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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:10 AM   #1
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Which camera do I keep?

I am new to this forum and want to hear from all of you as to which camera I should keep. I recently bought both the Canon XH A1 and the JVC GY HD110U. I can't keep them both and have to return one. I am confused about which is better: the A1 with its 1080i output or the JVC and its 720p. Also I just noticed that the JVC does not have auto focus. It has "focus assist" but I don't know what they really means. PLEASE HELP!!

Thanks,
JC
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:45 AM   #2
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Well, we all know what everybody in this forum will be rooting for. =D

Here's the reasons I picked the JVC over the Canon:

1) A REAL LENS. This is a biggie. I absolutely hate Canon's XL lenses and the disconnected feeling you get trying to run their "zoom and focus by wire" controls. They lag. Yeah, you don't get autofocus with the JVC, but I never used it on the Canon XL1 because it hunts around and focuses on the wrong subject all the time. Then again I've been manually focusing on high end broadcast gear forever, so I'm just used to it. My advice is to get used to it yourself, because once you do you'll wonder why you ever bothered with autofocus in the first place. Really.

The "focus assist" feature highlights sharp edges in the viewfinder. If you are in focus, the edges will pop out at you letting you know you're in focus.

2) True progressive scan. Interlacing is a sub-optimal solution to a problem that doesn't exist anymore, and hasn't existed for decades. The reason why anybody would advocate an interlaced standard in this day and age is simply beyond me.

3) ENG form factor. Instead of looking like a piece of consumer gear like the Canon, the JVC looks and operates like a professional-grade camcorder. The feel of operating the gear is very important to me. I work with a small station shooting local sports, one of their cameras is a small Mini-DV camera, same form factor as the DVX100, only from... I want to say Sony? I dunno. But anyway, I simply refuse to use that camera for shoots. It takes great pictures, but I'm not showing up at a sporting event with a freaking handycam, period. Not only does it look stupid, but I'd have to hold the thing up all night. A camera should put its center of gravity right on your shoulder, which the JVC does with the AB battery kit, but the Canon is incredibly front-heavy.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 02:10 AM   #3
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I went through a similar debate over the HVX for weeks as I had terrible doubts about my trusty HD100- after all the "indie filmakers" at school didnt want to touch anything unless it was an HVX. NO ONE around here seems to have the JVC besides me. (its a moot point anyways because they have never touched an HVX much less seen one- they are all using the DVX)

I've decided that its a plus.

After all, im the only one in this close radius and in my community of students who shoots with a professional, shoulder mount, true ENG style camera. It all boils down to its manual lense for me. I love it so much; I dont care if it doesnt have OIS. The image quality is nearly identical to the HVX if you want it to be- only sharper, although suffering in the HDV codec which I think is terrible when it comes to motion. But that is just something to work around, exactly like every single other camera has on the market right now- a shortcoming.

I wont talk about the 24f of the canon because Ive seen the footage and Im a believer- it works. I still prefer the progressive images of the HD100 though. People talk about making video look like film but to me it still looks like video- even with the current 35mm adapters, and I think the HD100 produces gorgeous images. But really you are talking about two very different cameras, made for two very different markets. What will you be shooting? How do you want to shoot? Most importantly, how does it FEEL in your hands? The HD100 is going to cost you in batteries and other more expensive equipment, so be prepared for that. I had my doubts, but to me its worth it. I always get a nice warm oooooh and ahhhh when I pull it out for a corporate shoot- which helps pay for more equipment for all the fun stuff I really want to do on the side. It may not shoot real HD, but it looks the part and I know some people will disagree, but in the corporate world it really does count. Besides, EVERYTHING I shoot goes straight to DVD anyway.

So I think you could return the HD100 and use the extra 2 to 3 grand and spend it on a nice light kit or a better tripod, audio equipment, or a nice crane or dolly. And the list goes on. You cant go wrong either way. Personally, I plan on purchasing the A1 in the future as a nice B cam, but for now I cant imagine parting with such a wonderfully crafted, well thought out camera. Its rock solid and has never let me down. Goodluck!

