View Full Version : What's a good, inexpensive, semi-pro MiniDV camera?

Jun 19, 2003, 12:08 AM
I want to start using iMovie. I am looking for a reasonably priced camera ($$400-$600) I want something fairly compact. Pretty much all of them seem fine, and playing with them at Best Buy doesn't help me. I don't know what to look for. Anyone know of some in particular to try out, and what to look for? Such as menus, ergonomics, compatibility with a Mac and iMovie. I like the look of the Canons, and the sonys. Any opinions?

EDIT: I can go up in cost if the benefits would be worht the money, but this will just be for fun, to shoot video at parties, vacations etc. Nothing fancy. Thanks for any help.

Jun 19, 2003, 12:28 AM
Well, first off here is a List (http://www.apple.com/imovie/compatibility/camcorder.html) of cameras that offically should work w/iMovie. My next suggestion would be hit c|net (http://www.cnet.com) and explore their reveiws of MiniDV cameras.


Doctor Q
Jun 19, 2003, 12:30 AM
Cnet (http://reviews.cnet.com/Camcorders/2001-6500_7-0.html?tag=glnav) can give you good advice. In their top-pick (http://reviews.cnet.com/4521-6530_7-5021303-1.html?tag=fs) section, they classify camcorders as budget, home-movie, three-chip, and compact. All but the three-chip ones might suit you.

Jun 19, 2003, 12:47 AM
Thanks, I was looking for just what CNet offered. Now all I have to do is sift through the reviews....

Doctor Q
Jun 19, 2003, 12:56 AM
And that's not all. Once you pick the model you want, you have to decide whether to buy it from a brick & mortar store, a well-known online vendor, or one of those too-good-to-be-true gray-market dealers (many in New York) who have incredible prices but are impossible to deal with if things go wrong. (I've gotten my cameras from well-known online vendors.)

Jun 19, 2003, 01:02 AM
Well, after looking around a bit, I think I like the Canon Elura 40MC. Nice and small, around $600 and the review was favorable. Any other opinions on this camera?

BTW, once I get this I will almost have every type of electronic gadget except a PDA (which I dont think I need) I should get a nice bag for all this stuff, Cell phone, iPod, Digital still, and digital video camera. Go Apple for making it so easy to use!

Jun 19, 2003, 10:16 AM
Check out the new JVCs. Some of them have 540 lines of resolution, which looks GREAT on DVD. I have last years JVC and I love it. :D

Jun 22, 2003, 10:05 PM
You mention semi-pro though later you're looking for nothing fancy.

Pro and semi-pro cameras will have 3 CCDs per colour channel, ie Red Green Blue. The consumer models have one CCD. This is the main difference in picture quality.

3 CCD cameras are more expensive than the single CCD camera. Once you shoot with one and compare it to a single CCD you will know the difference. Richer colours, smoother picture quality etc.

One other thing, most microphones on video cameras pick up all sound in an environemt. This is particularly bad if you are interviewing people. It's probably worth picking up a cheap lapel mic or other external mic, so you can have options for sound. While there are a lot of great options for picture quality in current video cameras, sound is the forgotten cousin.

Jun 22, 2003, 10:15 PM
I know nothing about these cameras, but they will be the next toy on my list after I pay off my computer. I wanted to add though, that I bought my other kind of digital camera (for taking photos) at mpsuperstore.com and I found them to be cheap and nice to deal with. I will definately use them again if they are still one of the cheapest stores.