Prosumer SD or consumer HD?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Macnoviz, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Macnoviz macrumors 65816

    Macnoviz

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Roeselare, Belgium
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm looking to buy my own camera this summer. My budget will be around 1000-2000 euros. I am already making quite a lot of videos. Mostly for my local youth council, and now also for some other projects within my hometown, for which I am also getting paid now.

    I am currently using either my dad's Sony Digital8 camera or a Sony DCR SR36, which are both not really that great.

    So I'm looking at either a prosumer SD camera like the Canon XM2 (GL2 in NTSC countries) or the older Canon XL1. These are as I understand it great camera's for amateur filmmakers, but they are SD, which could be a disadvantage.

    The other option is high-end consumer HD camera, such as the new Panasonic HDC-TM300 HD Camcorder, which looks really good, but is still a consumer camera in terms of accesories, microphone, etc.

    Can you guys help me with this dilemma? What sort of camera's would give the best picture quality?
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    With those cameras you mentioned, SD will give you better picture quality just for the size of the sensors in those cameras.

    Also the Panasonic DVX 100 can be had for less than 2000€, it's SD, but progressive and a choice for a lot of documentary filmmakers.

    You also have to consider what your output is in the end.


    Is it a normal DVD or a clip/feature/film being shown on the local news station, then SD will suffice.

    Or do you want to make HD-DVDs or even Blu-Rays or send your footage to HD capable networks?

    Also there is the storage question you have to ask yourself.

    Do you want to use tape (easier storage) or files (which have to be backed up, several times), and what about the file sizes of my digitized content?
    SD shot with a DV camera will take up 12GB per hour, HD shot with HDV or AVCHD and then converted to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) will take up 60GB per hour.

    And there is the CPU, SD is not as CPU intensive as HD is.
     
  3. Macnoviz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Macnoviz

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Roeselare, Belgium
    #3
    I didn't know you could get a DVX 100 for less than 2000 euros, I'll certainly look into that.

    I think with your remarks I'd be better of with a decent SD, since I'm using a Core Duo 2,0 Ghz Macbook (rev A) which is now 3 years old. Mostly my movies end up on the web or being projected with a non-HD projector or on a dvd, so I guess not a lot of HD output.
     
  4. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #4
    The Panasonic DVX100 is an amazing camera for the money. Get it. While it's not the cheapest game in town, the bang for buck is great. Shoots true progressive, has cine-gamma, and all the features you really need to start shooting more professionally. There have also been a few major film releases shot in it (transferred to film), so the quality is definitely high enough. They include, but are not limited to, A Scanner Darkly and The Kite Runner. If it's good enough for the pros, the fact that it's not HD should be no problem for you.
     
  5. knello macrumors member

    knello

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2004
    #5
    For just the signal that's on the tape/disk, HDV is way better than miniDV. However, prosumer SD cameras will give you much better manual control, and things like XLR jacks for audio.

    I have both an HV20 and an XL1s, and I can't really say which one is better, because they're so different. I use the HV20 more, though. If the conditions are absolutely right, the HV20 has better picture, but the XL1 can do a much better job in difficult situations.

    By the way, HDV can be downsampled to 4:2:2 DVCPRO50, and makes great looking DVDs.
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #6
    How so and what do you mean by this?

    I'm under the impression, that as HDV uses MPEG-2 to store a group of pictures (every 15th frame), DV would have a better picture quality, as it stores every frame at the same data rate as HDV, which is 3.75 times the resolution of DV.
     
  7. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #7
    I don't think either of these are technically true. HDV is actually more thoroughly compressed, which is annoying for editing (long GOP form of 15 frames compressed to a chunk), and HDV is chroma sub-sampled at 4:2:0, same as NTSC, so the signal is not, strictly speaking, higher quality. Just more pixels crammed in there at a wider pixel aspect ratio. You'd have to upsample to 4:2:2, which doesn't add any data, and if the DVDs look better, it's probably because the footage you downscaled was better. HDV can work well, but you need those manual controls because its low-light performance tends to be awful. This is based on my experiences with a Canon XH-A1.
     
  8. knello macrumors member

    knello

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2004
    #8
    I mean that the extra definition does a lot to improve the image quality, but the quality of the lens and the settings matter more. If everything else about the cameras were equal, HDV would have a better image... but two different cameras are never equal.

    I'd never shoot miniDV on an HDV camera, because there's no point in sacrificing the quality.

    It's not upsampling. You're going from 1440x1080 at 4:2:0 to 720x480 at 4:2:2. At full resolution, HDV's effective resolution for the chroma channels are 720x540, and downsampling scales that to DVCPRO50's sampling rate at 320x480.

    (I know that's approximate, not accounting for pixel aspect ratios)

    HDV is great, and anyone who says otherwise is comparing it to a higher level pro format, such as XDCAM EX or DVCProHD, not miniDV.
     

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