-Alan
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 03:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Ortiz
I went through a similar debate over the HVX for weeks as I had terrible doubts about my trusty HD100- after all the "indie filmakers" at school didnt want to touch anything unless it was an HVX.
-Alan

I'm with you there - in fact it still niggles at me!

Andrew
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 04:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Ortiz
It may not shoot real HD, but it looks the part
Hi Alan.

Where are you getting the definition of "real HD" from?

HD starts at 720p and 1080i and then goes up from there (1080p, etc.).

The JVC GY-HD100/110/200/250 series of cameras all shoot 720p.

That's real HD.

It records to tape with the HDV codec or you can capture uncompressed (analog signal) through the component outputs. And with the 250 model you can capture an uncompressed digital signal through the HD-SDI output.

"HD" and "Compression" are two different things. Like apples and oranges. If someone said, "I don't really like that type of orange so it's not a 'real apple'," you'd see straight away how nonsensical it is.

If that line ("It's not real HD") came from your indie filmmakers at school, ask them whether a camera with only 540 lines of pixels on its sensor(s) is shooting "real HD". Because that's the camera they're all aspiring to use.

The HVX200 shoots great images and is a fine camera, but its sensor size is only about 960 X 540. All the JVC cameras (100/110/200/250 series) have the full 1280 X 720 pixels in their sensors.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cardenas
I am new to this forum and want to hear from all of you as to which camera I should keep. I recently bought both the Canon XH A1 and the JVC GY HD110U. I can't keep them both and have to return one. I am confused about which is better: the A1 with its 1080i output or the JVC and its 720p. Also I just noticed that the JVC does not have auto focus. It has "focus assist" but I don't know what they really means. PLEASE HELP!!

Thanks,
JC
Keep whichever feels best in your hands and you are most comfortable using. I've hated every camera that didn't feel good in my hands, regardless of the picture.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs

If that line ("It's not real HD") came from your indie filmmakers at school, ask them whether a camera with only 540 lines of pixels on its sensor(s) is shooting "real HD". Because that's the camera they're all aspiring to use.
lol, I will have to remember that line next time I am talking to one those guys.

Knowing them, they probably already have a preinstalled come back.

The "real"/"full" hd debate is kind of interesting. Sony seems to be the one that launched that campaign and I actually think it was a good idea. Bigger = better, right? It is more of a consumer term and so I find it funny that it pops up in forums like these.

-----

I don't really think there is much of a debate as to which camcorder produces better footage. IMO, both of these cams produce absolute gorgeous footage. In fact, I did a shoot a few weeks ago using both the hd110 and a1. The two cameras worked very well together. We downrezzed the 1080i to 720p to be played back on a bd player and after some color correction, I could not tell the difference.

I would look at the form factor of the two cameras and try to figure out which one fits your style of shooting.

For an example, I find that it is easier to use cameras like the a1 for film making and docs more so than the hd100 because of their versatility. I mean, it is so easy to plant one of those guys on the hood of a car or whatever. It is also easier to achieve smooth shots with handycams because of their internal auto stabilization. The hd100 needs more pro style equipment and such to get similar results. Basically, the hd100 takes a little more work to use for creative style shooting.

Also the a1 is not as noticeable as the hd100 which could certainly come in handy. I used to take my gl2 everywhere and never had issues. Now that I use hd100's, I can't shoot anything without someone noticing. I once had the police called on me, it was just ridiculous.

For events and eng stuff, hd100 all the way.

I agree with what Alan said, the hd100 is a very impressive looking camera. I would certainly opt for the hd100 if you are doing corporate shoots.

Other than that, I would look at the other things like lenses, features, costs etc. IMO, you can't beat the manual lens and eng form factor of the hd100 but it's going to cost a lot more, especially when you start buying heavy duty tripods and batteries.

