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Old December 2nd, 2005, 01:21 PM   #1
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Your HDV/HD Camera Option

This forum is really great about everyone respecting everyone elseís opinions and equipment choices, from their computers to their video cameras and I hope this thread continues that tradition. I also hope that this thread helps people make better-informed decisions before purchasing their next (or first digital camera) on which camera may be right for them.

I realize the Canon just became available yesterday (12/1/05) and we still donít know when the HVX200 will be available, but there are several whoíve indicated a clear preference for those cameras and have bought them in advance.

So why did you choose your HDV/HD camera?

- or -

What makes you like a certain HDV/HD camera the best, and if you were buying one now (and they were all available), why would it be your choice?
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 01:44 PM   #2
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fx-1, strictly on price point, plus i already owned a beachtek adapter. for almost the same amount i paid for my first GL2 several years ago, i can now shoot in lovely HDV while waiting for the format to evolve without spending a lot of money, if it takes a different turn. we're just at the beginning! who knows?? so far, the only shortcoming is, i want more zoom! everything, and i mean everything, else about this cam, i absolutely love! if i were buying one now, it would be the canon, simply so i could add my 70-200mm EF lens. not convincing enought to shell out the extra money....though i'd love to try it!
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 01:47 PM   #3
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I chose the Z1 solely because of its PAL and NTSC dual standard definition ability. Was doing a project that needed PAL and I didn't want to invest in a PAL-only camera. So getting the Z1 gave me HDV as a bonus, and it also happens to be a very nice camera all around :-)
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 02:31 PM   #4
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The greatest thing about forums - you can scroll right through the stuff you don't want to read. My opinion is long, so feel free to scroll :)

I picked my XL2 from the posts and footage I saw on this forum and have been happy with that choice. So now that everyone has shown what they are going to bring to market in the HDV/DV area (at least for now), I'm looking to buy a HDV/HD camera.

I rented a Z1 for a weekend and loved it. The colors and clarity blew me away when compared to the footage from my GL2 that I took the same day, and the GL2 has some pretty impressive colors to beat in my opinion. The FX1/Z1 is affordable. I like the size and weight, the LCD location mounted on the top and the overall balance. I’m sure I would have liked a ton of other stuff as well, but I only had one weekend with it and it was a busy weekend with doing other stuff as well. But right now (today), I really like 24p and I really prefer 720p to 1080i. But I’ve been wondering if Sony has listened to everyone who wants 24p and maybe getting ready to unleash a their second wave of HDV (HD?) options. After all, the FX1/Z1’s have been around for a while now and they are so affordable they have gained a BIG share of the market. So it seems to me that since Sony’s got a platinum record with the FX1/Z1 there are bound to be some good revisions and/or new additions made to the HDV or possibly HD family by Sony.

So then JVC releases the HD100, and GREAT - It shoots 720p/24p! And It's affordable!
Out of all the cameras, the HD100 looks the greatest, and I can imagine (and have read) that it’s impressive design is a real head turner when a client sees it. I admire JVC’s commitment to being the first to introduce the affordable HDV format and for bringing their products to market so quickly. I’m sure their efforts “inspired” the other manufacturers into doing something – sooner (instead of later). The only thing that I don’t like about the JVC is the size. I’ve learned from having my XL2 (and then renting the Z1) that the smaller size does make life easier and gives you more flexibility with the handling of a camera.

At the time I bought my XL2, one thing that was important to me was being able to change the lenses out. Since then, that no longer matters (for my needs). The other big reason I compromised on the size and went with the XL2 was it’s true 16x9. So I got the true 16/9 24p camera that I wanted. And I truly have loved the XL2.

I like the Panasonic for the following reasons:

It's affordable (without the P2 cards). And if it works like I expect, I can ease into purchasing the P2 cards as I have the money).

I can try out the DVCPRO HD/50/25 formats without commiting money in two ways. First, buy renting a P2 card. Or second, IN THEORY, by hooking the HVX200 straight to my G5 2.7 and capturing directly into FCP 5.0.3. I say in theory, because nobody's done it yet. Also because I see an option for "DVCPRO HD - 720p24" in my "Easy Setup" in FCP, but don't see options for DVCPRO 50 or DVCPRO 25. I posted a question about that in the FCP HD/HDV area (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=55364) - unanswered to this point.

The range of formats that the HVX200 can shoot –
1080/60i, 1080/24p, 1080/30p, 720/60p, 720/24p, 720/30p, 480/60i, 480/24p, 480/30p.

Variable frame rates in 720p mode: 12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, 36, 48, 60fps.

P2 workflow.

4:2:2 color sampling with DVCPRO HD/50/25 formats.

