JVC GZ-MC500 - Does Anyone Have Experience?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by purelithium, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. purelithium macrumors 6502

    purelithium

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    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Kingston, Canada
    #1
    http://www.jvc.ca/en/consumer/product-detail.asp?model=GZ-MC500U

    I'm looking into this camera, it seems to have a good review for what it is at camcorderinfo.com.

    Does anyone know how long you can record on the 4GB "Microdrive"? Also, is this the same as a Compact Flash card?

    If you have ever used this or own it, are you happy with the results, or do you suggest something else?

    I'm looking for a good quality small camera that I can tote around with me wherever I go, this seems to fit the bill.
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #2
    IMO, stay away from any camera that isn't a MiniDV camera. All of the harddrive, MiniDVD, and solid state cameras are going to give inferior quality and will be a PITA when it comes time to work w/the footage on your Mac.


    Lethal
     
  3. purelithium thread starter macrumors 6502

    purelithium

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    #3
    Really? TAPE better than solid state? My brother's been using MiniDV for years and years, and it seems like it's not that great. I would think that a pure digital medium like a solidstate drive would be better than a tape.

    Well if not this JVC, then what would you suggest? It's not being used for much, just the occasional video update for my site, home movies, and just general messing around because I'm new to digital video. I'm used to using the shoulder VHS cameras way back in highschool.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #4
    MiniDV is a pure digital medium (a digital, not analogue, signal is recorded onto the tape) but the recording medium has little to do w/the quality you'll get. What's important is the quality of the format recorded onto that medium and the MiniDV format beats the snot out the MPEG-2 formats used by consumer cameras that record onto MiniDVD, solid state memory, and hard drives.

    If you do a search of this forum you'll find a lot of "what camera should I buy?" type threads.


    Lethal
     
  5. purelithium thread starter macrumors 6502

    purelithium

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    #5
    Ok, well after reading the reviews on camcorderinfo.com for the competition to the JVC camera, I can't see any reason why I wouldn't buy it. The MiniDV cameras that are in the same pricerange are either worse quality or about the same.

    I don't understand why you say it's so much better. Is there an article or story on this direct comparison that proves that MiniDV is better than the MPEG-2 recorders you're slamming?

    Plus, Wouldn't it take a lot less time to dump video from a solidstate drive than to dump it from a tape?
     
  6. DrRock macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    #6
    ^

    MiniDV, while digital, is still magnetic tape. I think that's what they mean by pure digital. However I am still a fan of tape in the sense that I have a physical backup of my footage to keep forever. Hard disc cameras just seem to be more prone to errors.

    Think about it: If you've worked for any large company that keeps its records on computer, what do they do on a daily basis? Back up their data to magnetic tape. There's just something comforting in having that actual physical object you can hold in your hand as backup.

    Having said that, my understanding of the P2 cameras is that there is NO quality loss when transferring footage from the card to the computer. With DV (specifically firewire) there is compression, and that equals quality loss, however negligible. I like that aspect of tapeless cameras.

    It all just depends on what your application is. I see no problem with a tapeless camera if it's primarily going to be used for fun and family videos. Personally though, I have never had anything but problems with JVC equipment.
     
  7. purelithium thread starter macrumors 6502

    purelithium

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    #7
    Good point. A Stereo/DVD combo I bought a couple years ago was JVC and I hated it. Didn't even think about that.

    Now I'm looking at the Panasonic PV-GS500, which I think is a DV camera, so that'll make you fellas happy ;)

    Plus, I can get the Panasonic cheaper.
     
  8. DrRock macrumors regular

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    Jun 18, 2005
    #8
    ^

    Panasonic is making nice stuff right now. I was just talking about that in another thread. Definitely look into them.
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #9
    If the only difference between the cameras is one is MiniDV and one is consumer MPEG-2 based (i.e. they have similar quality lenses and electronics) then the MiniDV camera will always produce better quality footage. Some other reasons not to go w/that kind of camera are:
    1. After you copy the footage onto your Mac you'll have transcode the footage into something iMovie and edit (such as MiniDV). How long this take will depend on how fast of a Mac you have.
    1a. Transcoding the footage can result in a loss of quality
    1b. If you make a DVD of your video (i.e. "My Trip to Vancouver") then the footage goes thru the harsh DVD quality MPEG-2 compression again which will really degrade the quality.
    2. You can only get an hour worth of footage onto a 4gig microdrive if you are shooting at the highest quality setting (which you'd be nuts to shoot anything less). That's not a lot of video before you have to dump it onto a computer (or buy more microdrives which cost a lot more than MiniDV tape does).
    3. If your hard drive w/all the footage on it fails then all the video is gone. MiniDV tapes are cheap enough that you don't need to reuse them so you'll always have a back up of your original footage.

    I don't have a head to head comparison link at my finger tips, but MiniDV has higher data rate (29 Mbits/sec vs a max of 8-9Mbit/s) and better color sampling (4:1:1 vs 4:2:0). The MPEG-2 recorders are inferior in terms of quality compared to MiniDV cameras and they are inferior in terms of connivence compared to MiniDV cameras. That's why I don't recommend them. In the future, as the cameras get better, I'm sure I'll start recommending them over DV cameras, but they just aren't there yet.

    Yes. But, you have to take into account the time it would take you to transcode the footage into a format iMovie can handle (such as MiniDV) and the time it would take to make a backup of the source footage (burning it to a DVD for example). Unless, of course, you wouldn't mind losing all the video if your HDD crashes.

    Glad to hear you are looking at a MiniDV camera. All around you'll have an easier time w/it


    DrRock,
    There is no loss of quality/additional compression as long as you stay xfer via FW (it's a bit-for-bit data xfer). All the compression happens before the signal is written to the tape.


    Lethal
     
  10. purelithium thread starter macrumors 6502

    purelithium

    Joined:
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    #10
    LethalWolfe, I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to me. Really, it's very helpful.

    Ok I guess I should go for the MiniDV, after reading other threads along the same lines as mine, and having you hammer it into my thick skull. ;)

    I'm liking the Panasonic, but I'll keep my eyes open, as I've heard some good things about one of the Sony's(can't remember the model off the top of my head).

    I don't want to take up more of your time, as I'm sure you have much more useful things to do than talk to a Video Newb like me!

    Thanks again!
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Hey, no problem. I mainly hang out in here for this very reason. :)


    Lethal
     

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