2007 April 27th, 06:54
2007 April 27th, 11:01
Mal - the sound on the Azden is quite good with two exceptions: 1) I still get motor noise off the camera. It seems to ebb and flow during a recording meaning it's louder at one point and then almost indistinguishable at another, kind of like it's phasing in and out. But this is not function of the Azden. Everyone is reporting some motor noise with camera mounted mics on the HV20. Just a fact of life. 2) The part of the shock mount that holds the mic is actually hardened plastic instead of some kind of vibration-reducing rubber or something. Thus handling noise is pretty easily transmitted through the mount to the mic. It sounds worse while monitoring through headphones than what is actually recorded to tape but you do need to be aware of banging/scratching the camera while recording. On a tripod it's a non-issue though. I'm going to contact Azden to see if they have any shock-absorbing suggestions as typical 3rd party shockmounts (e.g., Rhode SM3) are much too large for this mic (the SMX-10 is tiny, at least in comparison to a regular shotgum mic.)
Originally Posted by Mal
But at 1/2 the price and weight of the Canon DM50 (or whatever the Canon stereo mic is) it works for me for informal/family stuff. For more serious work I am going to get a Beachtek adapter and use my pro mic setups.
On the headphone monitoring thing, your's is the second time I've seen someone post that the camera doesn't remember the headphone selection setting. But I set my camera to "headphone" (as opposed to AV or whatever it is) in the recording settings once when I first got it and it's stayed that way since. Now I haven't used the camera's AV jack-out (my primary HDTV set has HDMI) so maybe using the AV jack is what reverts the setting rather than just turning the camera off? (I just checked again - camera's been off all night and when I turn it on the headphone icon shows on screen.)
2007 April 29th, 07:52
Thanks for the info, 24Peter.
re: headphone/AV: are you sure yours does not do this in PLAY mode also? It does NOT do this in CAMERA mode here either.
2007 April 29th, 12:38
Oh, I see. I'm only changing the setting in CAMERA mode where it sticks. I don't use headphone for playback.
Originally Posted by Mal
I received my HV20 two days ago and immediately shot some trial footage (even though it was almost dark outside). Camera feels good, not great, but footage looks awesome! I was a little concerned with the playback noise I've read about in these forums and I have to tell you I was really worried when I first viewed some scenes on the camera viewer; reality is that the camera speakers are just that, and you can't expect a lot out of them. I immediately transferred the footage to my IMac 24 (2.3 intel + 256 Nvidia + 2 gigs Ram) via Firewire and I was amazed at the simplicity of the process... and by the way and in case you haven't noticed, I'm a complete novice in these matters so forgive me if I don't use the appropriate terminology. IMovie automatically recognized the camera and I transferred the video without any problems at all. Once I played back the uncut footage I was really impressed with the image quality even at low light levels (it was dusk)... and it turns out sound is not that bad at all! I imaging it would be even better with an external mic, but if you're like me and don't want to carry a lot of gear I can assure you the on-board sound is very good and has minimal tape noise. I use Bose speakers and I'm really picky about ambience noise, and let me stress it again, on-board sound is really good.
Editing the video on IMovie was so simply I was scarred! Yeah, sure, It's only for beginners but that is exactly what I am! Without reading anything about the software or without someone else coaching me on how to use it (and I'm no genius) I was able to split the sound from the image, cut scenes, insert transitions, insert credits, titles and themes, pictures and create visual effects;... truly amazing. I even added a soundtrack via Garage Band.
Yesterday I filmed my daughter's graduation (low light again) and I'm still impressed with the image quality. I shot some footage at full sunlight and after seeing it at full resolution I was honestly blown away with the accuracy of the colors and the overall details of the image. Quality is comparable with some I've seen on HDTV, seriously.
I haven't burned any DVDs yet, but I'm really looking forward to sharing my memories with family and friends (even if not on HDV yet). I'm planning on keeping all the original tapes until HD burners are available at a more reasonable price.
By the way, I have no clue on how to use manual settings but the pre-programmed settings work just fine for me. Just don't move your hand to quickly and zoom-in and out really slow... the faster you move your hand the more dizzy you make your audience.
Please feel free to ask specific question if I missed something. I'll try to post additional messages once I get more acquainted with the camera.
I shot my first auditorium show with the HV20 and am pretty pleased with the results. I managed to record an audio feed from the sound board on my laptop, using Pro Tools LE and an mBox, then syncing it up in Final Cut Express. I mixed in the sound from the camera to get the audience reaction and some sound of the room (otherwise it would be bone dry, straight off the stage mikes).
