Mac compatible camera.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Greysquirrel, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Greysquirrel macrumors member

    Greysquirrel

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #1
    :apple:I know very little about Video cameras and am looking for an inexpensive, less than $250 just to make videos of landscapes and my dogs, nothing that will be published.
    I was on Amazon and found one that would fill the bill but when I read the reviews one said that it was not compatible with a Mac. and he had to do all kind of things and use different software to edit his film and move it to his Mac.
    Naive as I am about this I thought that I could do the same with a video camera as I do with my digital cameras, just pull the SD card and put it into my card reader and load it into either iMovie or iDVD instead of iPhoto as I do with my camera. Is that not the case? I don't want to buy editing software as I am not going to make any real movies just some stuff for my own records of our travels and personal stuff.
    Also if anyone can recommend a camera that would fill my needs I would greatly appreciate that you post that information.
     
  2. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #2
    Can you give us brand and model of the cam you saw? It's not always the camera that is incompatible... sometimes it is the user.

    The workflow you described is the basic workflow that works with most cameras that use the AVCHD format. You can make the step of copying the complete card to your desktop in-between (for safety and speed).
     
  3. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #3
    I would be really surprised if that was the case. Could you tell us what camera this was?

    I guess you are looking for a camcorder, not a still camera if you are posting in this forum. Because while still cameras can record movies and camcorders can take pictures, both are not really good at the other part (unless they are much more expensive...).

    Camcorders come in all sorts of flavours. But I would suspect that a camcorder for less than $250 would not include an internal hard drive or anything fancy. Which means that I would expect it to be just like you guessed, with an SD card which you can just take out and put into your Mac.

    The formats however are different from what most people are used to: You will not get a .mov or .wmv file that you can transfer and then instantly play and edit with any program. Most consumer HD camcorders now record in AVCHD, which is a stream-based format that includes metadata in a seperate file and not "just" the video. Still, AVCHD can be read with all editing software that I know of, on a Mac specifically the preinstalled iMovie.

    If you don't want to edit your movies in any way but just transfer them, play them back and maybe put them online, AVCHD is a real pain and you might have to buy a converter software or maybe use several free ones. But if you want to edit them in iMovie anyways, you are probably fine. If you tell me the camcorder you picked out, I can check for you.

    I know for a fact (because I tried it once) that this $200 camcorder will work with iMovie. I did no research though how good it compares in quality.

    April is a good time to buy camcorders, since most manufacturers release new models. That means that you can either get the newest stuff or (if you want to spend a little less money) get the last year's models considerably cheaper. Maybe you should look into that direction.

    And again: If you post the model you picked out here, I'm sure someone will be able to tell you: Yes, this worked for me. :)

    ----------

    Hallo cgbier! I am back from Berlin and thus we meet again, answering the same questions in a similar way at the same time! ;)
     
  4. Greysquirrel thread starter macrumors member

    Greysquirrel

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #4
    This is the camcorder I saw on Amazon that I was thinking about. http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Camil...1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333711261&sr=1-1
    I also looked at the Panasonic that floh recommended, which may be a better buy.
    Thanks for the replies, think I have a lot of research before I buy. I don't need the feature that are on a $1000+ camera but would like a good stabilization feature and fast autofocus. If I have to raise the bar on my price point so be it but would like to keep it around $250 or less.
     
  5. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #5
    Go with the Panasonic. It has a proven track record.

    ----------

    I'm not a big fan of touch screens... having a 2400 dollar paperweight on my desk because of the #$%^& screen.
     
  6. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #6
    I had never heard of the Toshiba, and I have to admit that the price tag is a pretty heavy argument. The review you are most likely referring to says that the camera stores .avi movies, which is very uncommon. However saying that this is not compatible with a Mac is, to say the least, a slight exaggeration.

    .avi is a really old format that does not hold a lot of metadata information and is therefore not used very often on Macs, but even if iMovie would not handle your files, you can get there by simply installing one free converter software.

    Still, just like cgbier, I would recommend you to go with the Panasonic. While it is not the greatest of cameras, Panasonic currently provides the best bang for the buck and this model does surprisingly well in most comparisons. The Toshiba seems to have terrible audio and some issues to focus if not in bright sunlight. Lowlight capabilities should probably not be mentioned in this price range...

    So go for the Panasonic! Because of the new models coming out, it is down from $450 to $200 right now. As I said, I worked with it for a friend and it actually surprised me in a positive way.
     
  7. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #7
    avi is a stone old Microsoft container IIRC. It was invented before folks even thought of metadata (exaggeration here), and it is true that it can give you some problems with a Mac, depending what's inside of the container. I had some headaches with clients delivering avi in the past (but you never tell!).

    avi is rarely used in cameras nowadays.
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    Toshiba has been a fairly common name in consumer electronics for decades. AVI is not a video format. It is a Microsoft video container. It is a cheap rip-off of Apple's MOV container and has been around for about 20 years. It is fairly common among low-cost camcorders oriented at Windows customers. In the case of the Toshiba CAMELIO® H30 1080p Camcorder, the video track is stored in the H.264 format. Toshiba is silent on the specification of the audio track. I am therefore doubtful that the camcorder records audio. Video is stored on SD/SDHC cards.

    I would not consider this rig unless my Canon EOS Rebel T3i's batteries were dead and my iPhone 4S was lost after an alien craft had crashed downtown. I would assume that the QuickTime Player would play its videos without issue out-of-the-box and certainly with the free Perian codec suite installed.

    But you know what they say when you assume. This is a Windows-oriented rig. However, user reviews on Toshiba's website lament that Windows Movie Maker cannot edit the video. They claim that the included [Windows-only] software from Toshiba is required. Of possibly greater concern are user reports that the video quality is very poor despite Toshiba's claims that the video resolution is 1080p.
     
  9. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #9
    The H30 doesn't look like a very good camera. Sure it's HD, but looking at samples on youtube, I can barely see the difference when going from 480 to 720p! Doesn't really look like it's worth the money. Apparently it doesn't have image stabilization when HD is on and the settings reset automatically when starting the camera. Also, dealing with the AVI files could be a pain on the mac as Toshiba seems to give out a Windows only program to work with the file (from what I understand). It'll be possible to convert the file on a mac but it could be a pain, Perian might be able to do the job.

    And most of all the image quality isn't there. There's little detail, quite a bit of rolling shutter problems and also looks quite noisy.

    This guy wasn't impressed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92oL8xdnS34&feature=related

    I've seen better from an iPhone 4S and from gopros... I'd go with something else.
     
  10. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #10
    Looks like that camera is interpolating the footage.

    There are "spy cameras" built into cigarette lighters for less than 20 bucks. Their image quality is not much worse (supposedly 720p).
     
  11. Greysquirrel thread starter macrumors member

    Greysquirrel

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #11
    Should have bought it when I saw it, as they say in the Antiques business.
    Put the Panasonic HDC-SD80 on Amazon for $189 in my Amazon wish list but waited untill I got my car back from the shop to see how much it would cost and then went to my Amazon wish list and this camera is now $237.95. Now that sucks.
    So the search is on again, I posted a link in another thread that lets you find camera compatible with a Mac, that helps eliminate a lot that is out there.
     

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