Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Patriks7, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    First off, I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum.
    I am planning on buying a camcoder soon, but I checked some online sites and the choices are overwhelming. So I would like some help telling me which one would be best for me and which one I should avoid.
    I want it to be something pretty compact, not one of those huuuuge ones. It definitely needs to have USB. I haven't really found out if HDD or memory cards are better, but I would rather go for a memory card as that way I don't have to worry every second if something will happen to the HDD. I haven't yet really set a budget because I don't know what kind of a price I'm looking for, for a generally good camcoder, but I don't want to go completely over the top.
    If there is something else you guys need to help me choose one please let me know.

    By the way, are there any compatibility problems with Macs or if I have something like iMovie it should automatically work?
  2. samstod macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    First off, this should probably in the digital video forum.

    With that out of the way - what are you going to use this for? That will pretty much determine what you are looking for. Do you plan on making videos for youtube, family videos, plan on being the next Spielberg, etc. Do you need an HD camera, or can you deal with SD?

    In terms of media,

    miniDV will give you the best images, but will probably require firewire to get to your mac. Plus moving the video over is in real time, so it is cumbersome. The nice thing is that the tapes act as their own backup so you won't need a few hundred (or thousand) gigs of space if you want to keep everything you ever film.

    HDD are in the middle. Image quality isn't QUITE as good as miniDV, but if you aren't planning on viewing them in HD then you probably won't notice. I've heard that there are some compatibility issues with macs, but as I don't have one, I'll let someone else testify to that one.

    Flash camcorders generally have the poorest image quality of the three, but that's not to say they are bad. They are still somewhat expensive, but you don't have to worry about harddrive failure.

    Do you have a mac without a firewire port? If so, be careful because some of the older camcorder models may not have usb out.
  3. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Well it's mainly family videos and probably some "next Spielberg" attempts as well :p Right now my MacBook has a Firewire port, but I will be probably getting a new one soon, but haven't decided if normal or Pro. My new Mac buying decision will probably be based on this camcoder :D. For my needs I think a SD would be good enough, but HD would be a bonus. Well I really want to avoid HDD ones, because I don't want to worry about failures. So I guess my decision is between miniDV and Flash. Is the difference in quality really big?
    Also, could you give me some examples that could fit my needs so I can know what kind of a price range to expect?
    And I'm sorry about posting it in the wrong section :( Still learning which is for what.
  4. samstod macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    The quality isn't a huge difference unless you are zooming in during editing or there is a lot of quick motion.

    For HD, the Cannon HV30 is the current best deal for miniDV, and the HF10 for flash. The HF10 is around 600 and the HV30 is about 550, though might go down soon as the HV40 is coming out soon. The HV20, which is a slightly older model (but almost identical in specs), can be had for about 450. The HF11 is the newer model of the HF10, but it costs around 750.

    If you want SD, the ZR930 is a good option and only about $250. rates all the camcorders out there and has very detailed reviews if you want to read up on what's out there.

    Also, look into the AVHCD and Mac issues that people have posted on the net. Some versions of imovie don't work well with the flash format. Make sure whatever version you're using doesn't have issues.
  5. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Thanks! That site is really awesome! Found some really nice camcoders!
    Now I am also looking for a good price DSLR for beginners. I used a DSLR a couple times, but that was with expert photographers who showed me everything and 20 minutes later I forgot it all :p Now I'm interested in doing some of my own pictures (and one of my subjects at school will require it for next year, so I want to start learning how to use it to not come like a total n00b to class :p)
    PS I have to admit I didn't Google this one unlike the camcoder, but I don't have much time right now, but might get to it tomorrow.
    Thanks the help so far!

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