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Cheap-Chopstix
Feb 11, 2004, 10:52 PM
Does anybody have a DVD cam....I'm thinkin about gettin a new camcorder and like the prospect of using mini-dvd's. I've noticed that Sony's handycams support dvdrw. How well does RW work. And how does it work. Would finalizing the disc make it permanent? Do any of the other cam companies support dvdrw?

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Opteron
Feb 11, 2004, 11:06 PM
Hatichi (owned buy IBM) has had a DVD camcorder out for quite some time. Panasonic have a range with models supporting DVD RW and DVD RAM (personally I'd go with the DVD RAM model) and Sony in now on the map.

MacRAND
Feb 12, 2004, 03:35 AM
Originally posted by Cheap-Chopstix
Does anybody have a DVD cam....I'm thinkin about gettin a new camcorder and like the prospect of using mini-dvd's. Tried DVD cam but took it back to Ultimate Electronics because it was just too weird, and got a Canon Camcorder with MiniDV tape instead. DVD as a recording medium could eventually catch on, but there must be a reason why there are only a couple of manufacturers offering just a few cameras using this technology right now. I think it's a good idea, but I decided I did not want to be an early adopter before they get the bugs worked out.

Although I'm pretty happy with my Canon ZR70mc ($699) DV Camcorder, after doing a bunch of edits with iMovie (and now using FinalCut Pro) then burning to DVD with iDVD, I'm disappointed in primarily one thing -- the low resolution of the small chip:
1/6" CCD (charge coupled device)
approx. 680,000 pixels
(approx. 340,000 effective pixels-tape)
(approx. 447,000 effective pixels-card)

I wish I had spent a little more money and gotten a Canon Optura Xi because it has a much larger chip:
1/3.4" CCD (charge coupled device)
approx. 2,200,000 pixels
(approx. 1,230,000 effective pixels-tape)
(approx. 2,000,000 effective pixels-card) like a 2 MegaPixel Digital Camera

Unfortunately for me, the Optura Xi had not yet been released when I bought the ZR70 or I probably would have upgraded at the time.
Notice that the effective pixels on tape (what you really get to work with) for the Optura Xi is more that 3x that of the ZR70.

While the 22x optical zoom of the ZR70 is double the 11x of the Optura Xi, having super telephoto is not as important as pure picture resolution. Besides, a good wide angle shot (party, church, school, etc.) is much more common than the need for extreme zoom (outside and far away).

Check out the features of the Optura Xi at: http://www.canondv.com/opturaxi/opturaxi_flash.html
and CLICK on the "Click Here" box in the lower right hand corner for a really excellent and very entertaining video presentation.
Then, go back and check out other models Canon has to offer: http://www.canondv.com/

Finally, compare what you've learned to other manufacturers: Panasonic, Sony, JVC, etc.

The accessories that I would add to any camcorder purchase are in order of importance:
1. Tripod - a good heavy duty one (spend some $) and then USE IT often! Real camera shops for pros have really good tripods.
2. A neutral UV-filter to protect the camera lens from scratches and damage (under $20)
3. Shot-gun microphone (so you get really good sound); the more you use a ZOOM, the farther you will be from your sound source, and that's a problem you need to solve early on.
4. A much larger memory chip (16MB commonly come with the camcorder (yuck!); get a 256MB cheap online or at COSTCO, not at the camera store)
5. The biggest camera battery you can get; look for discounted sources, try to get a battery offered by your camcorder manufacturer (Canon) but other suppliers are often okay. If not, you will hate yourself when your battery indicator starts blinking just before it is your kid's turn to perform at the school play or piano recital. Grrrr!
6. A nice, well padded camcorder bag ($40 or less) to carry and protect everything.
7. Lots of extra DV tapes, and keep them in the camera bag because you will need them.
8. Buy, rent, borrow or steal (or, download anyone's from a major manufacturer's website) a How to Use a Camcorder book, and then use common sense by planning your "shoot" ahead of time, like charging the battery, checking for plenty of tapes, microphone, lighting, etc.

If you are a .Mac member, check out their free:
• Exclusive Apple Training "Going Digital with iMovie and iDVD"—US$39 value
Learn how to shoot, edit, and share great movies with this latest installment in the iLife training series. Includes 36 movies and topics including footage and commentary by digital video expert Michael Rubin.

Last bit of advice, a Camcorder is a total waste while it is sitting on a shelf in your closet. Get it out, USE IT, and use it often; the more you do, the better your movies will get. If you pass up the shot of your kid's birth, first day at school, birthday party, Christmas 2004, a baptism or bas mitzvah, the opportunity is gone forever.
Remember, whether DV tape or mini-DVD-RW, they can be erased and reused.
Keep shooting or you'll miss the shot that you really want - edit out junk footage later on your Mac with iMovie, that's what it is for.

