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I would like to start a 'Which CANON High Definition consumer camcorder?' thread.

I'm doing this because information about HD consumer camcorders is widely spread across AVS.


First of all PLEASE DO NOT COMPARE CAMCORDERS DISCUSSED BELOW WITH ANY OF THE HIGH END ONES such as Sony HDR-FX1, Canon XH A1S, etc, etc.

Please do not discuss them here. No SD camcorders either.


My knowledge and personal opinion is based on what I managed to read out from many reviews and opinions written at AVS forums and other.


I am starting this thread because I am in need of buying a new camcorder. For the past few years I've been filming Actions sports with my 1 chip SD camcorder and a Century Optics MKII Baby Death (37mm thread). Recently I bought a Full HD TV and I have decided to shoot in HD either.

From the information I gathered Canon's products seem to be the best decision.

Unfortunatelly I have a couple issues to consider.


Canon has 3 types of HD consumer camcorders right now.

HF series- with flash memory

HG series- with a hard disk

HV series- miniDV


To make things more understandable.

Picture Quality: hf11=hg20=hg21 (max 24mbps)

Hf100 and hf10 end up @ 17 mbps


24 mbps allows higher detail to be retained in any panning or moving shots. With only 17 mbps, detail is dropped during any motion.

However I also read that the detail that's 'dropped', tends to be very fine detail, most people wouldn't notice the difference.


Both HG and HF record in AVCHD. Which format to choose is just not a simple answer at this stage of development.

AVCHD uses MPEG4 which has a much better compression algorithm than MPEG2. Avchd uses h.264, which is an mpeg4 variant.

HDV right now is easier to edit (Seems that AVCHD is superior in PQ, and so do many others, when comparing AVCHD 24Mbps to HDV Tape Based Footage)

The HF11/10/100 all have a better processor than the HV30/20 line...Also a better CMOS chip for the hf11 ( HV30 1/2.7" vs HF11 1/3.2" )


On the other hand the crispness and lack of noise of the HV30 is very impressing and serves as a reminder that the AVCHD codec still has a ways to go before it can match HDV for unwanted compression artifacting. Artifacting increases as data rate decreases. It is a function of the compression algorithm.

In actuality AVCHD specs out at 1920X1080 and HDV at 1440X1080. Both have the same vertical pixel resolution, the difference is in the theoretical horizontal pixel resolution.


Now a slight comparison between three of Canon's top consumer models


hg21 - viewfinder, HDD, PRICE, AVCHD (37mm thread)

hf11 - no viewfinder smaller, cheaper than HG21, Flash, AVCHD (37 mm thread)

hv30 - viewfinder, miniDV ('Tapes are going to die soon.'?!) (43 mm thread-need step dwon ring to use Bdeath)


Canon HG21 is nearly identical to the Canon HG20, but includes a viewfinder, upgraded LCD, and larger 120GB hard drive.

I must say that the viewfinder is a good solution in some circumstances.

-

You seem to be able to hear the hum of the hard drive on the recording (hg20/21) but I doubt whether it's louder than the miniDV motor noise.

I might get myself an external microphone if needed in both cases.




The last thing I need to add here are my computer specs. I'm not new to video editing. Currently trying out Premiere CS4.


Hp Pavilion dv9700 Notebook PC

Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 @ 2.50 GHz

2 gb of ram (can expand to 4 gb)

Geforce 8600M GS 512mb

Vista 64 bit


When buying this computer this summer I was thinking about editing footage on it, thought it was a good idea? Any comments..



Looking through topics I found this statement..


'You'll feel better about avchd by the end of next year, the computer hardware will be much cheaper than it is now... we went through this exact same scenario when minidv first hit the scene, the computers were way too slow to handle it, and now nobody remembers how bad it was.'


Please help, tell me Your opinions. I will aprreciate, Everybody interested in buying an HD consumer camcorder will appreciate.

Which one to choose ?
 

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Your answer is somewhere in your own post.

Best bet is to narrow down to 2, order them from a retailer like Amazon who let you keep/play with it for up to 30 days and you can return without any restocking fees, they will even pay for return shipping if you choose reason "the item was not what I expected" in the RMA online form.

