Video Cameras that can transfer using USB

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by duncanapple, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am asking some questions before I buy my new macbook. I am trying to avoid the new PRO if I can - however a big hurdle is the transferring of video and the lack of a firewire port on the new macbook.

    I don't own a video camera yet, but plan on purchasing one within the next year or two (ie the lifespan of this upcoming laptop) so i want to be sure I don't have to rebuy later. Are there HD consumer camcorders that will import video to the mac using USB? I have been reading fragments of info on this and from what I hear some cameras will do this but down convert it to a much lower quality? Are there any that will retain the full quality? I assume this is going to take ages longer to import to the mac?

    If there are options, can you list some model numbers?

    Thanks in advance! (Stinks apple did this, or the new macbook would be a perfect machine!)

    - Chris
     
  2. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    #2
    Two main options with consumer HD camcorders, in terms of formats.

    1. HDV: tape-based HD format; requires firewire for transfer of HD video;
    2. AVCHD: non-tape-based HD format (records to harddrive or SDHC card, depending on the model); transfer by USB.

    If you don't have firewire, then option 1 is, as far as I can see, not an option at all, which leaves option 2.

    There are a bunch of very good AVCHD camcorders in the stores now. Some examples:

    Sony SR11 / SR12: record to harddrive.
    Panasonic HDC-HS9 / HDC-HS100: record to harddrive or SDHC card.
    Panasonic HDC-SD9 / HDC-SD100: record to SDHC card (same as above, minus the harddrive)
    Canon HF10 / HF100 / HF11: record to SDHC card or (in the case of the HF10 and HF11) built-in flash memory.

    Go to camcorderinfo.com and do a search for these camcorders for arguably the most thorough reviews around.

    Andrew.
     
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #3
    FWIW, the 'popular camcorders' currently reviewed on that site don't appear to support firewire -- only USB. :confused:

    JVC Everio GZ-HD6
    Panasonic HDC-SD9
    Sony HDR-SR12
    Canon Vixia HF10
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2008
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    Britain
    #5
    Or just buy the $999 model which has Firewire (and a Superdrive).
     
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #6
    Or if you don't already have an HD camcorder, don't worry about it, as it appears that virtually all of the new ones support USB fully.
     
  7. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #7
    And be reminded why Premiere sucks compared to FCS. :cool:
     
  8. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #8
    Thanks for the replies guys. A follow up - When using a DV camera and firewire, does it record 1:1, that is to say it takes say 1 hour to import 1 hour of footage, is that right? How about USB 2.0? Or do the flash memory/HD based models allow the footage to be transferred faster? Can someone set me straight here?

    And fyi, going back to the original macbook isn't an option. I *just* sold my 2.4 white macbook (the latest rev, less the ones that just came out) looking for an upgrade, which the new model is in every way except firewire. I do some light photoshop and dreamweaver design - even those tasks seemed like too much for the intel graphics card - I often got the beach ball of death. Plus i like that this enclosure isnt prone to cracking (i hope) like the old one was. The backlight keys are a great bonus, as I frequently work in low/no light conditions.

    Keep them coming guys!

    - Chris
     
  9. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

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    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    Until recently, if you wanted a HD camcorder (and video quality is important to you) then the only sensible choice would have been the Canon HV30 which is firewire.

    However, Canon recently released the Canon Vixia HG20 which uses USB and seems just as good.

    Although there are USB to firewire adapters around (no idea how well they work though) which might work if you want a firewire camcorder.

    Edit: also with firewire camcorders, 1 hour of footage will take 1 hour to import.
     
  10. mtfield macrumors 6502

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    Jan 9, 2008
    #10
    Dv over firewire is a 1:1 ratio so if you have a lot of footage it can get a bit old... fast! HD cams record to a hard drive and therefore you don't have to "record" it to the computer. You just need to copy the file from the cam's HDD to the computer's... doing this over USB isn't going to be screaming fast, but it will most certainly be faster then a 1:1 ratio... I'm sorry I can't give you more concrete numbers, but it all depends on the transfer rate and the size/quality of your video
     
  11. ubercool macrumors 6502a

    ubercool

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    Las Vegas
    #11
    I have a Vixia HV30 (MiniDV version), so I will capture all my video using my Alu iMac and show off the end result on my new MacBook. :cool:
     
  12. ubercool macrumors 6502a

    ubercool

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    #12
    Aha, excellent point that no one seems to have made before! :)
     
  13. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

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    Warminster, PA
    #13
    Not quite. What you guys forgot to tack on is transcode times. AVCHD is needs to be transcoded to ProRes422 or AIC. This can take upwards of hours on even the fastest computers and the result is around a gig minute. DV might be long, but its guaranteed with no strings.
     
  14. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #14
    Thanks

    Thanks guys for the inputs - it sounds like as long as I dont already have a firewire camcorder, I am not missing anything with the new macbook. I was reading about the Canon HF10 (thanks for that website andrew!) and they were raving about it - and it uses USB 2.0 only. Maybe the macbook is the way to go?...

    Another question - which I wil prob make a new topic out of - who here works with AVCHD? And of those people, what types of macs are you using? Model, processor, ram, etc? From what I read AVCHD is pretty resource intensive. Are they speaking to the greater audience when they say this - and someone with a brand new 2.4 mac with 4 gb ram would be more than fine, or would this come to a crawl as well? Is a mac pro the only reasonable option?

    Thanks for all the help!

    - Chris
     
  15. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    #15
    Lack of firewire's still a pain when it comes to buying a nice fast external harddrive for editing / archiving as you're limited to USB drives.

    I think you've already made the new thread, right? (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=582072) Anyway, long story short, ANY Intel Mac will gobble up AVCHD. Bear in mind that there is at present no Apple support for native AVCHD editing: iMovie, Final Cut both transcode AVCHD into something more NLE-friendly (e.g., AIC / Quicktime .mov) and it's the ingest / conversion process that's the real bottleneck. My mini take about two hours on average to import an hour of video. The faster your processor, the quicker the import / conversion. Once converted, you're laughing.

    Andrew.
     
  16. shadowschild macrumors member

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    Aug 8, 2008
    #16
    I just got the HG20 that is through USB and I heart it. ALOT
     
  17. Chris7 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    And keep in mind that if you do go AVCHD converted into ProRes, you will need a FW800 drive to edit more than one stream.
     

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