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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old September 24th, 2005, 07:16 AM   #1
 
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Okay, I hope someone can clear some stuff up here.

We all want to buy these new cameras, so I'd like to serously discuss the details.

Here's what I've heard about the Canon....


Uncompressed 1080/60i 4:2:2 HD-SDI output at 1.485 Gbps

Multi-format external HD recording to HDCAM, DVCPRO HD, etc.

Genlock input and TimeCode input /output

20x HD L/SR OIS lens (5.4mm-108mm, f/1.6-f/3.5, 72mm fil.)

3 x 1.67mp CCDs (native 16:9 shape), 1440 x 1080 effective

Digic DV II processor supporting 30fps & 24fps (25 fps in Europe)


Okay, now here's what this leads one to belive. For starters, according to this, it CAN do 24 fps, as in 24 p true progressive. But then what's this "24F" crap? I'm a little leary when it doesn't actually stick with 24fps or 24p through the marketing campaign. Can this thing do true 24 progressive 1080 or what?

Please tell me how much this matters as well. It was my assumption that 24p was a HUGE selling point with most of us, as it simply gives you a better image than interlaced, supposedly a FAR better image. Am I wrong?

Okay, next. People are screaming how the Canon does both PAL and NTSC, and the Panasonic doesn't. Well, I though that once you're dealing with 24p, it's 24p, no longer NTSC / 60i or PAL 50i. And since the big thing about PAL is the whole 25 fps, and 24fps is considered by most to be better, who cares? Or does PAL simple ALWAYS have better resolution than NTSC (i.e. 24p in NTSC is not as good as 25p PAL). It was my assumption shooting 24p for filmwork was the best. Now I heard that PAL had better resolution in DV becasue it was there were like 20% more lines of resolution than NTSC. But if both PAL and NTSC on these 2 cameras comes in 1080p, isn't it the same in both? Or does PAL 1080p have more resolution.

For that matter, I don't see this canon supporting progresssive frames in 1080 anyway. Just interlaced. Panasonic is Progressive. Why should there be a contest on that issue? Doesn't converting interlace to progressive in post give way to possible signal degredation and software problems?

Then we come to data rate. I've been hearing we've got SDI-HD out only to achieve the HD DVCAM and DVCProHD codecs on the Canon. Without a pain in the butt expensive setup, you don't get that high quality HD out of the canon. With the Panasonic, you have the option of going dv/ DVCPro 50/DVCPro HD at 100 Mbps HD straight to p2 or a firestore soon to come. Now one could argue that Canon's got the big stomp with the whole 1.4 or something gig out via HD-SDI, but I thought that was an option with the Panasonic, I mean, I'd swear they stated HD-SDI Uncompressed output as well. Surely that will do what canon's can , or can it not?

Then there's the better lens issue, which I've heard from Scott Billups, writer of "Digital Moviemaking" (and this guy was there when the first digtal camera was being created, in on it to an extent himself, so he should know his stuff) that the Canon is a better lens than the Panasonic. But now wait a minute. Let's say we slap on there the inexpensive RedRock Micro 35 lens adapater and now you in theory can use true 35 millimeter still photo lenses like olympus or canon or nikkon. What then? Seems to me the lens competition is at least neck in neck, unless there's something I don't know about needing to use specific "HD" lenses and not 35 mm . . . but I don't think so.

Scott Billups also said the footage from the Canon will do better Keys, that I'm assuming comes from using all the factory based features, and none you add yourself like lens adapters, but I'm not sure.

Perhaps he was going on the fact from a non-projecting standpoint. That the keys look better as long as your willing to have a finished product on interlaced (which is what I thought none of us wanted as the whole point of buying a camera like this is for indie FILM MAKING. Few people need anything above HDV if they're going straight to TV or straight to video release. Hey, If I didn't want to make movies and just do video work, HDV is fine . . . but I'm using this as a feature film tool. So I say again. Which camera gives us what we want on a BIG SCREEN without looking like it's shot on video.

Someone please tell me which has more stops/dynamic range. I've got no clue on that.

Seems storage options coming out with the firestore on the Panasonic side closes the book on ease there. Canon has to have HD-SDI for any of it's "above hdv" options. I mean, panasonic needs HD-SDI for uncompressed too, but that's no more expensive than the canon version of the same thing, so that just cancels each other out there.

Anyway. SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME INSIGHT. Some detailed answers would be MOST appreciated. THANKS!!!


P.S.