Hope this helps your decision,

Jonathan
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:52 PM   #8
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I think it should also be noted, that although both the JVC and the Canon use HDV compression, it is much easier to compress a progressive signal than a interlace one. Also, most of the flat pannel tv's out there are native progressive scan- although many of them have very good de-interlacers, many also have not so great deinterlacers. This means the quality of the picture from the Canon will very greatly depending on the TV. Of course this is true for any footage, but even more so when you have to deinterlace. If you need to deliver 1080i or 1080p, the progressive footage from the JVC uprezzes very nicely, where downconverting 1080i to 720p is very tricky to do and you often loose alot in quality while deinterlacing 1080i to get 1080p looks much softer to me than uprezzed 720p.

Of course, as others have pointed out, the lense is great. There is a reason full manual lenses are used in broadcast television. The Canon lense does not even come close to matching the level of control you have with the JVC lense. True, the lense does not have optical image stabilization... but true pro broadcast lenses never had, and to me having the camera on your shoulder balanced by an idx battery gives you way more stabalization then you get using a handheld cam with optical image stabalization.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cardenas
Thanks,
JC
You've nearly got the right answer yourself.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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works for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs
Hi Alan.

Where are you getting the definition of "real HD" from?

HD starts at 720p and 1080i and then goes up from there (1080p, etc.).

The JVC GY-HD100/110/200/250 series of cameras all shoot 720p.

That's real HD.

It records to tape with the HDV codec or you can capture uncompressed (analog signal) through the component outputs. And with the 250 model you can capture an uncompressed digital signal through the HD-SDI output.

"HD" and "Compression" are two different things. Like apples and oranges. If someone said, "I don't really like that type of orange so it's not a 'real apple'," you'd see straight away how nonsensical it is.

If that line ("It's not real HD") came from your indie filmmakers at school, ask them whether a camera with only 540 lines of pixels on its sensor(s) is shooting "real HD". Because that's the camera they're all aspiring to use.

The HVX200 shoots great images and is a fine camera, but its sensor size is only about 960 X 540. All the JVC cameras (100/110/200/250 series) have the full 1280 X 720 pixels in their sensors.
David,

I honestly have always been under the impression for months now that "real HD" was the term for a much more uncompressed image. It never occurred to me to call the JVC an HD cam, mostly because I am always careful not to mislead the customer. Instead you will here me saying the HD100 is a phenomenal HDV camera, or that I can provide services at 1280x720 resolution using an HDV signal. This is the first time I have EVER thought of the HD100 as an HD camera, but I certainly dont mind attaching that pedigree to it!

But now that I think of it, you are 100 percent right, if we are referring to the image size, then all of these cameras (with the EXCEPTION of the HVX) shoot HD resolutions. How ironic that the HVX, a camera that touts itself as a true HD cam cannot produce the images natively! It is all a moot point though- they all produce awesome images, uprezzed, downrezzed, pixel shifted, or whatever.

Now if you dont mind I have some idiot cheezy horror student film makers to go shoot down.

Peace!

-Alan
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cardenas
I am new to this forum and want to hear from all of you as to which camera I should keep. I recently bought both the Canon XH A1 and the JVC GY HD110U. I can't keep them both and have to return one. I am confused about which is better: the A1 with its 1080i output or the JVC and its 720p. Also I just noticed that the JVC does not have auto focus. It has "focus assist" but I don't know what they really means. PLEASE HELP!!

Thanks,
JC
To make a good decision, you really have to look at what you will be using the camera for.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 02:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Ortiz
I honestly have always been under the impression for months now that "real HD" was the term for a much more uncompressed image. It never occurred to me to call the JVC an HD cam, mostly because I am always careful not to mislead the customer. Instead you will here me saying the HD100 is a phenomenal HDV camera, or that I can provide services at 1280x720 resolution using an HDV signal. This is the first time I have EVER thought of the HD100 as an HD camera, but I certainly dont mind attaching that pedigree to it!
Anything resolving an image larger than SD can be considered HD. Don't forget HDCam, DVCProHD, HDCamSR, et al, all use different types of compression be it spatial, interframe or whatever. The HD100 just uses MPeg, thats all.
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