What camcorders should I buy?

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,116
1
One Nation Under Gordon
A while back I picked up a Sony HDR-FX1 to shoot video, thinking I'd be in a more 'formal' situation for that. It's actually been a complete pain as I can't use it beyond my in-lab recording sessions as it's far too big. I've come to the conclusion that I need something a lot smaller, and if it doubles as a decent still camera as well, all the better. The smaller the better, so I'm thinking about going SDHC / MS Pro Duo. I'm not doing anything ultra-high-end, so I would like it to shoot HD and have a decent lens, a serviceable onboard Mic and a good ~10x zoom, but beyond that I'm pretty flexible.

I work usually in Windows and edit in Vegas. However iMovie '08 compatibility is also desirable.

The second recommendation I need is to replace the parent's HDR-UX7. It was bought without consulting me, and as I understand it it's not compatible with iMovie. Ideally I guess another largely idiot-proof DVD camcorder would be great, but it would have to be HD. If not, I'm thinking about a hard-disk recorder. I'm much fuzzier on this one. Just basically something that's low-fuss, HD, and easy to use for the technologically illiterate and works with iMovie '08.

No budget on either. i.e. as long as it does what it should do I don't really care how much it is.

Thanks
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
Well, the only HD DVD recording HD camcorders are AVCHD, and I'm pretty sure iMovie '08 doesn't support AVCHD on DVDs. Don't as me why, but there's been some posts about it already.

Maybe a flash recording AVCHD like the Panasonic Steve used to demo iMovie '08 with?
 

illwell

macrumors newbie
Aug 8, 2007
2
0
Well, the only HD DVD recording HD camcorders are AVCHD, and I'm pretty sure iMovie '08 doesn't support AVCHD on DVDs. Don't as me why, but there's been some posts about it already.

Maybe a flash recording AVCHD like the Panasonic Steve used to demo iMovie '08 with?
Does anyone know if the panasonic mentioned in the demo is available...and what is the model number?

If the price is around $800 dollars, it may fit my needs. Thanks for any help.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
Does anyone know if the panasonic mentioned in the demo is available...and what is the model number?

If the price is around $800 dollars, it may fit my needs. Thanks for any help.
I'm pretty sure it was the HDC-SD1, and it's about $750 most places.
 

speakerwizard

macrumors 68000
Aug 8, 2006
1,655
0
London
if i were you i would check out the canon dv20, it is meant to be THE best camera (HD) in its price range, im saving for one at the mo, search for some samples on the web
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,116
1
One Nation Under Gordon
Honestly, I've got absolutely no reference to hold it against. Photography/videography of any sort is something I've been never into beyond 'point & shoot' and it was my first 'real' digital camcorder. I bought it to document some of the projects I work on, basically self-shooting me talking to the camera and with accompanying footage. I then edit it in Vegas. Works/ed fine for that purpose.

What I want now is something for general purpose, and as I said, something to partially or even fully replace my digital camera as well if possible.
 

scotthayes

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2007
1,601
34
Birmingham, England
http://www.t3.co.uk/reviews/imaging/camcorder


I bought a Sony HDR-SR5 a few weeks back.

Records in HD, has a 40 GB HDD giving around 15 hours recording, the HDR-SR7 has a 60GB HDD for around 22 hours or the HDR-SR8 has a 100GB HDD for 38 hours. the HDD size, the fact the SR7/SR8 are 6.1 MP rather that 4MP on the SR5 and he SR5 also uses electronic steady shot where as the SR7/8 use optical steadyshot and the SR5 has no viewfinder (have to use the LCD, such a hardship... NOT) are pretty much the only difference. But if budget is not an issue, out of the three I'd go for the SR8

http://www.sony.co.uk/product/CompareProducts.action?site=odw_en_GB&pcReturnUrl=/product/ProductComparisonWizard.action?deepestLevelCategoryId=%2FCamcorder%2FCAM+High+Definition+Handycam%2FHDD+AVCHD+Hard+Disk+Drive&site=odw_en_GB&pcReturnUrl=%2Fview%2FView.action%3Fsection%3Den_GB_Products%26productcategory%3D%252FCamcorder%252FCAM%2BHigh%2BDefinition%2BHandycam%252FHDD%2BAVCHD%2BHard%2BDisk%2BDrive%26site%3Dodw_en_GB%26page%3DProductSeriesHome%26category%3DHDD%2BAVCHD%2BHard%2BDisk%2BDrive%26site%3Dodw_en_GB%26category%3DHDD%2BAVCHD%2BHard%2BDisk%2BDrive&sectiontype=Product&models=HDR-SR5E&models=HDR-SR7E&models=HDR-SR8E

my only gripe with the SR5 is there is no USB connection on the camera so it has to be plugged in to its docking station when transferring file. only a minor pain but if you need to transfer files while out and about, a major pain.

