Sony TG3 HD Digital Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mkjj, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. mkjj macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

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    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    Liverpool
    #1
    I am going on a bit of a tour of the West Coast USA in September and want to keep weight to a minimum. Thinking of getting the Sony TG3 HD Digital Camcorder?

    Any thoughts, gets pretty good reviews, MacUser, Amazon etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #2
    That's an awful lot of money to spend on a pocket camcorder with very limited features.

    What do you plan on shooting? Are you going to edit later?
     
  3. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

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    #3
    I can get it for about £550 so I think price is not so bad. Because we are traveling from LA to San Diego, then Phoenix, up to Vegas then flying back from San Fran I want to get the best quality footage I can and then edit in IM 08 or FCE.

    I had a play with a sample in a store yesterday and it is so light and compact, I know you can get more bells and whistles for you money but you always pay more for smaller and cutting edge design.

    What features are missing that you would like?
     
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #4
    The Sony Handcam HDR-TG3 is a USB 2.0 camcorder that records in AVCHD or MPEG-2 format. If you want to edit your video, then you need to do some research if you want to edit your video in iMovie or Final Cut Express. These apps support just about every modern digital tape-based camcorder with a FireWire port out-of-the-box. For non-tape, Apple lists the models that it supports on its iMovie website.
     
  5. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #5
    Well, 550GBP is about 1,100US. I know you want to save space, but you can get a Canon HV30 for less money and that records on the superior HDV format and uses MiniDV tapes that you can buy just about anywhere. Translation: your footage will look much better.

    AVCHD is a terrible codec for editing because of its high level of compression (at least the current implementation is).

    Tape-based media gives you instant masters (the tapes themselves). If you want to keep masters of AVCHD recordings later on, you're pretty much limited to storing them on hard drives or burning a DVD for every 30 minutes of footage you shoot.
     
  6. magiic macrumors regular

    magiic

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    Location:
    Victoria
    #6
    The only thing that sucks about the tapes is that it rips in real time :(
    That can be painful if you have a lot of tapes.
    I'm backing tape up right now and have about 50 two hour 8mm tapes which makes me a very sad panda.

    I like the quality of the HD MiniDV tapes
     
  7. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #7
    550 pounds? That's some premium. In the US, this camera is called HDR-TG1 and it costs under $900 ($765 at Amazon currently).

    Although it's a spiffy looking camera, I found the UI and ergonomics to be unusable for quick setting change. In the end, I went with Canon HF100 ($630), which while a bit larger than Sony, has better ergonomics and better low light performance.

    Although AVCHD is more difficult to use in Mac (because none of the apps support the format natively yet, unlike in Windows), current generation of AVCHD camcorders do not suffer from high level of compression artifacts. Although HDV camcorders generally perform better (especially Canon HV30), the difference is no longer as dramatic as it once was. That said, having to convert AVCHD to AIC or ProRes does take a lot of disk space.
     
  8. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

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    #8
    Isn't everything here in the UK more expensive than the US!!! we just have to live with it. The list price for the Sony is actually 650 GBP.

    Try Diesel at $12 per gallon!

    iMovie 08 works flawlessly with the Sony not sure on FCE.

    The Canon HV30 is a bit more here in the UK at £595 so it would be all down to personal pref really

    Got a bit of time to decide, keep you posted and thanks for the advice.
     
  9. Tummy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #9
    I just got a Sony TG1 (US model of the TG3) from Amazon.

    Overall I think I'm going to return it. The file format is just too hard to deal with in comparison to the Sanyo HD1000 which I had previously.

    I do like a couple things with the Sony though.
    • Smaller size
    • Better autofocus
    • Much better image stabilization compared to the Sanyo HD1000
    • Better low light ability, but still not good compared to a lot of other cameras
    • 5.1 Surround sound recording feels really immersive when played on our home theater
    • Much nicer packaging, the out of the box experience is better, it feels like a premium product

    Some things I don't like in comparison to the HD1000
    • Small battery life (45 mins vs 2.5 hrs), defeats the purpose if you have to carry another battery all the time
    • AVCHD format
    • Very expensive memory stick vs SD cards
    • No in camera editing, no ability to combine or cut out sections of video
    • Low quality still images
    • No hot shoe for external video light
    • No external headphone or mic port
    • Does not stand on it's on a tabletop, you have to use a tripod
    • No remote control included
    • No HDMI connector on docking station, only a mini HDMI on the camera and does not come with cable / adapter
    • Costs more
    • Sanyo has a 720p/60fps mode which makes fast motion very smooth
    • Sanyo includes a complete printed manual, where the TG1 manual is on PDF

    Please let me know if you had specific questions. I'm probably going to return my TG1 when the Sanyo HD1010 comes out. Sanyo say that the new model has improved focus, image stabilization, and low light ability.... as well as a 1080p/30fps mode. I think I'm going to be willing to give up the smaller size for the improvements and MUCH greater convenience of the MP4 file format.

