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post #1 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I want to buy the best consumer camcorder, and my budget is about $900-$1200.

I'm looking around and it seems like the best one is the Canon Vixia G20 - am I correct in this assumption?

I have a few questions:

1. Do I really need this? I currently have a Sony A65 digital SLR that records AVCHD video and I've always been so impressed with it. The quality is great. Recently I've been making my own cool little videos with it and I want to go up a level to something more professional. Take a look at this video I made from my vacation on YouTube with my Sony and let me know if you think the Canon Vixia will be dramatically better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGkD02Be474

2. My sony isn't as stable as I'd like it to be (it can be shaky sometimes). One of my biggest reasons for wanting to move up a level in terms of professionalism is I like how the Vixia has really good stabilization. Currently, I stabilize my Sony video with iMovie and it degrades the quality quite a bit I find. So is the Vixia great with stabilization?

3. Will the Vixia be compatible with iMovie on my Mac? Or will I have to convert all my videos before importing them?

4. What is your opinion regarding the difference in quality of my Sony and the Canon Vixia? Should I not bother? Do I already have something great and I just don't know it?

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention - one thing I really want is the ability to do slow motion, like the slow motion segment in the video I posted above of my skydiving (that part was not shot with my camera). Currently, I can't do slow motion because I think my sony's framerate isn't high enough? Will the Vixia be able to do this?
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 09:02 AM
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The Vixia G20 doesn't do slow motion, maximum frame rate is 30 fps. To get 60 fps for slow motion, you'll need the Vixia G30. You may also wish to consider the Panasonic X920, which has outstanding image stabilization and shoots in 60 fps. Any of those three camcorders will provide superior image quality in bright to medium light vs your DSLR. The Panasonic will give you the highest image quality in bright light (eg. outdoors), but the Canons may provide better image quality in medium light (eg., indoors). You shoot a lot of wide angle outdoor landscapes; the Panasonic will be best for that. Personally, I would go for the X920 for your outdoor shots and use the DSLR for your low light indoor shots.
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi! Thanks for your help... I think I saw some info about this one earlier. Can this one do still photos too? Do you happen to know if these photos will meet or exceed the quality of my DSLR? That would be awesome because then I wouldn't have to carry both around.
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 10:00 AM
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60i means 60 frames per second interlaced. You want 60p, or progressive. The most commonly reccommended cameras for slow motion on this forum have been the Panasonic FZ200 and LX7.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 01:41 PM
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Your DSLR will take better stills than any camcorder, by a long shot.

60i means the sensor is sampled at 30 frames per second, but the frames are encoded in an interlaced format (eg., 60 half-frames per second). You'll need at least 60 frames per second to get slow motion.

The LX7 can take 120 fps but only at reduced resolution (720p).

Most of your footage was wide angle landscapes in bright light, which look best with lots of detail. The X920 will give you the best results for that type of shot, by far, because it has great image stabilization and its footage has the highest measured resolution.
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 03:17 PM
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Hi ovoxo - I agree with hatchback - the X920 is probably the best consumer camcorder in your price range. If you need good stabilization, 1080/60p for slow motion and great low light performance, it is a very good value for your money.

He's also right that your A65 will take better stills - but the 900 series camcorders aren't bad still cameras. I took this with my TM900 and its built-in flash (a feature it shares with the X920):


The X920 is not a bad outdoor still camera, either (courtesy of pianonotes88 on flickr):


Here is the video quality you'll get indoors:


You can get one for $998 right now, or order one for about $80 less from Amazon and wait a few weeks for delivery (they're backordered at that price).

Like your A65, the X920's highest resolution recordings are in AVCHD. To edit in iMovie, you will have to transcode to Quicktime with something like the free Media Converter software.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-22-2013, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

One more question, on the BestBuy website it says the Canon can do 60i... doesn't that mean 60 fps?
60 fields per second, which you can convert into 60 full frames per second (losing resolution, obviously, but you will still have plenty), which you can then slow down to 30p. OTOH, interlaced is out, all progressive is in. I would rather suggest a Panasonic camcorder with 1080p60 and good stabilization.
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Originally Posted by hatchback View Post

60i means the sensor is sampled at 30 frames per second, but the frames are encoded in an interlaced format (eg., 60 half-frames per second). You'll need at least 60 frames per second to get slow motion.
The sensor is sampled at 60 images per second. 60p is not required for slo-mo.

