Know any good mini-dv camera review sites?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Temujin, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #2
    Good is a relative term - there aren't as many consumer mini-dv review sites as there are digital camera sites and - video being more bandwidth intensive, they don't seem to cover things in as much detail in terms of letting you see samples.

    Magazinevideo.com is a French site which has good video samples from various cameras. If you can read French, their reviews are detailed but they are definitely the best samples.

    camcorderinfo.com is probably the best known one but their reviews are somewhat subjective. They really don't like Sonys or touchscreens much but learn to read between the lines and they do give a lot of detail. One problem here is that their reviews are all for US models so you need to check what the Euro model is (particularly for Panasonic/Canon) and their value/price recommendations can be off. Their forums are quite good.

    avforums.com don't do reviews but have excellent forums for advice though they are mainly UK based.

    dvspot.com is another one but I seem to remember that they guy was going to close it down just after I bought my last camcorder. Good luck

    Incidentally, reading through those sites can give you a great idea of the kinds of things that are important and some of the pitfalls for various models. But then, there's no substitute for going to a store and trying them out in your hand and seeing how easy/difficult they are to use. I changed my mind on two different models after seeing them for real.
     
  2. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

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    #3
    how odd, i was going to ask about exactly the same thing today!
     
  3. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #4
    Great minds think alike ;)

    Thanks applespider, I'll check em out
     
  4. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

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    #5
    thanks, they will be useful.

    just out of curiousity, you dont happen to have any experience of the Sony DCR HC42? that is about the best sony one that i can afford and im just curious as to what people think of it?
     
  5. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #6
    That was the one I changed my mind on and went to the HC90. I'm not sure if it was just the test models I tried but they really seemed to do odd things to the reds/pinks. A bright pink ended up looking almost mauve when I was testing so I went slightly off it. I also didn't like the cradle on it and preferred how the HC90 handled the battery and memory card - they seemed much neater.

    Having said that, the HC42 is much better than the HC19/21 and lots of people on the avforums boards seem happy with it. The newer models will be out soon (HC44?) which might have resolved the colour issue.
     
  6. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

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    #7
    any idea on how soon this may be?

    i was planning on getting my dad to pick one up for me when he is in America (during March i think). The HC90 does look really nice, i may have to treat myself and dig into my savings :)
     
  7. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #8
    Not necessarily advisable since any camcorder than you buy in the US will be NTSC and in the UK, PAL. They record at different frame rates and at different resolutions. Although many UK TVs will play NTSC these days, it might not always look as good..

    Not sure on when they are coming out. They were announced in January; camcorder info should have more information on when they're expected in stores. The HC90 has also been updated to the HC94 and HC96. Since they've got rid of some of the things I liked about the HC90 and put the prices up, I'm quite happy with mine.

    The good news is that since the HC42 and HC90 are EOL, you might be able to get a good deal. The AVforums.com is UK based so there are usually some people who point out good deals quite quickly on there.
     
  8. russed macrumors 68000

    russed

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    #9
    aaah, i hadnt thought of that! darn, there goes my plan of getting something cheaper! i will have a look where you said and see what i can come up with. thanks for the advice!
     
  9. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #10
    I've been looking into the DCR-HC94E http://www.sony.co.uk/view/ShowProd...w_en_GB&pageType=Overview&category=CAM+MiniDV

    It just came out and at a lower price than the HC90 (about 50£ cheaper here in Denmark). Can't seem to find any reviews though. Would the HC94E be a bad choice, and would the video quality be the same or better?

    Comparison: http://www.sony.co.uk/product/Compa...e=DCR-HC94E&models=DCR-HC90E&models=DCR-HC94E
     
  10. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #11
    Should be more or less the same - I'm not sure of the detail (since I only really looked into it when I was in the market). I think the HC94 is spec'd just below the HC90 and the HC96 just above? I'm not sure if the HC94 has the DV-in as well as out. You'd have to compare the HC94/96 to see what the differences are. I seem to recall that the batteries are different and the cradle but since I don't think they've changed the CCD, the quality should be much the same. I'm very happy with mine for what it's worth!
     
  11. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #12
    The HC94 don't have the DV-in function. Don't need it so it won't matter that much. When comparing the two I find minimal differences. The HC90 has a build in lamp, that might be a nice feature, and it's smaller then the HC94. The HC90 has more connection features as you mentioned.

    What I don't get is the destinction between 4:3 Mode; 45-450 and 16:9 Mode; 42.8-495 on HC94, which isn't mentioned on the HC90. Is this important or just a marketing trick from Sony?

    Edit: seems it's a flash not a lamp on the HC90, true?
     
  12. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #13
    I think it's a flash for the camera and there's a hotshoe for a lamp if you want one. I haven't used those features so can't really say - I guess it's not likely to be that important.

    No clue on the extra mode. Mine just has 4:3 and 16:9 - which is basically normal TV v widescreen TV. I used it solely in widescreen since most TVs are going that way and even those that still have standard 4:3 sets usually have a 16:9 option.

    DV-in can be useful if you're short of HD space (although some Sony cameras only have this disabled in firmware so you can 'hack' the feature back - the HC19 was this way I think) since you can put your edited iMovie project back onto DV tape and have a backup rather than having to keep all the raw tape. But not really a big issue.
     
  13. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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  14. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #15
    Hop into the newsgroups and read up on groups like rec.video, rec.video.production, rec.video.desktop, etc. Some real good people there. They get swamped with newbie questions, so be sure to do a Google groups search on the specific models you had in mind, and then when you load up your newsreader with the current articles, skim through them and start reading. I guarantee you there'll be some topic that will catch your interest and you'll learn a lot just by "lurking" and reading, even before you ever post.

    It was primarily from reading in these forums that I decided to buy a Sony VX2000 some years ago, sight unseen, and it's a decision I have not regretted.

    Be warned, you might need a few hours of spare time... :D
     
  15. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #16
    Hey Applespider, just one last question. I've read some reviews stating that the colours seem a bit smudged, and the picture isn't that sharp on the HC90.

    Do you have the same experience with your HC90?
     
  16. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #17
    If you convert to DVD, does this matter? I thought that iMovie/iDVD allowed you to choose what format to burn in,making the issue irrelevant. Of course, direct playback to a TV could be a problem.
     
  17. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #18
    Nope - I was really impressed by the HC90. There are points in the video where the colours are absolutely amazing and I was astonished by how clear they were - the greeny blue of the ocean at Monterery and the reds of the Grand Canyon really showed up.

    Occasionally, the auto-focus can be a little slow if you're moving a lot in lowish light but that's not really surprising. And I didn't really find it to be a problem.

    I'll see if I can 'shorten' some test footage in different conditions and let you see it if you like.

    Going from PAL to NTSC seems to be less of a problem than from NTSC to PAL; probably since there's an extra 100 or so vertical lines in the PAL picture so trying to 'add' them in can make it look slightly muddy.
     
  18. Temujin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Temujin

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    #19
    That would be great :) I've found an outdoor sample on Magazinevideo.com, looks really good, sharp and nice colours. But they don't show the camera in indoor conditions, which would be very helpfull to me if you could.
     

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