Suggestions for a Cheap High-Def Camcorder That Works Great With iMovie?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tardman91, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. tardman91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    I'm considering getting a high-def camcorder to use with iMovie and the new MacBook I'll be getting soon. Any sugggestions for one that will work with iMovie without giving me any headaches? I'm looking to spend less than $500, and am really hoping to find a deal for Black Friday.
  2. maclook macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
  3. tardman91 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    Eh, I already have a D40 so I was looking more for a dedicated camcorder. It has to have a decent optical zoom too (at least 10x).
  4. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Really? I'm not an expert on the subject at all, but for the average user at least, I feel like I'd steer away from a tape-based camcorder at this point. I don't see any particular advantage to it (except maybe price, I haven't looked around). Why do you recommend this one? (Honest question, I'm looking around myself right now).

  5. AnimaLeo macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    Tapes are really good for archiving purposes. However, they are a dieing from (in my opinion). They will be replaced with SSD.

    From personal experiance, I would suggest that instead of buying a cheap camcorder now, save up for a year or what ever and buy yourself a decent one. I've bought four camcorders so far, and I've constantly needed to update them because I thought going the cheaper option would be better. I was wrong every time haha. I'd go for something good like the Canon HF S100. It's going for about 700 pound now. That will keep you going for a long time.

    Ofcourse, it depends on your needs. If you're not that interested in producing amature films etc, then you may as well go for something cheap.
  6. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    I agree, I'm studying digital production and was leaning towards mini dv cuz of the backup you have w/tape, however with my experiences now, tape is just to much of a hassle. I'd much rather just pop a card in and be ready to shoot right away. Plus you can reuse it(so you can put your budget towards more hard drive storage or tape storage(you can offload it to tape later)).

    You can check out:
    Panasonic HDC-TM20K
    Canon VIXIA HF200 HD

    I know a little higher than your price range, but you get what you pay for!
    Also, check reviews on Amazon and other sites.

    Happy filming :)
  7. bridgerboy macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2007
    There are quite a few factors that go into deciding this question that we do not know. Do you want to archive the footage? What kind of computer are you going to use to import your footage?
    If you don't want your footage compressed-minidv. If you want an easy archival system-minidv. If you own a newer mac without a firewire port-hdd. If you need to have your footage on the computer as fast as possible for with local news...hdd.
  8. juliuspierpont macrumors member

    May 11, 2007
    I'm also not a professional, nor am I an expert. However, after reading through countless threads like this one, I settled on a Canon Vixia HV30. I've used a friend's camera which recorded to hard disk, and had a very difficult time changing the format to something that could be used by iMovie or Final Cut. (This resulted in much research also, the end result of which was downloading mpeg streamclip and cherishing it from that moment on.)

    Tape-based recorders do take longer to import the movies onto your computer (same amount of time as the tape's duration, of course), but I've never found that to be a huge inconvenience. They're imported in .mov format, which is very convenient, and the net time - import AVCHD/convert to .mov vs. import tape to .mov - is probably roughly equivalent. It's been a year since I did the AVCHD import/convert, though, so don't remember time exactly.

    I also got the Canon for around $700 a year ago, and it's less than you'll pay for an HD-based camera. Or a decent one, at any rate.

    Good luck...there's no "right" choice, and no forum will tell you unanimously and definitively which camera to go buy. I'm happy with the camera I chose, for whatever that's worth.
  9. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Don't dismiss still cameras completely. Panasonic ZS3. 720P. 12X zoom with zoom in movie mode. One button shooting. mov or AVCHD Lite (mov works best with iMovie). $275 from Abe's.

    I'll grant you that a dedicated video cam will do a better job but for how much?
  10. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    I suggested tape because of your low budget and HD requirement. And for archiving purposes I find tapes great. But as I have this camcorder I am maybe biased ! :D
  11. tardman91 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    So .mov is the preferred format for iMovie? Does anyone have any experience with those little handheld HD cams like the Flip and the like? I know they usually lack any real zoom (2x if you're lucky with some of them) and don't have huge amounts of space, but other than that how are they? Which ones work with iMove easily? They look pretty good for quick stuff. I'm not looking to produce movies here, just take some nice home videos and jazz them up in iMovie and have them look good on my HDTV.
    Thanks for all the replies!
  12. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I use a Flip HD and if you are really just looking for home movie shooting and the like, I'd recommend it. True you don't have a real zoom (it's digital), but for most applications it works fine.

    It hooks up to your Mac via USB and will download directly into iPhoto by default, then, simply go into iMovie and all of your movie files will be there under iPhoto videos.

    Looks great, it runs around 200 bucks so it's not a big out-of-pocket expense for HD. The latest versions have enough memory to store 120 minutes of HD video (mine...from 2008... does 90 I think). We have taken this to concerts, on vacation and it works great for most 'home' projects.

    I had my doubts at first and basically bought this for my wife to take video of our son, but I use it now for a lot of other things.

    Or, if you want to go even cheaper for HD video....there's always the iPod nano! ;)
  13. smmmms macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2009
    Sony HF20 --- $500 on Black Friday at Best Buy. I have the previous incarnation, the HF10, great camcorder, no problems with iMovie. Highly recommend. Glad I used it for a year, wish I could have bought it for $500.

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