AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are expecting our first child in about a month and a half, and I am planning to buy a camcorder to capture the special moments. I am really torn as to whether I should spend the extra money for a HD camcorder or stick with a SD camcorder. On the one hand it seems silly to go with a SD camcorder since everything is moving to HD, but on the other hand I don't even have the equipment in my home to watch recorded HD content on my HDTVs (unless I play straight off the camera), and most of my family members certainly do not. I realize I can convert the HD video to SD using video editing software, but doesn't that defeat the purpose?


One thing I keep reading that has me leaning more towards the HD camcorder is the following: standard definition video will look bad on a large HDTV. Do people really think that DVDs look terrible on large HDTVs??? I must say that I watch DVDs on my 56 HDTV all the time, and I think they look quite good. Can I not achieve DVD-like quality with a SD camcorder?


Any feedback you could provide me would be greatly appreciated. BTW, the HD camera I'm leaning towards is the Canon HG20.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
403 Posts
I am sure someone will chime in with the specifics, but I have a very good 3 ccd consumer camcorder and it does not look great on a big screen tv (I'd have to research the resolution differences.


I'd spring for the HD. If you are going to buy at a local store, take one home and try it out.


Even if you burn on standard dvd's the resolution will be higher than a SD camera.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
I would go with HD for sure, the thing is, you wont regret it in a year or two. And, a cam like the Canon HF100 is not expensive at all compared to some sd cam on the market, but the VQ.... wow! Going with something you know you wont regret is always a better choice then go with something in doubts.... Anyway, it still your decision!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
684 Posts
If you ever dig up old photos and old videos, they're enjoyable because of the content...it's NEVER about the quality. Can't imagine my old VHS recordings being any more entertaining if they were in HD.


Pick the technology that's most convenient..ie simple play back, has format longevitey, easy to edit, easy to archive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,738 Posts
There is no reason not to go with a HD camcorder. For 500/600 bucks you get a very good camera and I'm sure your child deserves it. Cheap SD cameras will not produce good DVDs and most of them will only give you the old 4X3 format on the screen. DVDs from a HD camera look really good, even on large screen TVs. Don't think twice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
You could go with a used high end SD model, that would look pretty good, but I wouldn't bother buying a new SD camera, it's not going to save enough to be worth it.


35 mm Film, even on DVD, looks good because film resolution is equivalent to like 4k x 2k - it's then downsampled to DVD - that's why they look so good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, so I guess DVDs actually have higher resolution than what SD camcorders record, so it makes sense that DVDs would look better with content recorded by a HD camera. I appreciate all of the input. I think I'll go with an HD camera. Now it's just a matter of finding a good deal on one of the models I have in mind. A friend recommended the Panasonic HDC-SD9, and the other model I am considering is the Canon HG20.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herc /forum/post/15532098


If you ever dig up old photos and old videos, they're enjoyable because of the content...it's NEVER about the quality. Can't imagine my old VHS recordings being any more entertaining if they were in HD.


Pick the technology that's most convenient..ie simple play back, has format longevitey, easy to edit, easy to archive.

Sorry but that doesn’t make any sense to me! The better the film look, the most enjoyable it is to watch. That would be like saying you would rather watch a movie on a VHS tape than a Blu-ray ?? I would understand a part of your point if HD cam were 5 time the price of SD cam, but everybody knows there not… And as far as edit, archive and format longevity goes, doesn't get any better than a DVD or even blu-ray from now on...!


By the way, HG20 is one of the best cam you can get right now. You're gona love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
393 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillrBuckeye /forum/post/15534993


A friend recommended the Panasonic HDC-SD9, and the other model I am considering is the Canon HG20.

I have some reservations about the HDC-SD9 though, because of its low light performance and poor locations of controls such as the joystick. HF100 is about the same price, and probably a better alternative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalak /forum/post/15537731


I have some reservations about the HDC-SD9 though, because of its low light performance and poor locations of controls such as the joystick. HF100 is about the same price, and probably a better alternative.

Yes, since my last post I have added the HF100 to my list of models being considered and have excluded the HG20. The HF100 is is tad bit more expensive than the HDC-SD9, but the consensus seems to be that it is a better performer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
I tried both of them and the HF100 has my vote, I purshased one and I'm really happy and impressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockeed /forum/post/15551640


I tried both of them and the HF100 has my vote, I purshased one and I'm really happy and impressed.

Glad to hear it! I purchased the HF100 and two 16GB SDHC cards from Amazon yesterday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
Good decision, you'll love it. It's a simple camera with almost no moving parts...so very reliable and it's a robust performer!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
I went through this decision a month ago as our first child is due anytime in the next couple of weeks (3cm dilated and 75% effaced). I chose the HG20 and don't regret it a bit. I like that I get 60GB of HDD space, and I can supplement that with SDHC cards.


B&H just delivered the Canon WD-H37II wide angle conversion lens today, so I am looking forward to seeing how much wider .7x really is.


The Pixela software is good enough for me for my current "total noob" editing skills, and it makes perfectly good SD DVDs to deliver to friends/family not yet on the HD bandwagon.


Get out there and get familiar with the camcorder before the baby arrives. You don't want to be fiddling with settings much and miss the moments!


Best of luck with your purchase and your new child on the way!


Jason
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
684 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockeed /forum/post/15535425


Sorry but that doesn’t make any sense to me! The better the film look, the most enjoyable it is to watch. That would be like saying you would rather watch a movie on a VHS tape than a Blu-ray ?? I would understand a part of your point if HD cam were 5 time the price of SD cam, but everybody knows there not… And as far as edit, archive and format longevity goes, doesn't get any better than a DVD or even blu-ray from now on...!


