Canon HF20 / HF200 Official Owner's Thread - AVS Forum
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, I saw many other models had their own "official" thread...so, why not one for ours? I don't really care which direction this takes, as long as it's on the topic of this camcorder. I just bought the HF20 yesterday (and am also a quasi-newb), and will be reporting in the days to come. Some possible topics of discussion:

Discuss your experiences shooting different scenes (outside, indoor with low light, outside under street lights, etc.) and the settings which have proven most successful under those conditions. If it's a custom or manual setting that has best served you, please provide those settings, as well!

What are you experiences with the supplied Pixela software? What software have you had most success in editing, etc. with? What do you think is the minimum specs for a computer to smoothly edit/render these buggery AVCHD files? This seems to be a common problem.

Any comments on accessories. Off brand extra batteries/chargers, additional lenses (wide-angle, etc.), microphones, even tripods, camera bags, whatever!

Anyway, I hope you guys find some interest in this. I look forward to sharing/learning from you all! Alright, enough of the Kumbaya...Have fun!
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:58 AM
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I am pleased with the HF20. I use the slightly longer zoom for shooting surfing, especially at lower tides when the waves break further outside. I attach the add-on Canon video light accessory in low-light indoor situations. For me, this provides sufficient extra lighting.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:12 AM
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Time to plug my HF200 YouTube review again!

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Old 08-06-2009, 10:50 AM
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After reading CamcorderInfo's review, I was somewhat puzzled. Throughout the review they kept saying that the HF200 had very similar PQ to its big brother the HFS100. In the conclusion though they stated that the HF20 was a major downgrade from last years HF11.

I'm am currently a proud owner of a Canon HV20 which I have had for almost 3 years. I decided so buy this cam after thorough research and basing my decision mostly on CamcorderInfo's review. The HV20 has been a benchmark for others to follow. Rightfully so, the picture quality is stunning!

I jumped the gun and ordered the HF200 (PAL version) a few weeks ago because I need a smaller camera for a trip that I going on in the Summer and I also did not want to deviate for the HV20's quality and also not want to spend a fortune.

After doing some filming with my new toy and playing it back on my 50 inch Panasonic plasma, I have to say that the quality is AMAZING! The colors pop more than the HV20 and the sharpness is notably better. I can say without any hesitation that it shoots more impressive and crisper images than the HV20 at least in daylight. The noise in low light is greatly exaggerated in many reviews I think, the HV20 also is noisy in low light but the HF200 remains so damn sharp!

If anyone is thinking of buying this cam I highly recommend that you do so, you will not be disappointed. I don't think that anything near that price can produce such images.

I hope you guys find small review useful because I could not get a straight answer from anyone on the web while I was searching to decide for this purchase.

A good place to download sample videos of the new HF21 and many other camcorders:
http://av.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/series/zooma/
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:06 PM
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Hmm after reading this I am getting tempted to pick up a hf200 for £500 and then a E-P1 for my camera needs, or I was also tempted with the GH1 but I still think getting a dedicated video camera would be far better in the end and of course if I get the E-P1 I have the 720p option if I just want 1 device.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:59 PM
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I bought the HF200 because the price difference between that and the HF20 was greater than the cost of the chip. A 32GB chip is around $80 and will drop. The standard difference between the HF20 and HF200 is around $200 and the price of the internal 32GB chip will never decrease whereas the SDHC chip will always drop in price...the speed of the chip will always remain the same as well. San Disk just released a 32GB Class 10 SDHC card at a 30GB/sec transfer rate...and you don't have to plug in the HF200 into your computer for transfer. You have to leave your camera attached to use the internal 32GB chip...not very efficient for the extra cost.

The HF20 lists for $899. I paid $599 at CompUSA (plust $29 for tech upgrade in case something new comes along) and used the cash savings to buy a WP-V1 underwater housing for the HF200 which I will use on Sunday.

Sure. My AMD Turion laptop chokes, pukes, and then dies trying to digest AVCHD content...it can't even PLAY an MTS file let alone RENDER one, so I'm getting a new laptop for editing...probably a SONY with SONY Vegas Pro.

