!>http://images.camcorderinfo.com/images/upload/Image/Canon/Canon%20HV20/Product%20Pictures/Canon_HV20vsSony_HDR-HC7_Right.jpg! What a difference just a month makes. Since the last HD Camcorders, Sony, Canon and Panasonic have all introduced new models, this changes the decisions quite a bit. Using Camcorderinfo, here are the latest tradeoffs and selection:
# “Canon HV-20″:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-HV20-Camcorder-Review.htm. $1100 MSRP. Canon announced a bigger camera called the HV-20. Unlike the HV-20, this one isn’t a skinny one, but more like a small box. The big deal is that it has much better low light performance and retains the very high quality high light. Also, it has a true 24P (24 frame progressive) at 1080i which has much truer colors. At $1100, it is $100 more expensive than the HV10 and bigger, but it has a much higher picture quality. The main drawback remains that it is not a hard disk camcorder, so you still have those pesky tapes to deal with. Again, if you can hang on, I just feel that there is a hard disk HD camcorder coming in say by Christmas 2007. It btw beats the new Sony HDR-HC7 because of better picture quality and it is $200 less.
# Canon XH A1 ($4000 MSRP). Ok, this is if you really are a professional and semipro. It is larger and gigantic and is also tape based, but it has amazing low light performance. It has three 1/3” CCDs and it also doesn’t have that really saturated look, but is more film like professional in quality.
# “Panasonic HDC-SD3”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Panasonic-HDC-SD1-HDC-DX1-HDC-SD3-and-HDC-DX3-AVCHD-Camcorders-Compared.htm This is a SD or SDHC card based camcorder, so it doesn’t have a hard drive, but is 1920x1080i with three CCDs. cost is $1275. The older HDC-SD1 is the only one available outside of Japan but I wouldn’t recommend it, it is not true 1920x1080i, but is actually 1440x1080i. The biggest issue is that it uses the new AVCHD codec (like the new Sony’s) which is pretty immature. It is noisier than the older HDV format used in the HV-10. It has more in-camera sharpening than the HV-20 and about the same as the more consumer-grade image of the HDR-HC7. The bright light noise is quite high at the same levels as Sony’s offering (DVD-based HDR-UX1 and hard-drive-based HDR-SR1). The second is that it has lots of motion artifacting (this is really because the new H.264 codec hardware used in AVCHD is still maturing) is really noticable in the Panasonic compared with the Sony HDR-UX1 for instance. BTW, this also means low-light performance is pretty bad as well.
# “JVC Everio HD7”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/JVC-GZ-HD7-First-Impressions-Review.htm. $1800. This is the dark horse that we just have to wait for.This is a hard disk camcorder that is about to come to the US. It records in MPEG-2 at 30Mbps onto a 60GB hard drive, so it has a higher bit rate than HDV MPEG-2 (limited to 25Mbps) and isn’t as efficient as the AVCHD (15Mbps maximum, so it is about twice as efficient to go H.264 vs. MPEG-2). Also it has a broadcast quality Fujinon lense and has 3 CCDs. BTW, it is using a variable bit rate MPEG-2 up to 30Mbps which is nice since MPEG-2 works with DVDs, Blu-ray and most video editing systems.
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