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Thread: Canon HF200 or Panasonic HDC-SD200

  1. #1

    Question Canon HF200 or Panasonic HDC-SD200

    Hi all,

    I currently have a Canon MV850i camcorder which has done well to date, but i want to move into the HD side of camcorder / footage. So as the title suggests I have been looking at the following camcorders.

    Canon HF200 Buy Canon HF200 High Definition SD Camcorder online at JohnLewis.com

    Panasonic HDC-SD200 Buy Panasonic HDC-SD200EB-K High Definition SD Camcorder online at JohnLewis.com

    (Please ignore the prices)

    I will be using the camcorder for family / holiday videos. Both models are very similar, or they seem to be to me. The Canon has a better zoom x15 compared to the Panasonics x12. The Panasonic has 3MOS compared to the Canons 1/4" CMOS (I get lost in this area). The Panasonic is better in low light 1.6 Lux, but most filimg is done during the day so not overly concerned here. The Panasonic is 1080i and the Canon not sure if 1080i or 1080p. The Panasonic mic records in 5.1ch where as the Canon isn't.

    I would welcome any advice on both models.


    Regards Ally

  2. #2

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    At present I am leaning towards the Canon HF200, purely because it's Canon and I have always had Canon's. Also the zoom is slightly longer at x15. I read somwhere that it is also 1080p.

  3. #3
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    I have just gone along the same path myself.

    After weeks of research I came to the conclusion that there's not a lot of difference! I know that doesn't help you much but I ended up with a head to head between the Panasonic SD200 and two Canons, the HF11 and the HF200.

    My biased, unscientific and predjudiced decision went as follows...

    I rejected the Panasonic because it doesn't have a microphone-in socket, which means that you're restricted to using the camera microphone and can't use an external mic. The fact that the Canon records at a maximum 24Mbs but the Panasonic has a max of 17Mbs was also a factor in my choice. Being the owner of a Canon I am biased towards the make anyway, in various forums the general consensus seems to be that amongst the top 3 (Canon, Sony and Panasonic) the Canon's have the "best" images. Just how people measure what's "best" varies and also seems to be very subjective but that was the final sign for me!

    Leaving me with a choice between the HF11 and the HF200.

    I want my AVCHD camcorder for fun. To take to weddings, parties, as well as to use on the beach and so on, which means that low light performance is important to me. For low-light work, the bigger the chip, the less noise, so I went for the larger chip on the HF11.

    Anyway, that's what I did.

  4. #4

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    Guru,

    Many thanks for your reply and sorry it has taken me so long to reply back. I do fancy the HF11 but this is pushing the budget too far so therefore i have decided to go for the HF200.

    Cheers Ally.

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    I was looking at the HF200 aswell but as an avid Panasonic and JVC user I was looking at the Panasonic TM300 with it's manual focus ring (servo assisted) and mic input socket. The one thing that is putting me off going for the HF200 is having to use a bleedin joystick to control manual focus, what were Canon thinking at the time? Even a small dial beside the lens would have been better like what you see on some Sony models, but a joystick? I see the HF200 also lets you control the audio level manually, great feature to have.

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    Having used the Canon for a week now...

    The joystick was annoying for the first couple of days. Now it has clicked and is, in my opinion far better than a focusing ring for this format. The reason being that you/I/one holds a palmcorder differently to a prosumer camcorder and the joystick falls nicely under the thumb when you use the left hand to help suppport the screen. The focussing ring is awkward to use in comparison. That doesn't mean that it's the ideal solution for anything bigger, just that it's right for this size.
    Since the joystick can also be used to adjust aperture, shutter speed, exposure and so on it's an easy way of having all those controls without having to go through menus or having buttons secreted all over the camcorder.
    In essence you chose the function with the up/down movement of the joystick and operate it with the left/right movement.

    Like I said, at first I though "WTF?" because I'm used to aperture and focussing rings, switches/buttons etc. However, now that I'm used to it, I like the simplicity of the joystick (and I stress here) for this format. It's just a mental re-think required.

    The lack of an eye-level finder is also a bit annoying but, let's be honest here, the camcorders in this price range aren't meant as semi-pro but rather as "fun" camcorders.

    The only thing which is missing, even at this level, is one (or two) user-defined buttons, but the competition don't have them either.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 06-19-2009 at 05:29 PM.

  7. #7

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    Well, I have finally bought the Canon HF200 and at first glance i have to say i am very pleased with the choice. Had a quick go of the toggle key and so far no obvious issues.

    What I would like to know is what type of memory cards are you guys using / recomending.

    Cheers Ally.

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    You (we) are a bit restricted at the moment. It's important to use class 4 or better SD cards otherwise they can't deal with the data rate when recording 17 or 24 Mb/s. This means avoiding the ebay deals which are nearly always class 1 or 2 cards, even though they may be re-labled as class 4 or 6.

    A bit of surfing revealed that Kingston cards seem to have a relatively high fail rate, transcend are a bit better but SanDisc are, without doubt, the weapon of choice. Although they are the most expensive. I've found the best deal (and the one which lets me sleep at night) is through Amazon.

    As a rough rule of thumb, I reckon 1GB gives me 5 mins recording at full quality (24 Mbs) so a 4GB card is like using a 20 min tape. This is a bit short for me and I've gone for the 8GB cards. The 32Gb cards are way too expensive for me at the moment and with 40 mins per 8Gb card, it's no more inconvenient than switching tapes (a lot quicker actually).

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    I see Jessops are doing a SanDisk 16GB class 6 card for 99 and Curry's are doing a Lexar 8GB class 4 for ....20 or half price according to their site. Has anyone tried those Lexar cards?

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    Amazon.co.uk has the Sandisk Ultra II SD Video HD 16GB (class 4) at just under 47 at the moment. Good info on Currys. I've never used Lexar, so I don't know how reliable they are but at 20 I'd say it was worth the risk.

    (Yeah, yeah, not for pro jobs)

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