In the competitive buyer's market, they are the only ones treating consumers like they should be treated especially when buyers are dropping close to $1000.

Sure some people will abuse the system, but that's true for anything.


Good luck
 

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Good post. I'm close to where you are in that I'm definitely buying a Canon, and mostly focused on the HG21.


At this point I think 24Mbps is a requirement for me.


I'm not concerned about editing AVCHD as this is the 'future' for compression technology (H.264 and her variants). I would be concerned about your laptop being able to edit AVCHD today. Most information I've gathered is that you really need a quad core running at least 2.6 GHz. I found a particular thread where the word was that in order to get a laptop with enough horse power you would have to buy an expensive quad.


I'm not so sure that your comment about the larger cmos chip being better. I believe the pixel count is actually higher on the 1/3.2 which means it is probably a bit less sensitive for low light. But opinions vary so I'm assuming they are 'close enough' to each other.


For future proofing I would feel better if any improvements in the AVCHD algorithm were FW upgradeable. Hopefully Canon put it on a processor with enough horse power for future upgrades, but considering these are already at the max of 24 Mbps then it is probably not a big deal. Moreso if they provide tweaks for some of the artifacting.


My only real concern is with the use of a HDD in the HG21. I really want to get the HG21 but knowing how many times I've RMA'd hard drives in the past, I'm concerned that a year or so from now this will be the highest failure mode (HDD failure in the HG models). I need to check out the Canon warranty...


CES is coming up so I'm hoping to wait to make sure something isn't coming out that would make me change my mind on the HG21...


Someone correct me if I made any errors (not in my opinion tho...
 

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I have the HG20 and I like it very much. I do not notice any difference at all, between 24mbps and 17, so I shoot at 17 so I can burn HD DVD or AVCHD discs and play them on blu-ray players. The lack of a view finder does not bother me. I gave up on Premiere a few years ago, I guess it was when CS3 came out. I use an iMac and do all of my editing in Final Cut Pro.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintay /forum/post/15430724


AVCHD uses MPEG4 which has a much better compression algorithm than MPEG2....

On the other hand the crispness and lack of noise of the HV30 is very impressing and serves as a reminder that the AVCHD codec still has a ways to go before it can match HDV for unwanted compression artifacting.

let me clear that contradiction up for you: avchd is superior to hdv in *every* aspect, period... hdv does NOT have less noise than avchd.


hdv is loaded with compression artifacting, in part because it's typically oversharpened in the camcorder, in an effort to up the resolution... you can see that in the camcorderinfo frame grabs.


hdv uses the mpeg2 codec, which is the same mpeg2 codec that standard definition dvds use... if you do the math on hdv bitrate per pixel, you'll see that all hdv camcorders acquire footage at a lower bitrate per pixel than many sd dvds are delivered at... guess what happens to picture quality when you try to deliver an hd dvd that was shot in hdv? yuck!


avchd acquires at the same bitrate as hdv, but since it is a far superior codec, there is more picture information per pixel than hdv has.


making dvds or web video is ALWAYS a lossy process, so when you deliver the same codec at less bitrate per pixel than you shoot at, like with hdv, it's a disaster for picture quality... avchd gives you a big cushion that you can't touch with hdv.
 

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I'm in the market for a Canon HD camcorder as well. I've narrowed it down to the HG20 and the HF11. Between the HG20 and HG21, I concluded that the HG21 has a bigger hard drive than I'll ever need. I also don't need the HG21's viewfinder and it's a (slightly) bulkier unit and more expensive than the HG20.


The pros for the HF11 are the compact size and lack of noise. I've also heard the battery life is a little better - does anyone know how much? However, when I search around the internet, I've found that it's close to $300 more than the HG20. I don't know if that's worth it.


Does the HG20 really make noticable noise? I'm finding it hard to justify the extra cost for the HF11, even though I think the HF11 is a nicer option.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie3k /forum/post/15436892


I'm in the market for a Canon HD camcorder as well. I've narrowed it down to the HG20 and the HF11. Between the HG20 and HG21, I concluded that the HG21 has a bigger hard drive than I'll ever need. I also don't need the HG21's viewfinder and it's a (slightly) bulkier unit and more expensive than the HG20.


