B&H low-light camera rec: Canon HF-M500

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Existential Angst, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. So, I'm headed for B&H Tues to return the Sony projection camera, and pick
    up a Canon HF M500.
    $349, lotsa good reviews, even the "bad" reviews liked it. Most
    importantly, seems to be very good in low light, seems to smack of the Canon
    HV-20 ito big bang fer the buck, excellent pic quality.

    No internal memory, only SD cards. Izzat a problem?

    AND..... it records in avchd AND MP4!!!

    Versatile, in that you can add lenses, various inputs/outputs, etc.

    I'm going to get a separate projector with this, which will alllow me to use
    the projector elsewhere.


    Sams Club and Target carry this camera as well, waaaaay above B&H, amazon
    prices, $499 and $399 respectively..... WTF????
    Existential Angst, Feb 12, 2013
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  2. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    Using SDHC cards is not a big problem as the amount of memory that a SDHC
    can hold is increasing. A 32 GB card can hold a lot of video. Cards are
    quick and easy to change.
    Brian, Feb 12, 2013
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  3. The usefulness of this camera depends on the manual controls available. I
    don't see much in the pictures. The little Sonys have a multiplicity of
    manual control. Maybe the clue is in the LCD menu system. Check out how much
    control you have in there.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Feb 13, 2013
  4. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    I agree with Gary.
    If possible download the manual for the camera and check out what manual
    features it has.
    The 2 Megapixel still photos is a limitation but if your not planning on
    taking still photos a lot then thats not a problem.
    Brian, Feb 13, 2013
  5. I returned the Sony projector camera Tues, and brought home the canon hf
    m500 camera, and an Optoma 100 lumen projector. Seems like the canon has a
    full-featured manual mode, not a major concern right now, as all I want is
    moi on film, in a semi-decent light.... lol

    Three people at B&H "confirmed" the low-light capabilities of the canon, all
    approved of it highly.

    It's got mini usb, mini hdmi, AVout, and mic in connections. Saves files
    in avchd AND MP4, the latter being most suitable for Youtube, iiuc -- but
    correck me if I'm wrong.

    I'll keep y'all posted. I'm accruing dozens of cables, adapters, etc.
    Holy shit.....
    Existential Angst, Feb 13, 2013
  6. Existential Angst

    Frank Guest

    I haven't conducted a scientific study, but to the best of my
    knowledge (and experience) almost all videos on YouTube these days are
    encoded with the MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC / H.264 video codec, which is the
    same video codec that's used in the AVCHD format.

    Again, to the best of my knowledge, almost no recently-uploaded videos
    on YouTube are encoded with the older MPEG-4 Part 2 codec (which you
    are referring to as "MP4").

    The older MPEG-4 Part 2 codec is significantly less efficient than the
    newer MPEG-4 Part 10 codec, with some people even claiming that Part
    10 is twice as efficient as Part 2.

    In other words, encoding a piece of content in Part 10 at say, 24
    Mbps, would require being encoded at 48 Mbps if using Part 2 encoding.

    The Canon VIXIA HF M500 offers MPEG-4 Part 2 encoding at datarates of
    4 Mbps and 9 Mbps, while its Part 10 encoding can be at as high a
    datarate as 24 Mbps.

    Also, if you're shooting primarily for Web delivery, YouTube or
    otherwise, you might want to consider always shooting in progressive
    mode and never in interlaced mode.

    The Canon VIXIA HF M500 offers a so-called "30p Progressive Mode",
    which is probably actually 1080p29.97 and not 1080p30, but that's the
    mode that you might want to use, although that mode might only be
    available when using the Part 10 codec and not when using the Part 2
    codec, I don't know.

    What you might want to do, since you've now got the HF M500 in your
    hot little hands, is to record a clip in each of the various modes of
    operation that the camcorder supports and then check the clips in a
    program such as MediaInfo to determine exactly what their technical
    characteristics are.

    MediaInfo Lite

    The audio on YouTube video clips, BTW, is usually MPEG-4 AAC-LC, and
    stereo soundtracks are supported.

    Good luck!
    Frank, Feb 13, 2013
  7. Holy shit..... I shoulda studied harder in school.... lol
    I'll see whazzup with the canon, try the mediainfo, report back.
    My head is hurting....

    Existential Angst, Feb 13, 2013
  8. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    There days YouTube convert uploaded videos to offer users a choice of what
    quality to download the video in. There is also a choice to download it in
    flv or mp4 format. This mainly applies if the video is uploaded in high
    Brian, Feb 14, 2013
  9. Existential Angst

    Frank Guest

    Brian, can you answer this question for me?