I'm not dissing the Canon at all. I think I may be told things that convince me to take it over the Panasonic. But until I get some real detailed answers about these types of technical questions, it's hard to see where I stand.
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Old September 24th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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For some reason, this was posted in the Panasonic HVX200 forum. But since it's really all about the Canon XL H1, I've moved it here. In the future, *please* be sure you are posting to the right forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Maher
Okay, now here's what this leads one to belive. For starters, according to this, it CAN do 24 fps, as in 24 p true progressive. But then what's this "24F" crap? I'm a little leary when it doesn't actually stick with 24fps or 24p through the marketing campaign. Can this thing do true 24 progressive 1080 or what?
"24F" is Frame mode. Frame mode is best described as the same results as progressive scan, by different means. Canon won't call it "progressive" because it's not coming from progressive-scan CCD's. But that should not matter to you as much as the *results* produced by 24F. Can you visually detect the difference between 24P and 24F? Is there any noticeable loss of resolution or degradation of image quality in 24F? Does 24F edit exactly like 24P? Those are the questions you should be asking, and they'll be answered in time as the XL H1 release date nears.

I think it's a serious mistake to get hung up on the methodology of all this stuff. Progressive scan has been so heavily marketed that many people in this business seem to think it's the *only* way to properly do 24fps or 30fps. Part of the reason behind that is due to the loss of vertical resolution in the old Panasonic / Canon implementation of Frame Movie mode about seven years ago, and also because of the relatively poor reception of Sony's CineFrame 24 mode. Shouldn't the results matter more than the methodology?

Quote:
Please tell me how much this matters as well. It was my assumption that 24p was a HUGE selling point with most of us, as it simply gives you a better image than interlaced, supposedly a FAR better image. Am I wrong?
"Better" is a highly relative term. Better for what? Better than interlaced how? If you're wanting to emulate the look of film, then yes 24fps is better. If you're shooting sports for network broadcast, then no it is definitely not better. 24p is nothing more or less than a different aesthetic look than 60i. The inherent frame judder in 24p creates a temporal motion that is different than interlaced video. If progressive was somehow technically "better" than interlace, then progressive would be everywhere; it would be all that you see on television. And yet it's not. That's because progressive or frame mode is good for some things but not for others. It's great for movies but not for sports. More importantly it's a personal aesthetic, an artistic choice, and one you should make for the right reasons.

Quote:
Okay, next. People are screaming how the Canon does both PAL and NTSC, and the Panasonic doesn't. Well, I though that once you're dealing with 24p, it's 24p, no longer NTSC / 60i or PAL 50i. And since the big thing about PAL is the whole 25 fps, and 24fps is considered by most to be better, who cares? Or does PAL simple ALWAYS have better resolution than NTSC (i.e. 24p in NTSC is not as good as 25p PAL). It was my assumption shooting 24p for filmwork was the best. Now I heard that PAL had better resolution in DV becasue it was there were like 20% more lines of resolution than NTSC. But if both PAL and NTSC on these 2 cameras comes in 1080p, isn't it the same in both? Or does PAL 1080p have more resolution.
Nobody is screaming anything. I have seen no screaming in here, except from one guy who was upset that Canon didn't build the camera he wanted. You seem to be confused about multi-national HD standards though. There is no "PAL" or "NTSC" in High Definition. There is 50i and 60i because these cameras are made to operate either in Europe, Australia and other countries that utilize a 50Hz electrical system or in North America and Japan which utilize a 60Hz electrical system. You need the 50i and 25p frame rates to avoid image flicker from electric light sources when shooting in those regions. There is no difference in image resolution involved (you're thinking of the difference in resolution between standard def NTSC and PAL, but we're talking HD now). Also there is no tangible difference between 24fps and 25fps -- the human eye cannot detect the difference. But you need to understand there is no "PAL 1080p." There is only the ATSC which governs all this stuff. PAL and NTSC have nothing to do with it anymore.

Yes the Canon XL H1 may be upgraded for $500 to be switchable between European and North American environs, and the Panasonic is not, but that's simply a corporate decision thing. How many Canon customers are actually going to buy that upgrade? How many customers will there be who actually produce video in both markets? Probably not very many relative to the total number of XL H1 cameras sold.

On the Panasonic, there are many more frame rate options involved in that camera. Making it 50i/60i switchable probably would have delayed the release date and raised the price... again, just how many people actually need that function? A very small slice of the overall market for the HVX200 would ever actually need that capability.

