entry level camera that will grow with me

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rachael117, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. rachael117 macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    Thanks everyone in advance! There is a lot of information on here and my head is spinning already. I’m looking for a digital video camera and here’s the relevant information:

    I want to take good resolution videos of the kids messing around, transfer them to a DVD, and mail it to hubby while on deployment. These will be short (up to several minutes) and outdoors or in the house but probably no performances or concerts. He will view them with his PC or a TV.

    I use a mac with leopard OSX 10.5.8 with iMovie 7.1.4 (although have never used the program). I’m willing to upgrade to snow leopard and iLife 09 if necessary. I’ll be transferring the videos to this computer, but my husband uses a PC and MUST be able to view them on his computer (that is the whole point).

    I’m not interested in editing at this time. Maybe later, as I learn the features and have available time... I will also not be publishing or uploading to youtube, etc. This will be for him, the kids, me, and the extended family to watch. Nothing fancy.

    I am well-versed in still photography, both film and digital, but am a complete novice in videos. My point-and-shoot camera takes short clips but they are tiny and the resolution is terrible. My Canon Rebel does not take videos (older version) and I’m not too interested in upgrading it.

    Originally I was most interested in flash media storage, but it sounds like most of you don’t recommend it. I’m willing to use tapes or DVDs, but again have no experience here. and want something pretty user-friendly.

    I’m looking in the $500 range, although am flexible. Mostly I’m interested in compatibility with both computers, reliability, and ease of use, with potential to grow.

    Cameras I’ve seen recommended on here: Canon HV20 or 30 or 40, Canon VIXIA HF200, Sanyo VPC-HD2000A, Sony HDR-CX100, and JVC Everio GZ-HM200

    Advice? Thanks!
  2. G5Unit macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I have to give the HV20 a vote here. It should be available used around your price range, and it does use a tape.

    The camera is a bit larger and not as beautiful looking compared to newer hard-disk and flash cameras out there, but how the camera looks will not matter when the final production is done;)

    The HD picture of the camera is EXTREMElY beautiful, especially in 24fps mode. Outside, it takes wonderful video, while inside the video tends to be pretty noisy(but so is every camcorder).

    But it's a very easy camera to use. I've found the menu based navigation to be just enough and not too little. And you can start out using just AUTO mode, and eventually move your way up to PROGRAM mode, then AV, TV, etc.

    It uses the HDV format which should be pretty much the most universal format, as it will work between your husband's PC, as well as your Mac. Hard disk and flash-based camcorders use either AVCHD or Motion-JPEG, which can often be a little harder to work with. Also, HDV tapes offer pretty good storage options, as hard-disk and flash-based videos must be stored on a computer or hard drive.

    As for reliability, I've had the HV20 for a little over 2 years now and everything still work great. It's pretty rugged and wont suffer as bad of a fate when dropped, as opposed to hard-disk cameras.

    Here is an example of video taken with an HV20:


    Some googling will yield some pretty amazing examples as well.
  3. pcypert macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2006
    I'll second that recommendation. I've seen HV40's for around 650 these days at bh. Worth stretching that extra bit if you can. Can def grow into it and then you're used to controls that will be similar on the DSLR's and the higher end Canon cams...

  4. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Reading your post, you seem to want a digital camera that shoots good video as well. Canon and nikon sell camera's with good video quality. My wife's SX5IS (not available anymore) shoots both video and pictures very well. Take a look at canon's web site for the newer ones out. Also go to here.. http://www.dpreview.com for good reviews on digital cameras. Maybe go down to best buy with a sd card and take some shots. Bring them home and see if any problems with compatability with iphoto. What kind of mac do you have? Snow leopard is still buggy but should get better with the next update. Hopefully apple will release iLife 10 to support snow leopard better but ilife 9 is great. As a retired military person who served in desert storm, can't tell you how great it is to get photo's and video of the family. Helps pass the time. Tell him thanks for his service and god speed to get home safe.
  5. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    IMO, the HV20 isn't suitable for you. It requires either pulldown or deinterlacing if you're watching on a computer, both of which require at least some previous knowledge of digital video. Of course, both are fairly simple concepts and easy to learn if you are willing. The HV30 and HV40, however, shoot progressive with no pulldown frames. You can get 30p or 24p (HV40 only) natively, which means no post processing. If you do choose one of the HV series cameras or similar cam, be sure to join the HV20.com forum. I'm one of the major members over there under the same name, it's a great place!

