AVS Forum banner

HD Camera Resolution (2.1MP vs. 3.2MP)

2237 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jsirbak
Hello. It's been awhile since I've posted to the AVSForum. I've been an HDTV owner since 2001 and a member here since 2002. Now, with my first baby on the way, my wife has me looking at HD camcorders and I've got a lot of learning to do.

I'm pretty well settled on wanting a hard-drive based system - it just seems easier than dealing with tapes or mini DVDs. After doing a fair amount of reading, I'm comfortable with the AVCHD format. Support seems to be emerging and I think I can live with any compression artifacts.

My real question at this point is about resolution. Some Sony HD cams have 3.2 effective megapixels (2.28 actual megapixels at 16:9) while other Sony cams have 2.1 effective megapixels (1.43 actual megapixels at 16:9). Both claim to produce video in 1080i. My confusion arises from the fact that there's a standard definition Sony camcorder for a lot less money that is also 2.1 effective megapixels (1.43 actual megapixels at 16:9).

In the TV world, I've always measured resolution in terms of horizontal lines. In the digital camera world, I've always measured resolution in terms of megapixels. The specs on these Sony camcorders are challenging my understanding of resolution. What truly matters for getting the crispest, most Rudy Maxa-like, video? Is the 2.1MP HD camcorder a fair compromise that is still essentially HD as I know it? Or would the 2.1MP HD camcorder look like SD that is just upconverted to take up 1080 lines of resolution?

Sorry if these are stupid questions, but since getting a mortgage I've fallen off the cutting edge of AV technology and I'm a relative newbie in the camcorder world.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Congratulations on the new baby.

If you are focused on resolution you probably want to ignore some those specs. Because quite often a cam with much lower specs can produce much better real world video resolution. It is the reviews and user impressions that can tell you a lot more about the actual performance than the pure specs. In general HDV based cams have better resolution than AVCHD cams and both are way better than any SD cams no matter how high the specs claims.

Another thing you have to consider is the convenience of playback. HDD based cams are easy to record, but a hassle to play back once it reaches the hard drive limit. With tapes and disks your cam can be the playback device, but HDD is much trickier unless you have a PS3.
My father-in-law got the JVC hard drive (SD) camera when they first came out. The picture stinks on our LCD TV's whether straight from the camera or a DVD he makes from it.

Because of his experience with his camera and my observations, I determined that I would never 1) get an SD camera again, and 2) get a camera without a hard drive.

I got a Sony SDR-HR1. The picture on our LCD TV's is awesome, and transfering video to the computer and editing it makes tape look like the stone ages.

My father-in-law is now about to ditch his JVC SD and get an AVCHD model with a hard drive. Neither one of us will get another camera without high definition or a hard drive (until the next best thing is developed...).

I work in Media Services at my seminary where we use a fleet of Panasonic DVX-100's and have bought hard drives to record to instead of the tapes -what a time saver. No more tapes for us.

As far as picture quality, I'd have to be pretty picky not to like what I get on my SR1 - it is way way better than anything I've ever recorded with.

With AVCHD and the right editing software (finally starting to catch up) you can convert to any format you need to.

I am creating my videos in AVCHD and convert them as needed to regular DVD (like when I send in a project for my son's science class). No big deal.

The compressed format lets me store more than I need on the camera at any given time and I send my completed projects back to the camera for playback when I need to. I'm still holding off on an HD DVD player until the dust settles. I can also play direct from my computer to LCD TV.
See less See more
Thanks for the responses. There's a relatively limited selection of hard-drive, HD camcorders, so the ones I've got my eye on are the HDR-SR200 (540 lines, 2.1MP, least expensive), the HDR-SR7 (1080 lines, 3.2MP, most expensive), and the HDR-SR5 (almost the same specs as the SR1, 1080 lines, 2.1MP, in-between cost).

I guess my original question was whether the SR5 would look more like the SR200 (with which it shares a MP count) or the SR7 (with which it shares a horizontal line count). I'll wait for the reviews on the SR5 and SR7 when they come out.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.