Help buying digital camcorder

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by bkpinoy, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. bkpinoy macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2003
    Smell A
    Any advice on quality digital camcorders to buy at less than $1000?

    These are the most impt features for me:

    1. camera features with lots of megapixels

    2. good optical zoom

    What else should I generally consider?

    Looking for help!
  2. chadfromdallas macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Remember this: Just because it says Sony on it, doesn't mean its worth overpaying for ;)
  3. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    I use the consumer line digital camcorders from Canon (the ZR-series), and I've been quite happy with them...

    I wish I could afford the Optura 200 though... :( maybe you could compare the different ZR, Eulura, and Optura models at a big store in order to find out which one would fit your needs... (you could also try to get your hands on an older discontinued model.)

  4. FriarTuck macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2003
    Chicago area
    I have a Sony TRV-22 and I like it a lot.

    I used the Canon ZR-60 for a while and the Sony does much better handling various light conditions, has a clearer picture, and has a really clever touchscreen menu system. It was more expensive, but in my opinion the price difference is fully justified.
  5. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    Second the Sony TRV-22. Really great handling of various lighting conditions (including extremely low-light shooting in colour.) It's about $600 these days. Only thing bad about the camera is for still pictures. It just plains sucks for still pictures (but, hey, just use the extra $400 and get a real still camera) Only other issue is that it loads tapes from the bottom which makes changing tapes when it's mounted to a tripod near impossible, however it does make one hand switching really easy when you're filming in-hand.

    For image quality, I haven't seen any cameras under $1000 to beat the TRV-22 (including Sony's higher models between $600 and $1000; they each trade good light handling for better still pictures (they use a larger CCD HAD that gives both higher res still pictures and more lines resolution (20) for filming), but since it's larger it needs more light to capture the same image-- however that helps with still pictures in order to capture higher res. shots.) A similar issue affects the Cannons and JVC cameras under $1K. If you can go over $1k by a little bit, Panasonic is making a 3 CCD camera that is absolutely fantastic for the price point (similar to the GL and X series Cannons and 3 CCD Sonys which cost twice as much; they are really meant for the burgeoning film student in their quality and options.)
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    c| is a good place to start out IMO. Once you find a few cameras there you like you can start fine tuning your research.

    legion, the 3-chip panasonic's that hit in the $1k-$1.5k range don't really compare at all to the GL-2 (which is the lowest camera on the prosumer ladder) or any other prosumer camera.

    When looking at the high end consumer cameras (the $1k-$1.5k range) you have to be aware of the trade-off that you make if, for example, you compare Panasonic's $1k 3-chip camera (PV-GS70) to Canon's Optura 200MC. The panasonic has 3 1/6" CCDs compared to the Optura's single 1/4" CCD. Now, assuming all other things being equal the Panny will get better color, because it has 3 CCDs, but the Canon will give you a clearer/more detailed picture because it has a big CCD.

    Also, don't be fooled by higher megapixel numbers. For still images higher is better, but for video which has a fixed size it doesn't mean that much (if anything). W/current tech a larger CCD is more important than a higher MP count. Example, the Canon XL-1 (a camera that can deliver broadcast quality images) only has about 250,000 pixels on each of its 3 1/3" CCDs.

  7. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    In my experience, in the consumer level, Sonys have the better color response, little bleed. This has remained true since the 80's. The greens are especially vivid and clear.

    As one hits the prosumer level, I'd start leaning toward the Sony/Panasonic level. But if you ever wanted to see a pro machine, Panasonic really has some amazing cameras, especially the 24p stuff.

    Why do I bring up $60,000 cameras? Well, the pros use first what the consumers will inherit. It's good to see what may be coming - many of us appreciate out Macs for the same reasons.
  8. evolu macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2002
    LA la land...
    zeiss lenses

    sony also uses zeiss lenses which take gorgeous images.

    If you would like to use the camera for stills as well - make sure the camera has a built in flash - it really helps the image quality!
  9. Waluigi macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2003
    If you buy from sony, or anyone, do not be fooled by online stores selling them for hundreds less. These are the malasyian versions, or the company is scaming you. When I bought my Sony TVR-27, I almost bought it for 300 less from an online company....but did a search on the internet, and found out they were a scam artist.

    Anyway, I love my sony, and it has worked great. However, I did buy a sony analogue 8MM camera about 8 years ago, and it only lasted 3 years. Also, the quality of the stills on any camecorder are not going to be anything great. Although, there is some company that makes a 4MP camera/camecorder, but it might be too pricy.

  10. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Echoing the sentiments of others here, I feel that you should concentrate on the video cameras ability to take video, not on it's still ability. For stills, that's a whole other camera :D

    Also, you may have format questions. I'd stick with Digital8 and MiniDV. MiniDV tapes tend to last longer than D8 and both the camer and tapes are more expensive than D8, also D8 is backward compatible with analog videos you might have.

    Personally, I own a D8 due to the fact I have many many videos on Low8 and Hi8, and any digital footage I take with my D8 gets sucked off tape almost immediately anyway, so longevity isn't an issue for me.
  11. Tim Flynn macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2003
    I have a Sony TRV-33. Like it a lot.
    Good battery life, plays well with OS X.
    Takes decent, low end stills ....

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