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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.

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Old September 19th, 2008, 09:12 PM   #16
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Posts: 142
More time with camcorder, more observations

I spent some time at a small zoo and Gettysburg last weekend, getting more familiar with the CX12. Some observations:

1. Liking the size and tapeless nature more all the time. I was tramping around the woods looking for a monument and didn't have to lug anything along. I also climbed a tall observation tower and was really glad the camera was so light.

2. Sony is right that continuous shooting is much less of a power drain than stop and start. I took 76 minutes of soccer on maybe half a battery. Then I drained one battery on this last trip and had to switch to another. I was moving all over the zoo and battlefield, so the on/off or Quick Start buttons were in constant use.

3. I had a "cam control" on the HC7 but actually never used it. I used the one on the CX12 to adjust exposure (it's a round dial instead of a funky roller). So easy, so useful! When you're trying to shoot a closeup of a flower and need the color just right, just tweak the exposure with the dial. This is going to be a regular thing for me, I'm sure.

4. I'm retracting any criticisms I made before of the stills. I started shooting mostly in the 16:9 7.2 MP mode for display on an HDTV. When I held the camera really steady and locked in the exposure properly, the stills looked great. So I think you need to be steadier with this than with the HC7, but I think that's why my initial pictures didn't seem too good - I was being careless. I also wasn't thinking "steadier because of 12x" and adjusting for the higher zoom levels.

5. As noted in another thread, Corel released a new version of VideoStudio, which I purchased in hopes it would be much faster on my 3.4 GHZ single-core PC. It did render better and I was actually OK with the render speed. The SmartRender works beautifully - if you didn't change it, it finds some close reference point and doesn't re-render what didn't change.

6. But I still couldn't get good playback either in Picture Motion Browser (Sony) or VideoStudio - just not enough horsepower, as many people have said. So I broke down and bought a new QuadCore PC. PMB now plays the AVCHD files back fine, though I still prefer the PS3 to TV playback.

7. If you can absorb the expense and a good computer and all the supporting pieces, I'd personally go with the CX12 over the HC7 any day. The caveat is I don't want some features other people consider indispensable (viewfinder, for example). And I'm more than happy to transfer all the video and stills to interchangeable digital media. I don't have any need to keep a tape archival copy forever, for example. Also, any camcorder you buy should fit your hand well, so that has to be checked in person regardless of how well you like specs.

8. Of course, these camcorders are now full-fledged powerful computers, though special-purpose. There WILL be another one out in a year or two that has better specs. So any decision should take into account whether you keep wanting the newest stuff. For me, I wouldn't have gotten a CX7. But the additional optics, resolution, etc. of the CX12 made it competitive with the HC7 for me, and now I'm very glad I made the switch.
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