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Old March 27th, 2011, 05:51 PM   #1
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Still make sense to buy HDV?

Hi everyone,

I am an amateur videographer at a hobby level. I have progressed from "dinky" palmcorders to the PD-170, now to the Z1U, which i purchased used a few months ago. I know it is a bit dated, however it still looks great and it is my first HD camera. I tried using an XR-500 and though the picture was ahead of the Z1 in the shots I compared, and I preferred the tapeless workflow, I could not tolerate the small palmcorder size.

That being said, I have recently been looking at the HVR-S270. It looks to be a very nice camera especially for the price, however one question i have is, is an HDV camera worth buying now, or would I be buying into an old format? I could probably buy an AX2000 or NX5U and get a shoulder brace for it and be just as happy (i have one for my Z1u which makes it much better), but with AVCHD being solid state and full progressive as far as I know, would I be better off with something that isn't tape based? Is the only real advantage to HDV the tape archival? On the other side of the coin, is AVCHD that much better quality than HDV?

Thanks
M
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Old March 27th, 2011, 09:56 PM   #2
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

If your HDV camera has Component, HDMI or SDI/HDSDI out then by all means go ahead and use HDV - it's still a great format. Even if they stop making tapes you can still use your camera. Since you haven't mentioned what you aspire to be, it will be difficult to predict how you should proceed.

However, if you want my advice, and if you are still in the 'amateur' stage, I strongly recommend NOT buying anything at all. Use what you have and when the opportunity arises, rent gear. When you have earned enough you will know exactly which camera to buy and you will have the money to buy it.

Regarding MPEG-4 vs MPEG-2 - it depends on a lot of factors. Neither is 'better' than the other in absolute terms, which is why they are both still used, along with many other codecs. If you design your workflow wisely, you can make anything look good.

As far as archival goes...if there aren't any readers for HDV tapes available in the future, then what use is it?
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Old March 27th, 2011, 10:52 PM   #3
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

I don't think the NX5 image quality is noticeably better, it does has better low light performance. I don't like the NX5 workflow with mpeg2 and other associated headaches. Its a good camera but in comparison to the Z1 I don't think its that big of a step up.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 05:06 AM   #4
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Hi Mark I used to have a Z7 and the S270 and they are great hybrid camera's if you need to keep tape as your format or also have DV.

I now use HPX301 P2 cameras but also have a small canon HF11 AVCHD camera.

I have to say that AVCHD is a lot nicer codec than HDV and it shoots at full 1920x1080 at 24mbs.

Have you looked at the canon XF camera's or even the panasonic
Panasonic AG-HMC80 3MOS AVCCAM HD Shoulder-Mount AG-HMC80 B&H

Personally I would not invest in any new HDV camera as they are getting old now and there are better options available.

There is also a $2,000 rebate on the HPX370 camera at the moment so it may be worth going up to that level which will give you a full broadcast HD codec with AVC Intra but also DV, DVCPro and DVCPro HD:
Panasonic AG-HPX370 Series P2 HD Camcorder AGHPX370PJ B&H Photo

The E ser P2 cards are a lot more affordable and it is a superb camera that also comes with five years warranty, I appreciate that may seem a lot more but with the rebate it is less than the cost of the S270 leaving you with money for cards and batteries it will be a more flexible camera for the next five years and has a very good pro lens and features.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #5
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

HI everyone,

Thanks for the comments. I started out with a local community channel using their Hitachi Z1 cameras and progressed to Sony prosumer. They now use DSR-450 and some HVR-S270U cameras for location stuff. I have always liked Sony products however. I have seen the Panasonic and Canon cameras and though they look nice, I haven't really considered them. Most of my projects are for the web and some DVD at the moment, however my editing system is an imac Core 2 Duo, which may be a bit slow for AVCHD editing. It is even slow for HDV, unless there are things I am not doing correctly. Everything I have learned has been through trial and error and just research with no professional training.

