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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old April 8th, 2006, 01:59 PM   #1
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Best HD camera for SD shooting

Hello all!

I'm about 2 weeks away from a new camera purchase and I'm sure you can understand it's been a trying process.

I've had to accept the fact that 100% of my video business (corporate, PSAs, docs) is in Standard definition. I need a new camera, but I won't need the HD for a while.

My question is which HD camera (Panasonic HVX200, Sony HVR-Z1U, CanonXL H1, JVC GY-HD100U) will give me the best SD picture quality?

Now, I don't mean shooting in HD and then down coverting in an edit suite. I'm taking about shooting right to the tape in the camera. A lot of my work involves shooting on location for hours at a time and dropping off tapes at the end of the day - no time for editing.

My budget is around $10,000 so all those cameras should fit into that price range.

Bottom line, I need something that shoots great SD now, but that I can shoot HD with in the future.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Peter Reynolds
For the Record Productions Inc.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:13 PM   #2
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From footage I've seen off the HVX200, the footage just looks very nice. I believe that camera can be tweaked to make the image look better / more 'film-like'. The gamma settings and picture controls make it possible to tweak the image to look better than normal video.

The ability to tweak the gamma curve / extend dynamic range makes the footage look different from traditional video. I think many would prefer that look.
Traditional video follows engineering standards (i.e. Rec 601) which skews images towards looking the same. Cameras like the HVX200 (and the others) offer the ability to step outside that.

I haven't seen raw footage from the other cameras (other than the JVC, which you can download from this site somewhere) so I can't give you a good comparison. But the HVX200 looks better than traditional video.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #3
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I think you'll also need to ask, which camera will play nice with the rest of your equipment? It seems like everybody has a camera and their own format, and they may or may not work at all in your system.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 10:34 AM   #4
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Well the Z1 will work just fine in both DV-SP and DVCAM modes with the advantage of give you a choice of PAL and NTSC with the same camera. If you like the PD-150 then the Z1 is a pretty logical progression with nicer manual controls, a great LCD screen for SD video and lots of image controls.

Just had a chance to look at the Panasonic, Canon and JVC cameras at the "Texas Shootout" yesterday. They're also very nice although I'm not real clear about their SD capabilities.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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If you shoot DVPro50 on the HVX200, it will surely be better quality than the rest of the cameras. DVPro50 is SD and is 4:2:2 instead of the 4:1:1 of standard DV. Only problem is that the HVX200 only shoots dvpro50 to P2 card, so you can't shoot it to tape.

If you really want to shoot to tape, I would imagine they are all pretty similar. The HVX200 should do 60i, 24p, and 24pa. I would imagine it will let you do 16:9 and 4:3. The JVC does do 60i, 24p, and 24pa in both 16:9 and 4:3. In SD, objections of sharpness, etc., mean a bit less and all of these cameras should perform very nice.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray
If you shoot DVPro50 on the HVX200, it will surely be better quality than the rest of the cameras. DVPro50 is SD and is 4:2:2 instead of the 4:1:1 of standard DV. Only problem is that the HVX200 only shoots dvpro50 to P2 card, so you can't shoot it to tape.
No, it will not *surely* be better.
Look, I'm not gonna denigrate the camcorder; we have one. But simply using math is a ridiculous way to look at ANYthing. Too many people are buying marketing hype and accepting that "4:2:2 is better" when it's not always true. Record VHS onto HDCAM. Is it now HDCAM? Afterall, it's 22:11:11, and 1920 x 1080, so it should surely be better quality now, right?
If you haven't shot and edited footage in a variety of situations simply for the sake of shooting with any given camcorder, then it's probably not appropriate to comment on how good or not how good it is.
The best image will be the one starting out with the most information, particularly if you're delivering interlaced end-product. That means either the Canon or the Sony products. The JVC will deliver a great image too. The HVX is a very good DV camcorder as well. For what it's worth, I think it's the most creatively designed of all of them, with very sweet features.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 03:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray
Only problem is that the HVX200 only shoots dvpro50 to P2 card, so you can't shoot it to tape.
That actually is not a problem, since you can get the HVX200 with a 120GB Harddrive for $6,500-$7,000. Plus you will have a camera that can shoot in variable framerates like the $80,000 Varicam, no other camera can say that.

And when you are ready to edit, plug in the harddrive and go...no capturing needed. Plus it breaks everything up for you into timecoded audio, video, etc.

::: Connor
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Reynolds
My question is which HD camera (Panasonic HVX200, Sony HVR-Z1U, CanonXL H1, JVC GY-HD100U) will give me the best SD picture quality?
I think you need to consider more than just picture quality, especially if most work for a while will be SD anyway, and frankly ALL of the above are pretty good. The camera which stands out in other ways is the HD100, but due to ergonomics and practical issues. JVC make a boast that they consulted many pro cameramen before finalising it's physical design, and when those aspects are compared to such as the Z1 and (especially) the HVX one can only wish Sony and Panasonic follow their lead in future.
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