Are the 3CCD / 3Cmos camera worth it... over HV20? 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 13th, 2007, 05:38 AM   #1
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Are the 3CCD / 3Cmos camera worth it... over HV20?

I've been looking at XH-A1 and FX7's and people who own them say the HV20 has a better picture...

I'm just trying to decide... I don't like to play with a LOT of settings, the main thing I want are focus/zoom rings but that's really it. I don't think that's worth justifying spending another $2000 on them...

I love what the HV10 does for me... just want some more adjustability... but it seems like the image quality doesn't get better...
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Old April 13th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Busch View Post
I've been looking at XH-A1 and FX7's and people who own them say the HV20 has a better picture...
That's unlikely given the HV20 is an entry-level camera with a small sensor, inexpensive lens and limited (if any) manual controls. It may take a fine picture under good conditions, but you'll see a difference in demanding situations with (for example) high contrast or dim lighting. If such were not the case there'd be no need for more expensive cameras and George Lucas would be using a pocket camcorder for the next Star Wars movie... :-)
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Old April 13th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #3
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I agree with Kevin but I did sell my 3CCD Sony FX1 after getting the HV20.......

I am NOT a professional user, however, and therefore I did not use the majority of manual controls on the FX-1 nor did I need / want to impress customers / friends / etc. with a big and impressive camera.

In terms of sharpness, the HV20 is superior. In low light the FX-1 is perhaps a bit better but not dramatcially so, if at all.I actually prefer the noise characteristics of the HV20 in low light. And the weight and bulk is profoundly reduced with the HV20.

I am not saying the HV20 is superior to a more recent 3CCD pro camera because it isn't. I do feel that mnay users will be completely satisfied with an HV20 and never look back if they owned larger 3CCD cameras of the type introduced a year or 2 ago as I did.

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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:35 PM   #4
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I do not understand the obsession with low-light performance.

Is everyone filming in the dark?

I just don't get it... it seems like the "benchmark" for a good camera...

Either way, I will be filming 99% of the time in bright-sunny maybe overcast conditions... or at dusk...

I could get 2 HV20's and a couple decent tripods, lense adapters, spare batteries, etc. for the price of a pro-consumer camera... and if the footage will look the same I may consider that... (2nd camera for a buddy to film as well)
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #5
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Joe: I have the VX2000. It will give you great video in a living room lit by a single bulb lamp. My FX1 will give a grainier, but still nice shot. The HV20 has a grainier yet image-- with speckle of dark blue throughout. So if you are doing a lot of family video in those kinds of situations, it could mean something to you.

When the HV10 came out, I said the same thing that Kevin says-- your crazy, how could you get that nice of HDV picture out of that little thing.

Well I have the HV20. If you know how to manipulate it, there are a raft of controls, and the video is beautiful, but it worth does fall of in the dark areas of a regular home. If that isn't an issue, and you don't need all the professional bells and whistles, then the HV20 is spectacular... and this comes from someone who has been a Sony devotee for years.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #6
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Well, somewhat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
That's unlikely given the HV20 is an entry-level camera with a small sensor, inexpensive lens and limited (if any) manual controls.
The lens is small, though it's not unlike higher end L-Series video lenses, other than being scaled down for the compactness needed. And while you wouldn't confuse that with a serious camcoder, the 1/2.7 CMOS sensor isn't THAT small... it's larger than many if not most of the CCDs or CMOS sensors in cameras under $10,000. There's only one of them, of course, but it's big for a consumer camcoder. The Canon XH-A1 and G1 only support 1/3" sensors, albeit three of them. The Sony FX-7 and V1U are running 1/4" CMOS chips.
They get their superior low-light performance due to wider apertures and using a 3-chip system with pixel shifting (eg, each sensor is half resolution, the green is typically offset by a pixel).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
It may take a fine picture under good conditions, but you'll see a difference in demanding situations with (for example) high contrast or dim lighting.
Sure you will... and that may be significant. I don't think anyone should be expected $4000 performance in a $900 camcorder... I'm buying a HD10 so I don't take my way more expensive Sony with me on a backpacking trip... and that's the place where a tiny camera is also a big plus. But honestly, particularly on a bright day, and given the way everyone does their HDV sensors these days, there's less difference than I expected... so far.

This won't last. Sony, for example, is pushing downscale with the HC5, which is doing HDV with less than an aggregate 1920x1080 pixels (ok, JVC's first HDV 720p camcorder didn't do an honest 720p either, but hey, it was the first outside of a successful filmmaker's budget that did HD)... and that's probably going to continue. And eventually, they'll slip in the same 1/6" or 1/8" sensors you find in the super cheap ass consumer DVcams (and the $1000 3-chip Panasonics). But for now, the HV10 seems to be damn fine video, if you're not put off by its limits (no mic input, limited manual control, no LANC, etc). I think, as well as hiking, this will make a swell "C" camera, the one I get to walk around with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
If such were not the case there'd be no need for more expensive cameras and George Lucas would be using a pocket camcorder for the next Star Wars movie... :-)
Hey, given Lucas' usual schedule, plus reluctance to commit to anything Star Wars beyond the possible TV series he won't actually be doing himself, there's every possibility he (or his head in a jar attached to a robot body) will be using a handheld for Star Wars: Episode 7...
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Old April 13th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Busch View Post
I do not understand the obsession with low-light performance. Is everyone filming in the dark?
Being able to get a decent image with minimal lighting is a useful feature for a video camera, for both professional and personal use. I shot a wedding recently at a restaurant which was dim even with the lights on, and then the bride asked the venue to turn them down further. Plus for family videos you don't want to have to be blinding people with a video light indoors, so there again low-light response matters.

