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Old December 4th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #1
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Small AVCHD cam for remote camera trap

Hi all,
Just wondering if anyone here can point me in the direction of a small handy cam for use in a remote camera trap. I recently bought a Sony HDR CX210 & while it works perfectly with the lanc controller that turns the camera on when the PIR senses motion, after reviewing the footage, it is simply not near the quality I was expecting. It was very muddy & lacked detail, even in optimal lighting. I understand this is a cheap consumer camera, but I guess I just expected a little more. I am comparing the footage to a canon HF G10 so the price difference between the two is large, I just wasn't expecting such a large difference in the quality of the footage. I will be sending the camera back so need to find a replacement.
Is there anyone out there that can point me in the direction of a small handy cam from either Sony or Canon that I can use lanc with, either directly, or via an adaptor that has good quality footage. I don't want to be spending more than $800 as this will be left out in the woods for long periods of time. I have been looking at the Sony HDR-CX430v & the Sony HDR-CX580v. The former is newer than the latter, but from what I've managed to find on the internet, the resolution of the 430v is not up there with the 580. Can anyone confirm this? If there are any other Canon cameras out there that would suit my needs, I would love to here about them.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old December 9th, 2013, 11:14 PM   #2
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Re: Small AVCHD cam for remote camera trap

Well I bit the bullet & ordered the Sony HDR-CX430v. I hope the footage is better than the CX210 I just sent back. From the stuff I have seen on the web, I think so!
Had to order an extra cable to go from the multi port to the older AV/R connector, then from that I can use the AV/R to 2.5mm stereo plug for the Lanc controller. Lots of cables connecting it all together, so hopefully this will all play nicely.
Since there are few details on either of the two cams I was asking about, I will post my findings on the CX430v when I have the camera in hand.
Funny, the CX210 I sent back had great reviews, I guess I wasn't taking into account that those people that reviewed the cam are probably a lot less critical about the quality of the footage than anyone here on this forum!
Bryce
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Old December 13th, 2013, 11:49 PM   #3
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Re: Small AVCHD cam for remote camera trap

Ok, so I have the new HDR-CX430v in hand & I've been doing some testing. So again, I was testing side by side with a Canon HF G10 & now the price difference is less, & the difference in the quality is less too, however, there is still a noticeable difference between the two cameras. While the stuff in focus on this Sony is quite nice, the out of focus stuff is still like mud! & moving mud at that!! Considering this is the same codec, it sure is interesting to see the differences in how each company encodes the footage. Don't get me wrong, the Canon is certainly not perfect, there is purple fringing on the Canon on high contrast areas like around lights, something the Sony seems to handle very well. The colour too on the Canon seems a little off, but that maybe because I am using auto white balance which is what I will need to be using when the cameras are left to themselves & triggered via the passive infrared sensor whenever an animal comes by. The difference in colours won't be an issue as they won't be cut together in the same sequence anyway.
My only other problem with this new camera is it just doesn't seem to play nicely with my lanc control board for the passive infrared sensor. It works with a lanc zoom controller with all the functions working perfectly, so not sure what it is. At the end of the day, I might have to bite the bullet & send this one back also & look for a second hand Canon HF G10. Pitty since I now have an extra large Sony battery, & all the cables for hooking the Sony up to the Lanc.
If anyone out there has any other suggestions, I am all ears!
Regards,
Bryce
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Old December 17th, 2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: Small AVCHD cam for remote camera trap

Well the camera went back yesterday. Actually, after reading a post on another topic by Alistair Chapman, I am starting to think that the issues I was seeing were from in camera noise reduction. The CX210 had a very small chip & the picture was terrible. The CX430v had a slightly bigger chip & was a little better. From Alastair's post it sounds like any noise reduction adds a smearing affect to the picture. This certainly sounds like what I was seeing & would explain the slight improvement with the slightly larger chip under the very same lighting conditions. All the testing I did side by side with the Canon were in fairly well lit environments, but certainly not bright sunshine. What had me shocked with the first camera was some footage I had shot outside in the middle of the day under overcast skies. That was where I saw the issues first, & what prompted the tests beside the Canon.
Through all of this, I have decided to simply look for some second hand Canon camera's with the 1/2.3" sensor that I know performs quite well under lower light conditions & doesn't seem to add that horrible smearing I was seeing in the Sony models I tried. The catch of course is finding the Canon models with a lanc port.
Bryce
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