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  1. Hi,

    I am in lookout for a new HD camcorder. I am a fan of Canon HV40 from the reviews and recomendations on this site, but it is near impossible to buy it in my part of the world since this model is discontinued.

    So I thought I could go for an AVCHD camcorder, but I do not like shooting on SD Cards. I looked at some of the consumer models from Sony that have HDD built-in, but reviews for those models are not that good.

    My goal is to shoot mostly family videos (of my kids), and also I need to shoot stage programs in my daughter's school (so good mic or provision for external mic is required). I just shoot the video and give the DVD to the school as a voluntary activity.

    Given this scenario, and my budget is around $1000 USD, could you please suggest a good HD camcorder that can perform well in lowlight, and also good for shotting school programs?

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards
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  2. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Some of the top Panasonic 1080p60/1080p50 capable models outclass the HV40, if you have a PC powerful enough to edit their footage. Chose from HDD or SD-card models.

    The sound is a bit disappointing on most.

    Cheers,
    David.
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  3. Thanks 2B. Will look at Panasonic models.

    Meanwhile, I came across Sony HDR-XR 260VE, HDR-PJ 600VE. Are they any good?

    regards
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  4. Member
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    Depends what the definition of the word inhale is.
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    in terms of video quality panasonic outclasses all of them...but...panasonics' best model..unfortunately...has a serious audio flaw in that it has an internal fan and if you are videoing in quiet situations...you can hear the fan hum...they have know about this problem and if i'm not mistaken...they haven't fixed the issue in this model year...they tell you to buy an external mic so it won't pick up the fan hum...to me, this is inexcusable. They should have come up with a new gameplan but as it is, until they fix it on the next model, i'll be holding out for one with no fan noise. Shame on Panasonic
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  6. BuskerAlley.com zoobie's Avatar
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    That's kinda like saying this sportscar is the best...except it has one square wheel
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Assuming budget is below $1500.

    For internet live streaming or for DV compatibility the HV40 is still the choice. Compatible with live streaming apps (e.g. Wirecast).

    For low light + manual audio + DVD conversion, the Panasonic 60p TM900 is the choice. 1080p60 to 480i30 DVD conversion in Vegas works great. AVCHD will require more CPU grunt (e.g. i5/i7).

    For best overall low light performance to 1080i below $1500, get the Canon HF G10.
    Last edited by edDV; 18th May 2012 at 10:46.
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Moontrash View Post
    in terms of video quality panasonic outclasses all of them...but...panasonics' best model..unfortunately...has a serious audio flaw in that it has an internal fan and if you are videoing in quiet situations...you can hear the fan hum...they have know about this problem and if i'm not mistaken...they haven't fixed the issue in this model year...they tell you to buy an external mic so it won't pick up the fan hum...to me, this is inexcusable. They should have come up with a new gameplan but as it is, until they fix it on the next model, i'll be holding out for one with no fan noise. Shame on Panasonic
    Have you turned off audio AGC? Use manual audio level set to loudest mic check. Or use an external mic.
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    Originally Posted by zoobie View Post
    That's kinda like saying this sportscar is the best...except it has one square wheel
    not even close. Most can see a square wheel or an obvious defect. One where only reviewers online post about it and a major electronics firm knows about and does nothing...it's a big deal. Look anywhere at any certain price range for video quality...it's always panasonic. Now the audio...that's a crap shoot.

    I don't own the camera edDV. I know someone who does and if anyone just shoots your standard home video stuff the hum/noise won't matter. It's the quiet situations like say a hunting video where there's little noise is where it makes a difference. He used for a while with regular stuff and not an issue. Tried for some quiet background situations and he was startled at the noise. He told me about it and I got online and found out it's a known issue. Has been. Thought i would soon own one the next model year cause for sure Panasonic would come up with a fix and they didn't. The consumer shouldn't have to buy extra accessories to get rid of that problem. It's a shame though. It does an amazing job on video quality. Just amazing. I'll wait till another model or brand with Panasonic's viid quality comes out or a fix to jump on the HD camcorder bandwagon.
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  10. You won't find more for your money than the Pana HDC-SD90. Its not 3-chip, but its close in comparison. I dare you to compare. It has NO fan to bother the audio. Video is excellent. Haven't notice any audio issue. Much nicer Menu system than comparable canon. Anti shake is so good you can hand hold it at 40X

    Low light is rated average

    around $400 !!!!
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Moontrash View Post