P.S. ovoxo, nice video! Good editing rules, better equipment does not matter much.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-23-2013, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

One more question, on the BestBuy website it says the Canon can do 60i... doesn't that mean 60 fps?

Not to beat a dead horse, but here is the best explanation I've seen of why you want to stay away from interlaced (with sample pictures): http://www.axis.com/products/video/camera/progressive_scan.htm
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post #11 of 25 Old 06-23-2013, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

Hi everyone,

I want to buy the best consumer camcorder, and my budget is about $900-$1200.

I'm looking around and it seems like the best one is the Canon Vixia G20 - am I correct in this assumption?

I have a few questions:

1. Do I really need this? I currently have a Sony A65 digital SLR that records AVCHD video and I've always been so impressed with it. The quality is great. Recently I've been making my own cool little videos with it and I want to go up a level to something more professional. Take a look at this video I made from my vacation on YouTube with my Sony and let me know if you think the Canon Vixia will be dramatically better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGkD02Be474

2. My sony isn't as stable as I'd like it to be (it can be shaky sometimes). One of my biggest reasons for wanting to move up a level in terms of professionalism is I like how the Vixia has really good stabilization. Currently, I stabilize my Sony video with iMovie and it degrades the quality quite a bit I find. So is the Vixia great with stabilization?

3. Will the Vixia be compatible with iMovie on my Mac? Or will I have to convert all my videos before importing them?

4. What is your opinion regarding the difference in quality of my Sony and the Canon Vixia? Should I not bother? Do I already have something great and I just don't know it?

Thanks for your help!
Save your money for the new Canon HF G30.
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/news/canon-s-new-flagship-hf-g30-has-a-ton-of-upgrades
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post #12 of 25 Old 06-23-2013, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, wow thanks for all the replies!

So, in excitement I went to BestBuy hoping to buy the X920 before I read all of your replies after my last post because it sounded to be exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, they were sold out, but they had an X900 for $789 on clearance - however, they had no stock of that either, but the guy said they would sell me the demo model that was there (which appeared to be in perfect condition) for a 5% discount.

It seemed a little bit sketchy... because they didn't have the original packaging and the charger was missing from their accessories, so instead they gave me a panasonic travel charger. I figured for such a good price, and considering it does 60p, it would be good for me.

But, I took it home and something's wrong with it... it wont' turn on. At all. The battery has been charging forever and it just won't go on - also, it seems like theres something broken inside of it because theres a noise in there when I move it - even if it's not something actually broken, I definitely can have this because it would catch on the microphone for sure.

So, I have this X900 and haven't even been able to turn it on (the demo model was not turned on because it didn't have a power supply).

I'm obviously going to take this back and get a refund - but do you think that a WORKING X900 would fit my needs? Is the stabilization THAT much better on the X920? I think if the X920 is that much better then I will probably try and save for the Canon G30. I really love the look of it and was kind of disappointed by the cheap feel of the Panasonic (however I know that doesn't really matter, but not being able to turn it on means I could only judge it by it's cover).

Thanks again for your help! What do you think?
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post #13 of 25 Old 06-23-2013, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

Hey guys, wow thanks for all the replies!

So, in excitement I went to BestBuy hoping to buy the X920 before I read all of your replies after my last post because it sounded to be exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, they were sold out, but they had an X900 for $789 on clearance - however, they had no stock of that either, but the guy said they would sell me the demo model that was there (which appeared to be in perfect condition) for a 5% discount.

It seemed a little bit sketchy... because they didn't have the original packaging and the charger was missing from their accessories, so instead they gave me a panasonic travel charger. I figured for such a good price, and considering it does 60p, it would be good for me.

But, I took it home and something's wrong with it... it wont' turn on. At all. The battery has been charging forever and it just won't go on - also, it seems like theres something broken inside of it because theres a noise in there when I move it - even if it's not something actually broken, I definitely can have this because it would catch on the microphone for sure.

So, I have this X900 and haven't even been able to turn it on (the demo model was not turned on because it didn't have a power supply).

I'm obviously going to take this back and get a refund - but do you think that a WORKING X900 would fit my needs? Is the stabilization THAT much better on the X920? I think if the X920 is that much better then I will probably try and save for the Canon G30. I really love the look of it and was kind of disappointed by the cheap feel of the Panasonic (however I know that doesn't really matter, but not being able to turn it on means I could only judge it by it's cover).

