Hello Wayne, et. Al.,

I'm a new user to Media College and this is my first post. However, I'm a frequent poster in other video forums and found this site during a surfing expedition. Your question about buying a new camera and the responses prompted me to reply.

Several of the posts in reply indicate buying an HDV cam is expensive and will drive other hardware/software upgrades to be able to edit and display content. While this can be the case for some, it doesn't have to be for everyone.

Several HDV cam's can shoot in HDV and provide the footage to your system in SD. The process takes place in the camera and is called down-converting. All Sony HDV cams do this. Why would you want to buy an HDV cam only to go back to SD? Because footage shot in HDV and downconverted to SD is of higher quality than footage shot with an SD camcorder. This is because the lens used on an HDV camcorder has to be better to get the detail required, and the chip technology is also significantly better since it's capturing many more pixels per frame. So, you will have an HDV higher quality version of the footage on tape for future use when you finally start editing HDV, but can work with SD footage for now that is better quality than with a SD camcorder but easier on the editing machine.

Also, the prices on HDV cam's have come down significantly. Check out the Sony HC series, especially the HC-9, for a great cam with many pro features in the $1100-1200 price range. Additionally, several of the main stream editing programs now support HDV editing and at least two that I'm familiar with...Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum (home/hobby user) and Sony Vegas Pro 8 (professional user) work fine on older machines with a couple of gigs of ram and single core processors. Of course, editing HDV will tax your system so preview/playback rates will suffer and render times will be dependent upon processor speed but, certainly, it's doable. To help, there are plug-in programs that allow you to edit a proxy file then shift back to the original footage when you are ready to render so even the slower machines can handle HDV. So, if I were going to buy a new camera, my money would be spent on an HDV format camera to get the higher quality either way I want to edit and deliver the project.

Having said that, I haven't purchased an HDV camera yet mostly because my Sony PD-170 is so sweet and I have access to HDV cams when I need them. When I do buy, I'm partial to the Sony Z7U. It's pricey ($6-7000) so it will be a while before I can justify the purchase. Hopefully, the prices will come down soon. In the meantime, I'll live with my -170 ;-).

Sorry to be so wordy on my first post. Hope it helps with your decision. Buying a new cam is certainly a big decision...but also very exciting. There is a lot to choose from and consider. For me, HDV is the only way to go.