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Author Topic: Video camera recommendation?  (Read 31970 times)
Tim Gray
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« on: March 23, 2008, 09:03:28 AM »
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I'd like to get my wife a small HD video camera for her to play with when we travel.  Requirements are small size, less than $1,000 and High Def.  When I think about the learning curve I went through (still in progress) with digital still, I really don't have the appetite for that in video so any product recommendations, and/or best features as well as, (if it exists) a decent review site.  I'll worry about software and processing later...

Thanks.
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JMCP
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2008, 09:57:04 AM »
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For consumer cameras, I think the www.camcorderinfo.net website is the main review site. You will find that the Canon HV20/30 cameras are very well rated and the Sony HC7/9 cameras.  You also want to decide whether you want to be recording to tape, harddisk,DVD or compact flash/SD type cards. There are a few main pros and cons for each of these formats that you should look at before deciding on your choice.


cheers John

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I'd like to get my wife a small HD video camera for her to play with when we travel.  Requirements are small size, less than $1,000 and High Def.  When I think about the learning curve I went through (still in progress) with digital still, I really don't have the appetite for that in video so any product recommendations, and/or best features as well as, (if it exists) a decent review site.  I'll worry about software and processing later...

Thanks.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=183712\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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shootergirl
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 07:15:47 AM »
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I'd like to get my wife a small HD video camera for her to play with when we travel.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=183712\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have the Canon HV20 and the video quality is spectacular. It's very small and lightweight and I've been very happy with it. It's easy to use in the program mode but has a lot of manual settings you can also use.

Donna
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Wolfman
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 05:37:44 PM »
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I have the Canon HV20 and the video quality is spectacular. It's very small and lightweight and I've been very happy with it. It's easy to use in the program mode but has a lot of manual settings you can also use.

Donna
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I have this one also and have to agree with Donna.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2008, 05:40:36 PM »
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Thanks - I'll check out the Canon.  I appreciate the advice.
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stever
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 12:40:49 AM »
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i'm in a similar situation and just took a look at the Canon cameras at bh

 i'm really not (from experience) interested in a camera that uses tapes, and from experience also not trusting of cameras with built-in hard drives.  The mini DV is probably okay, but the HF-10 with 16G internal flash plus SDHC looks much more convenient and reliable - with the rapidly decreasing prices and increasing capacity of SDHC this looks like a reliable option that won't be obsolete in 6 months.  And i can plug the card into my laptop and get the video where it needs to be without hassle.

Anybody have any experience with this camera? Alternatives?
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stever
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 12:52:11 AM »
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just read the other post and see Bernard has one. great.

pls keep us posted
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The View
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2008, 02:31:36 AM »
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I recommend the Canon hv30 over the hv20 because of 30p, which gives smoother motion and it's also easier to convert to internet streaming.
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michael
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2008, 07:33:09 AM »
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Tim,

The problem with many of the cameras being recommended is that they don't have a electronic viewfinder – only an LCD. This means that in very bright conditions they are difficult to use.

I would therefore recommend the Sony SR11. It's a bit over budget, but an excellent camera for the money. I have the SR12, which is the same except that it has a 120GB drive.

Think about the need for an EVF. I find it indispensable.

Michael

Ps: According to Camcorderinfo (the leading review site for this type of gear)  the SR11/12 is one of the best camcorders currently available in terms of image quality as well as feature set.
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shootergirl
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2008, 07:56:56 AM »
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The problem with many of the cameras being recommended is that they don't have a electronic viewfinder – only an LCD. This means that in very bright conditions they are difficult to use.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192656\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Just to be clear, I'm not sure if Michael is referring to the Canon HV20 or not but it does have an electronic viewfinder.

In any case, it's absolutely amazing the quality you can get out of today's camcorders at such a low price. I work in a video unit and did a "dog and pony" show on footage from my HV20 for the videographers in my building. They were absolutely blown away that I could get that kind of video quality out of a camera that fit in my palm.

Donna
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michael
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2008, 09:24:56 AM »
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The HV20 does indeed have an EVF, but it also uses tape.

Not to be provocative, but using tape these days is somewhat akin to shooting film. I doubt that there will be tape-based camcorders on the market any longer within the next 18 months.

Michael
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shootergirl
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2008, 10:57:43 AM »
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The HV20 does indeed have an EVF, but it also uses tape.

Not to be provocative, but using tape these days is somewhat akin to shooting film. I doubt that there will be tape-based camcorders on the market any longer within the next 18 months.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192674\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I realize I'm kind of veering off topic, but which way to you think things will go - hard drive or removable media? Just curious...