    I don't own the camera edDV. I know someone who does and if anyone just shoots your standard home video stuff the hum/noise won't matter. It's the quiet situations like say a hunting video where there's little noise is where it makes a difference. He used for a while with regular stuff and not an issue. Tried for some quiet background situations and he was startled at the noise. He told me about it and I got online and found out it's a known issue. Has been. Thought i would soon own one the next model year cause for sure Panasonic would come up with a fix and they didn't. The consumer shouldn't have to buy extra accessories to get rid of that problem. It's a shame though. It does an amazing job on video quality. Just amazing. I'll wait till another model or brand with Panasonic's viid quality comes out or a fix to jump on the HD camcorder bandwagon.
    Once you understand what is going on, this can be managed. The TM900 uses an omni-directional 5.1 surround mic. Most prosumer cams use a narrow pattern shotgun to focus sound pickup forward in front of the camcorder. When you set audio levels manually (just below clipping for the loudest mic check), quiet passages will record from a fixed noise floor. That is audio gain will be a constant.

    If you switch audio gain control (AGC) to on, the camera will boost audio gain during quiet passages and reduce gain when audio is loud. The gain increase when quiet causes the camcorder fan noise to be heard. This is enhanced due to the omni-directional 5.1 surround sound field with the TM900. The worse problem with AGC circuits is called audio gain pumping. This happens when audio varies in loudness. A sudden loud noise will first cause audio clipping and distortion. As the gain circuit tries to compensate, any low level sound will be muted. This gain hunting causes poor sound that can't be "fixed in post". That is why pros never use AGC.
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  12. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Moontrash View Post
    in terms of video quality panasonic outclasses all of them...but...panasonics' best model..unfortunately...has a serious audio flaw in that it has an internal fan and if you are videoing in quiet situations...you can hear the fan hum...
    To be fair, when filming in quiet situations, the tape whine on the HV40 is pretty awful (like many DV camcorders - they do vary though). You have to disable the audio AGC (easily done) - but even then it can be audible if you need to hear something very quiet.

    At those kind of levels, handling noise will be objectionable too - though clicks and swishes from hands moving can be removed from the audio track more cleanly than a constant background noise.

    Cheers,
    David.
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  13. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    To be fair, when filming in quiet situations, the tape whine on the HV40 is pretty awful (like many DV camcorders - they do vary though). You have to disable the audio AGC (easily done) - but even then it can be audible if you need to hear something very quiet.
    it's inaudible with an external mic, the built in one is bad anyway so the first thing any hv owner should have purchased is an add-on.
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    A good basic external shotgun mic for either is the Rode video mic but it will be mono, not 2.0 or 5.1. Rode also makes a stereo camcorder mic.
    Last edited by edDV; 22nd May 2012 at 16:51.
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  15. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    To be fair, when filming in quiet situations, the tape whine on the HV40 is pretty awful (like many DV camcorders - they do vary though). You have to disable the audio AGC (easily done) - but even then it can be audible if you need to hear something very quiet.
    it's inaudible with an external mic, the built in one is bad anyway so the first thing any hv owner should have purchased is an add-on.
    I know some HV20 owners think they're steven spielberg, but some of us just point-and-shoot. And think it's amazingly unportable already, without adding bits!

    I did have to give in and buy a wide angle lens for shooting indoors, but even that's a pain (screw on lens, disable IAF. remove lens, enable IAF. repeat).

    It's a shame you have to buy extra bits just to get the sound and picture that you want.

    The few times I have bothered to improve the sound, it's been by adding an external recorder placed far closer to the action.

    Cheers,
    David.
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    Originally Posted by schematic2 View Post
    You won't find more for your money than the Pana HDC-SD90.
    +1

