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Old January 23rd, 2010, 01:11 AM   #16
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All are AVCHD format, the new Sonys, "550" in XR and CX flavors have up to 24 MBps, up from IIRC 16 Mbps max on earlier cams - one of the reasons I recommended the latest models. So there won't be any "bitrate gap" at the top of the lines this year.

Older Sonys use memory stick duo as well as internal memory or HDD, the latest ones are supposed to be able to use SDHC, but that's a new feature, so can't say for sure how that will work, my bet is with adapter cards for the micro-SDHC format, as those are available currently.

The "R" sensor is a legit deal - it first appeared in the XR500V, and it is a huge improvement in low light performance and image quality in bad light over earlier generation CMOS sensors. The late cycle 2009 release CX500V's show some tweaks to low light performance - brighter colors and can reach even deeper into low light, but I see gain noise that I'm not thrilled with when at the maximum end of the range - a little tweaking to the exposure seems to solve it, and I can only suspect they decided to get "some" image with noise over no image when it gets super dark...

Canon is claiming improvements in low light performance in the new HF-S21, what improvements will have to wait for the camera to be available. Both the new Sony and Canon cameras appear to "re-use" last years sensor blocks, but tweaks to processing and firmware may improve the image quality.

You may want to wait for the "new toys" to actually hit the street before you decide, as the top of the line offerings are too close to call on specs (although the new wide end lens range in the Sonys may be a factor depending on your shooting situations). Bitrate should be comparable now, memory options should be comparable in cost, I'd expect OIS and low light performance to still go to Sony, but AF to go to Canon given historical precedent. Both offer touchscreen features, compact packages, viewfinder AND 3.5" LCDs. I doubt either would provide a "bad" image quality, although you might prefer one over the other on some minor points under some conditions.

I'd probably lean towards the Sony, especially since they finally put 24Mbps and manual control back in the mix, but if I already had Canon accessories, or had to buy accessories from scratch, it'd be a dead heat based on what I know of the two options (and until you can put hands on the actual cameras, there's an amount of "unknown"...).
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 07:06 AM   #17
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I'm a little torn here. I have Sony accessories already for my HC3, bluetooth "Smartshoe" mic - which actually is pretty good for informal stuff; Smartshoe 3W light; and batteries that probably don't translate. I also have A Sony tripod with LANC, but it should work with anything that has LANC.

I don't have much experience with Canon consumer equipment, but I know the HV30 had a good image, although cheap construction. My HC3 and HC7 had good images for their time and the build quality is quite good. 60i vs 24/30P is really an issue here since I would want to be able to cut with 7D footage. I'd like to test output and convert the 60i to 30p to see how it looks for internet and how the 60i compares to 30p in its own.

Also, any idea of the editing strain of 60i AVCHD vs 30P?
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 09:40 AM   #18
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Also, any idea of the editing strain of 60i AVCHD vs 30P?
Shouldn't be any difference at all. It's exactly the same number of pixels for any given time frame.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 02:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Roger Shealy View Post
I'm a little torn here. I have Sony accessories already for my HC3, bluetooth "Smartshoe" mic - which actually is pretty good for informal stuff; Smartshoe 3W light; and batteries that probably don't translate. I also have A Sony tripod with LANC, but it should work with anything that has LANC.

I don't have much experience with Canon consumer equipment, but I know the HV30 had a good image, although cheap construction. My HC3 and HC7 had good images for their time and the build quality is quite good. 60i vs 24/30P is really an issue here since I would want to be able to cut with 7D footage. I'd like to test output and convert the 60i to 30p to see how it looks for internet and how the 60i compares to 30p in its own.

Also, any idea of the editing strain of 60i AVCHD vs 30P?
The bluetooth mic will work, as will the 3W light (though you won't need it nearly as much, but it can provide "fill" - it will make for a "hotspot" with the wider lens angle in the new cams - it was already noticeable in the field of view in earlier cams.