Donna
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2008, 12:02:14 PM »
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Tim,

The problem with many of the cameras being recommended is that they don't have a electronic viewfinder – only an LCD. This means that in very bright conditions they are difficult to use.

I would therefore recommend the Sony SR11. It's a bit over budget, but an excellent camera for the money. I have the SR12, which is the same except that it has a 120GB drive.

Think about the need for an EVF. I find it indispensable.

Michael

Ps: According to Camcorderinfo (the leading review site for this type of gear)  the SR11/12 is one of the best camcorders currently available in terms of image quality as well as feature set.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192656\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ooops, should have reported back...
Bought a Canon Vixia HF10 about 3 weeks ago (from the US - wasn't in stock in Canada yet) for a trip to BC/Vancouver Island a couple of weeks ago.  I liked the removable media (I think that's the way things will evolve).  With a second 16 gig card I can do about 4 hours high def, which is plenty.

Michael, (after buying) I understand your point about the EVF, but Jenny (my wife) had been using a Sony R1000 which is 100% LCD so was used to the problem.  But the higher rez stills would have been interesting, but I wanted to have something for her to try before heading out on some more serious expeditions.

The software that came with the Canon was unusable, but Pinnacle Studio 11 works ok....  (apparently Adobe Premier doesn't support the high def format yet). The only challenge is persuading my wife that if she's the one that's holding down the record button, she needs to be the one that edits the material

As generally appears the case with this new generation, the quality of the output you can get from something that fits in the palm of you hand (and it can be a pretty small hand) is outstanding.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 12:03:12 PM by Tim Gray » Logged
michael
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2008, 01:25:17 PM »
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I realize I'm kind of veering off topic, but which way to you think things will go - hard drive or removable media? Just curious...

Donna
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I think that there's room for both. On a long trip a 120GB drive holding up to 14 hours of 1080I is a great way to work. Of course a field back-up for anything important is vital, just as with stills.

Michael
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2008, 07:20:12 PM »
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I am just back from a 3 weeks trip in the high Himalayas.

Besides my cameras I had with me a newly released Canon HF10:

- Full HD,
- Flash based (a must requirement for altitudes above 10.000 feet) with 16GB built in (2 hours in max quality H.264) and a SD port for additional memory (I had a 16GB x6 Transcent card in),
- Image stabilization,
- Less than 1000 US$,
- 450 gr with battery

I am very happy about this little guy:

- Very nice image quality,
- OK ergonomics even if the joystick is a little bit too small and the exposure compensation should be easier to access. Besides for the joystick, the main functions are basically usable with light gloves (Mammut windstoppers),
- Compact and light,
- Infinite DoF (probably obvious),
- Screen remains reasonnably readable in bright day light with Cat 4 polarized Glacier sunglasses (tried up to 16.000 feet). It is however a bit hard to estimate the correct exposure for high contrast scenes.


The downsides being:

- No live histogram,
- No AF control (or very difficult to use),
- The wide angle is not really wide enough,
- Some strange behaviours with exposure after dialing in some exposure compensation (could be user error),
- The IS works OK, but hand held shooting is a challenge beyond the first 1/3 rd of the zoom range. Images are usable, but it is real hard to keep a stable framing line,
- Noisy in low light levels (wasn't a real problem for me for landscape).

All in all, this is clearly a consumer tool and the degree of control is very limited compared to the single frame pro cameras I used to working with, but the achievable image quality is simply amazing. Frankly speaking, I could see no difference between some of the scenes and those I shot with a 7000 US$ Canon pro line full HD camera a few months back.

Cheers,
Bernard
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The View
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2008, 03:12:15 PM »
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The HV20 does indeed have an EVF, but it also uses tape.

Not to be provocative, but using tape these days is somewhat akin to shooting film. I doubt that there will be tape-based camcorders on the market any longer within the next 18 months.

Michael
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I don't want to be provocative, either, but tape isn't quite comparable for useage in video to film in photography.

You cannot distinguish from the quality of an image if it had been recorded to tape or to a hard drive or to a flash drive.

It's a convenience thing.

It also depends on the format one chooses.

The SR12 records in AVCHD. No AVCHD camcorder records to tape, only to hard drive or flash drive.

Tape will be around as long as higher end HDV camcorders will be around, like this one.

