REVIEW! - Bought my HV10 today... 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 September 24th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #1
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REVIEW! - Bought my HV10 today...

I got my HV10 from a local dealer. I will be doing some shooting in the next couple days and converting the footage to 24p to post here.

In the meanwhile, let me tell you upfront, this camera is simply sensational! From what I quickly shot today just to learn the functions of the camera, the image quality this thing delivers is simply astonishing. Side-by-side with footage from my Panasonic HVX200, the color detail, sharpness and overall image depth puts the $5500 HVX200 to absolute shame. Of course I can do just about anything with the HVX200 as far as controlling the image, it shoots 24p and it writes video conveniently to a solid state P2 card, while the HV10 leaves you wishing for "real" control and some "practicality"... oh well... so it goes...

Overall, for a point and shoot, manual controls are surprisingly good but I do miss a basic auto exposure compensation feature. Using manual exposure one has to correct it for every shot. Its acts basically more as an Exposure Lock function than adjusting the exposure. If you pan from a dim subject to a bright one you adjusted the exposure for, you end up with a totally overexposed washed out result at the end. .. not really "point-and-shoot" shooting. Also, the camera tends to overexpose everything by I'd say about 1/2 an F/stop somewhat so manually controlling it is very beneficial.

On a good note, it is VERY SIMPLE to keep the camera's gain on low by simply setting it for night/ fireworks mode along with a manual white balance. The high-gain grain will never come out this way, though on low light situations you'll be left in the dark quite fast as soon as a lot of available shooting light is gone. Also, low light shooting is much better than I thought... I was expecting a total disaster from what I have read so far... not true at all... it holds well enough for most of the situations.

Also, despite a lot of talk about the mic, it grabs great sound and the choice for its placement at the top facing the opposite of the tape at the bottom is a very smart one as it nearly totally eliminates tape head drum noise.

Auto-focus is simply p*h*e*n*o*m*e*n*a*l (too quick and jumpy actually sometimes... this thing is instant). The new Optical Stabilization System is also sensational.

Both LCD screens' quality (flip and viewfinder) are only OK, not amazing brightness and resolution wise...they just do the job.

Ergonomics are below average. All buttons seem to be in the wrong place, awkward to reach and way, way too small... great for Japanese fingers... not for bigger hands :) Basically, its one of those cameras you'll need to get used to using... nothing is intuitive or "out-of-the-box" about it.

Battery life is poor. Very poor. I purchased 1 extra battery pack and still was left empty of juice very quickly... when (if) Canon makes a 3-chip CMOS prosumer camera, they'd better soup up their batteries because it will suck amps like there is no tomorrow.

Overall, this is the best point-and-shoot I have ever shot with. By far. The image quality has to be seen on a big screen to be appreciated. Canon has done a great job and I cannot recommend this camera enough. Having personally shot with a Sony HC-1 (and owning an HC-3) this is a different league with what it delivers on screen. Its quirks and many (many) limitations aside, the HV10 conveys high-definition imagery that looks killer and rivals 3-CCD products.

I am on B&H's pre-order list for the XH A1 for my "serious" shooting as soon as its out that I intend to be the replacement for my HVX200 that I have been fairly disappointed with in many ways. I cannot wait so see how the little HV10 compares to the A1.

Summing up, it is hard to imagine packing more technology in such a small package that looks so good on screen. Ironically the weakest point of this camera is not anything with the camera itself, but the limitations of the HDV format itself that mercilessly restricts what the camera could do if it could fully register the full 1920x1080 and with a better color space... oh well...

I'll post some clips shortly (all in 24p).

Kudos for Canon for their little HV10.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new purchase!

It seems we are following the same path. HV10 and A1.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the review...

One thing that stands out in my mind is the poor battery life. It's been my understanding that CMOS uses less power than CCD. Therefore the comment about Canon using 3 CMOS sensors and needing more juice, wouldn't be true.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Rhoads
Thanks for the review...

