Product Type: Canon digital camcorders
Newest Review: ... and thus technically you'll lose some quality from this scaling, but generally it's not a major issue as the sensor size and lens pr... more
Canon HV20 HD camcorder with 25p mode!
Member Name: poteac
Date: 13/10/10, updated on 13/10/10 (98 review reads)
Advantages: HD!! Cinema & 25p mode, compact.
Disadvantages: Not full HD resolution, manual focus wheel is awkwardly placed+hard to manoeuvre
I've had this camcorder for just over 2 years now, and wow what a great camera it is!
Of course the biggest thing going for this camera is it's HD recording capability, but not just HD! It also boasts 25p (progressive mode), which creates a more filmic look. Personally I only shoot with 25p mode on, as it just creates a much nicer image.
Just a note about the "HD" spec... it's not technically full-HD, as it records at a resolution of 1440x1080, which means when you get it into your editor it will be (automatically usually) stretched to the full 1920x1080 resolution, and thus technically you'll lose some quality from this scaling, but generally it's not a major issue as the sensor size and lens probably can't capture at an amazing enough level for this to be noticeable. That being said the colour replication is really great, as is the case with HD, and the "cinema" mode is really handy for quickly achieving a film-like effect in-camera (though you may want to just add this kind of thing in post-production!).
Only major downside for me is the noise of the tape mechanism (though this is prevalent in most camcorders). If you want to use the sound from this camera, you definitely need to use an external mic. Another problem though more minor is the manual focus is a bit difficult to adjust as it's controlled by a tiny little spring-loaded wheel, located just in front of the LCD monitor, so it's not only often awkward to reach, it's so small it's no use if you want to do anything fancy with your focusing. Saying that, there are (non-official) focus ring attachments you can buy from ebay, which I'd recommend if you intend experimenting with changing focus during shooting!
The battery life isn't amazing with the standard battery pack - I'd definitely recommend purchasing a higher capacity one if you intend doing a lot of location shooting, or will be going for a long time without being able to charge! Top tip: if you want to save power, use the LCD screen very minimally. The viewfinder is quite adequate, though ergonomically, it's not the best designed! The rubber pad around the edges feel very hard on the eyes, and I can imagine it wouldn't be comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Lastly, one really cool feature it has it an AV-to-DV mode, which allows you to connect any analogue input via composite cable (yellow video lead) and you can then record that onto a DV tape, or even capture directly via firewire to your computer. Very useful if you want to archive old VHS tapes, or footage from an old non-DV camcorder.
Summary: Fantastic camcorder for the filmmaking beginner or to introduce you to HD filming.
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