FP series (HC3) batteries definitely won't work, I'm not even sure FH series (HC7) I have will work on the new cams, as they are specifying a new "FV" battery... and Sony typically blocks old batteries from newest consumer cams, right about the time you get a good collection of batteries for your kit!

The LANC is a slightly different matter - after the HC series, Sony eliminated the traditional 2.5mm LANC jack, and the interface is now "hidden" on the A/V jack (and I suspect also in the AiShoe, which the Canon uses for its LANC adapter). So, you'd either need an adapter or convert your tripod plug over - or get a new LANC control with the A/V plug.

I looked at the HF-S series last year, and the build quality looked a lot better than the HV's, which were pretty cheap (and made the audio unusable from chassis noise IMO). Still like Sony's build quality though (and audio options). Of course the newer cams will have better image quality all around - typically the technology imroves incrementally every year, sometimes more (like the EXMOR-R).

Depending on your NLE, you shouldn't have trouble inter-cutting footage because of frame rates, I'd be more concerned with color correction - Sony and Canon seem to have distinctly different ideas of how colors should be portrayed... but that can vary between cameras TOO! You may have to shoot identical scenes and see which match up the easiest.

AVCHD is a heavier processor load than HDV period (and I've seen indications that you have to have pretty fast/smooth data throughput between the HDD and the processor - new HDD's seem to handle AVCHD better), whatever the flavor, so you need to evaluate if your current machine is adequate. If not you can transcode (many do), or plan for a system upgrade to a nice spiffy quad core. A fast dual core was fine for HDV, AVCHD moves you into quad core territory (or "perhaps" a fast current dual core system).
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 03:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Canon is claiming improvements in low light performance in the new HF-S21, what improvements will have to wait for the camera to be available. Both the new Sony and Canon cameras appear to "re-use" last years sensor blocks, but tweaks to processing and firmware may improve the image quality.
It actually sounds like Canon has made some hardware changes too. Here's a link to a Google translation of a Japanese page:

Google Translate

An excerpt (note the apparent hardware changes under the "Condensing technology" section):

Quote:
Noise reduction technology

EOS digital SLR camera inherits the technical expertise in low-noise, CMOS-specific "fixed pattern noise" to remove. The optical signal to noise information only one first reads and then all the optical signal including noise. By subtracting the former from the latter, to reduce the fixed pattern noise, high-quality images are achieved. In addition, the illumination sufficient S / N ratio and increase to reduce noise at low light, as well as further high-quality images in bright scenes, providing clear images even in dark scenes.

Condensing technology

The surface of the sensor, micro lenses are lined up to respond to every single pixel. This is a fine convex lens to collect more light to the pixel. Canon, this lens gap (Maikurorenzugyappu) can shrink to efficiently deliver light to the pixel. In order to further enhance the light collection efficiency, Canon has the structure of thin membrane covering the sensor, and succeeded in capturing more light to the photodiode. This suppresses the decrease of high-resolution sensitivity.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 08:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
The LANC is a slightly different matter - after the HC series, Sony eliminated the traditional 2.5mm LANC jack, and the interface is now "hidden" on the A/V jack (and I suspect also in the AiShoe, which the Canon uses for its LANC adapter). So, you'd either need an adapter or convert your tripod plug over - or get a new LANC control with the A/V plug.
A small correction. It appears on the new Canons you don't need the AiShoe LANC Adapter.

Quoting from Canon about the HF-S200, which I have my eye on:

"A built-in remote control terminal (compatible with LANC protocol) provides an easy connection to both Canon and third party wired remote controllers"

Read the full page here:
Canon VIXIA HF S200 High Definition Flash Memory Camcorder
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Old January 31st, 2010, 01:05 PM   #22
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Just to make sure I'm not defaming the HC3, it was capable of pretty decent pictures in its time:
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Old January 31st, 2010, 09:44 PM   #23
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Dont know where you decided to go with this, but I did a lot of the same digging that it sounds like you are doing.
I even considered just sticking with the video that my DSLR can shoot (Canon 7D) and at the end of the day, I ended up going with a Sony XR500V.

