Please help: Looking for a Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Tomaz, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Tomaz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
    Hello everyone
    I'd like to buy my first camcorder and I need some advice. There's too many different systems so maybe some poeple here can give me some tips.
    Basically i need a camcorder that:
    - works well with my Powerbook (iMovie, iDVD)
    - Works with PAL as well as NTSC TVs (I live in Northamerica, but will go back to Europe within the next 2-3 years)
    - Is easy to use (point and shoot), I don't need extensive manual settings.
    - Price range: below $1000 (preferably $500-$700)

    I would really appreciate some suggestions.

    ps: Does anyone have some comments on the Canon Elura 100 MiniDV ?
     
  2. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #2
    You're not going to get one that shoots in PAL and NTSC - it's an either or thing on consumer camcorders. You can create your final DVD to be either or but there's a difference in both frame rate and in height so it won't look as good in the non-original format.

    Get a miniDV cam - don't be tempted quite yet with the DVD/HD ones since you're likely to have to recode the video in order to be able to use it with iMovie and while iMovie 6 does take MPEG4s, the quality is still better on miniDV. Most mini-DVs should happily play with iMovie and your Powerbook if they've got a Firewire port.

    See what cameras are in your price range - and then go and read the reviews of them at camcorderinfo.com / dvspot.com. Read the forums there too since you'll get more 'real life' comments. They'll give you an idea of how easy they are to use - in general, the Sonys/Canons/Panasonics are all 'easy-to-use'. Canons/Panasonics tend to have buttons to access functions, Sonys tend to do it via a touchscreen that you're watching the video on.

    The new models are just coming onto the market now so there may not be a lot of information - or you might be able to pick up an older model cheap. Don't pay extra for the in-camera editing options - you'll be doing editing on your Mac so there's little point in going OTT on those options.
     
  3. ScubaDuc macrumors 6502

    ScubaDuc

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    Europe
    #3

    My Sony PC120 can ouput PAL on a NTSC TV. However, just get one where you live in and just expert in ther standard u want from iDVD. So, you can have a NTSC videocam and stil create a PAL DVD or vice versa. Otherwise, a little 60 bucks sima box would do the conversion trick. Whatever u choose, don't let them give u the megapixel Marketing BS. My Sony is suppose to record at 1 million but no matter what, computers import all at the same resolution. Good optical zoom with stabilizer is more important
     
  4. Tomaz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #4
    Thanks you both for your answers and help! I appreciate it!

    I was kinda hoping to get more that just two answers though...
     
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    People are probably burned out on camera buying advice as it tends to be a weekly topic. If you do a search you'll find a lot of threads on the subject.


    Lethal
     
  6. williamw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Location:
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    #7
    I would defilently go with MiniDV,MiniDVD and SD asnd such are hardly compatible/editable on macs. I have a Canon ZR80 which i love and was about $400 ( i filmed with it for these: www.williamwilkinson.com/videos/) you can pick up the ZR200 or newer for about $400.
     
  7. Tomaz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #8
    Do you know the difference between the Elura and the ZR series ? :confused:
     
  8. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #9
    camcorderinfo has info on both of these Canon lines
     
  9. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #10
    I have a Panasonic GS-150, great colour (it's a 3-CCD camera), not too bad indoor shots, works perfectly with my iMac. It's NTSC only, but most if not all newer PAL TVs will play NTSC, and pretty much any DVD player that plays DV-R will do so too.

    I put together a DVD of our trip home to Ireland at Christmas, and sent both NTSC and PAL copies home just this week, but haven't had any feedback on how it looks on European TV/DVD players since it hasn't arrived yet.

    Coding from NTSC to PAL seems to work, but I see distortion on the computer screen. It may not be so noticeable on TVs.
     
  10. Tomaz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
  11. Squire macrumors 68000

    Squire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    Tomaz,
    I haven't checked this out myself but I bet if you go on eBay you'll find a ton of camcorders that have only been used a bit. The reason: I think every new parent feels like they have to have a camcorder for the baby's first steps and so on. In actuality, though, I reach for my digital camera more than my camcorder.

    That said, I also have a Canon ZR series. Mine is a ZR-20-- one of the entry-level models from a few years ago. Great little camcorder. If I were to buy all over again, I'd buy either another cheap model or go all the way to the top and get an HD one. An added bonus is that my camcorder uses the same batteries and cords as my Powershot G2.

    -Squire
     
  12. briansolomon macrumors 6502

    briansolomon

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    #13
    Canon ZR sucks. The motor noise is ridiculous. Also, low light capability with Canons across the board is very poor. If you must get a Canon get an Elura. They're about the same price as the ZRs, little higher but have a bigger lens. In general the ZR has given me nothing but regrets as I have become more and more advanced with my filming projects since high school.
     
  13. Squire macrumors 68000

    Squire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #14
    Every camcorder in the ZR series "sucks" as you so eloquently put it? You're right about the light issue but put things in perspective, man. You're talking about "filming projects" while the original poster seems interested in an entry-level camera.

    Tomaz, here's a link to some ZDnet reviews. I also recommend you look at an Elura or Optura.

    http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/Canon_ZR400/4652-6500_16-31304760.html

    I guess we should ask what you plan on doing with the camcorder. Different people have different needs. The person above obviously has more demanding needs than I have.

    Okay, a little anecdote: A friend of mine, Steve, wanted to buy a camcorder. He was interested in a high-end one but really, he just wanted it for filming his students' presentations. I said, "Steve, for what you're planning on using it for, a cheaper model would suffice." I then gave him a DVD I made of a martial arts festival (filmed using my ZR20). He thought it was great an ordered up an entry-level Canon.

    Here's a review of the ZR200. According to the reviewer, Canon has remedied the low-light problem:

    From a performance perspective, the ZR200 did surprisingly well under lower lit conditions. The ZRs of yesteryear performed horribly at anything under 100 lux (as warned by the manual). At daylight equivalent conditions, the ZRs have always done very well reproducing sharp, crisp, accurate colors. This year’s ZR line up doesn’t disappoint, and actually surprised us in the low light realms, effectively putting ZR models back in the running.

    Check it out here:
    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-ZR200-Camcorder-Review-.htm

    Hope this helps.

    -Squire
     
  14. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    #15
    Canon Optura 60

    I recommend getting something in the Optura family, the Elura and ZR familys seemed to have poor picture quality in comparison, at least in my opinion.

    Alot of the Canons do have some of motor noise( most minDVs do), but that can now be easily fixed with iMovie 06.

    I wanted a camera that could film family event and baby moments in various lighting situations as well as having good enough quality to look good on my 65 inch HDTV.

    With the Optura 60 and iMovie and iDVD i can make widescreen movies that look almost as good as commerical DVDs.
     
  15. Tomaz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #16
    Ok, thanks everyone, I realized I have to read myself much more into the subject than I have up to now. If more questions come up, I'll bother you again.
    ;)
    Cheers
    Tom
     

Share This Page