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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:35 AM   #11
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Initial impression- HD700 Physical, Appearance, Features & Functions

HD700 Pro:
  • feels sturdy. Makes the CG6 feel and look like a toy [/*]
  • controls are similar to the C40 I had so no problem there.The button layout is different than the CG6 which explains why some complain [/*]
  • Screeniswide, bright, no complaints [/*]
  • Menuscontain more features and functions than the cg6 or C40. There's a lot to learn here folks [/*]
  • Instant on feature. Faster than the C40 and CG6. Can start recording in second or two [/*]
  • Bigger than Cg6 (pro/con here). Still pocket-able [/*]
  • Zoom slider switch. The CG6 has a rocker type. Again the hd700 is like the C40's zoom slider
HD700 Con:
[/*]
  • Don't like the doors to the battery,sd card, orAC. I suppose I could get used to it. Reminds me of the C40 in many ways. [/*]
  • Zoom is fast. Much faster than the C40 or the CG6. In some ways I like this. [/*]
  • This "Full Auto" I don't understand. It changes the wide angle view from what I can tell. Apparently sets to factory defaults???? Not sure why it changes the wide angle lens [/*]
  • Need cradle to connect to PC OR remove SD andinsert into areader. CG6 wins here with it's USB port- I like this. [/*]
  • Focus abilities- questionable; need more tests[/*]
I'm starting to record video from each unit but I've come to the realization it's hard to control two cameras at once . Especially when the zoom speeds are different and in general the HD vrs SD screen resolution challenge`. You do capture much more video (or area) with the HD700 than with the CG6. The initial observation is that the CG6 seems to work a tad bit better in low light but not by much. It may capture the subject but still the image is grainy. The HD700 low light somewhat reminds me of the C40's capabilities. I'm concerned about focusing as some others have pointed out. I can practically zoom in on any object in my office with the CG6 and get an auto focus lock. With the HD700 I'm having to compensate by locking on objects near the one I want to take a picture of. I find this very odd.

I'll continue testing but my little review I promised above may take some extra time.
-Brian





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Old Dec 13, 2007, 3:45 AM   #12
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Am I correct in understanding that some people are saying that the CG65 is better than the HD700 in low light?
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 10:33 AM   #13
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Well, I had a bit of a "discovery" last night that has improved my opinion of the hd700's low light performance.

I had been shooting some footage at iso 200 after work around the apartment (already dark outside) to see if it would be low light performance I could live with. When I fired up the TV to watch the footage, for the first time I noticed that it was set to "Dynamic". This appalling setting is apparently Pioneer's default setting out of the box, and since hooking up the hd700 was the first time I'd used this particular input jack on this TV, it was still at the default setting. Well, I quickly changed it to my own "User" setting, and the difference was remarkable. Actually, it was more than remarkable. A good 50-60% of the noise and crap that had me in knots was gone. By comparison, the hd700 footage inside my apartment looked pretty good and about where I expected it to be when I bought it.

Now, what I have to determine is whether it is "good enough" for my use. The fact that is now at (or slightly above?) where I thought its performace would be makes me optimistic that it might work out. Unless the CG6 or CG65 has much better low light performance, I don't think I would be inclined to switch out the hd700 for either of them, especially given the 700's good performance in normal or daytime lighting and that I bought it during that 299 window on amazon.Now that I've fixed much of the hd700's low light noise problem (in this case, user error), I'm going to shoot some iso 400 footage this evening and tomorrow evening to make a better judgement. Really, my only decisionmay come down towhether to go for the hd1000 instead, which has some pluses and minuses as well.

The auto focus issues for the hd700 are still there, of course. But the manual focus option is not really that problematic inside an apartment or house with normal size rooms (mine are actully fairly big for an apartment). You just have to accept the limited range you have, which is much deeper than I would have expected.

Arizona: I think you are right about a 24p fix for the hd700. I'll wait for Sanyo or some innovative writer to post one... Speaking of innovative, I really like your flash mount for the S3! Had I not gotten a very nice DSLR, I would probably be looking to copy your invention. The DSLR is really why I'm getting away from the S3 in the first place: it just isn't going to work to try to carry it and the S3 around, plus all the baby gear and a baby. That's why I went the xacti route (portability), and I really hope to be able to stick with it. Still, the S3 really is a good combination/hybrid if you are looking to shoot only relatively short video clips and you don't have a dedicated still camera.

blegate: Thanks for your input. I agree with your pros on the hd700. It is solid. I'm looking forward to hearing the outcome of your further testing. As I noted, unless the CG65 can really surpass the hd700 in low light, it doesn't look like the route for me. Turk, we're probably both awaiting the same data.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 3:33 PM   #14
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TheTurk wrote:
Quote:
Am I correct in understanding that some people are saying that the CG65 is better than the HD700 in low light?
Hi- I have the CG6 which I think is the same as the CG65 with the exception of the fancy new Mp4 compression. Perhaps I'm wrong?????

My initial tests does reflect the CG6 capturing the subject better than the HD700 is what I would call extreme low-light conditions. What's bothering me more is the focus issue where the HD700 cannot lock on objects but the CG6 can (when taking stills).

BTW, I'm taking footage with both units throughout the day. I plan to put everything together in Vegas and post it on a site. I'll put the link in this forum later. Also BTW I'm an amateur when it comes to photographyso my review will be basic. I'm comparing actual common footage someone might take with these cameras (at least in my opinion).I hope to upload this by Sunday at the latest. All of it will be rendered in Mpeg2. I've never combined SD and HD in one click so this should be interesting.