Even though I do not broadcast on the local station, I would like to be able to stay compatible with them, (DVCAM). I still have a PD150 and a PD170 I may sell, but the option of being able to record DVCAM is nice, until they upgrade to something else. However, I also have a DSR-30 deck that i could dub off my timeline to if I did upgrade to something that couldn't shoot in DVCAM.

The HPX370 really does look nice but a bit outside my budget. The S270 is at the top of my budget if i did get one, but Im thinking of holding off on that, but it definitely is a nice bit of kit for the money. There are some nice features on the HMC80 but not as much that the S270 has to offer that i've seen so far.

M
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Old March 28th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #6
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
Hi everyone,

I am an amateur videographer at a hobby level. I have progressed from "dinky" palmcorders to the PD-170, now to the Z1U, which i purchased used a few months ago. I know it is a bit dated, however it still looks great and it is my first HD camera. I tried using an XR-500 and though the picture was ahead of the Z1 in the shots I compared, and I preferred the tapeless workflow, I could not tolerate the small palmcorder size.

That being said, I have recently been looking at the HVR-S270. It looks to be a very nice camera especially for the price, however one question i have is, is an HDV camera worth buying now, or would I be buying into an old format? I could probably buy an AX2000 or NX5U and get a shoulder brace for it and be just as happy (i have one for my Z1u which makes it much better), but with AVCHD being solid state and full progressive as far as I know, would I be better off with something that isn't tape based? Is the only real advantage to HDV the tape archival? On the other side of the coin, is AVCHD that much better quality than HDV?

Thanks
M
Is your hobby making films and videos or buying equipment?

For making moving pictures, a Z1U is more than capable. If you find you prefer solid-state recording, an MRC1 is a simple and (relatively) cheap add-on. Your Z1U will also record DVCAM, won't suffer from CMOS wobble, and is arguably more solid than a German Main Battle Tank. Accessories such as wide-angle adapters and underwater housings are now (relatively) cheap and plentiful second-hand from upgrading pros. The camera is still used on major cable broadcasts the world over (thanks to recording both NTSC and PAL), and is still used by may people to earn a living. At no time can I recall turning off a program because it wasn't 24p or originated in a technologically inferior codec.

Once you find that you absolutely cannot do what you want to do with the equipment you currently have, the question of new equipment will be answered easily enough.

However, if you just like buying new stuff, go nuts.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #7
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Appreciate what you are saying Mark but the S270 and the HPX370 are like chalk and cheese, actually the 370 is more like a DSR450 but with codecs from DV through to full raster 1920x1080 10 bit 4.2.2 HD.

As I said I had the S270 but I got rid of it pretty quickly as it was a very prosumer camera where the 370 is more robust and will last a lot longer.

Two other things to bear in mind is that AVCHD can be transcoded to pro res to speed up editing and if you need to keep compatible with DVcam, DVCPro on the 370 is virtually identical.

The local news networks around here are on DSR450's but I suspect in a few years HDV and DVcam will not exist at all and at the moment you can pick up a DSR450 with lens for a lot less than a sony S270 so have a good think about what your camera and codec needs will be in two years time. I have had my HPX301 for two years now and they will still be relevant for the next three, I dropped HDV as I had a lot of problems with the codec and I just did not like the S270 and I do not think it is worth the money sony charge for it with rebate the HPX370 is $7,200 which for what is does is an absolute bargain.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 08:44 AM   #8
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
Is the only real advantage to HDV the tape archival?
Is this actually an advantage?

It used to be an advantage because tape was cheap compared to other archival methods. Not so today. The HDV tape stores about 16GB at a $10 unit price, you get a 500GB HDD for less than $100. Ad to that that using tapes, you keep it all, including the the takes that you won't use even in your worst nightmare. Storing on HDD you can delete those clips and reduce space requirements.

Some claim that tape is more stable, but I think it is only as stable as the tape drive you use to read the data ..

