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View Full Version : Any good sites with reviews for a mini dv camcorder?


nospleen
Feb 16, 2004, 03:13 PM
Does anyone know of a good site that has reviews of mini dv camcorders? I am looking to spend up to 500 and I just want to make sure I get the best bang for the buck. Thanks.

jimsowden
Feb 16, 2004, 04:15 PM
try cnet.com and look at amazon's listing of the camera and click on customer reviews. I reccomend the Canon ZR80 very highly. It is dependable, good quiality, fair price, and durable. Beats poorly made jvc, expensive sony, and is really the only brand I would use.

Dale Sorel
Feb 16, 2004, 05:14 PM
http://www.dvdrhelp.com/

evolu
Feb 16, 2004, 05:16 PM
When using cnet, I highly recommend reading the user comments. Sometimes cnet's editors and reviewers can be a bit off (biased?) in their reviews.

absolut_mac
Feb 16, 2004, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by nospleen
Does anyone know of a good site that has reviews of mini dv camcorders?

Here's the link to a recent thread which should answer all of your questions concerning the various camcorder sites.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=682751#post682751

Good luck :)

Cheap-Chopstix
Feb 16, 2004, 10:10 PM
http://www.epinions.com/

more user reviews then u can shake a stick at

flyfish29
Feb 16, 2004, 10:28 PM
I am sure Amazon.com has plenty, but the most important thing to do is go play with them. How the buttons, menu, etc are laid out can make a big difference on how well you like one. You can also determine how large of a screenyou want on your lcd depending on your eyesight quality. I love my sony products for their battery life, no-memory rechargability of batter, and menu navigation. I don't have a DV camcorder though. Have a sony HI 8 camcorder and digital camera and love them both. Have heard some negative things about some of the cannons eating tapes....early ZR models I think, not sure if they fixed it, but I think I read it on Amazon.com reviews!

nospleen
Feb 17, 2004, 07:11 AM
Thanks everyone! I am reading the reviews to narrow it down. Wish me luck.:D

Mr. Anderson
Feb 17, 2004, 08:41 AM
I'm looking as well and I just saw that Sony has come out with a whole bunch of new dvcams....has anyone seen any of them?

D

nospleen
Feb 17, 2004, 08:54 AM
What I want is the best picture quality for the money. I am not that interested in tons of features, I just want the picture to look good. Is there any difference in picture quality on the mini dv camcorders in the 400-550 price range? If not, I think I will go with the Canon ZR80. I can get one for 328 shipped. It seems so cheap that I am thinking it must not be that great.

absolut_mac
Feb 17, 2004, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by nospleen
[B]What I want is the best picture quality for the money.

If that's you goal, go with Sony.

Generally, dollar for dollar, Sony offers better video quality than all of the others, especially their lack of noise in medium to low light conditions.

Good luck!

nospleen
Feb 17, 2004, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by absolut_mac
If that's you goal, go with Sony.

Generally, dollar for dollar, Sony offers better video quality than all of the others, especially their lack of noise in medium to low light conditions.

Good luck!

I think I am going to, I will hopefully decide today.

lighthouseman
Feb 17, 2004, 05:52 PM
camcorderinfo.com
dvspot.com

nate13
Feb 17, 2004, 07:05 PM
go to http://www.zones.com/cgi-bin/zones/site/product/index.html?id=624626&partner_id=-8535 to find a 500 dollar camera and tons of extra goodies. jsut released series, dont bother with a ZR 70. im getting a ZR 90 onec it come out tho :cool:
good luck

nospleen
Feb 17, 2004, 08:45 PM
I ended up going with the ZR80. I almost ordered a sony, but the Canon had much better zoom and the price was better too. I ended up paying 331 from buydig.com. I hope I made a good decision.

RBMaraman
Feb 17, 2004, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by absolut_mac
If that's you goal, go with Sony.

Generally, dollar for dollar, Sony offers better video quality than all of the others, especially their lack of noise in medium to low light conditions.

Good luck!

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. The Sony's may have slightly better video quality, but they have horrible mechanical issues that aren't worth the trouble. I have nothing but issues out of the Sony cameras I've owned or worked with.

Go with the Canon ZR series. They have excellent video quality, and they hold up extremly well. The Sony cameras have to many problems.

Dave the Great
Feb 17, 2004, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by RBMaraman
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. The Sony's may have slightly better video quality, but they have horrible mechanical issues that aren't worth the trouble. I have nothing but issues out of the Sony cameras I've owned or worked with.

Go with the Canon ZR series. They have excellent video quality, and they hold up extremly well. The Sony cameras have to many problems.