It sounds like the HV20 is a good camera for the price and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. But the original question was whether more expensive cameras offer something better, and the answer is yes. If you need what the pricier cameras offer then go that route, otherwise the HV20 may suit you fine.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 02:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
Being able to get a decent image with minimal lighting is a useful feature for a video camera, for both professional and personal use. I shot a wedding recently at a restaurant which was dim even with the lights on, and then the bride asked the venue to turn them down further. Plus for family videos you don't want to have to be blinding people with a video light indoors, so there again low-light response matters.
And realistically, NONE of the HDV camcorders perform as well in low light as the better DV camcorders. It's simple math... when you put 2,000,000 or so sensors across a 1/3" chip, rather than 460,000, each sensor is small and thus, less sensitive, all else being equal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
It sounds like the HV20 is a good camera for the price and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. But the original question was whether more expensive cameras offer something better, and the answer is yes. If you need what the pricier cameras offer then go that route, otherwise the HV20 may suit you fine.
It's not JUST image quality at issue, either. A more professional camera may well be a bit more rugged. It probably has a better selection of controls, more control buttons, focusing and/or zoom rings, etc. It may have a fancier kind of battery (my Sony's batteries have their own power meters on them, and a quick charge technology). Such cameras probably have XLR connectors for audio (locking connectors with balanced audio and phantom power for professional mics). They probably have a shoe for mounting things (lights, mics, etc). They may support higher spec recording modes, like DVCAM or DVPro, as well as HDV. You probably get a higher resolution viewfinder, for better focus, etc.

So yeah, you're going to get something in a higher-end camera... but you may not see the kind of image difference you did in the past DV ages, between a high quality consumer HDV camera like the Canons, and the current crop of prosumer/professional HDV cameras. At least on a bright, sunny day...
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Old April 14th, 2007, 07:28 AM   #9
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BTW, you can get excellent lowlight performance out of the HV20 if you adjust parameters correctly. Using auto mode in lowlight will yield less then desireable results. I use cinema mode plus set sharpness and contrast to -1 and watch that noise decrease substantially while keeping a nice quality picture.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #10
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Yes the HV20's lowlight is excellent. Even if you get grain in your picture it is still sharp...very usable...unlike most other consumer cams that get grainy in lowlight...their picture is unusable.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. Thompson View Post
Yes the HV20's lowlight is excellent. Even if you get grain in your picture it is still sharp...very usable...unlike most other consumer cams that get grainy in lowlight...their picture is unusable.
I have a ton of footage from my HDR-SR1 in low light that is unusable. I'm so sad that Canon didn't come out with the HV-20 before :(
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Old April 14th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Busch View Post
I do not understand the obsession with low-light performance.

Is everyone filming in the dark?

I just don't get it... it seems like the "benchmark" for a good camera...

Either way, I will be filming 99% of the time in bright-sunny maybe overcast conditions... or at dusk...

I could get 2 HV20's and a couple decent tripods, lense adapters, spare batteries, etc. for the price of a pro-consumer camera... and if the footage will look the same I may consider that... (2nd camera for a buddy to film as well)

Joe, you've hit the nail on the head! Reading many reviews you would think that low light is the most important quality determination there is....it isn't. If you shoot professionally you should be using lights. With that said however, there are times that you simply can't use lights and then the low light performance of the camera comes in. This might affect me professionally, but for shooting on the weekends and for fun, I don't think I'd consider anything other than the HV10/HV20.

I have the FX7 and had the FX1 and frankly I prefer the HV10 and HV20 picture.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Parenti View Post
BTW, you can get excellent lowlight performance out of the HV20 if you adjust parameters correctly. Using auto mode in lowlight will yield less then desireable results. I use cinema mode plus set sharpness and contrast to -1 and watch that noise decrease substantially while keeping a nice quality picture.
Tony

The cine mode preset puts the sharpness down to -4. Is is possible to use the cine preset but put the sharpness back up to 0 (either in 24p or 60i)?

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Old April 15th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #14
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...and while we're at it: would a -4 sharpness actually blur the image of just use less sharpening (thus leaving the original capture more intact)?
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Old April 15th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #15
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I'm assuming that these references to -4 sharpness refer to the settings on a Canon cam such as the A1. I say this because obviously there's no -4 setting for sharpness available on the HV20. Your choices are only +1, default or -1.
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