Saturday, November 04, 2006

HD Camcorders

Be still my beating heart!  HD video cameras are here at affordable prices.  CNet and CamcorderInfo review the new $1400 Sony HDR-SR1, as the "most forward-facing camcorder of the year".

When I looked into this one year ago, I concluded that HD camcorders aren't worth buying, but that's no longer true.  Some of the features I like:

  • can output to standard def TV sets.  You basically don't need to worry about getting the video out because it will convert to SD when necessary.
  • 30GB hard drive lets you leave tape behind and stores up to 4hrs of video with random access in VCR mode.

What I don't like

  • uses compressed AVCHD format instead of the lossless format you get on miniDV.
  • requires proprietary Sony software to get the video into your computer.  This is a big deal if you need to run the camera on some OS not supported by Sony (like something in the future)

I won't replace my Panasonic GS-400 yet, but it's clear that by next year at this time my tape-based SD camera will look pretty ancient.

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