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Old January 24th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #1
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HDV image quality comparison

The German magazine "VIDEOAKTIV digital" has made a comparison of the following HDV camcorders:

- Canon XL 1H
- JVC GY-HD100
- Sony HDR-FX1/HVR-Z1
- Sony HDR-HC1/HVR-A1

The image quality comparison is now online:

- HDV resolution: http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?po...121&nav_id=121
- DV resolution: http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?po...122&nav_id=122
- lowlight ((30 lux): http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?po...124&nav_id=124
- chromatic aberration: http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?po...125&nav_id=125
- daylight (900 lux): http://www.videoaktiv.de/text.php?po...126&nav_id=126
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Old January 24th, 2006, 07:52 AM   #2
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By the way, the appendant article (not downloadable) makes two interesting statements regarding the JVC GY-HD100:

1. "Soon" the ProHD concept will be enhanced with two PCM audio tracks to use the full MiniDV bandwidth of 25 megabit per second (up to now ProHD uses only 19 Mbit/s). Maybe, with a firmware update, perhaps with a successor of the HD100 presented at NAB 2006. Referring to this it is interesting for me to notice, that at present JVC makes special HD100 offers (free IDX battery kit in America, free Canopus software in Europe). Do they want to clear their stocks?
2. Fujinon seems to have to revised the stock lens. Chromatic aberration has been lowered in comparison with earlier units.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #3
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Honestly, I think everybody who got the JVC HD100 for the price they did was LUCKY. That camera has no business being as inexpensive as it is. Maybe they are clearing their inventory for a HD100a coming soon. Someone posted in the HD100 forum that the camera price is going to be increased in February. Makes yu wonder....


As far as these tests go.

HD & SD RESOLUTION: I wonder why the FX1 & Z1U are two different colors? The Resolution is dead the same, but the colors were different. It's obvious which camera has the highest.

LOW LIGHT TEST: See what I mean! I told you guys the XL-H1 can see in the dark. *smile* Very important for indie films.

CHROMATIC ABBERATION TEST: The FX1 is killin' em. It looks the best in my opinion. The Canon XL-H1 just looks nasty red! LOL The The HD100 is bad but in a eye pleasing way, no where near as ugly as the XL-H1.

HIGHLIGHT TEST: The Sony A1 is gorgeous. Must be something special about that CMOS sensor. The HD100 is friggin' nice as well, check out the grass. The XL-H1 is out of focus, but regarding the highlights it must have been dialed in, because it looks knee slappin' good. The HC1 is blown to hell. The Z1 is great too, check out the sheeps fur. If I had to pick based on Highlights, id say the the A1 is best.

What do you guys think?

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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #4
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i've been looking for an excuse to get an H1 and have not really found one yet, and this test is kind of confirming of that hesitation. the level of chromatic aberration is very disappointing. when you add a long lens to an XL2 (or even the 1.6x teleconverter for that matter), chromatic aberration is exacerbated, so i worry that if this is what the stock lens delivers, adding long lenses to the H1 will result in a very noticeable problem. this is not good for wildlife footage, where things like bird wings, pine tree needles, etc. will display a lot of purple fringing. and the whole point of an interchangeable lens system is that you can get looks that no existing stock lens in this camcorder class provides.

this is primarily an issue for wildlife and sports applications and may not be a concern for other types of shooting, so maybe it's a niche concern, but since it's what i do, it is a big one at $9,000. i've never considered a JVC camera before, but the more i see, the more tempting it becomes, for the money....

meanwhile, the FX-1 i purchased, for the price point, is looking like an increasingly excellent interim camera...a lot of value for the money, and it does fabulous, beautiful footage. my *only* complaint is the short reach and poor solutions for extending it. (expensive or jerry-rigged are the choices....). and the A1 is remarkably holding its own. that would make a nice interim camera, too.

it's nice to see some real comparisons actually posted!

as i read and read and read (and read some more!), my sense is that it will be worth waiting for the next generation of these HDV cameras and any new models and holding the cards i have....
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Old January 24th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Rawls
LOW LIGHT TEST: See what I mean! I told you guys the XL-H1 can see in the dark.
Assuming the camera settings were all appropriate, the XL-H1 low-light response is impressive compared to the others! Now all we need to see is a comparison to the HVX200 and the upcoming XDCAM HD, and it will be easier to decide what to do about recording HD in poorly lit situations. Any further examples people find on this particular subject, please post them.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #6
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It's just a real shame that test carried out by a proper magazine can't even be carried out in such a way as to make the results mean something. Clearly the cameras have not been white balanced. With the test charts not one of them appears to be correctly exposed, whats worse is they are all exposed differently, the whites should all be the same, otherwise any test is pretty meaningless.

Yes the H1 CA looks to be the worst, but the Sony and JVC cams are showing so much edge enhancement that the are probably hiding much of the CA.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #7
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Hmmmm... why would the sheepy highlights blow out on the HC1 and not the A1, given that these cameras have the same underlying sensor hardware?

Are these two cameras truly different internally, or it is just the way the magazine guys set them up for this shoot?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #8
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Yeah i noted that too on the sheep.

It may be that A1 had Black Stretch switched on and this i believe has an effect on the shift of the gamma curve.
Also I believe the A1 has more extensive/different EIP (Enhanced Image Processing) compared to HC1 so this may account for the difference.

Altenatively it may just be a very small exposure difference which, despite the German's infamous stereotypical meticulous attention to detail as regards tests of this nature, may have got past them..
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Old January 24th, 2006, 04:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
It's just a real shame that test carried out by a proper magazine can't even be carried out in such a way as to make the results mean something.
Cosign.

The only thing I learned from those stills is that no effort was made to get the cameras operating on level ground.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #10
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"Now all we need to see is a comparison to the HVX200 and the upcoming XDCAM HD,"

well dude, with the size of the CCD, the XDCam will definately poo on most of the efforts here id direct comparisons are being considered...

if were all lookin at 1/3 units, thats different..
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
Also I believe the A1 has more extensive/different EIP (Enhanced Image Processing) compared to HC1 so this may account for the difference..
Interesting - does anyone have a link on any details of that?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:58 PM   #12
 
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I'm confident they're the same image DSP, but the A1u has some "unlocked" sections on the DSP. In fact, if you search hard enough, you can find a hack in the netherlands that effectively turns an HC1 into an A1, minus the audio and shoe. Needless to say, it's pretty obvious that the test didn't set all the cams to the same reference point.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #13
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Douglas, if you can provide us with more keywords we can google, I'm sure we would love to try. It usually is easier to find what you found before than for somebody else to, sometimes you search for 6 hours and come up with nothing.

Thanks

Wayne.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:01 AM   #14
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Here's one link: http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=3486
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:57 AM   #15
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Re: hack to unlock HC1 dsp.

Could you give us a link for more info on this Hack?

Thanks,

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
I'm confident they're the same image DSP, but the A1u has some "unlocked" sections on the DSP. In fact, if you search hard enough, you can find a hack in the netherlands that effectively turns an HC1 into an A1, minus the audio and shoe. Needless to say, it's pretty obvious that the test didn't set all the cams to the same reference point.
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