Best Camcorder?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by pwagner, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. pwagner macrumors newbie

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    Sep 2, 2008
    #1
    My old canon DV camcorder dies the other day, so I need a new one. These days of course they're all hard drives or flash memory, but I want to make sure I get one that connects with the mac and works easily with imovies. The chaps in the camera shops give totally conflicting advice as to what's the best one to get.

    I'm not fussed about it being HD - standard definition is fine. Neither am I fussed about having an enormous hard drive - mostly what I use it for it videoing clips of martial arts-y stuff for youtube, and making the odd dvd. The ability to shoot nicely enough in low-ish (ie internal training hall) light would be useful though.

    So what's the best camcorder to get? I actually like the look of the little Panasonic SDR-S7, I like the fact it's all solid state with no hard drive to get shaken, and it's reasonably priced. I also like the look of the JVC Everio series, it's apparantly good for low light, though I've got conflicting information about how easily the various models talk to imovie.

    Anyone have any advice or experience?

    Paul
     
  2. pwagner thread starter macrumors newbie

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  3. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Dunno what your budget is but I bought a Panasonic HDC-SD9 for around £440 on Amazon last month.

    It's an HD camcorder that uses SD cards for storage. It's very small, easy to use, has some good features like facial-recognition and a great zoom. The picture quality's fantastic (although you may want to ramp the colours down a touch once you're in iMovie). Works perfectly with iMovie (ignore some older reviews saying it causes problems- Apple have fixed that).

    It may be too dear for your budget but otherwise I'd definitely recommend it. Great little cam.
     
  4. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #5
    Avoid the standard definition JVC Everios. Ugh. I have a Panasonic SD9, which records AVCHD (high defintion) to SD cards (no harddrive) - it's excellent value for money, gives good picture quality, lots of manual control, and the optical image stabilisation is excellent. The Canon and Sony high def offerings have more features (no fully manual control over exposure as far as I know though both offer some form of AE control) and slightly better picture quality and sensitivity in "low light" than the Panasonic. Both Canon and Sony do SD-card only models, too. But they cost more than the Panny - it's a case of rapidly diminishing returns, and all depends on how much you want to spend and what features you think you need: they're all great camcorders. You'll want an Intel Core 2 Duo Mac if you go HD. I'd avoid standard definition unless you don't have the computing grunt to handle HD: the trade-off with SD card or harddrive standard definition camcorders is picture quality. MiniDV standard def still beats them for PQ and light sensitivity, but even mid-range high def like the SD9 will out perform similarly-priced MiniDV camcorders.

    Andrew.
     
  5. dasikes macrumors 6502a

    dasikes

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    #6
    What is your budget? You can spend as little or as much as you want, and simply asking "what's the best camcorder" is just waaaay to broad.
     
  6. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
  7. pwagner thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I'm happy to spend up to $1000-ish if it's worth the money, but if I can do it for $400, the better. The only thing that puts me off the flash memory cameras is if they don't come with a card, the memory is damn expensive on top of the price of the camera.

    Given that the SD9 is HD (correct?) and imovie only does standard def (correct?), how does that work? Do you really see a difference over a standard miniDV camera?

    Paul
     
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #9
    I would avoid Panasonic's AVCHD offerings. They have lots of issues on Mac.

    IMO, Canon HF100 is the best value among AVCHD ($600-650 in the US). Excellent video quality (nearly equal to HV30, except for very low light), affordable (for AVCHD), easy to use -- marred only by iMovie, Final Cut Express, and Final Cut Pro not supporting AVCHD natively (many Windows apps support AVCHD natively), minimal manual features, dinky ergonomics, and so so battery life. If you choose to go with AVCHD, be prepared to purchase large hard disk soon. AVCHD footage converted to AIC eats lots of disk space.
     
  9. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #10
    God knows what you mean by this. They all support AVCHD and they all support it natively.
     
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #11
    They support AVCHD, but the footage is immediately converted to AIC (Apple Immediate Codec) or Pro Res, both of which consumes a lot of disk space. Native AVCHD editors allow you to edit the footage without conversion, for maximum image quality and efficiency.
     
