I really need advice on a Good HD Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mashinhead, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. mashinhead macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    #1
    Consider me an amateur filmmaker. I want some pro like features so i'd actually say inbetween pro and amateur, leaning toward amateur. I really want to get a camera this week. This is what I want it to have

    I want something sub $1000
    I would like some level of manual control
    Good zoom.
    HD*must have*
    AVCHD (this if it isn't supported by FCP yet then it's not 'necessary' but i wouldn't mind this feature)
    Perfer Hard Drive based (because my end product is digital and will be compressed anyway, also it is just easier to migrate and edit and such), but will consider mini DV
    Decent low light results.
    Would like some sort of lens focus if possible, or extra lens features, this doesn't mean changing the lens, i know that is a pro feature, but some cameras do offer addons for your lens.
    Nice interface ease of use.

    I've been looking at:

    JVC Everio GZHD7
    Canon HV20
    Panasonic HDC-HS9 (something like that)
    Sony HDR-SR8E

    If anyone here is really knowledgeable and passionate about the market that can give me some practical and useful suggestions. I would really appreciate it.
     
  2. oceanzen macrumors regular

    oceanzen

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    #2
  3. NickD macrumors 6502a

    NickD

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    #3
    I concur with the above post. The HV20 is an amazing camera with great quality and features for the price.
     
  4. 17th Hole macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I got the Canon HG10 which is the Hard Drive brother of the HV20. I haven't had it long but I like what I've seen so far. Files transfer over very easily to my MBP. Picture quality is excellent. Got it for around $750 (I think) on Amazon.
     
  5. LloydBraun89 macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    What yields better picture quality MiniDV or HDD?
     
  6. bloodycape macrumors 65816

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    California
    #6
    While you can save some money getting the Canon HV10, I would suggest also looking at the newer HV20. It adds a few nice features and comes in a slick black color.
     
  7. oceanzen macrumors regular

    oceanzen

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    #7
    That'd be the HV30. In NTSC land it added 30fps, in PAL land we just got the colour black, oh and a slightly better zoom toggle.
     
  8. rotlex macrumors 6502a

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    PA
    #8
    Another vote for the HV20 here. I've owned this one since the summer, after returning a HDD based cam, and I could not be happier. The HV30 looks nice, but it's not all that different than the 20, and the 20 can be had very cheaply now and is a FANTASTIC cam.
     
  9. cpcarrot macrumors member

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    Jan 24, 2008
    #9
    Add another vote for the HV-20. For the money you can not go wrong. Very simple and easy to use and allows a good amount of control for a camera in it's class. Also the price point you can pick them up for now the HV-30 is being released is just great. If it's a sub $1000 camera you are after the HV-20 is my current recomendation.
     
  10. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    East Coast
    #10
    It's not possible to answer your question without further information.

    miniDV is a standard def format while HDD is a storage medium.

    Here's how I keep track of this stuff.

    HDV > AVCHD (flash/HDD/DVD) > miniDV > MPEG-2 (flash/HDD/DVD)

    So, HDD camcorders can be better or worse than miniDV camcorders. The AVCHD-HDD camcorders would have better quality, but the MPEG-2-HDD camcorders would be worse.

    ft
     
  11. -DH macrumors 65816

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    Nov 28, 2006
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    Nashville Tennessee
    #11
    If you're shooting SD, then DV tape will look better than video that was recorded even more heavily compressed to a camera's hard drive.


    FWIW, MiniDV isn't a video format; it's a tape cassette size. There's also full sized DV tapes that record up to 3 hours ... both record in the same video format ... which is one of the variants of DV25, simply known as DV.

    -DH
     
  12. barijazz macrumors 6502

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #12
    I have the HV20 but it shoots on mini dv tapes. One problem with looking for a HDD based camera is that many of them do not record in a format readable in any other software except that which come with the camera. So if you are going to be doing editing in FCP HDD is not the way to go. And the mini DV tapes are digital. Great camera, Great zoom, Not so great in low lighting but you can get an attachable light to fix that.
     