(continued below)
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Old September 24th, 2005, 10:49 AM   #3
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(continued from above)
Quote:
For that matter, I don't see this canon supporting progresssive frames in 1080 anyway. Just interlaced. Panasonic is Progressive. Why should there be a contest on that issue? Doesn't converting interlace to progressive in post give way to possible signal degredation and software problems?
Maybe in some software it does, but this is in-camera.

Quote:
Then we come to data rate. I've been hearing we've got SDI-HD out only to achieve the HD DVCAM and DVCProHD codecs on the Canon. Without a pain in the butt expensive setup, you don't get that high quality HD out of the canon. With the Panasonic, you have the option of going dv/ DVCPro 50/DVCPro HD at 100 Mbps HD straight to p2 or a firestore soon to come. Now one could argue that Canon's got the big stomp with the whole 1.4 or something gig out via HD-SDI, but I thought that was an option with the Panasonic, I mean, I'd swear they stated HD-SDI Uncompressed output as well. Surely that will do what canon's can , or can it not?
There is no uncompressed HD out through SDI on the Panasonic HVX200 or any other sub-$10K camera for that matter (there is uncompressed component output though). The more involved setup plus HD deck rental fee involved with the Canon H1 is a business decision and a production workflow consideration. Some people will embrace it, but for you it may not be the right choice. If not, then it's just an HDV camcorder. So for you perhaps the Panasonic HVX200 is a better solution.

Quote:
Then there's the better lens issue, which I've heard from Scott Billups, writer of "Digital Moviemaking" (and this guy was there when the first digtal camera was being created, in on it to an extent himself, so he should know his stuff) that the Canon is a better lens than the Panasonic. But now wait a minute.
Yeah, now wait a minute. Where *exactly* did you hear that from Billups -- you need to provide the link, show me exactly where he says that. And if I were you, I would take anything that Billups says with a grain of salt. I have his book, and it's fine, but that guy has been dead wrong about more than a few things in the past. I'll never forget DV Expo West 2003. During that show, scores of people were streaming to the Canon booth begging to see the XL2. Of course the XL2 did not exist at that time... it was still on the drawing board in Japan... but Billups, speaking at that show, told all these people they could go check out the new XL2 at the Canon booth... what a mess that was (of course Billups is a talented and definitely *connected* filmmaker, no doubt about it, and I certainly respect him for that).

Quote:
Let's say we slap on there the inexpensive RedRock Micro 35 lens adapater and now you in theory can use true 35 millimeter still photo lenses like olympus or canon or nikkon. What then? Seems to me the lens competition is at least neck in neck, unless there's something I don't know about needing to use specific "HD" lenses and not 35 mm... but I don't think so.
Out of the total number of people who buy a Panasonic HVX200 or a Canon XL H1, just how many of them are going to regularly use the RedRock M2, the Guerlla35 or any of those adapters? Clearly you're
looking at this strictly from a filmmaking perspective, but it's important to realize just how tiny that market is relative to all of the other types of customers who will be buying these cameras (tiny, but oh so very vocal).

Quote:
Scott Billups also said the footage from the Canon will do better Keys, that I'm assuming comes from using all the factory based features, and none you add yourself like lens adapters, but I'm not sure.
Once again... if you're going to reference Scott Billups or David Lynch or whoever, you need to provide the exact link... *where* does Scott Billups say this? He's not saying it on DV Info Net, which is the only place on the web that *I* read with any regularity. So for the benefit of somebody like me, show me exactly where that's coming from. And once again... just because it comes from Billups, doesn't make it so. He may actually be right about it, but saying something and proving something are two very different things.

Quote:
Seems storage options coming out with the firestore on the Panasonic side closes the book on ease there. Canon has to have HD-SDI for any of it's "above hdv" options. I mean, panasonic needs HD-SDI for uncompressed too, but that's no more expensive than the canon version of the same thing, so that just cancels each other out there.
I'm not sure what you're asking here. The FireStore option for the Panasonic HVX200 is great. But there is an HDV version as well which will be compatible with the Canon XL H1.

Quote:
Anyway. SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME INSIGHT. Some detailed answers would be MOST appreciated. THANKS!!!
Okay, now somebody is screaming. I took a stab at some detailed answers, but remember the Search tool here is your friend. Just spending some time reading through our Panasonic P2 and Canon HD forums will give you plenty of good detailed material to chew on. Hope this helps,
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Old September 24th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Maher
Can this thing do true 24 progressive 1080 or what?
We don't know. Give me five minutes with it and I'll tell you. But until we get it in our hands, all we can go in is that it says "24F", and we don't know what that means.