One thing that stands out in my mind is the poor battery life. It's been my understanding that CMOS uses less power than CCD. Therefore the comment about Canon using 3 CMOS sensors and needing more juice, wouldn't be true.
You may stand correct. However, whatever the internal design of this camera is, it juices-up a lot of power. I imagine a similar design on a larger camera with 3 similar pick-up devices as the HV10 will require a massively larger battery or some internal electronics reworkings and components because literally, this thing is a power vaccum... but... its worth it of course :)
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Old September 25th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #5
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24p

What do you use to convert to 24p? I've been experimenting lately with Cineform HDlink, TMPGEnc Xpress, and even using Twixtor in After Effects with varying results. I'm curious what other people use.

Thanks,

Bill
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Old September 25th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #6
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I shot quite a bit of rock climbing footage Sat. in Yosemite with my new HV10, and watched it last night on an Optoma H79 projector on an 80" wide screen. Great footage. Man O' man, the small size of this cam enabled me to shoot with one hand at times. While the battery life isn't great, the standard batteries weight 1/3 as much ( and are 1/3 the size ) as the batteries my Optura 100mc uses ( and the Optura is enormous in comparison - HA ).

I like this cam. In fact, I own two now. Going to take them up a multi - day climb next week!! I'd better order more batteries - I only have 12...........

PS - with my style of shooting ( 15 - 30 seconds every couple of minutes ) for rock climbing, the camera top around the mic did not get even warm, lrt alone hot.

Last edited by Craig Peer; September 25th, 2006 at 12:01 PM.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #7
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Craig

When are you going to share your rock climbing video with us !!!

I would love to see that :)

Did you stick a polarizer on or anything ?

With two of these (being so small) you could get them close enough together to do some great stereoscopic work !
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:00 PM   #8
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Used mine this weekend on a short bicycle trip in the Amish Country. This camera ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Different than my HC-1 and FX-1 in colorimetry. For a small camera it is awesome.

FOUR things I recommend:

Get a bigger battery....BP-15. This is essential. The BP-10 does not last.

FOR outside use invest in at least an ND 4 if not a ND 6 filter as the camera will overexpose in the PROGRAM MODE. It is difficult to "fiddle" with the iris control on the fly due to the ergonomics and the placement of the scroll/iris button.


Don't use AUTO shutter located in the menu as the shutter tends to go below 1.60th in low light causing a strobing type effect.

Lastly, though the IF (Instant Focus) work super quick, there tends to be too much focus searching in that mode resulting in depth of field problems. I prefer normal focus.

All in All, this is a winner in my book.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #9
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" stereoscopic work " - HA! As soon as I get some real climbing footage ( this weekend was more a handling test ) I'll post some. While I really liked my Optura 100mc's, i never considered them big and heavy until I got the HV10. I'm so used to both the upright cam style ( and Canons control layout ) that shooting with this thing is easy. But it's as small as I'd want - any smaller and I'd have a had time getting steady footage. As it is, I really don't find shooting wide screen and HD to be any more difficult than shooting standard mini dv - at least with this camcorder!!
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Old September 28th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #10
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Craig, are you using something like this? http://www.thinkhelmets.com/XJAKETprod.htm

I created a POV query thread in General that has not gotten any replies. It looks like the XJaket might fit a HV10. Just wondering how you mounted it if you did.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #11
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" Craig, are you using something like this? http://www.thinkhelmets.com/XJAKETprod.htm " -

No. I find one needs to act as an actual camera operator. I carry my cam in a neoprene ( old wet suit material ) lined Eagle Creek pouch strapped to a chest harness, and actually shoot the video. Helmet cams seem to just waste tape and shoot crap!! The best climbing videos are when each climber in the team has a camcorder, which is why I bought 2 right off the bat. Otherwise, you wind up like Alfred Hitchcock - you're lucky to be in one scene in your own movie.......
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