Why Camcorder reviews suck....

I am in the market for a new Camcorder. I jumped on the HD bandwagon back a few years ago and really jumped on Digital tapeless recording hard. and Who would not want to get rid of the easy to destroy tapes? I have had many projects ruined by having a tape get damaged when transported back, or the tape head getting misaligned from use or a light bump. I really liked the JVC video cameras for the HD side. But coming from a Standard Def guy that was used to the Canon XL1 and Canon GL1/GL2 I was never truly happy with the JVC cameras. They always were lacking. Image stabilizer was a joke compared to Canon's IS system. Even the ones in their low end models. Image quality is GREAT in the JVC's in the right lighting conditions. Otherwise you need ND filters and careful scout your location well to avoid some serious video artifacts.

Granted, Canon GL1/Gl2 lenses kicks the utter crud out of anything from JVC, and the XL1 lens is unmatched even today. But some of the problems with other camera makers is unacceptable. My biggest complaint... Purple fringing. Every camcorder I have tried except for canon cameras exhibit purple fringing from light purple halos to nasty thick purple smears. Panasonic HMC150, JVC high end, JVC mid level, and low level as well as the Sony prosumers ALL do this badly. Shoot a tree against the sky and see a giant amount of purple. Somehow Canon does not have this or minimizes it. The HD-XL1 does it by having $1300.00 lens on the front of the camera.

The problem is that all the camcorder reviews out there. from the crappy ones to the supposed experts NEVER review this major flaw that most people care about. It's almost as if most reviews are simply echoing the makers press release. And the real review sites do tests indoors using conditions that are perfect for the camera. I want reviews that torture the camera. USE it like a real person would, find and showcase the glaring flaws.

The way I get usable reviews on a potential camcorder, I find a place that has one I can touch and handle and convince the sales guy to follow me outside to take some footage with it. IF I can not find a local place to touch the camera, I look for rentals. $100.00 week rental on a $1400.00 camera is worth it. and if the camera completely stinks right away, you can usually call up and complain and they will refund your rental if you ship it back within 24 hours of receiving it.

Until video camera reviewers actually get off their butts and USE the camera in real life situations, all video-camera reviews are worthless. You can look at footage, but anything from the company will be in the best conditions, and shot to avoid exposing flaws. Youtube is way to low resolution or way too over-compressed to get any usable information. And people that own the camera, they typically wont say it's a piece of junk or has a major flaw as it means they admitted that they made a bad purchase. Go to forums and ask for specific shots... I.e. a shot of trees with a bright sky background is the HARDEST Thing for a camera to shoot. Video of moving tree leaves also will show you if the video falls apart. a fast pan or video of fast moving objects shows off if the sensor will tear the video or deliver wiggly video like DSLR's currently do in fast motion situations.

It's up to you to make sure the camcorder you get does not fall short of what you expect.


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