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Sony HDR-SR11 vs Canon HV30

I think I've narrowed my search for an HD camcorder but I've seen many posts dealing with editing and other problems with AVCHD files used by the SR11. I have an older PC with less than 1G of RAM, and for now, I don't plan to do anything more than combine recorded home video segments and burn to DVD. Will the Canon HV30 files be easier to work with and present fewer problems than those from the SR11? Thanks!

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Possibly a problem for both...

In reply to: Sony HDR-SR11 vs Canon HV30

How much hard drive space do you have on your computer? You'll want at least a 320GB hard drive for a casual amount of video. HD video takes up a TON of space. Editing and viewing the video is intense on the processor and RAM, even for both AVCHD and HDV. Will the HDV files be easier to work with? Could be. It really depends on the software you have and how you will be using the video afterward. Since you said burnign to DVD, I assume you know you won't end up with HD video, but with very good standard definition video. If you want HD video as a final product, you'll need BluRay. And that's a whole other topic....

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With less than a gig of RAM,

In reply to: Sony HDR-SR11 vs Canon HV30

you may run into issues with either camcorder.

If you do HDV (HV30) or AVCHD (SR11) you will need to buy a video editor because MovieMaker cannot deal with either. You probably want to decide on the video editor at the same time as the camcorder - and research the video editing application to understand what its minimum or recommended requirements are.

I see three advantages to the HV30 (over and above the fact that miniDV tape is the preferred storage media):

1) The HV30 can record in standard definition DV which your computer can handle if it can launch MovieMaker. The SR11 can do various levels of video quality - I believe they are all encapsulated in an AVCHD "wrapper".

2) The HV30 has more granular manual audio control - The SR11's audio control is limited to "Normal" and "Low" (for loud audio environments).

3) The HV30 can do 24p and the SR11 cannot.

Given the description of your computer, you may also want to consider adding a hard drive (internal or external). Video files use LOTS of space.

The HV30 will require your computer to have a Firewire port to import the video. The SR11 uses USB to copy video data files.

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Sony HDR-SR11 vs Canon HV30

In reply to: With less than a gig of RAM,

Thanks for the responses....
I've avoided upgrading my PC because I don't want to deal with Vista..that being said, I can certainly add an external hard drive to supplement the 80G I currently have.
HV30 specs indicate (1) USB connection for the HV30 (?)- I don't have firewire. Must I have a video editor, in addition to supplied software, just to be able to burn DVD's? As I mentioned, I certainly don't intend to do any significant editing...I really was leaning toward the SR11, but it does seem like the HV30 might be easier to deal with at this time given my PC and at least I can store and play the tapes until I can upgrade...thanks again for the help!

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I won't go down that Windows

In reply to: Sony HDR-SR11 vs Canon HV30

upgrade path...

The USB connection on the HV30 is used only for transferring stills from the memory card. Firewire is required for DV/HDV transfer from the miniDV tape.

Must you have a video editor?
In order to get the video from a miniDV tape based camcorder into your computer, the video editor has an "Import" capability. The video editor also has a "Save As" function to export various file types and compression to the video (then kept locally, uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo or other video site, etc). DVDs are not the only way to get video out of the computer.

There are essentially two ways information can be stored on a DVD. The "traditional" method takes the video file and by using a DVD authoring application allows a DVD that is playable in a regular DVD player attached to a TV. Another method uses the DVD like a magnetic disc or USB thumb drive or external drive by saving data files - typically, these data files are not readable by a regular DVD player and are computer-readable only.

In the case of the SR11, you could copy the files from the camcorder to your computer - and maybe even watch the files in a media player application. The copy the files to DVD as data files for later editing. Playing (or editing) HDV or AVCHD is very CPU intensive. The SR11's AVCHD data files *could* be readable by a BluRay DVD player but the video files can get quite large (even with a lot of compression applied), and regular DVDs can hold 4.5 gig or 8.7 gig only (as compared to the BluRay blanks that start at 25 gig).

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One more question....

In reply to: I won't go down that Windows

I read in another post '...AVCHD camcorders are the only high definition camcorders that will allow you to play the video through a BluRay player with no conversion of format.' How involved is it to make a HD-DVD that can be played in a BluRay player from miniDV tape?
Thanks....

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I haven't done it...

In reply to: One more question....

but it seems to me that the video editing application has the "Save As" or "Export" function to a particular file type - if the file type list includes the H.264/AVCHD variant, then the imported HDV from the HV30 could export to that selected data file type.

Or, if you have a BluRay drive connected to your computer like
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/range.htm?id=10058
then the DVD authoring application would take care of that.

Perhaps someone else has first hand experience.

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Processes...

In reply to: One more question....

AVCHD (w/o BluRay burner): Use supplied software or DVDirect to copy the AVCHD files to a standard DVD. If you have a BluRay player, slip that DVD into the player and it will play in HD.

AVCHD (w/ BluRay burner): Transfer video to computer using supplied software or third party software. Burn to BluRay disc. Play on BluRay player.