Thanks again for your help! What do you think?

The X920 low light image quality and stabilization are significantly better than the X900, although the bright light image quality should be similar.

In bright to medium light the X920 will have significantly more measured resolution than any of the Canons, including the G30. The Canon G30 has a 20x zoom (best in class) and is likely to have better low light image quality than the X920.
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post #14 of 25 Old 06-23-2013, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatchback View Post

The X920 low light image quality and stabilization are significantly better than the X900, although the bright light image quality should be similar.

In bright to medium light the X920 will have significantly more measured resolution than any of the Canons, including the G30. The Canon G30 has a 20x zoom (best in class) and is likely to have better low light image quality than the X920.

Is there tests or official statements confirming what you say [In bright to medium light the X920 will have significantly more measured resolution than any of the Canons, including the G30.]
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post #15 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 06:56 AM
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Is there tests or official statements confirming what you say [In bright to medium light the X920 will have significantly more measured resolution than any of the Canons, including the G30.]

Hi flinty - I don't know what hatchback's references are, but I agree with him.

Looking at Slashcam's 1200 lux and 12 lux examples from the G25, G30, and X929 (European versions of the G20, and X920) - it looks to my tired old eyes that the Panasonic has the edge. I am seriously thinking about ways to get this camera without my wife killing me smile.gif

http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-554b876e769937a4a19b027fc151b9d4.html

Cheers,

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post #16 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

Hey guys, wow thanks for all the replies!

So, in excitement I went to BestBuy hoping to buy the X920 before I read all of your replies after my last post because it sounded to be exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, they were sold out, but they had an X900 for $789 on clearance - however, they had no stock of that either, but the guy said they would sell me the demo model that was there (which appeared to be in perfect condition) for a 5% discount.

It seemed a little bit sketchy... because they didn't have the original packaging and the charger was missing from their accessories, so instead they gave me a panasonic travel charger. I figured for such a good price, and considering it does 60p, it would be good for me.

But, I took it home and something's wrong with it... it wont' turn on. At all. The battery has been charging forever and it just won't go on - also, it seems like theres something broken inside of it because theres a noise in there when I move it - even if it's not something actually broken, I definitely can have this because it would catch on the microphone for sure.

So, I have this X900 and haven't even been able to turn it on (the demo model was not turned on because it didn't have a power supply).

I'm obviously going to take this back and get a refund - but do you think that a WORKING X900 would fit my needs? Is the stabilization THAT much better on the X920? I think if the X920 is that much better then I will probably try and save for the Canon G30. I really love the look of it and was kind of disappointed by the cheap feel of the Panasonic (however I know that doesn't really matter, but not being able to turn it on means I could only judge it by it's cover).

Thanks again for your help! What do you think?

ovoxo - sorry to hear that BestBuy stuck you with a non-working demo frown.gif

As for whether you should get the X900 instead of the X920...in my view, the X920 is worth the extra money if only for its improved image quality in low light:

Here is a video from Panasonic showing a low light side-by-side between the Panasonic HC-X900 ($819 on eBay as of this post) and its replacement, the HC-X920 ($998 both at Amazon and at Samy's via eBay as of this post). Comparison starts at 4:12 (please watch at 1080p):


The other reason to get the X920 is wi-fi sharing. I have this on the GH3, and I don't know how I lived without it. I only wish I had the X920's live streaming capability.

I guess you can tell -- my vote is - take the X900 back to BestBuy and get the X920 smile.gif

Good luck!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

P.S. - if money is an issue, you can get a factory refurbished X920 with a 90 day Panasonic warranty for $899.99 through Amazon. That's how I got my TM900 a couple of years ago, and it has been a great camera.
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post #17 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 09:31 AM
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Hi flinty - I don't know what hatchback's references are, but I agree with him.