Quote:
It was my assumption that 24p was a HUGE selling point with most of us, as it simply gives you a better image than interlaced, supposedly a FAR better image. Am I wrong?
Depends. 24P gives the filmlike look, and if you want the filmlike look, 24P is FAR better than interlaced, yes. I happen to think progressive is better than interlaced under all circumstances as well (as does the EBU). However, there is one case where interlaced has a compelling advantage, and that's the 1080/60i vs. the 720/30p of the JVC. 1080/60i gives the "reality" look, which 30P or 24P can never do. You need 60p to get that. So if you need the "reality" look, the interlaced format of the Canon delivers, whereas the progressive on the JVC can't. (the HVX isn't in this argument because it does both 1080/60i *and* 720/60p, so you've got your choice).

Quote:
Well, I though that once you're dealing with 24p, it's 24p, no longer NTSC / 60i or PAL 50i.
Well, yeah, but there's a whole lot more out there than just 24p! The Canon (with a $500 upgrade) can do PAL and NTSC, 24F and 25F, 1080/50i and 1080/60i. The HVX is a one-or-the-other cam; you either get 720/25p & 720/50p & 1080/25p & 1080/50i, *or* you get 720/24p & 720/60p & 1080/24p & 1080/60i. You don't get both countries' standards at the same time.

Quote:
And since the big thing about PAL is the whole 25 fps, and 24fps is considered by most to be better, who cares?
The only people who would care are those who do work in both territories, or European/Australian customers who intend to use the camera only to go to film. 25P or 50P is the proper frame rate for anything destined for television in those territories. 24P or 60P or 60i is the proper frame rate for anything destined for TV in the US.

Quote:
It was my assumption shooting 24p for filmwork was the best.
If transferring to film, yes. But actually, if transferring to film, it's folly to shoot on one of these cameras anyway -- you'll spend as much or more in transferring than you would have to just shoot film in the first place.

Quote:
For that matter, I don't see this canon supporting progresssive frames in 1080 anyway. Just interlaced. Panasonic is Progressive. Why should there be a contest on that issue?
Depends on what 24F is. If it's every bit as good as genuine 24P, then there isn't a contest. Whereas if it's not, then -- well, there's no contest.

Quote:
Doesn't converting interlace to progressive in post give way to possible signal degredation and software problems?
Of course. So why do it?

Quote:
I'd swear they stated HD-SDI Uncompressed output as well. Surely that will do what canon's can , or can it not?
Close but no. The Panasonic and Sony and JVC offer uncompressed analog component output. Which avoids compression, but still undergoes a D-to-A and then A-to-D process. The Canon is pulling the digital signal off the DSP and transmitting it digitally (avoiding D-to-A and A-to-D). No question that the Canon approach is superior.

Quote:
Then there's the better lens issue
Which is assumed but not proven. Give us some time with both cameras and we'll prove which one is better. However, there's no question about two things: the Canon is interchangeable, and it's automatic-only; I would argue that the HVX will likely have superior manual control than the Canon lens does. Does that make it a "better lens"? Maybe, maybe not. The quality of the glass remains to be proven. Canon has a great reputation, but then again, so does Leica.

Quote:
Let's say we slap on there the inexpensive RedRock Micro 35 lens adapater and now you in theory can use true 35 millimeter still photo lenses like olympus or canon or nikkon. What then?
Well, then you have some ground glass inbetween your image which degrades it some. Even the mini35 isn't as sharp as the native lens. I would expect that with the inexpensive adapters, any lens advantage either camera has would be neutralized by the ground glass, leaving them probably about equal. With the genuine mini35, the Canon will retain an advantage, as it can be connected using a dedicated relay lens vs. the multi-element zoom of the Panasonic.

Quote:
Scott Billups also said the footage from the Canon will do better Keys
If you were somehow able to record the HD-SDI, then yes that could be true. If you're talking about recording the HDV, then there's no way on earth that the Canon's 4:2:0 HDV would key better than the Panasonic's 4:2:2 DV100! So it depends on how you're recording it.

Quote:
Which camera gives us what we want on a BIG SCREEN without looking like it's shot on video.
Only testing will reveal that.

Quote:
Someone please tell me which has more stops/dynamic range. I've got no clue on that.
Only testing will reveal that. From the math, if Canon's telling the truth about their chips, I would suspect that the Panasonic has a large advantage here (depending on what their chip dimensions are). But if Canon is in fact using the Sony chips, well, it may be more equal. But a little side-by-side testing will verify it.

