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Video Cameras - what to compare
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ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
Video Cameras - what to compare on 02/12/2008 02:00:43 MST Print View

As I am not too clever (at all) when it comes to technical features, I was wondering if anyone can advise me on what 'qualities' should I consider and compare between different video cameras?

I have a Sony DCR-HC40E which is a run of the mill camcorder and I am happy with the video quality.
Discussed in another thread is the Panasonic SDR SW20 (and a few variations) which is new and light and swish looking.
I'm not too worried about features but would like to know how to compare picture quality and therefore the components that acheive that picture quality.
For me my Sony being my first camcorder is a benchmark to compare other cameras too, I'd like to be able to work out if the Panasonic or other camcorders are better/equal to/nearly as good/poor compared to the Sony.

Thanks.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Video Cameras-what to compare on 02/12/2008 16:10:29 MST Print View

Ian
I will be testing the Pana SW20 in a few days but I can already tell you that it will not match your HC40 in picture quality. I flagged the SW20 because of its shock and weatherproofed body not as the best quality camcorder.
Generally the size of the sensor (CCD or CMOS) is a good indication, the larger the better. In most cases the shorter the zoom (10-12x) the higher the detail/resolution will be ,if coupled with a large lens, IE 37mm and above filter size. With Sony the Zeiss T* marks the best lens they have.
One notable exception Is the JVC GZ MG555 with its large 1/2.5" CCD and rather beefy lens but poor low light performance ( I happen also not to like the JVC high contrast "look")
Some cameras that I can recommend ( if you are after quality rather than convenience) are the Canon HV20 (now 30) Sony HC7 or the solid state (flash memory) counterparts Canon HG10 and Sony CX7.( The Mini DV version are still better)
The above are all High Def so if you want to edit from them you need a fast dual processor with lots of RAM as well.
If you can still find it , the Sony HC 96 is one of the best if not the best standard definition Mini DV around.
Franco

ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
Video Cmaera conparision on 02/14/2008 15:10:19 MST Print View

Thanks for that Franco. I guess I'll stick with my current Sony, it's definitely good enough and I haven't used it enough to justify the expense! Prices seem to have dropped a lot since I bought it.
I would love a better quality camera but realistically can do without but a more compact and lighter unit (even with a little loss of picture quality) is what I am waiting for.
I would also think a camera that uses memory cards would save on the bulk and weight of tapes. I tend to travel for months so need to carry ample supplies.
I actually have about 12 months before I really need to buy so a lot can happen in that time!

Thanks.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Video Cameras - what to compare on 02/19/2008 01:04:38 MST Print View

Well I had a go at the SW 20 and a couple of its non-sw siblings. They are all tiny and very light, about the size and weight of a mid size non-superzoom compact.
The shots taken underwater with the SW were impressive. Good colour, enough definition and contrast. But we were in crystal clear waters, shooting at around 5 to 10 feet in water clear down to over 90'.
On land, it is very much low end standard digital but better than most if not all still cameras using the movie mode. So I would still recommend it to the not so careful hiker if filming is not the main reason for the trip.
For you Ian, I would recommend that you have a look at the Panasonic HDC-SD9 (not the SD/Hard drive HS9)
Of course I did not have the Canon HD20 (my reference point) to compare it with, but the footage on a 50" plasma panel looked close to hd broadcast. This is a smaller (65x67x126mm) lighter (275g) and better (smoother,more detail) version of the SD5.It comes with 1x 32GB (!!!) SDHC card (4 hours at 1920x1080 p)
Franco

ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
Pana video on 02/22/2008 14:28:09 MST Print View

Thanks again Franco. I'll go do some googling and check it out.