The JVC GZ-HD40U and Canon Vixia HF-10A are reviewed. With the prevalence of HDTV today, consumer camcorders can now record full 1920x1080 HD, interlaced or progressive, and do it in AVCHD format at data rates higher than 720p, MPEG-2-based HDV. The Canon Vixia HF-10A features full 1920x1080 recording at p24, i30, and p30, the latter of which gives the viewer the ability to take advantage of full 1080 resolution without interlace artifacts, and without 24p judder. To begin with, the JVC GZ-HD40U has no power button. When you open the LCD screen, the camcorder powers up; when you close the screen, it powers down. The Canon image stabilization was not as good at eliminating the small shakes of the rough road as the JVC.
in the field JVC GZ-HD40U & Canon Vixia HF-10A Anthony Burokas Figure 1. Two “high-end” consumer HD camcorders: JVC’s GZ-HD40U (left) and Canon’s Vixia HF-10A (right) This is a test of usability and a feature comparison. The little camcorders used for this shoot are indeed limiting. They force the user to go through numerous tiny steps and adjustments to make these camcorders perform to anything like professional standards. But in the right hands, when you know how to get the most out of them, today’s consumer camcorders can produce startlingly good results. THE GEAR For this field production excursion, I used a JVC GZ-HD40U (Figure 1, left) and a Canon Vixia HF-10A (Figure 1, right). Both of these camcorders are very consumer, meaning that any “advanced” manual features, if available at all, are several clicks away, buried in menus. The bodies of these camcorders are about the size of a 12-ounce soda can. While this dramatically limits the number of dedicated buttons on the camcorder, both of the camcorders I selected have microphone inputs as well as headphone jacks. This was critical because I planned to use these c camcorders to record interviews and critical sounds with an single-chip camcorder models priced less than a variety of external microphones. $1,000 and bearing the bold “Full HD” logo do the The Canon features full 1920x1080 recording at p24, i30, job of prosumer and professional camcorders and p30, the latter of which gives the viewer the ability to costing many times that price? In this article I’ll take take advantage of full 1080 resolution without interlace two high-end consumer HD camcorders into the field— artifacts, and without 24p judder. However, since the JVC specifically, the wilds of the Alaskan bush—to see what I records only 1920x1080i30 and I would be intercutting and can do with these little devices. directly comparing the footage from the two camcorders, I opted for the 1920x1080i30 format at the highest-quality A TALE OF TWO CAMCORDERS setting available with both camcorders. With the prevalence of HDTV today, consumer camcorders Unlike Panasonic’s first “professional” AVCHD camcorder, can now record full 1920x1080 HD, interlaced or the AG-HSC1UP, both the GZ-HD40U and the Vixia progressive, and do it in AVCHD format at data rates HF-10A use external batteries, which makes it far easier (24Mbps) higher than 720p, MPEG-2-based HDV. Those to replace a battery quickly while the camcorder is on a factors that differentiate “consumer” and “professional” tripod and to use bigger batteries that offer longer run times. are usability and the quality of the images they record. Having several hours of internal recording time possible is Low-light capability—another clear difference between made more useful with batteries that last longer than a professional camcorders with more, better, and larger mere 60 minutes. However, both cameras ship with AC imaging chips—is not a major factor in this article. I will adapters that only charge the battery on the camcorder.
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