Camcorder newbie

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by momSan, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. momSan macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    I'm going to be a first-time camcorder owner. (I'm also going to be a first-time iMovie user.)

    I was all set to buy the Kodak zi8 as it seemed simple enough with decent quality, but hubby thought we needed more zooming ability (to capture our little gymnast at meets) and more features.

    Like I said, we're VERY new at this so any help would be appreciated. I've been reading and researching for weeks now, but I think I'm on overload. I'm overwhelmed at all the choices out there.

    Here's some specifics to our situation:
    * will be used strictly for family functions (baby milestones, school programs, birthday parties, sports activities)
    * will often be used indoors or in other low light situations
    * would like to keep it under $500

    Things that I'm pondering:
    * image stablization
    * storage method (miniDVD, hard drive, flash, etc.)
    * zooming ability (digital vs. optical?)
    * Firewire

    I'd love to get some input based on your knowledge and experiences!
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    I can't recommend any camera in that price range, but reading your post has let some alarms flash up in me (?).

    First, any slot-loading DVD drive will not be capable of reading mini DVDs unless you use an appropriate adapter. A tray loading DVD drive will work fine though.

    Second, if you want zooming abilities only look on the optical zoom capabilities, as digital zoom does only zoom into the picture/image, so you will see pixels eventually. You can do a digital zoom with almost any video editing software afterwards, so optical is the way to go.

    Third, Firewire is (almost) only included in cameras that record on (mini) DV tapes, thus being either DV (SD) or HDV (HD) capable cameras.
    The rest of the cameras use USB for transfer.

    Which brings me to the fourth: Do you want to record in SD (Standard Definition - the almost gone broadcast system used for TV) or HD (High Definition - the current fashion in broadcasting and other video related stuff)?
  3. imtb macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    for a portable camera, i highly recommend the Flip Ultra Hd or Flip Mino HD
    both are around the same price range (around $200)
    the quality is very good and it is a simple camera to use
    but it is hard to keep steady and it does not have the best zoom.
    i would also recommend a canon or a jvc everio
  4. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I have a canon vixia HF200 that records to SD cards...its very simple in auto mode; turn camera on, point, press the record button... it should handle your needs. It has a 15x (times) zoom lens.
  5. neonkru macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2009
    i was going to recommend that camera as well
  6. milligan macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    I was too! Because I did A LOT of research and I just got one today.

    Just waiting for the battery to charge. Can I put the card straight into my mac book prp card reader and then into imovie 09 or do I have to use the USB cable?

  7. momSan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    Thank you!

    Thanks for the input everybody. I appreciate it.
  8. cz9h3d macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2009
    The HF200 seems like a very good choice. I've had two Canon MiniDV's over the years, and almost went that route.

    Instead I got a Sanyo FH1a, which seems to be a favorite among Mac users.
    It has a smaller form factor. MP4 file format is very Mac friendly (I've also used AVCHD). At $399 its about $150 less than the HF200. However no optical image stabilization. I'm also very happy with the indoor performance.

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