The pros for the HF11 are the compact size and lack of noise. I've also heard the battery life is a little better - does anyone know how much? However, when I search around the internet, I've found that it's close to $300 more than the HG20. I don't know if that's worth it.


Does the HG20 really make noticable noise? I'm finding it hard to justify the extra cost for the HF11, even though I think the HF11 is a nicer option.

I can tell by your comments about the HG20 that you have yet to even hold any of these cameras in your hand and everything you know about these camcorders is based on what others have said in reviews. Go to bestbuy, CC or whereever and play with these hold them in your hand etc.

As far as "noise" I am assuming you are referring to the zoom motor noise, which I have tried to hear in a totally quiet room and still cant.

I narrowed my choice down to the HG20 and HF11 as well and then saw the $300 price difference, for some the HF11 IS worth the extra 40% price, for me and my budget, I couldnt justify it given the fact that the HG20 and HF11 has identical picture quality.
 

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For me the choice is simple - no tape and no hard drive. Mechanically, those are the weakest links in the camcorder. And having used tape camcorder for 10+ years, having a tapeless camcorder was such a revelation. No one can drag me to use another tape camcorder even if you give me one for free.


Someone could make a case if flash memory camcorder has serious compromise in quality, but to me, HF11 is right at the top as far as image quality is concerned.


Editing remains the main barrier for adapting AVCHD; even though software like Corel X2 with proxy editing is a very workable solution for most people. My new i7 PC has no problem editing AVCHD; and it is now as easy to work with AVCHD as DV or HDV. You may find that your laptop may have a bit of problem working with AVCHD video directly. If you try it out and that's the case, you may consider proxy editing with X2 or similar software.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RNaval /forum/post/15441246


I'm interested in purchasing the Canon HF10 but I don't know much about the features. Can someone tell me if I can playback in 1080P using this camcorder?

everything is recored in 60i (even 24p and 30p modes) you need to export the file with a editing program or converter to change the container to "p".


if your going to buy a AVCHD cam, try looking at the Canon Website and searching these threads as pretty much every question you can think of has been answered already
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintay /forum/post/15430724


HDV right now is easier to edit (Seems that AVCHD is superior in PQ, and so do many others, when comparing AVCHD 24Mbps to HDV Tape Based Footage)

The HF11/10/100 all have a better processor than the HV30/20 line...Also a better CMOS chip for the hf11 ( HV30 1/2.7" vs HF11 1/3.2" )

Just as a purely mathematical note, 1/2.7" is a BIGGER chip than 1/3.2". with 40% more surface area.


Also, at maximum recording density AVCHD is 1920 x 1080 compared with HDV at 1440 x 1080. The AVCHD chip has to handle 33 1/3% more pixels than the 40% larger HDV chip.


These are some contributing factors that lead many people to think HDV still has a picture quality edge over AVCHD in this price range.
 

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Also, at maximum recording density AVCHD is 1920 x 1080 compared with HDV at 1440 x 1080. The AVCHD chip has to handle 33 1/3% more pixels than the 40% larger HDV chip.

QUOTE]


Hmmm, my interpretation of this would be that AVCHD has 33-1/3% more pixels than HDV and yet handles it remarkably well (based on user's comments) compared to the 40% larger HDV chip. Could it be that the AVCHD chip is technologically advanced relative to the HDV chip? Technology advances generally mean smaller and faster...


Either way, the good news is that this 'argument' about HDV vs. AVCHD will most likely not come down to the crushing defeat lowered on HD-DVD vs. Bluray. Both formats will probably outlive the underlying hardware technology when you want to updrade your camcorder in 3-4 years.
 

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HF100: $530

4x16GB sdhc cards: $100


twice the storage and still $200 less than the HF11, plus you aren't tethered to a computer for 20 min while you dump the video from the internal storage.


that alone is what prompted me to get the hf100.


after i got mine, i also bought a hg20 for my brother and almost gave him my hf100 instead, but it all came down to the limitations of internal storage. id rather have a bunch of smaller flash memory "tapes" than one large hd or internal flash drive.


oh and the difference between 17mbps and 24mbps, as far as these cameras are concerned, is negligible.


with all that said, the best bang for the buck right now is the hg20, and i dont see that crown being taken anytime soon.
 
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