    I have an SD90 and it's picture quality is very good. The image stabilization is absolutely first rate. Apparently in the latest models (HC-V500M and HC-V700, available here is AUS) they have even improved the IS .
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  17. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nharikrishna View Post
    So I thought I could go for an AVCHD camcorder, but I do not like shooting on SD Cards. I looked at some of the consumer models from Sony that have HDD built-in, but reviews for those models are not that good.
    What's wrong with SD cards? I have an (ancient?) Sony CX12 that I love. Recently however, despite its built-in 120GB HDD, I'm more and more using memory stick (that I got cheaply) to record AVCHD; 32GB is about 4hrs at the highest bitrate. I can transfer the AVCHD folder and all other metadata onto the PC HDD, then erase the it, ready for another recording session. On the HDD, I have to lift off specific *.mts files from the stream folder without the rest of the data. Either way, after the CX12 I got a CX550, which accepts SD cards. This model belongs to a group of AVCHD camcorders with excellent specs that Sony made for the consumer market at that time; its successor, the CX700 I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. www.camcorderinfo.com proves me correct. The only other serious competition of CX550 is Panasonic TM900, which may have a fan noise problem says other posters here. It's successor is the X900M, which is (just) a bit better than the TM900, according to camcorderinfo.
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  18. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    SD cards are pretty good currently. i use a 64GB pretec card that tests at 480mb/s read and 320mb/s write. for under a $1/GB and i've never had a bad file or anything else go wrong.
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  19. Thanks for all the replies.

    My main problem with SD cards is simple. With MiniDV tapes, we can have instant physical original content on tape and we can maintain a copy on computer. But with SD cards, we have to always clear the contents on the card to record further. Since I will be filming my children growing, I would need atleast 2 hours footage a month. With SD cards, this means I either maintain only one copy on computer, or maintain several cards without erasing content on them.

    Since there is no choice but to go for flash-based camcorders (B&H do not ship to my country), I shortlisted Canon HF G10 & Panasonic X900M. Canon model is a bit difficult to get in shops, whereas the Panasonic X900M is available right now to buy. Its previous model TM900 is not available anymore here.

    So it comes down to Canon HF G10 vs Panasonic X900M for me.

    After careful examination on camcorderinfo site, I found some of the differences are: G10 has 2 slots for SD Cards, whereas X900M has only one. G10's low-light performance is better than X900M. X900M has 5.1 mic built-in whereas G10 is only sterio. G10 cannot shoot 60p/50p whereas X900M can. X900M has a 3D 'capable' feature. X900M has 3 years warranty, whereas G10 has only one year.

    Please suggest which one to go for.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by nharikrishna; 24th May 2012 at 02:03.
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    You have the feature comparison fairly complete. The G10 is overall superior unless you value 1080p50/60.

    For workflow you will need to create a working copy and separate backup when you transfer video off the SD cards. Best policy is to have two backups (second out of house).
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  21. FWIW I just bought an X900M, and I'm pretty happy with it so far. Here's a short video of some test shots (watch in 1080p!).

    nharikrishna, I get what you're saying about SD vs DV, though I think I'm going to enjoy being tape-free from now on. I also have a Panasonic PV-GS120 that I've been using for several years. I have accumulated 30 or 40 tapes, and I'm a bit worried about their longevity in storage. I have transferred most of the footage over to HDD, and some of the tapes have a few frames that dropped out (even though the tapes were fresh and the heads were clean. Real-time transfer is very time-consuming.

    OTOH, SD is really convenient. Transfer from card to HDD is quick, and I don't have to use the camcorder to do it. Battery life while shooting is better, and recording time per card (even at 1080p60) is quite large.

    Either way HDD space is really cheap, so it's easy to maintain backups. You should copy your footage to at least two disks for peace of mind. I wouldn't count on the durability or longevity of DV tapes.
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  22. Thanks for the replies. Yes, I too have about 30 DV tapes and some of them are not readable by my Panasonic NV-GS500 camcorder (on which they were recorded).

    Thanks edDV for recommending G10 based on its overall performance. I have some more questions.

    G10 Vs X900M: I hear some more differences. X900M has a 'wider' lense than the G10. Does this matter? Also, for my shooting requirements (kids, family videos, school stage programmes, occational nature scenes), is 50p required? What difference does it make as opposed to 25p? (I am in PAL world). Do both the models allow a good, professional-style external mic? I see both the models have 3.5mm jacks for external mics. G10 has 10x zoom and X900M has 12X. X900M has a fan that makes noise but G10 is quiter. G10 has connector that allows only Canon's proprietary attachments such as light, whereas X900M is generic. Also, G10's ViewFinder cannot be bent & lifted upwards.

    I felt the 2 SD Card slots on G10 is a real advantage over X900M's single slot, and also G10's low-light performance is superior to X900M's as per reviews. Is X900M's built-in 5.1 mic a reason I should go for it?

    So many questions, but this will determine my purchasing decision.

    I have so far shot only NTSC DV and PAL DV on Standard Definition Camcorder, and some 'Full HD' video clips on my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by nharikrishna; 28th May 2012 at 22:55.
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