What would you do? Point me in the right Direction. - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which Camera Would you Buy this week?
Sony SR1 3 13.04%
Sony HC3 2 8.70%
Sony SR-200 / 300 0 0%
Canon HV10 / 20 17 73.91%
Panosonic GS Series 1 4.35%
Something lower end - SR40/80 0 0%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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This forum seems a little more active... so I am posting these questions here also. Some of you guys seem to have good opinions. I can justify buying just about anything up to 1200 bucks...but the more I can save the better of course.

Here goes...

Ok, this type of post has been made many many times. Maybe given a little more information and responses from people who own the camcorders can shed some light.

My wants in a camcorder:

Hard Drive (seems to be the only way to go). I plan on working the videos on any NLE platform. Getting the video to a PC from anything but HDD seems slow simply based on a 1:1 transfer / capture time. So, I like the ease of transferring.

HD or not to HD: I don't have any specific goals for HD. I own an HD LCD but don't have an HD player of any sort. So, what's the point of investing in HD now? I suppose for the future. In 10 years I will probably wish I had HD format.

Editing AVCHD - tough at the moment. I would almost certainly be down converting to SD to send clips to friends and family. I am certain the software will be coming around soon enough though.

Use - simply general use. Baby on the way. Always wanted a camcorder etc etc. Nothing too specific.

Tech freak - yes and no. I have my limits on what I will pay for front end technology but know that there is benefit to buying on the more top end scale (from a consumer / prosumer level). For example, my last camera purchase has given me years of good pictures (Sony DSC V-1). To this day I still have no need for a new camera and it's almost 5 years old. I figure if I had bought 1/2 the camera, I would be back in the market.


I have been researching my options. Initially my thought was the SR-100. It looked to have everything I needed. OF course, those are next to impossible to find now as the SR-200 / 300 are coming out within the next 2 months. For 200 more bucks I can get a stack more bells and whistles for the SR-1. (1100 versus 900 bucks). So I then got on the SR-1 bandwagon.

Now I read forums where folks are saying no no, go with the HC-3 the picture is better. Of course that's relative to one another. I hope that it's not that the SR-1 sucks, it just has less FPS then the HC-3. Not to mention, HC-3 is not HDD format.

Now I think, well, maybe I should just get and SR-40 and be done with it. Its 1/2 the cost, HDD media and SD format which I will be doing most of my viewing and sending anyway. However, that begs the question of how I might feel in 5 years. Will I wish I had the SR-1 or SR-200 / 300?




The questions:

HDD Format - is it the way to go for sure. Even if you don't need it today, will I need it tomorrow?
HDD Format - How is the down converted video going to look as that's what I will be using 95% of the time.

SR-1 vs HC-3 - Is the PQ that noticeable in difference?

SR-100, SR-200, SR-300 - Should I wait a month and get the newer versions? I was hoping to pull the trigger today but maybe can wait.

SR-xx (40/80/96) - Dude! Save yourself the money - these will do just find with what you have in mind!

The range of options is long and obviously subjective but perhaps some one can point me in the right direction.

Right now I am leaning towards the SR-1 but some people say things that make me wonder - the whole NLE bits, the lossy PQ...the noise etc.

Help me out. Thanks
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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You guys are serious about the HV10.... I wish there was a HDD model.

Maybe I am missing something. Is getting this into digital format for editing on the PC not that big of a deal? Just play and capture with Adobe or something?
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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From what I've read the codecs used in HDD are not as good as those used in DVtape. DV tape is better in raw PQ and in editability. There are threads here that talk about this as well as other forums I have visited.

Perhaps someone has something new to add. I would prefer a non-tape answer as well. But right now tape is best. When I transferred 20 hours of tape shot in europe last Fall I wish I could have done it faster but the PQ was good and it edited very well.

I am looking forward to flash memory getting larger and fast enough to replace tape and HDD.

If anyone who knows something about this I'd sure like to know what's on the near horizon? (new models within a year)
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike. That's what I have begun to realize from the forums also. Tape is nice and transfers at a decent rate given the firewire.

What is ratio of time? 1 hour of recorded video = ___? of transfer time?

I am now thinking the HV10 or HC3. The SR1 just seems to jacked up on the AVCHD format.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 07:37 PM
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Quote:


What is ratio of time? 1 hour of recorded video = ___? of transfer time?

As far as I know, ALL consumer priced camcorders transfer video at 1X speed. 1 hr of recorded video = 1 hour of transfer time.

There seems to be a common belief that HDD camcorders somehow transfer video at a faster rate? Not true for consumer priced camcorders as far as I know.

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post #6 of 16 Old 03-04-2007, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm. I've read that HDD (hard drive media based..not HD) cameras transfered files as fast as moving a file from one hard drive to another. 1 Hour of video = 5 minutes or less.

That's the big benifit of the HDD (hard drive) - they are already made files..not just raw data.

Someone please verify.

