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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curiious which HD camcorder gets the best indoor low light footage...


Originally I was considering either the Sony HDR-SR1 (HD) or the Sony HDR-HC3...


I'm open to other options as well.. I've looked through this forum as well as camcorderinfo.com etc...


It would appear the HC3 gets better PQ than the SR1 based on camcorderinfo...


Are there newer models, now out, that are even better than either of these two?


My old camcorder is a DV Sony TRV-310, which did very well, 1 LUX (according to sony).. I've seen these units are at about 4 LUX.


I also am still waivering on the Hard Disk vs MiniDV idea.. I like the idea of a solid tape backup and being able to simply stick in a new tape when the other runs out, whereas with a HDD unit, when your out (on the road), your out.


I'm not really convinced HDD will be the future, perhaps faster/better solid state cards like SD/XD, etc?


Price range isnt a problem though I'm assuming for a good HD camcorder it will be b/w $1000 and $2000.


Also.. isnt it as simple as throwing on a hotshoe Light on say the Sr1 or the HC3 if recording indoors (that will feed off the battery and not need a/c power?).. If so then low light issues become almost moot?


Thanks for any thoughts/new model ideas.
 

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The truth is if you are really picky about LL you probably need to stay away from HD, because resolution and LL performance are competing design tradeoffs. Manufactures like Sony use the same CCD or CMOS chip for many of their SD and HD models. The difference is in case of HD the signal is divided into 1440x1080 matrix instead of 720x480. So in theory SD is four time more sensitive in LL than HD where the amount of light reaching each pixel determines the S/N ratio.


Besides the video light which is not practical in most indoor situations, the only other options you have in improving S/N in LL in HD are softing the picture by combining light from adjacent pixels, and/or dropping the shutter speed to 1/30, 1/15 or even 1/8 to collect more light for each pixel.


Either way you loose PQ in your video. But my preference so far is to drop the shutter speed and retain the sharpness. I find the video is quite acceptable at 1/30. So I would put very important emphasis on having a shutter speed control option if LL performance really matters to you.


But if LL performance is critical to your video then SD may be your better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So on an HD camcorder, with a 1/30 shutter speed (is the Sony HC3/7 capable of setting it to this) or is that just the Cannon... will my PQ be that much better than the DV images I'm used to (I guess if you hold LL equal on both cameras).. I would have to think it would be significantly better if the lighting / shutter was good enough?


Either way, I will probably be making the jump to some new camcorder in the near future, as my sony is giving me the deadly InfoLithium error message on all 3 sony (one new) batteries.. Nothing has fixed it.. so I wanted to go HD (or at least use the HD to record SD, until I get the HD tv in about 5 months) anyway...


Ebay, my old camera is running at least $150, I guess thats just a drop in the bucket compared to $1350 though.
 

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There's no way to set the shutter speed on the HC3. It has an 'auto slow shutter' mode but its far too unpredicable to be useful.


As far as comparing against other camcorders, I'm personally a novice - I couldnt say whether or not either of these camcorders is good, bad or average in low light compared to other camcorders.
 

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The HC7 will let you set the shutter speed manually, and supports 1/30 of a second. I wouldn't be surprised if the AUTO mode on this upcoming camcorder supports automatically shifting to 1/30 of a second in low light. That would explain why its specs for low light shooting are so much better than those of the HC3 anyway, although it's possible the CMOS sensor is that much better, I sort of doubt that the larger, newer CMOS alone would make as big a difference as Sony is indicating though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I see there is also the HC5 coming out too, with the HC7 being a little bit of a step up from that one.


The HC5 is supposed to have a 1/3 ClearVID CMOS sensor while the HC7 will have a 1/2.9 ClearVID CMOS sensor and OIS (optical image stabilization).


Either way those specs are better ccd wise than my current TRV310 unit.


However, according to some specs, the max shutter speed (for high speed shots) is going to be 1/500, clearly too slow for things like a golf swing. If this is true there are low end regular camcorders that can do 1/2000



Granted, I dont do a lot of high speed video, but it would be nice.


The HC7 is supposed to be 2 lux minimum, short of night shot mode, which sounds very good (I think my trv lists around 4).


I'm hoping these have 5.1 sound, I believe the Sr1 did, but it appears not (due to using mini-DV?).


Of course both of these are mini-dv, I guess this is fine, as with HDD models you can run out of space, but with the tapes you can always have one on hand.


A bunch of vendors have the hc7 already (preorder).. looks like it will be about $200 under retail plus shipping as of Feb.


I also wish it had the optical 20x zoom that mine currently has, I never use digital.


Another spec is the AVCDV vs HDV.. its been stated the AVCDV has more noise at times, though both formats should be the same quality.



At any rate.. Its clear what my next real camcorder should be, though I'm probably going to wait till prices drop.. I'm still debating whether to get a used trv310 on ebay or go for a Canon Elura 100 for now.. I'm not sure how the Elura 100 would look on an HD/Big screen compared to my existing camera, though it does support 16:9.. I'm guessing the only real camcorders that will look good on HD big screens would be the HD models like the HC7?
 

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The 1/2.9" sensor in HC7 probably won't be a big deal. Keep in mind that the sensor in HV10 is 1/2.7" and people have issues with its low light performance. But Canon chooses to keep the sharpness instead of letting it go soft in low light like Sony does. I imagine HC7 may have the same characteristic as HC3, being too soft in low light for my taste.


For things like a golf swing Sony HDV cams have a slow mode designed especially for that. It takes video at 320x240at240i, way better than any SD cam at 1/2000.


No 5.1 possible with HDV because it is not allowed in HDV specs. yet AVCHD can have that.


20x zoom unlikely in consumre grade HD cam because it would shake like hell.
 
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