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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.

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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:51 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: WI
Posts: 325
I have a VX2000, a HV30 (w/35mm adapter and LCD flip hack), and just bought a Z5U. I have a Sennheiser cardioid mic/blimp and .65 WA mounted on the VX. Here's my unscientific take: The HV30 is a wonderful small cam that has many great professional features and shoots great looking video, no denying that. But I agree with what Chris Van der Zaan said. The small size of the cam and the lack of controls when and where you need them can make it annoying to use a pro-style camera (perfect for average consumer use though). Then the twitchy zoom rocker is a story in and of itself. I also nearly always use the viewfinder and the HV20/30/40 viewfinder is more token than really usable. The focus dial is just plain incompetent thinking on Canon's behalf given the camera's other manual controls. I bought a focus adapter that you see on Ebay and even that doesn't really do the trick. Because the camera is quite small compared to the VX, I found it difficult to get a smooth, steady handheald shot compared to the VX. I quickly found myself sticking with the VX2000 just because if my video was shakey or didn't turn out because I wasn't able to get to the controls, it didn't matter if it was HD or not. I think the HV30 low-light, for general indoor shooting is actually quite good. It makes a great second small cam.

Now, that being said, if you really want to go to HD, give it a try. I've become much more proficient with the HV30 controls these days compared to at first. I just bought a Sticky Pod and can't wait to try the HV30 with some car shots! It's also great for more clandestine shots when a big cam would turn heads you don't want turned. I really like the built-in light for REALLY low light (i.e. cave) shots when it's a matter of hitting the button as opposed to digging out a dedicated light. As a general rule, Never, Never rely on the built-in mic. Always get an external cardioid mic w/an anti-shock mount (i.e. rubber band suspension). You can make one of these mounts for almost nothing (but use O-rings, not rubber bands). You'll get better audio and no noise. It's also worth noting that Canon tape transfer mechanism's generally don't seem to be very robust. You see a lot of posts on the HV20/30 forum relating to this. It was also the same with GL2's, etc, something you almost never read about with Sony cameras. Just changing tapes in a Canon it always sounds like the tape mechanism can barely do it's job. My VX has been all over the world with me in sand/dust/humidity/rain, etc, even got dunked underwater for a micro-second! It's never given me a burp. I wouldn't expect anywhere near the same durability of the HV30.

I picked up a JAG 35mm static adapter w/Canon 1.4 lens. I've had some fun with it. Did the flip hack myself. The images look good, dpeth of field is out of this world (look some up on You Tube).

In the end, I think saving some $$ and going with a FX1000/Z5 is a better move when funds become available. If you plan to 'trick it out' with all the doo-dads like some of the guys on the HV20/30/40 forum do, I would rather see you put your time/money into a FX1000. You will have a much better rig in the end w/o all the time/money spent. The Z5U (same thing, really) is AMAZING and the feature set is way above/beyond the Canon as you would expect.

Enjoy. Let us know what you think about the HV30 if you go that route.
Mark Goodsell

Last edited by Mark Goodsell; December 9th, 2009 at 10:24 PM.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #17
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Just an update: I spent more time using my Canon HV30 in a shoot in/around San Francisco. I used it as a second camera alongside a Sony Z5U HD cam. I gotta say I was really impressed with the Canon's picture. It lags in low light compared to the Z5 (mostly from gain), but it's not bad. I also used a Sennheiser MKE300 mic. Bottom line, I'd buy the HV30/40 over the VX2000 if you haven't already.

Another option, depending on what you want to do, is to consider a DSLR that shoots HD video. Something like a Nikon D90 is cheaper than a Canon 7D. This seems to be a popular way to get outstanding video these days.
Mark Goodsell

Last edited by Mark Goodsell; January 5th, 2010 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Add DSLR info
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