Have shot a little bit with it and so far LOVE it.

The only thing that I noticed that seems to be a little quirky though is that it has a mode where you can shoot HQ HD and it will also enable the ability to take a photo at the same time, streaming the photo to a Pro-HG Duo card. Odd part is that I was just simply messing around to see what kind of photos it could shoot...
When I got back home and was reviewing the footage, one of the things that I noticed in the playback is that the video image seemed to kinda flicker at roughly the same time that the photo should have been completing its write to the card. (the photo writes seem slow).

The photos were pretty good.
http://www.willadrews.com/wp-content...nke_winter.jpg
Since I have the 7D and lots of Canon and Tamron glass for my DSLR, I wont be using this thing to shoot photos and was just messing around with that capability, but it was interesting to see the odd phenomenon.

I changed the video recording mode to a couple of other modes, and didnt notice the same issue.

Next thing I need to do is to get the Platinum Pro Pack upgrade version of Vegas Movie Studio, so I can do the AVCHD editing on my system. (wished I knew if Sony was going to introduce a new version in April at NAAB.)

Last edited by Greg Andrews; January 31st, 2010 at 10:09 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old January 31st, 2010, 10:07 PM   #24
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Greg,

I'm using Vegas Pro 9 with my 7D and on my dual core AMD 6400+ things are pretty slow! HDV was fine, but AVCHD/H.264/.MOV all go really slow in 1920 x 1080. Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. 7D is great, but very unforgiving for capturing at life-speed.

Do you have any short full HD clips from your 500 uploaded to Vimeo that I can download to view without Vimeo compression?
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Old January 31st, 2010, 10:17 PM   #25
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Sorry Roger, no I dont.
I have only messed with some limited video from it (on a really nasty, gray overcast day).
Waiting for the sun to pop out, so I can shoot at least the kids messing around outside.

I guess thats the problem with all picture gear (moving and still). Seems like you get the new gear, then the weather doesnt cooperate much.

FWIW: I found my XR500V on sale at JR fpr 799 last month, so I snagged it, because it was the lowest I had seen it. I think its 899 there now.

As soon as I shoot something, i will load it up. Looks like the weather might cooperate this week.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 08:36 AM   #26
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Thanks for all the great information in the thread. I'm also looking at either the Sony HDR CX 550V or the Canon HF S21. I like Canon's different frame rates on the S21. The Canon is described as native 24P, so are the frame rates listed, 1920 x 1080 (24/30/60 fps) genuine or are they some how mathematicaly derived from the native 24P and have some inherent quality issues?

I'm looking for a little B-roll camera that can shoot quality 30P and 60I. The Canon S21 may be it. If not I think I'd go for the Sony CX 550V and get a solid 60I and give up the 30P. It also sounds like the Sony's wide angle may also be a plus over the Canon. Any thoughts?

Dan
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Old February 4th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #27
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I did quite a lot of research a little while ago on just this question of a good quality small camera. Decided on the HV40. From the research I concluded it had as good an image as others of that size (including newer, tapeless models form Canon and Sony). I wasn't bothered about tape and in fact prefer it to AVCHD which looked like a real pain to work with. Also most of the AVCHD cameras seemed to have no viewfinders which was a killer fro me. I also have an HC3 and the HV40 produces a noticeably much better picture - sharper and better, richer but more natural colours - in good light it virtually matches my A1, though in poor light it's another story, obviously. It also has a good range of manual controls though no focus ring. My only real criticism of the camera, which i love, is that it is a bit susceptible to over-exposure so I bought some filters which solved that.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 12:44 AM   #28
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Just to spin this top a little more, note that the Sony CX550v is out of production, replaced by the CX700 which adds: (a) 60p recording; (b) 96gB flash memory (up from 64gb); (c) zebra stripes for manual exposure control; (d) peaking and and viewscreen zoom for manual focus; (e) reduces viewscreen from 3.5" to 3" ; and (e) 24p for those who like it. The HD format is AVCHD. The HV40. like the HV30 and HV 20 before it, is a splendid little camera shooting HDV. (I've still got and still use my HV20). However, adding a tapeless recording unit (Firestore, Sony MRC or Datavideo) to an HV cam is great but bulky and kind of defeats the purpose of having a tiny camera.