Looking at Slashcam's 1200 lux and 12 lux examples from the G25, G30, and X929 (European versions of the G20, and X920) - it looks to my tired old eyes that the Panasonic has the edge. I am seriously thinking about ways to get this camera without my wife killing me smile.gif

http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-554b876e769937a4a19b027fc151b9d4.html

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

It seems strange the G25 looks better low light than the G30,but the canons resolution is no way lower than the pana in the chart plus overal it scored 3 points more it has a higher birate and 20x while the pana has a 12x lens,but out in field tests are what count for me.
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post #18 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 10:05 AM
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Look at the camcorderinfo tests over time, or the slashcam.de frames, or the actual footage posted at av.watch.impress.co.jp. In bright light, the X920 and its predecessors can deliver 900-950 vertical lines of measured resolution (close to the limit of the format) while the Canons struggle to deliver 600-650 lines. The reason is simple: the Panasonics have three color sensors with a prism, while the Canons have a single sensor with a Bayer color filter. A sensor with a Bayer color filter can only deliver at most 70% of the sensor resolution without the color filter. So a single Bayer sensor with 1920x1080 pixels can deliver at most 1344x756 measured resolution, with a good de-Bayering algorithm. To reach 1920x1080 measured resolution, a Bayer sensor needs at least 2743x1542 pixels and a good de-Bayering algorithm. With a simple de-Bayering algorithm the Bayer sensor needs even more pixels. So for example, the Canon C100/C300/C500 use a sensor with 3840x2160 pixels and a simple de-Bayering algorithm to achieve footage with outstanding 1920x1080 measured resolution.

That doesn't mean the Panasonic consumer camcorders are strictly better than the Canons, or that the Canons are strictly better than the Panasonics. It simply means that the Panasonic footage has more resolution in bright light. So if you want to take footage of landscapes in bright light, the Panasonics will do a better job. But if you want to take movies of talking heads, where the additional resolution is not necessary, the Canons will do just as well. Both are good camcorders, and each is better at some situations than the other.
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post #19 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys - so, sorry to do a total 180 on you all, but I happened to walk by the Sony Store in the mall today and decided I'd walk in and check it out. Had no idea that I'd walk out with the Sony HDR-PJ790!

It's amazing. It has a projector that projects either your video/photos, or you can hook it up with HDMI to project your computer, etc. I just thought that was SO COOL and I've never seen something like that before.

But, the real selling factor was this Balanced Optical SteadyShot thing. It's insane, I can't believe how cool it is. I'm sure you all know what it is but if anyone doesn't, you can actually see the lens moving ALL the time to correct your unsteady hand. We did a stabilization test where two cameras (one being mine) were mounted to something, both cameras pointing at the same object, and then it shook and the PJ790 barely even moved, while the other one looked like an earthquake.

I also love how it has 96GB internal storage - that's really convinient. It also shoots in 60P which was one of my little requirements. It has a really great surround sound mic, too.

And it has a Carl Zeiss lens!

It's funny, I walked into Sony with a preconceived thought about their position in the camcorder market. Since I have the Sony Alpha D-SLR I was telling you about, I know that people with Nikons and Canons laugh at me (even though I think it's GREAT). I kind of thought that was the same thing with Sony for video cameras, but then the salesman at Sony told me with video cameras, it's the opposite - that's sony's bread and butter and most professional broadcasting stuff is done on Sony equipment. That made me feel a bit better.

I'm pretty sure the pricetag was $1699.99, but he told me that Sony does pricematching, so we went on one of their computers and found that a store nearby was selling it for $1419.00, so I got it for that price! Pretty awesome. I know it's above my budget I set out but I figure since my Sony Alpha DSLR does such a good job already, if I'm gonna "step it up", I better really step it up.

Also, I'm so impressed with the 24.1mp still camera function. I know that megapixels are obviously not the leading factor in photo quality, but coming from my 16.1mp Sony DSLR, I'm really impressed. I have't done any side by side comparisons but I'm hoping the PJ790's still camera will be good enough that I don't have to carry around two cameras. That would be great.

What do you guys think of my choice? I really love it! I will make some demo videos and post them here once I've played with it a bit!
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post #20 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 11:44 AM
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No full manual exposure settings on most (all?) recent (as in, 10 years) Sony consumer camcorders.
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post #21 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

Take a look at this video I made from my vacation on YouTube with my Sony and let me know if you think the Canon Vixia will be dramatically better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGkD02Be474
Your video is short clips with no sound. I think that you may be better off with a top-end Canon D-SLR (ie 7D). The image is excellent and you can do slo-mo with software.
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No full manual exposure settings on most (all?) recent (as in, 10 years) Sony consumer camcorders.
It makes little sense to have manual control in a camcorder. Light and focus are constantly changing. When you add in sound, it's better to let the camcorder take control (just like planes now have autopilot). Most camcorders offer software fixes allowing some manual direction - eg, focus direction. Sony has a front knob that can control one variable.
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What do you guys think of my choice? I really love it! I will make some demo videos and post them here once I've played with it a bit!
I've been using the PJ790V for several weeks now. I'm impressed too.
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post #22 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

