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Recommend me multi-purpose HD camcorder for prosumers under $1000

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello,
having sold Canon XM1, which was really great, I started to look around for new HD camcorder. Unfortunately I haven't been successful so far. Bought recently second-hand Canon Legria HF S100 for $500 and I am not really satisfied with the picture and audio quality (extremely noisy). So I've decided to sell it and raise the budget to $1000.
Here are my requirements

Mandatory:
- frame-rates - all three modes 50p, 50i, 25p for 1920x1080
- maximum bitrate at least 21Mbit
- 3.5mm external mic socket (or XLR)
- SDHC support for video recording
- EVF
- Focus ring
- 100% Zebra pattern
- optical stabilisation
- at least 10x Zoom
- durable body
- support for still images

Would-be-nice:
- native 720p support
- 58mm front thread
- MP4 support
- iFrame support
- 50Mbps maximum bitrate
- wide-angle lens
- good low light performance
- linear PCM format (just like in DV), no Dolby Digital
- audio input level control with bypassable AGC

I don't have any preference over brands. Haven't tried Sony though.
Potential candidates
- Panasonic HC-X900 - good cam, but doesn't look durable at all. And from what I know, it doesn't support 25p in fullHD mode (only in iFrame qHD)
- Panasonic HC-X920 - still not available in my country, not sure about 25p in FullHD
- Panasonic SD900 - looks great, unfortunately discontinued
- Canon HF S200 - good choice (although no 50p support), however before choosing this one I'd like to know if Canon fixed the downscaling bug from S100
- Canon G30 - will be released in June 2013, looks promising enough, but well over $1000

Buying second-hand professional camcorder (like Panasonic AG-HVX200E) might be a solution, but those are still well above $1000
Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Edited by andrew30 - 4/7/13 at 12:28am
post #2 of 7
With 50p there is no need for 25i nor for 25p (assuming that you will be editing your videos anyway).
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
You're right, but when outputting 25p from 50p, you lose half the effective bitrate reserved for single "frame". That is from 28Mbps you get only 14Mbps (actually this is not that simple in AVCHD as the stream is not CBR). Additionally, discarding every other frame from AVCHD "predicted" sequence reqire additional CPU power plus AVCHD 2.0 may not be supported on some hardware for GPU-accelerated playback (especially on my 2008' laptop).
post #4 of 7
"when outputting 25p from 50p, you lose half the effective bitrate reserved for single "frame". That is from 28Mbps you get only 14Mbps (actually this is not that simple in AVCHD as the stream is not CBR)." -- Exactly, the stream is VBR and intraframe, so only differences between frames are recorded. More frames per second mean fewer differences between them, so it is not obvious that higher frame rate requires more bitrate. I would not care much about that if I liked the image with naked eye.

"discarding every other frame from AVCHD "predicted" sequence reqire additional CPU power plus AVCHD 2.0 may not be supported on some hardware for GPU-accelerated playback (especially on my 2008' laptop)." -- I assumed you would be re-encoding into target format anyway after editing.

I think that 50p is the ultimate format. You can derive all other 50Hz formats from it, and if you shoot with 1/50 shutter speed then derived 25p will look exactly like native 25p. So, you have enormous freedom to decide whether you want live look, film look or maybe you want slo-mo. It is a pity that the U.S. haven't adopted 50Hz rates for HTDV.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

I think that 50p is the ultimate format. .
That's also true. In fact I wouldn't bother if I could at least PLAY the 50p sequence in FullHD on my hardware, which is impossible without acceleration (even on 25p CPU is around 70-85%). I'd be more than happy with 1280x720@25p sequence as it provides good resolution, is easy to play/edit and suffice in 96% situations (at least for me smile.gif) I don't necessarily need FullHD. But today it's FullHD or qHD and that's some difference.


Anyway I started to like Canon XA20, it might be the right one, only it's still not released and introductory price is estimated at $1600. Maybe if I save some more bucks, I might go for it. I don't expect to arrive here to my country sooner than Q4 2013 though, so there's plenty of time to think about it. As some pros say, it's better to save for good cam that will last 5-10 years than investing few coins into cheap-toy.

Of course if there's not another suggestion...
Edited by andrew30 - 4/7/13 at 12:28pm
post #6 of 7
AFAIK, all mid- and high-range consumer camcorders from Panasonic since SD5 (or SD9?) have Cinema Mode, which for 50Hz region is equivalent to 25PsF.

The XA20 MSRP seems to be at $2.5K, the XA25 is $3K. The G30 is $1.7K.

I like the XA20 myself, but for that money I would rather get the XF100 despite its narrower zoom range.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, here in Europe, VAT makes everything more expensive than anywhere else. I found USED XF100 for $2.5k and new for $3.3k.
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