But I used mine for my wedding and the footage is fantastic, very simple to use and great pickup of the sound. Did find every so often as it got a little darker that it would have a little issue with focusing, but a quick zoom out and all was fine (believe it was due to it been on a zoom when recording started). only other tiny thing that p***ed me off, the mode button is very close to the zoom button and when drunk it's very easy to change to photo mode rather than zooming in our out, but that only seems to be an issue when drunk :)
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,116
1
One Nation Under Gordon
The idea of a fixed HDD on a camcorder still gives me the willies but I guess in reality it's not such a big deal. I am looking pretty hard at the HDD Sony's right now.

The Panasonic seems good, but not all reviews about it which I consider relevant are totally keen on it. The consensus seems that it is a very solid and usable unit, but apparently there are some performance concerns.

I was also looking at the Sony HDR-CX7, especially since the vast majority of my portable computers used on a daily basis is Sony - so I can juggle MS Duos around all my devices - and also the editing package I use is Sony. Any problems with using that on iMovie 08 I wonder.
 

scotthayes

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2007
1,601
34
Birmingham, England
The idea of a fixed HDD on a camcorder still gives me the willies but I guess in reality it's not such a big deal. I am looking pretty hard at the HDD Sony's right now.

The Panasonic seems good, but not all reviews about it which I consider relevant are totally keen on it. The consensus seems that it is a very solid and usable unit, but apparently there are some performance concerns.

I was also looking at the Sony HDR-CX7, especially since the vast majority of my portable computers used on a daily basis is Sony - so I can juggle MS Duos around all my devices - and also the editing package I use is Sony. Any problems with using that on iMovie 08 I wonder.
I've made sure I've copied the files off my HDD Sony on to DVD as a backup.

No problems with the HDR-SR5 and iMovie 08. Some issues with iMovie 06 as it doesn't read AVCHD (which the sony records in) files, had to download a converter. But iMovie 08 reads my HDR-SR5 no problems and despite people saying 08 is only good for 5 minute movies, I've put together a 1 hour 20 minute movie with no problems.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,116
1
One Nation Under Gordon
For the camcorder for me, I think it's now down to the HDR-SR7 and the CX7. MS versus HDD.

Provided I can simply slip out the MS from the camera and into my Vaios (or with a card reader, into the Macs) the CX7 seems like the most convenient and portable solution.

Any negatives I should be considering I wonder.

For the parent, I still have no idea. I guess if the above works out I can buy another one.
 

erl

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2007
10
0
Amazon is usually a good place to go for camcorder reviews. Most of them seem to tackle the subject that a "normal" user would be interested in.
The biggest problem I've heard of from the "7" series of the Sony camcorders is that when it gets darker, the camera increases the gain by a LARGE amount resulting in a lot of noise in the picture.

I'm waiting on reviews of the JVC Everio GZ-HD3 to see if it's any good. The HD7 had some problems with OIS, apparently, and the HD3 uses DIS, but the HD3 seems to come with some Mac specific plug-ins, and has a recording mode that, from the way I interpret it, emulates a MiniDV tape (except it's HDD and SD card).

PS - I'm considering an iMac for my wife when Leopard comes out (it will be our first Mac ever), so she can do picture and video editing.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
The idea of a fixed HDD on a camcorder still gives me the willies but I guess in reality it's not such a big deal. I am looking pretty hard at the HDD Sony's right now.

The Panasonic seems good, but not all reviews about it which I consider relevant are totally keen on it. The consensus seems that it is a very solid and usable unit, but apparently there are some performance concerns.

I was also looking at the Sony HDR-CX7, especially since the vast majority of my portable computers used on a daily basis is Sony - so I can juggle MS Duos around all my devices - and also the editing package I use is Sony. Any problems with using that on iMovie 08 I wonder.
Ya, I'm not keen on the HDD in a camera either, but not because I'm worried I'll lose video or anything, but more because you're tethered to a computer if you want to record more than whatever number of hours the camera is rated for. If you get one with a bigger drive it's not as much of an issue - it's unlike you'll shoot more than 30 hours of video for a family vacation, for example. But at least with tape you can just throw in more tape and keep going...
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,116
1
One Nation Under Gordon
All my regularly used actually mobile machines are Sony (SZ, G, UX and TZ) and my phones / PSP take MS Pro Duos so I use them regularly - I have a handful of 2 - 8gb cards already so storage wise the CX7 doesn't present me with any extra expense.

I'm still leaning towards the CX7.
 

erl

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2007
10
0
All my regularly used actually mobile machines are Sony (SZ, G, UX and TZ) and my phones / PSP take MS Pro Duos so I use them regularly - I have a handful of 2 - 8gb cards already so storage wise the CX7 doesn't present me with any extra expense.

I'm still leaning towards the CX7.
Again, take a look at the user reviews at Amazon, and also Camcorderinfo.com has a new review up about the CX7.

Sounds like it's a pretty good camcorder with mediocre low-light performance (but very high on the cool factor).
I also think Sony's bluetooth mic looks awesome.
 

kwong2006

macrumors regular
May 16, 2006
209
0
Guys, for a person who does professional stuff with an HD camera, is solid state or HDD cameras an option, or is it imperative that we use HDV?