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Old May 14th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #1
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Pro SD vs. Prosumer HD

Hello everyone,

I currently own the JVC DV700 (WS and 4:3 switchable) 2/3" camera with a great set of lenses. I was looking into the possibility of getting something with 4:2:2 like the JVC DY90, which is virtually the identical camera with the D9 back, the KY D29 (once again, virtually the same, but with interchangeable VTR and more sensitive CCDs) or an HD cam, the HVX200. As HD comes more into fashion, the prices of these great pro SD cameras continue to drop on ebay, but the HD prices seem to stick.

I did some reserach and am a little confused. I called JVC pro on the phone to ask about whether or not a pro cam could compete with a prosumer HD cam like the HVX, or their GY100 (or whatever the model they just released is). The rep on the phone said no standard def cam could ever compete with an HD cam. This does not make sense. I get the idea that the SD is producing only 480i, and the HD is producing 1080i, but the specs on the HVX, while extremely sketchy, seem to point to (in other posts online here) that the HVX lens is capable of producing about 570 TVL, and the DV700 (and other models listed above) is capable of between 750-850 TVL. The CCDs on these pro cameras have more effective pixels than the HVX CCDs... How is it that someone could say that a 100K digibeta pro camera will never produce the same image as a 5K prosumer HD camera???

Also, the D29 may have a way to get SDI out (anyone know about this?). If so, would this connect to my computer (I guess with an SDI card?) to get (potentially) uncompressed media? Also, couldn't you capture at HD resolutions? If not, why not? I'm trying to figure out how HD CCDs are different if they have less pixels than the pro SD camera.

Shake has some great conversion features on it to deinterlace and scale up SD animorphic footage... Does anyone have any expierance, or speculation on the comparison between these types of cameras?

Thanks everyone! I appreciate your time!
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #2
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Anyone out there

I guess I'm new here, but I'd really appreciate a response from any of the many knowledgeable people out there...

Thanks again,

jon
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:20 PM   #3
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Of course thats what they are going to tell you, they want to sell you an HDV camera. So many people believe that every home in America is going to have an HDTV and an HD DVD or Bluray player in their home, like in the next couple of years. From what I understand, these new players are not even backward compatible with current DVD's. So, every consumer is going to run out and buy these new players and scrap the DVD collection they have spent the last 6 years putting together. PLEASE! I know this didn't answer your question...sorry...
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:18 PM   #4
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Keep the 700. I've gotten so many calls (12) for 24p and 16:9 in the last month yet only 3 for HD. A set of good lenses on a great cam, with great chips, is better than being locked down with a small lens that you're stuck with unless you get adaptors, all for "HD."

If it bites, I'd carry the Z1/FX1 as an additional option... or the HD100 (hey if the 700's lenses fit the 100 then you're set)
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Wang
Keep the 700. I've gotten so many calls (12) for 24p and 16:9 in the last month yet only 3 for HD
I'd bet there's still lots of work the camera can do and earn it's keep. Yet this is a tough question to answer, but it might be made easier by focusing on what's the deliverable? If it's SD, then of course, shooting SD with good glass and 2/3" chips might beat the pants off a HD 1/3" chip prosumer camcorder, as long as the final deliverable is SD. On the other hand, if the final deliverable is HD, then it's a toss up, as the little consumer cameras can be coaxed into looking pretty good, and upconverting SD is not pretty. But the images of prosumer HD cameras suffer due to the resolution limitations of resolving a sharp image on a 1/3" chip (ironically, you actually need better glass the smaller the chip, as you're imaging on a smaller area, yet as we go down in chip size, lenses don't get better on the cameras. I've started to drift into design philosophy, sorry 'bout that. The new crop of prosumer HDV (or DVCPRO HD in the case of Panasonic) cameras from the "big 4" really blur the boundaries between consumer and professional cameras, but the 1/3" chips are really their Archilles heel. I'd much rather shoot interviews and narrative work with the foreground/background separation you get with 2/3" lenses, in a documentary I recently completed using the Sony HVR-Z1U I found myself with the camera up against the wall as far as I could get it from the subject, and most of the time that was not far enough, but as there was no budget for a 2/3" camera, it's silly for me to complain. Every format has it's own unique set of features/benefits/problems. Focus on the deliverables and budget, and therein lies the art of working within the limits of time, physics, and money.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 09:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Karafin
The CCDs on these pro cameras have more effective pixels than the HVX CCDs... How is it that someone could say that a 100K digibeta pro camera will never produce the same image as a 5K prosumer HD camera???
A high-end SD camera will have advantages over an inexpensive HD camera in some respects, but SD is ultimately limited by its low recorded resolution. So a better question would be whether you can find a reasonably priced HD camera which measures up to your SD cameras in terms of overall image quality, and has the advantages of recording more detail. Here's one option to consider in that regard:

http://www.siliconimaging.com/Digita...son_chart.html

In good lighting, even a $3K Sony FX1 can produce an impressive HD image, so it makes sense that the price of used SD cameras is dropping.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 10:24 AM   #7
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The basic idea seems to be to acquire at the highest resolution, and distribute in a variety of formats. It has worked wonderfully for film, which looks incredible even on VHS. A VHS copy of a DVD will look better than a copy of VHS. A DVD copy of VHS will not look any better than VHS. This is the rule of information processing: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out); but, it is the same arguement for audio, too. Why would you record audio in a lesser format than the delivery format: DVD audio is the same as DV audio but not HDV audio (is there something wrong here)?