I love the ability to edit within the camera and output to my 130" DT-510 projector in HD. The video quality is better than cable. It is simply amazing!

Thanks for setting up this thread.

My suggestion?

Provide your computer configuration (are brands and model numbers allowed? Please, searching for specs is like looking for a needle in a haystack!)
Provide the name of your editing software.
Provide a link to your Vimeo or YouTube content so we can learn.

Oh. I picked up a Manfrotto ModoSteady stabilization unit and love the versatility it offers. I simply twist the "tail" with the weights in it to the right a little bit to counterbalance the screen being flipped open. For under a hundred, this does a great job.
I am going to get the Jag35 (not sure which model yet) DOF adapter for film work. I'll add to that discussion as well.

Again, thanks!

We are, in essence, stardust...with consciousness. That..... is awe.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:19 PM
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http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc

Our cameras are already obsolete.

We are, in essence, stardust...with consciousness. That..... is awe.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:10 PM
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I bought the HF200 in May and am loving it! SDHC cards are so cheap now. I regularly see 8gig, Class 6 cards on Amazon for $15.

Conchchowder: I'd love to see some test footage and hear more about the ModoSteady. I'm really curious as to how it does with our light cameras -which in steadicam terms: lighter=shakier and harder to keep smooth.

Same thing with the JAG35. I've seen amazing footage with Canon's similar to ours and want to know how awkward it is filming upside down.

\m/
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:45 PM
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I bought the HF200 also. I love it. I have an 8gb and a 16gb SanDisk extreme III class 6 SDHC cards.

One thing to note it DOES NOT support a class 10 card. we all need to be writing to canon to update their firmware to recognize this class. Its a simple code fix to recognize the code. I have already run into this issue with sandisk changing their extreme III cards to class 10 from class 6. nothing about the card changed except for the class identifier. I have emailed them a few time about it, but I think they are going to need some convincing from users before they will do a firmware update.

Here is their response to me:

Quote:


Dear xxxx.xxxx

Thank you for your E-mail inquiry regarding your Canon Vixia HF200 Digital Camcorder.

It is only through our customers comments and suggestions that we are able to manufacture quality products that our customers will be able to use on a consistent basis. The fact that you took the time to write to us is indeed appreciated. Please be assured that your comments have been forwarded onto the appropriate Department for their information and review.

Should you require further assistance, please feel free to email us or visit our customer support website at canonDOTca

Sincerely,

Mike B.
Technical Support Representative
Customer Information Centre
Canon Canada Inc.

Canadian support email address: customer_support@canada.canon.com
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:25 PM
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Support for Class 10 would be nice, but seems unnecessary/overkill. Isn't Class 6 fast enough?

I would rather they jump ahead and start supporting the SDXC cards...

\m/
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:15 PM
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It would be overkill if the cards were actually faster. SanDisk just moved all their extreme III cards up to class 10, I am sure others will do the same if their speeds allow them to do so, then the cards that once worked in our cameras will no longer work.

The new SD format will not be out anytime soon and even if it was it would take a while for manufacturers to adopt it.

What Brand of SD cards do you guys use and trust. I have had bad experiances with the cheaper cards so I tend to stick with SanDisk.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:35 PM
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I just got the HF200, and I seem to have two problem. The first is that the sound is very low compaired to the actual sound in the room that it was recorded from. The second is it has a hiss. I shut off the air, which I thought was doing it, but it wasn't. Everyone and all reviews says it's a great camcorder. Can somebody who has one please help, so I can record sound at a normal volume, and with clearity. Thanks
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgdigital View Post

Support for Class 10 would be nice, but seems unnecessary/overkill. Isn't Class 6 fast enough?

The problem is that Vixia's currently refuse to record at 1920x1080 on Class 10 cards. The firmware incorrectly assumes the card is too slow...even though it's obviously fast enough.

So just purchase Class 6 or Class 4 right? If only it were that easy.