Being able to ease into the HD format as I can. Since I can still shoot in 480 24p and record to miniDV for everything. I know the 480 24p miniDV workflow (from shooting to editing) works, so I can use that as much as I want to. The HDV/HD route is still an unknown for me. So I can shoot and edit in the DVCPRO HD/50/25 format as time permits, and if it’s a total disaster, no problem because at the end of the day, I can still shoot standard SD in the 480 24p mode, similar to what I’m doing now with my XL2. And if I do decide to shoot only in the 480 mode I still have the added benefits that you can read on the following thread (I don’t want to be repetitive here) - http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=55077

The size of the camera.

Panasonic’s past ability to achieve “the film” look with their various settings (it was a tough choice between the XL2 and the DVX100a).

Panasonic sells several video cameras, ranging from the $100’s to the $100,000’s.

The fact that Jan (a Panasonic rep) frequents this forum AND listens AND interacts very well with this community.

If I like the camera I can sell my XL2, as I would have no need for it since I can shoot both formats with the HVX200.

What I don't like about it is the expense of the P2 cards (for now).

Finally, the Canon H1
It’s here and it’s now, it’s… also unaffordable to me. I can’t spend $9,000 on the camera and then turn around and spend even more (at least I’m pretty sure more) on the additional equipment/modifications I would need to edit the Uncompressed SDI footage. I also prefer (from what I’ve seen and read) 720p over 1080i. I also prefer sticking with 24p, instead of having the only camera with 24f. I love the quality of my XL2 and most everything else about it. And I think this new H1 is really going to shoot some nice stuff, but since I can’t shoot any format of SD on it, I just can’t risk it at this point. If I do buy this camera and I do like it (which of course, that's what I would hope for), I would still need to keep my XL2 to shoot SD to miniDV.

So for now, I’m glad I have my XL2 so I can see what happens in December. I don’t have to buy a camera today and I don’t have to shoot in HDV/HD today so I have the luxury of time on my side.

BUT, I will really be watching the forums in December and eagerly await the release of the HVX200 so then I can see footage from all of the camera’s and decide from that point which one will be the best for me, but for now the HVX200 is ahead in my opinion.

Last edited by Guest; December 2nd, 2005 at 04:03 PM.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM   #5
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I have an HVR-A1 that I just love. 90% of the quality of the best HDV cams for a fraction of the price. Better quality than what anyone is going to be broadcasting for the next couple of years! Plus it's really small, convenient, and doesn't really put people on guard that they're being recorded. Just watch, someday someones going to do a major project with one of these little cams and everyone but those of us who already own one of these gems is going to be surprised.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West

Finally, the Canon H1
since I canít shoot any format of SD on it, I just canít risk it at this point.
Not SD, but the H1 can still shoot regular DV, if you need that. I also love my XL2 and am possibly getting the H1. However, at that price point, I will wait for reviews from users and I may opt for the Panny. Canon may do well with studios & news market, but at $9K they are really missing a large market of people like us. All my opinion...

KW
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
After all, the FX1/Z1ís have been around for a while now and they are so affordable they have gained a BIG share of the market. So it seems to me that since Sonyís got a platinum record with the FX1/Z1 there are bound to be some good revisions and/or new additions made to the HDV or possibly HD family by Sony.
Actually I don't think the Z1 started shipping in the US until around the middle of January 2005 so it's still relatively new. It would be unusual for Sony to upgrade a camera that soon (especially one that's selling well)... but who knows?
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 04:18 PM   #8
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I bought the FX1 because it's the most affordable way to get HD image quality with a wide range of camera controls, and I haven't seen anything else even begin to challenge that. If I wasn't satisfied with the FX1 my next choices would be the Z1U or HD100U, which are distinct enough to be easy to pick between based on your personal preferences. After that it's a choice between the HVX200 and the XL-H1, which I see as being similarly priced once you factor in recording media for the Panny camera. The HVX200 sounds intriguing but not very practical for event work, so between those two I'd probably lean toward the Canon because it offers both affordable HDV recording and uncompressed HD-SDI output. Also consider whether you'll need to be able to swap video with other people and if so in what format.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 09:05 AM   #9
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I bought my FX1 on November 13, 2004. Which is to say, it was the ONLY decent HDV camcorder out there at the time. In fact, I probably got one off the very first shipment available to Canada.

I purchased it in specific because it was available and I needed a camera. The price point was at the maximum I could afford, and based upon my impression of the specifications and the sample footage I realized it would provide me with the best image quality available at that time.

Were I to purchase a camcorder NOW, I might save myself a bit of cash and get the HC1 or perhaps the A1U... however, I would still be tempted by the FX1 due it it's size, manual controls and lens.

