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I used to do a bunch of video editing 5 or so years ago with my mini-DV camera. At the time, (affordable) cameras were just starting to come out that recorded video to either HDD or DVD directly (standard def). Everything I read back then said if you do video editing, it's best to stick with mini-DV cameras because of the compression used on the other formats which really degraded quality. With all the new HD cameras typically writing directly to hard drives or memory cards, is this still the case or have things improved in that area - or does it depend on the camera?


I may be looking to upgrades soon (want to take video when scuba diving) and I'd like to make an informed buying decision. Starting to do my homework now...thanks in advance.
 

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I have been running tests on my newest toy, a Panasonic HDC-SD200. I bought this after hours and hours of reading useful forums like this.


I have done a series of tests involving video and stills taken outdoors in daylight, and indoors in different lighting situations.


When I play the video on an HDTV the quality is little short of amazing - no artefacts, no smearing at all. This is equally good whether I insert the SD card directly into my Panasonic Viera TV or connect via HDMI cable.


The quality is at least as good as broadcast HD (which is 720P in the UK, I think), and where the recording was done in bright light, our view is it is better than broadcast quality.


My reservations come when I save the video down to MP4 or similar which still gives great results but is noticeably lower in quality than the camcorder took.


AVCHD at 17mbps, which is what I record at, gives stunning results! I have tried lower bit-rates and notice resulting quality drops as the bit-rate drops, so am sticking with the HA quality, 17mbps stream. After all, big cards are cheap enough, whereas returning to retake a shot you 'economised' on with lower bit-rates may be impossible.
 
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