No full manual exposure settings on most (all?) recent (as in, 10 years) Sony consumer camcorders.
It makes little sense to have manual control in a camcorder. Light and focus are constantly changing. When you add in sound, it's better to let the camcorder take control (just like planes now have autopilot).
Can as well use a smartphone.
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Most camcorders offer software fixes allowing some manual direction - eg, focus direction. Sony has a front knob that can control one variable.
Exactly, one variable. Cannot choose both aperture and shutter speed, for example.
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post #23 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ovoxo View Post

Hey guys - so, sorry to do a total 180 on you all, but I happened to walk by the Sony Store in the mall today and decided I'd walk in and check it out. Had no idea that I'd walk out with the Sony HDR-PJ790!

It's amazing. It has a projector that projects either your video/photos, or you can hook it up with HDMI to project your computer, etc. I just thought that was SO COOL and I've never seen something like that before.

But, the real selling factor was this Balanced Optical SteadyShot thing. It's insane, I can't believe how cool it is. I'm sure you all know what it is but if anyone doesn't, you can actually see the lens moving ALL the time to correct your unsteady hand. We did a stabilization test where two cameras (one being mine) were mounted to something, both cameras pointing at the same object, and then it shook and the PJ790 barely even moved, while the other one looked like an earthquake.

I also love how it has 96GB internal storage - that's really convinient. It also shoots in 60P which was one of my little requirements. It has a really great surround sound mic, too.

And it has a Carl Zeiss lens!

It's funny, I walked into Sony with a preconceived thought about their position in the camcorder market. Since I have the Sony Alpha D-SLR I was telling you about, I know that people with Nikons and Canons laugh at me (even though I think it's GREAT). I kind of thought that was the same thing with Sony for video cameras, but then the salesman at Sony told me with video cameras, it's the opposite - that's sony's bread and butter and most professional broadcasting stuff is done on Sony equipment. That made me feel a bit better.

I'm pretty sure the pricetag was $1699.99, but he told me that Sony does pricematching, so we went on one of their computers and found that a store nearby was selling it for $1419.00, so I got it for that price! Pretty awesome. I know it's above my budget I set out but I figure since my Sony Alpha DSLR does such a good job already, if I'm gonna "step it up", I better really step it up.

Also, I'm so impressed with the 24.1mp still camera function. I know that megapixels are obviously not the leading factor in photo quality, but coming from my 16.1mp Sony DSLR, I'm really impressed. I have't done any side by side comparisons but I'm hoping the PJ790's still camera will be good enough that I don't have to carry around two cameras. That would be great.

What do you guys think of my choice? I really love it! I will make some demo videos and post them here once I've played with it a bit!
Looks like you will be having fun with that one. I remember seeing the BOSS demo at CES 2013 and it looked great. I don't think full manual control is a big deal in a small sensor consumer camcorder since I have never used it on my Panasonic TM700 3MOS 1080p60 camcorder that I have had for over three years. I do use full manual control on my Sony NEX-VG900 full frame camcorder but it's a piece of cake with adjustable 2.3M dot OLED EVF, focus peaking etc.
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post #24 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jogiba View Post

Looks like you will be having fun with that one. I remember seeing the BOSS demo at CES 2013 and it looked great. I don't think full manual control is a big deal in a small sensor consumer camcorder since I have never used it on my Panasonic TM700 3MOS 1080p60 camcorder that I have had for over three years. I do use full manual control on my Sony NEX-VG900 full frame camcorder but it's a piece of cake with adjustable 2.3M dot OLED EVF, focus peaking etc.
I have a variable ND filter, so I usually set shutter speed to some "normal" value like 1/60 and aperture to the widest value which remains constant on both zoom ends, usually f/2.8, then I use the ND filter to adjust brightness. I control brightness using zebras. The ND filter reduces sharpness quite a bit though.
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-24-2013, 11:25 PM
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https://vimeo.com/31512682 even the so called low res G10 could produce very good images,IN my own tests my XA10 produced the same resolution as the GH2 a so called high resolution camera,the new models with 11 more mbps will hold their own resolution wise,i hope the wonderful color Canon cams produce will continue.
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