Just wondering: what about JVC? They announced the GR-D93 at CES. It has a bigger CCD (1/4" vs. 1/6"), more pixels (1.333 MP vs. 680k) and the JVC has the twin led lights; plus it has the new clear view LCD, its smaller and it has some new 3D noise reducer for low light situations.

I thought the ZR series was not that good? I thought it had problems in lowlight and also the mic picked up the internal mechanics.

I thought if you wanted to get a decent canon you had to step up at least to the elura series. They(Canon) just announced the new series at PMA. They look pretty sweet, but I don't know when the expected ship date is.

nospleen
Feb 17, 2004, 09:17 PM
My previous camcorder was a Canon ZR20. It is not that good in low light, but I do not use it in low light, so that is not a biggie to me. However, will the bigger CCD improve the picture quality to a level that I would notice?

RBMaraman
Feb 17, 2004, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by Dave the Great
Just wondering: what about JVC? They announced the GR-D93 at CES. It has a bigger CCD (1/4" vs. 1/6"), more pixels (1.333 MP vs. 680k) and the JVC has the twin led lights; plus it has the new clear view LCD, its smaller and it has some new 3D noise reducer for low light situations.

I thought the ZR series was not that good? I thought it had problems in lowlight and also the mic picked up the internal mechanics.

I thought if you wanted to get a decent canon you had to step up at least to the elura series. They(Canon) just announced the new series at PMA. They look pretty sweet, but I don't know when the expected ship date is.

I don't have any experience with JVC cameras. I've always kind of looked at them as a "cheap alternative," almost as if they weren't good enough to be with the big boys (Canon, Panasonic, and Sony). I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on JVC's.

As for the Canon ZR series not being good, that's the first I've ever heard. They are excellent cameras, much better than any Sony (at least in my opinion). My production professors told me to stay away from Sony, which I already knew to do. I'd also recommend any Panasonic camera.

I'm graduating from college next year, and I plan on purchasing one of the Panasonic 24p Mini-DV cameras so I can do some free-lance video work. Currently I use a Canon ZR-25MC camera to shoot commercials, promotional videos, etc, and I've never had a complaint from a client about video quality. In fact, most are impressed that such a camera produces video quality good enough for the projects I tackle.

LethalWolfe
Feb 17, 2004, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by RBMaraman
I don't have any experience with JVC cameras. I've always kind of looked at them as a "cheap alternative," almost as if they weren't good enough to be with the big boys (Canon, Panasonic, and Sony). I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on JVC's.

As for the Canon ZR series not being good, that's the first I've ever heard. They are excellent cameras, much better than any Sony (at least in my opinion). My production professors told me to stay away from Sony, which I already knew to do. I'd also recommend any Panasonic camera.

I'm graduating from college next year, and I plan on purchasing one of the Panasonic 24p Mini-DV cameras so I can do some free-lance video work. Currently I use a Canon ZR-25MC camera to shoot commercials, promotional videos, etc, and I've never had a complaint from a client about video quality. In fact, most are impressed that such a camera produces video quality good enough for the projects I tackle.

RE: JVCs
I don't know much about JVCs consumer lines, but their pro/prosumer DV lines have some strong offerings. Although currently JVC has a better full-sized camera line-up than palmcorder line up.

RE: Sony
Like JVC I'm not very familar w/their consumer line of cameras but I wouldn't discount their pro/prosumer line of cameras at all.

RE: Canon
Mine only major Canon gripe is the sync issues they can create by having a tweaked audio clock that is not w/in DV specs. Although I've heard that GL-2s and newer XL-1s' don't have that problem.

RE: Panasonic
Like JVC I think their full-sized camera line-up is much stronger than their palmcorder line-up. The AG-DVX100A is really the only small Panasonic that I've heard people get excited about. Panasonic is also making a big push for it's DVCPro50 format to replace BetaSP and for those who need more than DV25 (MiniDV/DVCAM/DVCPro) can offer.


Lethal

EDIT: RBMaraman , I don't suppose you are a TKE are you? I had a few friends that went to UofE and they were all TKE's.

RBMaraman
Feb 18, 2004, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by LethalWolfe
EDIT: RBMaraman , I don't suppose you are a TKE are you? I had a few friends that went to UofE and they were all TKE's.

Lethal,
I'm not a TKE, but I know a couple of guys who are. TKE isn't as strong of a fraternity as it used to be. They got into trouble a few years ago and lost their house. They just got a new one this year.