Quote:
Seems storage options coming out with the firestore on the Panasonic side closes the book on ease there.
Don't know exactly what you mean -- either camera can use a FireStore. Granted the Canon's Firestore solution will only record HDV, whereas the Panasonic's will record DV100 -- is that what you meant?
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Old September 24th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #5
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Well, I don't know about Laurence but I certainly got a lot of information from those posts.
Thanks, guys!


Si
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Old September 25th, 2005, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
The F900 shoots 24fps from interlaced CCD's, but you don't see anybody complaining about how it's "not true progressive."
May somebody explain to me, how the 24fps mode works in detail? I have always thought, that the CCDs would have been progressive. Now interlaced? I am confused.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #7
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Hi Robert,

Please browse through the numerous discussions we already have about 24F... there are a number of them here. Short answer is that no details have yet been released from Canon, but you will find plenty of threads in this forum that speculate what it is (or is not). Please follow up on one of those discussions... thanks!
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Old September 25th, 2005, 10:30 AM   #8
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Hi Chris,

yes, there are a lot of discussions about 24F, but my question was referring only to the 24psf mode used in the Sony CineAlta cameras. How does it work there to get progressive material from - as You call them - interlaced CCDs?
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Old September 25th, 2005, 02:16 PM   #9
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Hi Robert,

I'm sorry, I apologize for misunderstanding your question. So far, one of the best explanations I have found for PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame) is located here:

http://www.digitalmediatraining.com/...fcphd/006.html

A partial quote, and this is key:

"But there are two major differences between pSF and Interlaced Video. Interlaced video creates a frame by flashing one field first then scanning the second field next. The fields in interlaced video therefore occur at two moments in time.

With pSF, the segments are from the same point in time and are drawn continuously at the same time, as continuous lines of resolution rather than alternating back and forth like interlaced video. So, we've adopted our interlaced system to let progressive scan images travel over it."


In other words, the same results as progressive scan, by different means. Hope this helps,
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Old September 25th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #10
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hmmm...

I am very very curious about the new DSP (superb for Canon's DSLRs), we could be very well surprised.

I won't judge that camcorder based on specs.

I would just wait to see the image, the final result before making any judgment :)
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Old September 25th, 2005, 04:36 PM   #11
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I thank You, Chris, now I know, how the 24psf mode works. If the XL H1 adopts this technology, does that mean, that the 24F mode has got the full resolution of 1080 x 1440 pixels and not to use any type of deinterlacing? Wow, that would be fantastic!

Interchangeable lenses can be very different. We still have to see, how good the HD (!) lens from Canon is. For the JVC Fujinon lens with its weaknesses please have a look here: http://www.icexpo.com/HD100/old_aberration.html.

Here is a lot of information about the XL H1 (the last two pages are in English): http://www.canon.de/Images/83_314190.pdf. By the way: Canon Germany speaks of 1080/25p resp. progressive recording.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #12
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The good news is that hopefully before Santa boards his sleigh this year we'll have a chance to get some REAL answers about these new cameras, all this theory is making my head hurt - just give me pictures!
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Old September 25th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #13
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Just a quick update... further research into PsF: on the Sony CineAlta camera, the HDW-F900, that is in fact true progressive scan. PsF refers to how that frame rate is laid to HDCAM tape. My apologies for the confusion.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 02:16 AM   #14
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Correct -- PsF is "Progressive" but stored as "segmented frames". It is a genuine progressive image.

The Canon 24F won't be using PsF storage, as that would require modifying the HDV tape drive. It'll store its frames using 2:3 or 2:3:3:2 pulldown. The big question mark everyone seems to be pursuing is: is it sourced from progressive capture, and if it isn't, how much like progressive does it look?
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Old September 26th, 2005, 02:36 AM   #15
 
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So Am I right here?


. Panasonic lens may or may not be better than canon lens, a factor being that an adapter for the panasonic my hinder things.

2. 24f may be as good as 24p

3. 24f on 1080i on panasonic may be as good as 24p

4. Panasonic has variable frame rate for slow mo, etc. where canon doesn't

5. Panasonc can dv tapes via tape drive and can Do DVCPro 50 and DVCPro HD via p2 or firestore at 100mbps (codec HD ) straight onto firesore, but not uncompressed.

6. Canon can do hdv onto hdv tape and also onto firestore?

7. Neither canon nor panasonic can do uncompresseed HD unless going HD-SDI out to some sort of pain in the butt box or external drive

8. Canon (interlaced) and Panasonic (progressive) can still manage a decent quality single frame 1080 (non interlaced) single.

So are these statements correct?
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