Recently got a great deal on SanDisk Extreme III Class 6 SDHC card. Turns out the packaging (Class 6) doesn't necessarily match the actual card inside the box (Class 10). Argh.

Allowing Class 10--ideally, anything Class 4 or better--should be a relatively simple fix. If not, Canon really screwed up the firmware.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:15 AM
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Based on my past experience with absurd programming screw-ups, it appears as if the firmware is only checking the first byte of the card's speed, and not the full number. So the camcorder thinks the card is a Class 1 device. It's like when a lot of Web sites kept saying your version of Adobe Flash Player was too old even though it was updated to version 10.

Unfortunately, camcorder firmware updates seem to be Canon's weakest element. Has ANY firmware update ever been issued for any of their camcorders even though it's proven beyond a doubt that the firmware has a showstopper bug?
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watcher69 View Post

I just got the HF200, and I seem to have two problem. The first is that the sound is very low compaired to the actual sound in the room that it was recorded from. The second is it has a hiss. I shut off the air, which I thought was doing it, but it wasn't. Everyone and all reviews says it's a great camcorder. Can somebody who has one please help, so I can record sound at a normal volume, and with clearity. Thanks

That sounds odd. Check your settings -there is an option for on-screen audio meters. Turn those on and see how they react to your environment.

If the hiss remains, I'd take it back and get a replacement.

\m/
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:57 PM
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hello all,

i just bought the hf20 and the sister asked me if i could also shoot the video for her wedding. granted, i know this isn't a professional camcorder, but i wanted to ask for your guidance on additional accessories i could pick up. sd cards and batteries, i think im ok on. i wanted to ask for your advice on the dm-100 mic or the vl-5/vlf-2 video lights, or if there are good alternatives by other brands.

lastly, is there a bag that would be a good size to hold camcorder and all accessories?

thanks.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:00 PM
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I have the HF20, but I'm going to break the positive vibe here by saying that I'm not impressed. All of my shooting is outside, which looks pretty good with blue skies. The problems I've run into involve partly cloudy conditions that create lots of contrast which, in turn, creates that hazy look on the video. The contrast adjustments won't do anything for this, neither will any of the other adjustments, fps, etc. I've had better luck editing out the haze via software, but it is a bit of a pain. I will be bringing it with me on vacation in September, so I'll have a ton of video to scour once I return. If it still shows the same lackluster results, it'll probably be on Ebay in October.

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Old 08-10-2009, 02:23 PM
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The HF200 does have a 37mm filter thread on it. How do image photographers deal with this issue? Which filter could help reduce the haze?
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois Caron View Post

The HF200 does have a 37mm filter thread on it. How do image photographers deal with this issue? Which filter could help reduce the haze?

Great work on the youtube video, BTW. Good question with the filters. Never having owned a camcorder before, I have no idea. However, I don't use filters on my DSLR at all. I have one lying around somewhere that I bought specifically for water shots (kayaking), but honestly haven't needed to use it. It's just kind of frustrating for me since I'm always shooting my DSLR every place I go, and comparing the stills to the video footage is night & day in some instances. From what I've downloaded, the still cams w/video seem to handle contrast especially well & more in line with a general still cam (gh1, ep-1). Of course, the great lenses help, along with the large range of possible settings.

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Old 08-10-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois Caron View Post

The HF200 does have a 37mm filter thread on it. How do image photographers deal with this issue? Which filter could help reduce the haze?

Either a polarizer or neutral density filter would help with haze -I'm not sure which is better for that. Most places sell them together as filter kits.

\m/
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:59 PM
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Hi all. I'm one of your fellow HF200 owners, and proud of it I might add. Anyway this is the first Camcorder I've ever owned, did a ton of research and shopping around before deciding on this one.

As much as I love this video camera, I'm having a few issues and really need some expert opinion. I'm looking to buy a DM-100 microphone to improve the sound but it seems that Mic is sold out everywhere. There are many other mics available for cheaper, but it seems they require an adaptor and some are so large they look incredibly stupid on this small camcorder. Do any of you feel I should keep hunting for a dm-100 or buy another one, and if so which one?