    There are other cameras out there that use flash memory. The Sony cameras have good low light performance, but require deinterlacing. If you're going to buy something that you're not going to edit and shoot in auto mode only, something like a handycam, Flip, HV30, or other similar camera should all do fine. If good IS is important, the recently updated HF S200 does quite well, as does most of Sony's handycams.

    As for point and shoots with video capibility, you'll have to make a tradeoff. My favorite P&S for photography is the Powershot S90, but it doesn't do HD video. My second favorite is the Lumix LX3, which performs decently. You can check out Eugenia's blog for her thoughts on P&S video recording.
  6. rachael117 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    Thanks for all the info so far! To clarify a little - I'm NOT looking to take still pictures with this digital video camera. (I'm happy and familiar with what I have.) I'm a canon fan and willing to spend the extra money for an HV30 or 40 if it's the right one, but am a wondering if it is WAY more camera than I can handle. I'm pretty tech-savy and pick up new equip fast, but as previously stated am a complete novice to videos. Here's my biggest concern for ease-of-use: the kids are a 2-year-old and a baby. I don't have the time to fool around with dials when I just want to film him building a "robot" out of blocks, and will have to do all the computer work at night when they're sleeping and I wish I was sleeping. Ha! When time allows, however, I think I'll be happy with being able to "play" and grow. Thanks also for the info on other forums. In your opinions, if I go with something like the HV40 (as compared to a Flip) will it be relevant still in the number of years it will take me to learn its features? Or will I need to upgrade to another $1000 camera by the time they are in school?
  7. gødspeed macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2009
    If you can afford it, definitely get the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D. That's a camera that will grow with you, because you can build up a rig and a collection of lenses over time that will continue to work with higher end cameras, and that will with each addition increase your ability to produce very high quality videos.

    edit -- number of YEARS to learn the HV40s features? It shouldn't take more than a few days (*maybe* a week) of heavy use to fully understand the features, even for the least tech-savvy person. If you're that concerned about ease of use, forget what I said about the T2i, because the learning curve on it is considerably greater than on an HV40. The HV40 captures beautiful video without any additional equipment. It won't be the top prosumer camcorder in the price range anymore in a few years, so in that sense it won't really be relevant. But it should be more than adequate for home movies.
  8. danimal99 macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    The HV30/40 will be good for a number of years. About the only thing you would need to worry with is if the tape mechanism goes bad. (My old ZR10 tape mechanism went out, and they said it was too old to fix. I upgraded to a HG20 instead.) But the Vixia line is much more expensive, so maybe they use better parts.

    Whether you get an HV40 or HG20 or another one of those, they have an "Easy" button on them which does what you want. Put it in that mode and just shoot away. It won't let you adjust any settings, but you won't need to either.

    Unlike 5 years ago or so, the current models are so good that you probably will not be wanting for a very long time, even as new models with new features arrive.
  9. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    No, it's not "way more camera". It can do some great stuff in the right hands, but you're just shooting in auto, so it's really not relevant. Take a good look at the Sony camcorders if you're okay with interlacing. Canon's stuff is pretty good as well; check out the solid state high end consumer models.

    Also, just to clarify, the HV series is a consumer camcorder series - not prosumer.
  10. xxdaix macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2008
    Give the Sanyo Xacti a go

    Hi there
    I am about to purchase the Sanyo Xacti VPC HD2000 to be my 2nd camera along side my Sony Z1, after reading very good reviews about the camera on the web and having a play with my uncles VPC HD1010 the previous model.

    If your husbands PC has a SD card slot and quicktime player installed then you can shot your videos in say 1280 X 720 so not full Hi Def but still very good quality then make a back up of the SD card on your hard drive and send your husband the SD cards, save you capturing the tapes to the computer and writing DVD's (remember you have to capture your tapes in real time, I know as I do this with the Z1)

    eventual you could start shooting in Full HD once it becomes the norm and more people have the processing power to play it easy.

    there is a community of Xacti Fans on Vimeo and this is a lovely video from one of there members

    Like I said I am going to buy one in the next 10 days, as I have been very impressed with what I have seen and the reviews I have read.


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