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Canon HDV - Testing the new HV20 Camcorder

231239-974858-thumbnail.jpg231239-974860-thumbnail.jpgI've had my new Canon HDV camcorder for a couple of months now and whilst I'm mostly pretty happy with it - the lens for one thing is superb! - but there are a couple of things that are irritating. It seems that HDV doesn't capture motion very well. It's nowhere as good as the minidv. You have to be really careful even on your pans. So for this reason it's not so much a point-and-shoot as a DV. You really need to think about what you're doing. And you really need to be shooting on a tripod a lot of the time. Which is probably a good thing anyway - shaky footage is annoying at the best of times. I don't know about this in-built Image Stabilizer that Canon boasts either. I can't see it making any difference.

Canon was a bit behind the eight-ball in releasing an amateur HDV camcorder. SONY were way ahead of them. The flawed Canon HV10 only came out at the end of last year. So here is the next generation - the HV20. And it's pretty darn good. The best part is the price - around $1000 for a camera that boasts a lot of features you find on professional HDV costing thousands more. So what do you get for your money?

First, even though SONY were into HDV earlier Canon has a couple of things over them with this model. For one thing, you can add other branded gear to this camera - microphones, headphones, lights. For another, this Canon HDV is the only consumer camcorder with the 24p "Cinema Mode" which adds a film-like look to videos (softens the contrasts).

The Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder is for happy-home-movie-makers like you and I. But it gives surprising results. You can make full-resolution 1080 widescreen (16:9) high-definition videos for use on High Definition Television. The camera's built-in HDMI terminal makes connecting to HDTVs a piece of cake. And if you fancy being the next Tarantino or just shooting something for Tropfest - this could be the HDV camcorder you need. But wait...there's more! The Canon HDV also features a 3-megapixel still camera and 2.7-inch widescreen LCD.

Canon has a terrific interactive site which takes you through this amazing HDV. Here's some Test Footage I shot recently using the camera on Automatic. Edited on iMovie and compressed using Quicktime's H264 Codec. You'll see BlipTV has much better results than YouBoob.

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