Bman
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-05-2007, 05:19 AM
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Quick transfer to your PC is a big benefit of HDD cameras.

The downsides to HDD are long term (and short term) storage issues.

Tapes are cheap, readily available, rugged 13GB storage units that last between 20-30 years.

How are you going to archive your HDD source footage? Are you just going to edit a final copy and delete the rest? What happens when a hard drive fails? (Alas, it happens more often than a tape fails.)

If I were in your shoes with $1200 to spend, I'd pick up a Canon HV20, a wide-angle lens, and an extra battery. Oh, and a big 8-pack of tapes at Costco.

BTW, I own an HC3 but am sufficiently impressed by the HV20's virtues to change cameras.

Bored? Check out my blog: www.thelonglonghoneymoon.com
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-05-2007, 05:27 AM
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The other issue is playback of a finished project. Once you've completed a project or projects, how are you going to watch HD footage back to your HDTV? The only way is that you will be forced to load the project on to the camera again and then play it back. Once you're done you've got to dump the project and free up space on the cam's HD. Very very inconvenient if you ask me.

I'll stick with tape....no HD crashes on tape and far more convenient.
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-05-2007, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys... I like the tape approach now. The HDD just has too many quarks to justify..

When is the HV20 out?
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-05-2007, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bman2005 View Post

HD or not to HD: I don't have any specific goals for HD. I own an HD LCD but don't have an HD player of any sort. So, what's the point of investing in HD now? I suppose for the future. In 10 years I will probably wish I had HD format.
...

Use - simply general use. Baby on the way. Always wanted a camcorder etc etc. Nothing too specific.

To me, HD is a no-brainer, especially if you have a kid coming. Even if you only shoot a couple hours/month, those are moments you'll never capture again, and when you are retired, it will be great to watch in HD. It's really a stunning difference compared to SD - even stuff I shot with a friends' 3-CCD big-lens SD rig can't compare! It will also be good for sharing with family, once there's a reasonably cheap standard for recordable HD discs (blu-ray?). I hooked up my camera and played back unedited tapes on my parents' HD projector and they were just blown away.

Invest in a tripod too, unless you already have one for a still camera. It's unpleasant watching a lot of jittery footage, and HD makes the viewer even more sensitive to this.
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-05-2007, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am all for the HD.... just not sure about the hard drive (HDD). I really like the idea of no tape. But don't want to be stuck with the AVCHD format of HD (SR-1). I don't think any way...

But yes, HD is a given at the current prices there is no way to deny it.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-07-2007, 12:00 PM
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I just bought a hdr-sr1 today. I also have a baby on the way (2nd child), and it was time to upgrade my video camera. I couldn't afford to wait on the release of the HV20 due to the timing of my child's arrival, and a vacation that we have coming up very soon. So for me it was between the HV10, HDR-SR1, HDR-HC3, HDR-HC5, HDR-HC7 and HDC-SD1 (panasonic avchd that writes to sd cards). I was able to download some video samples from the HV10, HC3, HC7 and SR1 (couldn't find any for the HC7 and SD1). I was then able to burn them to DVD and play them back on my PS3. The conclusion that I came to based off of the limited sample availability was that they all have outstanding pictures. I was viewing these on my mitsubishi hd1000 720p DLP projector on a 108" screen so I can definately see all of the finer picture details.

I did not notice the tearing or smearing that some have reported with the avchd camcorders (SR1). The SR1 videos had motion, but it was someone walking through the frame at the pace of a brisk walk. My wife even commented that the videos looked like Discovery HD documentary footage (impressive). I am sure that if these videos were shot from a speeding car the results may have been different, but this did not play into my decision because every video I have taken to this point has been slow pan landscape videos or baby/child videos with similarly paced motion. In low light, the quality of all of these cameras dropped off; however, it still far exceeded the low light capability of my current Canon SD miniDV camera. I did order a video light so that I can try and maximize my indoor picture quality.

I went back and forth for a month trying to decide which camera to buy. I discarded the HV10 from consideration due to the form factor and feature set. I also discarded the SD1 from consideration due to its lack of manual features and some information that I had read about the final picture resolution (it uses 3 non-HD CCDs and combines them to form one picture, which to me seems more like an upconverted to HD video and not the 1440x1080 that the Sony and Canon cameras offer). I was then left with the Sony cameras. I finally settled on the HDD solution for the following reasons: little to no perceived PQ difference from my samples, 4 full hours of HD storage, no tapes to worry about, flash for still pics (not on HC5, not sure about HC3), fast USB file transfer, instant gratification of being able to watch the videos without having to worry about the tape position (this actually leads to my wife using the camera more), surround sound without the worry of tape motor noise, manual focus ring, mic input (not on HC5 or HC3), 3.5" LCD (big improvement), less mechanical parts to break, and ease of burning to DVD for playback in HD on my PS3.

