Seeking recommendation: Sony HDD Handycam

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Seeking recommendation: Sony HDD Handycam

    Hi Everyone!

    I wanted to see if anyone here owns a Sony DCR-SR300 HDD camcorder or has any other recommendations. I do not have a HDTV so I don't see a need to go HD.

    What are your comments? Would you recommend it?

    What other camcorders would people suggestion? And where is a reliable shop I could find camcorders? I am interested in factory warranty as well, so no grey market imports.

    Thanks. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2

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    I don't see a need to go HD
    Speaking as someone who's purchased a fair number of camcorders (Sony FX45, Canon L2, GL1, XL1, GL2, HV10, HV20) the price difference between standard definition (SD) versus high definition makes it shortsighted not to go with the latter even if you don't currently have a HDTV.

    SD has run its course. These digital camcorders with its 480 lines of resolution is certainly superior to the old shoulder-mounted VHS camcorders with its 240 lines of resolution, but as a sizeable portion of the viewing audience migrates over to 16:9 widescreen High Definition over the next 2-3 years, the old 4:3 SD footage will feel like you're watching VHS footage. To me, it makes more sense to spend the extra ~$1500hkd now to buy a HD camcorder. First reason is simply monetary, the extra amount spent now avoids early impending obsolescence. Better to buy the right product the first time around, rather than having to buy twice.

    The second reason is (IMO) far more important than the first. If the HD Sonys function the same as my last two Canons, it SHOULD allow you to film in HD mode, but during playback it should also provide a HD or SD output option. During my last trip to HK with the Canon HV10, there was no problem setting the camcorder to output standard definition (480) to older TVs in HK and the mainland. In fact, many of my viewers commented on how crisp and detailed the picture quality was. I immediately had to clarify that what they were watching was still only standard definition and that it will be more impressive as HDTV becomes more widespread throughout asia. The point is that the captured footage is in HD, all that detail is saved & ready for the future, but can also be down-rezzed for playback on today's SD displays. This doesn't work well the other way around. SD footage looks like garbage on high-definition displays (HDTV) simply because there's a huge mismatch of detail. With a pixel count of 720x480, SD is a digital photo equivalent of 0.3 megapixels. HD at 1920x1080 is the equivalent of a 2.0 megapixel image.

    I've attached a shot of the Canon HV10 footage on my 46" HDTV. Footage is shot from the eighth floor to ground-level. High definition captures every individual brick on the sidewalk.

    As for individual model recommendations, go with whatever brand you like. The offerings from all the companies are more or less competitively even -- making it hard for most consumers to differentiate.

    If you think otherwise, you should be researching model reviews over at www.CamcorderInfo.com
    Last edited by CarterTG; 03-10-2007 at 11:52 PM. Reason: grammatical clarification

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    hk
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    Sony HDD Camcorders

    I would advise caution on buying the SOny camcorders. They record HD video in AVCHD format, only the software shipped by Sony can read this formt. the software shipped by Sony is buggy. I had trouble in making SD discs out of the recorded files.
    Currently trying with Mac/iMovie as I m about to give up on the Sony/Windows combination.

    Outputting to HD DVD's will mean a lot of discs
    The CamCorder comes with hard disk, but you do need to output to some other medium

    I bought HDR SR7E with has a 60GB HD


  4. #4

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    If your goal is a standard definition DVD, wouldn't it have been easier to find a setting on the camcorder to force it to output to DV (standard def) format instead of HDV or AVCHD?

    The latter two require a tremendous amount of computing power (and harddrive bandwidth) to edit. On the other hand, editing DV is easily handled almost any computer. My 1.8ghz notebook has no problems with editing DV. It chokes on HDV.

    I haven't been following AVCHD cameras closely, but in another forum frequented by videographers, there hasn't been much discussion about widespread difficulties in editing footage from AVCHD camcorders. I would only guess you're not applying enough CPU power to the task. I doubt iMovie will natively edit AVCHD unless there's been some massive change lately. Final Cut Pro is probably the more competent AVCHD editor on the Mac platform. On the PC, Sony's Vegas Pro (not Vegas Movie Studio) with a dual core CPU should be up to the task. Do some searching through the DV Info forum for enlightenment:
    http://www.dvinfo.net/conf

    Engadget pointed out a handy device for Sony AVCHD camcorders:
    http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/29/s...avchd-handyca/


  5. #5

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    Sep 2007
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    Thank you for your detailed replies. The time you took to write your replies is very much appreciated.

    CarterTG: You have made a good point in regards to going HD instead of SD. It is something to think about before making a decision.

    Is ACVHD a Sony-exclusive format?


  6. #6

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    Is ACVHD a Sony-exclusive format?
    According to Wikipedia, it's the compression method used for hard-drive and miniDVD camcorders from Sony, Panasonic, and Canon:
    Wikipedia AVCHD entry

    And to credit Shanx999, Wikipedia claims iMovie '08 supports AVCHD.

  7. #7

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    Sep 2007
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    Thanks for your help.

    Is iMovie '08 Mac exclusive?