    If someone uploads a video to YouTube and instructs the YouTube server
    to only create an .flv (Adobe Flash Video) version of the uploaded
    file (you've indicated above that in some cases this is an option),
    what happens later when a visitor to YouTube who's using an iOS device
    (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) visits the page and tries to play the
    video, considering that iOS devices don't support use of the Adobe
    Flash Player browser plug-in?

    Does YouTube perform a quick on-the-fly conversion to MPEG-4 so that
    the visitor can view the file (possibly serving it via the HTML5 video
    element) or does the visitor receive a message informing them that the
    video is not viewable?

    I ask because a) I don't have any sort of Google account with which to
    log into YouTube to upload anything and b) I don't have ready access
    to an iOS device with which to test.
    Frank, Feb 14, 2013
  10. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    You may have misread what I wrote. The user only has an option on what type
    of file to download from Youtube. Youtube started by only offering files in
    flv format but now offers files in mp4 format as well as flv but there are
    some cases where flv is the only type of file you can download. I suspect
    that the user uploaded a low quality file so Youtube just converted the
    file to flv.
    I have viewed YouTube videos using an iPad so I suspect there is some kind
    of software code in the YouTube app that allows the user to view flv
    YouTube files.
    The Android tablets don't have this problem as a flash driver can be
    Brian, Feb 14, 2013
  11. Oh, another nice surprise, which someone may have alluded to already, re the
    canon accepting lenses:
    The wide angle lens I got with the HV-20 (used once) fits this camera!
    I don't know if it will come in handy, but it's nice to know it's there.

    I'll proly be selling my HV-20, as capturing stuff appears to stretch my
    skill set. lol
    Don't know what the market it is for tape, tho.[/QUOTE]
    Existential Angst, Feb 18, 2013
  12. Not all converters work equally well (or badly...) with all lenses...
    Try using an Intel-chipped FireWire card (CHEEP!;-) in the computer
    and the free (and excellent!) HDVSplit software for capturing HDV.
    It (properly!) splits the footage into takes, and sequentially names
    them, so once on the computer, they act as if they had been shot to
    a memory card. The download URL is:
    http://strony.aster.pl/paviko/hdvsplit.htm (you do not need the
    viewer part - use your camcorder VFs for that...). BTW, here is my
    review of the Canon HV20 (which I have for sale since I have replaced
    it with a Panasonic TM700 - which also may be for sale...):
    David Ruether, Feb 18, 2013
  13. Yeah, I think that review is part of the reason I got the Canon HV-20. :)
    Is your TM700 tape-based as well?
    What kind of market is there, for good tape-based cameras?

    Btw, I didn't totally ig your still-camera-for-videos advice, altho it
    is/was a bit of a conceptual jolt.
    Just that enough people said good things about the Canon, which was also low
    enough in price, that I gave that a shot.
    Hopefully I guessed well. lol

    Looks like I'll be upgrading to Vegas 12 (the budget version), which I'm
    told has no problem with avchd, and has fixed most its stability problems.
    Existential Angst, Feb 18, 2013
  14. No, it can write to its own internal 32-gigs of memory, or to an SD
    card. It can also write its 28Mbps 1080-60P footage to its internal
    memory card, then convert it to easier-to-edit 17Mbps 1080-60I files
    on an SD card. The advantage of doing this is that the recorded
    quality is higher than 17Mbps 1080-60I video shot originally that
    way in the camera (but the conversion process takes a long time).
    The question is really, "What are the advantages of shooting HDV?"
    Tape automatically archives the material shot in a durable way;
    memory card footage must (if desired...) be carefully archived using
    multiple digital devices such as hard-drives (but the chance of loss
    is greater). HDV is also easier to edit than most memory-card formats.
    The TM700's 1080-60P output is of higher quality than HDV or lesser
    card-based formats (but it is "unfun" to edit without sufficient
    computer "umph"). Unfortunately, in terms of sale, people think they
    want to use memory cards - at least until they run into difficulties
    with editing or with securely storing their video files...
    I put it out there since still-cameras-that-can-shoot-video can often
    do it in much lower light levels (for about the same price for gear)
    than camcorders, and that appeared to be something important to you
    (more than ultimate quality). For the most part, such cameras (even
    VERY expensive ones), tend to have lower image quality in good light
    than even moderately-priced dedicated video cameras. Even so, they
    have become popular for use in making independent "films" due to their
    cost/size/weight/low-light/shallow-DOF advantages. BTW, Panasonic is
    just now selling in the US what appears to be the best of these, the
    GH3... Not cheap, but it challenges the excellent output quality (for
    a compact, moderately-priced camcorder) of the Panasonic TM700 (using
    its highest recording-quality setting).
    "Sounds" good...;-)
    The earlier version (of the cheap version) *may* still be more stable.
    In any case, just get in the habit of saving the editing project often
    as you work...
    David Ruether, Feb 18, 2013
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