DC Michael- Glad you got your TV configured properly. The video I've taken in average indoor lighting conditions seems almost the same as the CG6; however, I have noticed the HD700 at times loosing focus but quickly recovering.ThisI don't like. I think I read that this is your first Xacti? If so, practically all have some issues with low-light and there's always someone not happy about it. All of the units I've owned -C40, C6, CG6 and HD700-typically have some low-light issues or complaint related to low-light. It seems to be the bullseye everyone focuses on. Why? I'm not sure...perhaps we are perfectionists. Inmy opinion some low-light issues are to be expected since that's the nature of the beast with Sanyo Xacti's in general. Can't figure out why Sony hasn't jumped into this arena with a "apples to apples" product offering (BTW the sony net cam doesn't count).

-Brian









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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:34 PM   #15
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Brian -- Indeed, this is my first xacti. In fact, it's my first camcorder, although the Canon S3 IS really does perform well on video in fairly short segments. The xacti was my choice for size, convenience, etc. -- probably the same reason we all chose one.

Given the size of the lens and of the sensor, I didn't have too high hopes on the low light performance, so I'm inclined to stick with it, especially since I realized much of the initial problem was not the hd700 at all, but my tv settings. Your observations about all xacti having some sort of low light issue due to inherent design limitations is actually a very helpful observation.

I know other folks have said it, but you have to have your camcorder with you, and you have to be willing to pull it out, if you want to get the shot. My brother in law has a 'regular' size HD camcorder and a DSLR with all the fixings, but over thanksgiving he didn't pull them out once except when I asked to look at them. The threshold for the xacti is so much lower in terms of taking it along or not, and shooting or not, that we can be sure that we'll get things that others won't. Even if today it doesn't seem important, in 20 years when you're glad you have that footage, it will be a big difference. Lesser quality footage vs no footage at all? That's an easy choice for me.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 6:59 PM   #16
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Yep totally agree with you about the portability of these cameras. I haven't used my MiniDV in probably 7 months.

Quick observations....does your hd700 zoom create noise? When I zoom there is this buzzing noise I've noticed. There's a slight pause then there isa faintBzzzzzzzz. This morning I was filming the dog outside (fairly quiet) and you can hear the zoom noise fairly easily during playback. I am listening through headphones.

Just curious...



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Old Dec 13, 2007, 7:15 PM   #17
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DC Michael wrote:
Quote:
I know other folks have said it, but you have to have your camcorder with you, and you have to be willing to pull it out, if you want to get the shot. My brother in law has a 'regular' size HD camcorder and a DSLR with all the fixings, but over thanksgiving he didn't pull them out once except when I asked to look at them. The threshold for the xacti is so much lower in terms of taking it along or not, and shooting or not, that we can be sure that we'll get things that others won't. Even if today it doesn't seem important, in 20 years when you're glad you have that footage, it will be a big difference. Lesser quality footage vs no footage at all? That's an easy choice for me.
I had a Super VHS-C camera which actually was very good indeed in low light yet when it broke I decided to get into these cameras even though initially they are not quite as good. The reason? Well with a regular sized camcorder you can't really place it in your pocket on the way out the door like you can with these. I find with a regular camcorder you tend to only get them out for special occasions ie the ubiquitous birthdays etc. yet I find that the most interesting videos are those that you take adhoc like I do now with my 2 year old or out and about just taking video for 'the sake of it'. I find these more interesting than the birthdays.
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Old Dec 15, 2007, 5:34 PM   #18
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http://www.vimeo.com/436000

For what's it's worth!

Originally rendered in Mpeg2 and uploaded to Vimeo which does some conversion

This is a basic test between the CG6 and HD700. Note some of the HD quality has been impacted. Also it's challenging to throw a freebie (for the dog) and record with two Xacti's at the same time :?

BTW, both units are set to full automatic mode. So let the Xacti logic do it's wonders.

My opinion/comments:

Overall the HD700 impresses me more than the CG6. Note, the CG 6 in the first videohas some noise interference... not sure why.

In the lastclip the CG6 appears to capture low lightmuch better than the HD700 butto be honest the room was really dark and you probably wouldn't video tape anyways. The CG6 in actual footage is grainy.

When this is viewed on my big screen the HD700 footage looks better eventhough I don't have a HD TV

I feel if I canunderstand how better touse the features and functions of the HD700 then I would be able to shoot better footage in low light....got a learning curve.


My $.02,


Brian


Here's the DIXV version. Much more compressed but just in case Vimeo isn't working- http://stage6.com/user/HD700/video/1...ef=share_email





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Old Dec 15, 2007, 6:54 PM   #19
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Brian,

I've not noticed any noise from the zoom. That's sure not to say there is none, since I've been shooting a toddler and fiddling with the controls, so I've not exactly had a quiet shooting experience. I would guess there's no noticable sound.

It occurred to me today that the threshold the xactis can cross that other camcorders cannot is not only that it will fit in your pocket (which is a big deal), but also that I don't feel like a bit of a dork pulling it out in public as I would a regular camcorder. That may just be me, and certainly as other camcorders become as miniaturized as the xactis it might change, but that's the way it is for me at least.
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Old Dec 15, 2007, 10:49 PM   #20
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Brian -

Thanks for the comparison test. As I mentioned in another thread, I'm also deciding between the CG6 and HD700 and currently running similar tests. On my second go-round with the HD700, I'm being won over - the videocan beso much better that it makes up for many of the camera's quirks - quirkswhich I find less annoying as I grow used to them.
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