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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old October 26th, 2005, 03:56 AM   #1
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What to rent, HD or SD?

Can anyone please tell me if any of these new HD cameras are as capable as a PD170 in low light situations when they are set to record in SD mode and not HD? Is the only way they may even come close is to adjust everything in the menu's?
I need to rent a good camera to shoot the interior of homes in natural light and I'm a little leary of renting a HD camera that may need a complex program adjustment.

Thanks,

Tom
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Old October 26th, 2005, 08:28 AM   #2
 
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In terms of straight across comparisons, the HDV cams (any of them) won't have the low light capabilities of the "See in the dark" PD 170 or VX 2000.
Having said that, the low light capabilities of the HDV cams is pretty good, given that you can sincerely crank the gain and not experience noise.
Since you're renting, I'd advise renting a full day in advance and getting familiar with the cam and it's abilities, as MPEG compression, lighting, wide composition, and other HDV factors are a bit different than working with SD.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #3
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If you're shooting interiors only without a lot of motion, you can lower the shutter speed and get decent low-light performance from the Sony HDV cameras, plus as DSE noted the lack of grain helps make up for some of the lack of sensitivity. If you do try using an HDV camera, I'd recommed shooting in HDV mode to get the benefit of the lower grain. Personally I think the low-light issues for HDV tend to be a little exaggerated, but it is something you should test for yourself if it's a concern.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #4
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I agree completely. As Kevin suggests, the best approach is to find out by direct experience. What is acceptable to some may not be for others... it's a subjective thing in my opinion.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 12:18 PM   #5
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Guys, thanks for the helpful info, unfortunatly I will only have about an hour or so after pickup (due to my real job) to check the camera out so I was hoping for the easiest straightfoward point and shoot setup that will give me the best possible image.

Also, I'm a little confused about the term "low light". I will not be shooting anything as drastic as a dark wedding reception, but just the inside of a house with the light difussed through the window for illumination. When needed I will be closing the shades, setting the camera to 3200K and bouncing a 1K for illumination.

Due to editing restrictions, I will be shooting this pilot in SD therefore I'm wondering from you guys with experience in these DV cams if the new HD cams take that much better of a picture in SD as opposed to the older tech PD170 SD series? One last thing, I need a camera with a wide angle adapter mandatory.

Thanks,

Tom
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Old October 26th, 2005, 03:12 PM   #6
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If time is short your best bet is to shoot with a camera you're familiar with. That said, HDV works fine in any reasonably adequate lighting, so if you have control over that then low-light issues shouldn't be a problem. I use the Sony FX1 and would say that in full auto mode it should do okay for your situation, provided that you ensure enough light. If you're just going to shoot and deliver SD there may not be much advantage to using an HDV camera over a DV model, unless you think you'd benefit from using a widescreen recording format. (Which would be good for showing the width of a room but not so good for showing high ceilings.) The wide angle of view on the Sony cameras is pretty good and there is also a wide-angle adapter available.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #7
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Once again, thanks for all the input you guys have shared with me.

Tom
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