Now another accessory I feel is needed is a wide-angle lens. There are so many different types for sale. They seem to range from about 15 dollars on Ebay to around 300 dollars for a Canon brand one. I don't mean to sound cheap and I know some say "you get what you pay for" but I simply can't afford 200-300 dollars. I'm sure their is some difference in quality among the cheaper lenses. I would have no problem spending up to around 100 dollars. Are there any good ones at that price or under? Or am I simply out of luck.

Editing software? What's a good reasonably priced editing program that works for this camera? I don't own a Macintosh, I have two regular laptobs, One has a AMD 1.9 gig duel-core with ATI X-1250 graphics card, the other is a 2 ghz Pentium Duel-Core with GMA 4500 graphics card. When I try to play footage off this camera using the programs the camera came with, they won't run at a smooth frame-rate. It looks crappy in quality and runs slowly. My laptobs can both play HD footage off youtube smoothly, so I don't understand what the problem is. When I hook my camcorder directly to my sony bravia via HDMI it looks and runs awesome. I need to find a decent beginner level program to run and edit my footage. Any suggestions?

Lastly any thoughts on a reasonable tri-pod? I'm a state employee here so I need most bang for my buck

I was just hoping to get some discussion going on some of these topics since this is the "official owners thread" and all. I'm sure there are many other lurkers around wondering some of the same things. Thanks
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:14 AM
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I have the HF200.
I bought a couple Transcend 32gb SDHC cards class 6, and after a film-> power down-> and then powerup, I get a message, (essentially) that says I need to save the video as it hadn't properly saved it. I do that and all is well again. It happens each time.
It does not happen on my Patriot memory.
Anyone seen this?
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardworker View Post

I have the HF200.
I bought a couple Transcend 32gb SDHC cards class 6, and after a film-> power down-> and then powerup, I get a message, (essentially) that says I need to save the video as it hadn't properly saved it. I do that and all is well again. It happens each time.
It does not happen on my Patriot memory.
Anyone seen this?

Try reformatting the memory with the camera.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by lurewars View Post

Hi all. I'm one of your fellow HF200 owners, and proud of it I might add. Anyway this is the first Camcorder I've ever owned, did a ton of research and shopping around before deciding on this one.

As much as I love this video camera, I'm having a few issues and really need some expert opinion. I'm looking to buy a DM-100 microphone to improve the sound but it seems that Mic is sold out everywhere. There are many other mics available for cheaper, but it seems they require an adaptor and some are so large they look incredibly stupid on this small camcorder. Do any of you feel I should keep hunting for a dm-100 or buy another one, and if so which one?

Now another accessory I feel is needed is a wide-angle lens. There are so many different types for sale. They seem to range from about 15 dollars on Ebay to around 300 dollars for a Canon brand one. I don't mean to sound cheap and I know some say "you get what you pay for" but I simply can't afford 200-300 dollars. I'm sure their is some difference in quality among the cheaper lenses. I would have no problem spending up to around 100 dollars. Are there any good ones at that price or under? Or am I simply out of luck.

Editing software? What's a good reasonably priced editing program that works for this camera? I don't own a Macintosh, I have two regular laptobs, One has a AMD 1.9 gig duel-core with ATI X-1250 graphics card, the other is a 2 ghz Pentium Duel-Core with GMA 4500 graphics card. When I try to play footage off this camera using the programs the camera came with, they won't run at a smooth frame-rate. It looks crappy in quality and runs slowly. My laptobs can both play HD footage off youtube smoothly, so I don't understand what the problem is. When I hook my camcorder directly to my sony bravia via HDMI it looks and runs awesome. I need to find a decent beginner level program to run and edit my footage. Any suggestions?

Lastly any thoughts on a reasonable tri-pod? I'm a state employee here so I need most bang for my buck

I was just hoping to get some discussion going on some of these topics since this is the "official owners thread" and all. I'm sure there are many other lurkers around wondering some of the same things. Thanks

Okay, since this thread is not exactly a hotbed of activity, for the benefit of myself as well as others let me take a stab at answering my own questions...