A 90 minute Movie at the theater is the result of hundreds and hundreds of Hours of film. Keep shooting, and get those background shots now, because you'll wish you had but won't be able to later.

Now, have fun! :D

LethalWolfe
Feb 12, 2004, 10:13 AM
I would stay away from the DVD-based cameras. MiniDV is widely accepted and provides far superior image quality (assuming your are comparing similar spec'd cameras of course).


Lethal

Cheap-Chopstix
Feb 13, 2004, 09:26 PM
Thanks for all deh replies....yeh i think im gonna go the mini DV route....DVD cams look like they need to get some kinks out. Plus the premium u pay...u get a lower quality ccd compared to a similar priced mini dv. I'm thinkin about gettin a Panasonic...anyone have any exp. with these cams? I want a budget cam that is compact and they seem to fit the bill.

MacRAND
Feb 14, 2004, 02:50 AM
Originally posted by Cheap-Chopstix
....yeh i think im gonna go the mini DV route....
I'm thinkin about gettin a Panasonic..
I want a budget cam that is compact and they seem to fit the bill. Panasonic makes good cams, check COSTCO and Ultimate Electronics, maybe even Fry's. This is the President's holiday weekend, so there should be exceptional sales between now and Monday.
Look for 3.5 LCD screen
10x optical ZOOM lens
and as large a CCD as you can afford
for interface with Mac, make sure it has iLink or FireWire port.
budget at least $500, or keep saving until you have the money.
Check the reviews online with a Google search.
:p

Opteron
Feb 14, 2004, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by Cheap-Chopstix
Thanks for all deh replies....yeh i think im gonna go the mini DV route....DVD cams look like they need to get some kinks out. Plus the premium u pay...u get a lower quality ccd compared to a similar priced mini dv. I'm thinkin about gettin a Panasonic...anyone have any exp. with these cams? I want a budget cam that is compact and they seem to fit the bill.

I would highley recomend a panasonic camcorder, I absolutley no problems with them, and they are so easy to use.

Also why go mini DV when DV cam is out there

MacNut
Feb 14, 2004, 08:55 PM
You can get a Panasonic with a 3CCD chip camera http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelList?storeId=11251&catalogId=11005&catGroupId=11303

LethalWolfe
Feb 15, 2004, 02:03 AM
Opteron,
Can you clarify your, "why go MiniDV when DVCAM is out there" statement (especially sense you recommended a panasonica camera)?

AFAIK DVCAM is Sony's propriatary version of MiniDV. It uses the same compression MiniDV does it just supports locked audio and uses higher quality/more durable tapes. Panasonic also has a propriatary version of MiniDV that is called DVCPro.

Speaking of Panasonic, just something to keep in mind about the camera that MacNut recommended. The 3 chip camera will provide better color than a comparible1 chip camera, but it won't have as much image detail because it uses smaller CCDs than a comparible 1 chip camera. So it's a trade off in this case, better color reprodution w/the 3CCD camera or better image detail w/the 1CCD camera.


Lethal

Cheap-Chopstix
Feb 15, 2004, 11:26 AM
qoute
Speaking of Panasonic, just something to keep in mind about the camera that MacNut recommended. The 3 chip camera will provide better color than a comparible1 chip camera, but it won't have as much image detail because it uses smaller CCDs than a comparible 1 chip camera. So it's a trade off in this case, better color reprodution w/the 3CCD camera or better image detail w/the 1CCD camera.
/quote

I'm not looking into spending that much money on a 3ccd....the one model im looking at right now is this http://www.panasonic.ca/English/audiovideo/video/palmcorder/PVDV203K.asp
Its not that flashy but its nice and compact...it only has 1 ccd rated at 0.6 megapixels. It's also within my price range 600-800 dollar can. about 499-649 for u american folk

MacRAND
Feb 15, 2004, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Cheap-Chopstix
I'm not looking into spending that much money on a 3ccd....the one model im looking at right now is this http://www.panasonic.ca/English/audiovideo/video/palmcorder/PVDV203K.asp
Its not that flashy but its nice and compact...it only has 1 ccd rated at 0.6 megapixels. It's also within my price range 600-800 dollar can. about 499-649 for u american folk Panasonic is good, but check out the Canon ZR series at the same price - generally better ZOOM and works well with Mac.
Do you have COSTCO stores in your area of Canada? If so, look for the Panasonic they sell - good retail price. 3.5" LCD, other stats are comparable to what you linked. Good shopping! ;)