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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old July 9th, 2009, 10:36 PM   #1
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HV30 or AG-HMC70

My goal was to begin doing our wedding videos in HD the first of year. The year is half over and I need to start getting ready. I'm still saving up for my main camera purchase, haven't decided yet but possibly a Canon XH-A1 or a Panasonic HMC150.
I was thinking of picking up my cheaper second camera now to start getting used to working with HD footage and making sure my computer is up to speed etc...

I've really been considering getting a HV30 and dressing it up with a lens hood, some kind of a bracket to mount accessories on etc... to make it look more pro. I've read a bunch of reviews saying how great the little camera is with the exception of low light.

I also saw that the HMC70 is pretty affordable too. I understand its kind of an apples to oranges comparison between the two, but I'm wondering if the HMC70 being 3 chip would offer significantly better low light performance and be more usable overall as a second camera?

I'm not partial either way on going tapeless or staying with tape, both have their advantages.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #2
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HV30 will give you good exposure to HD. Remember its m2t and not full 1920x1080 HD, more like 1440x1080 with 1.4 pixel. It has 24p & 30p, and like you know low light sux, make sure you are in bright sunlight. You may have some challenges integrating HV30 footage with XH-A1.

Not familiar with HMC150.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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in a 3 chip system, each chip gets roughly 1/3 the total available light. So having 3 chips does NOTHING to help in low light. The sensor size will have a greater impact on low light performance. I think the HV30 is 1/6". I don't exact specs (that is a guess based on consumer vs pro-sumer gear).
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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in a 3 chip system, each chip gets roughly 1/3 the total available light. So having 3 chips does NOTHING to help in low light.
3 chips give better color rendition in lower lighting situations over their equivalently sized one chip counterparts.

Colors from single chip cameras get muddier faster when the light goes down.

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The sensor size will have a greater impact on low light performance. I think the HV30 is 1/6". I don't exact specs (that is a guess based on consumer vs pro-sumer gear).
The HV30's sensor size is 1/2.7" pretty much 1/3"
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #5
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The HV30's sensor size is 1/2.7" pretty much 1/3"
Ooo much bigger sense than I was expecting. No wonder that cam gets high marks.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #6
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More food for thought.

I just took a look on B&H to get you some specs (but be careful, sometimes B&H has these wrong)

HMC70 Minimum Illumination Normal Mode: 6 lux (ouch)

HV30 Minimum Illumination 3 lux (Auto mode, Auto slow shutter ON, shutter speed at 1/30)

I've got some FX7's that are rated at 4 lux and they barely, barely cut it for wedding work.

The HMC70 is one ugly beast. I've always been wary of little cameras stuck in big bodies to make them seem more "pro". Just my $.02
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies everyone. The HMC70 uses 1/4" chips I believe. So I guess that wouldn't be any advantage over the HV30 with a 1/2.7 chip, for low light anyway.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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Adam - maybe, maybe not. My FX7's with 1/4" chips seem superior to the HV20 in low light to my eye, although I find the HV20's gain noise to be more pleasing to the eye, it's less "coarse" and more natural. I assume this has something to do with that fancy schmancy Digic processor.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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I was thinking of picking up my cheaper second camera now to start getting used to working with HD footage and making sure my computer is up to speed etc...
Being that the HV30 is HDV and the HMC70 is AVCHD, the HV30 will be easier to edit. Almost any computer made in the last 3 years can edit it natively with no problem. The AVCHD will take a newer, high power computer or transcoding to an intermediate format to edit smoothly. I have the HMC150 and it takes my Quad Core desktop to edit it in real time. I like AVCHD but its still a bit ungainly to work with, although that is changing.

There shouldn't be any problems integrating the footage from the HV30, especially with that of the XH-A1. I use the HV30 with the HMC150 and still have very little trouble matching the footage.

Finally, being that you can get the HV30 for under $600, it seems to be the best choice.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #10
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I had my first foray into AVCHD when I rented an HMC150 this weekend. It was horrendous. I could see the benefit of having no more tapes, and the battery time with no tape motor was much much better (almost 4 hours out of a 7400 mAh battery). But even with my 2.4 gig Macbook Pro with 4 gigs of ram it took hours and hours to transcode the AVCHD to ProRes. It was much longer than capturing tape would have been.

The camera itself was very nice, and the picture is phenomenal, but I don't think I'll go with tapeless until the codecs improve.

I've also heard fairly poor reviews of the HMC70.

I also have a HV30 that I like very much but the picture degrades, as is often mentioned, with deteriorating light.

T
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info Tim. I'm thinking at this point I might just pick up a used HV20 cheap, since there isn't much difference from the 30, and play around with that to get a feel for HD without investing too much in a lower end camera.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 06:59 AM   #12
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One thing to consider is that the bigger HMC70 looks a lot more professional than the consumer-looking HV30. Too bad that a decision should have to take this into consideration, but it is something to think about.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 07:21 AM   #13
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Thanks for the info Tim. I'm thinking at this point I might just pick up a used HV20 cheap, since there isn't much difference from the 30, and play around with that to get a feel for HD without investing too much in a lower end camera.
I've got a hv20 I use with a 35mm adapter and as a capture deck/backup camera. Sure it's small, but they've been out long enough now that you can probably pick up a used one with some accessories for fairly cheap. Throw a mic on the hot shoe, screw a wide angle on the front or find a cheap just for looks mattebox to add some "pro look" to it if the consumerish look is a problem.

The plus side of having the HV20 around is that it makes a great every day camera. I can take it to family gatherings, or on vacation without drawing too much attention. It's tiny and easily fits into my larger camera bag as a backup camera just in case one of my main cameras decides to explode in the middle of a shoot.

Look around the classifieds here or on Craigslist and you'll probably run across one with lots of extras for $500 or so.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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I've seen some hv20/30 cameras dressed up to look pretty "pro". Lens hoods, boom mics, accessory brackets etc... Canon HV20, HV30 & HV40 User Forum - Powered by vBulletin has some cool pictures of them. Plus if they're used along side a XH-A1 or similar camera I don't think anyone would care.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #15
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You can make the HV20 larger, you can't make the HMC70 smaller.
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