficient. The end result is that AVCHD should deliver almost 50% better image quality than HDV, with more pixels than HDV.

All this means little, as final image quality depends on many more things than just bitrate, encoder and raster size.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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So, which Canon?

Having said all that, if the choice is among Vixia camcorders (Legria in EU, Ivis in JPN), my choice would most definitely be HF-S200, for the following reasons.

First, it is clear that HDV tape is on its way out. 19 out of 20 consumer models out there today are tapeless. Increasingly more semi-pro and pro models come with tapeless acquisition method. Also, AVCHD has matured enough; so has the power and speed of modern computers, which have fairly little trouble editing AVCHD these days.

As for why S200 in particular, SDHC cards are much cheaper than the price difference between S200 and other HF-S models with built-in memory. Usually, you could get twice as much memory for the money.

Some independent tests and reviews have pretty solid praise for these, especially about image sharpness.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 05:20 PM   #5
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For purposed of this post, I'm not concerned about tape being on it's way out. I am trying to compare the HV-40 and the HF S21/20/200 for other reasons. Specially how they compare in terms of video quality in various conditions, audio, manual controls, ease of handling, etc. I also know it is hard to make any real judgement based upon Youtube. Do you have any experience or knowledge regarding these two camcorders that speaks to these issues?
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:03 AM   #6
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Well i can speak of the HVs picture displayed on large screens via a projector as i have seen my own films displayed, and they look great on my 50" 1080P tv better than previous HDV SONY HC-1/FX7/ plus AVCHD SR12 and if we are talking about resolution the picture is every bit as sharp as my 550D/T2i,there is good 25P 50i option on the pal version, manual focus wheel is not the best but colour iso/ aperture/ and shutter can also be set, there is a TV/P or CINEMODE, i use my rode stere mic when filming with mine.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:18 AM   #7
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Ok, but how does it compare to the HF S?
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:19 AM   #8
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I can only offer you my views comparing my XM2 with my HFS100. Manual controls are not as easy to operate, in particular manual focus. The LCD copes well in Portuguese summers. The slightest puff of wind is channeled straight into the microphones, it really is bad. For pure ambient noise, I stick a lavalier mic in when I'm outside filming the countryside. If I need the sound, I attach a shotgun.

I think one of the key points, which you didn't mention relates to your comment

"I am looking for a smaller camcorder to use for traveling/hiking/etc."

IMHO, solid state memory is going to beat tape everytime if you are out in that nasty, dirty country air.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:25 AM   #9
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I didn't mention the solid state memory versus tape because I already knew that and have factored that into my decision-making.

I've narrowed my choice down to the HV 40 and one of the HF S models, and I'm trying to get comparative feedback on the video quality in various conditions, audio, manual controls, ease of handling, etc.

Is there anyone out there that has used both and can give me feedback on the specific items Im asking about?
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Old October 19th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Sobel View Post
Ok, but how does it compare to the HF S?

Well i can only tell you from reports i have heard and thats similar

and i forgot to say i dont think the HFs have viewfinders like the HV series
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Old October 19th, 2010, 07:10 AM   #11
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According to the Canon brochure (download from their site - extract below) of the recent Vixia/Legria series only the HF-S21 has a viewfinder (which, by the way, can be extended backwards, but will not tilt). I'm still trying to decide between one of these Canons and the Panasonic TM700.
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HV-40 vs HFS-21, 20, 200-canons-compared.png  
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Old October 19th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #12
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HV 20/30 and 40s do have viewfinders , HF 21 do look impressive but if i was paying that much for a consumer cam now i would choose the PANASONIC TM 700
Canon Legria HF S21 Camcorder Review - Canon - Camcorders - Independent Camcorder Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons
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Old October 19th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #13
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Canon HF S21 versus Panasonic TM700

More info on this thread about that.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...ional-use.html
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #14
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If you were looking to buy a new camcorder and could only pick between the HV-40 and the HF S21, which would you pick and why?
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Old October 20th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #15
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Having a bit of experience with both, I would choose the HF S21, because it's newer than the HV40, has a slightly better feature set, produces a slightly better image, and last but not least because it bypasses the tedious video capture process that goes with tape-based camcorders. Also, it fits my hand better than the HV40, but your mileage may vary. By all means, you should try both models in person and pick the one that feels best in your hands -- ultimately no other factor is as important is ergonomics. Both camcorders produce an excellent image and you will be happy with the results you get from either one. If you have an XH series camcorder, then the advantage might swing back to the HV40 since it can be used as a playback deck for the bigger camera. Otherwise it comes down to this:

1. Form factor / ergonomics

2. Feature set -- HF S21 is newer therefore slightly better

3. Tape vs. flash memory, because that is the primary technical difference.

Hope this helps,
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