After helping Buff and Sean with DS2 I had sold my DVX100 last fall. Ended up getting only $500 less then I originally paid for which isn't bad for a 3 year old camcorder. Anyhow got the itch again recently after reading up on the new HVX (and them actually becoming available) plus the company I'm with now wants some stuff for our new website.
Anyhow I thought I'd post my initial impressions after using the cam for exactly 1 day and throw up a little footage.
My impressions generally are in comparison to the DVX which I'm way more familar with so here they are:
Size / handling:
Well this thing is heavier and more bulky then the DVX. (My right hand still hurts LOL) It just doesn't balance like the DVX as it's side heavy. This thing really begs to be shot off a tripod as just shooting some basic pans and zooms handheld for me looked terrible.
AF & MF: One touch AF is very slow and not very accurate when shooting from a boat. The unit has a feature that blows up the image to help you MF but really what worked best for me was using the distance readout (as far as shooting from the towboat.) Focus is critical when shooting HD so this will take some practice.
HD/SD shooting modes: Well there are a bunch of them. 1080 is sharper to my eye then the 720p modes but uses more card space and doesn't give you the variable frame rates (which I haven't tested yet either)
DVCPro 50 is absolutely beautiful and may be worth the "cost of admission" alone if you're doing a lot of SD work. The 24 and 30 frame progresssive modes as available in it as well as 60i.
Of course all the gamma curves, knee, pedastel, detail etc settings are still there, (never paid much attention to them on the DVX) but they really have a major influence on the look when shooting HD so I'm going to have to learn them now as well.
I got 2 4gig cards and a P2 store. There is no way to import footage into a MacbookPro short of tethering the camera (which I can't stand) as there are no cheap card readers out yet. Transfering the footage into the P2 Store works pretty well and it acts as a card reader as well. Once 16gb cards are available (and cheap) this won't be an issue but for those who are shooting hours of footage at a time it's a different workflow for sure. There is no real logging option on the Mac right now other then a $700 piece of software so I had to edit my captures from the viewer rather then the log and capture window. Anyhow FCP 5.1 imports (ingests as they call it) the files just fine and they play back perfectly with all the RT effects on my MBP with 2ghz Intel dual core (both from the internal 5400 or my firewire drives). As I posted previously the DVCPRO HD codec is not as bandwidth intensive as HDV but you do need lots of drive space.
Here's a couple of clips shot in 720p60 yesterday and compressed into h264. Pardon the framing I'm still getting used to the widescreen aspect. I'm not sure it looks that much better then good DV but I think it will get better as I learn the cam. I have seen some beautiful footage posted by some of the Pros who use this camera on a daily basis. I hear it makes for a beautiful SD DVD when transcoded as well.
Here's the link: http://homepage.mac.com/rd4tile/FileSharing7.html
(go easy Toolfan, I'm not a pro like you!)