No matter how much I wish to fantasize about them, I cannot justify the extra expense of a Z1U, HD100, HVX200 or XLH1. Given the cash to make these choices a reality I'd certainly choose the XLH1, use the HDV features for now, and wait for a portable HD-SDI recorder.

-Steve
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Old December 7th, 2005, 10:57 AM   #10
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Buy what you afford NOW and start shooting . I have a z1 and it's unbelievable compared to my pd100a. If you're the cautious type buy a cheap sony hdv . The size is always an advantage and will function as a second unit further down the road.I've seen the hc1 on ebay for not much more than a grand ! There's no reason anymore to shoot dv. The workflow question is a moot point. Just shoot hdv and output dv. It's too early to jump on either the canon or pany bandwagon. Both cameras could be spectacular compared to what we had 2 years ago but the canon just came out and who know when for the pany. If there's an upgrade in works for the z1 , it will be uncompressed out option , to compete against the forementioned cameras , which might happen late next year. But you know the saying about opinions .... Right now , the only reason to wait is for the hvx , which does appear worth waiting for , if you already own a hdv camera , for the framerate possibilities alone ! If I were buying now, I'd probably buy a cheap hc1 to get me by 6 months to see how the dice fell. However I'm even happier I bought my zbaby 7 months ago ! As always , its' the content and not the camera.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 05:39 AM   #11
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I love reading everybody's posts on these forums.... watching how they each support, though not blatantly, their own favourite brand.....
well, my favourite's the jvc. Why? Coz i got one.

I needed a camera for a job and the gy 101e was an available affordable HD option. The only other camera out at the time was the sony Z1 and i feel it is just a bigger heavier version of the old style pd-150 ( we can call a pd 150 old now cant we?) Sure some say the picture may be marginally better or lets say 'different' but what sold me the jvc was the fact that as a cameraman i felt more comfortable with it..... the broadcast style lens and familiar switches makes me feel at home and i can use it far more ergonomically. I shot a job hand held with the sony and after a few hours my arm was very tired. Theres nothing like a shoulder mount for steadiness when fatigued...
Secondly, i read all the posts comparing 1080, 720, mbps, pixels, 4:2:2, bla bla bla and u know what?..... to me or my client it doesnt make a rats difference.... All i know is i have delivered them a hd product with high clarity pictures and they are happy that their client is happy with what they paid for. Lets face it, only really people comparing technicalities on this forum really care about the technicalities.... Joe Schmo doesnt have a clue.... never has never will.. I do admit to being technically interested but most of what goes on in here is chinese to me anyway....
Plus the jvc looks the part. Turning up to a job with a camera that looks like a professional tv camera definitely made an impression on my clients' client.
Thirdly, i just cant see the need for Panasonics p2 card other than a situation such as news where download to edit system 'needs' to be instant. What sort of back up is a hard drive? What if it is stolen or crashes? At least my 'archaic' tapes are not a theft target and cant crash... They'll still be labelled and sitting on my shelf in ten years time. Plus..... look at the price between the media..... but..... u say " they'll get cheaper!" Lets talk about the now... what matters..... mini dv tapes were'nt $300 each when they first came out...
So, if you're out looking for a camera to buy and surfing these forums for guidance, then you have come to the right place. Theres a wide range of views here and this is just another. I hope i help someone..
My gripe with the jvc.... the lens... makes it very hard to achieve a shallow depth of field, but i think this is a charecteristic if 1/3 inch chips and not cheap glass..... maybe the canon will do better?
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Old December 13th, 2005, 09:15 AM   #12
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I recently bought a FX1E (the PAL version) and I think it's an amazing camera. If one of your main concerns are lenses I would buy a 35mm adapter (which gives you amazing DOF) and use it with the FX1. I have seen a lot of extremely film like footage comoing out of such a combo. From the money you are going to save (compared to Canons', Panas' and JVCs') you can buy the 35mm adapter and a bunch of other accessories for your FX1.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 09:20 AM   #13
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Oh, but I forgot to say that I find this discussion sort of relative, because it all depends on the kind of work you do (narrative stuff, music videos, comercials, tv, docs, etc )and the type of image you want to obtain.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #14
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The XL-H1 is capable of SD in 4:3 or 16:9. See p48 of the manual.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #15
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A.J.

Thanks. I had heard otherwise from a pretty senior source. Oh well, all this new gear is changing so quickly. That's good to know. With that knowledge, you can cross out the following off my list above -

"I love the quality of my XL2 and most everything else about it. And I think this new H1 is really going to shoot some nice stuff, but since I canít shoot any format of SD on it, I just canít risk it at this point. If I do buy this camera and I do like it (which of course, that's what I would hope for), I would still need to keep my XL2 to shoot SD to miniDV."

Thanks.
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