  13. barijazz macrumors 6502

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    #13
    If everyone with the HV20 and HG10 (same camera different format) posts video samples we can test the quality differences.:)
     
  14. LloydBraun89 macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #14
    thanks for the clarification. good, helpful information.
     
  15. 17th Hole macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I have the HG10 and as long as you have an Intel Mac you can use iMovie '08 or FCP to get the footage into your computer. It's quite easy in iMovie '08, and just a little trickier in FCP, but still pretty simple.
     
  16. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 7, 2003
    #16
    Thanks you guys i think that I will go with the HG10, just because my final out put is digital and it is easier to get on the computer. I'm just going to start shopping around for a good price. One last question, is it possible to upgrade the HD in the camera yourself?
     
  17. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #17
    I love the HG10 I bought, its simplicity with iMovie 08 makes it motivating to do more video.
     
  18. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
    #18
    No, MiniDV is a storage medium. You can store DV or HDV footage on one miniDV tape.
    DV is the name of the format. You can record/store it on MiniDV or DVCAM tapes.

    If you're going by compression quality, it would be like this:

    DV > HDV > AVCHD > SD MPEG2

    DV and HDV both use the same storage medium and have the same bitrate. Therefore, HDV has to be more compressed than DV. So as far as compression of the image, DV is the least compressed and would give you the best picture.

    Of course, that's not taking in to account the resolution of the video. For high-definition, HDV is generally going to give you a slightly better picture in current consumer HD cameras. This is because the manufacturers mostly limit the bitrate of AVCHD to around 16Mb/s, while the bitrate of HDV is 25Mb/s. Technically, AVCHD uses a superior compression (mpeg-4 h.264) while HDV uses mpeg-2, but the large increase in bitrate of HDV will generally make up for this.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #19
    Compression ratio means nothing when looked at in a vacuum. HDCAM, the de-facto b'cast HD standard, is compressed 7:1-10:1 (depending on frame rate) but I don't think anyone would say the "less compressed" DV format produces a better image.

    Which is a very big thing to not take into account.


    Lethal
     
  20. barijazz macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Just so you know, the HV20 is digital too. the mini DV tapes and the HDD both are digital.
     
  21. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #21
    right i knew that :eek:. i meant that my final output will be further compressed than AVCHD.
     
  22. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #22
    My bad. You're right, however, at least in the consumer world, miniDV has sort of become the name of the format used in miniDV camcorders. Most laymen have no idea what a pro DV Cam is.


    As LethalWolfe pointed out, I wasn't going by compression quality. I was speaking in terms of video quality.

    ft
     
  23. Spizzo macrumors 6502

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    Feb 1, 2004
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    Pacific NW
    #23
    One advantage to cassette vs. hard drive is that you will always have a cassette as backup, where if you lose your HD, you lose your footage if you don't have it duplicated somewhere. So it's either twice the disk space, or $3 tapes. I prefer the tapes.
    You should look at dropping a little more cash and stepping up to a prosumer camera. You can pick a used one up for around a grand. Yeah, it wouldn't be HD, but personally you'd be better off learning the basics on a better camera. HD is not critical, especially for a amature/someone who is just learning.
    Whatever way you go, have fun, and read all you can. I started filming about a year ago. It's really rewarding. :D
     
  24. XjeffX macrumors member

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    Jun 4, 2004
    #24
    If you're going to be doing semi-professional work and editing your video, you'll be much happier with the HV20 versus the HG10.

    AVCHD has some nice and small file sizes, but it is compressing the video even further than HDV and you are losing quality. I also found it more difficult to edit with.

    I'm very very very happy with my HV20. The quality is INSANE for a camcorder that costs $650.

    Also, you'll be burning a LOT of DVD's to back up your footage from a HDD based camcorder. Whereas if you are shooting on tape, you always have a copy of your original footage. Something else to think about.
     
  25. HCK macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2008
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    Tokyo, Japan
    #25
    HV20 all the way. For sub $1000 you can't do better than that, period.
     

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