Mac friendly camcorders...

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by RDReynolds, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. RDReynolds macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #1
    I'm looking for a DV camcorder and was wondering what ones would work best with my G5. I'm new to the whole thing, but I'd really like one that I could just dump the video straight onto the Mac so I can make DVDs and such. Would also love to be able to dump old VHS tapes through it as well.

    All help is appreciated!

    RD
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    Any camcorder with a DV (digital video) output will work perfectly.

    If you find one which has analog input, you should be able to use it to transfer video tapes - hook a VCR up to the camcorder analog inputs, and the Mac up to the DV output.
     
  3. RDReynolds thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #3
    Do you have any specific manufacturers or models you'd recommend?

    Thanks so much!

    RD

     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    Unfortunately, it's been over five years since I bought mine (a Sony, which I love), so I don't know what progress has been made.

    Some recommendations:
    1. If you'll be shooting indoors, low light capability is very important. Manufacturers seem to consider anything not directly illuminated by noon-time sunlight to be "low-light".
    2. If you'll be traveling or carrying around the camera a lot, I'd recommend the MiniDV format over Digital8 - the cameras are smaller.
    3. Sony camcorders get consistently good ratings and always seem to be liked by Consumer Reports (I have a subscription, and the Sony DCR-HC20 and DCR-TRV260 are some of their top picks).
    4. DVD-based ones are nice in that the media is smaller still and viewable (I think) on DVD players, but they don't seem to have DV capabilities - a must in my book.
    5. I strongly recommend trying to find a camera with analog A/V inputs so you can use it to record old VCR tapes to your Mac (if this is of any interest to you).

    However, all in all, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the models out there today as long as you stick to brands you know.

    Any idea what your price range and uses for it might be?
     
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #5
    Apple seems to be smitten with the Canon miniDVD camcorders. They also better Sony I believe in a 1 years parts and labor verses 90 days parts and 1 year labor.
     
  6. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #6
    i know Cannons all officially support OS X and thats my ex got not too long ago when we were together, it was a good choice, i know Sony's will work, but they use many proprietary media, which means you have to pay thier price for it, but i think in terms of quality Canon and Sony are on par with one another
     
  7. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Clarify..

    Just to help out...be sure to look for a miniDV camcorder. MiniDVD usually refers to little dvds that will NOT work on macs. You're looking for DV cams that take the little digital tapes.
     
  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #8
    Thanks I did not know that. I was meaning camcorders that support the mini DV tape format.

    Again thanks....

    Chip
     
  9. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Murka
    #9
    i have used piles of DV cameras, and always find ones using MiniDV tapes are best.

    i just bumped up to a Canon XL2 (clicky) - a snip at £2,500 (US$4,689), and have always found canon ones to work best with both iMovie and FCPHD.

    spend a few hundred pounds/dollars and get a midrange canon camera with both DV-in and DV-out - the DV-out option lets you send your completed edits back to the camera, in full DV quality, to not only save on disk space but act as a handy archive of your films. I love having a tape copy of the edit just in case....
     
  10. RDReynolds thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #10
    Do you know if any of the Canons have an RCA INPUT? I need that to convert over some of my old VHS tapes...

    Thanks for all the help - I REALLY appreciate it!

    RD
     
  11. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #11
    i just got a Canon Elura 65 (like... yesterday) and so far its working great with FCPHD - apparently canon's have issues with low-light but i use mine primarily in studio or controlled conditions so i could not care less (and the lowlight that i have used with it is fine - certainly not much worse than any other consumer DV camcorder i have used). it also has analog to digital passthru so you can record analog stuff to digital.
     
  12. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #12
    All the new ones shouldn't be a problem at all. Canon and Sony seem to offer the best value for money, although a lot of sites do seem to prefer the Sony due to its slightly superior image stabilization.

    Always connect the camera to your computer with the Firewire connection. This will always give excellent results due to its superior streaming ability vs USB2.

    Here are some review sites for further reading....

    http://www.steves-digicams.com

    http://www.dcresource.com

    http://www.dvspot.com

    Good luck and let us know what you end up buying :)
     
  13. RDReynolds thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #13
    Do they pretty much all allow you to plug in directly from via RCA or s-video jacks from a VHS system? I definitely want to have that capability, to move some of my old tapes over to DVD...

    Thanks,

    RD
     
  14. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #14
    My friend owns the Sony DCR-TRV38, which was a popular model about a year ago. Here's an excellent review of the Sony DCR-TRV39 which is essentially identical except for the addition of being able to hook it up to the internet or network, which added about $100 to its price.

    http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/sony/trv39-review/

    Anyhow, he used that cam to convert some VHS tapes of mine to DVDs by outputting his VCR through his cam and into the computer.

    The quality of the DVDs are absolutely identical to the original VHS tapes. Not that those were razor sharp to begin with, but I cannot see any difference in quality between them.

    So to answer your question, I know that this was possible with almost all of the older models, but you'll have to see if it is an available feature on the exact model that you're interested in.

    I hope that this info helps you.
     
  15. RDReynolds thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #15
     
  16. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #16
    Well, the online brochure says they do analog to digital conversion. (BTW, Canon makes it hard to find out details - their product page isn't very informative, and I had to hunt down a PDF for the camcorders).
     
  17. Macophile macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Southern California
    #17
    I have an Canon Optura 20 that I bought a little over a year ago and it plays quite nicely with my Macs. It has -- and most Canon camcorders do now -- a sort of multi-purpose A/V jack that's the size of a mini-headphone jack. (In fact, that's one of the purposes it serves is for headphones to be plugged into it.) The camera comes with a set of patch cables that plugs one end into this mini-jack and the other end leads to standard RCA plugs that can be used in a variety of ways, depending upon what you tell the camera to do.

    The default setting is to output video and audio for playback. You would patch the RCA plugs into the video-in on a TV or VCR and could watch or dub your footage. If you want to feed video into (or through) the camera, you can tell the jack to act as a line-in instead, through the camera's set-up menu, and patch the plugs into the line-out on the VCR and reverse the flow, moving the signal from the VCR up to the camera.

    The Optura 20 also has a separate S-video input, which may be what some people were referring to when they said that they could only see a video input. Trust me, you are not limited to importing only silent movies.
     
  18. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #18
    What you want to look for is A/V pass-thru. Not all miniDV camcorders have this, but the mid and hi-end models usually do.

    When you import from VHS to your Mac, the camcorder will do the Analog to Digital conversion for you. You don't need to copy the VHS onto miniDV first.
     
  19. RDReynolds thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #19
    Awesome, thanks for the help. Right now I am thinking about one of the new Canon ZR models (200 or 300). It appears they also allow for a direct pass through. Have you heard anything about the older ZRs? If I may ask, why did you decide to go with the Optura?

    Thanks!!

    RD
     

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