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HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?

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Dave Messinger
HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 16, 2008 at 4:39:25 pm

I have boiled it down to a 150 or a Canon A1. What I have not seen addressed is what happens when a new codec comes out - which let's just say is "better" - faster, sharper, cleaner, whatever. Can the processing chip in the 150 be upgraded for new codec's ?

Tape will always be tape - and when you dump it you can take advantage of the newer codecs for output. AVCHD is compressed - if it can't be updated in the camera and something better comes out - does that mean you are stuck with the older tech capture codec when using the 150 say a year or 2 down the road ?

Dave Messinger
http://vfwTech.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 16, 2008 at 7:21:08 pm

Of course there is always going to be a better codec. And no I don't see the HMC150 being firmware upgradeable in a few years to whatever new codec comes down the pipe. Chances are it would require an entirely new processing engine and hardware that makes the camera non-upgradeable. That being said, you hardly see anyone who bought an HDV camera a few years back complaining say that it can't be upgraded to XDCAM EX or whatever. That's the way it goes. In theory within a few years the camera should have paid for itself many times over with the work you can do with it.

And tape is not tape- at least in the way you think it is. Any prosumer camera shooting to tape is compressing footage. By playing that tape out and recording as a another codec you're just putting a golf ball into a trunk- the ball itself doesn't change shape only what's carrying it around. Same with an AVCHD camera, you can always play it out to HD-SDI and re-record in another codec- but why bother. It looks as good as it's ever going to look already.

I happen to think the PH 1080/24p AVCHD codec as implemented in the HMC150 is state of the art in terms of quality, small file size and relative ease of use in post. It's as good as you can get for that price bracket and imho this camera totally blows the A1 away. Is it the last word in cameras? Of course not. Next year you'll be able to buy 2K and 3K cameras in a similar price range. But that's tomorrow. You want a camera today- go for the HMC150. It's great.

Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
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Dave Messinger
Re: HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 17, 2008 at 4:31:42 am

Thanks for the response

One question - when you say "...imho this camera totally blows the A1 away." - what do you mean by blows it away ? I have a friend with an A1 who says he has never seen a better picture regarding sharpness and colors. His opinion of course - and I take it you have seen output from an A1 or used an A1 - so could you expand a bit on exactly why you think the 150 is that much better over a A1 ?

Thanks..

Dave Messinger
http://vfwTech.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 17, 2008 at 6:33:57 pm

Dave-

That's a very subjective question- so asking me to quantify it may not help you that much in your final decision. I've used both and watched footage from both and I happen to prefer the HMC150 by far, not just for picture but for features and workflow in production and post.

But then I've never been a huge fan of HDV cameras in general- it's a first generation long-GOP format with too many image compromises and issues in post my for my tastes(which you can google about if you're really curious for details.) Also I'm no fan of shooting tape cameras anymore- once you go with a tapeless camera it feels like stepping back into the stone age. So that also figures into my opinion.

I'd suggest renting both cameras or asking for a dealer demo on both if you're really torn. If you're in the L.A. or N.Y. area this is a lot easier but in most states you should be able to find a camera shop at least willing to let you check out both cameras. The A1 is a fine solid camera but IMHO Canon has constantly been several years behind Panasonic and Sony in terms of the state of the art of cameras.

The A1 represents the pinnacle of a older format that's been surpassed by cameras like the HMC150. Shooting HDV to miniDV tape is the old way, shooting AVCHD at PH mode to SDHC cards totally rocks and is the way to go. If you want the older technology go for it, but it's just not the best out there and your initial concern was AVCHD would be surpassed as a codec. That may well be, but if you're comparing to an HDV camera well then you already have your answer there.

For me it's apples to oranges. And that's my own personal opinion as someone who owns or has access to all kinds of cameras from entry-level Sony HDV cameras all the way up to REDs and Phantom. I have no particular reason to embrace any one camera for anything other than my own personal tastes.

Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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Dave Messinger
Re: HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 17, 2008 at 8:59:19 pm

Thanks for those comments. I totally get and agree with the work flow advantage (although I think tape could be the better storage/backup route,especially since I have been on the hard drive gone bad wagon a couple of times). It's good to hear you have used both and feel the way you do. I have a pana dvc80 and dvc30, so I like the layout of the 150. Hope it can use the same batteries.

I also have a canon HV20 - and a couple good friends with the A1 - and it's their report back to me about the quality of the A1 footage that helps rank it up there - plus I like the 20x zoom over the 14 on the 150.

It's hard to get your hands on a 150 loaner in Denver from a dealer yet Thanks for your input - it helps.

Dave Messinger
http://vfwTech.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: HMC150 - what happens when a better codec develops ?
on Dec 18, 2008 at 6:19:43 pm

[Dave Messinger] "I totally get and agree with the work flow advantage (although I think tape could be the better storage/backup route,especially since I have been on the hard drive gone bad wagon a couple of times)."

Yeah that's another thing that I'm hyped about on the HMC150. The SDHC cards are so cheap- especially if you buy in bulk you can use them as you would tapes. I.e. shoot once and there's your archive.

This is not likely to ever happen with P2 or SxS due to the price of the media but SDHC is dirt cheap- take a look next time you walk into a Best Buy for Class 6 16GB cards and you'll see what I mean. Cheaper than Blu-Ray media that folks are using this way already with Sony cameras. It's just awesome.

Noah

Check out My My FCP Blog and my new RED Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook,
DVD Studio Pro and How to Light Interviews.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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