Monday, May 14, 2007

3 Canon’s HD camcorders: HV10, HV20 and HR10: is only PowerShot TX1 still groovy?

Canon is not only SLR, compacts and ultra zoom great camera manufacturer. There are a lot of interesting High Definition consumer video devices in his baggage. And with an excellent image quality and not expensive prices of these gadgets, Canon can compete with Sony’s and Panasonic’s best camcorders. Look at my previous posts: - Two new 3CCD High Definition AVCHD Camcorders from Panasonic - have we been waiting for these?
- 7 new 1CCD HD camcorders from Sony – any reasons to buy some or to wait for 3CCD cams
- Groovy news from Sony: five new HD-camcorders with hard disk drive! It’s time to die for our old video devices?
Really I can’t understand in which guide I must rate the Canon PowerShot TX-1. But its capability to record high-definition 1,280x720-pixel video at 30 frames per second makes me meditate on Canon’s strategy.
Their first compact HD camcorder – the HV-10 Canon made in a vertical form. This vertical design brought with it some irksome ergonomic issues. In spite of it and a small size the HV-10 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance. Its 10x optical zoom lens and 2.96 Megapixel CMOS image sensor ensure meticulous detail and not bad color reproduction. It captures 1,920 horizontal and 1,080 vertical pixels for 1080i HD or wide-screen SD video. When capturing 480i standard-def video it lets foll the horizontal resolution to 1,440 . When capturing stills, it uses 2.76 megapixels (1,920 x 1,440) in 4:3 mode and 2.07 megapixels (1,920 x 1,080) in 16:9 mode. The HV10 couples the sensor with a 10X Canon HD video lens, a scaled-down version of the 20X lens in the XH series which shares the optical characteristics of Canon's professional L series of lenses. What about Image quality of Canon HV10? For $748 you have a quite impressive video: sharp, saturated and smooth. The drawback of this camcorder is: awkward ergonomics, poorly located microphone, no HDMI output or accessory shoe, short battery life and no bundled video software. It can't adjust white balance while shooting, either.
The next step: NV20 Canon made in a horizontal design that is more comfortable to use and solves certain problems, but also made for a larger camcorder. You can fit the HV20 for $990 into a jacket pocket, but it might be a tight fit depending on the jacket. It includes all the same features as the HV10, plus 24p recording, an HDMI output, a longer-lasting battery, and an accessory shoe. Instead horizontal design allows to put into camcorder 10x optical, f/1.8 to f/3 zoom lens, which includes the company's Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization. Instant Auto Focus, which employs a helper sensor on the front of the tape compartment to measure the distance to your subject, proved very fast indeed. But it slowed considerably in low light, which is just as much of a challenge for the helper sensor as it is for a normal AF sensor. Like the HV10, the HV20 tends to lose some information in highlights, though it preserves noticeably more highlight detail than most non-HD camcorders, and shadow detail is impressive. Since it's a single-chip design as opposed to three-chip, low-light performance isn't amazing.
Using the HV20’s HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connection, it’s easy to transfer movies to a compatible HD-Ready TV with no loss in quality. Alternatively, connect the camcorder to a compatible computer to transfer footage for editing.
And now Canon has announced its latest high definition camcorder, the HR10. It marks Canon's first AVCHD camcorder, and at least in the world of specifications may briefly have been the world's smallest HD camcorder, though that title has probably been taken by Sony's HDR-CX6EK. That's primarily because the Sony uses Memory Sticks while the Canon records to DVD.
Anyway, the Canon HR10 features a full 1920 x 1080 CMOS (1080i), and utilizes Canon's Instant AF system and Super Range Optical Image Stabilization. It also features a 2.7-inch widescreen Multi-Angle Vivid LCD and the look and feel of film with the 24p Cine Mode. There's a 10x optical zoom lens with aspherical elements and coatings that reduces flare and ghosting. It's been designed to fit in the hand and to be operated almost entirely one-handed. Functionality appears to be much the same as the HV20, except that it uses DVDs for recording instead of Mini DV cassettes. It will be available in the US from August, priced around $1,199.
I think that if the next step to the HD market Canon will make with Memory Stick camcorder, it can become a problem for other mfrs. Nevertheless it’s a little hard to make video with Mini DV now. While DVD format is just a little bad for a great HD performance, HDD camcorders are some delicate. But HD camcorders with cheap and big size memory cards can be really useful now.
What about Canon PowerShot TX-1, it’s necessary to compare it with Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 or HD2. I’ll do it in the next post.


Julia said...

I don’t understand why you are so skeptical about Mini DV. Today shooting with it you can get the best quality video.

fototramp said...

It takes very long to make a movie with a Mini DV: first you capture the video from your camcorder into the PC in real time, then, during many hours, you convert it in DVD. So I am looking forward to camcorders with memory sticks. They will make shooting easier.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure to buy HD-cam today is the waste of money. New HD-formats is a raw material and not worked out properly. I would rather wait for a year.

Anonymous said...

Just returned my TX-1. I had really high hopes for it, but it just can't live up to the hype. Video was extremely noisy and very soft unless the light was very bright. Stills looked good compared to the video but bad next to any of the SD series shooters that Canon has out. The HV20 seems to be the best bet at the moment.

fototramp said...

Yes I agree. But you must pay abt. $1100 for MiniDV HV20. So it's better to wait for Canons's memory card camcorder.

Anonymous said...

What type of HD-camcorder you consider as better?

fototramp said...

I think that the best HD camcorder doesn’t appear yet. There are a lot of 1CCD HD camcorders from Sony, some 3CCD cams from Panasonic, Canon HV20, Sanyo HD2 and even $299 Aiptek GO-HD. Nevertheless it’s a little hard to make video with Mini DV now. While DVD format is just a little bad for a great HD performance, HDD camcorders are some delicate. But HD camcorders with cheap and big size memory cards can be really useful now. I think that if the next step to the HD market Canon will make with Memory Stick camcorder, it can become the best. For more details look at: Aiptek GO-HD vs Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 or HD2; $299 HD camcorder attacks HD market.

bencaty41 said...

I have windows vista, & when I transfer my videos from my cam onto my PC, they come out as MTS files. Which is strange because I use an AVCHD camcorder, and they only come out as AVCHD files on my Dad's PC which has Windows 7. I dont understand why that happens. I use my PC to edit videos, but my editing software is only compatible with AVCHD. not MTS.