Hi, It looks like you have


It looks like you have some background in this area and yet you are unclear about how fast and how deep to plunge into HD. Same goes for a lot of people. Including me.
There should be a market for SD for some time yet. HD is a work in progress and it is quite early in the game. HD (under $50,000) does poorly in low light compared to SD. I attended a workshop on an early HD model just under two years ago, and in a face off with the XL-1 or 2, the low light performance of the HD cam was simply awful. In cooler terms, its performance was unacceptable for low light shooting, from a professional standpoint. O.K. it has improved but still is not as good as SD.
HD cams can also do SD, but reviews I have seen state definitively that HD cams shooting in SD produce SD images inferior (“softer”) to SD cams shooting SD. I would bet that every HD cam now on the market ($6,000 and under) will be superseded by a superior HD model within 18 to 24 months.
Of course images shot by your SD cam and a new HD cam will have different looks. Depending on what you are producing, the lighting, editing style, etc, that could be a minus or a plus.
You have an awesome tool with your 170. I met a producer at an anti-war protest the other night who shoots his personal stuff with a 170 and when he is on a job (for Discovery Channel) he shoots with a $50,000 HD cam. He says he is not giving up his 170.
I would suggest getting a second 170 or SD equivalent, getting an entry level HD cam (in case a client has to have it), and with any money left over, build up a powerful lighting kit, for the day when you will be doing a job with 2 or 3 HD cams and will be needing to light all those shadows.
In your note you say you’ve heard about the quality of HD. You should really go down to a big video store and play with an HD cam so that it is just you and your result up on the monitor, no hype in between. Would be cool if you could plug your 170 in as well, to compare the two. Make sure to look at what’s going on where the lights are not blasting.
Good Luck!

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