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Camcorder Formats Explained - HDV & AVCHD

HD Formats continued…

The regular flavour of AVCHD uses the same 1,440 x 1,080 resolution of HDV and half the data rate or even less. However, some camcorder manufacturers are also now offering a Full HD shooting mode for their premium models (like the two below), which has the complete 1,920 x 1,080 resolution of 1080i.

However, JVC likes to be different, and has opted for MPEG-2 in its HD Everios, one of which also offers Full HD recording, the GZ-HD7EK. It remains to be seen how well JVC will get on going its own way, as editing support for its format remains scarce.

AVCHD is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for consumer HD camcorders, now it has Canon, Sony and Panasonic behind it. Between them, these three manufacturers offer a range of models that record AVCHD to DVD, hard disk, and Secure Digital memory cards. The format is essentially the same - the choice between them, as with SD camcorders, depends on which medium takes your fancy. AVCHD is now also widely supported by consumer video editing software.

But HDV hasn't been superseded, and is likely to be the semi-professional's favourite for the time being as its quality remains superior to AVCHD, even when the latter is in Full HD form. If you have more serious intentions, a fully featured HDV camcorder such as Canon's HV20 is still your best choice.

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