Pros and Cons of MiniDV and Hard Drive Camcorders

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by skarkada, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Not only cheap, but require ZERO downloading time to get the
    camcorder ready for another hour (or whatever) of shooting
    (unlike any hard-drive based device). Same issue with flash-
    memory based cameras, audio recorders, etc. The media are
    expensive and require either field-downloading or a huge budget
    for "media".
    Richard Crowley, Jun 28, 2007
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  2. 1) HISTORY
    There are no known video tape formats ever made/used
    that are orphaned yet. There are always people out there
    with "antique" equipment who can copy an obsolete format
    onto whatever you wish.

    2) BACKUPS
    There is nothing to prevent you from taking your mini-DV tape
    archives (or whatever) and copying them to whatever new
    format is popular when DV is finished. Although I anticipate
    the DV will have a long run. At least as long as VHS has had.
    If instant consumer-viewing is a primary requirement, then
    get a mini-DVD based camcorder. It will have the same
    reduced quality as the hard-drive camcorders suffer from,
    but you have made an informed tradeoff decision.
    Richard Crowley, Jun 28, 2007
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  3. The published specifications of the cameras compared to the
    potential bandwidth of the codecs they are using. This is not a
    new discovery. It has been discussed (and griped about) for
    months (years?)
    They all have motivation to keep the consumer lined "dumbed-down"
    in order to protect their higher-end markets.
    There's nothing to prohibit you from coming along and offering
    high-bandwidth consumer camcorders. In the list of conspiratorial,
    anti-competitive issues in the world, this one certainly doesn't make
    the top-10 list.
    Richard Crowley, Jun 28, 2007
  4. The long answer is: camera-manufacturers don't want to cut into the sales
    of their professional products!
    (which is the only right answer, by the way ;-) ).


    Martin Heffels, Jun 29, 2007
  5. Nonsense! If you would have bought a decent scanner, the quality of the
    scanned pictures off a negative, is a million times better than that of a
    $300 digital camera. Even the best digital camera's are still behind good
    old fashioned negative.


    Martin Heffels, Jun 29, 2007
  6. Even better is an external firewire connected drive (like the Firestores),
    where you can record hours and hours and hours.....

    Martin Heffels, Jun 29, 2007
  7. Of course there is a reason, and that is to keep the resulting quality
    similar to HDV. Or else all producers would rush out to buy one of these
    camera's, instead of IMX50 or something like that. Market protection (like
    you said in an earlier post).

    Martin Heffels, Jun 29, 2007
  8. skarkada

    PTravel Guest

    I've heard that 2" helical scan reel-to-reel machines are in short supply.

    I actually keep around an old Beta unit, as well as a 3/4" Umatic -- you
    never know.
    PTravel, Jun 29, 2007
  9. skarkada

    PTravel Guest

    Except that the quality of the ACVHD machines isn't comparable to HDV, at
    least not based on what I've read. The ACVHD machines are reported to
    exhibit rather profound motion artifacts when panning or shooting complex
    fast moving subjects. Everything I've read (and the sample footage I've
    seen) suggests that, while HDV has enough motion artifact issues to preclude
    commercial studio work, they're far better than the ACVHD machines.

    I think ACVHD is limited to establish a "consumer" benchmark for HD, with
    HDV defining the "prosumer" limit.
    PTravel, Jun 29, 2007
  10. I guess it depends on how you define: "short supply".
    There are enough of them so that you have a choice
    of which vendor to send your tape to for dubbing to
    the new format of your choice.
    There you go...
    Richard Crowley, Jun 29, 2007
  11. I don't know - but since the FireWire connection and recording deck
    are just passing and storing digital info and not processing it, it seems
    likely that it would work so long as the HD camera used normally
    records on D25 tape...
    David Ruether, Jun 29, 2007
  12. This is a nice summation - and, BTW, my last good camera is FS, a TRV900
    in perfect condition, listed at
    (I've had to get out of video and photography due to health issues...).
    David Ruether, Jun 29, 2007
  13. Tell that to they guys in the server room. They use DLT tapes for backing
    up data. tapes is still state of the art for storage.
    Povl H. Pedersen, Jul 1, 2007
  14. skarkada

    Joe Guest

    As a video newbie, I'm interested in knowing the meaning of ACVHD and HDV.

