Canon HV20 (30?) vs. DVX-100 - What to buy?) at DVinfo.net

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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #1
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Canon HV20 (30?) vs. DVX-100 - What to buy?)

Hi all, sometime lurker, first time poster here.

I've been really eyeing the HVX-200 for the longest time now, but I figure that with my income, it'll be quite a ways before getting that bad boy.

As such my quandry is this: A DVX goes for about $1500 used while an HV20 goes for as little as $600 even new.

Now then, I'm not planning to have the HV20 as a permanent camera but more as a "I-just-got-out-of-film-school-and-need-shoot-NOW" toy, but would probably treat the DVX as a little more of a long-time investment. Both do 24p and I've seen the HV20 give out quite a nice picture.

Honestly, I lean towards the DVX for that "I'm a true pro now" feeling, but then the 24p-AND-High-Def allure of the HV20 is really quite something..

I guess I just need some people more knowledgable than I to give me a second opinion.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #2
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The camera you shoot with is the one you have...

The HV20/30 and the Sony competitors will give you a camera to shoot with, and a "B" cam for later. How many opportunities will you miss while saving for the bigger cam, and there'll probably be something else newer/better/cheaper by then anyway...

Nothing wrong with getting something now to shoot with, and lots of the DVinfo crowd have a mix of big and small cams for different purposes, some of them budgetary!

Don't let "camera envy" stop you from getting something so you can shoot with now and practice your art/skills.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #3
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Think about the end product; what's going to produce the better finished product?

If you're doing narrative where things like DOF and mood lighting are absolutely critical, and you can reshoot, spend a lot of time setting up, etc, I'd save up for the DVX.

If you're doing documentary/reality, go with the HV20. It'll produce (once downrezed to DVD resolution) a sharper picture.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #4
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I've never shot with the DVX, but I do know that shooting in HDV has allowed me to crop things in editing that I probably wouldn't have been able to crop in DV. I would have lost way too much resolution. That to me is the big advantage that doesn't really get talked about that much: the advantage in editing.

Plus, I like the picture better out of the HV20.

Go HV20, I think. You can get a DOF adapter if you really want one with the extra money you save. As far as lighting or whatever, I mean, you can adjust all that stuff with the HV20. There's a menu option for the exposure.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #5
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The era of DV CAM's is (almost) over now.

Working with XH A1 and HV20 for a while now, I'm really surprised when I see my VX/PD footage back. Was I really thinking this was a good image?

I'd live with the HDV shortcomings.

The HV20/30 are great camera's for consumer usage, and though with enough light their image is excellent, they're far from being real pro camera's. The glass is far from being perfect. The whole control is a compromise between full auto and some manual operation.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 07:50 AM   #6
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I don't have an HF100 yet (will be getting one soon), but from what I've gathered, the image quality is on par with the HV30 (or HV20), and a lot of reputable retailers are selling them for about $650. With good quality class-6 8GB SDHC cards available under $40, total ownership cost of an HF100 is downright dirt cheap (assuming you shoot 100 hours of footage, or more, with it), even compared to an HV20 at $600 (for just the camera).
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Old June 8th, 2008, 01:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
... With good quality class-6 8GB SDHC cards available under $40, total ownership cost of an HF100 is downright dirt cheap (assuming you shoot 100 hours of footage, or more, with it), even compared to an HV20 at $600 (for just the camera).
Fair enough, but that's not the whole story. On the card, according to Canon
Quote:
LP (5 Mbps) 3 hours
SP (7 Mbps) 2 hours 20 min
XP+ (12 Mbps) 1 hour 25 min
FXP (17 Mbps) 1 hour -Allows 1920x1080 Full HD Recording.
so $40 for that much recording and then what about archiving? Nobody's going to just leave the footage on the card at that price. DV tapes are relatively cheap for an hour, even Pro quality ones, and there's your archive.
I've had two pro quality CF cards fail on me (fortunately after the images were backed up) but never lost a DV tape once recorded.
I'm not convinced yet, even though I'm totally unbaised (as an HV30 owner :-)
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #8
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For the cost of even the very cheapest tape, you can make more than 5 copies of the contents of an 8GB SDHC card, on DVDs.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #9
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so $40 for that much recording and then what about archiving?
To archive, simply look at what the IT world is using for tape backup. 160GB/320GB DLT drives and media are cheap ($40 for a tape that will hold (uncompressed) footage from 12 MiniDV tapes. And the format is infinitely more reliable than MiniDV.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
For the cost of even the very cheapest tape, you can make more than 5 copies of the contents of an 8GB SDHC card, on DVDs.
I take it you mean data DVDs? I don't quite follow the arithmetic (DVDs hold nominal 4.7 GB) but you can copy the contents of DV tapes to DVD as well. Or convert them to MPEG 2 for playable DVDs.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #11
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Fernando,

One thing to consider is that the DVX has far superior sound to the HV-20. You can get away with recording directly to the camera and have good enough sound for serious post work. With the HV-20, nadda.

The DVX also gives you much more control, feels more real, has better controls and does better in low light. But the HV-20 shot in HD and downconverted to SD will probably look better than the DVX.

If there isn't a lot of fast motion, I wouldn't worry about movement problems with the HV-20. But it does have a rolling shutter issue (as all CMOS cameras do) that tilts the image during fast moving pans. I've seen frame grabs of it, but it wasn't really noticeable to me while watching the film. Also, HDV doesn't handle movement all that well, but I haven't seen Canon's implementation of the codec break under normal shooting conditions.

I own an HV-20, but just watched three documentaries in theatres, all shot with the DVX. And they looked and sounded quite good, esp "Shut Up and Sing."
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Old June 13th, 2008, 07:39 PM   #12
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Actually, the IT world has switched from DLT to LTO. Sales of DLT are down so much that Quantum (the major DLT maker) has bought the LTO business from Seagate and is now a member of the LTO consortium.

Disclosure - I work for one of the LTO teams and have been trying for close to 10 years to eradicate DLT. I admit it - I'm very biased!
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Old June 13th, 2008, 09:36 PM   #13
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I own a DVX100a and 3 small HDV cams (2 HV20s and a Sony HC3).

For me the HDV cams rule the day. Tomorrow a Letus Mini will arrive that will be permanently attached to one of my HV20s.

Though it has been gathering dust, I love the DVX. The manual controls and color gamma are fabulous. If I were doing primarily narrative work, maybe I'd choose the DVX for those reasons. But I'm not, and once you get the taste for an HD image it's tough to go back to SD.

The HV20/30 series is probably the best deal in the history of camcorders -- outstanding image quality, and fine audio via the external mic input. The image compares well against cameras costing thousands of dollars more.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 04:57 AM   #14
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... fine audio via the external mic input...
Fine for some things, yes. But if serious post production work is going to be applied to the audio, then it's really not fine. The DVX's audio is far superior to the HV-20's. For many things it won't matter, but for some it will.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #15
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Field recorders are cheap and in a lot of cases more functional. Buy an HV20 and a good field recorder and you are still coming in way under the cost of a DVX.
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