What camcorder to buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kingcrowing, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a

    kingcrowing

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    #1
    Well, my Birthday is coming up later this month, and graduation is in june, so I'm going to be getting money, and if I dont get a camcorder (or my dad saying, I'll buy you a comcorder, you pic it out) I'm going to buy one. Nothing too fancy, I'd like it to be from around $400-$600, and I'd like it to be able to use USB 2.0. I dont want a mini-CD/DVD because I've heard only bad things, so I'm thinkign MiniDV or some variant of that, or a camcorder that uses a Hard Drive. let me know what you guys like from expirience ro word of mouth, thanks!
     
  2. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Behind the lens
    #2
    #1, dont use USB2.0. Use firewire.

    You may be able to find some DV sony HDD camcorders for under a grand, but probably not they are too new to be that cheap.

    Your best bet is a MiniDV Sony/Panasonic/Canon/JVC camcorder.

    Go single CCD if you dont care.

    Go 3CCD if you do care about image color/quality.

    If you care about technical stuff, get one with manual controls to boot.
     
  3. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #3
    You can get a decent consumer model miniDV camcorder for that budget. Look for a Canon, Sony or Panasonic. Also look for one that has A/V Pass-thru (aka Analog/Digital Conversion) in case you want to import other sources.

    As for USB 2, you're better off using Firewire. Most (if not all) miniDV camcorders use Firewire. Just make sure that if it isn't included in the box, you purchase one separately. It'll probably use a 4-pin to 6-pin cable.

    As for format, I would suggest miniDV at this point. The DVD camcorders are nice, but the video isn't as flexible. Plus the quality isn't as good.

    Same thing for the hard drive based camcorders. The video is shot in MPEG2 format and can be difficult to edit on a computer. If the video is shot on MPEG4, you might be able to use iMovie, but I don't know for sure.

    www.dvspot.com used to be a great site, but it hasn't been updated in a while.

    Good luck!
     
  4. kingcrowing thread starter macrumors 6502a

    kingcrowing

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    #4
    any models you guys would reccomend? and whats the benifit of FW over USB 2? I've got a FW400 PCI card for my PC laptop (My only mac right now is a 300MHz G3, read: not good for editing under OS X) so I could use that, but I'd need to take out my wifi card to use it, thats why USB is prefered
     
  5. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    I would stick with mini DV
    I was at best buy and saw a hard drive based one. I have no idea if its compatile with imovie or how many hours you have...
     
  6. alexstein macrumors 6502a

    alexstein

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    #6
    AFAIK Firewire supports the audio that is captured in Video better than USB2 during transfer. That might be one reason why firewire is so popular with video capture devices.
     
  7. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #7
    If you are in desperate need for one soon, or simply just don't want to wait ;), then I would say miniDV is the only way to go. I currently have a Canon ZR10 miniDV camera and it's great for what I use it for (primarily family-type stuff). As others have said, stick with Canon, Sony or Panasonic and you'll get a great camera. DVD cameras are the worst idea in the world, in my opinion, because there just isn't much flexibility there. If you don't want to do any editing then I guess they're okay, but where's the fun in that?? :p

    As far as HDD cameras go, don't buy one yet. I'm in the market for a HDD camera right now but there just isn't much of a selection out there. There are a couple of JVC cameras but they're awful. If you want HDD then I would wait until later on this year when Canon and Sony release their consumer HDD models.

    I can't wait to get rid of recording media. ;)
     
  8. nutmac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #8
    You might get more response under Digital Video forum, but anyway....

    Although HDD camcorders are likely the future, so far, most (if not all) of them stink. For quality recording, MiniDV is the best bang for the buck.

    In terms of narrowing down which to buy, first visit CamcorderInfo. Generally speaking, and I mean generally as it varies from model to model, Canon is the best overall single CCD camcorder for the money and Panasonic for 3 CCD. 3 CCD is obviously superior to single CCD, as it typically capture more vibrant and detail pictures, but generally cost more for similar feature set.

    Sony is also pretty okay, and certainly tend to make smaller and more stylish models, and they make CMOS-based camcorder on the high-end which may be the future, but performance on Canon and Panasonic are generally superior for the money.
     
  9. macpastor macrumors regular

    macpastor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #9
    I have used Sony and love them, but they keep getting smaller. I also have used Canon and like them. I upgraded to the 3CCD GL-1 and have still been impressed with what Canon can do. I personally like a little more bulk to my camcorder, although some like as compact as they can get. To each their own.

    Good luck!
     
  10. crdean1 macrumors 6502a

    crdean1

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    Dude, my brother in law works for a worldwide technology company and just received a NIB Panasonic mini DV camera. Since he already has one, he has put it on ebay. He would probably make you a deal of some sort. Would you want me to check it out for you? It is a Panasonic PV-GS35, and I think it is at Comp USA for like $600 or something. PM me if you are interested. He gets all kinds of stuff because he works in the buying department.

    (I know this belongs in the marketplace, but I thought you might want to check it out, and he is sitting next to me as I was reading this thread.)

    crdean1...

    That said, I have only used Sony, and love my DCH - HC42.
     
  11. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #11
    Most (if not all) miniDV camcorders support video transfer only through Firewire (aka iLink). While many miniDV camcorders have a USB port, it's usually only for the SD Card (or Memory Stick). Firewire is used because it came out before USB2, so it's the standard for video transfer.

    Also, your signature indicates that you have faster Macs. I guess that's not the case. Anyways, with the Firewire PC Card that you have, is it 6-pin Firewire or 4-pin? Whatever it is, get the cable that matches it.

    Also, since you're using a PC, you could (although I wouldn't recommend) with either a DVD-camcorder or HDD camcorder because those devices will come with editing software for PCs only. Usually, the editing is limited to rearranging clips and small stuff like that. Not nearly as powerful as iMovie or even Movie Maker.

    ft
     
  12. auxplage macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #12
    For my 17th birthday last year, I received a camcorder for which I did all the research and shopping. This was last July, and after reading review after review, I went with a Panasonic that MiniDV that cost $399 at the time. They upgrade the specs every year, so last years models should all receive a bump. It is a good camera and works with iMovie with no trouble.
     
  13. albertfreestyle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #13

    you guys obviously havent been to sonystyle.com lately...
    sony has an awesome HD camera ($1499)...its compact and def a consumer based camera...sony cams are pretty hip

    (my sources tell me that a new HD is coming out this summer $1999...so the one for $1499 is a discounted price already)
     
  14. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #14
    No, I don't frequent sonystyle.com. ;)

    Also, I didn't say "HD" camera, I said "HDD" meaning recording straight to a Hard Disk Drive rather than removeable media (ie. dvd/minidv). :)

    But Sony is expecting to release a HDD camera (DCR-SR100) on May 12th with a 30GB hard drive for $999. Still too spendy for me, but what can you expect for a new recording medium. It does look like a pretty nice little camera though.
     

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