[a href=\"http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-XH-A1-Camcorder-Review.htm]http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon...rder-Review.htm[/url]

Tape is also a reliable option for those traveling to more remote areas. Those tape drives are pretty sturdy.

HDV format based camcorders are still recording to tape, but there are (costlier) hard drive recording options.

If buying an AVCHD camcorder now, I'd recommend getting one that is recording to flash storage.

There is, for example, the Sony CX-7 (which should be the SR11 or SR12 with a flash drive- Sony usually produces the same camcorder with both spinning hard drives and flash drives, calling them SR and CX), but a successor is in the works.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 03:14:17 PM by The View » Logged

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The View
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2008, 03:24:17 PM »
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There is an AVCHD option to the Canon HV20/HV30, called HF10.

It records to a flash card, and there is a more expensive model which has an additional internal flash storage.

Some say, that the HF10 is the first AVCHD camcorder matching HDV quality, but I don't think so.

Sure, the AVCHD based camcorders have much improved (the first were just horrible), but it has still way to go to maturity.

I really don't want to start the umpteenth AVCHD vs. HDV discussion, I just want to give the OP a few ideas what's out there.

AVCHD is also quite demanding to edit. You need a fast computer.

Regarding image quality, I think the hdv image of the hv30 shows better light quality than the AVCHD recordings of the HF10.

I also found out that capturing AVCHD isn't just pulling a digital file onto your computer.

At least for a Mac, you need to put the files into another format to edit them.

Which takes exactly the same amount of time as capturing from tape.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2008, 05:07:16 PM »
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There is an AVCHD option to the Canon HV20/HV30, called HF10.

It records to a flash card, and there is a more expensive model which has an additional internal flash storage.

Some say, that the HF10 is the first AVCHD camcorder matching HDV quality, but I don't think so.

Sure, the AVCHD based camcorders have much improved (the first were just horrible), but it has still way to go to maturity.

I really don't want to start the umpteenth AVCHD vs. HDV discussion, I just want to give the OP a few ideas what's out there.

AVCHD is also quite demanding to edit. You need a fast computer.

Regarding image quality, I think the hdv image of the hv30 shows better light quality than the AVCHD recordings of the HF10.

I also found out that capturing AVCHD isn't just pulling a digital file onto your computer.

At least for a Mac, you need to put the files into another format to edit them.

Which takes exactly the same amount of time as capturing from tape.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=195279\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OP here...

I actually opted for the Canon HF10 a week or so after my original post. (The HF10 has 16gig internal, the HF100, has no internal memory).

The software that comes with the camera is useless (as expected) Pinnacle Studio 11 handles the native files without issue (which is not true of the corresponding Adobe application).  Editing is quite easy, horsepower mainly required for rendering, on my machine it take roughly 10 minutes to render 1 minute of video.  I like the no HD or tapes, and the quality (to an undiscriminating user - me, and my wife) is great.
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James R Russell
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2008, 10:45:55 PM »
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The HV20 does indeed have an EVF, but it also uses tape.

Not to be provocative, but using tape these days is somewhat akin to shooting film. I doubt that there will be tape-based camcorders on the market any longer within the next 18 months.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192674\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I am sure it will all be flashed based soon, but tape is cheap and easy to collect.

Heck, just hook the camera up to I-movie, scrub to the first frame and go have a cup of coffee.

Still, tape can be fragile, drop frame and of course has to be rewound.

JR
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 10:46:17 PM by James R Russell » Logged

Don Libby
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2008, 10:51:56 AM »
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We’re getting ready for an extended trip driving from Tucson AZ to Alaska and just at the last moment (last week and we leave Fri) decided that some sort of video might be nice.

We picked up a Canon G-9 as a walk around camera and have liked what it does and played with the video portion of it as well – which turned out to be our downfall!  The video is nice but nowhere near great quality.  We wanted a robust camera system that would take the harsh conditions of the trip.  Didn’t want to mess with tape nor did I feel comfortable with a hard drive (you know what they say about hard drives; it’s not a matter of if but when they crash) so flash looked good.  Had a close look at the Canon FH10 with its internal 16GB flash and external card system and liked it.

I agree with Michael that it would have been nice to have a backup view finder instead of just the screen but felt this was a decent compromise.  We’ve had this little camera (side by side comparison between the G-9 found them very similar in size and weight) for less that 7 days and like it very much.  The software that came with the camera is nice but for the documentation.  

All in all for what the intended use is I think we’ve got a winner – this will be for our personal use and maybe a couple short videos on the blog – no video series or anything that would come close to the quality that Michael produces  

don
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