Camcorder recommendations.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Rahsten, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Rahsten macrumors regular

    Rahsten

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #1
    Hello,

    My wife and I recently had a baby girl so as all good fathers should do I am now looking for a nice camcorder that will be "compatible" with my Mac (please see my Signature below).

    I'd prefer a Sony and I like the look, specs and price of the DCR-SR100. However, I've read that there are a lot of compatibility issues between HDD cams and Macs(iMovie) due to the fact that they use mpeg-2. Is anyone using a HDD from Sony on their Mac without having to use some 3rd party software?

    I've also read that many Mac users are sticking to miniDV tape camcorders. I have no problem buying one of those either.

    Basically I'd just like some feedback as to what 'current' camcorders my fellow Mac users are successfully using on their Macs. By the way, I'm looking for something under 1000US dollars.

    Thanks for any help or feedback with this.
     
  2. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #2
    Congratulations on the new baby! :D

    I have a 15 month old, and I can't imagine life without him now. :)

    Ironically, I started a thread eight minutes after you in regards to the mpeg2 issue.

    If you want the best quality you can get for under $1000, then you definitely need to go miniDV. If you're like me, and you're just tired of dealing with storage media and are willing to sacrifice a little quality, then a HDD based camera is for you. :)
     
  3. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #3
    Best Bet Is The Sony HDR-HC7 Our Thread Is Tops In Digital Video

    For $1150 you can get top of the line Sony HDR-HC7 HDV Camcorder which will serve you well for many years. Do NOT buy a HDD camcorder. The DCR-SR82 is not even High Def. Check out our leading thread with everything you want to know about why the HC7 is the right camera for you and your family for years to come. Without video tape you will have no way to archive your precious moments for years to come.

    If you need me to send you the other $150, PM me. It will be money well spent to get the best for your new baby.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    Over 20 minutes before you replied. What, were you asleep or something? ;)


    Lethal
     
  5. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular

    Rahsten

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #5
    Haha, thanks for the offer but I should be able to afford that. I live in Japan so I'm actually dealing with yen. I think the HDR-HC7 runs for about 130,000 to 150,000 yen, which is roughly the same as 1150-1300? US?

    Are all the camcorders in the HDR-HC series Mac compatible without needing some 3rd party product? I really wish Sony and othe makers would include that information. And, will my computer be powerful enough to handle the magic of HD?

    I may want something cheaper as the model I will be buying now will be Japanese and I fully intend to replace it with an English model when I return to Canada in a few years. So, top of the line isn't really necessary, but 'good' is. What are some other, maybe cheaper models? Is the HDR-HC1 good enough?
     
  6. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #6
    HC1 Is 2 Years Old Bottom Feeder With No HDMI Out

    HC1 is discontinued 2 year old bottom feeder model with no HDMI out. Only HC7 is first HDV camera that is both a top loader and has manual audio gain. It also has a denser sensor. You want to scrimp on quality while your baby is growing from infant to little girl? No way. HC5 is all automatic with no manual focus nor manual audio gain. And it's only about $150 less. So I will send you the $150 if you really can't afford it. Consider it a gift from a camcorder fanatic who wants you to do the right thing.

    Yes it's good to go with iMovie 6 HD on your CD MacBook. You owe your daughter the best quality recordings you can make right now. In two years the tech will be even better for this money. Did you bookmark our HC7 thread? There's a lot to read and learn there. We're at 208 posts approaching 10,000 views. This is unheard of popularity for a special interest thread. Please note the quality of the posts that are rich with links and photographs - even examples of live footage.
     
  7. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular

    Rahsten

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    Thanks again for the speedy reply. I'll bookmark the thread. I've officially made macrumors forums my new home. I was always using discussons.apple before but have been experiencing horrible issues with Login and posting over there...aside from that, nobody replies to your post there.

    I'm going to read through the HDR-HC7 thread now. It's really not a matter of whether I can afford it, it's actually whether I can convince my wife that we need to get the top of the line machine right now, haha.

    Also, looking around on some Japanese sites it doesn't look like the HDR-HC5 was ever released here. It seems to go HC1, HC3 and now HC7. I could be wrong though.

    And I don't even know about bottom feed vs. top loader and HDMI and audio gain things? If I am unaware of these things is it really something that will effect me?

    But you make a great point that I shouldn't scimp on quality during these precious years, even if I am unaware that I am doing so...?

    OK, time to go read...argh, nope...time to go to work.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    The HC1 and the HC7 seem to be the best of the series.

    Bottom vs top loading: Bottom loading means you put the tape in from the bottom of the camera which can be a PITA while using a tripod because you have to take the camera off the tripod to change tapes.

    HDMI is a digital HD connection. Newer HDTVs, hi-def DVD players, and the PS3 have it. IMO it's not a killer feature. The difference between HDMI and component HD on a consumer HDV camera hooked up to a consumer HDTV isn't going to be huge. Also, how often do you plan on hooking your camera up to you TV vs making DVD home movies and watching those?