Here are my first impressions of the camera:
It is small in size but not too small. The VERY small cameras make it tough to find and operate the buttons. But for the most part, the ergonomics are pretty good. I'm not a fan of the tiny zoom button that goes back and forth (left to right), as opposed to a larger rocker-style zoom that goes front to back. That system makes more sense to my brain: push forward to zoom in, push back to zoom out. And the small size of the zoom button makes it tough to have any finesse if using variable zoom. I would like to be able to start the zoom slowly, pick up a little speed in the zoom and then slow down the zoom at the end. Wouldn't it be great to have an "ease in / ease out" on the zoom to accomodate that type of zoom? As it is, the zoom just stops cold when the button is released... like every other consumer camera, though. I used the slower fixed zoom speed in the menu to get a smoother zoom. That, and my fluid head tripod made for a pro look.
The manual focus button is in a tight spot, right behind the open LCD panel. I seem to fumble a bit trying to get to it. When shooting in low light or on the spotlit stage, I found it a good idea to set the focus with full lighting and then lock it into Manual. This prevents the auto focus from fishing for something to focus on when the lights go up and down. But as I pan across the stage, slight differences in distance require a refocus (hitting the manual focus button again to return to AIF), then again back to Manual to lock it in. That button is hard to reach behind the LCD.
The manual focus is a great feature but I would prefer a focus ring. But for setting up a shot, the manual focus wheel works. I just can't imagine doing much of that during a shot as, again, I don't think you have as much finesse as you would with a focus ring. One prosumer camera I tried had an A-B focus setting, which this does not. You could set up a shot with two focus points (A & B), then push a button during the shot to rack the focus between the two points. I think it had a speed choice too. Hit the button again, and the focus would return from setting B to setting A. Nice feature Canon, are you listening?
The tape transport buttons along the bottom of the LCD are ok but I find myself using the edge of my finger nail to get a more distinct "push" on them.
I guess on a camera this small they had to spread things around but I find it odd that the various input/output connections are in 3 different places. The HDMI and HDV/DV connections are on the back, the component and composite video is up front on one side, with the audio In and AV Out, then the USB connection is inside the LCD portal. I have yet to use an external mike or audio source but the other ports work fine. It is mildly annoying that, if you are using headphones to monitor the AV port, that the camera reverts to AV Out when powered down and you have to reset it via the menu. When you power the camera back on, you hear a LOUD annoying digital signal in the headphones, evidently the video signal.
I only did a quick 24p test. Not sure I want my home movies to look like film, with it's softer color and sharpness and the blurred motion effect of fewer frames. But I can see where it might be nice for more "arty" video.
I shot a couple on the beach as a test of the camera features. I'm still getting to know the camera and different exposure and focus modes. But I was generally pleased with the results. I tried the continuous shooting mode that grabs 3 pictures per second. Very cool to catch "the moment". Just be sure to focus first before shooting, as I don't think it refocuses between shots. I also shot some video and later grabbed frames from the video to the still image card. They looked almost as good as the still photos. Obviously, where the subjects were moving or the shutter speed was slow, the stills were blurry. But, I would make sure to set the video capture to "shutter priority", set it to 100 or higher, and have better results next time. But when playing back video, you stop on the frame you want, then hit the "Photo" button to capture it to the card. I used the remote control to frame advance forward and backward to get the frame I wanted. You can use the zoom to enlarge the picture on the LCD to check it's focus and contents during playback. The joystick will navigate around the zoomed in picture. Nice feature, works when reviewing still images from the memory card as well.
I use Apple computers and was pleased to connect the camera via the supplied USB cable and have iPhoto launch automatically to transfer stills off the camera. There was no need to install the supplied CD software, as I prefer to use the Apple photo software.
Transferring video was equally easy, although there is no supplied Firewire cable. iMovie transferred the HD content easily and the camera was controlled by the software, fast forwarding, cueing up, etc. When I used Final Cut Express, the typical camera control was not available, even though the software recognized a camera was connected. This is a known issue and hopefully, will be corrected in future versions of FCE. But I could still capture footage, I just had to shuttle the camera manually and was not able to specify clip In/Out points in the software during capture.