I called a product specialist at bhphoto and video and he claimed that the best inexpensive wide angle lens is the Impact DVP-SWA38. It is 89.95 and he claimed you could zoom nicely with little if any distortion. So if there is any brave souls out there willing to talk about this or any other wide angle lens please come forward now. I may try this one out. I guess worst case scenerio is I'll have to send it back.

As far as editing software he said Adobe Premiere Elements 7 is about the best for a noob like me when it comes to AVCHD recording. I told him I was looking to spend under 100. This program is 89.95 at B&H. I noticed cheaper deals on Ebay for around 50. He also told me I would need a more powerful computer. Most likely with a quad processor and at least 4gigs of ram, as the computers I have are under-powered to deal with the AVCHD format. Great, now I'll have a new computer payment to look forward to

Now onto the microphone. I was told the Canon-DM-100's are sold out from the Canon factory. His recommendation was the Sennheiser MKE-400. But, this mic would require the accessory adaptor shoe (sold seperately of course) and it is powered by a seperate battery as it would not fit into the HF200's mini-accessory shoe to pull off the camera's battery. This Mic sells for $199. Found it for $129 off Ebay. I don't know though. Not convinced on the mic. I think I'll wait for the DM-100 to come back in stock. My guts telling me I'd be happier with that one.

So thank you myself for that well researched answer to my question. And thanks to all my fellow Hf200 "owners" for all the helpful responses. All these amazing and insightful posts are going to make my decisions much easier when deciding what to buy. But seriously, hope this post has helped someone as I've been lost trying to weave my way around the camcorder jungle. Most likely this post will just get buried under someone wanting to talk about formatting SD cards again

Ya'll have a nice day.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurewars View Post


Now another accessory I feel is needed is a wide-angle lens. There are so many different types for sale. They seem to range from about 15 dollars on Ebay to around 300 dollars for a Canon brand one. I don't mean to sound cheap and I know some say "you get what you pay for" but I simply can't afford 200-300 dollars. I'm sure their is some difference in quality among the cheaper lenses. I would have no problem spending up to around 100 dollars. Are there any good ones at that price or under? Or am I simply out of luck.

i bought a cheap one from Amazon and it works fine, as long as you zoom in a tad. I'm not sure if all of them are this way or just the cheap ones. Works great otherwise.

Quote:


Editing software? What's a good reasonably priced editing program that works for this camera? I don't own a Macintosh, I have two regular laptobs, One has a AMD 1.9 gig duel-core with ATI X-1250 graphics card, the other is a 2 ghz Pentium Duel-Core with GMA 4500 graphics card. When I try to play footage off this camera using the programs the camera came with, they won't run at a smooth frame-rate. It looks crappy in quality and runs slowly. My laptobs can both play HD footage off youtube smoothly, so I don't understand what the problem is. When I hook my camcorder directly to my sony bravia via HDMI it looks and runs awesome. I need to find a decent beginner level program to run and edit my footage. Any suggestions?

I can't recommend software (I use FCP on a Mac), but these cameras use the AVCHD codec @24mbps which is a processor-intensive monster. Compare that to HD youtube streaming at a very low bitrate (maybe 1/5th the mbps)

Quote:


Lastly any thoughts on a reasonable tri-pod? I'm a state employee here so I need most bang for my buck

I was just hoping to get some discussion going on some of these topics since this is the "official owners thread" and all. I'm sure there are many other lurkers around wondering some of the same things. Thanks

There are some great monopods that have little tripod feet you can fold out when you need them. Monopods also make great cheap steadicams. Nothing spectacular, but if you extend them down enough, it'll balance out with your camera and smooth out a lot of the jitter handholding incurs.

B&H photo and video is a great resource and so is Amazon.

