Starter Camera - newbie to video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by npederse, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. npederse macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2007
    Hey folks - I'm hoping that someone will have a recommendation or some advice. I'm looking for a "starter" camcorder with a budget of approx ~$500-$600 max.

    I've never done video before, so don't even know where to begin. Most of the video would be while traveling, so portability is preferred over high feature content. I'd be editing in iMovie -- looks like most folks recommend miniDV for that.

    I'm not sure if it even matters much which camera I purchase -- at this price point, does it matter? Are there some features I should look for?

    I've been looking at the Panasonic GS320 -- any comments?

    Appreciate any recommendations folks would have.
  2. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    I like panasonic, but I am totally a hobbyist/dabbler. I have a panasonic pv-gs80, which is fairly low-end. I like the layout of the buttons and the joystick, and it feels very comfortable to hold. Basically after playing with a bunch of cameras that made a big chunk of my decision for me. Your mileage will vary, but try handling a few different cameras in your price range to get an idea of comfort as well as features. Just my .02.
  3. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    The GS320 is a great choice for a point and shoot camcorder. It has 3 CCDs which will give very good video when in good lighting. It will probably suffer a bit in low light due to the small CCD size.

    It also has Optical Image Stabilization which is a great feature and much better than electronic stabilization used on most low end cams.

    It does not have a mic jack or headphone jack so you'll be stuck with the internal mic.

    Editing in iMovie or any other NLE should not be a problem.

    The GS320 sounds like a perfect fit for your needs and budget. Enjoy it!
  4. npederse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2007
    Thanks for the feedback -- wasn't sure if there was something better in my pricepoint/skill range or not.

    Regarding the lowlight comment -- is that a tradeoff with having a 3 ccd setup? Is a 3 ccd camera (on average) going to have better quality than a single ccd?

  5. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    3CCDs will be much better quality than a single CCD (color, light, etc). sigamy was referring to the physical size of the CCD limiting the light sensitivity, which is true. but you won't find a cam with bigger CCDs in your price range (AFAIK).
  6. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    Yep, exactly. It is the physical size of the chips that (mostly) effects low light performance. The GS320 has three 1/6" CCDs, which is a small but typical for consumer cams.

    Panasonic is the only manufacturer that pushed 3CCDs in consumer cams. You will see Sony and Canon offering singe CCD, or now, single CMOS chips in their cams. You may see larger chips in these cameras, sometimes even 1/3" or 1/4.7".

    In good light such as outdoors it would probably be difficult to tell the difference between a mid to high range Sony, Panny and Canon consumer cams. The Panny should have better, richer colors due to the 3CCDs. And the optical image stabilzation is a big feature too.

    If you stick with those three manufactures you really can't go wrong. You may want to go to a store and try the cameras for ergonomics, size and weight. That is another important factor that sometimes gets overlooked.
  7. banjomamo macrumors regular

    May 9, 2006
    a lot of pros really like the canon hv20. its affordable and you can get some pretty decent quality for a consumer camera. read some reviews about it as well.

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