New Mac, new video camera? Suggest?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by scooterguitar, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. scooterguitar macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2008
    New to my macbook and loving it for my creative side, slowly finding my way around but getting there. I am primarily using it for Garageband and recording music, but we have a new baby on the way and have decided to finally get a digital video camera. So a few ?'s if you'd be so kind to share your insight or thoughts on any or all of my ?'s...I assume I will usually use my macbook for the home vids, but might use our pc as well sometimes.

    1. I have actually heard negative things about Sony, true?
    2. Some brands don't cooperate with macs. true?
    3. mini disc is better than built-in hardrive for mac?

    I just want simple movies I can burn to DVD and give to my mom, save for the baby, etc..

    Also, not as important, but any expereince with camcorders that have excellent mics? It would be nice to use it for some band taping as well.
    Thanks for the help
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Sony makes good cameras, although the Canon HV20/30 seems to still be the most popular camera under a grand. Cameras that shoot on MiniDV are still preferable to those that shoot to MiniDVD, CF cards, or HDD, IMO. No camera, at any price point, has a built-in mic that is worth anything. If you want to record a band take the feed from the mixing board and run into into the camera.

  3. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Another vote for an HDV camera. Archiving HD footage on drives is very expensive.

    FWIW, I am very happy with my Sony HDV.
  4. scooterguitar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2008
    We are looking to spend around $500.
    So, mini dvd heh. Does make sense about having to store all that on a drive. Are those discs exspensive?
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    At $500, you're looking at an SD camcorder. Nothing wrong with SD, but you'll be more futureproofed with an HD camcorder.

    If you can stretch the budget a little more, the Canon HV20 is a great deal ... especially since it's been supplanted by a newer model (HV30). The HV20 is an HDV camcorder (meaning it uses digital tape). HDV is still currently better than the other HD format out there (AVCHD on flash or DVD). However, the current trend is that HDV will be phased out over the next couple of years as the manufacturers continue to push AVCHD camcorders.

    Eventually, I would imagine that AVCHD camcorders will have better image quality than HDV, but that's probably 2 or 3 years away and it doesn't help you now.

    If you can't up the budget for an HD camcorder, I would suggest getting a miniDV camcorder. The same issue applies with miniDV vs. HDD/DVD/Flash based camcorders, but all of the SD camcorders are on the way to the grave anyhow, so you're buying obsolete tech, might as well buy the format with the best quality.

    In other words, I would suggest a tape-based camcorder, unless you have reasons not to (i.e. you want a small camcorder, or you have a vested interest in a Flash Memory company, etc).

  6. scooterguitar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2008
    Whoa, I am lost! Great info though!
    So what is mini DV? tape? that is better than the mini dvd heh?
    All the formats and such I am lost with. Last time I used a videocamera it was VHS!:D
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    There are two basic codecs for Standard Definition camcorders using 4 different mediums.

    1. DV - this is the codec that are used on all miniDV camcorders. Because of the high bit rate and the type of compression used, DV will yield the highest quality of all SD camcorders. Also, DV is the easiest to edit.

    2. MPEG-2 - this is the codec that is used on regular DVDs. You can find camcorders using this codec that are HDD, DVD, or flash based. MPEG-2 is not a good codec for editing. Quality is OK.

    3. MPEG-4 - this is a more advanced codec than MPEG-2. MPEG-4 camcorders are typically flash based. MPEG-4 is also not a good codec for editing. Quality is OK.

    If you jump to High Definition, you have two codec using the same 4 mediums.

    1. HDV - this is the HD version of DV footage. Technically, it's MPEG-2 and therefore not the best format for editing, however, with iMovie (and Final Cut), the HDV footage is converted to AIC for editing. This is the best current HD format in terms of quality. Uses miniDV (or HDV) tapes.

    2. AVCHD - this is a newer codec designed for HD. This is also not an easy codec to edit, so iMovie converts it to AIC as well. Camcorders using AVCHD are HDD, DVD, or Flash based. Quality is close to HDV, but I've read that there are problems when panning shots.

    Anyways, I would suggest miniDV for SD, and HDV for HD. If you do go with one of the other types, DON'T get the DVD based camcorders. Too much hassle.

  8. kcdude macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    This is very helpful for a novice (me).

    Can you also comment on workflow for editing of each of these codecs? Import with ______, converts to ______, edit in ______......burn to DVD in ____.

    I am thinking of a SD Canon FS100 when it comes out next month...really no need for HD footage and want something simple to shoot, import, edit, and store. I think the FS100 will use MPEG-2 since it is flash based. My understanding is the file sizes are about 1/2 of the size of the same footage done in AVCHD format...less storage requirements...maybe easier to edit...maybe not. Sounds like a great format for my use without tapes.....But you say editing is not good for this format...maybe an illustration of the workflow will help me understand this comment. Also, which is the lesser of two evils: SD MPEG-2 or HD MPeg-4 editing?

    FWIW, I have the latest MacPro w/ current version iMovie and also FCE4.0.

