Need advice: HD Camcorder for MacBook

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by macmac409, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. macmac409 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #1
    We are looking for an HD camcorder in the $300-500 range that will work with my MacBook (OSX 10.4.11, 2GHz Intel Core Duo). I have found a few cameras that seem like good options (Canon Vixia HF M30- on clearance right now at Best Buy for $400, Canon Vixia HF R200 at $379 on Amazon, Panasonic HDC-TM-80 at $499).

    First, does anyone have advice on these or similar camcorders in general? We are having a baby soon, FYI, so will be doing a lot of home movies and would like to be able to easily cut clips into highlight reels set to music, etc. to share with family.

    Secondly, do you know if these or other HD camcorders generally work with Mac and if so what is the best way to do it? I am not a very technically savvy person and am getting overwhelmed by the various formats HD video comes in, and after browsing forums about converting files to make camcorders work with Macs, I am eager for some clearcut advice.

    Also, we are very low on memory storage on our computers so will be upgrading external hard drives. We will need to store our video footage on the external hard drives- is it possible to edit video from these so we don't overload our computer with data?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    You should upgrade your OS. There is no upside (other than money savings) to having an Intel-based Mac running MacOS X 10.4. Upgrade to Snow Leopard.

    Now to answer your question. Get an HDV camcorder with FireWire ports. Canon, Panasonic, Sony? Choose your favorite brand. Unfortunately HDV gear is way over your budget.

    It appears that you are looking for inexpensive consumer gear. For example, the Canon Vixia HF R200 and Panasonic HDC-TM80 record in AVCHD. They do not require a drivers to work with your Mac or Windows. However, the video format is not optimal for users who want to edit their video.

    For camcorders, I personally prefer Canon as a brand. However, the Panasonic appears to be the better camcorder. Even though I don't like AVCHD as a format, some professional gear now sports it.
     
  3. KSpider macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #3
    link to best buy clearance price of the M30? Where have you seen this?
     
  4. macmac409 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #4
    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts on this- I would love to upgrade to Snow Leopard, but my hard drive memory space is completely full already. I am in the process of getting some of my photos/music entirely moved to external hard drives, but this computer's hard drive is only 74G total to begin with so it may be a moot point. It may be that by the time I got a new hard drive and upgraded to Snow Leopard, I'd be better off getting a new computer (was hoping to wait on that for a while).

    I am wanting to do some video editing (just pulling clips together)-- do you think this would be impossible to do with the Mac and these cameras b/c of the format they use? Not being super tech-literate, I'm not sure how one goes about identifying and changing the format of video data, and the best way to go about all of this. Thank you again for the advice, I'm just a bit overwhelmed! Will keep researching and let me know if you have any other suggestions.

    As for the M30 at Best Buy for $400, I was in a store today and they happened to have a few left on clearance. The new version will be out soon. I also saw it here for $399 (special through end of March):
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671645-REG/Canon_4355B001_VIXIA_HF_M30_Dual.html
     
  5. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #5
    what sort of quality are you looking for? Are you going to be doing some crazy video work or just quick shots of the fam? I have a few small hand cams that are HD. I usually shoot in 720P 60fps since most of my videos are car related. I just slap these around the car and on the car to get some driving videos on the track or in the mountains.

    I think that if your just gonna get some quick snaps and dont need much of anything really just get something like the Kodak Playsport Zx3. Its waterproof, shockproof, submersible. Does 1080p/30 or 720p/60 and a few other choices. Its not a professional camera by any means but for some small videos here and there of the fam, it works perfect. Just something to consider.
     
  6. macmac409 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #6
    Not planning to do anything too intense, but I would like to cut clips and make highlight videos with music (have some friends who have done this and it's a really fun keepsake and way to share some fun shots with others). I know the Canon camcorders have a special video snapshot feature that helps make that easy-- but I don't know if that is specific to their software, which may be PC-only, or if I could actually take advantage of that feature. Will keep trying to figure all this out, thank you!
     
  7. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #7
  8. macmac409 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #8
    Thank you very much, I will definitely check this out! I have heard good things about Kodaksport and the Flip cameras. And with all this baby stuff we are buying, we're not in the market of over-buying anything right now. Appreciate your advice very much!
     
  9. dringkor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #9
    Second the Kodak PlaySport. Easy to use, water- and shock-resistant is great for family and kids, H.264/MOV format works very easy with Mac (iTunes, iMovie, finder, etc.) and has good picture quality, IF you're outside and/or have lots of light. Inside or in low light, it's rubbish.

    Purists will say to get HDV or some "less compressed" format camcorder suitable for editing. But for my purposes (same as the Poster's: shooting family and kids, editing the video to keepsake movies) I like the convenience of the flippy camcorder, and the video quality is more than acceptable.

    For better quality in lower light, I have had great results with my Sanyo Xacti FH1A, which records in H.264/MP4. I know, I know, it's lossy and heavily compressed, and the format is not suitable for editing. BUT, the files import directly into iMovie with no conversion (which makes it better IMHO than AVCHD) and the picture quality is really pretty damn good. I hear the JVC Everio line of HD camcorders now uses H.264/MOV, so it should work just as well, if you wanted to keep with a more mainstream camcorder manufacturer.

    I intermix 720p footage from my Kodak and my Sanyo in iMovie and it works and looks great.
     

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