Decisions, decisions!


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2007
Hey all, I'm looking for some advice.

I currently shoot on a PD150 and edit on a Mac G4 400. Nothing serious, shorts, arty stuff.

However, I might be looking to film a portfolio for use as film school entrance and am seriously considering upgrading my setup to an HV20 and a macbook pro.

To pay for the new equipment I'm probably going to have to get rid of the PD150. This hurts me because I think it produces really beautiful images alas, in 4:3. It especially shines in low light and a lot of stuff I shoot tends to be evening, indoor.

For those who may have used both cams, how does the HV20 stack up in ambient light? How directly does one feel the quality difference between a Prosumer SD and a consumer HD?

What's the minimum spec Mac I could buy that will happily edit the Hv20 footage allowing also for a possible HDMI capture device to be added at some point?

If I choose to keep the PD150, is it realistic to combine the footage with an HV20?

(If I keep it I plan on selling a Vaio TZ I received recently to cover some of the costs but I did just see a refurbished MBP on the apple Store for £1099!)


macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
Los Angeles
Speaking in generalities, all other things being equal an SD camera will have better low light performance than an HD camera because SD cameras have lower pixel density on the imaging sensors. If you are looking to submit something to a film school showcasing your story telling ability is paramount and using proper camera technique, lighting, and sound all will be more beneficial than buying a new camera.



macrumors 68030
Apr 16, 2005
Mt. Prospect, Illinois
I think you'd be just fine with a PD-150.

It's more of a prosumer camcorder than the HV20.

You could get a MacBook Pro used for a pretty good price these days, there has been 3-4 different revisions of it. They all edit HD pretty well. All you need is some external hard drives to store all the footage.

I haven't seen enough of the HV-20 to really judge it but it doesn't seem like it has as much control or pro features as the pd-150.

I'd even recommend getting a DVX-100, you get 24p and it's overall a kick ass camcorder.


macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2007
Central CA, USA
The HV-20 is an awesome camcorder. The only beef I have about it is the lack of some manual controls. The biggest one is a focus ring. Its really hard to manual focus on a little spin dial. But this can all be bypassed by using a 35mm adapter that allows you to connect 35mm SLR lense to the camera to manualy control focus and aperature. But those are really expensive. You're looking at $700-1500 for an adapter. Or you could build one yourself for about $150. You can learn more about the HV-20 at


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2007
Thanks for the replies!

Obviously I agree about content but I'm worried about people watching my 4:3 footage on 16:9 televisions :(

The other thing that bothers me is much as I love my rugged, handsome Pd150, it's hardly the sort of camera I can carry around London all day.

When I used to have a mini-dv single chip cam I took it everywhere and stored some amazing footage, more casual everyday family / friends material but wonderful to practice editing with and great for finding scenes / shots I might re-do later. Since that little cam kicked the bucket I've been fiending for something i can carry 24/7.

Initially I wanted the HV10 for this reason but it seems somewhat foolish to buy with the price difference as it stands today and the HV20 isn't THAT much bigger.

I'm also very excited about the anamorphic experimentation with the HV20 over at

I have been offered an older 2.33 15" MBP as part exchange for my Vaio TZ21. Is there anything I should bear in mind about these older MBP models re: video?

thanks again for all the advice.
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