Interesting to hear your opinions on the JVC. When I go to buy a new camera next year, I'll definitely give them some consideration. I'd heard that their pro/prosumer line was getting some good reviews, much like Panasonics pro/prosumer line.

P.S.: Where are you from in Central Indiana? I take it you went to Ball State?

masterjedi73
Feb 18, 2004, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by Dave the Great
Just wondering: what about JVC? They announced the GR-D93 at CES. It has a bigger CCD (1/4" vs. 1/6"), more pixels (1.333 MP vs. 680k) and the JVC has the twin led lights; plus it has the new clear view LCD, its smaller and it has some new 3D noise reducer for low light situations.

I thought the ZR series was not that good? I thought it had problems in lowlight and also the mic picked up the internal mechanics.

I thought if you wanted to get a decent canon you had to step up at least to the elura series. They(Canon) just announced the new series at PMA. They look pretty sweet, but I don't know when the expected ship date is.

I just purchased a Canon ZR85 (which I like very much). The JVC models I was looking at didn't have great coloring. Everyone looked a little blueish compared to the samsung and canons I was looking at.

I don't buy anything by Sony except the PS2. Every sony I've EVER owned has broken within a year. Probably just bad luck, but I've had enough of them. lol

masterjedi73
Feb 18, 2004, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by Dave the Great
Just wondering: what about JVC? They announced the GR-D93 at CES. It has a bigger CCD (1/4" vs. 1/6"), more pixels (1.333 MP vs. 680k) and the JVC has the twin led lights; plus it has the new clear view LCD, its smaller and it has some new 3D noise reducer for low light situations.

I thought the ZR series was not that good? I thought it had problems in lowlight and also the mic picked up the internal mechanics.

I thought if you wanted to get a decent canon you had to step up at least to the elura series. They(Canon) just announced the new series at PMA. They look pretty sweet, but I don't know when the expected ship date is.

I just purchased a Canon ZR85 (which I like very much). The JVC models I was looking at didn't have great coloring. Everyone looked a little blueish compared to the samsung and canons I was looking at.

I don't buy anything by Sony except the PS2. Every sony I've EVER owned has broken within a year. Probably just bad luck, but I've had enough of them. lol

Dave the Great
Feb 18, 2004, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by nospleen
My previous camcorder was a Canon ZR20. It is not that good in low light, but I do not use it in low light, so that is not a biggie to me. However, will the bigger CCD improve the picture quality to a level that I would notice?

Yes, you would notice a difference. Not so much going from 680k to 1.333MP ( some more lines of video resolution, but really the extra pixels are for stills), but the size of going from a 1/6" to a 1/4" makes a big difference in light sensitivity.

However, since you already own a ZR 20 and you have already purchased the ZR80, you shouldn't second guess your purchase. I am sure the ZR80 is a good cam. Plus, it was only $331. And you are familiar with the Canon nuanances, since you owned one previously.

Dave the Great
Feb 18, 2004, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by masterjedi73
I just purchased a Canon ZR85 (which I like very much). The JVC models I was looking at didn't have great coloring. Everyone looked a little blueish compared to the samsung and canons I was looking at.

I don't buy anything by Sony except the PS2. Every sony I've EVER owned has broken within a year. Probably just bad luck, but I've had enough of them. lol

Which JVC models were you looking at?

Also, were all the cams being previewed on the same TV?

Or were you just viewing in the LCDs?

nospleen
Feb 18, 2004, 12:33 PM
Originally posted by Dave the Great
Yes, you would notice a difference. Not so much going from 680k to 1.333MP ( some more lines of video resolution, but really the extra pixels are for stills), but the size of going from a 1/6" to a 1/4" makes a big difference in light sensitivity.

However, since you already own a ZR 20 and you have already purchased the ZR80, you shouldn't second guess your purchase. I am sure the ZR80 is a good cam. Plus, it was only $331. And you are familiar with the Canon nuanances, since you owned one previously.

I hope you are right. I could have purchased a sony with a 1/4" for only 417. I just did not like the touch LCD. I was afraid it may be more prone to breaking. It may not, I just thought it would be.
My ZR20 was almost three and a half years old, so I imagine the ZR80 will be an improvement.

masterjedi73
Feb 18, 2004, 01:23 PM
we were looking at the JVC GRD30 and 70 models. We did compare them to a Samsung and the Canon on the same TV. In the viewfinder they all looked fine, but on the TV, the JVCs were very blue.

I ended up with the Canon 'cause it had a 16X9 mode, and we have a widescreen TV. I got tired of hearing my wife complain that she looked fat in the home movies cause of the tv. lol