    Joe, Jul 2, 2007
  15. skarkada

    PTravel Guest

    It does seem to sneak in, doesn't it? ;)

    In a court of law, circumstantial evidence is both admissible and as
    probative as direct evidence, i.e. both are "hard" evidence. An example of
    circumstantial evidence that I frequently give juries: If you go bed at
    night and there's no snow on the ground, but wake up to find your
    neighborhood under 4 inches, that is circumstantial evidence that it snowed.
    There may be other explanations, e.g. someone came around with a snowmaker
    and covered your neighborhood, the laws of physics changed during the night,
    etc., but the best inference is the most simple one: snow fell.
    PTravel, Jul 2, 2007
  16. skarkada

    PTravel Guest

    AVCHD (I repeatedly made typos in my prior posts) and HDV are lossy temporal
    compression codecs that implement high-definition video. "Compression"
    means that less data than is actually produced by the video source is used
    to store the video. "Lossy" means data is lost in the compression process,
    i.e. the displayed compressed image will have less detail than the original
    source. "Temporal" means that, in addition to compressing frame-by-frame,
    subsequent (and sometimes prior) frames are compressed by calculating how
    they differ from a reference frame and only the differences are stored.

    HDV uses mpeg2, the same codec as is used for DVDs. AVCHD uses mpeg4, which
    is newer and, supposedly, more efficient (I haven't seen comparisons between
    the two codecs). Sony and Panasonic are two manufacturers who have
    introduced high-def camcorders that use AVCHD. Their AVCHD machines are
    restricted to their consumer line and have artificially-limited bandwidth
    that results in pronounced motion artifacts and other image degradation. A
    number of manufacturers, including Sony, make HDV machines, but these are
    available only in their prosumer lines. These machines have no arbitrary
    bandwidth limitation and, generally, produce video that is far superior to
    the consumer AVCHD machines. This is not the result of any particular
    problem with AVCHD, but with the way that it has been implemented, i.e. at
    limited, low bandwidth, and with the camera's sensors and lenses.
    PTravel, Jul 2, 2007
  17. skarkada

    Joe Guest

    Thanks for that explanation.

    I'm not surprised that some manufactures would artificially lower the
    quality of their product to avoid competing with their high end products.
    However, just for the sake of argument- if one didn't do this- and word got
    out that Company X was producing a far superior consumer camcorder- they'd
    win the competition. As far as reducing the competition with their own high
    end products- I should think that many other factors make their high product
    a high end product- such as better lenses, larger higher quality CCD, more
    solidly built camera, more and better features of all kinds. If what you
    say is true- it would be interesting to see this argument supported by, for
    example, Videomaker magazine or some other industry wide group.

    Not that I have much doubt of what you say- or that I am a strong supporter
    of industry- but it's a serious accusation and I'd like to see who else
    agrees. And, if I owned a camcorder company, I'd think I'd prefer to buck
    the trend and produce a superior product and make more money doing it.

    Joe, Jul 2, 2007
  18. It seems like common knowledge. I've never seen any serious
    refutation of the evidence. The number speak for themselves,
    don't they? What's to parse?
    I suspect that if you had a board of directors and a staff of marketing
    people, things might look different.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 2, 2007
  19. Indeed. And furthermore, have you been following the discussion
    of the Sony HVR-V1U sound problem that Mark Weiss is reporting
    over on and rec.arts.movies.production.sound?
    It looks like Sony are artifically "dumbing down" the audio section
    to match the video. There is no other sensible explanation for
    the remarkably poor performance and then Sony's defense of it.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 2, 2007
  20. skarkada

    PTravel Guest

    They'd win the competition for the consumer market, but they'd still be
    competing against their own prosumer gear. The prosumer market is very
    profitable as the margins on the equipment are much higher.
    Prosumer equipment has fewer "features," but that's another discussion. As
    you note, it is a combination of glass, sensors and electronics, as well as
    compression codec and bandwidth, that contributes to video quality. Consumer
    gear, particularly low-end gear, compromises on all of this. However,
    scrimping on glass, sensors and electronics saves the manufacturer money.
    There is no cost savings in limiting bandwidth. The only reason for doing
    so is to deliberately produce an inferior image.

    Videomaker depends on advertising of consumer gear for its livelihood.
    Similarly, Robin Liss' website tends to cheerlead because of its dependence
    on review gear from the manufacturers. Liss' site, however, has the
    information you're looking for if you read between the lines, e.g.
    "low-light performance, while good, exhibited significant noise and wasn't
    very saturated . . .", etc.
    All I know is that I would have liked to get a miniDV camcorder with video
    as good as the TRV900. When I got around to purchasing one, there was not a
    single consumer model, including Sony's own TRV900 replacement, that
    remotely approached this level of quality. Instead, I had to buy a prosumer
    model that cost a lot more, not because I have aspirations to be a
    professional videographer (I don't), but because I wanted high-quality
    video. Now, as I contemplate moving to high-def, I'm faced with the same
    situation. AVCHD machines (which are all consumer HD machines) all have
    limited bandwidth, resulting in poor quality video. HDV machines (which are
    only prosumer machines) don't have limited bandwidth and produce much, much
    higher quality video. Again, I'm going to have to go the prosumer route
    because of specific marketing decisions by the camcorder manufacturers.
    PTravel, Jul 2, 2007
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