records in high def mode. Once you get it into you computer, it is decoded/decompressed. Then your video editing application re-codes it to whatever you select it to re-code to - and when you burn a DVD, it is whatever format you specify.
Compression means loss of data - that cannot be recovered. AVCHD compresses a LOT (Keep in mind that high definition video is ~4 times more information than standard definition video. An hour of AVCHD video on you camcorder will take up less space on the camcorder hard drive than an hour of standard definition video. That compression - throwing away data - will not be recovered in the decompression process.
Starting with the best available video for editing is a better way to go. Using AVCHD for compression as the LAST step (not the first step) is a better way to go. The Canon HV20 or Sony HDR-HC7 are both miniDV tape based machines that store using HDV (for high definition video) - not AVCHD - HDV compresses the video, but near as much as AVCHD does... However, if you are set on a hard drive based rig, the HG10 has gotten better reviews than the SR5.
See the ratings area at camcorderinfo.com
JVC does not make the short list for reasons other than not using AVCHD (though that is definitely a big plus in their favor). Their camcorder electronics just don't stack up against Sony or Panasonic or Canon and colors aren't as vivd.
I am looking to purchase an entry level high def, hard drive camcorder. I have read all I can find and have ended up at the Sony SR 5 and Canon HG 10. We will be using it for basic home movies only. Any feedback from existing owners of each beyond what is posted thus far?
Secondly, is buying one of these camcorders that use AVCHD not making a bet on Bluray vs HD DVD as I am under the impression that in order to view burned dvds (in high def) from a camcorder that records in AVCHD, you need a BluRay player? I looked at the JVC Everio since it does not use AVCHD, but the reviews seemed much more negative than those for the Sony and Canon.
Thanks for any feedback.