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> Be Careful When Bying Hd Camcoders, from my experience :)
Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 29 2011, 08:27 PM
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Hey guys, just want to share some thoughts about my recent bad experience about getting an secondary HD camcoder. My setup is currently one HD camera, and secondary DV camcoder. What I wanted is to get a cheap HD camcoder to replace the DV I have. So, I found Praktica DVC 5.5 model. This is the picture:



This camcoder was half of the price of HD cams that can be found in shops, and I bought it for a test run. Well, it turns out the camcoder has very small CCD chip, and the standard DV resolution is being interpolated to an HD output, and then compressed to H.264 codec into .avi container.

This has two important side effects for video production:

1. the amount of noise and artifacts is not acceptable even for amateur recordings. The noise and line artifacts are similar as those on the cheap mobile phone cameras.

2. the coded video is very uncomfortable to work with in video editing software. H.264 codec is great for cutting down the size, but it needs processing power, and preview is often glitchy because the codec uses predictable frames for coding, so the encoder cannot find all the frames at command, only one or few within a second or two.

In the end, it turned out that my existing DV cam was putting out much clearer and noise-free picture than this new HD copy-camcoder. Not to mention that uncompressed DV-AVI format of it's video is native format for video editing.

In the end, if you do want a HD camcoder, my advice is to invest in something proper, around 400$ or more. Anything less than that and you will risk to get tricked by a manufacturer. They just don't put declared CCD chip resolution values on the box, they put the interlaced version. Some camcoders don't even put 1080, 24p resolution, but use 720, 24p and interpolate that into full HD, just so they could put the "full HD" sticker on to attract customers.

The best thing to do is to test the cam properly in the store, plug it onto a full HD TV via HDMI, and see how it looks. Be sure to point the cam onto some dark areas of the shop and see if there are any artifacts or noise. If there are, don't buy it, and wait for a better deal.


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Fran
post Mar 29 2011, 08:30 PM
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Sorry to hear that. Can you have it refunded?


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 29 2011, 09:04 PM
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Lots of these cheaper "HD" cams have a really small sensor and terrible low light performance. They record at HD resolution, but have way to much noise and very little flexibility on codec.

I"m using a Sony HDV (Sony HDR-HC7 about $999 US now discontued but similar versions available) camera and coming out of the HDMI out and in to an Black Magic Designs capture card to keep the quality as good as possible going in to the machine. Also, that way I capture directly to my editing format so no rendering on the timeline is needed. I capture to DVCPROHD and edit in real time with Final Cut Pro.

The glass on this camera is good and the cmos chip is great. Every camera I"ve ever tried below this 'Prosumer" level us usually way to grainy for my taste. Not to mention the crappy low iight performance. Cameras are getting cheaper but you still get roughly what you pay for.

Also, for live chat I use the same camera and then it gets stepped on/compressed by the streaming software. In this case our GMC Broadcaster. the image gets truncated to an appropriate resolution and bit stream that works for vid chat.

Here is a link to the camera, and a pic.
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores...ductId=11039061
Attached Image

This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Mar 29 2011, 09:08 PM


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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 31 2011, 02:04 PM
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Sorry to hear this sad.gif Hope you had a chance to return it to the store...

It's a really tough market out there, here is a great site with quality reviews which I use often : http://www.camcorderinfo.com/


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 31 2011, 05:20 PM
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Thanks. Yes, they refunded the cam next day, which is not something that is often being done around here.


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