I shot all of the videos using the Auto mode and in FHD. I transferred the
videos to my PC and worked with them using several video editors. None of
the editors recognized the *.tod files, but Sony Vegas 8.0 (released in
October, 2007) would open them if I set the menu list to "All Files". All
normal editing features worked once the files were opened.
The GZ-HD7 is a very nice camera to handle.
Everything to operate it is placed in good spots that are easy to reach
while working with it. There is a short lag time when the Record button is
pressed, perhaps one second.
The sound quality is fine for a consumer
camera. Some early cameras had the microphones on the top, near the rear,
but lately they are moving them forward, with some on the front next to the
lens, pointing forward. This is the best place for them. The HD7 has the
microphones on the top of the camera just behind the lens, facing upward.
The problem with this layout is that your fingers will be near the
microphones, so if you slide them along the top, the microphones can pick up
that noise. The HD7 does have an external stereo microphone input, but this
is not convenient for everyday use.
Now to the image quality.
One thing about 1080i: the interlacing is
For example, look at the two frames shown
below (the two fields for each frame are combined for presentation) of my
In the first photo, the camera was not moving.
See how his whiskers are very straight, without much evidence of jaggies.
However, whenever I panned the
camera even slightly, jaggies became very apparent, as shown in the photo
below. This is why 720p video is a definite alternative for some people,
including NASA. It's also why HD sports programs on TV are usually 720p
rather than 1080i.
These deep pink pansies show the
oversaturation problem that digital sensors tend to have.
Red is the worst offender for oversaturation in digital sensors, and the HD7
is no exception.
Orange cumquats look excellent. A bit of white
blowout in the highlights though.
Fall colors are good, but the image
is not quite as sharp as I would have expected. The leaves appear a bit
Purple looks great, as in this shrub.
The HD7 does well in close-ups, and actually
can get much closer than this photo of a green succulent.
This is called a rose form succulent. The reds
look good, again a bit of highlight blowout. This is where you might use
that Zebra feature in the menu.
Yellow can be difficult for digital sensors,
but this frame of yellow margeurites looks perfect.
Blue is good as well.
Here is my standard Safeway vegetable rack
shot. The colors look fine, but it is not very sharp.
The Auto Iris Test results can be viewed by clicking on the photo below. You
will see that the automatic iris took about 1 second to adjust from total
black (my hand blocking the lens) to a bright light.
The Light Smearing test results can be viewed by clicking on the photo
below. Smearing was about the same as the previous video camera we reviewed.
When pointing a digital camera at a light source with a dark surrounding
environment, vertical streaks are often seen, such as here. We will say more
about this test as we accumulate results on additional cameras.
Go to Part III.