    Auto audio gain means the camera controls the sound recording levels. Manual audio gain means you can control the sound recording levels. IMO it's not a "must have" feature on a consumer camera. If you're chasing her around the house the last thing you are going to be doing is adjusting the audio levels. Now, if you wanted a camera so you could sit down w/all of your living relatives to record and oral history of your family having manual audio gain (and wired microphone) could come in handy.

    Now, Multimedia is probably gonna disagree w/me.. but you have to keep in mind that he's three HC7's away from getting a gold watch. :D


    Lethal
     
  9. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #9
    The Canon HV20 is also good, and a little cheaper, but I don't even know where you could order it yet. Everywhere I've looked has said 'Accepting Orders". For quality, the Sony is the way to go if you can afford it. It's a good mix of price and performance. Makes a good hi def digital photo camera too. You'll probably want some extras like an external mic (though I don't know how good the built in sound is, I just always use external), case, tripod, etc. Not too much more for those either.

    You could go cheaper, like the new Panasonic miniDV, or some of the other Sony or Canon models, but they aren't HD, and some neglect the nicer extras of the higher end models. Most of them aren't that much cheaper either. The HC7 (or even 5) are probably your best bet. Don't buy a Samsung or JVC, or the Canon HV10. DON'T but a DVD model either. Not so great in my experience.

    Camcorderinfo.com has some good info on this stuff too.
     
  10. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular

    Rahsten

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #10
    Thanks for clearing a few things up for me Lethal. So yeah, a bottom feeder is totally out of the question...I can't believe they'd actually make a camcorder like that.

    As for HDMI, I don't have an HDTV, hi def DVD player or a PS3, nor do I want to dish out the extra coin to buy the ports for my Mac. So, it's a not feature I'd really be missing at this point.

    The audio control isn't a big concern for me either.

    So, HC1...no way, HC3...hmmm..., HC5...not available in Japan.

    HC7....well, there is no need to scimp...and, I do want a 'nice' new toy. I think I'm going to start looking around for a good bargain.

    EDIT:

    What's the word on the Sony HDR-UX series? They're HD too right? What's they're dealio?

    :apple:
     
  11. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #11
    Congrats! Good Choice.

    Great. HC5 is the new HC3. I'm surprised it's not there. Anyway the HC7 has a lot more going for it for very little more money.
     
  12. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular

    Rahsten

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #12
    Yeah, the HC5 isn't listed at Sony Style Japan nor can I find it on Amazon.co.jp, Yahoo Auction Japan or Rakuten site (one of THE major JP online shopping networks). It's not listed for sale NEW or USED anywhere that I can see.

    So, what's the deal with the HDR-UX series, why is no one talking them up? I haven't actually looked into them myself yet...perhaps I should?

    EDIT: Ah, AVCHD and DVD....i see.
     
  13. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #13
    Only HC7 Delivers Maximum HD Quality

    NO. You want maximum HD quality. All the other lines are lesser quality and lower resolution.
     
  14. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    The DVD and Hard Disk camcorders offer lower video quality because they use much higher compression than tape (HDV) camcorders.
     
  15. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #15
    A different approach.

    You don't appear to need all the bells and whistles of the newest cameras out there and you don't have the gear to deal with HD...yet. Maybe it doesn't even matter. In that case, why not look for a used miniDV camera like a Sony PD-150 or VX-1000. It will be simple to use, easy to hook up to your Mac, and easy to hook up to your TV. Plus, it will be cheap. They deliver good picture quality and good sound. There are also older Canon models but I don't like the bodies compared to Sony.

    Tapes may seem like a pain, but you'll appreciate having it as a form of backup. I have yet to hear positive reviews about HDD or direct to disk camcorders. And don't be swayed by the HDV crowd in here. Older doesn't always mean crap, it just...means....older.
     
  16. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #16
    Older Means Lower Resolution

    Older may not mean crap, but it definitely means lower resolution. You DO have the gear for HDV. A CD MacBook is plenty powerful along with iMovie 6 HD. Not going to be a problem.
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Multimedia,
    I know in the HC7 thread you mentioned you like posting hyperbolic, devils advocate nonsense in half though-out posts but I wish you'd dial it back a bit and try dispensing legitimately good, and informed, advice.

    Older does not definitely mean lower resolution, more compression definitely doesn't mean lower image quality, and higher pixel density is definitely not always a good thing.

    Like I told you in another thread. I think the people asking Q's in this forum are best served if we listen to their problems/needs and address them accordingly on an individual basis. The monolithic, myopic, one-camera-is-best-for-everyone doesn't serve the best interest of this community, IMO.


    Lethal
     
  18. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #18
    New Baby Needs HDV Quality

    This man has the money and a new baby. Why would you want to point him anywhere other than a HDV camcorder?
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    Then you want a camera that uses MiniDV tapes. "DV" is the format to use unless you can afford to go with HD but then you'd need to upgrade your Mac as HD video takes a lot of compute power and disk to edit. Any Sony DV camera will work if you are shooting in good light.