I had no worries about avchd software support and here is why. My first child is four years old and before she was born I had edited and authored about 5 DVDs, and since she was born I have only edited 1. The reason for this is two fold: 1) you don't want to edit your child's life because every second is precious, and 2) you don't have any time to edit because that is time that you can't spend with your child. I figure it will take me some time to accumulate enough footage to worry about editing it, and it will be some time before I have the free time to do so. The avchd software will come, and when it does I probably still won't be ready. In the meantime, I will just burn the footage to DVD for playback on my blu-ray player (I should also point out that you can do the same on HD DVD players) and buy several big USB external HDD for archival and off-site backup (I will leave one at home and bring the other to my office for storage and update them on a regular basis).
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-07-2007, 02:21 PM
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I don't think Bluray players playback AVCHD from SR1 in general. The reason that PS3 plays back AVCHD on a DVD is because PS3 is also a PC. When played in a PS3 AVCHD footage probably won't come out as 5.1, only as stereo.

BTW among all those HD cams I found HV10 the only one that I could truly put into my pocket even though its form factor wasn't that great.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-07-2007, 03:09 PM
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GodobeHD,

The AVCHD codec is part of the blu-ray specification, so I believe that you may be wrong about not being able to play it on all blu-ray players. I would never state anything as a universal truth because I am not that ignorant or arrogant; however, both Sony and Panasonic tout the fact that avchd files can be played back on their blu-ray players (not just the ps3, but also their set top players).

This is from camcorderinfo.com regarding avchd playback from the Panasonic DVD media camera, "Many folks will be disappointed to learn that they cannot play these AVCHD encoded DVDs in their standard DVD player. A Blu-ray player or an appropriately configured computer will be required for playback."

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content...iew/Format.htm

The samples that I had didn't have any audio; however, surround sound is part of the avchd spec so I would be shocked if it played back as stereo. On the other hand, only stereo sound is permitted in the HDV spec so at worst case it is a wash.

My post was purely a reflection of my opinion. When I said the form factor wasn't that great, I was referring to the vertical form factor and its associated ergonomics. I was trying to give my thought process behind my selection since I was going through the same set of circumstances as the OP. I also have a Canon miniDV camera with the same form factor as the HV10, and I am not a fan of it. I can also fit it in my pocket, and it even takes mediocre videos. As I said in my post, the HV20 would have been a contender except for my timeline that is the only reason I excluded it.

I don't understand why some people post for the sole purpose of attacking another poster. Your post doesn't help the OP one iota, and that is all I was trying to do.
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-07-2007, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geaux-tigers View Post

I don't understand why some people post for the sole purpose of attacking another poster. Your post doesn't help the OP one iota, and that is all I was trying to do.

I don't know why you perceive my post as attacking you. Like you said people post here to exchange info on a subject. Unless you believe all the info you post must be correct you have no right of accusing other posters of attacking you simply because he/she offers some different info that contradicts your.

And here all I am saying is that I think AVCHD lacks the support from Sony/Pana for editing and authoring it onto BD DVD at the moment. Therefore you can only play AVCHD files from a PC like device such as PS3. Sure if you can find an NLE software supports AVCHD authoring BD players will play the disk. The difference between the PS3 and regular BD players is that PS3 can read the raw data while BD players require the data be authored in a BD specified format(be it mpeg2, VC1, AVCHD, etc). CCI's statement is simply their view of what ought to happen but not the facts so far.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-08-2007, 07:47 AM
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GodobeHD,

I will aplogize in advance if I read your post the wrong way. The reason I perceived your post as an attack was because I have done a lot of research on this forum and others and it seems like blu-ray players are able to play back the avchd files, which is what I believed you to be contradicting without any information given to the contrary. Your second post added a lot more clarity to what you were trying to get across in your first post, that you believe that the PS3 may be the only player able of playing back raw avchd on unauthored discs. I am totally in agreement on this. In fact, all of the avchd camcorders that I have come across (Sony and Panasonic) supposedly offer software in the box that will allow you to author a DVD for playback on a blu-ray player, so it probably is necessary for some of the blu-ray players to have an authored DVD for playback. It should be possible to take your raw avchd files, which I agree can't be edited as of yet, and burn those to a DVD-R/DVD+R/BD/etc. using the included authoring software and play those back on a blu-ray player. Others on this forum have reported being able to do this. Of course, depending on which media you use your maximum video length will vary. Since the SR1, records 7.5GB of data per hour in HD best quality (XP) mode you should be able to fit ~1 hour of HD video on a dual-layer DVD for playback on blu-ray. Unfortunately, you can't edit these videos yet. From my understanding though, you can author multiple clips to one dvd and they will playback in the order of their filenames with a slight pause in between clips. It seemed like to me from your first post, that you were accusing me of not doing my research without any research or at least details given to contradict my findings. I am sorry if I read it the wrong way. My perceptions are probably clouded from reading the constant bickering in the blu-ray/hd dvd software forums.
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