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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #1
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Location: Bemidji, MN
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Flash camcorders

Hey there.

We're looking to add tapeless HD acquisition... slowly. We're investigating sub $1000 flash/memory card camcorders to get our feet wet and would value your comments/suggestions on what cameras interest you or that you would recommend. Also, if you have thoughts on 720 vs 1080 flavors, that would be helpful.

Must haves:
manual audio control with mic in
manual focus
manual white balance
decent zoom control

Thanks for your input.

Last edited by Kent Fraser; July 13th, 2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old July 14th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #2
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There are bunches of choices out there for you. I know that the Canon HF and HF S fill your requirements, but there's much more to making the right decision.

You might want to run down to your local big box stores and play with what they have to get a feel for how they work. I say that because tape and flash cams from the same company in the same price range are not necessarily comparable. For example, I have both an HV30 and HF100 by Canon. While both of them create wonderful images, making those images look that way is much more cumbersome with the HF100. If I was to leave my XH A1 home I'd take the HV30, absolutely no question.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #3
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For the money, your best bets are the Sony XR500, Canon HS-100 and Panny TM-300. They are all on par with one another and slightly above or below the $1K mark. The Canon shoots really sharp lighted images and records in the full 24mbps HDV format, but the Sony XR is very good with lower light as well and shoots solid images, and the Panny is the cheapest 3CMOS sensor camera out there.. giving great colors as well. This is all from the past few days of myself researching for just the same thing.. 1K or so highest quality video I can get. Keep in mind, if you are stationary, you can use the HDMI outputs on any of these cameras into a $200 BlackMagic Intensity card and get almost uncompressed video and audio to rival big expensive cameras. The colors may not be as good.. and they better not be for that price, but with using the CineForm compression on the Intensity input, you can get some truly draw dropping quality video. This is great for green screen and such, but only if you plan to video tape near a computer.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. Tapeless is where we're headed. Kevin, which of the three you mentioned are you leaning toward?

Anyone had any experience with the HF20?
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Old July 17th, 2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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I haven't tried it but I'd think the HF20 to be a solid choice.. I ended up getting the HF s100 myself and am loving it so far. You can control focus, aperture and shutter speed as well white balancing, etc.. just a 1/8" stereo mic in but you could add an xlr adapter if you chose, I'll be using a separate audio recorder personally
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