Originally Posted by rbouch8828
Back when you were singing the praises of the SR12, and I sent you info about the specs of the soon to be released HF11, with its higher data rate, you put it down, saying the Sony color was superior to the Canon color and you mentioned operation benefits of the SR12, like its direct viewfinder and its audio input.
Is your switch to Canon only based on the added resolution of the higher data rate? If so, would you prefer a 24 mbps Sony like the SR12 over a Canon at 24 mbps with the other features being the same?
Good points rbouch and when I looked at the HF10, I had no reason to believe the HF11/HG21 with their higher bitrates would impact anything but fine detail while panning. To be honest, I still don't know how much of a role the higher bitrate is playing!
The color on the HG21 (and I assume the HF11) is better than what I saw on the HF10, which I felt was too blue in a variety of shooting situations. The HG21 displays a very nice, neutral color palette. The Sony's colors are certainly very pleasing, but when you do a direct comparison to the HG21, it becomes very apparent there is too much red in the Sony image. Both my wife and my friend have brown hair and, by comparison, the Sony appeared to have a reddish tinge to it compared to the same shots shot at the same time with the HG21. You might not ever notice it if you didn't see the Canon image and the very neutral browns it produces.
I don't believe this is a function of 24mbps since the same color is evident at 17mbps with the same camera. I've found over the years that even the same camcorder manufacturer will change the color balance from one model to the next, so there are no guarantees from any of these companies as to what the color will look like with their next model regardless of bitrate.
An example was going from my Sony VX2000 to the Sony VX2100 (both prosumer mini-DV cams). You'd think they'd have basically the same color right? You'd be wrong as was I. The VX2100 has a much cooler palette which at first I didn't like. But now that I've used it for some time, I look back at my VX2000 (which I still own) and it looks too warm. In fact the colors of the 2100 are more accurate.
As to the viewfinder, keep in mind the HG21 does indeed have a viewfinder, but its LCD is not as nice as the SR12's. Since I really don't like using the LCD (I wear reading glasses), this wasn't much of a sacrifice for me. For others it may well be a consideration.
So to answer your question, both the HG21 and our next 'SR13' with the highest 24mbps datarate would have the same features, viewfinder and LCD. My switch was based on both improved sharpness, resolution and color. Keep in mind that any given camera might 'appear sharper' but might not have any additional resolution. Sometimes manufacturers just add 'in-camera sharpening' to some models to make the unit look sharper when in fact it might actually have less resolution than another unit that doesn't appear as sharp. The HG21 both appears sharper and does have more resolution. So that was my rationale for the switch.
It's hard to predict what the color of the next Sony will be, I've given up with any of these manufacturers in trying to predict that. So no, I don't think I'd switch to a Sony @24mbps just based on the datarate. Might the color be better than the HG21? Anything is possible and I wouldn't call the HG21's color 'perfect'. What I would like to see and what could sway me to a Sony is if the dynamic range was significantly improved. Unfortunately I don't see that happening unless they went to a larger chip or 3-chips...neither one a likely occurrence. I think the limited dynamic range (and of course the features) are what differentiates the prosumer models from these units.