    If you are looking at camera specs you can go nuts with the "for a few more bucks I can get..." Your best best is to first think if you can use HD. Do you have the HD TV nd are you willig to work with 100GB of video files? If you can and have the $$ jump on HD over wise DV looks very good. It's slightly better than "DVD Quality"

    I'd suggest a smaller sized camera even if you can afford a larger one. You can carry the smal one an later buy a second camera. No one who is serious about video owns just one camera. Buy the small one first.

    Also and this matters more then anything else. Learn about editing. Not how to use some software, that's easy, but learn about the art of editing film. editing is really abut "fooling the eye" into thinking the film is not edited. Whach any good Hollywood film. It's made with a cut every few seconds but you don't notice. those editors are good. There are some simple technical tricks. A camera operator that knows the very basics of film editing can capture footage that is "editable" easy stuff like "continuity of motion", Long shots to establish the scene and so on and so on. A camera operator who knows what an editor needs who has a $200 camera is better then a rich guy who can spend money but has no clue about video. Find a basic film making book at Amazon or a local store.
     
  20. tilman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    #20
    That eliminates any HD models. I just had to replace a camcorder myself (old one broke). Right now is not prime time for buying a camcorder - the major manufacturers are rolling out new models. The new models are not widely available yet, and the old models are frequently out of stock.

    You will end up taking a lot of video indoors, under not so perfect lighting conditions. So pay attention to the low light performance. If the video signal that you are recording is of poor quality to begin with, the recording medium (MiniDV, HDD, DVD) doesn't matter. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Myself, I settled on the Canon DC50, a non-HD DVD model. And that after years of telling all my friends to stay away from DVD camcorders! The main reason is that our primary use of the camcorder is to tape music lessons every week, and then review them every day for practice. That's pretty painful and high wear for a tape based camcorder. Popping the DVD out of the camcorder into the DVD player and navigating directly to the scenes is a lot easier, and causes no wear. And the low light performance of this particular model is absolutely amazing. I haven't seen anything that good in a consumer camcorder before.

    As frequently mentioned, editing on the computer yields the best results, and is most convenient, with a MiniDV model. Just suck the content across the Firewire connection into iMovie, and off you go. Editing video from HDD or DVD camcorders requires some headache-causing detours to convert the video to DV format. And you loose a little bit of quality in the process. But it can be done.
     
  21. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #21
    Why exactly does he need HDV? Seriously, why?

    He never stated he wanted HD plus he wants a sub-1000 dollar camera. Add to that, it's to document his new baby's life. And add to that, he's not a pro or mentioned that he wants to shoot like a pro.

    I'm not against HDV as I've worked with it, just as I've worked with HD, DVCPro, DV, SD, you name it. I personally think for HIS needs and experience and cash flow, a used miniDV camera like a PD-150 or even a newer miniDV camera will suffice. If later, he becomes serious about shooting, then he can consider HDV.

    To put things in perspective, of the professional friends I have that have cameras used for recreational purposes, all use sub-1000 miniDV cameras or old, used, beat up 'pro' cameras such as the PD-150 or VX-1000. Quality is great and so is sound. Remember, the PD-150 has been blown-up to 35mm with excellent results and has been used in docs for years. I also have a kid on the way and plan to use a 'cheaper' miniDV camera such as those I've mentioned.

    1500 is a great price for a camera, but IMO the extra cost is not worth it.
     
  22. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #22
    Misinformation About HDV

    [/QUOTE]
    Have you read our HC7 Thread yet? He as a 2GHz Core Duo MacBook that is plenty powerful for HDV Editing. He has an external 120GB HD which is plenty big for editing HDV Apple Intermediate Codec files @ 39GB/hr. in iMovie6 HD.
    They are not that big. 39GB/hr. Only 13GB per hour on tape.
    He can and does. Sony HC7 baby.
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #23
    I never said the OP shouldn't get an HDV camera. What I did say is that the spreading of inaccurate info and peddling a sales pitch/one-size-fits-all approach, as opposed to providing people w/relevant and accurate information so they can make an informed decision on their own, isn't in the best interest of the members of this forum, IMO.

    theWholeTruth,
    I think something like the PD150 or VX1000 would be too much camera for the OP. It sounds like he's looking for something more point 'n shoot and palm-corder sized.


    Lethal
     
  24. Old Smuggler macrumors 6502a

    Old Smuggler

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    #24
    I would suggest the HDR-HC7 from sony also
    i own it also and it works great as a camcorder and is a nice still photo camera also it also alows you to shoot stills while recording in HD

    if you choose you can also film in SD also

    i wouldnt buy anything other than DV if you want to work with imovie

    sony also has some great tripods with controls that work the zoom and rec and still photos for under a hundred $

    being an owner that has a daughter also i say you owe it to your family you wont regret it

    PS. the 1080i footage looks great on my 52 XBR3 Bravia 1080p
     
  25. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #25
    Yeah, I thought about that, but I was trying to suggest a camera that would hold up well against the HDV horde for a cheaper price and last until his move to Canadia. Or maybe I was just trying to be the yin to multimedia's yang... ;)
     

Share This Page