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HL-DV7 Camera

 HL-DV7 Title


Probably the best value in digital camcorders today, in my opinion and that of quite a number of our clients, is the popular Ikegami HL-D7W DVCAM camcorder. Made with Ikegami's typical high quality construction, it has proven to be reliable and rugged enough to handle the rigors of everyday field use. It has the heft and feel of a HL-V55 or BVW-D600 camcorder and shares the same lenses and batteries. The camera uses three 520,000 pixel CCDs with about 800 lines of horizontal resolution with a f11 @ 2000 lux sensitivity. That low light sensitivity is a great improvement over the older Betacamcorders.

The feature I like the best is the similarity of the camera alignment menu system throughout the complete line of digital cameras, from the HL-DV7 to the top of the line, high definition cameras. With older analog cameras, there was no easy way to adjust camera parameters without oscilloscopes, extender boards, and a thorough knowledge of video camera alignments. With digital video cameras, experience is still necessary for the initial set-up of preferred base settings and lens file creation. But now the videographer can make use of the myriad of optional camera parameters that can be used to improve the look in difficult lighting conditions or with creation of
individual specialty looks. Controls for camera parameters are available with the use of rotary dials, so no expensive remote control box is needed.

Functions like skin detail, soft detail, black stretch or press, scene file control, auto & manual knees, iris correction, aspect ratio, and electronic 5,600k filter are available through the use of a simple P-function (personality) push switch. Skin detail allows for reduced detail in flesh tones. Soft detail switches on circuits that can clip off the extremes of detail enhancement to reduce or eliminate the hard video edges, can create a more film-like look. Black stretch improved low video level brightness, while black press reduces it. Scene files can be switched. White compression or knees can be switched from auto to manual. Iris correction allows for over or under auto iris. Aspect ratio switches between 16:9 and 4:3 mode. The electronic 5,600k correction can be switched on to eliminate the loss of sensitivity that you get with the optical internal 5,600k filter. Dawn or dusk never looked better. These items along with all the other alignments and switches are also available in a series of menu pages visible in the viewfinder.

Just as with most high-end digital video cameras, you, as an operator, can make adjustments and, if desired, save these settings for future use in one of its eight different scene files. With the use of removable Smart Media memory cards, it is possible to save a number of sets of scene files. These can simply be read back into the camera's internal scene files as needed. I have not yet found the limit on how many sets can be stored.

Lens files are another feature of this camera that you would expect on only the most expensive of video cameras. As most of you probably know, lens models differ in a number of ways. Flares, preset color tint, and white picture shade vary from lens to lens. Once the camera and lenses are purchased, a qualified video engineer must set-up these parameters with the use of calibrated light sources, charts, and monitoring test gear. These are then saved to one of eight, named lens files in the camera head memory. This assures the best possible pictures no matter what lens you switch to. By the way, all quality broadcast cameras have at least one setting for flares, shading and presets that should be calibrated to obtain optimal picture quality.

An emergency external reference switch is provided to return the camera back to either its proper engineering or factory set-up. A second and better way is to perform a full data load (scene, lens, reference, and menu files) from set-up card to camera. This feature allows you to make big mistakes while learning to use the camera and restore it back to square one.

Our standard maintenance camera set-up includes creation of lens files for each client-supplied lens, and setting up the base look of the camera to our popular Macie Uniform Standard. We also program a warm look, film look, and a variety of looks to deal with high to low contrast lighting situations, along with a standard Ikegami or Sony factory matrix setting for matching other non Macie set-up cameras. Our color saturation is higher than the average factory set-up camera and is warmer too. When completed, all files are saved and backed up on the removable memory card. A variety of scene files are also available to deal with florescent lighting as well.

This camera also has a few options such as a second rear mounted headphone jack, Sony tripod plate mount, and 26-pin component output jack. It also has a slot for an inboard mounted radio mike receiver.

This is the first time I have ever touted any video product in my newsletter, but I just can't help it. Just ask any owner of a HL-DV7 and I'll bet you'll get the same response. FYI - Ikegami's HL-DV5 is the same as the HL-DV7W in every way except that the HL-DV5 is 4:3 aspect ratio only, whereas the HL-DV7W is switchable - 4:3 and 16:9.

Take care,

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