Equipment: reviews four HDV camcorders

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Adam Wilt reviews four HDV camcorders on (registration required): the Canon XL H1, JVC GY-HD100U, Panasonic AG-HVX200, and the Sony HVR-Z1U:

The Canon XL H1 was the resolution champ amongst the 1/3" cameras, with a crisper, visibly more detailed image than its compatriots. To my eye it showed slightly more noise than the HVX200, with the noise being a fine-grained luma noise compared to the HVX200's slightly softer, more chroma-oriented noise. I preferred the Canon's noise signature as being less video-like, but Barry preferred the HVX's noise for exactly the same reason--you'll want to judge for yourself. In any case, there was potential to reduce the visible noise in the Canon's image that we didn't explore; we'll have to do that in a later test.

The Canon clipped highlights a bit more harshly than the HVX did; it was comparable to the Sony as best I remember. Again, had we set the Canon's knee to "low", we might have eked out a small increment in usable highlight detail; how much so I can't say. Something else to test on another day...

Meanwhile, if you own a Panasonic HVX200 (or even if you don't), you might be interested in the articles on that describe some essentials for HDV filmmaking: tripod and monitor, lens adapters, and matte boxes and filters.

And if you're in the market for a good external mic for your DV/HDV camcorder, the Rode VideoMic seems like a winner. Guy Cochran writes on the DV-L list:

Shotgun: I would take a look at the low cost RODE Videomic. It's an entry level shotgun mic that mounts onto your camera's accessory shoe. The sound quality is amazing for the price (about $150US). The VideoMic runs off of a 9V battery and the output is a 1/8" mini jack.

Compared to the Sennheiser MKE300 ($199) which is the same type of design,
the Videomic sounds better and has a built-in shockmount.

You can hear the CEO of RODE talk about the mic in a video at

And I put together a short clip with the Videomic against a more expensive
mic (Sennheiser ME66/K6). You can hear it at


On the low end, the Audio Technica Pro88W is not too bad at less than $200.
On bit of a higher level, most folks are going for the Sennheiser Evolution
Wireless G2 at about $499.

So it boils down to how much you want to spend and if you have the time to
mic the person first or need the convenience of wireless. If you have the
wide angle lens for you camera, use it while using the shotgun. That will
allow you to get the camera (and mic) closer to the subject.

Here's an article to check out too

Guy Cochran

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on January 29, 2006 1:02 PM.

Info: Edirol R-09 field recorder was the previous entry in this blog.

NY Times: Going to film school... to make money? is the next entry in this blog.

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