Any recent budget camcorder buyers out there?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Hello.there, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Hello.there macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    Looking for first-hand recommendations from anyone who has bought a camcorder in the last few months - I'm blinded by all the choices and reviews, so would love to hear some first-hand experience for a change!

    Budget: $600 / E400 / £320 max

    I just want to take some good quality video to include in home-made DVDs, everything from family to wildlife (in my case that's much the same thing), seascapes, etc.

    I'm assuming Mini DV is the right option for me?

    I really need it to work smoothly with Final Cut Express (and iMovie).

    Any suggestions?

  2. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I'm in the same boat. I saw the Canon HV20 camera (HD MiniDV) for $699 CDN at Future Shop in Canada ($200 off the regular price). Went back online the next day and the sale had ended. I'll probably wait until Father's Day rolls around for the next sale.
  3. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    I've missed a few good deals like that, infuriating!

    Anyone out there who can help me and ClassicBean? :)
  4. digitalfrog macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    I'm in the same boat too.
    I'm a pro photographer, and a complete newbie with video.

    I wanted a small (biggest selling point for me) camera I would bring on location of my photoshoots. I'm backstage and have access to enough crazy places to grant saving memories on 'tape'.

    I ordered the Canon FS100 today. There is also the FS10 and FS11, only difference is memory capacity. They are all SDHC based but the FS100 does not come with any built in. That means lower costs and more flexibility for me as I'd rather transfer the data from a reader vs the USB of the camera.

    It's 344 euros here in the Netherlands.

    I have not seen it in real, but according to some reviews it's about the size of red bull can.

    I believe the video quality will be good enough for a first cam. Battery seems to last as well.

    Once AVCHD will be easier to use (no re-encoding) and will be closer to HDV throughput then I may switch to a better cam if I find I really used the FS100 a lot.
  5. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Prices of HD camcorders (HDV and AVCHD) are becoming more attractive with each generation. Current favorites, Canon HDV30 (around $850) and Canon HF100 (around $750), are at historical lows, although still quite a bit above your price range.

    If you can, stretch your budget to accommodate HD. Otherwise, I would go for mid-end MiniDV (e.g., $330 Panasonic GS320) and invest the difference for eventual upgrade.
  6. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    Would love to hear what you think of the camera when you get it, thanks.

    Thanks nutmac, will check out that Panasonic and the cheaper options on the HD side.
  7. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    The HV20 can be had for slightly cheaper than the HV30, though not sure of a good workflow for 24p footage into iMovie.

    The HV30 has relatively minimal upgrades over the HV20, both are great cameras with great low-light performance.

    I bought an HV20 recently from Circuit City for $710. HDV is nice for budget shooters, as DV tape is really cheap. If you are going on vacation for say a week, $20 in tapes will last you the whole trip.
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I just bought a Sony HDD Camcorder (SR42) for dirt cheap ($180) because it was a display (never used actually). Unless you want an HD camcorder then I wouldn't waste your time on DV tapes. HDD camcorders are a lot easier and pain free to use. Plus they transfer as fast as any external hard drive.
  9. NickFalk macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2004
    Not really a practical tip this, but rather a more general one. Whatever you guys do, get a camera. ;) Way too many people I know never get around to buying a camera as they're always comparing features, waiting for the next big thing.
  10. kcdude macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    I strongly considered the FS100 for its size, simplicity, and tapeless format.

    After waiting for a the last few months, I finally saw my first FS100 at my local Best buy this week. It is small, very small and light. Seems to be pretty sturdy, nice LCD, controls in the right place.....but right next to it was a HV30, much larger, tape based, feature laden etc. I was pretty much sold on the FS100 and then started to look at total cost with 2-high speed 8GB cards....right around $600. I also started thinking about SD vs HD, editing, and tape I went ahead and ordered up a nicely discounted HV30 from B&H. I figure at least I'm getting HD without the editing complexities of AVCHD.

    The HV30, albeit larger with the tape mechanism, seemed much more sturdy and the FS100 is about the size of a redbull can...too small for me. If size and tapeless are your priorities then the FS100 is a great choice for a SD unit. If you are indifferent about tapes, I would consider a HV20 for the price.
  11. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    stretch your budget and go HD in one format or another

    you can always record SD if you really want.
  12. digitalfrog macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007

    Spend more money to get an HD camera and then use it in SD because HD is a pain to import ? Strange advice.

    Again, HD is easy to manipulate if it comes from a DV based cam. Otherwise you need a beast and a lot of time to convert your content before you can even start thinking of editing it....

  13. PhiltheNelson macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2008
    Newbie needs some advice

    This seems to be the place to ask for some help. We are going on holiday shortly and she who must be obeyed is thinking of a nice compact easy to use camcorder. Nothing fancy or complicated. Price is also something of a concern as she will do the usual. Buy, use once and then put it away somewhere until it comes time to sell it on or give it away.
    I have seen a 'good' bargain? for a Samsung VP-171W DVD based machine for £140. (Reduced from £210).
    Sounds reasonable for our needs. However, no USB connection, just standard vid and audio to the TV.
    Can the 8cm DVD's be put into the slot of a super drive on either my Mac mini or iMac without harm to the drive. Will it get stuck? Cause damage to the drive? I really don't know and have searched (but probably missed) all the literature I can find.
    If the dvd just works straight away without an adapter or such, can I just load in the video from the dvd to iMovie for playing about or should I be looking at other software?
    I do want to be nice to her as I will probably end up with the machine as my own personal toy. Also I have just found out that my 50th birthday prezzie coming up is a MacBook Pro so I should like to keep her nice and happy for the next coupla weeks. I will then go back to being the selfish bastard I really am... LOL!

    Thanks for any help that you may be able to give.


  14. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast

    Beginning with iMovie'08, DVD based camcorders are supported. However, not all of them are, so check Apple's website to see if that Samsung is. Make sure they tested the PAL version of it.

    As for the miniDVDs getting stuck, the answer is "Probably". Don't stick them in the slot loading drives. If you want to watch the video, play it on a regular DVD player connected to a TV.

    If you want to edit, connect the camcorder to the Mac via USB.

    Under no circumstance should you ever use the Mac to play the miniDVDs.

  15. PhiltheNelson macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2008
    Sorted and flying.

    Decided against the DVD based machine as we eventually got into the loft to discover that the 'old' machine that I had bought for the boss some time ago was a JVC tape based machine. A GR-DVL9700. This is a nice machine that is hands and knees above the one we were going to buy. It has been sitting in the loft for about three years now and she is all of a sudden very happy. All I need to fly now is a set of tapes, some MMC cards for stills and a FireWire cable to connect to the Apple. Should I bother with an extra external hard drive?
    I can only see one down side, in as much that it takes a while to download all of the video before you can start edting, plus the space they take on the hard drive hence the question about an external...

    Thanks any way,


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