\m/
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:53 PM
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Now onto the microphone. I was told the Canon-DM-100's are sold out from the Canon factory. His recommendation was the Sennheiser MKE-400. But, this mic would require the accessory adaptor shoe (sold seperately of course) and it is powered by a seperate battery as it would not fit into the HF200's mini-accessory shoe to pull off the camera's battery. This Mic sells for $199. Found it for $129 off Ebay. I don't know though. Not convinced on the mic. I think I'll wait for the DM-100 to come back in stock. My guts telling me I'd be happier with that one.

Ya'll have a nice day.

Are you filming things that require a better mic? For my general purpose recording, I've found the stock mic to be enough. Since cost is a factor, upgrading your computer will give you more bang for your buck. Plus with Adobe Premiere, you can mess with the sound in post, usually eliminating the need for a better mic.

How's that for a hotbed of info?

\m/
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rgdigital View Post

i bought a cheap one from Amazon and it works fine, as long as you zoom in a tad. I'm not sure if all of them are this way or just the cheap ones. Works great otherwise.



I can't recommend software (I use FCP on a Mac), but these cameras use the AVCHD codec @24mbps which is a processor-intensive monster. Compare that to HD youtube streaming at a very low bitrate (maybe 1/5th the mbps)



There are some great monopods that have little tripod feet you can fold out when you need them. Monopods also make great cheap steadicams. Nothing spectacular, but if you extend them down enough, it'll balance out with your camera and smooth out a lot of the jitter handholding incurs.

B&H photo and video is a great resource and so is Amazon.

Thanks for the response. Which lens did you buy off Amazon and how much exactly did you pay? I'd like to take a look at it. Also thanks for the info on the monopods. I'll have to look into them.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgdigital View Post

Are you filming things that require a better mic? For my general purpose recording, I've found the stock mic to be enough. Since cost is a factor, upgrading your computer will give you more bang for your buck. Plus with Adobe Premiere, you can mess with the sound in post, usually eliminating the need for a better mic.

How's that for a hotbed of info?

Thanks for the response and good question. I'm not sure if I exactly "require" a better mic or not, but I'm kind of getting picky on audio. The HF200 has way too pretty of video to put up with sub-standard sound. It nearly broke my spirit when I was was watching some awesome outside footage of my Arizona trip, only to hear the krinkling, krackling wind pushing up against the mic (I don't even remember it being very windy out). It gave me horrific flashbacks of the old-school camcorder footage my dad used to take of the family Surely we should have evolved from this by now. Also, I would like to attempt some creative and fun stuff and put it on Youtube, just not sure what that stuff will consist of yet.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:55 PM
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Took the plunge and ordered the Canon DM-100 microphone from Focuscamera.com. I paid 149.00 plus 10.00 dollars shipping. Not quite the best price on the net but close. It was the best price of anyone that has the item in stock. Once this mic shows up in the mail, I'll post my opinion of how well it works and wether I feel it's a good value or not. Judging from all the posts I can tell you're all just dying to hear about it. Once again though, if anyone owns an HF20/200 and has any microphone, lens, hood, tripod, recording advice, or anything else regarding this camera, PLEASE SHARE IT.

I know I'm not the only noob around here that needs some help. And when searching the net for any forum help, it's almost impossible to find. I can't understand why, as I'm sure they've sold a boatload of these things. Or maybe I'm the only dumb one and everyone else knows exactly what they are doing. Hmmm. I'm going to go sit around and ponder that for awhile...
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:13 PM
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Hello... Have had the HF200 for a couple months now...
Some opinions...
I have a Wide Angle Lens from Amazon, and it is a bit soft in edges in low light.
Ordering a different mfg unit from 47th Photo... claims to be better...

Has there been any firmware updates for the HF200?

I have been using Trancend 16Gb cards, and have not encountered the issue someone posted earlier.

So far, love the camera.... looking for tweak information...
The tweaks I've used so far is: Pushed chroma and detail (seeing that I'm running with wide angle lensz at all times).

I'm using Premiere Pro CS4, and loving it.

Looking for a 1939 Indian Motocycle
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