By the way, HG20 is one of the best cam you can get right now. You're gona love it.

You're missing my point. Blu-ray doesn't magically make Fantastic Four a great movie. Crappy on VHS and crappy in HD. Likewise Transformers is a great movie in HD but still excellent in DVD.

When it comes to movies of kids and such, the content is so overwhelming more important than the media. I watched videos of me and my cousins that was taped on beta and then recorded to VHS in ep mode. The video quality was just awful and at times you cannot recognize us. However the content was so entertaining for nostalgic reasons that the quality was irrelivant.


So the purchase decision should be based on other factors.

Can you live with a JVC proprietary HD format?

Can you live with 30 hours to transcode of HD to DVD?

Can you live with needing a new computer to edit HD?

Will you risk a potentially dead format like bluray vs a defacto standard of mpeg2?

Can you live with 30mins of HD content on a single sided DVD?



There are so many pluses towards an SD DVD player that it's dumb to discount it strictly on image quality.


BTW I bought a panasonic SD5 when my twins were born last year. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to build a media server where these videos and photos would be accessable via remote.

I have a Nikon .68 wide angle lens which is actually for a 5 megapixel digicam. I got a filter adapter to get it to mount to the standard 37mm size on the camera. Even though the lens weighs as much as the camera I never take it off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,670 Posts
I've been into HD since 2000, and used to go all ga-ga over it. When I first saw HD it took about 2 years to be content watching non-HD programming.


I waited until removable solid state memory camcorders were available before upgrading our camcorder, so this summer I had to make a choice between Canon HF and FS camcorders.


At the same time, a co-worker purchased an HF10 and I had the benefit of "working" withsome his files. Having several terrabytes of HD video, I have had a ton of experience editing HD files, and I was fairly unimpressed when working with files from my buddy's HF10. I had a distinct sense that consumer level camcorders were still in their infancy when it comes to efficiently processing the quantity of data brought through a lens for an HD picture.


So, I ended up picking an inexpensive FS100 as a transitional camcorder that was all solid state. Despite liking the 16:9 picture, I wish it could capture a wider angle, but the trade-off for a 48X optical zoom is not too bad. What I love the most is that the files are already DVD-spec and extremely easy to work with. Due to it being a consumer level camcorder, onboard processing falls well short of what we see in commercial DVD's but most of the HD material I got from my buddy wasn't either - at least partially because of all the pixellation on movement and how it did in low light.


So far, I'm very satisfied with the SD camcorder for home videos. In the next year or so, I expect HD camcorders will start to offer usability and features that are much tougher to resist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
A typical DV25 SD camcorder records 720x480 video at a bitrate of 25Mbits/sec, at a framerate of 30i. This is the same resolution that a DVD can store, over twice the bitrate, and the same framerate as "video on DVD."


If you deinterlace the video, you will throw away some of that resolution, depending on what you are filming and how good the deinterlacing is. If you can find a SD camcorder than records in progressive mode, you will have above-DVD quality to start with.


Encoding to mpeg2 will certainly downgrade the quality from the DV25 (miniDV, etc), but that will be limited to which Mpeg2 encoder you use and how well it works. I have one that is Hollywood quality and my DV->DVD conversions appear to have lost no noticeable quality. The one that came with the camera makes the video look TERRIBLE on a DVD. Like most things, it isn't all that simple.


HD camcorders are hit/miss. Many of them focus on the pixel count above all else, and everything else suffers for it. These cameras make videos that look marginally better in average conditions (indoor lighting) and flood your computer with tons of data to deal with. If your target is DVD, you're just making life harder for yourself unless you have top of the line computer equipment.


An SD camcorder that records in mpeg2 is most likely going to produce video that looks worse than a DV25 model. The bitrate is much lower and the encoding is much more complex. This adds up to "really hard to make it look good" and at most consumer-friendly price points that means crap quality video. It also means you will have extra difficulty editing because mpeg2 is a "differential" compression format -- it stores differences between frames, rather than whole frames. This makes it hard to do frame-specific cuts without really good software that won't screw it up. DV25 is simple to edit, each frame is encoded independently. Most software vendors can write editing software that can edit DV25 quite adequately. Many of the better packages (Sony Vegas, FinalCut Pro) will avoid re-encoding if all you are doing is simple cuts. This keeps quality at a max before encoding to your target, whether your target be DVD or a computer-oriented format.


So, being practical, I'd look for a good quality DV SD camcorder that supports 16:9 aspect ratio and 480p resolution. Technically thats an EDTV DV camcorder.


If money is no object and/or you're willing to put forth effort to deal with cutting edge/immature technology, get a nice (NOT bottom barrel) HD camcorder and the computer horsepower to go with it. Downcovert for DVDs for family and make a blu-ray for yourself, or just keep it on the original media for later.


hope that helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tluxon /forum/post/15643355


So far, I'm very satisfied with the SD camcorder for home videos. In the next year or so, I expect HD camcorders will start to offer usability and features that are much tougher to resist.

if you had an hf11/hg20/hg21, you'd see that the features are here already, albeit with a rather stiff penalty, in the form of major computing horsepower requirements, or a slow workflow due to re-encoding with an intermediate codec.


but there is no question that the current picture quality differences over sd camcorder videos are major:

"Ultimately, the HF11 (shooting in 1080/60i) produced an approximate horizontal resolution of 675 lw/ph. The vertical resolution measured approximately 600 lw/ph."


the computing requirements will never change, but the computers will get cheaper as they get more powerful, and the few editing programs that don't already support native avchd editing should have that fixed by the end of 2009.


as it stands right now, i can edit native avchd, with smart rendering, on my core2duo, if i use a video-accelerated editor like nero, and it'll give me full framerate playback on the timeline.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top