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Old June 19th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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$800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

OK folks I have $800. Should I stay old school 3 chip CCD with tapes or go hybrid HDV like HV30? There are some great SD miniDV cameras and prices are dropping. Or, go newer HD on flash. I really like the ability to edit miniDV right out of the camera without converting. HDV is also attractive for this reason. 720p is probably sufficient or even overkill for my needs. Most of my stuff is breaking news or features for use on web.

External mic port, cheap cost, durability, ease of transferring on different platforms in the field, good in low/weird light, and easy to carry in different environments is most important. PD150 is really attractive for this reason. I could shoot 16:9 for now or is HD really that big of a deal for online news shorts.

In this $800 price range I could get a used:

PD150
PD170
VX2000
VX2100
XL1, XL1s
HV20, 30, 40

Or should I look at something in the Canon Vixia series or similar Sony or Panasonic.

Where would you spend your money?

As always, thanks so much.
Kirk
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Old June 19th, 2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

If it's only for web use and you don't have a super powerful machine capable of editing AVCHD, then I'd say an old PD150 or similar might be a good option.

Be aware though, that most of the prosumer SD cameras inluding the PD150/170, DVX100, GL2, VX2100 etc have 4:3 chips. So although they can shoot 16:9 video, they do this by cropping from the top and bottom of the image which means you get even less resolution than 4:3 SD. Still, it should be adequete enough for web use.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

After a bit of research, the PDX10 shoots dvcam, is a pro caliber camera and shoots sort of native 16:9. The Canon HV series shoots HDV true 720p is seems to be very popular but is consumer grade.. Any opinions on this comparison?
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Old June 20th, 2011, 01:25 AM   #4
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

In general if you want 16:9 HD video for around US$800, I'd pick the Canon VIXIAs (or equivalent Sony/Panasonics) over the older camcorders you listed. If you want 16:9 HD video with professional controls, you'll have to up your budget to US$2,0000 and upwards.

The VIXIAs are the flash based equivalent of the older Canon HV line and personally I think they offer a lot of bang for the buck, low light is decent and has been generally well received, plus you can add a BeachTek or JuicedLink audio adapter if you want to use XLR mics.

Between the 3 Vixias, I'd recommend the M400. The two higher end models the M41, M40 offer built-in memory and a digital viewfinder which aren't "must haves" when you're stretching your dollar. The M400 still has has two memory card slots so you can add memory as needed, and you just use the LCD as the viewfinder.

Two things about the VIXIA series, 1. they are CMOS so you will get some jello effect, you'll have to review video examples to see if it's an issue for you. 2. If looking "professional" is important, the VIXIA series sit squarely in the "looks like a consumer camcorder" category.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

Great info. I do like the Vixias but they lack the ability to offload video straight into the computer via firewire without third party conversion. Also, in your opinion, what would the Sony equivalent of the Vixias be?
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

The Sony equivalent of the VIXIAs would be the CX 5xxx and 7xxx series, don't know about the Panasonics.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #7
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

Re: Vixias and FireWire

Just to clarify, there is only one VIXIA model with FireWire, and that's
the tape-based HDV camcorder, which is the HV40 and its earlier
versions, the HV30, HV20 and HV10.

All other VIXIA camcorders are USB and flash memory.

FireWire is married to tape. If it doesn't use tape, it won't have FireWire.
If it records to flash memory, it will always have USB. Hope this helps,
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Old June 21st, 2011, 11:20 AM   #8
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk Sides View Post
...External mic port, cheap cost, durability, ease of transferring on different platforms in the field, good in low/weird light, and easy to carry in different environments is most important. PD150 is really attractive for this reason...
More about audio - if you need pro audio input, really need it to interface with existing microphones, cables, mixers, etc., then PD150/170 do give you really good connectivity, and high-quality audio recording as well.

If XLR inputs are truly needed, that may make the decision for you.

Both these will record DV or DVCAM. DVCAM came up earlier in the thread, as I understand it, tape runs faster than DV, with greater error-correction. In my years with the PD150, I always recorded DV, never re-used tapes, and probably had two instances of dropouts over hundreds of hours.

A more modern consumer cam is going to have better-quality imagers, however, the image will be higher quality only under some circumstances. The older high-prosumer DV tech will give you more ready access to manual controls for everything; especially of concern for aperature, gain, shutter speed, and recording volume. I am quite old-school; REALLY want to control those camera functions. Otherwise, it's point and hope.

Grainy video (excess auto-gain) doesn't compress well for the web. Bad audio is forever...

I'm a big fan of the PD150/170. They work extremely well for what they do. As you look further down the line, however, 720p online distribution will continue to become more important... You gotta' figure that you need to make your money with this cam and get out of it, going high-def in X years. 2? 3?
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Old June 21st, 2011, 04:41 PM   #9
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

Great response! You nailed it. The new cameras will have better imagers and perhaps better images but only in certain conditions.

Remember folks. My main objective is down and dirty breaking news and features for online distribution only.
Is HD really a consideration? Are the newer but less equipped cameras like the M400, TM700 or CX560 really going to compete with the old work horses?

And then there is the PDX10 with sort of native 16:9. All of the manual bells and whistles with the HD aspect ratio and can be had for about $700.00. Can I really do better with the above mentioned consumer cams?

This is great stuff folks! Thanks so much.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

Vimeo and YouTube do HD. People often go full screen on their computers. I'd shoot HD.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 09:02 PM   #11
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Re: $800, old school pro miniDV or consumer HDV or HD?

At the end of the day, you still have to get these cams in your hands and look at the video yourself to see if it's "good enough" for you. But the VIXIAs are worth a look with a budget of US$800. The VIXIA video I've seen has been clean and very friendly for compression, both in terms of low light performance and dynamic range.

Canon is using the same HD CMOS Pro imaging chip throughout their whole line of camcorders, from the VIXIA M400 to the XF300/305. The main differences being in the lens, control options, post-processing algorithms, & codec.
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