    Thanks in advance.
  9. buddysms345 macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    What Ever You Do Do Not Get A Minidvd Camcorder

    Yup! Wasted 500$ On A Camera That Is Not Compatible With Macs Unless I Want To Buy Another 100$ External Loading Drive (whch Is Really Hard To Find One Compatible With Macs) Or A Video Recorder Box That Hoos Up Via Usa Or Firewire Which Is Like 200$ And Yes Its A Sony And I Hate It. If You Want Good Family Videos At A Cheep Price I Recommend The Flip Ultra (140$), But If Your Going Big And Want Great Family Videos Go For A Hdd (hard Disk Drive) Camcorder With Hd (500$)
  10. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Go to and look at reviews on most camcorders. Has an active forum too. Another site for info is . I have 2 camcorders, a Sony SR100 (SD) and a sony SR11 (HD). Both are hard disk based. No problems importing into iMovie. The SR11 does take up allot of disk space, about 12 gig per hour, and it's AVCHD. I too have a mac pro and it definitely gets the job done. Would suggest you look at hard disk or flash base cam's. iMovie will recognize USB connections on camcorders. Just make sure you look at apple's web site for camcorder capatability with FCE and iMovie. Good luck.
  11. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    Get real. "Flip" and "good videos" are terms which cannot be used in the same sentence!

    By the way, how fast can you type like that, making every word start with a capital letter?
  12. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    I'd say go for tape. You're gonna get a kid. And hard drives wont last forever, with which I mean, you'll probably gonna overwrite it somehow. And after a few years, you'll have to replace your hard drive. I have a tape recorder (minidv) and I can keep all my original material. That way my hard drive can stay clean and if I want to see something that wasn't on the dvd (or whatever) I can still rewatch because I have my original tapes (and tapes last pretty some years, longer than your hdd).

    I think the workflow is quite simple. Import your movie through iMovie (or final cut when you have it, I hear most people use prores h22) then edit in iMovie (or edit in final cut), export it, and burn it on your dvd with iDVD, or toast if you want (or dvd studio pro when you have it).

    p.s I think you can better have an expensive sd camera, then a cheap hd camera.
  13. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    I'm also looking into getting a camcorder but why do people prefer miniDV over HDD? is it quality? Are there any HDD camcorders out there that can match the Canon HV30 in the same price range?
  14. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    It used to be quality, but the gap has been closed by many of the 3rd generation AVCHD camcorders (e.g., Canon HF11/10/100, Sony SR10/11/12/CX12).

    HDV's remaining advantages are:
    • Cheaper media. MiniDV tapes are cheaper than comparable flash memory card. Although memory cards are getting awfully cheap (e.g., 1-hour-at-highest-quality 8 GB SDHC for $18) but tapes are cheaper still (less than $3).
    • Automatic archiving. Premium MiniDV tapes are pretty reliable and make suitable backup. External hard disks are getting cheaper ($150 for 1 TB USB hard disk) but they are not as reliable.
    • Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express can natively edit HDV footage without conversion. iMovie and Final Cut Express still requires converting to Apple Intermediate Codec.
    • Importing footage is generally (much) faster.
    • Battery life. HDV camcorders have generally longer battery life.
    • Greater feature sets. With some exceptions, AVCHD camcorders are designed for consumers looking for ease of use (vs. having many manual features).

    AVCHD's advantages:
    • If flash memory-based, virtually no moving parts. No moving part translates to quieter operation and reliability. Just about the only mechanical noise my Canon HF100 records is the zoom motor (which I rarely use while recording). Hard disks are also generally quieter than MiniDV transport.
    • Much larger recording capacity, particularly hard disk-based.
    • Portability. While some will prefer heavier, larger HDV form factor, AVCHD permits smaller, lighter form factor.
  15. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    Thanks, is there a website with sample clips?
  16. MatLane macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2008
    England, United Kingdom

    I think that most sony things will work on mac not 100% sure though
  17. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    Forgot to ask if there's a forum to do research on for camcorders? Thanks
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Vimeo is the most popular HD sharing website. Do a search for camera model and look for results with "HD on" button (you will need to click the button to see 720p streams). Note that streams are recompressed and reduced to 720p resolution, which lowers the amount of details and introduces compression artifacts. But I think you will get the general idea.

    As for the forum, camcorderinfo is probably the most popular camcorder review and community website.
  19. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    that looks like an excellent camera for the price.
  20. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
  21. mdeanoly macrumors newbie


    Jun 12, 2008
    Mesa, Arizona
    go with canon hv20

    Mini-DV is a type of tape that DV (Digital Video) cameras use.

    The Canon HV20, which is what I have, uses DV tapes but records video in High Definition (DV + HD = HDV) and records beautiful video at a decent price. Plus, DV tapes are relatively inexpensive; at Costco or Walmart you can buy them in bulk for a good price.

    I got my Canon HV20 for $699.90 at B&H Pro Audio Video ( but it's no longer available at that store; I think it's been discontinued due to a new Canon HV30. - I bought mine right after the new model came out so it was on sale :)

    Go with the Canon HV20 or 30, they work beautifully.
  22. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    I have 3GB of ram in my rig, if I upgrade more ram (6GB?), would it speed up the process of rendering AVCHD?
  23. macman7002 macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    If you are looking to spend $5000 - $55,000 on a video camera, you should check out Sony XDs or Panasonic P2. nah, just kidding on that one. ;)

    Negative things will be said about any company. Including Sony. I would personally recommend a consumer Sony hard drive based camera is you don't plan on shooting more that 2 hours of footage before dumping it on to your computer. Mini DV is great, too! But I am a fan of Hard drive based capturing.
    I would stay away from JVC, Panasonic and Cannon are good. But I think Sony is the best!
  24. computerjunkie macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    I realize this thread is several days old (or at least this post in this thread), but since I am trying to search and read, I don't think the 3rd bullet point under HDV advantages is correct. Someone correct me if I am wrong.



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