BR, Erik
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Old March 28th, 2011, 08:51 AM   #9
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

You could always consider this as a 2nd hand bargain :Panasonic AG HPX300 Camcorder - eBay (item 280649133004 end time Mar-31-11 06:15:22 PDT)

He is a guy on the HPX forums and also has batteries and cards available as well.

Sorry if I am biased but I bought sony a lot over the first three years of my company but the HPX301 does a whole lot more and will so into the future.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #10
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

To any question of this type, I always point toward what your needs are. All equipment purchases should be considered through that filter first.

As far as HDV goes, it's still working for me (XHA1s). I recently was on set with a TLC reality show that was using HDV. Even good quality tapes are cheap ($2.75) now. If I need something more, I rent. No big deal.

But that's for my needs. You must consider yours.

One thing I know about myself is that it's easy to get enamored with the bright shiny thing that I want (5D2 :) but I really don't need. Try to focus on your needs first and start building a set of equipment that supports those needs well.

Best of luck!
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Old March 28th, 2011, 09:07 PM   #11
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
Is your hobby making films and videos or buying equipment?

For making moving pictures, a Z1U is more than capable. If you find you prefer solid-state recording, an MRC1 is a simple and (relatively) cheap add-on. Your Z1U will also record DVCAM, won't suffer from CMOS wobble, and is arguably more solid than a German Main Battle Tank. Accessories such as wide-angle adapters and underwater housings are now (relatively) cheap and plentiful second-hand from upgrading pros. The camera is still used on major cable broadcasts the world over (thanks to recording both NTSC and PAL), and is still used by may people to earn a living. At no time can I recall turning off a program because it wasn't 24p or originated in a technologically inferior codec.

Once you find that you absolutely cannot do what you want to do with the equipment you currently have, the question of new equipment will be answered easily enough.

However, if you just like buying new stuff, go nuts.
Can it be both? Sometimes it seems like i make videos so I can buy new gear. Not saying I'm ready to give up my Z1, but I will be looking at upgrading both my PD150 and PD170 to HD cameras, I only have 1 Z1 now. My main goal for this post was to see which route to go with my next one, either HDV or AVCHD/NXCAM. I do indeed like getting the best I can afford. I could very easily do my videos with a palmcorder and a beachtek box, but i could afford a used Z1 so why not. My next route to go is either a second Z1, or Z7/S270 or NX5U or something from another manufacturer. I would prefer to stay with sony since i already have sony cameras, but someone can always be tempted. I almost wish there was a shoulder mount version of the Z1.

I have indeed been looking at the MRC1K for the Z1 and a nice shoulder mount for it. The protech mounts with the vmount battery adapters and bnc outs do look nice.

M
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Old March 29th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #12
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

What about a DSLR?
I have two Canon A1's which are workhorses and I still really like them but I also have a couple of 7D's. You can pick up a 550D pretty cheap and get some reasonable lenses and you are off and racing.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #13
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Re: Still make sense to buy HDV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Keffer View Post
To any question of this type, I always point toward what your needs are. All equipment purchases should be considered through that filter first.

As far as HDV goes, it's still working for me (XHA1s). I recently was on set with a TLC reality show that was using HDV. Even good quality tapes are cheap ($2.75) now. If I need something more, I rent. No big deal.

But that's for my needs. You must consider yours.

One thing I know about myself is that it's easy to get enamored with the bright shiny thing that I want (5D2 :) but I really don't need. Try to focus on your needs first and start building a set of equipment that supports those needs well.

Best of luck!
Mark, I think this is your best advice. Resist the "new and shiney" temptation. The camcorder you have is a great piece of gear and can do a lot. If the situation arises where you might be forced to use something else then make a decision then whether to rent or buy. Personally, I have a Sony Z7 and it is an amazing camcorder. Image quality is awesome and unlike Gary's experience with his S270, mine has never disappointed me. And I can see it making me money for years to come. But spending 10K+ on another 1/3" chip camcorder and required kit, doesn't interest me at all.
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