That said.... Jon, I think you have a great camera; 16x9 and 2/3" chips with the enhanced audio of DV and less artifacting. Betacam SP/SX would only be even better.

HDV has limitations! This HD thing will take off... but in ten years :-\

In the meantime, people will be buying SD DVDs for at least a decade.... Unless... the V I D E O iPod..............

:-o
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Everyone!

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for the responses. I'm still unclear as to what the difference between a HD ccd and a SD ccd is... if they have the same number of pixels, or the sd has more and more tvl... then what makes the hd record a higher resolution?

Thanks!
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:11 PM   #9
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I get in this argument all the time... I can tell you that an SD Panny SDX900 outperforms and looks better, clearer, etc. than the HD HVX200. The big key is TRUE 16:9 and progressive, after that the difference becomes marginal at normal viewing distance and with new CHEAP programs like InstantHD, you can upconvert to HD without most people ever knowing. I personally have seen SDX bumped to HD and to 35mm and it has less noise and a better overall picture than any of the 1/3" CCD HD cams. Resolution is A factor...not THE factor.



ash =o)
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:21 PM   #10
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I'll bite. I'm no tech guy, but why would you think there would be the same amount of pixels. The HDV pixels on a Sony Chip are listed as:

Imaging Device: 3- 1/3" 16:9 1120K Pixel Advanced HAD™ CCDs

Now I am guessing that your 3 chip 2/3" has less pixels, but those pixels are much larger, providing better light gathering capability.

As I said I am not a tech guy, so I am curious if my impression is wrong.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 02:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Karafin
I'm still unclear as to what the difference between a HD ccd and a SD ccd is... if they have the same number of pixels, or the sd has more and more tvl... then what makes the hd record a higher resolution?
An SD sensor could have more pixels than required by the SD format and use the extra information to ensure a clean recorded image, but that image is ultimately still SD. So even the best DV camera only records 720x480 pixels per frame regardless of the resolution of the sensor or the theoretical resolution of the lens. HD cameras may not have better sensors or lenses but can record more data points per frame, which means they can capture more detail in the final delivered image. SD cameras can't move beyond the limits of the SD recording format, whereas HD cameras are designed to do so. As Ash said resolution isn't the only thing which matters, but all else being equal it's nice to have.

The Panasonic HVX200 has three sensors which are "pixel shifted" to generate up to 1280x1080 recorded pixels per frame, or four times the recorded resolution of DV. This doesn't mean the resulting image is four times as clear as that from a good SD camera, but it should yield a noticeable improvement in image detail in some situations. The Canon XLH1 has three 1440x1080 sensors which are used to record 1440x1080 pixels to tape or output 1920x1080 pixels via HD-SDI, and clearly delivers more recorded resolution than any SD camera. The SI-1920 video camera will have a 2/3" sensor with 1920x1080 pixels and record the same resolution in the Cineform RAW format, which should deliver better image quality in every sense than just about any SD camera.

So HD is higher resolution because it can capture and output more detail than SD ever will. Comparing $20K SD cameras to $3K HD cameras isn't very informative; compare cameras of similar prices and HD should deliver a clearer image in most cases.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 05:38 PM   #12
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i've seen a couple of great canon xlh1 hdv camera reviews in the mags lately... the h1 has the highest resolution of any of the hdv cameras, but at least one of the reviews noted that switching from dv to hdv on that camera will cost you 1.5-2 stops of light sensitivity.

which goes back to the 1/3" ccd's mentioned earlier... so to answer your question, a prosumer hd camera can't compete with a pro sd camera in marginal light conditions... it doesn't even come close.

the big decision right now isn't prosumer hd vs. sd, it's 4:3 vs. 16:9... most of the tv programming in the u.s. is still 4:3, which also fits most computer screens as well, if you understand how important web video is getting to be these days... heck, even the ipod is 4:3!

since you have wide-screen covered with the cam you have, it's a question of what your camera will be worth on the market a couple of years from now... unless you have present or future hd jobs lined up, i can't see any reason to trade it in yet, and i wouldn't be inclined to spend money on another sd camera, unless your clients are demanding it.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 10:40 PM   #13
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I use canon XL1s and the cheap miniDV cams. Much of my stuff is destined for web and corporate CD-Rom, so these cams provide for my needs at 1/4th the cost. However, we do hire out for heavy gear, and I can tell you that the SDX900's and similiar deliver an image that even beats my HC1. When you add up the color/dof/and overall sharpness (without the ringing inherit in 1/3" chips), it makes for an impressive image.

Granted, my HC1 makes a compelling arguement against the XL1s and those 1/3" miniDV's. Yet the image is still soft. So in reality, I've gained 3x the resolution, but it still looks cheap on a higher level (hope that comes across right : ) So why bother? Well, it's miles better than having to uprez the 1/3" SD stuff. So, when I compare the cheap 1/3" miniDV on an SD monitor alonside a prosumer HD image on an HD monitor, the quality will about the same. At least that's how I've seen it so far.
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