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Video Cameras forum

General discussion

sony HC7 vs. pan. AG-DVC20

by kpickman / May 3, 2007 2:22 PM PDT

I am looking to buy a new camcorder to shoot a low budget film, and I can't decide what to go with. I can only spend about 1,500, and I'm trying to buy the right camera for the job. Now I know that the Panasonic AG-DVC20 is a professional camera but at the same time it standard def. I've been looking at the Sony HC7 because it high def and really the only consumer model with a external mic jac, headphone jac, and manual focus. I have also heard horror stories about how it's impossible to use Final cut to edit with some of the high def cameras. There seems to be pros and con in each one but I still can't figure out which would be best for the job. I also know the HC7 is a consumer camera and does not posses the pro features like Zebra's aperture settings, manual white balance that the AG-DVC20 has. With that said I'm very serious about this film, and I want something that look somewhat professional, if you had to make the decision , what would you go with? Also does anyone now about the manual focus on the HC7, I know it's not controlled with a focus ring, which makes me believe that the manual focus isn't very good.

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Two very different cameras...
by boya84 / May 4, 2007 7:57 AM PDT

The Sony is a consumer high-definition hand-held camcorder.

The Panasonic is a shoulder-mount standard definition camcorder. It may be the low-end of the pro-line, but I can't call it a pro-grade camera. Maybe pro-sumer. No XLR, for one thing...

When you shoot, are you expecting to be mobile or on a tripod.

What is your requirement for high-definition?

I think when you honestly answer these questions, the rest are moot.

By the way, using FinalCut to import/edit highdef video from miniDV tape based camcorders is easy - I use a Sony HDR-HC1 - with FireWire. iMovie works well, too. If someone is having problems it is likely either they aren't following directions or the camera they have uses AVCHD encoding (DVD-based and hard drive-based hidef cameras only). Mine works great and I have used Sony, Panasonic and Canon miniDV tape based cameras connected to my G5 flatpanel and transfered all sorts of hidef video footage using FinalCut and iMovie.

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by kpickman / May 4, 2007 2:36 PM PDT

I was also looking at the HDR-HC1 but found some not so good reviews. Is the price of the HC1 really around 1,500? Since you own this camera I was wondering if you could tell me the pros and cons of it first hand, oh and does it really shoot 16:9 widescreen? Also I heard the image is really sharp but the color is not so vivid and it tends to wash and blow out the picture on sunny days. Is the quailty of the picture better than the Panasonic AgDVC20? Any info on HC1 would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot!
-the very confused and overwhelmed camera shopper

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I've been using my HC1 for about a year
by boya84 / May 4, 2007 3:27 PM PDT
In reply to: HDR-HC1

I really like it, which is why I continue to use it - because if the issues were that big of a deal, I would have dumped it for another camera... but it does have issues:

Lowlight graininess can be a bit of a problem. So I either don't shoot or try to get the light turned up a bit. For the first usable consumer hidef camera, though, it does a good job. In normal light (out doors, daylight) it does a GREAT job. I do not know what color wash out to which you refer... I was on a location shoot recently - there were two Canon XL2 cameras, a Panasonic DVX100 and a HVX200. During the day, the Canons and I were all at 4:3 standard definition. We all white balanced on the same card at the same time. Everyone was at the same shutter speed (1/30, I think). You cannot tell which camera captured what video. That evening, the Panasonics and I taped a band... we all white balanced on the same card and we all shot at 16:9... again, you cannot tell which camera shot which video. I presume if I had shot at 1080i or the HVX200 shot using 24p, one could tell... but all things being equal, the video image is the same from the different cameras. (FYI: hidef video is *always* 16:9; standard def can be 4:3 or 16:9.)

Would the picture quality on the HC1 be better than the DVC20? If I was shooting in high def (1080i) and we both played back on a hidef TV, yeah, of course the HC1 would be a lot sharper - the DVC20 is a good camera - but still shoots only in standard def.

Sony has not made the HC1 for a while, so I don't know what those are that you are looking at unless the stores bought up inventory (or a bunch of refurbs hit the market). I paid $1599 for mine. It's pro-grade brother, the HVR-A1 is a great camera, too... Both are bottom loaders... I have learned to work around that with a straight accessory bracket, an angled accessory bracket and a BeachTek DXA-6 XLR adapter I use...

The HC1 is not a shoulder-mount camera - I like its size. The DVC20 seems large to me. The biggest I might consider getting is about the size of a Panasonic HVX200.

I like shooting hidef video, editing on my computer and exporting back out to the camera so I can playback on my HDTV. It takes up more hard drive space on my computer and takes longer to import or export (compared to standard def video), but I'm ok with that trade off. I wish the HC1 had separate focus and zoom rings - but I guess that is what pro-grade cameras are for. I like that I can add a wide angle or 2x tele lens, but I don't like the screw mount much (no other choice, not the camera's fault).

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