AVCHD does indeed burden not-so-new computers, but it is easy enough to get around that problem by converting AVCHD to AVI or MOV using software like Cineform's NeoScene and using a 7200 rpm USB drive to deal with the much larger file sizes of the the converted files. Cost of these things totals about $200, which is much less than a system upgrade.

For me, the things that favored a CX550 and which I think now favor or CX700 for a tiny cam are: (1) the active steady shot OIS which greatly enhances hand held shooting; (2) very good ability in dim light (nearly as good as the old VX/PD cams and with less video noise than the larger FX1000/Z5/NX5/Z7 cams when you get in the bottom range; (3) a very wide angle lens at the wide end; and (d) splendid image quality.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 05:38 AM   #29
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Sony CX700, Panasonic TM900 or Canon (e.g. XA10)

Interesting thread. For completeness I'd add the Panasonic TM700 (or the new replacement TM900) to the list for consideration - and it's product variants without on-board flash memory etc. - as it has many of the advantages of the Sony CX550, now CX700, including 1080p50/60 plus a few besides (e.g. it's 3 chip, can zoom much further without image degradation etc.). However the 1080p25 is at only 17Mbps (I wish it was 24Mbps - but I suspect I'd always use it at it's 28Mbps 1080p50 anyway). Link to the Panasonic product page below:

HDC-HS900/HDC-TM900/HDC-SD900/HDC-SD800 | HD Camcorder | Panasonic Global

I have been very interested in the new crop of small Canon camcorders (especially the XA10 because of it's removeable XLR handle option - but the model down without an XLR option [but still pricey!], the HFG-10, is probably a fairer direct comparison in this discussion). Good review of the HFG-10 linked to below (the whole review is worth a read but I've linked the TM700 comparison page here).

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content...Comparison.htm

However, I have more or less decided that I won't spend money on a small cam that does not have 1080p50/60 frame rate - for those times when I want lovely slow motion (as an option) in editing. The 720p50 on my Canon 7D serves well at times in totally non-aliasing type shallow DOF shots and the 720p (up to 60fps) my Sony EX3 delivers is lovely - just wish it was at 1080p sometimes!

1080p50/60 appears to rapidly becoming a new standard in small cams (just see the latest announcements from both Sony [DSC-HX100V & DSC-HX9V] and JVC's GC-PX1 for "hybrid" DSLR/Compact type 1080p60 capable cams in last few days) plus there are several excellent TM700 videos on Vimeo that show it's potential for razor sharp slow motion. Ommission of 1080p50/60 from all the new Canon "prosumer" camcorders already appears (IMHO) to make them dated before they are even out but it really just depends what feature set YOU want.

I'm going to BVE in London mid-Feb to look hard at my 3 main personal choices (i.e. Panny TM900, Canon XA10 or Sony CX700) and will decide which one I plump for after that!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 5th, 2011 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Correcting typos, adding links
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Old February 6th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #30
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Thought this might be of vague interest - its a video shot recently on the HV40 using the Canon ND filter. Brightened up slightly in FCP mainly for computer screen viewing. The light was tricky with snow white ground, bright sun and clouds but I thought it turned out OK and the camera really does capture the ethereal beauty of the day. Picture a bit soft due to H.264 codec for Vimeo. On camera sound only.

I'm lucky to have shot these images from my patio.


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