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Old September 26th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #1
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HDV Camera To Lots Of Travel ???

I am looking to Get a New HDV Camera to do Lots of travel, I currently use a JVC GY-HD110U and have been impressed with it, but I am needing something a little smaller and easier to get around, along with less noticeable. I have looked into the Cannon XH-A1 as an option but wonder if it will work well. I personally never like the XL-1 and that since has turned me away from Cannon but I am considering giving them another chance. I would like to shoot in 24 and I know with some smaller HDV cameras its not advertised as an option but I suppose most do anyway. I have used the Sony FX-1 and liked it however was not all that impressed. With all this being said I was just wondering if anyone might have some input as to a good, small, and not to expensive HDV camera that would live up to the rugged task of being shipped around and thrown into a backpack.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 06:24 PM   #2
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Canon XH-A1 is the best choice for serious traveller in my opinion, followed closely by Sony HVR-V1. I do travel with Canon and it has never failed me. Ergonomy and battery life are great, plus it surpasses all small HDV camcorders in terms of image quality, especially in low light which is very important.

XH-A1 is small enough to be kept in one bag with digital camera and mini-tripod.

Other option, Canon HV20, very small but smart HDV camcorder also offers 24p mode, but does not work as nicely in low light. If that is not critical for you, HV20 will be great and handy companion. Image quality in normal conditions is very similar to bigger HDV cams.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 11:57 PM   #3
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How about the FX7? It is an inch shorter and thinner, a pound lighter, and $750 cheaper than the Canon XH-A1. At that price, it will be easier to justify risking on trips. Most cameras do not shoot 24p including the FX7. Bogdan's list has only those that shoot 24p. IMHO, 24p can be done reasonably well in post and only has a few advantages. BTW, I am a Sony V1 owner and am very happy with it's image quality. I also like the FX1 but I decided I like CMOS better and decided a few less features is worth trading in for the smaller V1.

Get the camera that gives you the best impression in your hands.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 03:58 AM   #4
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Get a XH-A1 or HVR-V1. Is pain to spent s little more where there is a little more option to film or post production :)
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Old September 27th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #5
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I would second the HV20. As somebody else pointed out, with good light it'll stand toe-to-toe with cameras five times the price. When I first held the plastic little thing in my hand, I thought . . . this junk won't last a week.
But I have beat he living daylights out of my HV20. Later I can try and post a pic of it's outside. It looks like somebody rubbed it with sandpaper and then beat it with a stick.
Because it's a relatively cheap camera I have taken many risks with it. I have cracked a polarizer (literally crashed the camera into gravel) and scratched two UV lenses into oblivion and it still shoots great. The only thing that doesn't work is the shutter which I've had to manually open and close after shooting a sandstorm.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 07:13 PM   #6
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"(literally crashed the camera into gravel) and scratched two UV lenses into oblivion and it still shoots great. The only thing that doesn't work is the shutter which I've had to manually open and close after shooting a sandstorm."

I'm telling Canon on you! ;)

How about an HV20 and a powerful flashlight for night use? Put a diffuser over the flashlight and it will work the same as a camera light but will be more discrete when in your luggage. Plus, you will have a flashlight handy at all times. If you get a microphone to cold shoe adapter, a flashlight might fit in the mic holder. You can take a mic holder to the store and look for flashlights that fit. Maybe one of those handheld xenon tactical flashlights that use the higher voltage lithium batteries would do the job. A piece of diffusion gel taped over the end would get rid of the spot. The batteries will cost more, but you probably won't need light that often.

The HV20 really isn't that bad in low light anyway.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #7
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if i had to buy another HDV camera i'd seriously consider the Sony HDR-CX6 - it's the smallest HD camera apparently. but i have never played with it. and of course it has no tapes so it helps to have a laptop with you

and of course you could get the canon TX1 - which would be really small.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #8
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What sort of travel are you planning to do Dustin?
I own the XHA1 and love it but i wouldn't take it backpacking round Asia.
I like the look of the new Panasonic AVCHD cams myslef but i don't know how they'd stand up against an HV20 which is an ace little cam i'm told. Anyone else seen comparisons between the Canon & Panasonics?
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Old October 13th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #9
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You mentioned small, and I have a Sony HC1 (including an XH-G1), but like all HDV palmcorders it's size, it suffers in low light shooting.

You didn't mention your intended shooting conditions and just exactly what you want from the camera. Are you strickly a tourist, shooting interviews, or gathering footage for profit or use in a project?

Remember, if you need to shoot in low light, you would be surprised at what is considered low light. Shady parks, churches lit only by daylight ambience. Also considering the time zones and when the sun sets, etc. Not many hours left in the day that you can shoot for the winter hemisphere without supportive lighting. (Including a tripod).

If you need lighting, then the few pounds or bulk or what you save using the smaller camera, will be lost to the extra lighting gear. Your duffle bag will be full anyway.

If you just being a tourist and want to save some memories, then Marcus' suggestion is good. A mag flashlight (the mid sized 2 AA cell model) would do wonders to light up dark areas. I might suggest a collaspable monopod as well. You can use it as a temporary shoulder brace, a means to mount your flashlight, or reach over obstacles to get the shot.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #10
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Hey guys,

I personally have traveled quite a bit with a sony A1 and Z1 for an adventure show, including ziplines, rappelling, offshore shoots, and quite a few other wierd locations (including underwater for the A1).

I've been rather impressed by both, however, the A1 has started dropping frames recently. I think the owner of that camera wasn't near as careful as I am with mine (the Z1) as far as cleanliness and maintenance.

Z1 + Pelican = Not so much as a single dropped frame through a whole season of adventure videography in wierd, often dirty locations. I'd be hard pressed to trade it in for anything else in that price range. If portability and capturing memories was my goal, the A1 or something similar would do the trick quite nicely, IMO.

Carl

PS - at the beginning of the season the producer handed me a HDR3. Ick. Had him get the A1 as soon as possible, even for family vacations I wouldn't want one of those, no external iris or focus, blehhh. :)
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Old October 17th, 2007, 02:01 AM   #11
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As a long time hiker and an owner of XHA1 I wouldn't take XHA1 with me in my hikes, because it's quite big and heavy, especially when you have to consider the size of the bag you have to put it in. Also it's a bit expensive, so I'd take less risks with it.
Besides XHA1 shines with manual controls, but on auto it's not that great, and during travels imho auto is used more frequently.

But if you travel by car A1 might be an option.

As some others here I suggest Canon XV20.
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