What does it take to get a decent camcorder with Firewire

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by harcosparky, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    OK so we dabble in video a bit and do some editing on the Mac.

    Well I feel like it is time to upgrade our camcorders.

    Currently we have two ....

    Sony DCR-TRV820 Digital 8mm / Firewire I/O

    Sony DCR-TRV17 MiniDV / Firewire I/O

    Well I went out looking in the usual places, Best Buy, Circuit Citiy, Photo/Video shops and it seems all the current offerings are USB 2.0.

    Not to mention the camcorders feel " cheap " in my hands as compared to the DCR-TRV17. Even those so called HD Camcorders costing around $1100 - $1500.

    I just feel like the various manufacturers have 'cheapened' their offerings in that range.

    I mean who needs a 700X DIGITAL Zoom ? :rolleyes:
    I never used the 20X digital zoom I have now.

    Funny thing .... I remember when I bought the DCR-TRV17, it was almost the high-end model in the store. I think they had a DCR-TRV22 or something like that. At that time their Digital Still camera offerings were poor, today they carry better digital still cameras than they do camcorders.

    Can anyone make any recommendations as to possible replacements?

    I prefer a Tape Format as opposed to HDD. Wouldn't want to be limited in a situation where I was unable to dump video to a computer. I won't even consider DVD camcorder as I am a 'rough user' to an extent.

    Oh yeah ... I do prefer FIREWIRE on a camcorder for some reason! :D

  2. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Since you say you prefer tapes, why are you looking at non-tape camcorders? Most MiniDV-based camcorders including HDV (e.g., Canon HV30) have FireWire connection.

    Many non-tape based camcorders (e.g., DVD, AVCHD) lack FireWire connection, which isn't all that bad since DVD can be imported using your Mac's optical drive and flash memory card through high-speed memory card reader (which can be FireWire type).
  3. harcosparky thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    My 'preference' is for tape. Why look at the others?

    Well I went and looked at all the camcorders that were MiniDV, not seeing anything I felt good about I decided to look at other formats.

    I saw the HV30 mentioned in another thread but did not see it in the stores.

    We are going out again to take a closer look at some of the models we glanced at today.

    I want to put my hands on that HV30, also Sony's HDRHC7/HC9. It will probably take us a half dozen trips to land on a model and buy it.

    Reading through reviews can be somewhat helpful ... or NOT!

    I have actually seen reviewers contradict them selves in reviews, but that's another story altogether. Usually when I see that I write the reviewer and bring the discrepancy to their attention, and never seem to elicit a response.
  4. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    AVCHD camcorders store data on hard disk, flash memory, and/or DVD. Avoid DVD since they are mostly low bitrate variety (around 12 Mbps). As for the model selection, narrow your choices to 3rd generation AVCHD camcorders (introduced in 2008), such as Canon HF10 or HF100 or Sony HDR-SR10, 10D, 11, 12, TG-1. 3rd generation models support higher bitrate (16 to 17 Mbps), boost better video quality, and well, don't you want the latest stuff?
  5. harcosparky thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Well .... not if it means getting somewhat degraded performance! :D

    Got to play with Canon HV30 tonight and I liked what little I did with it.

    Sadly there was no comparable Sony to play with, for some reason they did not have them in stock, but could order online. Like I told the store manager, " I won't order anything that I cannot at least put my hands on beforehand "

    One feature of the Canon that I liked .... and this may sound minor ..... Top Loading Tape Mechanism. Makes changing out a tape easy when cam is hard mounted such as on a tripod or vehicle mount.

    I was aware of seeking out 3rd Gen on AVCHD units, and to his credit the store employee was excellent about steering me in the right direction.

    Even so, I think the HV30 my find its way here.

    They have it priced at $999, I have a coupon for 12% off ( $879 ). I will probably drive north about 30 miles to avoid our 6% sales tax.

    We are planning our summer vacation, and that is the impetus for a new camcorder. I can afford to wait until first part of August, who knows maybe store inventories will improve, or new models come out.

    One question about the HDD units ..... When taking video off for editing, can you mount the camera as a drive and move the video file, -OR- do it have to be played in real time to download?
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    From what I understand, it mounts and you can basically just move the files onto your hard drive. A LOT faster than tape transfer (I'm not even considering it).
  7. kamm macrumors regular


    Feb 26, 2008
    Except it takes ~4x longer to render out anything - assuming you have at least one of the very few AVCHD-capable editing packages installed - so depending on your machine you can actually end up with longer overall post-processing time than with tape-based capturing. :)

    ALso the current top consumer cams when it comes to picture quality are the Canon HV20 and HV30, both are HDV camcorders thus recording to tape. AVCHD could turn out to be the future but like HDV required years until it became such a solid, mature format so will AVCHD need 1-2 extra generations/years to take over the crown from HDV. Sony's SR11/12 is came close with extra features but still inferior when it comes to the main thing: the picture. ;)
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The answer to your question is simple. If you want to edit your video, then you buy a miniDV or HDV camcorder with FireWire. If you want a non-tape rig, then you have to search the iMovie 08 website for a list of supported models. Consider only non-tape rigs on the list.

    Formats like AVCHD will never lose their amateur status. These formats are optimized for capacity-limited storage media. Other non-tape media are already available for professional cinematography. Canon's FS-C HD 100 HD Recorder attaches to a number of camcorders and records a massive amount of video in HDV or DV format. Devices like this from Canon and other manufacturers will come down in price without sacrificing quality or ease of editing.

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