HV20 Versus Sony HC1 compared: Low Light at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old April 12th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #1
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HV20 Versus Sony HC1 compared: Low Light

Well, I got the HV20. I have had the HC1 since it first came out in late July, 2005. The HC1 is dying on me after many hours of useful taping. The only thing I was not happy about the HC1 is the low light performance. I have only had the HV20 for a couple hours, but here are my initial impressions:

1. Out of the box: This camcorder is significantly smaller than the HC1.
2. Build quality and looks: It looks CHEAP. If you took out the HDV lettering, it looks no different than the typical $300 dv camcoder you would see at Bestbuys. Compared to the HC1, the HC1 has killer looks!
3. Picture Quality: Connecting it to my Samsung 71" 1080p via hdmi, I can see that it may have better picture quality than my HC1, but since HD pictures are so nice already, I can't really say that it is significantly better. It just looks a bit sharper. If this was the only difference, I would not run out to buy the HV20...just not enough justification.
3. Low Light perfomance: Now this is what I was most nervous about...my worries are over. The HV20 KILLS the HC1 in low light performance. It is SO MUCH BETTER that even if my HC1 wasn't dying, I would still upgrade! I have 3 kids and so indoor pictures has to be good. Again, my wife and friends saw a significant difference in low light performance. This was at a shutter speed of 1/60 and normal family room lighting.
4.24p recording: I read up on all the info of 24p but have never experienced it so did not know what to expect. Well, in low light, if I switch over to 24p, the picture is even BRIGHTER! It's as if I moved the shutter speed up to 1/30 or 1/15. However, if you move or pan ever so slightly, the picture gets jittery as if I was taping regular HDV 60i with shutter speed of 1/15. However, if I just keep really steady, and just record my kids and wife eating at the table or something with minimal movement, the picture is ridiculously bright! I can see how useful this would be at say, a birthday party where the kids are at the table blowing out the candles! Bottom line, do not pan or record kids running with 24p.
5. Feel of the camcorder: I actually have no problem with it. Notwithstanding what another site said, I did not feel uncomfortable with the camcorder. I have small hands though, so may be that is the differentiating factor. However, the camcorder is so "fat" width wise, that if I just pick it up from the top, I feel as if I may lose grip and drop it. I wish it was a bit thinner.
Conclusion: Boy am I glad I bought this camcorder. I now look like I am carrying around some cheapo camcorder like the public in general now (maybe that is a good thing) as oppose to the nice looking HC1. If you have the HC1 and want to upgrade, specifically for low light, go for it.
Vincent Tran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 12th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #2
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As another long time HC1 user who traded in for an HV20, I am nodding at
all your points. I was also one of those HC1 owners who's camera had a problem with weak reds (which I had to always tweak in post), so I now love
to see the vibrant "Canon" reds recorded with the HV20. The HC1 does have
a beautiful, tank-like build in comparison to the Canons plastic shell.

I have been using 24p most of the time, even for my daughters soccer practice, and I personally find it controllable at 1/48 shutter. Maybe I'm a throwback
to the days of "This is the NFL" in the 70s.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #3
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I think the 24p mode should be perfectly usable at 1/48 and above
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:31 PM   #4
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I will try 24p at 1/48 then.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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love that 70s look

james-

i adore that 70s film look. throw in some grain and u are on your way to making the 3rd grindhouse film!

i bet kid's soccer games never looked so good.

be well

rob
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:17 AM   #6
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"lowlight comparison HC1 VS HV20" Footage would be great!
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Old April 14th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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I just sold my HC1 to buy one of these also. Except it will be the PAL version and still doesn't seem to be available yet :(
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