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Need camcorder recommendation...

MiniDV, DVD, Hard Drive, 8 mm, High Def, brands, import / capture techniques, settings ... talk about camcorders in here.

Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Ron Hunter » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:48 pm

I currently have a HV30 tape-based camcorder and would like to try an SD-card camcorder. I'm looking to spend no more than $500 and would like manual white balance and manual exposure, as well as microphone and headphone jacks. Image quality is highest priority. I prefer Canon if possible.

I see that Canon has an "HD CMOS Pro" sensor on some of their camcorders but I don't know if it is much better than their other sensors. And Digic DV III vs IV has me pretty confused; newer "must" be better but how much better?

Thanks!
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:11 pm

The Divic DV is the camera's image processor. Essentially, it's a single chip computer with a cpu, memory, and the program that runs the camera. Just as your computer processor continues to advance over time, so does the Divic DV processor. From what I've seen, the Divic DV IV is about 30% faster than the Divic DV III. Faster speed means the camera can do more advanced processing of the image. It also means the camera may be able to have more capability, but that is controlled by the program (firmware) and may vary from model to model as will the hardware capabilities and features. In general, I would go with a Divic DV IV over a Divic DV III. Which model you select will depend on what features are important to you.

The HD CMOS Pro sensor is only found on the more expensive models currently and over the $500 figure you set. This sensor has larger sensor spots than the standard sensor, so, theoretically, it should have better low light characteristics -- lower noise level, better color saturation. If you mainly shoot in well lit situations, that may not be significant for you. The sensor is only about 1/3 inch, so don't expect huge differences. The standard sensor may be quite adequate. Find a camera that appeals to you and check the reviews.
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Steve Grisetti » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:21 pm

AVCHD video is very affordable now. That's the good news.

The bad news is that manual white balance seems to be the main difference between relatively inexpensive consumer camcorders and more expensive (over $1000) prosumer and pro camcorders. If it's a deal breaker, you may not be able to do it for under $500.
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Ron Hunter » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:17 pm

Bob, thanks for breaking down the Digic processor for me. That makes sense and I can see that the Digic processor will likely be very important in terms of the overall camera performance..

The Canon Vixia HF R400 has the Digic DV IV processor and its specs include manual white balance and manual exposure. It also includes 32x optical zoom and uses an SD card. Seems like a lot of camera for $299. I'm leaning towards that model now...
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Steve Grisetti » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:03 am

That's very similar to mine and I love it, Ron! Though I do wish I had more control of the white balance...
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby sidd finch » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:45 pm

from CNET:

The series gets a few hardware updates, including a bump to Digic DV IV, which enables several new video capabilities, including higher frame and bit rates -- MP4 1080/60p at 35 megabits per second and AVCHD 2.0 1080/30p at 28Mbps -- a new capacitive (phonelike) touch-screen LCD, and a wider-angle 32mm lens with a possibly longer zoom (Canon only mentions the faux 53x advanced zoom spec, not the actual optical zoom spec). Interestingly, they can record MP4 and AVCHD simultaneously.


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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Ron Hunter » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:55 am

Thanks Sidd, that reinforces the notion that the DIGIC processor is probably the most important parameter to consider in this camcorder purchase. I can live without the WiFi, so this looks like a good choice.
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby videovillageidiot » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:52 pm

Ron,
I recently purchased the HF R400. I've left it on automatic settings most of the time so far. Here is a link to a quick video of clips taken in rapidly changing light conditions. In the very overcast clips I think the lighting is terrible. When the sun did manage to pop out, the quality looks much better.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/montanaphotos/10013223604/

I will say, it seemed to have a hard time focusing and the manual method of focusing is very difficult to use. Some of what I tried to focus on was fairly gray and without a lot of contrast (for example: mountains in clouds, dirty glaciers) and I know that makes automatic focusing difficult.

See what you think of the quality...this was shot at 60p, but most used FXP - on the second day I changed the quality to MXP. I think I used the vimeo HD settings to create the mp4 file I uploaded to Flickr.

Oh, and if you are interested in how it records audio...it picks up the wind QUITE NICELY...though in this particular instance I really did want to capture the gale force sound! :-D

I didn't know you could do custom white balance on the camera until this thread...I wish' I'd had the camera longer before taking my trip so I could become more familar with its options.
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby Ron Hunter » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:24 pm

Thanks for the info and video clip. I think the video looks good, which is a good thing considering that I ordered the HF R400 camcorder an hour ago...

I hope to do a comparison of my older HV30 and the newer HF R400 and post the results here.
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Cameras (in use): Panasonic GH4/Canon HFR400/Canon HV30, GoPro HD Hero2.
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Re: Need camcorder recommendation...

Postby ridon127 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:20 am

I have a canon vixia hf m50 I love...
Go out and make it a great day. The choice is yours!
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