Need advice on buying a camcorder!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Unprocessed1, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    I'm looking to get an HD camcorder, but I'm a bit of a novice. I've been shopping around and reading reviews and visiting forums, but it seems like these camcorders are hit and miss, and there are other factors I'd like to consider that people to mention.

    So the things I'm looking for:

    1) Under $450 (it's ok if ~$450 is the "ebay" or used price)
    2) Standard camcorder form factor (don't like the flip form factor)
    3) Very Easy to use w/ imovie 09 and transfer the videos seamlessly (don't want any headaches)
    4) Very Good picture quality

    BONUS: Good double use as a digital camera

    I've been looking at the Sanyo FH1, but I honestly have been VERY underwhelmed with the picture quality, so I was looking for alternatives.

    Help is much appreciated, as I'm looking to get a camcorder before Christmas!
  2. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Gonna be tough to find all that for under $450. Only one I can think of thats full HD for that price is the Sony HDR CX100. I have used it, its decent for the price. If you go used, look for a Canon HF 100 or HV20/30. They should be around that price point.
  3. Unprocessed1 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    I think I'm going to go with a Canon HF200 or HF100.

    I'm just worried about how easy it is going to be to get the videos onto my macbook pro (13", 2.23 Ghz) using imovie 09 and/or Final Cut Express. I heard those cameras are a pain in the back.
  4. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007

    Quite easy actually. Plug it in and import them. File sizes will be very large though.
  5. mayer chalom macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2009
    Get Hv30

    The canon hv20/30/40 are the best consumer hd camcorders in your price range.
    The sanyo, although it has full manual controls like the hv series, the hv series has better quality because it uses a higher quality hdv compression. Not that avchd is bad but it varies on camcorders. The higher the bit rate the better. I used to have an hv30 but went to an hfs100 (for the manual gain, but I don't really think you know what that is.....). I miss using tape, sd cards are much more expensive. Also to see a real performance in uploading to a computer you need a quad core plus computer otherwise it is slower than real time. On my 8 core mac pro avchd is only a tad bit faster than realtime.

    Hv20 is the cam for you.
  6. EMU1337 macrumors member


    Nov 2, 2007
    If you don't like the sanyo, check out the JVC Everio GZ-HM200. Very comparable specs, I've never used one, but from reviews most people are satisfied with its video. I guess I'm kinda in the same boat as you so I've been researching some cameras in this ballpark.
  7. TheZA macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    If you want to save a couple of hundred bucks to get a camcorder that will give you everything you want but in a slightly larger package, consider one of the older Sony Digital 8 handycams. Mine works flawlessly via firewire with iMovie HD 6 and iMovie 09, takes great stills, takes great video with 20x zoom. The form factor is excellent, but like I said, the larger cassette size makes for a larger camera. Then again, those tapes are cheaper, but arguably, of better qaulity than miniDV. Check 'em out on Amazon.
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    OP said he was looking for an HD camcorder.
  9. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    FWIW we have been extremely happy with our FlipHD camcorder. We have always used MiniDV in the past but this camera is so small, yet so easy to use yet produces such a great image that it's hard to dismiss. Especially when it's only $200 for 2 hours of video recording.

    Easy importing and exporting into/from iMovie.

    I know you said you weren't interested in a Flip, but honestly for typical hobby usage for a HD camcorder that records 2 hrs of video for $200 can't be beat!

    The video and audio quality is top notch too. Even at a U2 concert when I assumed the audio would be horrible, it was actually very clear. Visuals were great.
  10. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Bootlegger! :D
  11. cz9h3d macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2009
    I believe Avatar was actually filmed using a Mino HD...

    LOL - just kidding - there is such a range of camcorders these days - to each his own. I've had two miniDV camcorders, and also a Creative Vado HD. The vado can't approach in quality, but if it's in your pocket, it may just work!

    I just tried a Panny SD10 High Def ($299). Love how tiny it is, and does very well outside in daylight. However its inside shots were "baaaaaaad". Low light is the achilles heel of digital camcorders, and blowing it up on a large lcd/plasma just makes it that much worse! I just ordered a Sanyo FH1a ($399), which is suppose to be a much better low light camera. My last miniDV was $1,000, and I'm not going there again! I'll let you know what I think next week!

    Honestly, I'm just getting into the digital video file format (i.e. vs. tape). It's great for making videos for online viewing. But what about archiving for longevity? Is everybody just filling up hard drives full of data, in AVCHD which is still a pseudo standard? Even if i wanted to edit and burn something in a high def format, burning to blue-ray still seems out there, so now I have pseudo formats to select instead? I still think a Canon HV30 on MiniDV had big advantages in that data is saved in HD, digitally, on tape - your raw data is then archived, and you can easily pull it into a computer for editing. Hmmmmm... I guess with even distribution going digital, I'm just going to pass a hard drive onto my son some day, eh? I better put the right codecs on there too (NTFS, FAT32, or journaled?!?) LOL.

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