While picking up Mrs Bassheads last few presents yesterday I popped into Jessops to have a look at the special offers. I’ve had my eye on a Canon HF100 for a while now, and intended to order one from Amazon after Christmas. The price on Amazon.co.uk recently dropped from £550 for £450, then shot back over £500 before I had a chance to order one. It’s currently sitting at £476, and Jessops had the HF100 for £499 witha £50 cash back from Canon. Even better, when I paid the system said the price was £489 so the total after cashback is £439. I could order from Amazon and get one for £426 with the cashback but it’s in my hand and I can now shoot HD christmas video to bore the family.
Compared to my last video camera (Sanyo Xacti HD2, soon to be appearing on Ebay) the HF100 is stunning. Easy to use menu’s, responsive screen and an easy to control yet fast zoom make it a pleasure to use. The footage doesn’t disappoint either. I set the camera to 25p mode and used shutter priority at 25 to get amazing low light performance. The Xacti would just go black and fuzzy in low light, and although there is still noise in the Canon’s footage there’s also a lot of detail. Read more…
I’ve previously mentioned Sony’s impressive TG3 HD camcorder, and it’s now available in the UK. Dixons in the Gatwick departure lounge had it for £499, and while I wouldn’t agree that it’s the size of a mobile phone it is compact. The Rejuvenated Simplydv.co.uk have a good review that praises the TG3 for image quality and lists the only negative points as a fiddly zoom control and having to use the touchscreen for most adjustments.
While in the Dixons store I also got my hands on the Sanyo Xacti HD1000, which surprised me by its size. This is one camcorder that won’t be going into your pocket which is a major change for the Xacti series. The small size of my Xacti HD2 is what keeps it in my travel bag while the Nikon D50 and Canon MiniDV camcorder stay at home, so I won’t be upgrading to the HD1000.
After yesterday’s post I had a working 10.5.1 system with my applications and home folder copied from a backup drive. Everything looked to be where it should when I logged in so I started the testing.
The first app I tried was iMovie 08. I know it’s had a lot of flack from the iMovie HD purists, but I find it a lot easier and quicker to use than the last version. So what if it doesn’t have themes? The speed of editing means I don’t put off making the holiday videos due to the time it takes. The biggest issue was running iMovie 08 on my Macbook. Even maxed out with 2Gb of memory the editing process wasn’t smooth. It’s fine with standard video from a miniDV camcorder, but I treated myself to a Sanyo Xacti HD2 last year before a holiday in Florida. The camera was light and easy to carry around all day and took 7 megapixel photo’s and 720p HD video (that’s 1280×720). The Macbook hardware just struggled to handle that resolution of video. Playback had lots of stuttering and spinning beach ball delays. Read more…
Looks like there will finally be another option for tapeless HD camcorders. The Canon Vixia HF10 offers full HD recording (1920×1080 resolution) to 16Gb of internal flash memory and SDHC cards. Quoted battery life of 3 hours standard is pretty good too. Due in April in the US for $1,099 this could be what I’ve been waiting for. My current Sanyo Xacti HD2 is fine outdoors in bright light, but poor in lower light conditions. Sony have some nice HD/Hdd models available that are reported to be a bit better, but don’t bother with JVC’s Everio range. Will the Vixia finally offer good low light performance? More details and video here.