HV20 vs HF10 vs HG10

Austin posted his tests (440 MB) comparing the 1 year old HDV HV20 vs the 6 months old AVCHD HG10 and brand new AVCHD HF10. The new HF10 can record full 1080p at its highest quality mode at 17 mbps, compared to just 1440×1080 of the previous Canon consumer camcorders. Note that the HV30 is exactly the same as the HV20 in quality.

According to the tests, the HG10 is visibly worse than any of the other two camcorders (it has this “mushy” cheap Kodak look), while the HV20 still beats the new kid on the block HF10! The HV20/30 is slightly more detailed and has less pixelation than the HF10 (plus, it has a much more compatible 43mm filter thread and bigger sensor that allows for more background blur). The HF10 has visible mpeg4 artifacts (much more than HV20’s mpeg2), but on the other hand it seems to have less fringing than the HV20.

Anyhow, the AVCHD cameras are obviously closing in to the HV20/30. Regardless, we are still one more year behind before a consumer AVCHD camera is able to beat it. That’s how good that camcorder is (no wonder it still sells like hotcakes for less than $700 these days). The rein of HV20 will end for good when manufacturers are able to offer full AVCHD bitrate to their full 1080p streams (24 mbps, according to the standard). So far, this has not been possible for many reasons: you hit the FAT filesize limit faster, you need an even faster PC to edit, and it requires really fast media and internal chipset. When these roadblocks are out of the way (1-2 more years), AVCHD camcorders will shine in their full glory.

12 Comments »

Cesar wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 9:06 AM PST:

“The new HF10 can record full 1080p at its highest quality mode at 17 mbps, compared to just 1440×1080”

Well, both are 1440×1080 🙂 The difference is: 1440×540 at 60i and 1440×1080 at 60p. I’m sure you know that, just a note to make things clearer.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 10:48 AM PST:

You are incorrect. According to the site, the HF10 does full 1080p on its highest mode, not just 1440.


Cesar wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 11:33 AM PST:

I’m not sure I understand you. Full 1080p means 60 progressive frames (1440×1080) per second.

1080i means 60 interlaced fields (1440×540) per second (or sometimes called 30p).

1080 is the vertical resolution, while 1440 is the horizontal resolution. The HV20 does 1440 horizontally, what it does not is 1080 vertically for each interlaced field.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 11:38 AM PST:

No, the words “full 1080p” in the market means 1920×1080 progressive (various frame rates). The HV20 does what you said, but when people say “full 1080p”, they mean full 1920×1080. No interlacing, and no 1440.


Cesar wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 11:46 AM PST:

Got it, I totally forgot about the 1920 part 🙂


Dave Rosky wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 12:20 PM PST:

Eugenia, thanks for linking to this. I’m downloading it now, but it’s huge so it’s going to take a while (We only have 1.5Mb/s connections where we live 🙁 ). Given the size, I assume there is full-rez footage in there to look at. That’s great, I find it frustrating that Camcorderinfo doesn’t post footage, but I understand his bandwidth issues since he has a large viewership.

From the small clip you posted, it looks like the differences, although detectable, have really gotten quite small.

Darn, I’m a bit torn now. I was all ready to get an HV20, but with the video quality gap narrowing so much, it’s a tougher decision. Now I have to weigh some of the other relative advantages and disadvantages, and there are some things that go in favor of the HF10/100 for some of the things I want to do (as well as the other way around too).

BTW, in a year or two when we’re all burning Blu-ray discs, do you know if the blu-ray spec allows for full 1920×1080 video, or will we all have to downsample to 1440 anamorphic anyway?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 3:30 PM PST:

>is full-rez footage

It is still PNG pictures from the owner’s FCP.

>Darn, I’m a bit torn now.

If you need a camera NOW, get the HV20. It still has an edge. If you need a camera in 1-2 years, get a Canon AVCHD one.

An HF10 review is here btw.


Dave Rosky wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 5:31 PM PST:

“If you need a camera NOW, get the HV20. It still has an edge. If you need a camera in 1-2 years, get a Canon AVCHD one.”

I think that statement is valid under most circumstances – in most cases there’s no reason to choose an HF10 over the HV20. The reason I’m considering the HF10 stems from the fact that I do a lot of backcountry travel (backpacking and skiing) and I would like a camcorder that is well suited well for that use. High end camcorders are finally achieving sizes, weights, and media types that make this practical without carrying 5-6 pounds of bulky equipment.

The HF10 has some characteristics that are better suited for this use. In addition to being smaller and lighter, there are some definite advantages of Flash over tape for extended outdoor use. For example several years ago, one of the times that I took my current DV cam on a hiking trip, a wind gust that carried some dust occurred while I was changing a tape. I had made sure I was in a relatively protected area and I stopped and ran a cleaning tape after the gust, my drop-out rate went up considerably for a while (it did return to almost zero after a half-hour or so of shooting).

Of course, the HV20 has some advantages too. A viewfinder can be really nice in some outdoor shooting conditions, and the HV20 has more features in other areas. Plus the HV20 does still have a slight edge in video quality. Still not 100% sure which way I will go.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 5:50 PM PST:

If size is really important to you, you might want to consider the Kodak V1253. It will double as a 12MP digicam, costs less than $200, and shoots “ok” 720p video with a stereo mic.


Dave Rosky wrote on March 8th, 2008 at 8:27 PM PST:

“If size is really important to you, you might want to consider the Kodak V1253. It will double as a 12MP digicam, costs less than $200, and shoots “ok” 720p video with a stereo mic.”

That’s true, but the problem is that I really do want high end video. There have been small cams for a long time, but I’ve been waiting for high end consumer cams to get into this size range. I have some ideas I would like to develop that involve mixing some backcountry footage with other footage, but I would like to keep the quality consistently high. It would probably be pretty noticeable if I mixed footage from a cam like the Kodak with an HV20.

Actually, the HV20 is borderline workable for me. It is a lot smaller and lighter than the high end cams of just a few years ago and that’s why I had decided to get one, but the HF10/100 is yet another step in that direction, plus the added benefit of flash media. There would be some sacrifices, however, like the lack of a viewfinder.


Michael wrote on March 12th, 2008 at 4:19 PM PST:

I looked at the PNG stills and think that the HV20 is better. But I cannot understand why 24p is noisier than 60i, should not be.

In regards to FAT limitations, FAT32 limits file size to 4GB, not 2GB, I don’t see why Canon limited high-def files to 2GB, that is about 15-17 minutes, while JVC uses 4GB files for standard-def, which yields to one hour of video in one file. Anyway, isn’t FAT32 accepted by SD/SDHC standard as a filesystem of choice? In this case I don’t see how the filesize issue could be resolved unless yet another revision of SD card standard is developed.

Writing interlaced video into a file when shooting in 25p/30p and especially in 24p is utter idiocy. They are just files, there are no devices that these files have to be compatible with, like HDV decks or something.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 12th, 2008 at 9:34 PM PST:

FAT32 does 4 GB, but FAT16 does 2 GB. It depends how these drives are formatted, it has nothing to do with the SD kind. The solution is to cut on 4GBs and continue recording without losing a frame as a new file. This is easily doable, but they haven’t created this ability yet.

As for interlacing, it’s stupid, but they do it. Many AVCHD cameras still record interlaced.


Comments are closed as this blog post is now archived.

Lines, paragraphs break automatically. HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The URI to TrackBack this blog entry is this. And here is the RSS 2.0 for comments on this post.