I wish the viewfinder would tilt or had a shade but it's useable. Love the built-in lens cap, although, I will probably opt for the wide-angle lens adapter, which will have it's own lens cap to fumble with. From what I've read in the manual and online, the wide angle lens is a welcome addition but also comes with it's compromises: the lens itself gets in the way of the autofocus and video lights.
Connecting the camera to my Pioneer plasma was a piece of cake. I bought an HDMI cable (again, not supplied) and hooked it into an unused HDMI input on my video/audio receiver. The picture and sound are amazing. Yes, there is a slight bit of motor noise in the audio, but no worse than my previous consumer cameras. It's usually masked by the content. HD looks amazing: very crisp, lifelike colors. My nighttime street shots had a bit of noise in the black areas (could be the exposure setting I was using... early days of use!)
The material I shot in SD looked much better than my previous Sony camera. I opted to shoot my auditorium show in SD, as I was using another SD camera for the wideshot and wanted to be able to edit between the two. Most of the footage I used was from the zoom/pan use of the HV20 and it looks great. The brief moments where I cut to the wideshot on the lesser camera are tolerable and allowed me to cut away while I found another shot on the HV20. I was very impressed with the SD output from the HV20, clean and crisp.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the HV20. To get a better camera, i'd have to pay several times what I paid for this one. I own a Canon still camera that I like and appreciate their approach to ergonomics and design. The Sony camcorder I was using died and was repaired several times during it's life. I couldn't see putting more money into their one-size-fits-all repair charge when this camera came along, allowing me to enter the HD world.
The reviews I read online helped push me over the edge to go for the HV20 and I also recommend it.
Mixguy that's a great review. Comprehensive and some very valid remarks and notes.
Thanks a lot!
Picked up mine a few days ago. Previous camera was a ZR60 and the inside 'grain' was awful. (Lots of video of a baby playing on the floor). Even with all the lights on it look like crap, then the camera died on us. After researching it I went with the HV20, with the same light level inside the video is much clearer, almost no grain. Then I took some outdoor video (sunny, very few clouds) the following day, amazing. Nothing I've seen on broadcast TV even compares on my 50" Plasma. I've only ran 1 tape though it but as a 'first impression', I'm impressed. Now I just need to get a decent capture->edit->save work flow going as Studio 10.6 isn't cutting it (failing to export quality HD).
2007 June 10th, 09:08
My HV20 arrived on Tuesday while I was at work. Didn't get to play with it until Wednesday and even then and since have been limited on time. I've shot about 30 minutes with it so far and first thing that pops out at me is the quality of the video and the color ... incredible!
Photography is my hobby or more accurate would be passion. Shoot a shot or two or three and move on. I have to learn to stop doing that when the HV20 is running. I notice I get a few seconds of video (10, 20, 30 seconds) and then move on, while still recording. Great views of my feet moving to the next location but rather boring
Bought a SD mini card last evening. Even the stills look like really good quality. They won't replace my canon 10D shots or make me forget about my future purchase of the Canon 5D but still worth a click here and there when I need the shot.
I have big hands and the HV20 feels very comfortable. Button location could be better for people with big hands but nothing I can't get used to.
To be honest, this camera and all the controls may be to much for me as a begining videographer but I know I will grow into it. Spending a good part of today with the HV20 in my hands should help some.
2007 June 13th, 03:54
Finally got mine a little bit ago! Whooooooo! I can finally start shooting some really cool (yet unprofessional) stuff! Yeahhhh!
2007 June 15th, 15:19
Received my HV20 on Wednesday, took my first footage today to test for wobbles and shearing.
Here are my first impressions...
2007 June 15th, 15:40
Received my HV20 on Wednesday, took my first footage today to test for wobbles and shearing.
Here are my first impressions...
1. It's heavier than I expected.
2. It's larger than I thought.
3. It feels very pleasant to hold.
4. The Viewfinder is easier to use than I thought it would be considering it's fixed.
5. Love the little zoom toggle and the variable speed zooms.
6. Joystick isn't fiddly. But the design of the menus (for exposure, mic, etc) is as intuitive as I would have liked.
7. Video quality is startling.
And it is point 7 I wish to talk about.
I was concerned that the camera would be afflicted by the wobbles, so I ran a few tests. First, I ran down the stairs to see if I could get the jelly effect. I couldn't. The settings I tried were:
25P, OIS on, 1/50, Exposure auto
25i, OIS on, 1/50, Exposure auto
25P, OIS off, 1/50, Exposure auto
25i, OIS off, 1/50, Exposure auto
I also tried mounting the camera on a tripod with OIS off to see if that made a difference. Still no wobble. I did conclude however, that the camera performed better with OIS off.
