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Canon Vixia HV30 -- too much camera for me?

by gofurther / March 25, 2009 6:21 AM PDT

Never owned a camcorder. I have no experience with video editing. I want to buy a camcorder, and at least have the option for video editing down the road.

The HV30 seems very enticing, high def for $600...but upon further research, seems to be probably "too much camera" for my experience level.

Any suggestions for a standard def camcorder? I think MiniDV would be best, to allow for video editing down the road. Can you still edit hard-disk formats as well, but it's just more difficult to do?

Are new models coming out soon, possibly reducing 08 models prices?

Thanks for any feedback.

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by chickenorfish / March 25, 2009 8:27 AM PDT

you can shoot the hv30 in standard def if you wish. it will beat any standard def only cam too

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Since all consumer camcorders
by boya84 / March 25, 2009 8:39 AM PDT

including the HV30 - have "auto" mode that is the default, all you need to do is point and shoot. It gets exciting when you drop into manual mode (focus, zoom, shutter, aperture, audio, add mics, etc).

I added one manual item at a time - over time - and waded into the pool rather than jump in the deep end. Of course, using tips from others - try not to pan or zoom; pay attention to shots at the movies or on TV; think about "framing" and the other visible items in the shot in addition to the subject; try to always use a stabilizing device - tripod, chair, table and rarely (if ever) handheld...

The convenience with miniDV tape is that the tapes are cheap... fill a tape, pop it out, lock it, pop in a new tape resume shooting, mark the old tape with some sort of content ID. So you have the tape ready to work or archive in a cool dry place.

When you import the DV or HDV form the HV30 to a computer, that act of importing is decompressing the video stream. Basically doing two things at once - similar to the tape also being the archive.

The miniDV tapes are available in 60 minute or 80 minute lengths - and you always record in SP. MiniDV tape based means the computer to which you connect the camcorder must have a firewire port. Transfer using USB will not be successful.

When you finish the editing project, export the video project back to the camcorder - and use the camcorder as a playback deck to watch in high definition; save the project as a computer readable file and connect the computer to the HDTV for high definition playback; export the project to an AppleTV or similar multimedia device connected to your HDTV; or burn a standard definition version of the project to a DVD for playback in a regular DVD player; or render a h.264 encoded file suitable for playback using a BluRay player (or PS3).

With a hard disc drive based camcorder, it's "feature" is that it can hold multiple hours of video on the hard drive - but there are some "tradeoffs". If the camcorder is lost, stolen or broken and you have not yet transferred video from the camcorder to some other device, getting the video can have challenges. The standard definition video typically needs to be converted to a format the video editor can deal with - not always - this depends on your computing platform. Your first step after copying the video over USB to the computer is to make a back up/archive.

For AVCHD based camcorders, the first step after copying the files is to make another copy - then when the video it pulled into the editor, it decompresses. So, yes, editing video files form hard disc drives can be done - but there are other steps in the complete process flow that are otherwise "combined" in the miniDV tape process flow. I am a miniDV tape fan - but if my only choice is HDD or flash memory (they store to the same formats), I would skip HDD camcorders and go with the comparable flash memory camcorder (like the HF series).

The Canon HV20/HV30/HV40 and Sony HDR-HC9 are the least expensive camcorders with a mic jack and manual audio control... I do not believe the other camcorders using different recording media - in the same basic environment (up to about $1,200 for the Sony HDD AVCHD camcorders) have manual audio control (but they all do have a mic jack).

The export and playback options for HDD and flash memory are the same - and also the same as miniDV tape - with one exception - I do not believe you can export the finished project back to the camcorder (form the computer) and use the camcorder as the playback deck - at least not with all of them...

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Canon HV30
by misterscoobiesnacks / April 10, 2009 12:22 PM PDT

The HV40 will be coming out in a few weeks, probably dropping the HV30 price even lower. I would recommend it.

The HV30 has a fully automatic mode. You don't have to mess with the manual controls if you don't want to. The main thing is that the video quality of the HV30 is absolutely stunning. It makes other camcorders look like garbage.

If you want a really cheap camcorder, you might also consider the Creative Vado HD. You can buy one for $160 on ebay brand new. It has a few buttons and is foolproof. The video quality is pretty good for such a tiny camcorder. It fits in the pocket.

However, you should just get the HV30. I know you won't regret it.

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