  11. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I was under the impression that even though some windows offerings i.e. sony vegas can edit AVCHD natively, it's pretty rough to edit because of processing? so ones best bet would be to transcode it anyways.

    anywho I'm gonna second the HF100. I use a HF10 which has built in memory as well as the option to use SDHC cards. but the HV30 is another great option if you don't want to move to AVCHD.
     
  12. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #13
    No they don't. All the Panasonic AVCHD cameras work flawlessly with iMovie, so long as you've updated iMovie since July when compatibility patches were issued.

    Sheesh. Stick to what you know.
     
  13. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #14
    Another helpful comment. There's no need to archive the massive AIC files. Just archive the original and much, much smaller .mts AVC files direct from the camera. So long as you have room on your harddisk for scratch & edit, the situation with AVCHD and AIC is no different whatsoever from that with (for example) HDV and AIC.

    More sheesh.
     
  14. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #15
    Well AVCHD is not really an editing format so it is beneficial to convert it. ProRes is the codec I would use myself if I had FCS 2 unfortunately I'm still stuck with the first version of FCS so don't have access to it.
     
  15. fluidedge macrumors 65816

    fluidedge

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    #16
    i'm surprised no one has mentioned the Canon consumer cameras, they all get good reviews and are cheaper than Sony.

    If you want quality you need look no further than canon/sony imho
     
  16. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #17
    So you didn't bother reading my post at #5 then.
     
  17. fluidedge macrumors 65816

    fluidedge

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    #18
    :( - one mention of Canon in a post does not a recommendation make.

    I thought you were recommending the SD9
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #19
    I just bought a 1TB drive for $160. Don't worry about space. It's dirt cheap. The most expensive part about shooting video is your time. It takes hours to capture an hour of footage and many more hours to edit.

    The cost of storage now is 16 cents per gigabyte
     
  19. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #20
    You said no one had mentioned Canon and Sony. And actually, what I was doing was comparing the Panasonic with the Canon and the Sony in terms of value for money and features. If I'd written "Canon is the best" with absolutely no rationale of why, like so many posts on this forum, would that have pleased you?

    My experience is mainly with the Panasonic, which is why I mentioned it. It wasn't a recommendation as such - people can get what they want: it's no skin off mine. I'm merely attempting to rebalance the scales after so much pro-Canon hype.

    Andrew.
     
  20. fluidedge macrumors 65816

    fluidedge

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    #21
    You're getting abusive and silly now. I shall have no more to do with you good sir.
     
  21. fluidedge macrumors 65816

    fluidedge

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    #22
    I'll sell you some dirt for $120, you've been ripped off if you're buying dirt for $160. ;)
     
  22. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #23
    Suit yourself. Not sure how you got "abusive" from my post, though . . .

    Canon rocks. Everyone buy Canon. Canon Canon Canon.
     
  23. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #24
    I got a free 8GB SD card with my camera from Amazon that's good for over an hour of footage at the highest definition setting.

    One of the advantages of using flash cards as opposed to a hard-drive based camera is that if something happens to the drive you maybe looking at a warranty repair or an expensive fix if it's out of warranty.

    Plus flash memory is getting cheaper all the time. Over a couple of years you'll be able to add more and more storage to your collection.

    I've never used an SD camera with my Mac- but I can export movies using 1080p no problem and they look absolutely fantastic. I honestly can't see any loss of detail using "standard" iMovie as opposed to iMovie HD.

    :)
     
  24. Chris7 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 8, 2008
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    #25
    Interested in a Canon HF100/HF10/HF11. This will be my first into HD. How much time to simply dump the AVCHD footage from the camera or flash card onto a hard drive per hour of footage (without transcoding)?

    Secondly, I heard that the importing/transcoding AVCHD into AIC or ProRes in FCP happens in about "real time" (hour of conversion time for hour of footage). Is this correct?

    (Using a MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz dual core. I plan to dump the original AVCHD first onto a regular hard drive and use a external RAID drive for working with HD in FCP.)

    Thanks in advance.
     

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