Help needed deciding on a camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by gazfocus, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #1
    Hey guys,
    I am looking to purchase a camcorder within the next week and I really need advice because I don't know alot about them to be honest.

    Currently, I have been looking at 2 options: The Canon XM2 and the Canon HG10.

    There is a considerable price difference (the XM2 being more), but I would likely be buying an XM2 2nd hand whereas I'd get the other brand new.

    I'm just wondering what the quality difference will be? I know back in the day of SD, the thing to look for was 3CCD but I'm not familiar with HD at all so any advice would be great.

    Also, if anyone wants to suggest any other camcorders, please do.

    Thanks again
     
  2. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #2
    It strikes me as a little odd that one of the cameras on your (short) shortlist is standard definition to tape and the other tapeless high definition - I think it might help if you were to decide which format you're after (SD or HD) and whether you want tape or tapeless.

    Also, given the wide generic differences between the XM2 and the HG10, why aren't you also considering the various offerings occupying the turf in between, for example Canon's HF100, HF10, or HF11 (high def AVCHD camcorders recording to flash memory) or HV30 (HDV tape camcorder) or Sony's SR11 or SR12 (tapeless AVCHD recording to harddrive)?

    I think you first need to decide which format is going to suit you, otherwise there are far too many variables from which to mould a meaningful and measured discussion: there are plenty of threads here on the pros and cons of tape and tapeless (search for HDV and AVCHD for example). But for what it's worth, a camera like the HV30, HF10 (or recently released HF11), or SR12 is going to smoke an XM2.

    Andrew.
     
  3. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #3
    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for your comments...The reason I've gone for a SD and a HD for my 'short list' is because I want a high quality finished product. I wouldn't be satisfied with the quality of a standard mini DV camcorder that can be bought for £200-£300 - The XM2 is significantly higher quality but I was thinking maybe a cheaper HD camcorder would be on par with the quality of the XM2.

    I'm not particularly looking for HD as a must, but as I said, I assumed the quality of a low(ish) end HD would be similar to the high(ish) end SD cameras. (if that makes sense?)

    I don't particularly mind whether it's tape of Hard Drive to be honest...not particularly keen on flash memory because it's quite expensive to have to buy that in addition to the camcorder, whereas obviously the hard drive cameras come with the drive built in.

    The only reason I suggested the HG10 is because that was on the Apple Store site when I was looking, but I am definately open to any suggestions.

    Gaz
     
  4. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #4
    Well, SDHC cards are getting cheaper by the day (perhaps speaking a little figuratively). An 8GB Class 6 Transcend card will cost you about £15. As the Canon HF100 is considerably cheaper than the Sony SR12 and the picture quality's about as good, even once you've made up the difference in storage (SD card for the Canon versus the Sony's harddrive) you're probably still ahead of the game. Plus you don't have to worry about harddrive failure.

    I'd take a look at the camcorders I've mentioned. I've never used an XM2, but I'm pretty certain the pictures from any of the following will better it, or at least match it:

    HF10, HF100, HF11, HG20/21, HV30 (Canon)
    SR11, SR12, CX11/12 (Sony)

    That said, one advantage of the XM2 is that editing DV is far less taxing on your computer's processor than dealing with AVCHD.
     
  5. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #5
    Thanks again. I've noticed the HF11 isn't available yet. That looks the best from the reviews so any idea when it will be available?

    I'm particularly looking for a camera that will do well with low light which the reviews say the HF11 will do.

    Thanks again
     
  6. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #6
    Not sure when the HF11 will be available in Europe, but can't be far off.

    To be honest, reviews have suggested that despite the higher bitrate, the picture's not noticeably superior to that of the HF100 / HF10. Still might be worth hanging on if you can (though you suggested in your original post that you have to buy something soon) since prices on the HF100 / HF10 are likely to drop once the HF11 has been around for a month or so and the novelty's worn off enough to make charging top dollar a less viable marketing plan.
     
  7. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #7
    Yeah, I need to get it by a week tomorrow :( thanks for all your help
     
  8. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #8
    If you like the look of the HF11 I'm sure you'd be happy with the HF10, too - or better still, the HF100, which is cheaper because it lacks the built-in flash memory of the HF10 - but you can buy the equivalent memory in SD cards for less than the price difference.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: try before you buy. You need to see / feel how these things operate before you decide which is for you. And post again if you have further questions.
     
  9. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #9
    Ok, I'm trying to decide between 3 camcorders now...The Canon HF10 and HF100 and the Sony SR11. Which would I be better with? The HF10 has the hard drive and is £605, the HF100 is £535. The Sony SR11 is about £650 but is said to be better than the Canons in Low Light.
     
