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Need help - $300-400 camcorders [DECIDED - Canon HV20/30 or HF100]

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Some of you may know that I have a YouTube channel; I publish some good videos, and as of this year and the next I will be publishing even more as one of the courses I take next year involves a lot of video creation & editing. My next investment, after the GA-990XA on sale at NCIX, will be an HD camcorder. My current equipment offers nowhere near acceptable quality. I often have to fire up vReveal and enable a lot of stabilization/quality improvement features, just to get an acceptable image.

I have a budget of $300-500 (have around $300 right now but I can cough up up to $500 in the next couple weeks). As always, I do the research myself, a grueling weeks-long campaign to choose the best camcorder.

But right now, I'm stuck between choices.

The likelihood is I am going to buy this in the United States; I can either pick it up at a store in Bellingham, Washington or have it shipped to me through a good friend who works at USPS. This allows for lower prices, and no 12% BC harmonized sales tax to worry about, thus maximizing my cash efficiency. Price-performance has always been a core factor in my purchase decisions.

I am looking for, primarily, in no particular order:
- True HD 1080p support (but 720p is fine as long as image quality is close)
- Sharp, clean - little to no blocking/compression artifacts - highest quality possible - I can buy expansion storage inexpensively on NCIX anyway
- Good low light shooting capability
- Good for outdoor shooting
- Manual focus
- Image stabilization

I've pretty much narrowed it down to two choices.

I was initially going to get the HDC-TM90/SD90. This I can get for around $400-440 at various US retailers, before shipping. The sample videos I have found (no, I don't expect you to watch them all) are as follows:

- I like the manual focus and features but it doesn't seem to have a very clear image (though this could depend on quality setting used in the recording, and the low light capability seems only somewhat average to me.

These are the SPECS - 3.32 MP image sensor (effective around 1.94-2.61, hmm), films at 1080-60p too. Stabilization, manual focus, decent features. Possibility of external mic.

Recently I found a lower cost camcorder that seems nothing short of impressive: the Samsung HMX-Q10
What gets me is the price - about $200. The video capability seems nothing short of amazing though, but I'm not sure if this would be better than the SD90/TM90.

Sample videos: this one is amazing
The specs are HERE. 5 megapixel sensor (effective megapixel close at 2.07M... lower), films at 1080-60i (not 1080-60p though); but it can capture at 720-60p too. Stabilization, and does have manual focus (according to a review). No possibility of external mic however.

The image looks like it would be great when properly deinterlaced. It also has amazing manual focus imaging. It seems to have a more clear image all around than the HDC-TM90, especially in close ups. The colours look very natural (though I can colour correct rather easily in Sony Vegas). The low light capability seems good but it may depend on situation, the outdoor one is somewhat average again. One review recommend the more expensive HDC-SD90/TM90 over it however.

Am I just hallucinating and this is not actually a better camcorder? It does cost significantly less - only about $200 shipped. Or it is $225 on best buy, buy I can pick it up in Bellingham which is a 1 hour drive away from me.

Does anyone know if there are any better camcorders, for the price performance?
Keep in mind I'm an amateur on a limited budget and no constant money source such as a job (though I make money from smaller jobs/barters from time to time); I've been saving for a couple months now. I just want to make the best use of my money.

Any recommendations and aid in my decision making would be very appreciated.
-xd
Edited by xd_1771 - 8/8/11 at 11:57am
post #2 of 11
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921666073155
Very good quality camcorder.
Other than Sony, Panasonic is good as well.
Edited by Paratrooper1n0 - 8/6/11 at 1:48am
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I haven't been too impressed with the CX110 so far, even though my family has been a common buyer of SONY products in the past. A lot of times the image looks blocked, blurry, or compressed... it must be the compression choice.. The mic quality isn't very good also, sounds very compressed. Some videos look good

but only after post processing; I want to be able to have as natural an image as possible.

Maybe I'm missing something of course, be sure to point out.
Edited by xd_1771 - 8/6/11 at 2:17am
post #4 of 11
YouTube degrades everything and so does editing. But yes those videos do look good.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just found a low light street level video:

and I'm actually starting to become more impressed with this
I might definitely consider this option. And hey, my family likew Sony products - maybe they spot me $100 or something
post #6 of 11
The film industry mainly uses Sony cameras (as far as my Video Productions teacher informed us of). Sony does make the best cameras.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure about that, but this does have some great low light imaging...
Somehow I find the HMX-Q10 more natural in terms of its compression/imaging. I wonder if there are any slightly higher end models (i.e. more features but within budget).
post #8 of 11
Not that I have seen.
post #9 of 11
you typed A LOT lol and it looks like you have done a lot of research. at that price level in the camera market anything panasonic or canon is great. as mentioned above sony does make some of the best cameras but they are professional cameras for broadcast TV and video production. i work with a Sony XDcam, its a professional video camera for HDTV and it is truly amazing. sony unfortunately doesnt not make top of the line consumer grade cameras though.
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Montage mkIII
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i7-6700K ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero EVGA 980Ti Classified Corsair 16GB DDR4-3000 
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah it seems Sony's consumer grade camcorders are behind par. Even with the HDFX quality compression it's still blocky on the CX110, so the most detailed parts can't be seen properly. Not really HD much anymore.

I think I may have just found the best of all worlds: the Samsung HMX-H300
EDIT: Hm, not a huge fan of the audio quality... picture quality is better than the CX110 but not awfully good

EDIT: I think the Canon HF11 has me impressed
24p, EXCELLENT consistent full HD quality, and excellent low light....
Someone has it for $450 on Craigslist, hmm (it is worth $1300 on NCIX)
Better yet, someone has an HV30 for $400!? found another one for $325!

Man, why didn't I check my local Craigslist.... this place is a miracle
Edited by xd_1771 - 8/7/11 at 12:47pm
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