HDV (BluRay burner required): Transfer video to computer using the import function in most video editing products. Using either authoring software or video editing software, prepare the video in a format for BluRay. Use the burning tool to burn the video to BluRay disc. Play on BluRay player.

Also, just to keep in mind, you can hook up each camcorder to the TV and not have to worry about converting or burning.

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So it looks like

In reply to: Processes...

I'm going to take the plunge and go with the HV30....If I thinking correctly, at least this way I can keep what is recorded on the miniDV tapes and play them through the camcorder - at least until I can make DVD copies (maybe with the DVDirect recorder). With the SR11, I have to get what is recorded off the hard drive and store the video some other way, which appears to be difficult with my current PC....
If I'm wrong about this, please let me know! Thanks!

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That's fine.

In reply to: So it looks like

I just prefer the method of storing the videos on my computers hard drives and not having to import all of my videos on tapes whenever I need them. They're just a few clicks away instead of a few hours of importing to those same hard drives.

Whatever works best for you is perfectly fine with me.

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I lied - one more

In reply to: That's fine.

question..I see that by using the Sony VRD-MC5 DVDirect burner, I could burn DVD directly from the SR11 - or make DVD's from the HV30 miniDV's...and bypass my old PC completely. I wasn't considering tape at first because it seems like old tech. I was between the HF10, but flash memory is $$ and the SR11...This being the case - which camcorder do you think is better for home video with little/no editing, the SR11 or HV30? Thanks!

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If you aren't doing any editing,

In reply to: I lied - one more

then it does not matter if you burn the DVD from the VRD-MC5 DVDirect burner. With the HV30, you can playback using the tape - just lock the tape and store in a cool dry place. To move the video from the tape to the DVD is an extra, unnecessary step.

I *think* the VRD-MC5 DVDirect burner has value with the HDD or flash memory camcorders - from the HDD perspective, it allows you to delete the files form the HDD so you can keep recording since you can't easily grow the size of the hard drive... same with the flash memory camcorders, but at least you can get more memory cards as needed (sort of like miniDV tape). And with the flash memory camcorders you you get into solid state, do not have the vibration, loud noise or altitude issues that HDD camcorders have.

I would suggest that the choice is actually between the miniDV tape (with or without the VRD-MC5 DVDirect burner) and flash memory camcorder (with VRD-MC5 DVDirect burner)... and the hard drive based camcorder drops from the list. Flash memory shelf life has not been extensively studied, not recommend as long-term archive media. Digital tape has a good shelf-life... DVDs concern me because they can be scratched. From my IT management days, digital tape is acceptable long term - optical disk was never used - removable hard drive is OK for short term - but not long term (but camcorder hard drives are not removable) shelf life/archiving.

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After searching the forum

In reply to: If you aren't doing any editing,

I've finally decided to go with the HV30 - which initially wasn't on my list because I thought of miniDV as 'old-school'. I'm really glad I asked for help from you experts. I stopped at BestBuy and Circuit City tonight to see the different models and the sales people at both stores didn't have anywhere near the knowledge of you guys...
Of course, I have another Q:
Is there really no difference (quality, life, etc) between 'regular' premium miniDV tapes and the more expensive HD tapes? Are there brands that are regarded as being better? Thanks again!!

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You really do not

In reply to: After searching the forum

need to get the special "HD" tapes.

I do not reuse tapes. I use the cheap Sony Premium miniDV tapes. The story is, a few years ago, a couple of the tape manufacturers (the two main ones are Sony and Panasonic) made different formulations of lubricants for their tapes and if they mixed (because you used the different tapes in the same machine), there could be head clogs and all sorts of bad stuff... so the directive was not to mix tape manufacturers. Pick a tape and stick with it for the life of the camcorder.

A couple of years ago, the manufacturers improved the formulation so (in theory), the mixing of tapes is not a bad thing - but you never know how old the tape is that you are getting... it *could* have been sitting in the far corner of a warehouse somewhere and may just now be seeing the light of day... so the "conventional wisdom" is still pick a tape and stick with it...

Panasonic tapes are good, too...

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I don't think so....

In reply to: With less than a gig of RAM,

The SR11 can do various levels of video quality - I believe they are all encapsulated in an AVCHD "wrapper". - According to Sony, the SD mode of recording is just like standard definition camcorders. No AVCHD is used in the SD recording mode.

To the OP: You could use the supplied software for either camcorder and you'll be able to burn DVDs. And yes, if you want a tape camcorder you'll need Firewire.
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This is more

In reply to: I don't think so....

involved than I imagined...
thanks again to both for your help.
With a once-in-a-lifetime vacation on the horizon, I would like to get an HD camcorder. As I noted, with the HV30 I could just store the tapes. Also, I saw a Sony direct DVD recorder (VRD-MC5) which would apparently work to copy the tapes to DVD without editing (I believe), until I upgrade my PC....Thanks!

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You may be right...

In reply to: I don't think so....

My confusion stems from the 4 different levels of HD mode.

A colleague in Texas got one... and he's been wrestling with it and the 5.1 audio (finally got it to 2-channel stereo as a workaround) for a couple of months...

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