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #10
    I would go with HF100. I am not sure about the UK pricing, but here in the US, HF100 + 16 GB SDHC memory card (class 4 or class 6) combo is cheaper than HF10. I got HF100 for around $610 and 16GB SDHC for around $50. HF10 costs about $750. I personally prefer SDHC-only route for faster transfer to the computer.

    If you are using something other than Mac Pro, be sure to stock up on external hard disk (ideally FireWire or eSATA) as well. Those AIC/Pro Res footage takes up a lot of disk space. I backup all my footage as disk image (HF10 / HF100 AVCHD & Mac Advice) for playback on PS3 as well as eventual iMovie/Final Cut natively supporting AVCHD (which may require buying a new Mac as well).
     
  11. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #11
    Thanks...I've just added the SR11 into the mix (with a 60GB hard drive built in)...as it is said to have better low light ability but not as good in bright light
     
  12. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #12
    No harddrive in the HF10 (unlike the SR11 and SR12 which do record to harddrive) - the HF10 has built-in flash memory. Except for colour, that's the only difference between the HF10 and the HF100. But as discussed, you can buy 16GB worth of SDHC cards and the HF100 and you'll still walk away with change compared to the HF10.

    By the way, are you using a PC or a Mac for handling your video? I see the "C2D 2.4GHz" in your signature - how much RAM is that with?

    Cheers.
     
  13. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #13
    Yeah, I think I'm gonna go with the HF100. I'm currently using a PC but my PC is being stripped in 2 weeks and most of the parts are being sold off and I will be replacing it with some form of Mac (yet to be decided)....but my current PC has 4GB Ram (Vista 64 bit).

    Thanks again Courtaj for all your help
     
  14. SingersMom macrumors newbie

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii
    #14
    Help needed deciding on a camcorder

    I too needed to purchase a new camcorder as the HDD JVC I was using was great in low light but lacked the video quality I need to capture my little star singing. I have been on most every thread regarding which camcorder to go with. I purchased and received yesterday the HF100. It seems great but the 16 gb Class 6 card will not arrive for another 6 days. While I am sure I made the right choice due to price it is a bummer to not be able to record immediately. Being on an island it is not easy to go off to the store to purchase the SD card. I am sure you have learned the HF100 does not come with a card. If I needed to record the same day as receiving the camera I would purchase the HF10.

    Good Luck.
     
  15. gazfocus thread starter macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    #15
    Ok, I have looked at numerous reviews on numerous camcorders (including a 3CCD model from Panasonic and JVC) and in every comparison, the HF10 gets a higher rating.

    Therefore, I have tried reserving a HF100 at Currys as I need this camcorder by the weekend but they don't have it in stock. Is there a comparible camcorder on the market or do I need to find somewhere with the HF100 in stock?
     
  16. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #16
    Sorry, I can't get you much info on any of this cameras, but if you need one immediately, isn't there a renting service where you live?

    Or do you need the camera a long time? And what for?
     
  17. SingersMom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii
    #17
    Help needed deciding on a camcorder

    Go with the Canon HF10 if available, since the hf100 is not in stock. But can't you get it online? I had my hf100 delivered in 2 days and to Hawaii that is awesome. I got it from Amazon.com but do get the sdhc card at the same time. Now I have learned that all sdhc class 6 cards are not created equal. I am still waiting on the PNY 16gb class 6 endorsed by National geographic.
    Aloha!
     
  18. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #18
  19. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #19
    I would recommend visiting www.camcorderinfo.com for good info on most camcorders. When I did my research on upgrading my camcorder, this site provided invaluable information to help me choose my new cam. After a few months of research, I bought a Sony SR11. Upgraded from a Sony SR100. From all the reviews, looks like sony and cannon run close in best camcorders. Like one other poster stated, put one in your hand to get a feel for it. Another point to consider is your computer. Is it powerful enough to edit what you shoot. Most computers can handle SD, but HD requires a fast processor ( or multiple processors), allot of ram, and plenty of hard disk space.
    I would recommend a camcorder that will last you for a few years so a HD camcorder will serve you well as they record in SD and HD. Am hoping the video editing software for AVCHD gets better this year.
    Good luck on choosing your rig.
     
  20. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #20
    I have the HG10

    Sorry to jump into the conversation late in the game, but I have had an HG10 for about 9 months now and it has been great. While I haven't used it in extremely low light conditions, it has done very well in darker environments. The transfer from hard drive to computer has worked well despite the complaints that have been said about HD AVCHD cameras. You will need extra storage space, but IMovie 08 has worked well for my basic editing needs. As others have mentioned go test one out if you have that option. Good luck with your choice and let us know what you decide.
     

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