ANOTHER camcorder buying thread---help please

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rtimcgill, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. rtimcgill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    #1
    I've read through most of the threads here about camcorder buying advice, but I'm still not sure what to do. I guess everyone is different with different needs.

    I have a Sony Mini DV handycam that is on its last legs. Have loved it, and it's been great for almost 9 years.

    I love the firewire transfer and the quality of video I get when I use iMovie. (I still mostly use iMovie HD rather than iMovie 09.)

    My needs for a camera are mostly just for personal use at home. While I'm working with an aspiring country artist that may need better video footage from me on some things, I'm mainly looking at something for just shooting video of the kids around the house and on vacation and stuff. Typical dad stuff.

    I'm not totally against upgrading to HD, but I may even consider just a bridge to getting an HD cam in a couple of years. In other words, something pretty cheap.

    By cheap, I'm talking $200-350....although I could go as high as $500 I suppose, but I'd rather not.

    I wouldn't even be here if I could find a mini DV cam at the local Sears or Best Buy, but I seems I've missed the ship on those. I guess my questions come down to this.

    1) What media should I look at? SD, Flash, HDD cams? I really have no idea what would be best.

    2) What's the best way to transfer the media to an iMac, Powerbook or MBP?

    3) Is the media more important as opposed to what works well with Macs or not? I mean, I'm not going to use the software that comes with a camera, so I don't need something that will be compatible from that end. I plan to use iMovie, FCP or Premiere.

    Thanks in advance, particularly when so many have these same types of questions. Hopefully I provided enough info.
     
  2. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
  3. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #3
    canon makes a mini-dv HD camera... i think its an HV-40 if i'm not mistaken. Its out of your price range but worth looking into if you can stretch your dollar.
    What kind of mac are you using? Apple eliminated firewire ports on some of their models

    edit - link to camera
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=177&modelid=17996

    I see canon makes on SD-mini DV tape camera - canon ZR960
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=canon+zr960&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

    I like flash cards as you can find them anywhere and they are relatively cheep, it one gets ruin its not the end of the world.
    I use a canon vixia HF100 (i think) i have a 16 gig card and get over 4 hours of video on it.
    Using Final cut pro 7 long and transfer to import AVCHD video is easy and I don't mind the import time as it gets done in a decent amount of time using my MBP.
     
  4. WayneH1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #4
    I had to replace my old Canon mini DV camera in the last year and went through a similar anxious period trying to figure out what to get next. In my case I needed access to my old tapes, so I was limited to the few cameras that are still tape-based. I love Canon cameras, so I ended up with a Vixia HV30, a tape-based HD camera that uses firewire to transfer to my Mac.

    This choice was also influenced by the fact that Canon has a "loyalty program", whereby they offer a great deal on a refurbed camera if they cannot repair your old model. You might want to see if Sony has such a program. It saved maybe $50-100 compared to the best I could do in the wild (e-bay, etc.). BTW, you'll save even more by avoiding the Sears or Best-Buy approach.

    Moving up to HD wasn't free, and I was initially reluctant, but ohmigosh is it worth it! I would NOT spend any money to stay with the nearly obsolete DV. Bite the bullet and take this opportunity to upgrade. It'll be a better investment overall and you won't be disappointed. You'll have many more options, too, since SD cameras are becoming scarce.
     
  5. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
    #5

    Right now, I'm mainly using a 24" iMac, 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM. I was also using a 17" Powerbook, but I think it has seen its last day.

    I'll probably be buying a MBP through work soon, and I'm looking at purchasing an iMac for my home. Don't have any specs yet on those.

    Since you use flash cards, let me ask you this. Do you re-use them or just buy new ones?

    See, that's another thing. I know nothing about AVCHD, and I've seen some complaints on its import time.

    It really sucks having ignored what's going on the last several years and just being happy in my own little world where everything was working just fine!
     
  6. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    Personally I'd probably go with a Canon Vixia HF R10 ($439 currently @ B&H for the next few days after $100 off) or HF R100 ($399 @ B&H, same deal), and a 16GB Class 4 SDHC card for around $40, if only because they're HD and have mic input and phones out:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671649-REG/Canon_4387B001_VIXIA_HF_R10_Dual.html

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671655-REG/Canon_4394B001_VIXIA_HF_R100_Flash.html

    I see also Panasonic HDC-SD60 ($397) and HDC-TM55K ($449) in your price range, as well as Sony HDR-CX110 (barely, at $500). Keep in mind you'll need SDHC cards as well. Check camcorderinfo.com for reviews.

    I'm sold on recording to flash media if not to tape. I don't trust HDDs -- fragile, moving parts, and are you really going to replace one in a camcorder if it breaks?

    You'll regret not going High Def even for family stuff later. You don't think so now, but you probably will later.
     
  7. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    #7
    That's two votes for Canon!

    I'm starting to see that about HD being worth the upgrade. I'm becoming more convinced.

    The other thing with budget is that my credit sucks. Absolutely sucks. Long story short, I was going to go with QVC to possibly get the monthly payments without the credit side of it. That's probably why I was aiming for more of a short-term bridge before getting into HD as well.

    I'm sure my Sony can be fixed, but I'd rather just start all over. I have ways of moving all of my vids to DVD or even to an external hard drive as well if need be.

    Thanks for the reply. I may ask more as I dive further into research.
     
  8. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
    #8
    Wow. Thanks. Very good information, as has been all of this. Just gives me more homework to do!
     
  9. WayneH1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #9
    You might be surprised. If it's more than a few years old (ie. all units are out of warranty), Sony may have moved on and will not service it anymore. In your case that could be a good thing, if they'll give you a deal instead. Again, it was Canon that did that for me. No idea whether Sony does too.

    Do you know what your repair would cost? They should be able to give you an estimate even without inspecting it if you can describe the problem accurately for them.
     
  10. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
  11. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
    #11
    I'll look into it. They've certainly moved on. Just more homework for tonight!

    Thanks again.
     
  12. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2009
    #12
    2jaded2care...I also agree about HDD. As a tech guy told me recently, it's not a matter of IF a hard drive will fail, it's WHEN.
     
  13. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #13

    The powerbook won't work for HD editing
    I re-use the SD card all the time with no issues. But then again they are cheap if you want a physical back-up. Also if you don't want to buy new cards but want a digital copy you can create a disk image of the card so if you want to go back you can.
    Import times aren't bad at all. I use my canon for work and I normally record about 2 hours of footage (on avg.) with long clips last around on avg. 30-40 minutes. It takes maybe an hour and half at most to transcode them in Final Cut Pro using my mbp. For reference on my imac it took longer almost real time if not slower. (see sig for specs)
    What's nice about using it in final cut is that you can view the clips and not import all of them, you can select which clips you want to bring into Final cut. So if you want to keep an event/clip on the memory card but don't want to use it in that project you don't need to waste time importing it.

    hope this helps!
     
  14. rtimcgill thread starter macrumors newbie

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  15. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #15
    I have 2 hard disk cams and never have had a problem. A Sony SR100 (SD) and a Sony SR11 (HD). Solid cams. The future is with SSD but many hard disk cams also let you record to the SD card which is nice. If your interested in SD cams, could give you a deal since I don't use it any more. PM me if your interested. Allot of accessories. Was top of the line cam when it came out. One of the few cams you could hook up a VCR and record.
     

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