    Here are some clips I made with the HD1000, no clips from the Sony yet because the AVCHD format is a pain in the ass to convert in comparison. If you're a registered user on Vimeo, you can download the source video to your computer. Here's a good overview of the HD1000 from a Sanyo Rep on youtube.
     
  10. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #10
    Yes, but since Apple doesn't natively support AVCHD yet, you'll spend just as much time (if not longer) transcoding it to AIC or ProRes to even use the footage. So, for right now, that argument holds relatively little ground.
     
  11. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

    Joined:
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    #11
    Many thanks for the information and thoughts. Had another look at it this weekend and do like it, but still confused so will take my time, never know may end up keeping my trusty Sony PC5 which has seen me through many, many holidays!
     
  12. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

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    #12
    Because of everyone's recommendations I have just had a look at the Canon HV30 also. Nice camera but two things I did not like:

    1) Because I wear glasses and blind as a bat the viewfinder is terrible, fixed, very small window and the eyesight correction is very poor compared to my Sony PC5 and a newer Sony Mini DV I also tried along with the Canon. (both Sony's have pull out viewfinders with larger rubber surrounds)

    2) Focusing, I found the focus set to I-AF (i think it was) very jerky and hunted a lot taking its time to readjust. The camera was attached to the limited length security lead so maybe I was being penalized and not getting the full picture (sorry about that!)

    Anyone who has this Canon I would love to hear your thoughts. I can get this item from Amazon for £600 which is £250 less that the store I have just been to!
     
  13. Tummy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #13
    I think you have to decide on a form factor / size. The Canon you mentioned uses MiniDV tapes and is over 4 times larger than the Sony, over three times as large as the Sanyo HD1000. If you intend to take the size penalty, there are a lot of options.
     
  14. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

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    #14
    Too many options at the moment!!

    Maybe I should just my eyes lasered :eek:
     
  15. AndyR macrumors 6502a

    AndyR

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    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #15
    I brought a Canon HV20 last year (model before HV30 but basically the same) and took it on 2 holidays. It replaced an ageing Sony PC101 MiniDV.

    Although the footage was stunning the camara was a bit bigger than my old Sony so the misses didn't really like it as much. I was used to editing with MiniDV tapes and never had any problems but with this can I started having interlacing issues on playback (not a problem, just the way HD cams record now) and I would get big difference in play back depending if was coming direct from the cam, via my MBP or on my PS3. Its frustrating but at the end of the day the end result was some very impressive picture quality.

    I am now selling it however. The size is my main reason.

    I was used to a smaller upright cam before, so going to the HV20 with its "lie down" style cam and the extra weight put me and the misses of it a bit. I recently saw a TG3 and it peaked my interest and I've been reading a lot about it on another forum. From here several people have done comparison shots with the TG3 and other models (including a HV20) and I really don't see any difference between the two. Because of this the TG3 is a winner for me on size alone so I'll be picking one up soon.
     
  16. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

    Joined:
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    #16
    Andy

    Would be really interested in your thoughts on the Sony when you get it.
     
  17. mkjj thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mkjj

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
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    #17
    Experience

    Well, many months later and the holiday a distant memory I thought I would give all an update. I did buy the Sony TG3 in the end, waited until the price fell to £460 on Amazon and a Sony £50 rebate made it a very good buy.

    Yes the Memory Sticks (got a 16gb version) are very expensive at the moment but will come down like everything else! Got the little nifty case and a spare battery and I was all set. First thing is the size, it is tiny and the abiilty to fit it in a pocket or small bag was excellent, it meant I could take it out of an evening and not look like a tourist! Ergonomics for me, perfect and the quick start up time I missed very little.

    Back at home the files imported very easily with iMovie 08 and because I have a PS3 with a Memory Stick slot, I was able to play the files the next morning after we got back in full HD quality! Amazing!! And as a bonus with the PS3, copy the footage off the card to the hard drive as an additional back up!
    If you have a Sony HD cam with Memory Stick a PS3 seems to be a must have item!!

    Conclusion, excellent product, small, light, fantastic quality footage, easy to use and easy to get up and running on the Mac to start editing.

    9/10:)
     
  18. AndyR macrumors 6502a

    AndyR

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    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #18
    Don't know if you guys have noticed this or if it has been said before but I thought it was cool enough to mention.

    Just plugged my TG3 base station via USB into my 40GB PS3 and then dropped the TG3 into it. Powered on and selected USB Connect and after a few seconds it comes straight up as USB DEVICE (CAMCORDER) on the Video XMB.

    It then plays clips seamlessly with full 5.1 surround perfectly! Well chuffed with this as at the moment I had no way of playing full cards seamlessly with 5.1 so well happy with that.

    Quick simple seamless playback for anyone with a PS3 without a memory card reader.
     

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