Still, I thought maybe I wasn't being bouncy enough, so I jogged around the house, deliberately moving faster than I ever would in reality. This time OIS was on, and I shot in both P and i at 1/50. Still no wobbles, although there was a small amount when I zoomed at 10x and jogged around
I didn't notice much shearing as I wavered right and left, but I may have been moving too fast to notice.
All in all, I am very pleased with the camera so far. Of course, only when I am using it in a real-life situation will I be able to tell if the wobbles really are there.
2007 June 15th, 16:28
Last edited by ForwardLooker; 2007 June 15th at 18:20.
2007 June 16th, 02:29
Forgot to ad that the way the battery fixes is is great. Much easier to load/unload than on my MVX40.
And a good sized battery it is too. Very neat.
2007 June 16th, 17:25
Yeah, I love the battery...it's so small, and it really fits in there nicely.
Originally Posted by Worley
2007 June 18th, 12:59
They finally got in stock in Czech Republic and I picked one up the other day. Like alot of you I was surprised it was small. I thought it would be bigger.
In general I like it. I have not shot with it yet (couldnt get any good tapes until today cz sucks!). Im sticking to sony phdvm-63dm tapes since they are easiest to get in town. Tommorrow Im off to Poland for a sabbath concert so ill shoot some on the trip ...
Things I do not like: the zoom control on camera, the small button behind the focus ring and in front of the viewfinder (it is very hard to use with the viewfinder out), the on camera optic viewfinder (totally unusable in my opinion), and the timezone cities! my only was option was paris, they did not even have any german or other major central eu cities (not a big deal but id like to see my city ), and no control l ( this would be good for adding a tripod based control device for focus/start/stop/etc).
Here in CZ I paid around 1400 USD for it. It came with a free case and from a authorized dealer. I next bought a few filters, a uv to protect the lens and a sunlight and super pol. I had to order the canon wide angle lens, the canon stereo mic that plugs into the hot shoe, and some extra batteries and a charger.
Im really interested in a 35mm DOF adapter , rails and baseplate, a matte box and some more lenses. I can not wait to see if anything new will come out for it. But for now the 35mm DOF is out of my budget. If I could get one for around 500 USD Id buy it!
I edit on macs I have final cut studio 5 and 6 and kona card for my 5 version. The kona is cool for HDV and if I had HDV to SDI box I could capture in real time with kona as DVCproHD which much easier to work with FCP. Compressor in FCP 6 is really fast so Im going to do some tests capturing firewire and using it to knock the footage to the new pro res codec!
2007 June 22nd, 12:51
http://www.bluenook.com/product_detail.asp?pid=420 Check this man out Name of Mark. Good company to deal with. They even phoned me to see if the order was received and on time!
2007 June 27th, 07:38
Just got an HV20 yesterday (after 4 loooong waiting days).
I agree with those who are happy about the focus ring and are lesser happy about the missing external battery charger.
I'll made some tests in the various HD settings (10-20 secons clips) and try to import the movies with Vegas 7.0e, but is my intention to use Ubuntu for the real work (kino).
(Excuse me for my BAD english!)
2007 June 27th, 09:58
Just a heads up on the batteries and external battery charger. I had a Canon previous to the HV20 that used the same battery. I bought several batteries and chargers awhile back via eBay and haven't had a problem. I was shooting almost 6 to 8 hours of video a day a couple weeks ago at a bluegrass festival where I camped in a tent but had electric. With about 5 or 6 batteries, I was able to keep going all day long. After I would go through a couple batteries I would go back to my tent and pick two out of the chargers and slip the two that I used into the charger. They would be charged and ready to go in a couple hours.
2007 June 27th, 18:31
Well after scanning this great forum and seeing some footage ...which took me a while to believe it was actual footage... I had to get one. This was yesterday. I phoned Fotosource here in Canada and they only had one in stock. I asked them to put it aside and raced over and grabbed it. Lucky too, as two other people were inquiring about the HV20 while I was there.
The last camera I had was an old RCA vhs... I mean Old. I charged up the battery while reading the manual and fired it up as soon as charging was complete. All I can say is absolutely incredible.
Now to look thru these great forums for the best settings for Corporate Video use. All I can say is thanks hv20.com.
2007 June 28th, 10:31
Got my HV20 PAL 2 days ago. It's actually my 5th camcorder, but the first High Def. I'm a typical point-and-shooter, which of course reflects my first impression:
1. Video Quality is just fantastic! Compared to my SONY DCR-PC350 on a Panasonic AE700 porjector.
2. ‘Automatic’ works fast and accurate in all situations I have tried – it is also better than my Sony. I will certainly try the manual overrides. But not this year.
3. It works better in low light than my eyes do.
4. The size is right – I can put it in my jacket pocket – and the built-in lens protector is practical.
5. I record to tape. No chance of loosing a film from my hard disk (USB-problems on my HP computer has already erased several films from my USB disks). Larges files on a hard disk can be a risky business
6. It is discrete if you remove the flashy labels – it does not look like a 1.500$ camera. (My ‘looks-like-more-than-1.500$-camera’ was stolen after two weeks).
7. 25 p in PAL is nice – if you use a tripod. For point-and-shooters it has little meaning – free hand panning is virtually impossible, creates lots of ‘jitter’. With optic stabiliser turned on – have not tried without.
8. Battery life could have been longer – I will need several spears. And I miss the Sony InfoLithium function – telling me more exactly how much battery capacity is left.
9. Sound is as could be expected from in-build top-mounted microphones – will buy a separate mic.
10. I can operate the camera without my looking glasses, which was the main reason I bought it in the first place. That includes the menus – which are OK.
11. Extra light LCD screen outdoors was nice – but I would have preferred it to work automatically.
12. Viewfinder OK, even if it is fixed. And the hand strap, start button and zoom seem to be placed under the assumption that you will use it – camera is difficult to operate if you hold it lower.
13. The buttons below the LCD screen are hard to push, zooming without shaking the camera is virtually impossible. So use the viewfinder and the top mounted zoom button.
2007 July 12th, 00:52
My 1st camcorder is the Canon Elura (1999 or original version)
- Excellent OIS
- Progressive 4:3 single CCD records in both 60i and 30p
- very small even for today's standards
- very poor low light performance
My 2nd camcorder is the Panasonic DVC-30
- Excellent low light performance what I wanted; even is Infrared too.
- Excellent image quality
- Tons of image control with 3 different Gamma setting, Zebras, etc...
- The best Zoom Control that I've used in cam.
- portable but I bit too large for vacation shooting
- OIS was poor very disappointed with Panasonic on this one!
- ONLY 4:3 3xCCDs, poor for new WideScreen HDTV.
My NEW Canon HV20 has given me the best from both camcorders and MORE!
- Excellent OIS
- HDV tape recording, since I like to keep my original shots
- Excellent 24P low light performance compared to the Elura, DVC30 has the edge here.
- Cine-Mode best setting in IMO!
- Zebras, Yes!
- 43mm lens adapter, I can use all my DVC30 lens adapters with this cam!
- compact and light for vacation use
- mic jack
- Zoom control lever is poor BUT the different level of zoom program settings helps
- missing jack for zoom control BUT There is a work around thanks to Taky :Cheap solution to missing LANC.
- Limited Manual Control with cryptic numeric scale like the Elura must be a Canon thing. But Using Barry Green's Controlling Exosure on the Canon HV20 is great information. This where I would like to see a firmware update to get the correct readings, heck I would pay Canon for a firmware release to get all the correct readings and control out of this cam!
For what the HV20 offers in image quality alone it's in a price range that NO other company can even compare! Thank-You Canon!
Last edited by angelo913; 2007 July 12th at 01:23.
2007 July 12th, 04:18
Very first impressions
I bought my HV20 yesterday and shot only about five minutes of footage during my commute home (I get home very late, so no time for more until week-end). My first impressions are:
- smaller than I thought
- looks nicer than I thought
- image quality is as good as I hoped for
- there's significant chromatic aberration (purple fringing) in the image
- no visible rolling shutter artefacts (even in footage taken from moving car)
- OIS is nice, but no replacement for tripod, especially on the long end of the zoom
- the zoom lever is really poor
- focus assist is only activated by that button under the LCD??? I hope I overlooked something
- no video capture/editing software bundled in
2007 July 22nd, 22:36
I am using the charger that I got for my Rebel XT. I think it is a little slower but seems to work and is 1 less item to carry around
2007 July 24th, 01:15
I'm also interested in the 24P issues with Vegas 7 I have the new E upgrade. I also use FCP and thinking of getting Production 2 to work with the HD footage. Have access to XH-A1 and would like to use my HV20 with it for B roll How would they compare?